Tuesday, May 28, 2013

book bound

It. Is. Bound.
Possibly for Glory ~ we're not sure . . . Need the pun today.

Anyway, during a little Family Movie night of Land of the Lost, I finished binding my canvas cover journal. All 180 pages tied in with linen. I modified the stitching Effy demonstrates to tying each signature three times along the spine which left these interesting linen tales. I'm not sure if these will be cut or beaded or woven together further . . . things to let sit awhile until directed.

So. Here's the small dilemma: I am enamored of the book as it is and am now experiencing the White Page Block artists are sometimes faced with. I don't want to mess up any pages, which in turn, messes up the book. I'll simply have to get past that ~ starting tonight. Even if it means making a mess. Might be a healthy mess. Who knows. What matters is having fun and expressing my creativity.
And it is Phat.

And it's got a face.

A face I think I can look at everyday until this journal is full.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Yes, Bind Your Own Book. Today is a blog of connections. What prompted me to start creasing and folding 15 signatures, 6 folios/spreads each? Well, first this blog update in my Inbox. Which lead to this next blog update. From that lovely space, I hopped over to YouTube for this. While there I found this tutorial. I liked the second video tutorial better ~ music, colors . . . just all around fun stuff. Then I remembered Effy Wild has her bookbinding tutorial here. And then I remembered further her tutorial being very well-thought out, easy to follow and even more fun, by golly! (Is that even possible? It's Effy. Of course it is.) After creasing and folding folios and signatures, I'll have 180 pages of 80lb drawing paper at my disposal for creating images and musings. An old painting (not mine) was taken apart for its canvas to make the cover. It's a vague plan to paint over the image on that canvas tomorrow in preparation for threading some linen, stitching signatures together and assembling the book. So glad I found the cone of linen at the Sheep & Wool last year! It was meant for weaving, but bookbinding is just as good. I'm also toying with adding another one of my little clay faces from Lyn Belisle on the cover. See where the whimsy leads.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


It could be the weather or the Moon in Scorpio, but I felt a need to work deep today. Yin Yoga is good for those days when a body could use some moving yet not too much . . . and way down, the psoas was calling for some deep attention. Psoas, ssso-azz. Don't need no Jazz. I like music of varying sorts while practicing asanas yangster style (as Bernie says), but Yin Yoga seems to require the sounds of simplicity, the sounds of environment, the sounds of the body. I find rainy days just ducky for this form of practice. So with the music of rain and the trilling of the Pileated Woodpecker, a glass of oatstraw infusion, I set about to sittin' Yin. Deep delicious work done . . . Which allows me to meander back to the studio to play with the following . . .

Yes, the knitting is done and faces chosen for this Mother~Daughter piece.
Time to sift through the drift wood collected on Mother's Day.

Nearly done with this week's snippets and writings in the altered-book journal.

And though She and I appear to be at another impasse, it is one less discouraging than the Dry Spell before.
We're simmering nicely.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

drawing with glue

A spread in the altered-book journal . . .

Aleene's Original Tacky Glue "drawn" on the pages and left to dry thoroughly . . .

Gesso laid down (clear gesso to preserve a portion of the original image) . . .

Some Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist Spray applied . . .

Liqutex Acrylic Inks rubbed with a Q-Tip onto the raised glue designs and a little journal writing . . .

Friday, May 17, 2013

we are Beauty and we are Darkness

Well. Where do I begin?

How about here: I spent time at my easel today. There was no Grand Plan to paint. Time was simply had. An empty house. A silent phone. The computer somewhat out of reach except to hit Play on iTunes. Because there's stuff I needed to hear. Because I hadn't listened to what Thorn has had to say in a really long time and I needed the words while painting. What better podcast to listen to than Episode #60 ~ Loving Your Demons found at her site? What better, indeed.

Thorn likes to open gatherings with a chant and a prayer. The chant was an easy one to follow for the uninitiated ~ We are Beauty and we are Darkness. We are Light and we are Change. Listen. Sing it. Embrace it. Paint it. I found the meaning of the words working themselves into my creativity, my creation ~ the creation, as it no longer seems to be mine. She now has a life of Her own, though I do not know (gnow) yet Who She Is.

