It’s About the Fact That They Go

I have a piece in Form Not Function, which opened last night…Womanscape

I got a couple of comments last night from people who had seen the show and loved this piece, which I appreciate. I loved making it. It started as a drawing way back in 2010 or so, then turned into what I thought would be a really long triptych (in my head), and then last summer, I redrew the parts into this. And it didn’t get into a variety of shows I entered it into (as always), and then it got in here. And that was good. Really, it’s not about where they go…it’s about the fact that they go.

So I’m staring at this piece and the comments and trying to figure out what the big piece of summer 2019 will be. Summer 2018 was remarkably unproductive on the art front. Having jury duty for an entire month hanging over your head does not help you make work. Or me at least. I’m thinking I will do a smaller piece when I finish what I’m working on, because I don’t have a drawing for a larger piece yet. I have a bunch of smaller ones. Plus it’s good to have some smaller pieces on hand. It’s also good to have some smaller pieces with no nudity in them, but I don’t think I care about that right now.

First though…I need to finish this one. So last night, I cut the last of the pieces out.

Here they all are, with the trash I save until I’m done ironing it together…

And then I found a bunch of boxes for sorting…

And I sorted them…

Total cutting time was 10 hours and 10 minutes. Sorting took a whopping 40 minutes. It always feels longer.

I want it all ironed together by the end of the weekend…maybe even into the stitch down. I do have to grade stuff. But I already did one thing last night…

That’s me grading 51 videos with furry assist. I actually stitched and cut stuff out while watching these. I don’t think I can iron and watch though. I have another 50 to go.

I need to finish that drawing for my Patreon, plus a bunch of other stuff. I need to wash and iron the finish embroideries and send photos to the official peeps. I need to grade more stuff and clean up around the pool and clean floors. I need to buy some frames and some art supplies.

School was rough this week. We did reproductive anatomy and puberty, plus two days of testing, all on very little rest and relaxation. So this card in my box after school on Friday was needed and appreciated.

I love you too, guys…even when you’re being jerks. You’ll grow out of some of that. Next week is more puberty, plus menstruation and ejaculation and pregnancy. Woo! Oh my. Right now, I’m going to take my shower and then make another cup of tea and come in here and start ironing things together. I want to do that. So I’m gonna.

I’m Going Anyway

Let the pre-travel panic begin! My sub plans are written, I need to clean up my classroom (aka hide the sex-ed question box so the kids don’t harass the subs about that stuff), I need to make some copies, it would be good if I finished grading some stuff (but honestly, that’s probably not going to happen), I wanted to finish stitching the 3rd embroidery so I could leave its almost-finished ass behind (well, vulva anyway), and I really really really wanted to be done with the ironing on this piece last night. I Was So Close. Damn day job. Seriously. Especially when I have to be ON at all moments. There’s no down time. I’m only half-packed…but that’s better than not packed. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. At some point, I just get on a plane.

I’ve spent 13 hours plus ironing for this piece so far…why so long? Well, there are these sections (that I can’t show you), and each one is like its own little scene, so it requires special thought that’s separate from the last scene. Plus there’s a shitload of blues and grays and they all need to deal with each other. I am so close to done though! Seriously close…this is all that’s left…

Not much at all. 50 pieces? If that. So that’s my plan for tonight, after quilt class. Ironically. I will start cutting stuff out tonight too, and then I plan to take it with me. There’s a lot of my family sitting around and chatting on these trips. I might as well get something useful done. I’m seriously bad at just sitting somewhere.

This is the fabric chaos AFTER I straightened it up. It was kind of driving me nuts.

There is a lot of gray in there. It’s not organized by color yet. That’s the last thing I do. I like seeing all the colors together.

It would have taken another hour to finish…and that would have been past 1 AM. I have to teach Yes Means Yes today. I need to be awake for it.

Kitten agrees.

Plus her claw is stuck in the chair. That’s what you get for trying to scratch my chair.

I prepped this piece to take with me…well mostly. This transfer paper is supposed to be less likely to wear off. I’ll let you know if that’s true.

Certainly the other stitchers who are doing this might have been smart to do theirs on white fabric. I’m complicated.

