Faeries & egg shells

People ought to remember that eggshells are favourite retreats of the faeries, therefore the judicious eater should always break the shell after use, to prevent the fairy sprite from taking up his lodgment therein.” ~ Lady Jane Wilde (late 1800’s)

Sometimes art just takes one to the strangest places, tonight I have been cleaning up my oldest daughter’s room which had become quite the catch-all for household junk while she was away at school. Right now all her worldly possessions are in a trailer in my back garden waiting to make their way back into the house, but alas, so much junk! Anyway I came across a fairy book I had given her and started reading it randomly and discovered a Victorian warning against keeping intact eggshells around as apparently the wee folk like to take up residence there given an opportunity. Who knew? That prompted me to go on a short internet hunt for more evidence of this, which I couldn’t find, but I did find a story about changelings which features egg shells and then this slightly creepy art which features hatching faeries/angels by Nancy Farmer.

Maybe I can attract a brownie to clean my house so I can spend more time in the studio, right now the whole house is in the kind of complete chaos that would make any self respecting brownie cringe (or housewife for that matter).

Watch this space tomorrow for a re-post from the past year as I am playing along with Seth at The Altered Page in the Buried Treasure Hunt

Happy New Year!

So for all of you who doubt my crazy suburban mom stories, here is a picture of my living room filled with teenagers (only 2 of whom are mine!) as the new year rolled in last night! There were even more kids in the room next door by the way!!

So resolutions… Yesterday I discovered that the stress of juggling too many things and my general neglect of myself has led to some serious (and expensive)  issues with my teeth and jaw. I’m going to spend the next month having a LOT of work done in my mouth – so my resolution is to move myself up on my list of priorities! Always putting myself last has finally come home to roost! Not just my physical self, but my creative one too, feel like I am moving closer and closer to letting go of my financial security blanket and diving in head first.

On a happier note, while I’ve been gone my next paper swap package arrived from Lay Hoon in Malaysia, here are my tags and some fab ephemera that she sent to me!

Also this week, I was interviewed by a local arts magazine and today a photographer is coming to take my picture for the article… not sure that hung over on new year’s day was the best timing for that!!

Hopefully I will be back  to blogging next week, I’ve been busy with family stuff and with more renovations in the studio, I may even get walls by the end of the month.

So happy new year one and all, miss all my blog friends, looking forward to catching up with everyone soon.

how do you do it all?

A drawing from Tuesday nights class, I played along for about 30 minutes… it’s a pelvis/spine!

Several times this week (on the phone) friends have remarked, “I just don’t know how you do it all!”. If I were less embarrassed and more honest I would post a picture of my kitchen right now, every dish we own is dirty, and even though the dishwasher (is now) is full of unwashed dishes my counters are still covered with dirty stuff… but I’m too embarrassed to post a picture, you can imagine the mess for yourself. My living room floor is littered with papers, books, magazines and the remnants of a package I just received from my Mum (thanks Mum) in England. The coffee table is disappearing under a sea of college mail for my son (he got his class ranking this week, 49th, in a class of about 400, so OK, but of course as his Mum I know he could have improved on that…), and bills that are (thankfully) paid, but not filed. Basically I am telling the world that my secret is that except for the weekends I am a terrible housekeeper! The laundry in the basement is clean, folded, but still in the laundry baskets… and I think it is possible that there is a table under the pile of art supplies and the sewing stuff that is in the dining room. I am seriously considering a dumpster! By now I’m sure that it is pretty obvious that not much art has been happening around here this week. I am feeling a little under the weather, thanks I imagine to all my students/kids who have all been sick (except my son who almost never is) and the problem with housekeeping I find is that as soon as you let just a little dust gather, pretty quickly it multiplies like rabbits and you are lost beneath a mountain of undone chores. Oh well, the week is almost over so the house will reappear again Saturday morning, in the meantime the mess makes me frazzled and cross! The only thing I have actually done art-wise this week is for my classes, a sample project for my 2-D class on spatial depth and I drew along with my drawing class for about 30 minutes Tuesday night as they were all working so productively, I wish I had taken my camera, because they produced some really great work!. What I hate most about the end of term is that just as the class is finding it’s feet and beginning to have a useful relationship with each other, the term ends and we have to begin all over again, gaining trust and getting to work. So for what it’s worth all I have to post are those images… the drawing’s up top, and here’s that sample project (surprise it’s a Victorian wallpaper design from Morris!)

