Archive for the ‘time management’ Category

it has come to my attention…

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
Mops editing text

Mops editing text

…that my dog may need a blog! This weekend I caught her editing my work when it was suggested to me that she needs her own blog. Personally I cannot imagine this being a fruitful enterprise as it would require my giving her my passwords, and I am not sure she can be trusted with those, just yet.

Besides what could she possibly talk about? Sure there are the other dogs at doggie daycare, aka DDC, or¬†perhaps she could gossip about the other dogs on the block, or Pooki and Coco next door. She could talk about her down dog pose or she might critique her dining options, or even the cleanliness of her dog run. She can’t complain about her sleeping accommodations as she readily pops into her crate each night at¬†the mere utterance of ‘nighty night.’ She might grouse about how sneaky I have become about getting the harness and leash on her to go in the car. Or she might carry on about her carsickness which we seem to finally have a handle on.

But after that, what? Oh yea, nothing.¬†Life is good in Mopsy’s world, and by default in mine, as her human.

just chillin'

just chillin’

this and that…v.12

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016
morning walk: rotted wood, roses, yarrow, red cabbage, potholes

morning walk: rotted wood, roses, yarrow, red cabbage, potholes

I have been preoccupied with life for the past month. I continue to work on #12 in the collaborative series, with 13, 14 and 15 fermenting in my cranium.

And we continue to work on dog training.¬†Mops is coming along so well, aside from the times when she chews up something important. I work diligently to stay¬†one step ahead of her. Most recently she chewed the straps off the face mask I wear to breathe when I sleep! Not very helpful…but we love her anyway!

Mopsy, in witness protection program

Mopsy, in witness protection program

We regretfully postponed a big trip but in doing so got to add more on to it, so in the end it will be a better vacation. We would have been away now so this opens up my studio time. Abundant free time however often makes self-discipline much more difficult!

morning walk: Mops, pond scum, bbq grate, goose poop, weeping willow reflection

morning walk: Mops, pond scum, bbq grate, goose poop, weeping willow reflection

One thing I have been doing a lot of is taking photos of interesting textures, patterns, colors, etc on my morning walks. I then collage on an app and post to my Instagram feed. Many have told me they love my morning walk photos. For me it trains my eye to see the art in everyday living.

Of course medical science would say that to stop and photograph while walking is not exactly stellar cardio. We all have our priorities! ART is


Friday, March 4th, 2016

reflectionsI spent hours today looking for ‘new work’ to submit to two juried exhibits. It was a fruitless effort which brought up a major pet peeve on this¬†subject. Dated work is something that happens predominantly in the quilt/art quilt world. It doesn’t happen so much, if ever in the fine art world. Galleries seldom, if ever, say no work made before 2013.

Since I have been engrossed in a three-year collaborative series since 2014 all my new work has been predominantly series work. I have taken time out to make a small piece for a fundraiser here or a members show there, but mostly nose to the grindstone on the collaboration.  It galls me no end that entry prospectus writers/curators request work made since a particular date; and that said date is usually just one or two years prior to today.

Granted there are clueless people who will enter the first piece they ever made in 1990 but most professional artists do not enter work to (a) “get rid of it” or (b) that is not their best work. Why on Earth would I want to show work that does not speak to who I am as an artist? Besides if they did allow entries from 1990, these shows are juried so the old work can easily be found and plucked from the pile. Think of the money they could make from all these fees for old work submissions! Another subject for another day…

People might say, well just make a new piece that fits the parameters of the call. I could but some 7-8 years ago I vowed to never make work specifically for an entry call. Never say never but mostly¬†I do not create work for someone else’s muse, only for my own. So that said I have nothing that fits the DATED call and so will not be entering my work. It is their loss really, as I see it. My work could add so much substance to their exhibit, were they not so rigid in their vision.

how long did that take you?

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
collage images of DM10

collage images of DM10

There are two very predictable comments made to any person who works with cloth and thread: My grandmother was a quilter and how long did that take you to make that?

Today as I finished stitching #10 in the collaborative series Defining Moments I was reminded of the latter. I was reminded when the stitching of the windows took me 90 minutes while the entire building, sky and sun took nearly 3 hours.

A friend and I had a long conversation about this during her stint in Open Studios last year. She said folks would look at her work, then the price and immediately ask ‘how long did that take you?’

