Can Do…

I could have sworn I took more than one picture while I was sewing last night. Apparently not. I was incredibly tired. So tired, I quit early and went to bed and zonked out. Same as before, getting into the sewing when it’s hot…ugh. I just can’t do it. Plus I had to enter a show. I’ll probably get rejected from one today, so this is like a karmic balance. Rejection? Enter a new one. So that took some time. I have so much stuff out traveling right now or in shows that I don’t have much available to enter…well, until today, when a few will get rejected, right? Yeah.

So the Ventura California Fibers show is up at the Ventura government buildings, 800 S Victoria Ave, Ventura CA. The opening is tonight from 5:30-7. Being in the buildings means it’s only open during government hours, Mon-Fri 8-5, closed weekends and holidays. You can see my piece Earth Mother for Ventura there…named because it had to be no politics, no nudity, no violence. I won’t be there. Can’t possibly leave school at 3:45 and get to Ventura on a Friday afternoon in time.

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Then tomorrow from 7-10 is the Response opening at Space4Art. If you do come to see the 17-foot-long woman, go through the main gallery into the back yard where the food and stage are. There’s a small building with a funky sculpture in front of it. My piece is in there. I will be there. Although I don’t know that I will always be in the building.

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And in Utah, Celebrating Silver opens tomorrow as well and the St. George Museum of Art. Awakening the Crone will be there. I won’t. Obviously. Because I’ll be here.

So yeah, there’s a lot of stuff going on. I do still think I can finish stitching this big piece down tonight. I just have to be able to focus as soon as I get home, instead of sprawling on the couch for an hour with a book before I do anything. It was easier when the girlchild was here, because SHE would be sprawled on the couch (genetics?) and I couldn’t be in there because I’d get yelled at. Or there wasn’t room. Actually, Friday was often the only day I could be there, because we were both tired, but it would inevitably turn out that I said something totally horrible like “How was your day?” or “Why?” and then I’d be out. And then I’d head for my studio/office. I should just pretend she’s there on the couch and not even sit down. I’ve joked about having this 17-foot-woman hang out on the couch with me at night when I’m feeling alone.

So I did eventually sew, but it was after 10…

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I finished the kneeling figure. So I’m probably halfway done. I feel like 3 or 4 hours tonight would do it. I’m a little less than 5 hours in so far. Then I could sandwich it tomorrow and start quilting on Sunday.

It’s been so hot here lately that the dog has been cooling herself off in the pool. She goes in up to her belly and then wants to come back in the house. She gets mad when I dry her off (I don’t dry her completely), but I do it anyway. Except she apparently went in this morning and I didn’t notice. And then she walked through the whole house. I just noticed that. Sigh. Now she’s laid out in the entryway, damp everywhere. Oh well. This is why my house is not a showcase, right? Yeah. That’s it. Hopefully today is the last day of the heat wave. It did rain yesterday, enough to cool things down slightly, but not enough to make it actually cool.

OK. Survive the day at school. Come home and stitch. Eat leftovers for dinner. I can do all that.

Celebrating Silver: Awakening the Crone

I’m home from Houston and the opening of Celebrating Silver, one of SAQA’s 25th anniversary exhibits, so now I can show the whole quilt…you’ve seen details. I started working on it October 10, 2013, and finished January 18, 2014, not counting drawing time. It took 95 hours. Here’s the bird with eyeball…

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The weary mother and babe…

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The still perky maiden…

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The crone and her crown of thorns…

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An aging uterus and a protective bird…

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The ground in which she’s rooted…

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Awakening the Crone

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Finished in January 2014 ($3600), 40” w x 70 ½” h, opening in IQF Houston, TX, Oct 30-Nov, 2014; then traveling to IQF Chicago, IL, June 2015; Quilt! Knit! Stitch!, Portland, OR, Aug 2015; and the Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England, August 2016. There is video too of me talking about this, in two places. I’ll post those when I get them.

The Crone Emerges…

After Thanksgiving, I was ironing all the pieces down…here’s the biggest pieces of flesh on the whole quilt. I used up almost all of this fabric (which I really loved)…

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Pieces were piling up, and I was cutting them out as quickly as I could…

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Here’s all the fabrics that were used in the quilt.

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And here’s a pile of leftovers after I finish trimming stuff…

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After that, I sorted pieces, around the end of the year. I had about two more weeks of Winter Break left.

