the winner is…

Congratulations to Lindsey a faithful follower here for winning the upside down signature book, I promise to put it in the post ASAP.

On the home front my son graduated on Friday night, and today in a sudden twist all my kids are at work and I am at home playing!! This would be excellent and funny if I weren’t so worried about how I am going to pay my bills this month. I have two art fairs on the horizon, Art in the Woods and Art in the Park. But these things are uncertain, one could sell nothing. I am trying not to be anxious and to trust my decision to give myself this time, but with two sets of college tuition looming and a daughter living unpaid in NYC all summer, life is very costly around here right now. Added to that we are doing some work outside on the house and the studio remains unfinished from lack of funds. Being home all day I realize how shabby and old most of our furnishings are and I am frustrated that I can’t even afford a candy bar let alone a new couch. O well I am going to the studio to get some work done that probably won’t sell, but c’est ma vie!  Of course I live a comfortable cushioned suburban life and should just shut up, I can choose an outfit, I have a roof over my head, there is food in my cupboards, I am just plain discontented right now, and feeling like I am letting my children down. Sorry for whining, just how it is today.

more DisCo and other collaborations

A busy weekend, a birthday sleepover for the baby, and two openings, one at Fredonia state, their faculty show and another of a local artist I went to school with, Casey at the arts council here in Jamestown.

Meanwhile in the studio… Through the ingenious Seth’s DisCo project I met a fabulous artist from Germany and got to take part in her one tribe one he(art) collaboration. Here’s my contribution, I hope I am not letting the cat out of the bag by posting a picture here…

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My DisCo book has gone off to the faculty show very much unfinished, I have found that I really need a lot of time with the book each time I work on it to really begin and I think because it is already bound I am very afraid of making a misstep. Here are some images of some pages I have started to work on. It is almost a relief to have it out of the studio, it has certainly been occupying a lot of psychic space there. I am looking forward to just fooling around with some new binding experiments, getting ready for Bonagany later this month and the little berlin book fair in October. Well I have an exam to write, so I’ll just leave you with the pictures…

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Oh and a big thanks to Jen for sending me this link, these books are fabulous!

opening night in Wellsville

Wellsville is an amazing little town, it has managed to retain much of the character of small town America and has some absolutely stunning architecture, not to mention a shop-able main street! The library is unbelievably gorgeous, as is the post office, both reminders of a bygone era of splendour. The library has a splendid auditiorium in the basement, velvet curtains and seats, the works. I had an incredible day there on Friday… Jeff was everything helpful and it is always strange to see your work on new walls. Props to all the friendly staff at the arts center who made me feel welcome and especially to the kitchen, the food was delicious. If you live within driving distance, I recommend a visit, and not just to see my art, the whole town is special and the food will totally make the drive worthwhile! Also I must thank the LASSes who drove so far to support me, it was fun talking to you about my work. I left feeling OK, which as anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while knows is not my usual reaction to openings. Maybe I was just too exhausted after a day of taking down and rehanging a show to be so freaked out, maybe it was P’s pep talk (thanks P!). Anyway, here are some pictures…

late night in the studio

Thanks to everyone who offered their wisdom, I appreciate you all! I decided the only cure for that apprehensive waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling was just to go work in the studio. If I am busy being an artist what does it matter what others call me?! I ended up making a breakthrough on a new piece, and worked way, way too late… here is a sneak peak of vainly beating her wings, she is shaking that pattern, but is there ever a way out, as outside is not a tenable position, more of an illusion really...

because sometimes all you can do is shake the pattern and hope it breaks

because sometimes all you can do is shake the pattern and hope it breaks

low energy day

Oh how artist’s love drama… sometimes I swear I am just waiting to shoot myself in the foot. On a week when I really need to have my act together I am over committed and looking like a flake. I know that I am procrastinating because I can’t believe it is time for another opening. What is wrong withe me? Isn’t this what I’m supposed to live for, my 15 minutes of fame, my moment in the spotlight. GRRRR. OK I have to go do business-y things. Just needed to vent about how lucky I am to have another show opening and how happy and grateful I ought to feel…

While I haven’t been doing the things I should have been doing, like pricing my work and making sale cards and bugging everyone I know to attend, and buy something, I was doing this insteadbeautiful back viewover flashed inside with stitching and ribbon detail

which was way more fun than playing the artist, just being one… so if anyone out there would like to offer me sensible advice on how to be more gracious in public, I’m listening….

BTW the paper for this book came from this AMAZING bookstore  East Branch Books, I came across in Sherman, NY. O! How I love books and paper… OK going to be the grown up and get stuff ready…

wavering

Today I am feeling really weighed down by my bills, and by the idea of money in general. I know that I need this time, and I feel that I am moving in the  right direction and this was reinforced again today by an offer to speak about my work at Lilydale to the university photographers group that is taking a tour, but I am so afraid.