I spent some time yesterday afternoon staring up into my trees while the old dog tried to negotiate voiding her bowels…it takes time…

I often have to dig deep to find patience on a good day, but by this time of year, it’s a significant issue. There it is. Up there. Actually, there were two crows up there squawking about something, so it wasn’t very peaceful soundwise…but peaceful in my head because there’s no 12-year-olds up there arguing about how self defense means you can punch whomever you want. Today we will have the god/baby discussion. Dudes, I teach science. I had a kid tell me her last baby sister was a gift from God because her mom says she and her dad weren’t doing it any more. Um. Oh dear. So. No. I’m rolling my eyes at her mom.

The plus is that no matter how stressed I am, the graduating girlchild is worse off…even though my sub teacher for tomorrow just canceled. We’re good. I’m going anyway.

Don’t Tread on Me…

My show is up in Pittsburgh! I’m still hoping to get there to see it, if that’s possible. There are 6 pieces and it’s called Elemental Fiber

It’s in the Society for Contemporary Craft’s satellite space in the BNY Mellon Center at 500 Grant St, Pittsburgh.

It’s an interesting space…open to the public in the Lobby of the Steel Plaza T-Station at Oliver Street and Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh. The glass also makes it hard to photograph, but I really appreciate their sending me these.

It’s hard to send work off, especially multiple pieces.

It looks good. You should go see it.

I didn’t apply for this show…they contacted me after I didn’t get into another show. Hey, I’ll take this.

I have 6 quilts in the exhibit. I’m not making any comments about the Strip District there. Hmmm. Anyway, if you happen to be in town for Fiberart International…check it out.

I taught the first day of sex ed yesterday…it was pretty chill…mostly looking at what friendship looks like and how you can tell the difference between liking and loving…a difficult concept for many adults. Like that first rush of feeling you have when you are thinking you are falling in love with someone…that’s very different than the love you feel when you have to go through hard shit and you do it together. Or they’re going through hard shit and you are there for them. I think that love is way more important, but I’m not 12. Or an adult who acts 12…most of the time. Teaching middle school means you can access your 12-year-old self quite easily…you see it reflected back at you about 150 times. But in general, in relationships, I don’t do 12.

Tuesdays are long because I do tutoring after school, and then I went shopping for snacks for our state testing days. We asked the principal this year if he could fund the snacks (such a change from the principal who wouldn’t let us have any food or drink, not even gum, because he was afraid they’d get stains on the test booklets)…but there isn’t enough money to do that and pay for the stuff we have to pay for…so every teacher funds that out of their own pocket. There’s no way kids can work that hard for 3 1/2 hours without sustenance. So we feed them.

And then I practiced video editing while cooking dinner…I got my first real Patreon video done and posted. I show the stage I’m at in the quilt and explain a little bit about how I pick fabrics and why everything is organized the way it is. I am still not an awesome video editor, but I’m getting better. It was easier this time. I still watched the instructions video about 3 more times. I’m using Lightworks, which is cool and has a lot of things you can do without a Pro version, but I can’t say it’s very intuitive for a non-video-editing person.

I’ll be doing two videos a month…one kind of a how-to/background of what I do, and one Who Knows What video. I’m thinking art exhibits I go to, or maybe even part of a hike, or watching me draw, or I don’t know. Stuff that fuels the art. I also am writing over there, and people at the $5/month level will get a drawing emailed to them each month. They can stitch it up, make a small quilt (if they’re crazy), color it in, or just stare at it. It’s going to take a little effort to get me on a routine with this, but I’m pretty sure it will get easier with time. It’s nice to make things for people who are helping me make more art.

I did stitch a little after dinner…

I did the arm things…and started the knee things. I’m hoping I have enough green for the rug. I need another bobbin. I should ask about that. I need to prep a new embroidery design for the trip to Boston. I also need to think about packing. Yup.

But last night, I ironed instead…

I have everything almost to the high 600s ironed. I could finish tonight. I think. I’m going to try anyway. This quilt is a little fussy for ironing…there’s lots of little tiny things happening that take some color analysis. Like 12 different blues in one section. Some have to go together and some most definitely shouldn’t. So there’s a lot of staring into space at fabrics. I’m good at that.

Someone sent me this…

Totally feeling it.

I’m Gonna Make Your Head Burn*

Hey guys, you remember last year? And the year before? And the year before that? That damn mockingbird is back…and it’s right on my fenceline, so it’s loud as hell. I don’t know how anyone else sleeps through that little fucker’s delightful song (seriously, I saw it the other day and was trying to decide how to catch it and move it to another state. Where no one lives. Except other mockingbirds.). I’ve been wrapping a pillow around my head to deaden the noise, but the beast gets through double pillow layers. I tried earplugs one year, but there’s some weird balance between my ear canals and my nostrils that doesn’t work when one of them is plugged up. God damn, he’s loud. Get a woman, you bastard! Or babies! Or whatever it is that’s making you talk to the whole planet on my doorstep.