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I started ironing around New Year’s Eve and was done a few days later.

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No, I don’t have a life. Why do you ask?

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This bird was the beginnings of an idea in Julie’s mind to have me make the small bird quilts I did last summer…

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Ironing went quickly…

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I was motivated to get it done before school started up again.

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The maiden…

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Both of them together…

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The upper torso coming together…

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And Kitten on the crone’s shoulder. Every crone needs a cat.

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And this is where I started questioning my choice of background fabric.

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I actually laid the whole thing out on the purple fabric…purple that I loved. And then I rejected it. And went shopping for that blue…that eye-popping blue.

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Because that blue is what it needed to be. Here it is ironed down, waiting to be stitched down…

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Stitching it down, all in early January…

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The great thing about those vacation weeks is that I don’t have to do a whole lot of schoolwork.

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So I have more time to make art. She definitely has a marked face…

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I started quilting it on January 9. That’s probably about when I went back to school…

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Lots of outlining…

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I quilted it in 7 days during school. I was a little obsessed (honestly, I was running out of time).

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There’s all that detail again…

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And then I started quilting the background…

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The binding went on around the 17th and I was handstitching the night before I was supposed to take it to the photographer.

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The next post? Official pictures…

Starting Silver

On September 23, 2013, I started drawing a quilt that I meant to have drawn in July, early August at the latest…but then my life sort of exploded and I couldn’t focus. I had gotten into the 25th anniversary SAQA exhibit called Celebrating Silver, curated by Yvonne Porcella, on the strength of my description of silver as the color of age and experience, the crone versus the mother and the maiden…so I started by drawing the crone…

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This is two days of drawing, about a month after school started, when I am mostly exhausted when I get home from school…

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I made a copy of the page and then taped the copy to the next page to continue the drawing…

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And then I decided it sucked. I actually liked the start for the mother, but decided it just wasn’t working out…so I cut it off and started again.

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Better. Much better. So down to two pages…and I keep drawing. Then I start drawing up the sides…

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And I decide it needs to be longer and I add to the bottom…

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There is a size limit on this thing, but I cut really close to that limit. Go BIG! or don’t go at all, right?

Then I started numbering. Oh my.

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This thing has enough detail to kill me. And it almost did. One thousand two hundred and thirty-seven pieces. None of them very big.

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I started tracing it on Wonder Under in October…

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I finished right before I left for Houston last year…

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Lots of little tiny pieces…

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Which then had to be cut up…I didn’t even start until mid-November.

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This is the background fabric I originally chose for this quilt…

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Stay tuned to see what happened to that decision…right before I sorted all 1200+ of those tiny pieces, at the end of November.

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I started ironing them to fabric in late November…

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And trimming them as well. There are some things that are portable and some that aren’t…

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I can’t drag my whole stash around to iron stuff, but I can drag this shoebox around with a pair of scissors…

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The fabrics started piling up in December…I took a few days off ironing. Not sure why? School. Tired. Whatever.

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But eventually I got my focus on (realizing that time was getting TIGHT)…

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And finished ironing everything down to fabric on December 6.

More tomorrow…hopefully…if I have internet. I will be at the SAQA Meet and Greet Thursday at 5 at Houston, as long as flights fly and nothing bad happens. I will be tired! Yay! But I will be there. Like I told my dad, sometimes you just have to run away from all the crap…I totally grabbed all the stuff I needed to grade and ran away from school. I need to go back out and get meds and food and money for tomorrow, but I’m not going back there until Monday. You can’t make me.

A Bit Lost and a Lot Damaged…

So I posted yesterday from a college presentation in a hotel up in La Jolla after reporting the girlchild’s car stolen (OK, the boychild might argue that it is HIS car, and I would truthfully tell both of them that it is MY car that they are allowed to drive and apparently allow to be stolen). Yes, it was locked. My brain had hit stress overload about two hours prior and was quickly self-destructing, as that little section that asserts control started pushing all the bad shit into the corner and blocking it off…”You can’t see that. It’s not there.” My counselor says I should just deal with one day at a time right now…I think yesterday I managed the Next Five Minutes at a time. And it worked. Honestly. We managed everything, the sheriffs (is that a word? It sounds wrong) were at my house at 10 PM, we ate dinner in there somewhere, because I had the brains to prep it before we left for the presentation, and did I grade anything last night? Ha. You know the answer to that AND the swear words I would apply to it. Insert here.