And so I listened to the podcast about loving one's Demons and learning how to come to terms with them. There's an awful lot I still don't know, I may never know, but I'm feeling a little more comfortable, again, inviting them for tea and cucumber sandwiches. I don't even care if they use the napkins. Just so long as they are near. The Basement of One's Being is too dark for anything to live quietly.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

woman went walking

It's finally a lovely day here in the north east of these here United States. Which begs for some serious time outdoors. Enduring the freakishly cold weather the past couple of days had me leaving the confines of the studio, nay, the house, to feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair (although, I did wear a hat). Walking the well-driven road was fine, but a need for an Aimless Ramble came over me so I followed that prompt and went off road.

There are few places which nurture a soul. The woods would be one of my favorites. (Followed by the lake, but that's another story which requires flotation.) When I'm feeling at wit's end, frazzled, uninspired, closed down the woods are a good place to be. And so I got to thinking how it might be an interesting practice, daily or every-other-daily, to make a Medicine Wheel. If that word doesn't resonate, how about Mandala? Or Circle of Stuff I Put Together Today? Whatever sings. The point is to get outside and create something ~ even though (especially if) impermanent. Let me repeat: the point is to get outside. We Humans De-Naturalize ourselves too much. The computer (I'm not exempt here), the TV, the wii/PlayStation/Xbox all serve to keep one confined and out of touch with dirt, bugs, animals, sun, rain, moon, the occasional and unpleasant encounter with dog poo.

So for the sake of argument or at least less irritation, let's stick with the term Medicine Wheel to describe what we'll be doing outside every day or every other day or, well, whenever. First, go. Outside. Don't have time for a leisurely walk? The backyard is fine. (I regret there are few options I can offer to urbanites not being a city-dweller, but you're all a resourceful bunch so I'm sure you'll figure out something.) Find a place to stand/sit/Be and, for now, call that Center. Now here's a fine opportunity to learn geographical direction: either have a compass handy (Smart Phones have 'em, don't they?) or look at where the sun is or might be if it weren't cloudy. Depending on the time of day determines whether you're facing East or West. If we're lucky and it's morning-ish, you're facing East which means South will be at your right hand, West behind you, with North at the left. Full Circle. I like to start at the East just 'cause. So, continuing with my example, from Center we walk East scanning the ground or area in that direction until something catches our eye that wants to be in the Circle. A few small rules here: take nothing that's trying to live except maybe a flower or leaf as long as it's not the only one and keep it small. Also, natural is nice, but if something else is found, then, by all means, include it. Whatever item is found, that's what will sit in the East of the Wheel. Coming back to Center (or thereabouts ~ don't step on the Wheel), we turn South and go through the same process of Looking until something is found, adding that item to the Circle in the South. The same motions are repeated for the remaining directions.

Now that we have items arranged in a circle or wheel or mandala, spend a moment meditating on what each of these things might mean in the direction they're sitting at. Again, if short on time, a quick pic with a phone or camera preserves the moment for further reflection. Attributes for each direction abound and are easily found through a search, especially if "medicine wheel" is keyed into that search. So have fun figuring it all out ~ get as cerebral as you want ~ but, first, go outside.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

sur la table

Knitting and faces.
 I was feeling mildly International. It's passed now.

Anyway. I've been knitting. Not a lot. Enough to keep my nimble fingers busy during Hell's Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares or Grimm. (I'm certain there's a theme here ~ best not to follow it just now.) Actually, I'd been doing about as much ripping out as knitting while navigating an unfamiliar lace pattern. For several rows I worked this. This particular portion of the piece will act as the Common Ground so to speak. At a certain point, half of the piece became this (advanced) lace pattern which reminded me of pomegranates. I'm now at a juncture where the choice is to work this pattern another grueling 32 rows or start the Mother half with this pattern. As may have been surmised (or not, in which case you have my guidance here now), this piece is becoming the Mother/Demeter ~ Daughter/Persephone knitted hanging. There are only 5 faces left of the original 20 purchased from Lyn Belisle to choose from. (Very eager to order more, of course.) There's a pair that seems motherly while the other three smack of daughter face ~ one in particular at present. That may change tomorrow. Which is why I tend to let things gestate.

