I Can’t Be Your Superwoman

July 17, 2017

I am not in San Diego right now. I’m at Lake Arrowhead. The girlchild is only here for 2 weeks total, so when she wanted to do a quick trip to the mountains, which is a tradition for her dad and the two kids and grandpa, I tagged along for part of it. Hence the crazy posting (or not) the last few days.

I had to finish all my Nida Powers jobs before I left, which included an amazing opening (thanks to all those who came by) and an artist talk. You can see my portion of the talk here:

The show is open until October 8, so check it out. I know I will go over there again, just to see it without all the people.

This is I Can’t Be Your Superwoman, which I finished in January and was made specifically for this show. She’s bigger than I am.

She was based on that 80s mentality of the SuperMom: the job, the family, cooks up the bacon in the pan, wears the suit to work, etc. I’ve spent a lot of years railing against and yet trying to be (or maybe having to be) that SuperMom, and the reality is that we can’t just crack open the button-down shirt and burst out all superpowery like that. I also drew this post-election, so there’s a bit of woman angst in there about trying to shove us back in the kitchen, take our rights away, all that crap.

The short version of the official statement for this quilt is:

Being a woman now…I swear, I thought it was supposed to be getting better, but no, we are still trying to break out of the story, out of the kitchen, to be everything we should be without having to be the superwoman of the 80s. We want to write our own stories, not have them written for us.

I’ll post more of the quilts in here over the next few weeks, but this one is currently one of my favorites.

These drawings are out of order, but I did do two of them the night of my opening. After dinner, I headed over to watch that band I’m always stalking, and I started this drawing. It’s not done.

Before the show, I was a little stressed out and nervous, so I drew this near the museum. While having a quick drink in a space with a lot of people I didn’t know. It was good. Focus for the introverted brain.

So when we were trying to come up with a name, at some point the peeps at Visions suggested The Kathy Nida Story or something like that. I wasn’t real comfortable with a title that had my name in it, but I was thinking about those superpowers again and decided I could deal with Nida Powers. Of course, Nida Powers include the ability to spill a glass of water in someone’s lap from across the table, so they’re not all powers for GOOD. After I turned 50 in March, though, this whole concept of the powers that I DO have and can use to get myself off the couch and to the light table or to draw in bars or whatever weird-ass thing I do…I kind of feel that Nida cape on my shoulders.

I should hold onto that feeling for a while, because my dad says turning 70 makes it harder. But for now, I’ve got some stuff in my life to work on (the garage as metaphor for everything else?) and I’m perfectly capable of either handling it or asking for help in handling it or just damn well saying no, I’m not going to handle that. Whatever it takes.

Back to reality here…I did some combo cross stitches and lazy daisies in green on the right, and then lazy daisies in two colors on the buttonhole stitches down in the bottom right. So that was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The cabin has included a game of Clue while I cut out Wonder Under…

I suck at Clue by the way. Can’t keep track of all the permutations in my head.

I finished the Long Skinny cutting out in about 7 1/2 hours. I did spend some time cleaning the studio out on Saturday and Sunday, so all the fabric from the last few quilts is put away. I also started cleaning the desk area just for fun. But as soon as I get home, I can sort the Wonder Under and start ironing this one down to fabric. That’ll probably take about 15 hours, so hopefully I’ll be able to get that done by Friday and start trimming pieces. My goal is to be done with the whole quilt by the time I have to go back to school, but I’m not sure I can pull that off.

Last night: I’m sharing a bed with the girlchild AND a large Pomeranian. Luckily the Golden Retriever preferred the floor.

No. I did not get much sleep. Oh well.

Then today we were taken out on a speedboat by a good family friend and got to try paddle boards…easier for some than others…

I did manage to stand up and paddle for about 5 minutes before I fell in. Yup. Balance. Always an issue.

After lunch, we spent time at the other dock, trying to keep Calli from diving in.

Simba is not a fan of water. Calli is a water dog.