I did manage about 40 minutes of fabric last night. Zonked out and woke up too early to the girlchild’s ride to school (thank god for friends), drove off to my school and completely lost it. Understand there are some other major things going on that didn’t help. Made it to school, got everything under control. School is a good place to be when you’re freaking out, because you can’t spare the brain power to actually Freak Out. You have too many kids in your class, too many fires to put out, too much to manage to completely lose it. Trust me. I know this. I survived last year precisely because of that.

And during 7th period, girlchild texted me (in all caps) that they had found the car. That it had not been shipped to Mexico for parts (it’s one of those cars, old, but useful). That it had not been damaged. A couple things were stolen, but nothing of huge import, and it’s drivable. And the other major situation semi-resolved itself as well by the end of the day, and all that crap that was standing on my shoulders and JUMPING up and down…it was gone. Mostly. Better.

So I went to the gym and I ate and I finished my book for book club tomorrow night and I graded a little bit and then I cut out pieces, because I still have this crazy goal to have that all done this week…

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The top bin has the pieces I haven’t cut (an awful lot of them), the middle one is stuff that’s cut out, and the bottom one is trash, which I hold on to for a bit, just to make sure I didn’t throw a piece in there by accident (it happens). I got a lot done tonight…I’m about 5 hours in. I guessed what? I don’t remember. Fifteen hours? Aargh. Not happening by Friday, that’s for sure. I’m getting there, but not fast enough. My plans for the weekend? Grading papers, progress reports, watching soccer, going to the gym, and dealing with this quilt. Nothing else. I have something else I will do if I am far enough along, but I suspect I won’t be. So now my goal is to have everything cut out by the end of day Saturday, hopefully even sorting the pieces Saturday, so I can start ironing Sunday. If I can get it ironed by the 17th? I might be OK. I will still have to pinbaste that weekend and then start quilting.

I’m going to be gone for Houston at the end of the month, so I lose three days…three good days, of course, because I’m going to Houston with my mom to the Celebrating Silver opening…I got my catalog yesterday…

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It was nicely packaged with a silver bow and a silver padded envelope. It looks like it will be a nice exhibit…

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I’m going to remember to bring my catalog with me this time so I can have the artists sign. There will be a few artist walk and talks, but I will only be able to do Friday at 2 PM. Stop by and say hi if you’re around. I will also hopefully be at the SAQA meetup the night before, assuming we don’t miss any flights. I will also be at the Visions opening next weekend, even though I didn’t get in (because I rarely do) and the SAQA Shades of Passion opening on Friday next week in Poway as well, although running late. I guess October is art opening month. So that cuts into my working time. Plus I’m trying to make sure girlchild gets to all the college presentations that she wants to go to…she’s doing it so differently than the boychild, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Anyway. After the stress of the last 36 hours, it was nice to just sit in the quiet tonight and cut things out while watching bad vampire television. My brain basically shut down…well, except for the part that was questioning the bad science on the teevee. I’m relieved about the car…trying to buy another car at this point is just not on the list of things I can deal with…hell, I can’t deal with hanging the TV on the wall or fixing the door handle for real. Maybe I can go back to planning one day at a time now, instead of 5 minutes. You never know. I’m trying to dial down the overload with school, totally using my teacher’s aide as much as I can (he’s awesome, by the way) and not taking on too much. Ha. Yeah. That’s always a joke. But I’m trying.

I suspect that’s all I can do at the moment. Continue to try, to move a little bit each day, to find sanity and laughter and goofiness in every day. I stalked a 6th grader today who was talking to himself…followed him for a while until he noticed, jumped a bit, and then giggled. I’m amazed by how many kids know my name, even though they’re not mine. I’m glad to be finding some of my goofball self again. Slowly but surely she’s coming back. The part that dances in stores and sings at the top of my lungs in the mall and chases kids all over the quad. That person. She needs to be around more. She’s OK. Wow. It really hurts to say that. Because I know she was gone for so long. Hidden. Hiding. Lost. Damaged. And she’s still a bit lost and a lot damaged, but she’s ready to dress up like a painting and ride a bike in combat boots and hike like a zombie. If the universe could ramp down the car abductions and other crap, that would be a plus.

