A Day Off…

I don’t usually write on Tuesdays. I have a routine…set it up when I realized after blogging for a year or two (started in 2004) that I wasn’t very consistent, so I made it like a journal for me, documenting the art but also everything else, exactly what they tell you not to do, but I didn’t care…I was doing it for me more than for others. I had a crazy couple of years when I was blogging every day, more to keep my sanity than anything else, and then I went back to usually three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Last week on Friday, I was driving toward Joshua Tree National Park, so that didn’t happen, so I blogged Saturday because that’s when I had time. Then yesterday, I just lost time somehow, well, bad lunch planning for the week. Time consuming in the morning is not a good thing for me. So here I am. It’s Tuesday of a three-day work week (oh hallelujah). I finished grades Sunday night and spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon planning science, since we lose that time this week. I really miss the daily plan time with my co-teacher. It’s making things harder to get done. But that’s what the last two years have been like across the board: Harder to get done. A 4-day weekend will have some work in it…but hopefully it will mostly be art and hiking and yeah, cleaning house and catching up with all the shit I can’t do while I’m teaching.

More pictures from Joshua Tree…

It’s hot and dry, even in November. I’m pretty sure I’ve hiked this exact hike three different times in the last 20 years.

It’s different and yet not every single time.

Dinner had some art…

And then I had a blissful hour to draw Saturday morning.

I’m finding it so hard to find time to do that. It was all the things I was thinking and feeling in the desert, in that space. I need more of that time. But when I do have time, I try to finish whatever project I’m working on. It’s hard to find the extra time to just breathe and draw.

Cindy Zimmerman’s Rain Grotto at the Desert Dairy. A beautiful space in a dry climate…

It was also fun to hang out with other artists for a while. That cow ended up in my drawing.

We made pizzas one night and hung out and talked.

Fire is always fascinating.

We also toured Mojaveland, the wonderfully funky, homemade, artist-filled mini-golf experience Anna Stump is creating. Linda Litteral has an installation there as well…

It was a good way to spend a weekend, even if I’m exhausted now.

We saw an art show too, but I’m going to have to wait to post that…I’m running out of time here before I have to leave for work. I always feel like I’m running out of time. I worked on these in the car on the way back for a little bit.

And last night, after a 5-day hiatus, I finally tried to get my head back into choosing fabrics for the next quilt…

I kind of lost it in my head for a while, the colored-in image. But it’s back now. Hopefully I’ll get it all ironed to fabric over the long weekend. That’s my goal anyway.

OK, off to school to teach the hard stuff. Got a new batch of 6th graders. Ugh. Not sure how I feel about that, but we’ll survive. And no more complicated morning lunchmaking. That’s a mistake. More tomorrow, if I get back on schedule. Who knows if I will…

Unless This Music’s Thumping*

First of all, I have a friend whose husband was in an accident and is currently in a coma. She’s young, three kids, the youngest is still a nursing babe in arms. If you are so inclined, she’s going to need financial help no matter what happens…just to keep her head above water for a bit. The GoFundMe is linked here. She was my partner in teaching science a few years back…I know how amazingly strong and creative she is, but I also know how devastating this is for her. Please help if you can. If you’re one of my quilting friends…a chunk of fabric came from her before she moved to Morocco for a while a couple years ago…in fact, this piece, By All Means, is entirely made from her fabrics and some of her rejected blocks for a show about recycling materials.

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Because I don’t piece stuff. And I get a lot of pieces of fabric from people who are getting rid of stuff. Anyway, it’s hard to know how to help in this situation, and I’m not a prayer person…I’m just sending telepathic bolts of Get Better Dammit toward Paul…but know that what she really needs is money right now. And a miracle, if you believe in those.

Anyway. Sigh. Bad things happening to good people.

Friday night, I went to my stitching meeting, but drove back through a lightning storm, arriving home to a bunch of frantic dogs…well, really only one who was truly frantic. This was around 11 PM, when most everyone was sleeping (one cat, three dogs), except for Calli, who was still trying to dig through the floor to get to a non-thunder place.

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She kept going until around 1:30 AM…ugh. This one just barked at it, but was unperturbed. He barks at everything.