I have been re-reading Karen Armstong’s, The Spiral Staircase, and at the end of the book she talks about how finding her own path in her work helped her re-right herself spiritually. I have heard her speak on many occasions at Chautauqua and read most of her books several times, and I have so much respect for her perspective and honesty. Today I feel as if she is telling me that this is my hero’s journey, to walk on this new path inspite of the fear. I feel very off- kilter, wobbly in fact. So I guess I am going to go and DO something! Have a great day!

success & failure

As I have written about the Southern Tier Biennial here I felt I should let you know I didn’t get in. I wasn’t really surprised, I knew my new work wasn’t ready for a high profile juried show, but I let myself get bullied into entering against my better judgement, and I know the people only wanted the best outcome from this opportunity for me, but rejection always makes one afraid that you are wandering so far from an audience that your work becomes meaningless indulgence. I care very deeply about all those women and their stories, I would hate for them to be unheard a second time around because of my inability to connect.

On the plus side, I do feel my work is progressing right now, although as always when something is working it stalls my forward momentum because I am afraid of ruining what is already present in the work.  And I got a cheque from a gallery today so another piece of my work has found a place in the world! So on all an average day of swings and roundabouts in the life of this artist (?).

unstuck, sort of

So, I have been whining ALOT the past few weeks about how stuck I am, and I can’t seem to concentrate on any “real” work. I didn’t sleep Monday night, I am beginning to be in a state of constant panic about not having work finished for upcoming deadlines, especially my two shows this summer.  First I started a new blog for my teaching posts, they just don’t fit here anymore, and  seriously sleep deprived last night I just started playing around with an idea that has been lurking in the back of my mind…

I used this wicker material when I was creating the “hoop” skirt for one of the new panels, it was a freebie and had obviously been wound up for many years, I needed to soak it to get it to cooperate with me, but any way, when I was unrolling it it made these really nice spirals and I wished I had a way to use them. Then this past week a large limb came down out of a tree in the garden and I wanted to do something with it. I kept thinking chrysalis/cocoon. So last night I decided to try making a small branch-wicker cocoon object. I didn’t get far, I’m going to work on it some more right now, but here is the beginning of …

well honestly I’m not sure what, but it feels like something that might unstick me!

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Many of you sent me private emails, thank you, I think I am suffering from winter blahs… and I am very stuck and very stressed. But I did go back to work in the studio, and its going….

There are some big art deadlines coming up around here, the Beyond/In Western New York Biennial deadline for submissions is in three weeks. I promised myself I would enter this time, but what lousy timing! But again I have to say thanks to my friends who are encouraging me to move forward, especially Sean who reminded me what was in the show last time (he’s not a big fan of some conceptual art!!)and to Kim who is a selfless agitator for the arts at CCAC.

Also in the mail today came the prospectus for the Erie Museum Show, which I have entered several times and not gotten in to… and was resolved not to bother until I saw that the curator/judge was a designer and might perhaps actually like my stuff, so I guess I’ll try one more time. Let’s hope it works out this time.Also there was a plug for Art-O-Matic which looks intriguing… might have to give this a try, really small art, what a crazy idea!! I am smiling as I say this because last night my husband asked, if you’re so stressed out by deadlines why don’t you just make smaller stuff! Out of the mouths of babes….

meglennOn a happier note, tomorrow is my wedding anniversary, 23 years that man has put up with my shenanigans! If you see him congratulate him on his patience (and good taste!)

Only one thing makes a dream impossible: the fear of failure. ::: Paulo Coelho :::

so… i took the night off tonight, I have spent all day dealing with the crazy bureaucracy at my daughters college and I couldn’t handle the stress anymore so I joined a friend at her belly dancing class. LOL. I used to dance years ago, but I am very rusty but it was fun, girly and no art making angst or kid stress involved!!

Everyone is out right now, it is just me and my art in the house and I am stuck. I cannot work because I feel the white truths building up to escape velocity. I am gagging my work.  It seems everyone is talking about serious work on their blogs in the past few days, as opposed to just making stuff to sell or that is fun (and I know all of those things aren’t mutually exclusive, but you know what I mean…). I left this quote from Anne Truitts “daybook” on Sheree’s blog, because it made me think of her dilemma, and now it is stuck in my head, but for a different reason.

Yesterday intuition fell back briefly before instinct and the forces of intuition fought for control of my work. My hand wanted to draw, to run free… For one whole day I entertained the notion, which had been creeping up on me, of turning my back on the live nerve of myself and having fun.

This morning I am sober. I would be a fool to sacrifice joy to fun.

OK – honesty time here, I am afraid. I am afraid that I do not have the courage to say the things my art wants to say right now, I lack the resolve necessary for joy, I feel like this Muriel Rukeyser quote,

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.

except of course the only thing in the ruins would be my current life… the rest of the world would no doubt go on oblivious. I feel myself walking up to the edge of the abyss, to the verges of the patterns in question and then I look out into the darkness and I cannot bring myself to take that last step across the line.

I could just ignore the things that I know I should be saying, I could turn my back and make something else entirely, or maybe just stop making things all together would be best. Unlike Truitt I think perhaps fun might be the better course of action, to fill the world with pretty, mindless things that do not speak. In a bitter moment of irony, a colleague who I have never felt understood my work recently wrote a reference for me where he talked about my courage and honesty, funny huh? I find myself  looking at work that seems shallow, because I know it is, because I am only dipping my toe in the deep end of the pool.

I find myself struggling beneath the skin of the thing, pressed up against it, how much can be said by glancing off the surface and will that be enough? Can you talk only about the fear of standing on the shore?