Like the painting on the easel. A few nights ago, instead of knitting/ripping (I'd had quite enough of that activity for one evening), I picked up one brush and played with the outlines of shapes. She became something I could stand to look at. I'm fairly satisfied with the metamorphosis from potential garbage to something acceptable ~ almost love it, in fact.

So. Pick a face. Paint a face. Wait it out.
Motherly faces. Feeling partial to the one on the left.

Daughter faces. The one at the top seems to have my attention.

One brush, white acrylic mixed with gold tempera and . . .

I'm sort of in love again!

Friday, May 10, 2013

studio ramblings

Revisiting the altered-book journal with an experiment . . .

More exploration in CAPI . . .

Going further on that explore . . .

Gesso on the experiment . . .

Finished and ready for rumination . . .

And I'd like to know where this is going other than the garbage.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

the virtues of asymmetry

Photo from here.
When practicing asanas, I'm aware of my body's asymmetry. Whatever pose I can manage easily on one side is often a challenge for the other. My right hip's ligaments and muscles are tighter than the left. I twist easier to the right in Parivrrta Janu Sirsasana than to the left. It's necessary for me to lift and shift the left foot forward in lunges during Surya Namaskar. The disparity is something I have come to live with being a self-taught yogi styling a steel rod from an operation to "correct" scoliosis. (A huge debt of gratitude to Patricia Walden's very best Yoga For Beginners video ~ gotta be 20+ years old now, but still a good guide for the first-time practitioner, in my opinion.)

Symmetry has its place. Symmetry might be necessary for balance and, sometimes, form. Symmetry makes stuff look neat and orderly, well thought out. Symmetry is simple. I often say symmetry is for people who lack imagination. Asymmetry though? Oh my! Now you're talking my kind of fun! Asymmetry requires a little more work. Asymmetry spawns from Chaos and doesn't ask to be put in order. All it seeks is to be accepted on its own terms. Asymmetry requires something deeper than neatness and simplicity (although, you could get a fair dose of simplicity nonetheless) ~ it requires integration. There is an analogy Francesca DeGrandis used to describe integration: a tree growing on rock. The tree doesn't balance its lifestyle to fit the rock's. It doesn't become a rock, but retains its tree-ness. The tree doesn't seek psychotherapy in dealing with the rock and where, as a seed, it was landed to grow. The tree merely integrates what it is with where it is and works from that. The same could be said for yoga practice in any human body (which, by the way, scoliosis or no, is still asymmetrical, by golly) or how life lands one in places unplanned or in a stack of books leaning just right without falling over.

I drive the man I live with nuts about asymmetry. He likes things to match and be balanced. To my mind, matchy-matchy just gets one lost in the crowd, making one nondescript, conformed. Dangerously perfect. Expecting things to be balanced only means that when one thing is taken away, it's out of balance and there's little one can do to rectify the situation except to put the same thing (or something similar) back again. Integration, asymmetry, allows for the shift in fulcrum. The Dance, the Juggling Act, that keeps moving even in its stillness. It's the movement I tend to gravitate toward in yoga, in our home, in life. I am what I am and I'm maintaining my tree-ness growing on this rock though not fully integrated just yet.

Monday, May 06, 2013

skwiggel to form

The random line drawing . . .
In a state of continuing my personal studies of an artistic nature. All prompts from CAPI.

Random line becomes form . . .

And again . . .

Form takes on life, a story . . .

And again here . . .

Yet again . . .

And one more time.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


The Beltane altar bedecked with Froud Fae and Fae of The Fairy Ring.
Jumping into that lusty month with gusto!
Beltane Blessings to All!