Archive for the ‘procrastination’ Category

just start…

Monday, May 12th, 2014

scraps-16If you ask any accomplished artist how to break through the procrastination and get going they will usually say something like...just start! Today after months of researching my ancestry till the 8th century when names were only consonants, sewing strips till covered in thread, designing screens in PhotoShop, trying to decide if I needed to dye some fabric for the first piece or if I had some in stash (I did), writing about the process on my blog, having a couple Skype conversations and various other interesting aspects of the project, I just started.

I was planning to just start last week but a combo of procrastination and jet lag forbid it. Then I was going to just start this weekend but jet lag and Chinese food met head on and took me out for a day…and not into the country either! ¬†So today I woke up early enough to get my walk in before the forecasted heat wave and was nearly set to hobble downstairs to just start with some discharging when I decided I really should make one more screen for this piece so off to Kinkos I went for the copy. While I was out I picked up a few groceries and the dry cleaning.

I came back ready to just start, gathered up my supplies to go downstairs where it is cooler‚Ķfurther enticement. In my arms were the roll of screening mesh which I now keep upstairs to interfere with vermin snacking on it; the two panels of cloth I want to discharge and paint with one distinctly marked so I knew which screen to use on it. I was very grateful¬†for my cleared¬†print table so set¬†some supplies on it before¬†I headed off for an adjacent room where my Thermofax machine patiently waits. I couldn’t¬†see¬†it though as all of hub’s ski clothes and ski luggage had been piled on top of it. WTH? I knew he would not do such a sacrilege thing but soon figured out the contractor must have when pulling wire for the new kitchen lighting. So once I rearranged the ski department I was able to just start on the screens. Three screens down and the carrier got stuck in the machine reminding me to pay attention to what I was doing.

So I pulled up a stool and put together the six new screens, then opened a new bottle of dishwashing gel and just started in. The first piece instantly proved to be stunning. So inspired I quickly moved on to the second piece noting the aforementioned mark that required a different screen. It also came out beautifully but it was not until they were hanging side by side, drying over the boxes of pots and pans on the basement floor, did I realize I screen-printed the 2nd one upside down! I had laid the cloth on the design wall to make an interesting composition and here in one fell swoop just made it average.

The important part though is this piece is all about the message. ¬†It is not so much about the messenger. ¬†And while I anticipate it to be an interesting and moving start to this series of 25 works with its surface design and imagery I doubt anyone will notice or say she shoulda’ printed that going the other direction! ¬†At the same time it disturbs me that I screwed that up.

Why am I so distracted? (how much time do you have?) Oh yeah I remember, the reason I have not been able to just start for weeks now…week 7 of the ongoing kitchen remodel. Since I just started to work again, I am going to just start retraining my focus and think about the free space in my brain once the kitchen is finito. After all we are closer to the finish line than the just start line on that project.


getting caught up…

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

painted-linens-100811The past month has been a whirlwind!

I finished, sold and installed the two Vineyard pieces with a new collector. ¬†And I designed two other small pieces including Keeping Up Appearances #6¬†which is a donation to the annual Arts Guild of Sonoma REPO fundraiser. The requirement is all artwork must be made of 75% recycled materials. Since I use vintage linens in much of my work that was not as much of a challenge as it could have been. The background fabric is a vintage handwoven cotton metallic tablecloth upon which I screen-printed text. The piece is 14″ x 14″.

I received word that Morning Smoothie sold through the Tasty! fundraiser at the San Jose Museum of Textiles and Quilts. And Currents #21, 22, 23 have found a new home in Sonoma.