I’m pretty sure I’m fried a significant shade of red right now, despite multiple applications of sunscreen. Girlchild looks much better…

But it’s been mostly quiet and semi-relaxing up here. I’m not staying long. Art is screaming at me to get done, as is the house reorganization, so I can’t be particularly relaxed here. But I’m trying. Twenty-five days until I have to go back to school. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s not. This summer is flying by crazy fast and I’m not getting enough done. As always. Nothing new there.


I Hope They Didn’t Get Your Mind*

July 15, 2017

Kitten! It’s really hard for me to type when your head is on the keyboard!

IMG_6153 small

Apparently I didn’t pay enough attention to her yesterday, because she is very very close to me. Honestly, a little TOO close if you ask me. I have very demanding animals. Simba just wandered in here looking for girlchild, but she’s not here right now. He did his soft demand bark, which usually means he needs to go out…but no…what he wants is for me to locate girlchild and bring her back to him.

So today is a big day for my art…two pieces opened today in Threads of Resistance at the New England Quilt Museum. Both of mine are behind the beige curtain…

IMG_6151 small

Here are Work in Progress and Absolutely Nothing hanging with My Body, My Rules by Sue Bleiweiss.

IMG_6152 small

The show is traveling through the end of 2018…you should check it out.

The next cool thing is my Nida Powers opening tonight and artist talk tomorrow, all a little nerve-wracking for the introvert in me, but I will survive.

Meanwhile, the garage…here’s the before picture. You can’t tell from here, but the pile of crap in the middle is as big as a large SUV. Chaos reigned here…

IMG_5861 small

We’re still not done (you can’t see the driveway here), but the pile in the middle is gone…most of what’s there is school stuff that needs review or delivery to school, a bed that will be sold or junked, and some art I’m trying to decide how to store.

IMG_6137 small

We took over 10 bags to the thrift shop yesterday, the haz waste appointment is set up for next weekend, and the e-waste that’s on the right side is going today. Then CraigsList for the rest (or a junk pickup if we have to). I could screenprint in here again if I wanted to. I could probably get a car in here if I needed to (not right this second, but when I get done). Boychild has been an incredible help. It’s a real relief to have this done.

Now I need to do a similar task in my bedroom.

Girlchild just pets dogs. She’s not home for long, so we’re OK with that.

IMG_6138 small

She did go to Ikea with me yesterday to find fabric for my new classroom bulletin boards. I needed one piece of fabric for each unit…so I picked the cheapest stuff…

IMG_6140 small

Except for one I really really liked. Should be fun…very graphic stuff.

IMG_6141 small

We did dinner and ice cream out (I never get ice cream)…and then came home and I cut stuff out for three hours…Simba was overjoyed!

IMG_6143 small

Not really. Eventually Kitten came and sat with me (she really needs attention some days)…

IMG_6146 small

At close to 12:30, I had this much left to cut out. That’s another hour at least, so I quit.

IMG_6148 small

Too bad. I really wanted it all done yesterday. Didn’t happen. It might today.

IMG_6149 small

I need to shower, do the e-waste…debate another opening that is in the middle of the day (ugh), make sure I make it to my own opening…but otherwise, I might have time to sit and cut some stuff out. And then sort it. So when I do get back from the mountains, I’ll have fabric and stuff ready to go. Crap. That probably means I need to clean the studio too. Aack. Sigh. OK. List done.

This has been the last two weeks…I clean the garage and I make art and I try to fit all the other crap in around it. It’s not ideal, but I am getting shit done, and that’s always my goal in the summer.

*Milky Chance, Stolen Dance


When I’m Down You Breathe Life over Me*

July 8, 2017

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.

IMG_5853 small

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

IMG_5854 small

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…

IMG_5856 small

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…

IMG_5861 small

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.

IMG_5869 small

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.

IMG_5969 small

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.

IMG_5970 small

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)…

IMG_5971 small

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.

IMG_5976 small

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

IMG_5977 small

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.

IMG_5982 small

And doing more important sleep work.

IMG_5984 small

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

I traced about 130 pieces…it was late.

