...or tries to...

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Why I love beads. Simple.
Not just because they mimic cells, and ice, and stars, and seeds.
Because they make you really think about their color, and see the differences in everything we call red, and blue, and green, and white. Because they make you center in on the search for that one perfect hue, and let you see it everywhere.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Missing you...

The Old Blue Barn is up on a shelf right now, empty. Wow, that was needlessly depressing in tone, it's not like it burned up in a fire or was accidentally crushed in a soccer-ball incident-(that did happen once, to another house, long ago). It's right over my head while I'm typing away here. But I had to pack up its insides and put it away when I sold my home, there just wasn't room where I'm living now. And it's a time-inhaler. It calls to you like a tiny siren, play with me play with me, you're ten again and you'll be ten forever, and you're afraid you'll look up, like some enchanted princess in a creepy old fairy tale, to find that you're 95 and hadn't noticed time passing.

But I love it. I just do. All you miniaturists know what I'm talking about. Unless you sell what you fashion from from clay and toothpicks and paper, it's one of the few things on earth that has nothing to do with deadlines, or juror's panels, or even logic. It's self-contained, you do it because it's so much fun, to hunch over and make something minisculely real from something else, to stick your face into a tiny room, hold your breath, and float there, transformed, like a ghost from another dimension.

Yeah, I'll probably take it down from the top of the bookshelf. My full scale things, the contents of my actual home - furniture, pottery, world globes, silverware, books, are all stuffed up into two labyrinth-like storage units. They're waiting for the complexities of adult life, with their contracts and addendums and closing costs, to set them free. But the Old Blue Barn's contents are in a plastic shoe box in my mother's garage. Right over there. This is something I can easily put back together again.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Favorite: The Third Man

I thought I would try to expand my blog's little world to include the things out there that I like most. Some things I absolutely love, some - certain books, paintings, videos, songs, movies, have become so integrated into the contents of my life that I almost forget that they aren't mine. But don't we all take possession of the things we love, make them a part of who we are? Once you do something, or build something, or draw something, and send it out, it belongs to anyone who sees it and takes it in. Isn't there a REM song that declares, "I am the king of all I see"?

My favorite movie is The Third Man, Carol Reed's 1949 masterpiece. Of course there's the ferris wheel and stumbling Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles in the dark doorway. It has rubbled, dark, wet post-war Vienna, the sewer chase, the tiny shouting boy and the tinier dog, the balloon man, winding staircases, Dr Winkel, the wonderful if erroneous speech by Welles about Switzerland. And a zither soundtrack. It has the bumping of bland innocence against secrets and corruption and the tilted distortions of survival. But my favorite scene, the one I think of first, is Harry Lime's attempt to escape through the locked grate that leads up out from the sewer to freedom-we've been splashed and shoved through the sopping subterranean tunnels with echoed shouting and rushing sewer water and flashlight strobed dancing shadows. Harry reaches up through the grate-we see his fingers rise from the vantage of the empty street, dead silent up there except for the high whistle of the winter wind. They uncurl, reach up, then sink slowly back below.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Watson MacRae Gallery

I'm beyond excited to be a part of a new exhibit opening December 3rd at Watson MacRae Gallery on the beautiful island of Sanibel, Florida. It's titled "Folk, Fantasy & Outsider Art", and I'll be showing eleven pieces there. The shadowboxes were made for the gallery, but the other pieces will be my larger wall and free standing objects, and the first time two pieces, "Climb, Cling, and Drift Away", and "Tangled Biotope" will be on view, outside of my own tiny personal universe. The wonderful Maureen Watson has been warmly and kindly guiding me into the world of the group show, and I'm so proud to be a part of the of the seven artists she has gathered together.

Here's an article from CaptivaSanibel.com:


And Watson MacRae's website:


Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Fibers 2010

This comes under the Shameless Self-Promotion catagory, of course, but it's also a shout-out to the Fiber Arts Network of Michigan (FAN), Eastern Michigan University, and the Ann Arbor Fiber Arts Guild. Until December 10, my Red Blooming Biotope is part of the show, New Fibers 2010, at the University Gallery in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and it's been a wonderful thing to be a part of. Not only do I get to participate, I was given the Second Place prize by juror Tracy Krumm, and featured on the invitation postcard. I wasn't able to see the show in person, but based on the catalog they sent me, I'm in company with outstandingly skilled and imaginative artists, truly exploring the potential of a media choice that has been historically marginalized, until recently. According to Michele Fricke, writing in the catalog,

"Fiber is a field of art-making as old as painting or sculpture and is equally steeped in tradition. However most art history courses touch only briefly on the history of textiles, if they mention it at all, in part because of the ephemerality of materials. It is further marginalized by the perception of fibers as 'women's work', reductive arguments about craft (which are happily shifting), and the perception held by many that fiber artists are all about the materials and techniques to the detriment of content."