Show Updates

As I get yet another art rejection, I have to remind myself that my work is out there (well, yes, it’s OUT THERE, but it’s also out THERE…for you to like see it and stuff).

Here’s some updated show info…

The collection of Quilt National that includes my piece Spread Out on the Pavement is going to be at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County in Moorhead, Minnesota, from August 14-September 28.

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My two pieces Fully Medicated and I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket will be at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, from August 7-10, as part of the ArtQuilt Portfolio: People and Portraits exhibit based on the book of the same name. The author, Martha Sielman, will be doing a talk about the quilts while she’s there on Friday August 8 and Saturday August 9. She has heard ME talk about them, so hopefully she was listening, because I don’t remember a word of what I said.

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Then they will also travel to the Festival Internacional de Patchwork e Arts Afins, Curitiba, Brazil, from August 27-30, 2015, thus traveling more than I have in my lifetime (OK, maybe not…it just feels that way). Really. I’m jealous. Not fair.

Celebrating Silver will open at Houston on October 30, where you can hear me try to explain my piece Awakening the Crone (ha!). The exhibit will follow the normal IQF route in Chicago and Portland, but will also be at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, in August 2016. Yikes. That thing will be gone for a good long time, I guess. I still can’t show full photos of that quilt, but it will rock your socks. Off. Or something.

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It’s one I’m really proud of. I really like it. Which means normally it wouldn’t get in to any show, but because I made it FOR this exhibit, they are stuck with its awesomeness.

So the fact that nothing I’ve made SINCE then has made it into a show is irrelevant. It is really. I know that. It’s just frustrating in the moment. Especially when you’re updating your resume and realizing that you haven’t gotten into a show for like 6 months. Fuck. Oh well. Moving on. Go make more art. It can’t get in if you never finish it because you are having one of those days. Seriously. Get off the computer. Pick up the fabric. Ignore the wailing cat.

It Will Have to Do…

I had a plan for the artmaking this month. Spring Break is coming up. Usually, by now, I’d be counting the days and ranting and raving about how I need to be on vacation. This year, Spring Break is late even. But I don’t know how many days it is. I’m not even keeping track. It’s not that this year is easier than any other year; it’s really not. We took on some things this year that made it more difficult, trying to keep on top of kids and their work, really pushing for passing grades, TRIED to take on computers in the classroom, but that disappeared last week (long stupid story). Plus my brain makes it difficult for me to focus a lot on school this year. I’ve figured out how to push it over there in the corner and ignore its existence a lot better. I think. Maybe. Either meditation or depression has helped me to balance my work life better. I’m hoping it’s the former more than the latter. I don’t want to have to be depressed to put work in its rightful place…just enough attention to do it well, but not at workaholic level.

So I wanted to have all the Wonder Under traced on that new big drawing by now (insert hysterical laughter here, because that’s probably 20 hours of tracing), and to be cutting out Wonder Under, so I could do all the fabric ironing over break, but in reality, that’s not going to happen. I haven’t even started tracing. I’ve had other stuff to deal with. And it’s not that important that I finish it “on time,” because there is no “on time” for this one. There’s no deadline for anything I’m working on, which is alternately a relief and really depressing. Last year had three major pieces that had to be made by a deadline for a specific show, and I guess that was a good thing in some ways, providing me with a focus that I couldn’t wander away from. Right now? I don’t have that. So on the one hand, I can make what I want without some wacky theme hanging over me, but on the other hand, who knows if it will get in anywhere? I have about 4 pieces from the last two years that are getting in NOWHERE. Sigh.

It’s OK. I know intellectually that is a temporary thing, that there is no explaining the whims of jurors, any more than you can explain what colleges the boychild got into and didn’t get into (still waiting to hear on two more, but I think he did OK). It just is what it is; you take a deep breath, and you move on. You pick up the next thing and start working on it.

So I did…

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Still doing this, but I didn’t fall asleep while doing it tonight. I guess that’s good. I’m 4 hours in and still have most of the fleshy pieces to cut out. But it’s getting there. Worst case scenario, I’ll get this one ironed down and start on the stitching over break. I’m going to schedule some hikes in there too, plus I have an art exhibit to go see up in the OC, and I’m going to do some life-drawing classes during the school days. I can pretend to be retired…practice for a million years from now when I might be able to afford to retire (ha!).