IMG_5985 small

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


A Cool Breeze Flows but Mind the Wasp*

July 6, 2017

I spent 4 hours ironing and dehairing quilts yesterday. No problem. It was a lot of standing. I cut some slats too, and also put on 3 or 4 labels on the backs of quilts. Everything is going in today…for this…

evite

I had a hard time coming up with a title for this show in the beginning. I really wanted Super V, but that was an issue. Then they suggested just my name or something about my story. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with my name being part of the show, but now I’m owning it. Maybe it’s turning 50. Maybe it’s something else. I don’t know, but hell, I must have some super powers to do what I keep doing. So I might as well adjust that cape and wear it as well as I can. I’ll share it too…any time you wanna borrow it, just let me know.

Kitten was very helpful during the ironing stage.

IMG_5808 small

I’m actually surprised she’s still talking to me. I took three animals to the vet yesterday to try to get a handle on the flea issues here, and she was one of them. She’s not a fan, but she did OK.

After the ironing was done, boychild and I hiked Hollenbeck Canyon…I have been testing the hiking out after the evac a few weeks ago. This hike just confirms that was medication-related…because I had no problems yesterday…still in the heat…climbed a few hills, much worse than the other hike…plus twice as far.

IMG_5810 small

I think I haven’t been here for a year…can’t remember. It was very dry looking, with remnants of a fire that was set out here a month or so back…

IMG_5814 small

From almost the top of the hill…

IMG_5815 small

On the back side is all oak trees and meadows…and bunnies and jackrabbits and squirrels and one coyote we saw.

IMG_5820 small

These trees always make me think of witches, for some reason…that and all the crows everywhere…

IMG_5823 small

We did do the late afternoon/evening, to try to beat some of the heat. It’s supposed to be in the high 90s by Saturday, so yesterday was supposed to be the coolest day of the week. Hiking in the summer is kind of difficult because of the weather, but it’s when the kids (or at least one of them) are home.

IMG_5829 small

This is where we saw the coyote…and where the burn was, on the left…plus some further back. Most of it was on the hills across from the park entrance. I don’t understand people who start fires.

IMG_5832 small

I’ve always loved this view, as you’re climbing out of the river valley, looking back…

IMG_5846 small

So yeah, over 6 miles, no issues, except a slow climb for me. Boychild is patient. Lets me stop and breathe. Girlchild is back next week, but the weather is also supposed to be awful. Plus I have a ton of art-related stuff happening next week.

I did something on here…more chain stitch, I think. On the right…

IMG_5851 small

And then I spaced out for a while before deciding to cut out Wonder Under for the first climate quilt…the one I didn’t really mean to make right now. And will probably have to just put aside for a while. We’ll see.

IMG_5852 small

So I have quilt delivery and installation set for today for two different shows. I don’t actually know what that entails for one delivery, but the other one, I know I’m up on a ladder.

But then I’m done. Well. You know how that goes. Done worrying about getting stuff finished for these two shows. Ready to make my own stuff…this has not been a great year so far for that I think. Well. When I look back at last year, I had 5 quilts done by the end of May, and then nothing was finished until August, because I was working on a huge one. This year, I have 3 new quilts completed, but 1 from last year that got finished differently, so most of the work was done last year; that’s number 4. And then another one that’s in the community quilt that is almost finished, but won’t be until it comes out of the quilt. Not sure if and when that will happen. It’s small too. So I’d like to have the long skinny one done in August…I almost typed BY August, but when I look at the calendar for the next two weeks, I’m not sure that will happen. It can be a goal, I guess. Then two more big ones in the Fall. That could be a challenge. But I’ve done it before…I think I’m actually much better at scheduling art time when I’m teaching…because I have to make time for it, so then I just do it. These days, these chaotic days of summer? It’s harder to do that for some reason.

I’m always looking far ahead, deciding what I need or want to get done. What I really want? A bunch of days when I can just lose myself in the making. Yup. That’s a vacation for me.

*Morcheeba, The Sea