Thankfully, because of shows like New Fiber, I'm challenged less and less on the value of my choices, and encouraged beyond words by their sensitivity towards the balance of intimate labor and thought that animates the best fiber art I see out there.

The greatest blog to celebrate the diverse and intense vocabulary of fiber-based work is artist Lorraine Glessner's oh what a world, what a world, (the poor Wicked Witch's next to last words before she melted away into a pile of resentful steaming black muslin). It's an encyclopedia of what's going on out there, and what the wonderful Lorraine herself is creating-


Monday, November 22, 2010

Green November

In my mind, November is, and might always be, the memory of a Thanksgiving visiting friends in a town along the New York side of the Hudson River. A beautiful day through the car windows, with that low, thin winter sunlight, black tree branches scratching the white sky, the slate gray river passing down below. We were early and stopped the car on the shore for a little while-we had to press our shoulders against the car doors to open them against the wind. It ripped our coats open, shoved us deeper into the park than we wanted to go, jerked our hats sideways, smacked our cheeks. We lasted ten minutes, November slamming the doors shut for us as we stumbled back in.

Here in Florida, November opens windows, moves the trees just a little, like off-hand, gentle "hellos". The low sun lights up leaves, idling there calmly. The air steps back, doesn't drop on you like the heat of spring and summer and half of fall. It's still. After eleven years, still new, and strange. And green, very green.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Solomon

The amazing Solomon, shape shifter.
A living Franz Kline painting, though in real life he would never be an action painting. A still life, maybe. He's still. He thinks about things. He mulls and considers. He watches his young tabby roommate Oliver chase a red laser dot around the house but shows no interest. Why? It's a red laser dot. Can't eat it, can't maul it, can't kill it. What's the point, then?

Last month I was away from home for the first time in a long time, 11 hours drive north on a mountain, (of course), and I got a call from my vet. They felt something in his abdomen. You never want to hear any conversation start that way, in any way, about anyone you know.

So Solomon did have an operation, and he does have cancer. But the operation was a success, with nothing else compromised as far as they could see. It seems impossible that he be this healthy with it in an intermediate stage, it seems unlikely he would be this hungry and this content. Right now he's acting younger than he has for years, he's hungrier than he's ever been, he smacks right back when his roommate Oliver jumps him from above. He's Solomon, right now and for as long as mystery and the unknown remains mysterious and unknown. And that works for me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I used to upload pictures of my home to Flickr and see them as something separate from the house I lived in, another place that existed free from the grubby everyday. It must be the same way someone well-known looks at a published photo of themselves and sees that person as someone different than who they know themselves to be. Except that my little apartment wasn't famous or particularly special. But making it part of the internet-maybe not just part of the internet-just making it into something different than a space I lived in and arranged my stuff around, turning it into a series of chosen and composed images, it created this little fiction. I was isolating small moments there: the pattern of a shadow, the slant of sinking sunlight, and pulling them away from the noise my neighbors were making upstairs, the slamming, the pounding, the screaming. I still managed to love the way things looked despite the noises and the anger and the helplessness that accompanied them, but in real life they were so tangled up that they became inseparable. And that's real life on Earth, isn't it.

I left my home three months ago, but pictures of it still drift by on my screen saver. And now, when I come into this new room and glance at the computer, I finally see them as photos of something that really doesn't exist anymore. They're allowed to be the biographical fiction they were meant to be. The day to day experience of living there is fading fast, and with it all the difficulties of being there. I let myself see the glowing red reflection, the ghosts of afternoon sunshine on a door, and find it romantically beautiful. It's not real in any way anymore, it no longer exists. So the pictures I made from it can be just what they were meant to be.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I grew up in the Northeast, and even after eleven years in South Florida, I'm not quite used to the idea that winter coming on means opening the windows. Summer is heavy with hurricane dread, blinding white sunlight, skin-broiling car seats. It's too humid to move with any kind of conviction, though you try, and you find yourself attaching a little too much to the insides of malls and chain stores. But in October the air actually moves and the gardens start to burst, and you get to see again all the strange things that grow here, float down, curl and twist on sidewalks and coral pavers.