We know that in this society people affix value to something based on its hourly rate. To them it is a dollar per hour equation whereas for most of us who work in cloth it is often a per square foot price. She and I laughed about how we could divide the price we are asking for our work by a number below the minimum wage and use that number as our hours the piece actually took us to make. So when asked this redundant question, we could answer something like 900 hours!

pre- and post-stitch windows

pre- and post-stitch windows

While rethinking an answer to this most common¬†question I am reminded though of¬†all the actual hours that go into a large piece of my work. There are the hours spent in research which for this series has been many; hours spent in the design of the ‘cartoon,’ the hours considering¬†the best materials to use, the hours spent creating the exact fabric to convey my design, let alone if I have to go shopping for same. Then there are hours of thinking about it while out walking, REM hours and sleepless nights problem solving,¬†and never forget the hours of procrastination when I¬†really should be working on it, but would rather play Mahjong on the computer. And then there is the actual construction sewing and stitching!

Someone once said the best answer to how long did it take you to make that¬†is to state my age at that moment; for it took my entire lifetime up till now to conceive and create this work. Actually I think that idea goes over most people’s head so I prefer to just say, oh about 900 hours!

on getting out of my own way…

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

TG Series clothI have spent most of this day fighting the voice that tells me I must go downstairs (to the cold basement) and create two new thermofax screens to print cloth for #11. This sense of urgency is based on two things; that #10 is nearly¬†completely stitched and with 15 more to go, time is a wastin’. Even with all the self awareness work I have done I still seem to occasionally believe that old family mantra that procrastination = laziness. Unbelievable!

Way back last year though I began to see procrastination = process & fermentation so why should I feel the least bit poorly that I am not interested in making those screens right this minute, or worse yet applying them immediately to cloth? After all it is just January 5 and I have 361 more days thanks to Leap Year to make those 15 pieces, or at least ten of them.

So utilizing the best excuse possible of a¬†cold basement on a rainy winter’s day I chose to stay upstairs and stitch more of #10. I put on some Bach and stitched for quite some time. I accomplished a lot not the least of which was I got out of my head. It¬†occurred to me that the real reason I had not wanted to go make the screens and use them was I was not yet content with¬†my choice of fabrics for this piece. I had pinned some¬†choices to the design wall, based entirely on the available length of the fabrics. Today it came¬†to me that I could use instead other fabric I had not even considered; fabric that makes total and complete sense. For the theme of #11 is what I hope will be the last time I tell in cloth the story of my shortening surgeries.

The new cloth for #11 is already printed with imagery. It is a piece from the very beginning of my work on the TallGirl Series. It is printed with tall girl tales for¬†which I had changed the font so the stories were illegible. It was designed a decade ago when I’d just begun to find my voice, but still was fearful of the repercussion¬†of doing so. How totally¬†appropriate and relevant to use cloth from the project conception¬†to put closure on it today.

Thanks be to Johann for the clarity! We must visit more often.


…on documentation and dawgs

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

hand-dyes from Soderlund class

A few years ago I added an important¬†form of documentation to the categorization of my work. I put together a 3″ thick binder, in chronological order, of all the work I have made since 1998. Initially resistant to the idea as I already have a website and hardcopy portfolio; the reasoning behind this was posterity. So when archaeologists are digging through my house in 2500 they will know why I made this work and what it entailed. Yea, I know, a big stretch. ¬†All the same it is good information to have especially laid out in chronological order.

So I was a tad¬†astonished today, while looking¬†at my documentation¬†binder to find¬†a¬†small work finished since 2013 to enter in the local arts center member show, that I only had two pieces that qualified and one of them I showed there last year. The remaining piece is the other half of the diptych and even though looks slightly different I am certain there would be outrage that I showed the ‘same work’ there two years in a row!

I was also surprised¬†that in 2015 I have completed just four large pieces of work. Throwback to 2009 when I made over 60 pieces in one year. It seems I have slowed down a bit in the past 6 years! Of course I have all kinds of reasonable excuses; both knees replaced, my father’s death, and a year plus of chronic debilitation, so that is understandable. I also have been engrossed in the 3 year collaboration, so the four pieces I made this year were for that. And there are all big ones!

It really is somewhat of a personal accomplishment that I have slowed down production so much. I’d been so prolific in the past in comparison. Maybe just maybe I am living life more presently¬†and making art differently as well. Before my work was fairly spontaneous whereas now it requires a lot of research and introspection before even drafting the design.