I managed to make it to the gym, eat dinner, meditate, read my book, AND do the art stuff. Of course, that’s because the house is empty and I have no one to talk to except furry beasts, and I’m blowing off work. So. There’s that. I don’t know that it’s the healthiest existence. It’s certainly lonely.

I also had to do a journal entry thing for the Celebrating Silver exhibit. I had found the scrapbook paper at my ex’s house Tuesday night. I wrote up the pages yesterday and got it all put together tonight.

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It’s not super-exciting, but it will do. And since it has to arrive by April 1, it will have to do.

Over Spring Break, I also need to draw my gender equality thing (the only real deadline I have this year), and then there’s an exhibit my women’s art group is working on about the border between the US and Mexico; we’re meeting about that this weekend. I think I will have very little weekend free outside of the hike and the art meetings. There’s more next weekend. I guess I know how to keep myself busy. Now if I could only figure out the happiness part. I guess that comes with time.

And art. And nature. It’s kinda like sleep when you’re female and my age…if you really want it, it’s elusive. It comes when you least expect it, when you’re holding scissors in your hand.

Lime-Green Demands

I’m up to eight post-it notes on the keyboard and the desk in front of the computer now. They are all lime green and demand my attention. I wonder if they were a different color would they feel quite so urgent? I’ll find out soon…the next color in the pad is purple, and I’m not that far away from it.

This morning at 7:40 AM, I was drawn over to the light table where all those little drawings are…I have about 10 more to tape together and I actually picked up the top page and the scissors and grabbed the tape and then NO! Bad Kathy! Bad! You have to leave for school in 20 minutes, you haven’t eaten breakfast or found your shoes or prepped your lunch, you still have about 8 kids whose grades are nonexistent (minor issue, really…grades aren’t officially due until 2 PM or so and I could probably beg an extra two hours if I needed to), and your school bag isn’t packed. You may NOT engage in art activities this morning!

But…but…I didn’t get to yesterday because of grades…

You got to sew a label on and dehair a quilt to be delivered to an exhibit. That is a privilege (crap, I can’t spell that word without looking it up). The fact that you spent probably 8 hours on grading and grades and waiting on a grading website that behaved like a recalcitrant 2-year-old is completely irrelevant. You can make art tonight. After school. And the gym. And whatever other tasks you come up with before then (there is still more grading…it’s just not going on the progress report).

I did prep a quilt for a show last night…

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Mom’s picking it up tomorrow and delivering it because I don’t have time.

I had some help.

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OK, no, she didn’t help me.

There’s nothing like a day (a holiday, no less) full of grading papers and inputting grades and calculating the number of Fs because you know that is all someone will care about…they won’t care about the kid who went from a 28% F to a 56% F. I care about that kid. Next time, he’ll be passing. It was painful and depressing. The only interesting part is that I watched about 7 episodes of The Black List in the last two days and I finally have figured out the plot (I don’t watch closely when I’m grading) and the James Spader character is a truly devious and wonderful person. I mean, not wonderful in like I want to hang out with him, because of the devious lying bit, but fun to watch his facial expressions and how he messes with people. But mostly it was a shitty day.

It was somewhat tempered by, strangely, dinner out with the family, which included my ex-husband…

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He felt bad about something to do with his birthday dinner…girlchild likes eclectic restaurants and was upset that he didn’t want to go to one before he went back to the UK last time, so I got invited…

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A fire pit instead of a dinner table. It was actually a relatively decent evening, good food, interesting place, no one was too pissy (well, there’s the girlchild, but I think my purpose in life right now is to give her something safe to be angry at), and everyone still had their eyebrows at the end of it.

I did a crappy drawing at the table, but I’m out of practice. If I work on it some more, I might photograph it.

The good news is that I had three quilts photographed, two new ones for 2014 and one older one that needed updated photos for a book it will be in this year. Of course, I can only show details on the Celebrating Silver quilt, which will be in Houston in October this year…

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It’s called Awakening the Crone, and you’ve seen its birthing over the last few months.

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It’s 40″ wide and 70 1/2″ high…

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Not a small beast. I’d like to say it’s a relief to have it done, and in some ways it is, because the photos are due February 1 and I’m actually early! But it’s also a letdown from the intensity of working on it and all the details…that’s hard to deal with right now. Being fully engaged in a project like that distracts you from all the crap that surrounds you otherwise. Duh.