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I didn’t get much done on this at the meeting…just butterfly bullion knots. First I did the sleeves on the quilt that needed to go to the photographer.

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I tried one of her mom’s shirts on Calli…I don’t know if it helped…but this was a calmer moment than the ones before.

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I had a ton to get done Friday night, but mostly I held the dog.

Oh yeah, I’m fascinated by these moons. I keep buying them. I don’t know what I want to do with them. You can find them here. I figure I will make a fabric home for them at some point…

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Anyway, so I got nothing done Friday night. At some point, I remembered that I had planned on some hand embroidery on this one…the one that was due to the photographer at noon. Now could I have emailed him and asked for more time? Of course…but I didn’t. Because I need to get going on the other one. I got up and started stitching.

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I had about an hour and a bit…and I used every minute of it…

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Nothing fancy…just added texture and color.

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I like doing this. I should do more.

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That requires me to finish quilts earlier than deadlines though so I can spend time doing that.

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Anyway, it’s at the photographer. I ran some errands, and was home for about 25 minutes, long enough to eat lunch…then off to the first opening of the day…

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This is at the Boehm Gallery at Palomar College. You can see my two quilts hanging on the back wall.

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It’s a very cool show with lots of interesting work. Below is Kathleen Mitchell’s glass piece Rough Childhood. Mammogram is the quilt on the left; Part-Time Oasis is on the right.

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These two bird women by Maria de Castro are beautiful. Hoopooe on the right, Hawaiian Neme Goose on the left.

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Then Cheryl Tall’s piece O Happy Days in front of my quilts…

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There were many more pieces in the show…it’s up until November 8, I believe.

Meanwhile, the girlchild is still playing soccer, in case you were wondering…but I only see bits and pieces of it online.

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I was grading stuff at that point, finishing that heinous assignment that’s been plaguing me for weeks. It’s done! Then I got an email about parking that reminded me that I had signed up to see an exhibit at Sparks Gallery Saturday night, since I knew the man was playing in yet another show that I couldn’t crash (guest list only)…so I drove downtown to this beautiful sunset.

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The show was a fundraiser for Space4Art, which has a new property and is trying to get money to build an affordable space for artists to show and live where gentrification won’t kick us out. What a concept, San Diego…instead of closing them all down or turning them into million-dollar condos.

I really liked this piece, Untitled (Anti-Analogy) by Tml Dunn.

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And of course, my friend Linda Litteral’s huge long work from her Meditations series displayed in the window…

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Now if I’d had more energy or drive, I would have driven down to Bread and Salt for the Latin American festival of art…it looked awesome. But I knew I needed to draw. So I came back and inked the stuff I’d penciled in on Thursday night…

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Still working on this section…added some more stuff in here…

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Took some brain breaks to hang out with Kitten, who ventured out because the dogs are at me ex’s house with the boychild…

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She helped me draw (not)…

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Still more work up here…although I headed down to the legs first.

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Not done with those…and so I have more nature stuff to go in the bottom and to the left, and then to decide what to do with the upper right. We’ll see. I put in about 2 hours of drawing with a lot of sitting around being tired. Two nights running I’ve gone to sleep horrendously late…not by choice, but that’s just the way it was. This week will be interesting. I’m taking one day off to help with something…so maybe I’ll get caught up on some work in between that. But I also need to finish the drawing and get going on this quilt.

But first, groceries and parent email for school and shower and probably not in that order. And I’m hungry.

*Cake, Love You Madly

When I’m Down You Breathe Life over Me*

I didn’t manage to get a post up yesterday. Way too busy this week. Not sleeping well either. Between the heat and the Too-Many-Things mental space, sleep is just not happening. Hopefully that’s going to get better. When I realized yesterday that everything had been finished and delivered and hung, I actually cried. Like holy crap, you did it. It’s all out there in the world and now you can just hang back a bit and watch. I’ve been looking for that space for 6 months or more. Not that it’s sunk in yet. I’m still eye-twitchy and teeth-grindy. Really need that to stop. More exercise? More sleep? It’s gotta cool down for that. And the exercise, I’m running on exhausted at the moment.

Wish I were Kitten. She is my sleep role model.