I am about to start another small piece for exhibition while simultaneously reviewing my retrospective lecture for a gig mid-March. ¬†And then (drumroll) I will begin¬†a new exciting and challenging collaborative project. More to come on that…

Meanwhile back at la casa…After procrastinating for well over a year I made a promise to self the end of 2013 to get on with the kitchen remodel. So I have spent most of this month shopping in person and online for appliances, countertops, backsplash materials, paint, etc etc etc.  The decisions have been made, the contractor and subs are all lined up and I am feeling excited.  Before now all I could focus on was the inconvenience yet now I am ready not only for the upgrade but for the clearing of the brain space that this renovation has occupied for far too long.


just because i can…

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013


Years ago I was waxing on about something I should do when a friend said‚Ķ“Just because you can doesn’t mean you have to!” This little tidbit of wisdom has since been a beacon in a sea of indecision and revisited again in the middle of last night. Just because I can doesn’t mean I have to! Sheer brilliance…

I had been sorting & culling clothes from my closet and cloth from my studio over the weekend. It was a combo of creating robust energy in my surroundings and¬†prepping for year-end tax-deductible donations. As the daughter of a war bride I inherited many of her quirky habits; you know the ones like recycling and reusing! ¬†Additionally cast off clothing was always given to someone whose face you would recognize. I continue to have that quality to this day where I want to either remake old clothing or give it to someone I know. Fast forward 60 years… upcycling and repurposing are now the chic words for remaking.

There is a store in Berkeley that sells all kinds of repurposed clothing. Recently I bought a gorgeous cashmere scarf there thinking of course that I could have done this myself.

The idea that I could repurpose tired fleece pullovers into some jazzy, snazzy one-of-a-kind jacket/vest/pullover/you name it had been festering for a while now. I’ve obsessed about the pattern, should I use something ready made, an old pattern or perhaps design a new one? So yesterday I tossed in an ‘intend to repurpose’ pile two fleece vests…one with broken zipper, a brand new pullover for the man who refuses to wear fleece and a tired old red pullover.The pile nearly covered my ironing board which then created unwanted stress about more stuff in my studio!

As I lay in bed the fleece transformation came to mind. I just wasn’t sure which pattern, which shape, how do I get the neck right, yada, yada, yada until voila‚Ķan epiphany!¬†Just because I can doesn’t mean I have to! ¬†Just because I have the equipment and skills to do this task I don’t have to do it. Undoubtedly the people repurposing¬†clothing love doing it. I don’t!

When I got up this morning I went directly to the fleece and repurposed the pile! I put the new pullover on the shelf for me to wear, the two vests went into the charity bag and the red fleece back on the shelf because sometimes there are days when a gal just needs some red, old or not!

I also sorted my fabric and pulled a lot of small pieces and books for the Legacy, a local thrift shop carrying sewing supplies.

redsAll the remaining fabrics were arranged by color.They had been previously sorted by color and I laughed about how one value was now darker than the last time I sorted it. I am about to start a new series and the thought has come about making each piece in a different color-way in an effort to whittle down the stash. Hmmm….just because I can… 

When I was a youngster learning the ways of my depression era parents it was considered selfish and even verboten to refuse to do things one could do. Today it just seems incredibly brilliant!

tallgirl musings…

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

This week I spent ten hours sitting in a chair on the convention floor with my Tall Girl Series: A Body of Work. I was fortunate to land a special exhibit within the huge Pacific International Quilt Festival on through today at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I had previously shown the exhibit with the same company’s Denver festival in 2011. I had been on the waiting list for two years for a space at ¬†this venue so I felt honored to be able to showcase this exhibit.

Yet I was ambivalent about being there in person. I am over the Tall Girl Series. It was an autobiographical healing body of work. It’s primary purpose was a vehicle for self-expression; that which had not previously been allowed or acceptable. It served its purpose in getting the story out of my bones and immensely healed my grief, sorrow, pain and anger over the whole ordeal.

Since I finished the 5-year project which included a self-published book, I’ve given over a dozen Powerpoint talks, marketed the traveling exhibit and landed four big exhibits. ¬†Other than the initial in 2010 I had not attended any of the exhibits. But this one being essentially in my backyard (two hours away) I decided I might go and sit there as often people want to meet the artist. I also knew if I stayed home I would be thinking about it all weekend. So I made a deal with myself to go for two days less driving time and lunch with friends.

