It’s Not an Empty Room…

Sleep, glorious sleep. Occasionally you get a night where your head hits the pillow and stays there, no flopping about, no weird noises in the middle of the night, blessedly snoozing through until a normal waking time, no alarm waking you out of a weird-ass dream that drops you into a waking world, unsure of reality. I got that last night. And part of it was the rain that came Thursday night and washed away that damn mockingbird. It wasn’t out last night either, so maybe it’s moved to warmer, dryer climes. I’m cool wit dat.

I’m posting late because I had two quilts to deliver this morning for a show that opens next weekend, Feminism Now, at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. I also picked up my copy of the catalog…they are only $20, cat-approved, and full of feminist art from the US and Sweden, which is where this show will travel in 2017.

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Midnight thinks it smells nice. You’ll have to show up to the opening to see the two pieces. I made the second one as a response to the first one, only 4 1/2 years later. And my life 4 1/2 years later is much different. New relationships, kids gone to college, making even more art than back then. I honestly think the art is my healing web, what connects all the broken pieces of me back together. I get lots of questions about how it feels to have both kids gone and then how does it feel to have both of them coming back…good, but temporary. I know it’s only 3 months, not even that for the girlchild, and this might be the last summer I see both of them. OR…like many of my friends, they’ll move back and never leave. But I doubt that. I actually had a conversation with my counselor about renting a room out to someone…what that might look like, and is it something I could even handle (as I’m sitting here in my office, getting ready to finally clean some floors a good month after they started needing it, and blasting music. Plus the house smells like bacon. And my parents’ dog peed in the hallway. That carpet just needs to go. That’s the second dog of theirs that’s peed there, and then there was Babygirl, who considered the space outside my door her pissed-off litter tray, because I wouldn’t let her in there at night.). But OTHERWISE, it sounds like an idea. I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but at some point, it might be necessary.

I didn’t make art yesterday. I came home from gaming and finished this…


Great book. Hysterically funny and yet right there on top of mental illness and other crap that fucks with you. Sending it to the girlchild. She’ll giggle on the plane to her cousins.

“You don’t have to go to some special private school to be an artist. Just look at the intricate beauty of cobwebs. Spiders make them with their butts.” Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy (she says her dad said it though…)

Honestly, all I want to do today is sit on the couch and read. But I have to work my butt off…not to make cobwebs unfortunately. I’m behind in grading again. I’m not sure how, but it has hit a level that makes me start to panic. I keep a list of assignments in a task manager, because it helps me organize and remember to grade the online crap, but also because I really enjoy checking it off and watching it disappear when I finish it. Weird, I know. But whatever. I have another book I started reading this morning. I just want to curl up with it dammit.

Sigh. And then while I was driving to deliver those quilts…

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(here’s my packing up…dehairing and cutting dowels etc.) I realized what needed to go in the space of the torso in the large drawing I’m doing…and it’s not a cute animal or a nice plant. San Diego has an increasing homeless issue here, and the problem is not just the growing number of people who are living on the streets in tents (if they’re slightly luckier) or boxes or not even that, but also our responses to them, as a local agency fills a space under a bridge where homeless folks used to shelter with sharp pointy rocks so they can’t, or a government agency does sweeps to clear areas of homeless encampments, so they have to go somewhere, people. We can’t ignore it and push it out and try to make it invisible. We need to feed them and house them and employ them and clothe them and medicate them (when possible). We need to CARE for them.

And I don’t know how best to do that, because I don’t have thousands of dollars or resources or anything but a sense that we suck. Because we often do. Anyway, that’s what’s getting drawn in there, somehow. Haven’t quite figured out the how and specifically what. I just know what it should be. A homeless woman framed in an Earth Mother who does provide shelter…safe and clean and dry and warm. And then I go back to having extra space here, but knowing I can’t afford to feed and clothe, let alone care for any more people than I already am. But maybe that will change. Who knows. I’m just thinking, not doing yet. Realistically, what would that look like? I don’t come home from work with extra energy for taking care of more people. Yeah.

So I’m gonna go work for a while, and then maybe I’ll read. Because I should be allowed to do that for a bit…and not just work for hours each day, right? Or maybe I should just fill one of those rooms with foster puppies and kittens. Then go lie in there for an hour a day, letting them romp all over me. That would be good. Anyway, it’s not an empty room yet. So thinking…and drawing…

Attempting Wake-Up Maneuvers

So the not-sleeping catches up and whacks you in the face. OK. It whacks me anyway. I napped after work yesterday. That’s it…I’m officially an old person. What I love is the cats climb up on the couch with me, flanking me. I set an alarm, because I didn’t want it to be like last time, when I lost 2 hours to nappiness and then couldn’t fall asleep at night. I’m already having issues with that. So 40 minutes later, I was all groggy (hey, I set it for 25 minutes and then it went off, scaring all the creatures on the couch, so I went for another 15…then the girlchild was texting me and I attempted wake-up maneuvers). And I didn’t really feel like doing anything, which is too bad, because I always have stuff to do. And I didn’t feel like figuring dinner out either. I probably had enough leftovers for lunches and dinner last night, but the potatoes were MEH and I had eaten that for lunch and hell, what I really wanted was to be physically transported, no WAIT, I wanted the waiter at Himalayan to be able to walk through some sort of transport thing that put him in my living room to take my order and then to bring it to me. But not to wait around and stare at me, wondering why I can’t get my butt off the couch.