School is survival mode at the moment…we’re doing the last few days of the sex ed program, so it’s all about STDs starting today. I’ve had a few questions in the question box about the TV show 13 Reasons Why, so I’ve been watching the 2nd season. Ugh. I know it’s trying to deal with the issues, but some of it is really hard to watch at the end of the school year. Or ever. I can’t decide if it’s just really heavy-handed because it’s adults making assumptions about what kids go through, or if it’s just trying to hit ALL the possible issues, telegraphing ALL the warning signs so we know what they are. It’s obviously targeted at a younger crowd than me…but maybe in teaching middle school, I never escape some of the crap in my head that was so inherently middle and high school. Like never-wanna-go-back middle and high school.

Anyway. It’s progressing…and I made it through grading about 17 websites last night before I quit. I got a bunch done at school, but the 17th one started talking about Reagan, and I’m pretty sure he had nothing to do with the plastics industry or the biosphere, so I gave up. Like please stop writing random answers to fill the space because you didn’t actually read the article or watch the video I asked you to read or watch. Grading shouldn’t involve swearing at the computer repeatedly. I have to be done by Monday…I think I’ll be OK. Hopefully.

On the way to work yesterday…I often think I should have business cards for my editing job so I can hand them out to the guys standing out at this allllllley. Or not.

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Puppy sleeping on me as I finish up dinner and try to figure out the rest of my evening.

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Back to the ironing board! I finished the mountain/land area and then did a jellyfish (purples) and this octopus below…

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Then I’m looking at this section and trying to figure out why there’s two sets of hands on that leg. I mean, I drew the damn thing…what was I thinking?

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It’s OK…I figured it out. I often put hands on the skin of the main figure…it’s like who has a hand on her, who makes a mark on her, not necessarily always in a bad way. Think of your kids…they leave a mark. Speaking of kids, one started her summer job yesterday and hopefully will (a) find her rain gear and (b) keep enjoying the job. It sounds interesting so far. If you see her tramping through the woods around Waltham, Massachusetts, wave and give her chocolate. The boychild is apparently seeing the US and might be kind enough to check in with locations and/or pictures every few days. Or not…and then I’ll just sit here and worry that I haven’t heard from him. Typical mom brain. But when I travel now, I always tell someone where I am. From the year my parents went off on a trip and left no itinerary and then my dad’s brother died and I couldn’t reach them. Or the other year when they left and their dog was really sick. Anyway. He’s out there. He might like chocolate too.

I started picking out the flesh stuff…I picked fabrics anyway, and started choosing pieces, but it was already midnight at that point. I know how long bodies take to pick out, and this is not a small body, so I saved it for tonight.

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After tutoring. Last tutoring of the year! Oh hallelujah. Maybe I should NOT do tutoring next year? Sigh. I know it’s what’s best. I hate it, but it’s what’s best.

Here’s what I’ve used so far…you can see the jellyfish purples at the top of the left box.

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There will be so many more colors by the time I get to the end…

I woke up this morning to Kitten sharing the dog bed with Calli.

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It makes Calli nervous, so when she notices, she gets up and lies on the floor instead. Kitten is watching birds and bunnies outside. She’s the one that pushes the slats so she has a little window.

OK, so steady progress on grading and ironing. Both should be done sometime over the weekend…although two night meetings this week will affect that. Meanwhile, off to school and STDs. Hey there’s the one thing I don’t think I’ve seen on 13 Reasons Why…YET…

*Adele, Rolling in the Deep

Needlework and Seedlings*

Tired is catching up with me and passing me on the right, cutting me off so I slow down, and then speeding up to beat me to the finish line. It’s hard NOT to stay up late…I haven’t gotten more than 6 hours any night this week. Some of that is just that my brain keeps going at 900 miles an hour no matter what. Some of it is trying to get everything done. Ah stress and lack of sleep…the things my doctor keeps flipping out over…like I can control those. TEN DAYS OF SCHOOL LEFT. Yeah. That. I’m feeling much better about grades getting done, but I still have a ton left to do. Just not as big of a ton. Some of the not sleeping is that little dog barking his mad head off in the middle of the night…I don’t know what animal is out there, but it was big enough to set off the motion-sensor lights this time. Assholes. And the mockingbird is back, but this is a new one. It sounds like mockingbird-on-crack. Pillow over head. Ugh.