I actually finished the other quilt first…literally, it was finished at 3:00 PM on Saturday and the Crone was finished around 10:30 PM the same day. This is Love (not).

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It’s 43″ wide x 56″ high…so not too small and not too big.

It’s had a few variations on that name over the last 8 months…Is It Love? Love (not Love)…but this one stuck.

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It was originally a drawing in a small sketchbook for a show that I thought an art group I am in was going to do in February, but the situation changed, and because I need so much lead time to make quilts, I was already well into finishing it when they came out with revised guidelines that were way smaller than anything I have that’s relevant.

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Oh well. Some day I’ll be able to write the statement without crying. Well, I think technically, I’ll have to do that later this week, but hopefully I’ll be better off by then. OR…I’ll just cry. Whatever. Yes, those are real anatomical hearts hanging from that tree.

Tonight I forced myself to deal with the damn journal for Earth Stories…I’ll be writing about that hellish process (really, it was just hellish because I’m lame) later this week. But I rewarded myself with some art time…

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I taped together another handful of smaller drawings. I’m feeling better about them now…not sure why…maybe this bunch was more interesting. A couple of them need paper taped on so I can finish the side of something or add the tips of the leaves. The one on the bottom there with the yellow post-it-note needs a half a person added on each side plus some lights and maybe a bar. I wrote all that on the note.

Anyway, the lime green post-it note with my overall to-do list only got one thing crossed off tonight, mostly because I didn’t go to a high level of detail on the list…it just says to ship the journal. I should have divided it up into steps: finish the pages, print the pages, assemble the journal, ship the journal, email the doc to the curator. Then I could have crossed off the first one (big whoop!). Actually, that is a big time-consuming whoop, so I am feeling a tad less stressed…only a tad, though.

Sad is still tracking me. It hits when I least expect it, at the gas station, in the pet store, on the way to the photographer’s. The counselor says I don’t know how to get away from it. That I’ve been sad for so long that I don’t know how not to be. Same with the depressed…like they’re somehow separate? Well, yeah. It’s my shadow. I don’t think there’s a magic trick to shaking it, despite people saying things like “well, you just have to decide to be happy.” Oh. OK. Well. Then. Happy it is. And then my brain does some Marvin the Paranoid Android move and there’s no getting there. Because I don’t believe in magic? I don’t know. I think it’s just a slow process and I will eventually realize that I’m there and it might even surprise me. I could use a surprise like that (unlike the surprise of having to change my Apple password 5 times in the last 24 hours because someone hacked into my account, but changed the credit card number and THEN charged stuff on it? Aren’t they supposed to use my card number?). Whatever.

Art this week: moving on to the next projects. Maybe it will persuade my brain to move on as well.

Rewrite the Kathy

I know how I should feel right now. I’ve written about it before…the joy, the relief of finishing a quilt, of making it through all the hours, the drudgery, the tasks. The deep breath, the sigh of relief. The empty space in your head waiting for another piece to rush in and fill it.

Fuck. I finished two quilts today. I’ve spent the last 6 months working on them (with other stuff in there too), and I feel…what do I feel? A slight release of pressure, of stress, because I made the deadlines…because they will be delivered to the photographer tomorrow and I did what I set out to do. I don’t feel joyous. I don’t feel happy. I acknowledge that it was hard work, that I achieved something, that I was successful, but for what?

I don’t know. I keep doing it because I want that feeling back, I want to feel that rush of good when I finish, when it’s done. I want that right now. I talked to the counselor about that magical step from where you are at the moment to where you want to be, when you are doing everything you are supposed to be doing, and you still can’t manage that step. She says it’s not magic, but she couldn’t produce a list of what to do next. She said to just keep doing, that eventually I would relocate that feeling…that I would allow myself to feel good.

Today? Today I do not feel like I will ever find that feeling. On good days, I persuade myself that if I just keep doing the right things that everything will be OK (fuck, I hate that phrase now, thanks to someone repeatedly lying and saying it over and over to me…bullshit it will be OK). Today was not a good day. It should have been. I was relatively efficient. I did all the things that were expected of me and more. I functioned fairly normally. Crying in the gym and on the walk from the gym to the tire place? Well, it happens…it’s not abnormal, but it’s probably abnormal that I still cry every day. Then again, it’s not abnormal for someone who is depressed to do that, and I have good reason to be depressed, so it’s not abnormal.