It truly was an experiment in human psychology!¬†¬†The comments ranged from fabulous, gratifying, validating, to downright ridiculous and rude. Some were so honored to meet the artist, which made me grin inside. ¬†Others patted me on the back, shoulder and knee. And I really had to chuckle at the two women my mother’s generation who told me that at least I have a lovely smile! ¬†My mother often said…”so and so has such a pretty smile… if she would only lose some weight!” ¬†One gal came up and said she thought we went to the same college and we had. She figured that out from the description of the college piece.

Several told me I should write a book (I have), I should travel this exhibit (it has) and I should do something with it (?) There was a game of ‘guess who?’, a ‘you think that’s bad’, several ‘well let me tell you my life story’, dozens of ¬†‘my granddaughter is tall’, several ‘would you do it over again’ questions and one guy very interested in what is to become of the exhibit in the long run…a thought I share. Those who were speechless about the work complimented me on my beautiful stitching which I appreciated.

Perhaps the most shocking were the people who did not read the backstory (100 words) which was posted at both ends of the exhibit. Unaware that I was the artist sitting there looking resplendent, there were comments about “Surgery/Suicide/You Decide” such as ‘how did that awful piece get in?!’ The most common reaction to this piece about anger, blame and rage was laughter. Oh yeah…real hilarious topic.

medical-research-DI could tell when it was time to get up and walk around as my graciousness began to wear off. I soothed myself with hand-dyed and African batik acquisitions. Other than those I did not look at a single quilt except the work of Anna Hergert which I adore. I went back to the solace of my room and ordered room service. By the end of the second day I was depleted for any more social conversation. I even had a drink by myself which Mom always said was the road to destruction!

Mostly what I got from the experience was it not only took a lot of courage to publicly show this deeply personal work but it took additional courage to sit there with it. I also had clarity once and for all about the future of the TG Series. I’m done. The work is done. The healing is done. I have moved on. I have never been a victim and never hope to be. My goal in showing this work has been primarily to show others there are creative outlets for our stories. Every one has a story! It need not be covered up with food, booze, drugs or UPS deliveries. It can be released creatively. That is my sole reason for sharing this work.

I have had numerous conversations with mentors since I finished the series about what’s next for the Tallgirl? The idea most floated was I create a DVD and take it into the schools to educate young people about body image, self esteem and bullying. And yet I haven’t done it. The idea has come up several times and inertia has always followed. Sitting in the exhibit made me aware that the inertia is about being finished and not wanting to do more.

When I first went public with my story it was the most validating and gratifying thing ever as I had been prohibited by my father from ever talking about it. I kept that ‘secret’ for over 40 years so of course it was validating. Now four years later I am tired of repeating the story. It is part of my history but not who I am. In fact it has gotten to feel a bit like a ‘victimization’ by the continual re-telling of it.

My work here is done. In fact when the exhibit returns I may not unpack it. I may just take it to the attic and entomb for posterity in the shipping tubes!  Well probably not, but what an awesome thought.


loose ends…

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

This summer so far has been an E-ticket ride! My elderly father died three weeks ago and I am having my second knee replaced in just two days. I have been tossing about like a cork in water¬† with little direction this past month. Yesterday was my father’s memorial and it was great, a wonderful send-off that I think he would have enjoyed. It was such a fantastic reminder about living life to the fullest which I tend to do when I am not over-working or over-worrying. I am physically and emotionally drained though and am now actually looking forward to a few days of forced bed rest!

Last week I finished the re-purposing of 7 favorite stained t-shirts into one! And the re-purposing of a machine embroidered heavy cotton Mexican vest I bought in Texas for a mere $19. It was a funny cut, really long in the body with armholes cut to fit a small child. I took it apart and re-sewed then asked a man watching a baseball game to photograph it and thus we have this image quality!

Today we bought a propane grill after years of debating it. While hubby is assembling  it in the garage I gathered up the charcoal grill components from the deck. I found two briquet lighting canisters. One was incredibly rusted so it is headed for my dye-paint studio for some future rusting possibilities! While I am down there I will paint some masked shoes that have been on the work table for too long.