Mizu in dog friendly, fancy hotel dining room

Mizu in dog friendly, fancy hotel dining room

And then there are the additional procrastination modes: the¬†aforementioned rescue pooch who is both delight and terror barks at anything that stands still, or in hubs’ case exhales. My days are full of interruptions to calm the dog, to work towards ending her fear aggression. It is exhausting and yet somehow I get the message that maybe this is the point. The point is to get me to stop, breathe, stay in the moment, and chill.

And by¬†default I am the tech guru in the family. So a new modem-router threw everything connected to it out of whack. I have managed to reconfigure a few things but still have daily technology reconfiguration headaches. I’d much prefer to sit back with my crazy pooch and toss bonbons than try to reprogram the solar panel connector or the Netflix device that won’t allow me to sign in.

In a perfect world someone would come in with a magic wand, make everything work and calm the dog in their wake. Yea…and I believe in the tooth fairy too.

odds and other things…

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
vintage postage stamp birthday block

vintage postage stamp birthday block


This month other than the collaboration it has been a bit of odds n’ ends…

I have finished #8, which I have yet to photograph, in the 25 pc collaboration and am in process of designing #9. I am loving this series so much as it continually challenges me in how to express each particular idea. I don’t draw or sketch well, but Google images can often give me a profile or shape from which to start. And I have a spreadsheet of ideas to incorporate in each one which helps with flow and continuity.

This spring I contributed a 12″ square piece titled Keeping Up Appearances #8 to an annual fundraiser for SAQA. As part of their marketing for the benefit auction different artists choose ‘dream collections’ and mine came up today in the fourth grouping. This piece was designed from a vintage embroidered cotton hand towel.

Keeping Up Appearances #8

Keeping Up Appearances #8

Also this week¬†I made¬†a 6″ x 6″ stitched block for a colleague who is turning 70 in October. She wants a collection of blocks from friends that reflect her interests. She¬†plans to stitch the¬†blocks together for a big quilt. On her long list of interests was postage stamps. Ironically in the big pile of stuff I amassed from my mother’s things to use in the collaboration were some vintage postage stamps! So I scanned the stamps, collaged in PhotoShop, printed to fabric, made a sandwich, stitched, cut and mailed it off. Voila‚Ķthe image is above.

painted canvas bags for fundraiser

painted canvas bags for fundraiser

And I painted canvas tote bags for an October fundraiser at the Arts Guild of Sonoma. I painted the bags with Dyna-flow and then screen-printed text with Lumiere. They came out fine although not 100% clarity but then I was screening through several layers of folded cloth so I am satisfied. And I am just thrilled to have them finished as I was running out of time. The bags will be on exhibit October 6-26.


studio purge…

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Like several of my friends I got bitten by the TIDY bug and have done my clothes, most of my office and now taking a quick break from the collaboration to do the studio. The most important thing to mention off the top is I do not like clutter so I’ve continually sorted the studio for years. That said, wow have I found a lot of clutter! ¬†I annually sort through all my fabric and donate anything that does not ring my bell. Fortunately the last several¬†years I have not bought much commercial fabric but have designed a lot of fabric which has filled in the space.

What I cannot part with are mostly journals. I have at least a dozen half-filled notebooks of various sizes where I took notes in a class, made notes on a trip, wrote daily gratitude for years, made sketches of garments I wanted to sew or knit, sketches of random scenery, quotes I wanted to remember, and just thoughts about life. They do not exactly spark joy and yet my adult life is contained within the pages. So they are simply going to a new shelf to be reunited.

"Louis Feraud's Fall '96 collection was "leaves" ad 200 sewing hours later this gown may represent the collections finest hour…" -THREADS April/May 1997

“Louis Feraud’s Fall ’96 collection was “leaves” ad 200 sewing hours later this gown may represent the collections finest hour‚Ķ” -THREADS April/May 1997

One of the things I found so entertaining though was the progression of the saved articles. Step 1: (30 years ago) for a decade I saved every issue of every sewing & knitting related magazine I received (monthly), with the idea that ‘someday’ I might want to refer back to them. Only after my husband complained about the weight on the shelf did I consider tossing them.

Step 2: (20 years ago) I diligently browsed through a decade of old magazines,¬†pulled the articles that most appealed to me (at that time) and put them on a shelf.¬†I bundled leftover magazines and put out on recycling day. The total amount was 7′ wide!