cease and desist…

“If people are highly successful in their profession they lose their senses… Sight goes. They have no time to look at pictures. Sound goes. They have no time to listen to music. Speech goes. They have no time for conversation. They lose their sense of proportion – the relations between one thing and another. Humanity goes.” Virginia Woolf.

burnout velvet

(I was looking for an image for burnout, a search turned up loads of images of burnout velvet, like this one  from buy and create fabrics I guess burnout can be beautiful too if you let it…)

Or if you are me, and you refuse to listen to your exhausted body, your back goes. I have spent a painful few days trying to get my back to behave. It has been gripped in a violent spasm since Saturday night. My doctor remarked that maybe this was a good thing, the alternatives could be worse, heart attack, stroke… a woman cannot run on fumes alone, not forever anyway. My husband made me practice saying NO! (Like that will work!!) Really I am serious he sat next to me saying,  “n..o… now you say it…”

I am often asked how I fit everything into my life, like many women I do it by not sleeping mostly… LaWendula over at woven letters was musing on truth this past week, she wanted to let go of duty and be free to play more …

So here is my addition to women speaking truth, I am overcommitted, I need Valium and about 37 hrs in everyday! Even though I was in pain, it was good to lay in bed for two whole days, and watch sappy movies and sleep (I slept a lot!). I would like to say I feel renewed, but what I really feel is foreboding, I KNOW I have to make some changes in the way I live, I am still exhausted and in pain.

So fellow artists/bloggers tell me true, how do you balance it all?

finally some time to play!

book groupFriday I managed to leave the print shop a little early, just getting out of there before 5pm felt like a vacation!! So that was a really positive start to my weekend. I tried to get some chores out-of-the-way so I could free up some guilt free time in the studio, which for once I actually managed to follow through on. Usually what happens is I use housework as a procrastination tool, being afraid to actually get to work on something, I putter around the house doing super important things like cleaning out the cupboard under the sink, or whatever.  I did take my youngest daughter shopping for a homecoming dress, but I still managed a couple of hours of studio time…

Sunday was even better, aside from laundry, dishes, dinner, I spent a glorious afternoon just making books for the Bonagany festival this weekend. The hardest thing for me is I don’t like to make the same thing twice, and really to be competitive price-wise at these things I probably should mass produce, but I can’t make myself do it! Instead I find I make themed books, so I’ll be inspired by some paper or binding and end up making some books that are related but not identical. So generally the theme for the weekend was buttonhole/sewn bindings and purple Victoriana, although I then made an autumnal book which has inspired another one I haven’t finished yet, maybe later tonight after I finish marking my visual survey exams… so without further muttering on my part, here are the pictures!

P.S. In a completely unrelated note, and just in case you haven’t seen it yet, although links to this post were everywhere I went this weekend, check out the amazing elephants in this post

what’s the point – really?

Its been a long week already, and its only Tuesday, so much for a long and restful weekend… I got my rejection letter, nicely worded of course, from Beyond-In this weekend, so that means my work has been roundly rejected by every curator in the upstate area this year. Which leaves me in a place many of you I imagine have been in, of wondering whether I should just pack it all in. I am so tired right now, juggling my teaching and working at the print shop and of course the whole domestic goddess thing, that its hard to find time to even get into the studio, and after that kind of critical response its hard to motivate myself to even bother. Which is a shame, because suddenly my work has started selling, and the general reaction to both my shows was really positive. I know that both regional shows I entered had hundreds of entries, and that the judgement of curators shouldn’t even really matter all that much, (even though for the most part I like the quality of their work and teh exhibits they produce) and in reality I am not likely to stop making art, I don’t think I actually could abandon all my ladies and their stories, but still it does make one pause. My work for the faculty show has ground to a halt, there just aren’t enough hours in the day and I have to admit that I am seriously considering not showing anything this year. It seems that life in the studio is just such an emotional rollercoaster right now! Well nothing is getting accomplished by sitting here bellyaching, so once more into the breech etc, bills to pay and students to teach…