And then there will be just one more art-design related project I want to do pre-op. Well two. I want to clean my studio floor and I want to draft a template for new work so when I am ready to give that new leg a go in a month or two I will be ready to start. For me starting in with a blank wall is next to impossible!

Catch you on the other side…of surgery that is!

getting side-tracked…

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Some time ago there was a  video going around  that showed a middle-aged British woman whose entire day was taken up with getting sidetracked. She was going to wash her car and when she went for the keys she found the plants needed to be watered. She got out the watering can when she noticed the TV remote was on the table which she took into the living room where she found her glasses under the sofa cushion, and on it went. It may not have even been in that order but this is the kind of day I am having today!

After three days of catching up with business, monkey business, photos and email after a one-week trip, I decided today would be the day I got into the studio.  That much is true! I did get into the studio and of course I am back out already.

Yesterday while looking for treasure to pass on to the San Jose Quilt & Textile Museum for their annual May Day fundraiser (for which I received 3 days notice of the deadline) I decided that having already culled the studio this spring, I should instead cull my jewelry drawer!  Mind you I have no great jewels just lots and lots of mostly hand-made earrings and necklaces which had become a jumble.  I sorted it out, and made a pile for charity of mostly orphan earrings. I also made a pile of  rarely worn Czech glass beaded necklaces to sell on EBay.

Today when I went into the studio to sew I was met by laundry to be ironed so I did that. Then there was still stuff from the trip on my design table which I put away as well as the aforementioned cull from the jewelry drawer. I decided to photograph and list on EBay and get that out of my hair.

I got out my point/shoot and pointed and shot. Soon the camera malfunctioned one more time (4th time in last 2 weeks) so I changed the batteries again. It still did not perform well…hmmm what could be the problem?¬† I came back to the PC and uploaded the images most of which were poor quality. Mind you this is the same point/shoot I took to Texas for landscape shots and had mostly trouble.

So I opened the drawer where I keep the p/s camera and lo and behold there is another one in there! I tried to remember which is the new one I bought before going to France last year and which is the one I should have thrown away and not taken to Texas?!  It should be quite obvious by now!!!

I got out the new p/s, took the jewelry back to the studio to photograph and within a couple minutes the new p/s  started beeping that the battery was low! Of course it is.  I opened the bottom to see it is a lithium battery. So I went to the bathroom where we charge all our devices, untangled the Nikon charger from the nest of cords and this project is now delayed as I wait for the camera to recharge!  Maybe I will get in the studio after all.

The above image is a detail of a cotton embroidered vest I bought in Austin at an antique collective for $19. It was handmade in Mexico and while the body is quite large the armholes are tiny. I will be re-making it into something wonderful if I can just stop getting side-tracked.

wonderful news…

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Recently I posted about documenting my work¬† in an official format other than website or portfolio. And much to my surprise I had designed nearly 200 pieces in 12 years.¬† This number both comforted and disturbed me as I had been fretting quite a lot with the volume of work I put out into the Universe and what would happen to my inventory when I am no more. Documenting it actually seemed to calm me down a bit. And then I read this from Robert Genn’s column on being a painter…

“I was intrigued by what you see as Norman Rockwell’s decline with age. Do you think artists must inevitably suffer a waning of their powers as they grow older? I would like to think that, unlike athletes, for example, we can just keep getting better and better.”

…The Canadian painter A.Y. Jackson called it “painterly senility.” He thought it had something to do with the number of paintings painted. “Every painter has 2,500 paintings in him,” he said, “no more, no less.”

When I heard that statement (in a radio interview in 1974) I was already up to 7,000. I briefly figured I was prematurely on my way to the old painters’ home, but I was wrong, and so was he.

Seven thousand?! I have no worries. I must get back to work!!!


what good are excuses if we do not use them?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Holy smokes…its been almost a month since I blogged! I have some really great excuses in honor of an old soul who once said what good are excuses if we do not use them?

