About dryadart

An artist struggling to balance art, teaching and family in suburban America.

An aha moment

Last week I was teaching a blackout meditation class in a hilltop pavillion at the Pfieffer Nature Center. It was about as blissful a situation as one could hope for, which is probably why it happened.

The participants were busy making their blackout meditations, and we were talking about using stencils to add images if you are intimidated by drawing pictures. I grabbed a leaf from a nearby tree to illustrate my point, resulting in this

As I was driving home it occurred to me that maybe I could do some botanical contact prints on found text and use them for meditations. And I love them! The botanical print adds a random element to the page and narrows down the amount of page for meditating on.

I decided to use coloured pencils to do the “blackout” part of the process, and then I added in some slow stitch. (I’ve used stitching to make blackouts before).

Here’s the result

Serendipity at work.

Back to the studio!



This morning I am really struggling. Some days you just do.

I had been feeling pretty confident and accomplished lately, I had a great time at PBI this year. I was awarded a couple of small, local grants to help offset the cost of going to study with India Flint in the Orkneys in November. I have two solo exhibitions coming up in the next couple of months. Thanks to a broken toe I’ve been stuck in the house, so I am getting a lot of new work done. All this is good. But.

In the past week several artists I know have won major grants. These are all great people whose work I admire. I’m really excited for them, really I am. But it has made my accomplishments feel small by comparison. I KNOW comparison is the thief of joy. I know this.

What is really making me sad is seeing how committed they are to their work. Most of them are not hedging their bets with a multitude of day jobs, cobbling together a living, they are all in. Again, by comparison, I feel I am letting my creative self down, I am spread so thin juggling all the plates that pay my bills. I’m feeling stuck and afraid. There are some plates I really want to let smash to the ground, but I’m keeping them spinning, just in case.

All this is I suspect normal background turmoil for creatives. Thank heavens that at least in the studio some great stuff is happening. Here’s some art to cheer this post up

Full moon in Capricorn, rust and black walnut on abaca with hand sewing

Cordage made from daffodil leaves

Summer Solstice, onion dye on abaca with hand sewing

New Moon in Cancer, botanical contact print on kozo with hand sewing

Ill be okay. I have so much to be thankful for. These are first world problems and I’ll get over myself, but these are the fears that eat up our creativity, saying them out loud makes them smaller and easier to handle. If anyone reading wants to share their tactics for handling the creative monsters of fear and comparison please add you thoughts in the comments!

Okay back to work.

Smocked vessels

I’m pretty happy with how these are progressing. These three are currently part of pulp/fictions at WNYBAC in Buffalo if you’d like to see them in person. The vessel in the back is varnished, inspired by laquered Korean hanji. I apologise for the background check or in the next image but I was really struck by the way the light illuminated the varnished vessel.

Looking forward to getting into the studio and trying some more related ideas, glad there are only 2 more weeks if classes.


So. I’ve been trying to write a new artist’s statement. I am finding it very tricky. I hope this is because I am sort of between things right now and not because my brain has evaporated. I have been thinking about the idea of geometry and the tether of history/the past. These ideas are flowing out of a response by a math student to my piece women hold up half the sky. I’m also drawn to the metaphors of stitch as a way of giving flat materials a shape. It always comes back around to a needle and thread.

I mention this about the writing because it seems relevant to my current studio project. The kozo group is working on a new exhibition of sculptural paper. I decided to try shaping paper with only stitch. Taking flat sheets of kozo as a starting point I have been trying to coax some interesting form from them.

Of course I started by sewing in circles. Here’s a sample of that exploration.

I tried multiple circles, but it is really chaotic, I need to think about it some more

So last night I started thinking, just as I was falling asleep, (which stopped me from getting to sleep for ages) about straight lines and smocking. So tonight I decided to try a little trial

This is easier to control, but is that a good thing? Pushing on. Stay tuned to see if I arrive anywhere at all.

Unexpected inspiration

I have been working with a group of adult students for a couple of months. We have just been trying all kinds of arts and crafts together, playing really, exploring. Anyway a few weeks ago they wanted to make masks, so we started making papier-mâché. As I was looking at those layers of paper a crazy idea came into my head, what if I used book text and then did a blackout meditation on top. I wasn’t really sure it would work, but that’s the joy of it right? Here’s the end result. I like it! I like it so much I decided to try doing a dress using the same techniques, stay tuned!

1K giveaway

Last week I passed a milestone on my Instagram account, I reached 1000 followers. I know that there are many people out there who have many many more followers, but it is still amazing to me that there are 1000 people out there in the world who take the time to look at my work. The world is a busy place, there are plenty of things in it to draw our attention, really it seems like a small miracle that even one person would see what I do and make time for it.

To celebrate I gave away a book to one follower, but I know not everyone who follows the blog, or my other social media follow me there. And I really want to thank all my tribe, so I am posting some freebies here too. These are a few of my most recent blackout meditations. Feel free to print for yourself, or share with your friends.

Or if you would like to order a nice print, or a book or card, you can find these and more on my redbubble site.