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So Thursday, I loaded the car with quilts for my Visions show, Nida Powers, which opens next Saturday, July 15…

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I have the whole back gallery, the VALYA gallery. Which is cool. I’ve eyed that space for a good long time. And I really like the other two exhibits that will be in the space too…

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I stopped by on Friday and saw it all hung. It’s overwhelming for me to see so much of my work in one space. The bathtubs…it’s just cool.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, boychild and I are working on the garage from hell…

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I don’t think we’ve done more than a few quick run-throughs in the past, trying to get rid of stuff, since before the divorce. Fifteen years. There’s baby stuff in there. It’s kind of boggling and definitely overwhelming. I hit about two hours in and lose it. We have a huge pile of recycling, another huge pile of trash, then a smaller thrift shop pile, a school pile, a fabric pile (needs to be gone through), and a Craigs List pile (ugh). We’ve spent probably 4-5 hours so far and only really conquered the center section. We are also going through the shelves and trying to rehome stuff logically as we go. It’s crazy. But needs to be done.

So after a couple hours on that, I loaded up the car with the community quilts and headed to City College for the next installation…Don’t Shut Up opens tonight, 5-8 pm.

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It took a while to hang the quilts…I’ll post the whole show some time in the next few days. There is a panel discussion next week and then an artist walk and talk on July 20.

I didn’t get home until almost 10 PM. Exhausted. Again. That was Thursday. Then yesterday, I got up early (couldn’t sleep) and made sure my small cat and bird quilts had labels and dowels, and then delivered them to Visions for their store.

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If you want a small and appropriate (no penises or uteri) Nida quilt, they’ll be there. Support me and the museum that was willing to give me a solo show. It’s nice to have their support…

As a gift for my work on Don’t Shut Up, I was the happy recipient of a Linda Litteral original…I love her work.

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Her work will be in the Don’t Shut Up exhibit as well.

More garage cleanout yesterday afternoon revealed this Nida original (from some kit teaching you how to draw)…

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Elementary or middle school?

I had my stitching meeting last night, where I didn’t work on this…although I did when I got home. Two nights’ worth…apparently I was too tired Thursday to touch it. Just more chain stitch and filling in around the orange flowers with fly and straight stitches.

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I worked on this at the stitching meeting, finishing Palestrina knots around the hippo and starting the backstitching.

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Slow but calming work. Doesn’t require much brain power. Which is a good thing at the moment.

When I got home, I started tracing what I’m currently calling Long Skinny, for lack of a better name. Kitten is intently watching an ant who is crawling across the table.

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And doing more important sleep work.

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Perhaps she is stealing sleep from me…is that a thing?

I traced about 130 pieces…it was late.

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Only 12 more hours to go.

So more garage this afternoon, an opening tonight, plus birthday celebration (not mine), family gathering tomorrow, car needs work, another gallery pickup Monday, and girlchild is home Tuesday night. So yes. I will be desperately trying to clean up her room at some point (maybe when the temperature gets below 100 degrees). And tracing stuff. Or cutting it out. And hopefully drawing. And sleeping, for gods’ sake. Really.

*Zero 7, Destiny

Allied Craftsmen Today at the Mingei

So on Wednesday, Julie, in an attempt to force my brain from its nasty circular crap, took me to see the Allied Craftsmen Today exhibit, which is at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park (San Diego) through January 5, so you still have time to go see it. It is an interesting exhibit with great variety and some awesome and inspirational work. That link to the museum includes links to all the artists, so to save myself some trouble, I send you there if you are more interested in a specific artist.

Of course, I start with the one piece where I didn’t get the artist’s name…and I went through the website and couldn’t figure out which one it was…but it’s what looks like wooden balls the size of bowling balls with stains and paint rubbed onto them and animals wood-burned into the surface. I know there was some reference to constellations as well. If Julie remembers who it is, I’ll edit this.

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Arline Fisch’s crocheted metal neckwear…

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Viviana Lombrozo’s Markings…a quilt that curves out from the wall.

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Kathy Miller’s two pieces Speak Softly to Me

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and Character Map, both using a twine/fiber made from Japanese calligraphy pages.

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My camera was being its usual bad self, by refusing to let me see anything in the viewfinder. Annoying.