I’m not sure if I care whether I am behaving normally or not.

Sigh. Anyway, I spent 4 1/2 hours today sewing bindings on…

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I finished Love (not) around 3 PM I think…and then moved on to the Celebrating Silver quilt.

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I watched a lot of television today to get me through the sewing. At one point, the boychild came out and I said something about how it looked like I was just relaxing in front of the TV, sewing, and he said, no, he knew I wasn’t relaxing…I wasn’t. I was speed sewing…

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Seriously…it was 4 1/2 hours of just poking holes…in fabric and my fingers.

Once they were done, I had to tape all the cat hair off of them…plus find the other one that now needs to be rephotographed for the book it will be in later this year.

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It took about an hour to clean them up and iron them and roll them up in a clean sheet to take to the photographer tomorrow.

In between all this, I helped girlchild calculate her grade in biology and figure out what she has to get on the final to keep a decent grade in there, I picked up their dad from the airport returning from the UK for the second time in three weeks, I wrote a grocery list, I listened to the boychild giggling at whatever he was watching on the computer (it was The Daily Show the one time I looked, god forbid he actually study for finals), I went to the gym, and I replaced 4 tires on the kids’ car. Oh, and I graded all the makeup assignments that kids handed me yesterday. I still have to finish all the big projects from before break…they take forever to grade. I’m more than halfway through, but tomorrow is a giant clusterfuck, so who knows if I will get anything useful done then.

And all day, on and off, tears. I finished two quilts? Tears.

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And it’s not just because of the holes in my middle finger (see the tip?) where the needle was bumping me all day…it’s sore right now.

What did you do today? I finished two major quilts. One took 48 hours and 39 minutes to complete, and the other one took 95 hours and 2 minutes. I wonder what normal people do with their hours, the hours I spend making art? I know they sleep more. They probably socialize more too. They might even spend more time staring at a television or mowing the lawn or cleaning house. I don’t envy them those. Why aren’t you happy about finishing them? Because the rest of it is empty. It doesn’t make the rest of it feel better. It doesn’t make me happy. I don’t have the magical pill to get to the happy. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck refuse to grab me by the hand and skip over the bridge to happy.

Yeah, I know it’s my job to get to the happy…and I know there’s something in me that’s stopping me from getting there. I just don’t know how to fix it. In talking about meds, the counselor admits to never having taken them herself. I have. It just pushes the emotions away, like over there. She described it as numbing the emotions. How will that help me get to happy? I’m already pretty fucking numb on a regular basis. I don’t see the point.

Anyway. I have a shitload of schoolwork to deal with in the next two days, but expect me to start something new this week. I think I will tape all the smaller drawings together and then pick one or two, plus the breast cancer one. So I should be numbering and tracing this week…knock on wood. I’m scared to death of down time. I don’t want to depend on my job for any level of satisfaction or joy. I can only hope that the art will eventually be my savior. I am so tired of feeling sad and empty. I have to believe that I will not always feel this way. I have to believe in joy and love and that feeling that used to come with finishing something like this, with finishing two in one day? I can go back through my blog and read how light-hearted I used to be, and wish I could be that person, erase the last 6 months, scrub my memories (one of the TV shows I was watching today), selectively pick who I am and how I feel. Rewrite the Kathy.

345″ of Hand Sewing…

The Celebrating Silver quilt has a binding machine-sewn on…I now have 300″ of hand-sewing to do, plus another 45″ or so on the Love (not) quilt. That’s only 345″ total. I spent about 2 1/2 hours tonight getting the quilt trimmed up to the correct size (it’s about 40″ wide by 71″ high…not a small beast) and putting the binding on. I always figure if they give you a range for the space, you should go as big as you can…my large quilts have a lot of presence on the wall and I like that about them. It’s easier to get within a range than to get a quilt to an exact size for me. The Earth Stories quilt had to be an exact size…gave me a lot of headaches. Actually, the Sightlines quilts were even worse for that, because of the spacing and all the logistics of how to hang the side pieces…


On mine, all the blood vessels had to line up. That set of quilts finally came home after 4 years. I think I’ll hang them in the hallway so I can live with them for a while…although girlchild made some comment about having friends over and having to explain her mom’s stuff. Whoops. Oh well. It’s character-building.