That’s when I got up and ordered more tea, because I’m running out. It took me a good two hours and some fakeout of a dinner menu (it’s always OK to have salad and Brussels sprouts), plus staring at my phone and the telly for a good long time before I could function. Part of that is what I taught yesterday, which was kind of a performance art, relay race of neurons and action potentials. I spent a lot of time running around the room yelling “DO IT! DO IT!” and “SEND IT BACK!”. So if you’re thinking teachers just sit at a desk (I don’t really have a desk for such activities), imagine the yelling and the running instead. Today will be a nice quiet video viewing of brain structure and function to counteract the running and screaming of yesterday. The one day you could have the superintendent walk in and you’d be totally OK with him seeing the real live crazy of Nida teaching science? Yeah. He didn’t show.

So when I remember that and the not-falling-asleep of the night before, I guess a nap is warranted.

After that, I finally got my brain to function and finished cutting out all the Wonder Under for the new quilt, which is temporarily called Fishface, just because I had three drawings out at the same time, and I needed something that would tell them all apart. The other two are Totemwoman and Spiralwoman. I already have a quilt called FishWife, so it could get confusing. She’ll have a different name at the end.

There’s all the pieces…about 2 1/2 hours of trimming Wonder Under.

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Then I sorted them. This quilt is gonna go fast, I think.

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Compared to the last one anyway. And I still wasn’t tired. Because I’d had a nap. So I sat down with the drawing from the weekend and tried to finish up the torso a bit so I can copy it. And I think I’ll toss it in the car today and go enlarge it and start drawing stuff for real.

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Like real size. This is already big. And I’m not sure that heart is gonna stay. There’ll be a heart, but the chest/upper torso is off. So maybe I’ll cut it off a couple of inches up into the drawing and then redo the chest and heart full size. Usually I enlarge 200-300%, though, and this head is already considerably bigger than the last Earth Mother, so maybe I won’t? Or I’ll rethink the rest of the body? I’m not sure.

I got good news last night that two of my quilts will be in the Feminism Now show at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. The opening is May 14 from 6-10 PM. If you haven’t been, it’s part of the Barrio Art Crawl, so there are a few studios in the area of Gallery D, plus other studios, like La Bodega Gallery and the Bread and Salt Gallery, in the area. I’ll post a link closer to the time.

This is the smaller piece that will be in the show (currently out for professional photography)…

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And the larger piece it connects to will be there too. The smaller one will travel to Sweden (date/location TBA) with the exhibit, and then hopefully there’ll be another exhibit in Los Angeles or down here in San Diego, once the Swedish exhibit closes.

Yeah. I really need to go to school. I had to meditate to fall asleep again last night, so caffeine will be a necessary part of the day today (it’s what’s for breakfast! and lunch! and dinner!). At least I’m making progress, even if I have to nap in between the job and my real life.

The Doing Is Where the Joy Is…

Busy weekend. Lots to do and see. Managed to finish stitching down the quilt on Saturday…not early, because apparently I needed sleep and lots of it. But it only took about 5 hours to stitch her down total.

Midnight was not at all helpful. She never really is. Mostly just tries to sleep on things and vomit up hairballs. This is why when I leave my machine for more than 5 minutes, I wrap the quilt around the machine. She can’t sit on it, she can’t eat the thread, and she’d be hard-pressed to vomit on it.

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I only had about an hour left to do on Saturday. Yes, I spent all weekend trying to recharge, so I have not gotten as much done as I’d like.

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It was necessary. Here’s what the back looks like. I look at the back to see if I missed anything major.

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The batting was washed and dried, there was enough of the fabric I’d picked for the front to do the back as well AND have a little leftover for other quilts, so that was good.

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This isn’t actually a huge quilt. There was a size restriction for this show.

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Pinbasted in under 30 minutes.

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No cats were involved in the pinbasting, unlike normally, when Kitten goes barreling through and skids through the backing.

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Then I interrupted artmaking with art, food, more food, work, errands, more food, and work. In that order. Wait. I think sleep was in there. Not sure.

Then last night, I started quilting.

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Late. I started late. Shocking really. But I got the legs and the lower torso done in about an hour and a half. Just have 10 arms, 3 heads, and the background left. No biggie…

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That’s for later today I think. And tomorrow. And I don’t know how many days. I don’t think it will take me 20 hours, but what do I know? This is smaller than the quilt I’m comparing it to, which has a similar number of pieces. This one also has less background, but it’s the fussy outlining that takes a long time. So it’s really hard for me to say how long. I do know my plan is to get the binding on next weekend. Because I’m emailing the photographer. Yup. There’s a deadline for you. Anyway. It’s a plan.