Step 3: (19 years ago) about a year later I decided to actually file said articles in a binder, so I invested in several boxes of plastic sleeves, sorted the articles into categories: sewing, knitting, design, quilting, etc and filed into a 4″ binder and put it on said shelf. Occasionally in the last decade I have leafed through the huge and heavy binder looking for just that perfect whatever I wanted to make. Most often I was looking for knitting ideas.

Step 4: today. I went through the binder and tossed everything I would never make nor read. When I finished I had a 3″ stack of empty plastic sleeves and just enough articles to put into a 1″ binder‚Ķlikely to be tossed in another future purge!

unemployed plastic sleeves

unemployed plastic sleeves

What amused me most is how much space, energy and time these old magazines took up in my life. How I never went back to read anything ¬†except a few knitting patterns and even then did not knit them. ¬†One good thing that came from the great magazine purge of 20 years ago, is every magazine I’ve read since I tore out what I wanted to keep while I was reading¬†and then tossed it into the recycling bin. I found I tore out far¬†less when I actually had to do something with it in the moment.

Fast forward to present time and nearly all articles we once clung to can now be found online, anyway.


daughter of the war bride, part tres…

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

I have long joked about being ‘the daughter of a war bride,’ which essentially I am. This explains why¬†for most women of my generation it is next to impossible to just throw something out without finding it a good home. This coincides with saving for a rainy day¬†which leads to today’s post.

Two friends have both taken to ‘tidying’ their homes based on the NY Times bestseller book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. Ok, so I bought the book initially¬†on my Kindle but then figured this was to be a joint¬†project so I bought the hard copy. I am already struggling my way through it because (1) I don’t follow instructions well and (2) why should I read the entire book before starting the purge? ¬†My husband is terrified for other¬†reasons; the book is in the house; both friends who read the book and tidied up are now moving;¬†and¬†he may just have to let go of some of his own stuff¬†which he has been carrying around for nearly 7 decades.

So I decided, rebel that I am, to just start in today and tidy my office a bit. I was successful in that two bags went into recycling, another started for charity and another into the trash. But I also ran head-on into the daughter of the war bride. Remember her? The one who never buys just one of anything? Oy…many things come to mind but surely these are some of the best.

personalized CD labels and 100 pk of CDs

personalized CD labels and 100 pk of CDs

Mere hours before CDs went out of fashion, I ordered 100 personalized CD labels. I probably used 10 labels and then never sent a CD of images anywhere again. I could maybe wallpaper the bathroom with¬†these though; oh wait there is that ‘good home’ thing again!

The war bride’s daughter¬†also¬†ordered 500 of these gorgeous tri-fold brochures to send to art consultants. She sent maybe 222. The rest languish and might look really awesome lining the recycling can.



And don’t even get me started on the¬†Tall Girl¬†books. Wasn’t it enough that they were a limited edition, and out of print? No, someone at some museum¬†convinced me I should do another printing. So they too reside.

And lest not forget the Fedex Ground tracking labels. Apparently Fedex thought I was going to be shipping a lot, and I have but really, two rolls of 250 each? Actually the bathroom might be really original if I did a collage of CD and tracking labels.

So now I am tired of tidying, which is exactly what the book said would happen if I didn’t follow the directions! Oh what does she know?

going backwards…

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

My daughter, when once asked if she would date an old boyfriend said…life is too short to go backwards! This is really kind of how I feel with my art. Once I finish something I hate to go back and rework it; although I have been known to paint over something about which I was not wild.  That said, today I have been taking care of business in the studio, adding straps to bags, doing postcards for the gallery etc…you know the small stuff that pays the rent.  And I found old news which I had laminated to organza, then put in a drawer while zealously cleaning the studio.

grandparents marriage announcement

grandparents marriage announcement

After I finished piece #2 in the collaborative series I found in a box a newspaper clipping from the 1920’s announcing my grandparents’ marriage. ¬†My grandmother saved all sorts of clippings including those about 2nd and 3rd cousins who led notorious lives in other countries; plus her own penned for the regional newspaper¬†society¬†columnist about the social events she and my grandfather partook in. It definitely was another era.

Today I pulled out the finished piece and stitched the announcement onto the work. It definitely adds credibility!

Meanwhile I have finished the hand-stitched piece I started at Tahoe and need to photograph it. I am uncertain where to place it in the series as it contains some of my contemporary work as well heirloom work. And another is pinned & ready to machine-stitch.

Twenty five pieces in three years you say? And this is December of year one you say? And I didn’t start till June you say? And I am close to completion on the 5th piece you say?¬†I got this!

Stay tuned…