Both Miller and Linda Litteral are in my women’s art group, FIG. I recently posted about Litteral’s paintings after a visit to her studio…here is some of her delicate ceramic work that those paintings reference…

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The faces repeat around the bowl as they did around the paintings…

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And the insides are carefully glazed as well. She calls these Possibility Bowls.

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Julie really wanted me to see these pieces by Sasha Koozel Reibstein. This is Inadequate (with thready pulse)…

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and Inadequate (with jagged breath). The ghost image of the ribcage is to show that “we are sometimes inadequately equipped to defend ourselves from emotional blows.”

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Yeah. You got that right. Here is a detail of some of the stitching.

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Truly beautiful work.

I liked the finish on this piece by Warren Bakley…this is Winter Landscape #1. You can’t really tell in the photo, but the glaze is cracked.

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This is Cheryl Nickel’s DNA Mobile

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And Gail Schneider’s animal leg…wish I could tell you which one this is…possibly one of the two Emus?

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Joanne Hayakawa’s Inhale…Exhale…ceramic lung paired with lung formed of thorny rose stems, with a background of drawings related to the lungs.

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Hayakawa also made this Crow Tea II, a tea set with crow as teapot, exploring what the crow means in our culture.

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Is it the harbinger of doom or something else when we drink tea from the crow? As someone who uses crows often in her work, I can tell you they mean many things.

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Jeff Irwin’s Jumping Deer Trophy…a porcelain deer that seems to be made of wood and jumping through the wall.

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Charlotte Bird is in California Fibers with me. This is one of the three pieces she has in the show, Living Fossils 3.

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Julie and I had a discussion about the prevalence of teapots in ceramics…and why. These are seemingly fairly useless as actual teapots, unless you want your tea to fly off without you, which is not to say that they are not beautiful in their own right. These are by Kathy Kapolka Grudzas, who says these are metaphors for the balance in her life.

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Upstairs is an exhibit from the permanent collection of the Mingei of animal art…called Menagerie. These two were perched up high on a divider. They are by Ricardo and Miguel Linares and are called Alebrijes, from a dream of their father/grandfather, Pedro Linares.

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I liked the shape of this bird.

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This is a tapestry woven under the direction of Joseph Domjan. It’s called Fire Peacock and is based on a woodblock that Domjan created.

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The museum had a wall covered with batik tjaps that was nice to look at…

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I have a few of these somewhere in my house that have never been used. I should just hang them on the wall as art.

The Mingei always has great stuff in their shop. The glass reflection on this piece is unfortunate, but really, I just want the story behind it. We have a cobra-like snake tail coming off some sort of demon…the cobra surrounds the head of a woman.

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The demon holds the hands of a child, while standing on the back of a man who is holding the child’s legs.

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Yes, there is a drawing in all that somewhere…but I don’t want to copy it. I just want it explained, and then maybe I will draw my version of the demon pulling people apart.

Julie and I wandered the park a little bit, since it was a nice day. These are cocoons of the caterpillars I saw back in June when I was here for my science program…same bush and everything.

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Most of the cocoons (chrysali?) had already hatched, but there were a few caterpillars who had procrastinated…

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There was also a butterfly or two, but having a shitty camera did not help and they were all blurry.

Christmas gift for Kathy: New functional camera. But I also need a new down comforter. Which one? They cost the same, neither cheap.

Anyway, it was 2 hours where I could think (mostly) about things besides being depressed…although I never seem to leave that behind. It’s always knocking on the door, reminding me that I would have come here with someone else, that something large is missing. I seem to be unable to deal with social situations well…they suck my energy in a disturbing way. I am trying to stay positive about school, since constantly assuming the worst is not allowed, but I feel incredibly drained after social interaction, even in a professional development environment where I don’t even really need to speak. Everyone says I will be better, even using the word “happier” (does such a thing exist?) when school starts. No, I will just be distracted. Maybe that will allow me to recover better…who knows. Maybe I will just come home and crawl into bed, pillow over the head, blocking out the rest of the world. There’s just no way to predict what will happen. I guess my move from negative to positive thoughts includes this intermediary step…from negative to NO thoughts. Positive thoughts require me to have an emotion that just isn’t there at the moment.

It’s a nice exhibit…intriguing and strange and interesting. It’s open until January. Check it out. Good for the happy and sad.