Meanwhile, let’s go back to the art. There were a few openings I wanted to go to on Saturday…all in Barrio Logan, the new arts center of San Diego. One was at the Glashaus, but really I liked these pieces marked MANU…

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I don’t think this gallery/office space had been open before when I’ve been here…

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But it had a few of his pieces…

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I love the blue line through the face…looked everywhere for his card. Not to be found.

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Also revisited my favorite wire artist…Spenser Little…

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His work is fascinating.

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I have video of one of his lamps too, but haven’t pulled it off the phone yet.

No artist info on this cool metal sculpture…

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Then we walked over to Gallery D, which is where my art group will have a show later this year. And guess who we found…

Yup. That’s Manu again…

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But this time, we have artists’ names. I was there for Anna, who’s a member of the art group I’m in. But here’s the website for Manu…still unclear on whether it’s one person or a few…

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Here’s Anna Zappoli, who I came to see…

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And her original small drawing for her mural…

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A view down one wall…

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And another…

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I liked this piece by Esther Gamez Rubio…

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And the other wall from the other side…

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Then we wandered around the back and finally found the Low Gallery (we’ve looked for it before…it’s in a dark alley). They were showing prints done by K-2nd graders at St. Therese’s School in Wilcannia, NSW, 98% aboriginal students. I’m a fan of kid art…how they view the world intrigues me…

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These are from about 10 years ago, which I didn’t know when I was at the show…

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So these kids are all now teens. Figure the one below out…they’re cutting trees down, it’s raining, and then there’s a rocket in the sky? I think?

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Anyway, it was a good night for art and food and the like. Sometimes you just have to walk away from real life so you can go back to it later and not flip out. Try to remember why it is that you work…it’s not just to pay the bills. It’s to do the stuff you like to do. Make art, see art, occasionally buy art. Hang out and eat good food and talk. All good stuff. Certainly, when you’re having a conversation with a muralist who spent hours making a painting that will be covered up by the next show, never to be seen again…the making is very important. But you’re not going to be able to sell that painting. Hard to understand sometimes…but the doing is where the joy is…

It Was a Lot of Art in One Night…

So first day of my Winter Break starts with a 6 AM wake up call. Apparently no one has explained to the dog’s bladder that I’m on break. OK. I can handle this. 6:02 AM finds me with my head leaning on the door, waiting for the dog to come back from outside, my eyes closed. I know she’ll whine to come back in, and she does. But it’s OK, because I have a lot of days to sleep in. Twenty three of them, I think. Well, I have training one day and will have to be up early for that unfortunately, but otherwise, I sleep. Sleep is good.

Yesterday both kids came back. I missed their noise and presence. Girlchild went right back to leaving dishes and trash on the counter though. Sigh. Boychild make himself an egg and turkey tortilla hash for breakfast. Useful skill. They both cook better than I did at that age. I hang out with them in the morning, because I can. And then I go off and run holiday errands, because I have to. I have three drawings looming in my head at the moment. I need the time and mental space to get them out. Maybe this weekend? Maybe not.

I did cut things out last night. They went to bed before me, both still on Eastern time. I didn’t get very far…

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I was very very tired. Still am.

The tree is slowly getting decorated. I need to be home to do that shit.

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Maybe later this weekend.

I have 6 assignments to grade over break. I have an art quilt to finish, a baby quilt to make, one quilt to make as a gift, and another art quilt to start. I need to clean house and organize shit. I need to finish Christmas shopping and wrap everything. I need to ship a box to my brother’s family.

That’s it. That’s all. And enjoy the kids for the short time they’re home and other people too and oh yeah, make a plan for the exhibition in February that gets installed in January. What’s going there and do I have hanging stuff for all of them (of course I don’t). Not a lot. Right? I know the art will rule…I’ll spend more time making art than doing other stuff. That’s OK. Right the balance a bit maybe.

Here’s some more pictures from that Star Wars exhibit from last weekend…woodburning tool used on this one, by Jorge Piña

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Some attitude in Star Wars Kids, by David Russell Talbott

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Quilling at its best in Quilled Storm Trooper, by Iwatsumi.

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Raz Holly‘s piece…

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Gmonik‘s Rebel Alliance on the left and Ashley Gallagher’s Rebel Princess on the right…one of my favorites.

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Although I also love this one by Keith Greene, Rebels, Blast Them!

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Then I headed over to a mentorship show in the area at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. The show is called It Takes an Artist: A Show about Mentorship. I’m not entirely sure who did what pieces, because I think students did some of them, and there were numbers on the walls, but the book with all the information in it was in someone else’s hands…so here are some things I liked from the show…I didn’t photograph everything I liked because people were in the way! I know.

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There were many of these small origami frames with photos inside…

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Then I went next door to my friends’ studio…here’s a wall of Anna Stump’s current work on animals and bones in terrariums…

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And a few of Daphne Hill’s pieces about STDs and the like.

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Then I went across the street to the Glashaus to see Dripping Glitter by ManRabbit

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Kind of glitzy and decorative…

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ManRabbit is two artists who work together.

Anyway. It was a lot of art in one night, but enjoyable enough. I like nights where I’m bombarded with art.