room for utopia

it is finished and waiting in the Weeks Gallery for you to dream in.

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“All my writing is about the recognition that there is no single reality. But the beauty of it is that you nevertheless go on, walking towards utopia, which may not exist, on a bridge which might end before you reach the other side.” ~ Marguerite Young

book art & Utopias

My facebook friends are always sharing inspiration with me, and I wanted to pass this one on to all of you as the work is so wonderful. I am feeling inspired to start a guerrilla book art project of my own!!

On the home front or should I say studio front I am still wrestling with the installation of the new utopia work at the Week’s Gallery. It is close but not quite there. I have another sneak peak to share with you, but I can’t wait to get a real photographer in there to take a good picture to share once it is completely installed and beautifully lit!!

Lastly, this is day late but Seth over at the altered page put out a call for images of our paper stacks, so here is a stack of cast paper from the installation waiting to be sewn into walls in my studio. I am using the fact that my hard drive crashed on my desktop and left me computer-less for a few days as my excuse (not a good excuse but…)

PS. Check out LaWendula’s post about the One Tribe One He(art) bags which are still hanging in there in their tree in Germany! How amazing is that!! Check out her post here

:: Life without utopia is suffocating, for the multitude at least: threatened otherwise with petrifaction, the world must have a new madness:: E.M. CIORAN, History and Utopia

room for utopia

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.

OSCAR WILDE, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

All paradises, all utopias are designed by who is not there, by the people who are not allowed in.

TONI MORRISON, Online NewsHour interview, Mar. 9, 1998

But this is our utopia, enter all who dare!

Sorry the work is beyond my skills as a photographer, hopefully I can convince some friends to get much better pictures!


So here’s a little glimpse of a very big project. I am finding it hard to get a good picture as usual as I have such bad photo skills. Maybe someday I will have time to take some classes. Anyway, here you go!

why blog? or I make art so I won’t cry

everyone is being very existential this week – deep thoughts abound in the world of blog.

Paula of self taught artist is blogging about the very real realities of life as an artist and asking some probing questions that have her readers puzzling. Paula is my art hero, she has thrown herself with no holds barred into a creative life and writes with compelling honesty about the costs and rewards of her choices. I wish I had her courage. My favorite quote from this weeks posts over there is from the artist Paul Klee on the subject of making art – “I make art so I won’t cry”. I like this very much, I am adopting it as my mantra, since everything else about art making is so up in the air for me right now. I am just going to keep making, because the alternative is too grim to contemplate even without direction.

On a slightly less serious note Seth over at The Altered Page is starting a series of posts about art blogging. I admire Seth a great deal, he is generous and honest and his work is stunning. I am also in complete awe of the number of projects he can juggle seemingly with ease. I think he will have much useful and thought-provoking information, so I will be staying tuned. and maybe I will know the answer to why I blog at least – any answers would feel good right now

which brings me to where I find myself, rudderless and adrift, I am sure some of you have been there. and wondering why? Life in the studio is full of ideas that will require hours of execution, and I am feeling drained of energy and enthusiasm and thinking about just laying down and letting the waves wash over me.

I am thinking about installations again, and about Charlotte’s wallpaper and utopia, about how I have no idea what that would look like, and about this: written by Edith Wharton (the fulness of life)

“But I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.”

and thinking if she couldn’t have it all, I am delusional.

OK going back to the studio to execute a tedious repetitive idea and ask myself why? I know one day far from now it will be gloriously finished but who will care but me and is that enough? today I just don’t know.


dsci0070I have been fighting my work for the past month. Last night I decided to let it be what it was trying to become, I kept thinking of the dresses as being like cocoons, so I let them become cocoons, sort of, making that crazy piece that is disintegrating let me move past my preconceptions. This new piece incorporates trees, I thought of a witches broomstick when I was putting it altogether, honestly I have no idea where we are headed, this work and I, except that suddenly I felt energized and the work looks “right”… It may all come to nothing, but I am definitely the kind of artist who has to follow all the paths, even the ones that dead end! And then tonight I read this (thanks to Karen I am reading poetry again)

from, The Price, Anne Stevenson

Also that four-walled chrysalis/and impediment, home, /that lamp and hearth, that easy fit/of bed to bone;

and I feel a resonance that says I am on the right track. Often I find I am suddenly drifting with a stream of consciousness that has just been waiting for me to fall in and everywhere I turn my thoughts are reinforced by this strange serendipity of coincidence. It is as if the universe is saying YES! I am at my heart of hearts a superstitious child, when I listen too long to my head I get lost, and I have to return to my intuition and be grounded again in myself to move forward. I can’t say if this makes good art, only that it makes me feel complete when I am making it. When I look at a piece that is going well for me I feel a certain delight that just wells or bubbles up, how about you??



cocoonAs you all know this has been a very crazy few weeks, but I am emerging from under my self imposed stupidity and getting back to work… I had started that weird cocoon like object and didn’t know what to do with it, then I decided it would be a prime candidate to join Seth’s, (at the altered page) disintegration project, so I modified it a little and added a surprise inside that I hope will eventually be revealed by the weather… so here is the finished cocoon hanging in my garden, waiting to change in the elements… My student are also participating, you can see their work on my teaching blog.

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?

what was I thinking??

right about now I am wondering why I thought applying for residencies was a good idea just a few weeks ago… it is a lot of work, it costs money, it requires me to put myself out there as an artist where I am not very happy being, and of course there is the high probability of rejection. I had to take new pictures of some work in progress, and I discovered it’s not terribly photogenic and since people have already written my references (funny how what I thought would be the MOST difficult part, persuading people they wanted to write a reference for me turned out to be the easiest part of all) and efficiently mailed them and everything I guess I am going to have to mail my woefully inadequate self  in… and suffer the consequences.I am not feeling confident about any part of this process, oh well I’ll let you know how it turns out if I am brave enough and honest enough to admit failure later in the year. On a related note I also have calls for two shows I want to enter sitting on my desk, and I find myself equally reluctant to send in those applications too. I am feeling fragile I guess! So to alleviate all this fear of rejection I have also decided to participate in Art house’s sketchbook project along with Sheree and Jafabrit, I’ll post some images of that work here when it’s further along. In the meantime here is the un-photogenic work in progress…grrr