As usual I have been immersed in the business of art-making¬† instead of the art-making. One thing to my credit is when I am in the studio I am prolific. So much so that I worry a lot about what will happen with my work when I am no more. Talk about the ultimate control issue!¬† My husband suggests it will not be my problem but rather my daughter’s.¬† As one who has cleaned out homes of two others that¬† is not a viable option.

So I continue to do a semi-annual cull of my studio passing along  treasure from my stash to others at The Legacy. This regional thrift shop which benefits a senior center handles only arts and crafts supplies. It is a veritable treasure chest of goodies and the challenge always remains to deposit more there than what is brought back. Rumor has it a  quilter/teacher/author stops in every Tuesday!

In the bag to go this time are several packets of HP postcard size print paper, some yardage I will never use, various small pieces of fabric that I can’t stomach, and yarn. I finally made peace with some yarn remnants I was knitting and ripping over and over again for 20+ years. It is time for a proper burial…into someone else’s stash!

Additionally we have been dealing with some hubby health issues. The jury is still out on the prognosis and so that makes for a bit more preoccupation than usual.

I believe as humans we are an addictive species. We all have addictions whether they be destructive or productive. We find ways to erase days, months and years from our life.  It simply amazes and amuses me that I choose to spend so much of my precious time doing art-business when in reality I could be making art. Seemingly I enjoy one as much as the other so it is a fine balance. Or is that just another excuse?!   I continue to be a work in progress.




act without thinking…

Monday, December 5th, 2011

As I have entered week seven post-op from a total knee replacement my thinking cap has been relocated and is now in full operation!  Now that I have regained my ability to drive the car, and walk with a cane my brain has gone into overdrive with all the things that should soon follow. Of course getting into the studio to make art is one of those things.

I continue to be hounded by these thoughts that I should get in there soon and pick up where I left off. Where I left off actually was with two pieces pinned to the design wall with the intention of inspiring me to just ‘start’ again. One is designed and ready to be stitched and the second¬† has been painted but remains in need of design.

As the remnants of 3 types of anesthesia began to wear off during week four I became aware that not much had filled up my creative well during those 3 previous weeks.  I had been magnetized to the iPad for entertainment and communication. As anyone who has spent too much time online knows, it sucks the life-force out of you; it just does not replenish at all. I read ONE book and countless magazines, played hundreds of games of scrabble but not a lot of creative energy went in aside from sleeping 11-12 hours a night producing great healing results.

So just as I got the nagging thoughts that I should be back in the studio making art I happened upon these words in the Tao…don’t think so hard, don’t think so much…act without thinking. I THINK I will do that!

time management again…

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

One of the things on my pre-surgery  list has been to  flesh out two of my five lectures.  With one finished I am hard at work on the other. All five lectures have been given numerous times so it is indeed time to freshen.

Initially I was scheduled to deliver one in mid-November but when my surgery was postponed to October 17th I had to also postpone that lecture. Still I thought it would be of great benefit  to have this tedious task done before surgery rather than procrastinating on it afterwards.

I am just now back to work on it after taking a 2 pm lunch break. I meant to eat an hour ago but kept putting it off as I copy-pasted.  I know now  it was a very prudent option to work on it sooner over  later. I cannot imagine being able to sit at the PC for hours on end after having my knee replaced.

Revising a PowerPoint is both fun and arduous. The artistic creative side of it is great fun and I continually get lost in the play. I am forever adding a key point here or there which in turn means it has to be copied to many more pages. Then I keep re-arranging the order of pages. As I shuffle through the presentation suddenly I come across a page that I moved but not updated. It seems the more I do to flesh it out, the more work I am creating for myself!!! If this were me 20 years ago I would have gone all the way through making one particular change, then all the way through making the next change. Instead the right brain is riding high in the saddle on this one plugging in images here, and text there ad nauseum with no concern to continuity. That’s when it hit me that this is going to take twice as long to do as my former left brain self would have allowed.¬† So this¬† becomes a 100 hr prep¬† for a 1 hour presentation.

But that’s okay…if I weren’t doing this I might be fretting about going under the scalpel again. Right now…who has the time?!