I’m glad that I’ve been able to stay on schedule with these two quilts. I know the depression has side-lined my ability to work efficiently quite a few times, and it’s certainly fucked with my feeling good when I get near the end. I just worry about having dead time, time where my brain is allowed to wander the forests of What Did I Do Wrong This Time and get caught by the iron traps of WTF. I need to have things to occupy my brain so it doesn’t wallow in negative shit. My counselor was actually trying to decide WTF today…she admitted that I have some negative thoughts, but that I am always making myself see the positive and do the right things to positively affect my mood. She doesn’t even know why it’s not working.

I know why it’s not working. Because I don’t have a normal brain. It feels harder, it falls into the muck deeper. It just doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Maybe it’s the art…maybe it’s just me. We argued about meds again. I’m tired of that argument. I’m not persuaded. I think I’m just slow. There are reasons I’m not recovering fast…I’m not a normal girl. I don’t want to act just because I’m supposed to…I don’t want to be what everyone tells me to be, happy with being a lonely old lady, happy with the kids moving out soon, happy to be what? I don’t know. I don’t want to be sad all the time either, but I don’t want to be fake, to be perky just because people think I should be. Hypocritical. I am this messed-up person. I would be better if I understood more about what happened or if I had more answers, but I’m not allowed to have that…so I just muddle along and that’s what it is right now…muddled. I wish other people understood better how their behavior affects other people…I’m tired of being the other people.

I will say that this last art quilt is pretty fucking awesome. I’m sorry I can’t show it to you for 10 more months. It does rock. I guess depression is good for art. If that’s true, then that really sucks. I don’t want to believe that artists can only be good while suffering. That just sucks.

Photographer on Sunday…I will be done.

So at the end of the school day, I checked my phone and there are about 5 texts from both kids about the boychild popping a tire on the car and their dealing with it. They did deal…there was some bullying of lug nuts and reading of car manuals and finally calling of the AAA. Good call. That’s what I would have done. By the time I got home, they had stolen their dad’s car and left the other car in the driveway (mini-tire…they knew not to drive it far), and now all I have to do is pay for new tires. Fuck. This is not the time to have to replace 4 tires. I am going to have to start praying to the Goddess of Found Money, because I thought January was bad? February’s credit card bills may be even worse. It’s deep breaths all the time at the moment. And if one more solar company calls me and tries to explain how I can have solar for FREE (yeah right), I will kick someone’s ass. I would LOVE to have solar. Can’t afford it and y’all want me to cut all my trees down…so then in the summer, when it’s 115 degrees, what keeps my house cool? Because I ain’t got air conditioning…that’s the fucking 1 percenters with that kind of luxury. In my half-assed world, we don’t condition the air…we own the sweat.

Anyway. I’m about to kick the solar companies’ asses. I’m seriously tired of them calling here. The last one said, well can you afford your electric bills? Well, no…but I don’t have $30K, you silly cow, so what are you expecting me to do? Pole dance for it?

I think we will just turn all the electricity off for the next 6 months and see how we do.

Here’s the binding ready to go…

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I should probably go to bed. Sleep has been elusive this week.

Girlchild was photobombing my quilt pictures earlier….

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I can’t show you the finished quilt anyway.

She and Midnight were watching TV on her phone together…

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That cat is a freak.

OK, this weekend? Lots of quilting and grading and getting shit done. I wish I had a bunch of relaxing nice stuff to do on a 3-day weekend, but my life is fucked up and I don’t. So fuck you for making me feel more like shit about that. I didn’t do anything right and that’s why I get to have a fucked-up life now. I don’t go to movies any more. Money is too tight. I don’t do a whole lot of anything but work and work out and make art and read books. I’m a hermit. Whatever. It’s OK for me to be this way right now. (I don’t really have a choice)  Someday it will be different, but right now, I’m carrying too much baggage and crap around that can’t even be processed properly. I might as well lose myself in sewing and bad television and reading and working out. None of those things will really hurt me…and I can’t really deal with any more hurt right now.

This song has been the theme song for the week…

This is why I stopped listening to music while I quilt. TV I’ve already seen is less emotionally charged.