I am SOOOO looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning and Sunday morning. Wake me up and I kick your ass. Unless you’re a dog. Because I don’t hurt dogs. I just get irritated with them. And honestly, probably we need to do a better job of getting the little one tired at night. Next week. Next week when I don’t have to be up early every damn morning. My principal has threatened an additional meeting next week. I’m hoping he forgets. Is there a voodoo spell for principals forgetting shit?

Weirdest question in sex ed this year (I teach 7th graders about reproduction etc every year) was “Do you have to do The Sex every time you want a baby?” Um. Well. OK. Yes. And let’s explain human nature and The Sex a little bit. It must be a girl asking? Or a very scared boy?

So I came home and entered an exhibit and ate some leftovers and installed a new Tivo (yeah well, I guess I made that decision) and then sat and finished cutting out Wonder Under…6 1/2 hours total. Pretty much the same as the last one.

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I was hoping to save some time on this one…not. Then I set up to sort them, because it was only 11 PM. The big box at the bottom is all the pieces, and then each of the smaller boxes is only 100 pieces…it makes it easier when I go to iron if I’m dealing with only 100 pieces at a time. My process after a million years of doing it this way…it’s pretty efficient actually.

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Forty minutes and one glass of wine to sort all 904 (plus or minus who knows how many) pieces…

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In bed by 12:15? Not bad compared to most of this week…definitely feeling it this morning though. Tonight I can start ironing to fabric. Based on the last quilt, that took about 12 hours. Yikes. OK…I need to go faster. I can do 3 or 4 hours tonight. I know we will want to do some fun stuff tomorrow at some point…but if I can get 3 or 4 hours in tomorrow and finish up on Sunday (shee-it, when are you planning on grading shit, Nida? SHHHHHH. Quiet. I’ll figure it out. I have a plan. Maybe.). Need to be focused. Like a fucking laser.

Calli asking for some kind of attention. I think she’s got another UTI…sigh. Poor old lady. Her girl parts are kinda freaky for UTIs.

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Hopefully she’ll be going to the vet today.

OK, so I have a plan…I am so SO looking forward to being done with school so I can sit somewhere and relax with my sketchbook without feeling like I’m supposed to be doing 17 other things. I don’t know when that will happen, but hopefully soon.

*Iron & Wine, Faded from the Winter

So Better Take the Keys and Drive Forever*

So I’m set up to deliver the last quilt to the photographer on Thursday, so he can work his magic over the weekend. The deadline is next week, so I’m good. Then I’m going to fly out to see the boychild graduate. It’s a weird feeling to get to that point, not as weird as sending him off to college in the first place, but certainly feeling like OK, that’s it (except it’s not…it never is). I’m proud of him, of both my kids. They work hard. Neither is perfect, but they adult well…hopefully the next steps will work out for them, for what they want. That’s the hard part, though…looking back at my own existence. There were times when the shit was easy, and there were times when stuff was amazing, but there’s hard stuff too. Life is just that. How to get the moments of joy or even just peace out of having to work for a living and clean up cat poop and rush to the hospital and get cars fixed. All that crap. I’m trying to deal with some life insurance stuff, and honestly, I think it’s not really an issue right now, and it’s certainly not something I NEED to deal with while I’m trying to get through the end of school, but try explaining that to insurance agents. Whatever. I just don’t answer the phone (I can’t answer the phone during the day most of the time anyway). I’ll deal with it over the summer. Same with the lawyer I need to talk to. And a bunch of other stuff. It’s hard to look at your kids though and want them to have an easier time of it…it’s not something I can control…can’t even control my own life. I guess there’s a drawing or 10 hiding in that.

I woke up with a monster of a headache and realized I was running out of meds for that. Ugh. Nice start. Early meeting today and then math testing, science meeting, Apple store to try and deal with my dying battery issue. Long day. Come home, dehair and iron the newest quilt and pack it up for the photographer. Buy pain meds. Pack for the trip. Write sub plans. Watch about 5 1/2 hours of videos of students.

But meanwhile, there’s another deadline. There are always deadlines. I should find a way to get them out of my head. Although I’ve been making some amazing pieces on deadlines lately. I wonder if the frenetic need to make is related to work stress. Probably. My reaction is to come home and put my head in art-brain space. I’ve been averaging 15-20 hours a week of art since Spring Break. That’s on top of my 60-hour-a-week job. Yeah. A little nuts. But those 15-20 hours are the ones that keep me sane at this time of year.