day4 – web issues

Today I had to call in the experts to fix a mistake I made on my website as I couldn’t figure out how to undo it by myself. Fortunately a friend of my daughters came to my rescue, so a big thanks goes out to Alex. Apart from that it was a domestic day, lots of laundry and then I refinished a vanity I bought in a yard sale for my daughter’s room. Managed to stay off the roof today so yea! It was a super productive weekend, and I am off to rest up as my youngest daughter has drama camp all this week, lots of driving and early mornings!

day 9 – baking books and etsy!

Today in an effort to conquer the mold I cooked (in my oven) the pages from my disintegration project, I’m not sure that the mold has been completely eliminated, but the paper is dry and I can tolerate holding it in my hands, so the reveal is close… maybe tomorrow! I am so excited with how it is turning out, I can’t wait for you all to see it.

Also I finally managed to navigate the whole Etsy thing, (although I am still waiting on verification from  Pay-pal so I can only take cheques/money orders right now), but I listed my first book for sale there today!! One of the bee pocket books… so I guess now we’ll see how that all pans out!


On a more domestic note, I have been bribing myself to complete my chores today by saying, for example, fold this load of laundry, then you can log on and look at one more reveal, and I have seen many fabulous pieces of art, and accomplished much domestic bliss. Plus because this time not everyone posted at once, I have really had a chance to browse around the sites I have been visiting and “meet” some great new artists.

Well, I am back off to the studio to work some more on the DisCo project, have a relaxing Sunday evening everyone!!

day 5

Not much happening in suburbia today… walked to work in a drizzly rain, apparently yesterday WAS summer, that’s it, all done! Slow-ish morning in graphic design world, at least no immediate fires to put out, but that all changed after lunch and I spent the last 3 hours of my afternoon racing a print deadline, not my best work, lots of tweaking I would have loved to have had time to do, but the job had to be on the press by 5 to make the clients crazy deadline, sometimes that’s just how it is, sad but true. Had my favorite baked beans on cheese on toast for dinner (you may have to be English to appreciate the yumminess). Then I spent a couple of  hours helping my youngest daughter move her furniture around. Its a genetic trait, an inbreed need to move the furniture, inherited from my mother, maybe even from hers? Then my neighbor rescued me with an offer of coffee on the porch, so we sat and chatted in the twilight over coffee, and admired her newly repainted house and plotted a weekend escape to a salvage place in Rochester, just us girls! This is the most relaxed I’ve been in weeks, so thanks Kathy, just what I needed. Now I’m off to the studio with a glass of cider (the alcoholic kind) for an hour before the Hubby gets home from work. Hope you have a restful evening too… (probably this blog is sending you to sleep, I mean I live in the burbs, nothing really happens in my life! But this is really my life, art in the interstices, squeezed into every last gap I can find!)

blog revisit, another great idea from the altered page!

buried treasureSeth Apter over at the altered page has a new idea up his sleeve, today bloggers all over will be re-posting their favorite post, a revisit. So here is my favorite, these posts are all about the things I think about when I am hiding out in my attic with all the dead girls from the past… and about the process of writing about art which is really difficult when your mind is a rat’s nest like mine!!




Sorry that’s quite a journey I just sent you on, I hope some of you stuck it out, and that it was an interesting ride!!

disWhile we’re talking about Seth, don’t forget that the big reveal for the second part of the disintegration project is fast approaching, the new works created from our weathered stuff will be making their debut on August 1st, so don’t forget to watch this space, and soooo many others too!! I wish I could tell you mine is chugging along, but honestly the weathered pages are so beautiful I am loathe to work on them lest failure occur!