So I had already started tracing this one a few weeks back…not sure why…just needed a break. Or I was already mentally debating quitting on the first one, because I didn’t think I could finish it. And then I finished it. So I was already in the 200s in tracing, which is good. I keep forgetting to keep track of where I stopped, but I know last night I finished the legs, did the pubic area, and then the entire abdomen area, intestines and all.

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I just started the third yard of Wonder Under. I found 8 pieces I hadn’t numbered…they’re now lettered. But I also found a skip from 370 to 380…so there’s 10 pieces that don’t exist. My brain sometimes…I made it into the 500s. I think there’s only 800 and something pieces in this, so I could finish tonight…maybe. Like I said, long day, already got the headache. But there’s a chance of finishing. I traced for 2 1/2 hours tonight. More realistically, I will probably finish tomorrow night and start cutting out, although tomorrow, I need to go to bed early, so I can get up before it makes sense, fly across the country, and see my kids.

This is what it looks like late at night when Calli wants you to get up and take her out to pee. She sits there until you do it.

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She is a good girl.

This is what I’ve been dealing with in sex ed.

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I’m still trying to figure out how Yes Means Yes is math. Either he’s a genius or he has a massive learning disorder. I actually do know which it is…I’m just still boggling over that one and the card where a kid asked me if once you had the sex to make the baby, if you wanted another baby, did you have to do the sex again.

Boggled. Absolutely boggled.

Taking my headache to school, where hopefully it will run off in terror.

*Aimee Mann, Humpty Dumpty

A Nuclear Error, but I Have No Fear*

OK, well I managed to finish the current quilt last night, fully two nights earlier than I thought. Basically everything took less time at the end than I thought it would, which is interesting, because the earlier stages seemed slower than similar quilts of that size. It’s all a crapshoot…all the time I keep track of helps me estimate, but it’s never reality. That’s sort of the lesson I get out of life…you can guess what might happen, but life does its thing no matter what.

But first, we walked the dogs…they always need the exercise. So do I. These flowers are out again…they like it damp.

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Someone left this by the trail…

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After dinner, I sewed bindings and sleeves on for about 2 1/2 hours to finish.

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There was a lot of sleeping going on around me.

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Only three of the four come out here to sit. And that little gray one wanted to be ON the quilt. I said no. Pins in your butt, cat.

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Eventually the two smaller ones left, but the big old lady was tired. And I finished the handwork.

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I knew this one needed some ink…so I added that. Although now, looking at the picture, there’s more to do on that.

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More cat butt. Cats are funny about whatever you’re working on…need to be right on it or in front of it.

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Anyway, it’s done…and now I have to realistically see (or not so realistically, honestly) if I can finish the next one in time. I sort of mapped out time…and then laughed hysterically. Anyway, my plan is to get all the Wonder Under traced this week…and maybe start cutting it out. We’ll see. I’m also supposed to be grading stuff…but we had a major issue realized Sunday night about the websites the kids did. Hopefully we can fix that today quickly (ugh) so I can grade those. Not Panicking. Not Panicking.

I have work showing in Sweden, opening this weekend, part of the Feminism Now show that’s been here in San Diego and up in Los Angeles…mine is the top left…


So if you’re in Stockholm, check it out. I’m not in Stockholm, but a few of the artists are…


One of the things we taught yesterday as part of puberty was in response to the Santa Fe, Texas, shooting. If someone says no, then you’re not entitled to keep harassing them. I also taught about incels…and talked a little about what to do if you are feeling the way that kid must have felt to shoot people because a girl wouldn’t go out with him. Or what to do if your friend is really angry like that. TELL TELL TELL. Or snitch, as my kids call it. I didn’t gender the anger, but saw this quote later…

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This world is really difficult sometimes. Especially when you’re trying to get a bunch of 12-year-olds out of vengeance mode…it’s something I’ve heard from them for the last week. If someone does something to them, like bullying, their response is to get back at them. I realize they’re still kids, but y’all need to get out of the video game and into human reality sometimes. And yeah, it’s mostly boys…a couple of girls, but mostly boys. Large disturbed sigh.

Today? Today is long. Teaching menstruation and ejaculation (oh my!) and then a science meeting and then at some point, I’ll be tracing Wonder Under. That’s a long way away though.

*The Clash, London Calling