...or tries to...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Years Message from Oliver

Transcribed verbatim:

Oliver's humans wish you all renewal, fresh starts, and exciting change this New Year. He's right, we really do believe in all of that. But if you have an ideal perch, (and we do too), we hope it remains the perfect spot in 2012. Happy New Year All!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler died today-strange how I was looking at these wonderful photographs very early this morning - she's in her studio, in 1957, painting with her slippers, and with her hands.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A little joy

To all my friends, going through this hurried holiday week, I wish you happiness, warmth, fun, hope, and peace, from my doll house to your house.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Interior World

I've been completely preoccupied with an upcoming show, my first two-person, at Artspace Raleigh, in February. So the outside world has receded. Actually, it's receded way into the distance, and the studio has ballooned, filled up with ticking time, straight pins, stained fingertips, hope, doubt, logistics, travel plans, spinning thoughts trying to merge together into intelligible stories.  There's much less outside, day trips, no time for serendipity, chance, or  accidents. Much less time for blogging, and reading my friends' blogs, which explains, though doesn't excuse, my recent absence from their beautiful, thoughtful worlds. The whole world, right now, is in this room.  It feels small and large all at the same time, the way things seem when you're threading a needle.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Coffee table reading

I sometimes daydream about having an extra room to call the library, with floor to ceiling bookshelves, with a ladder on tracks, with a long table in the center wired with reading lamps, with an overstuffed chair near the window, wait, no - with a window seat stuffed with pillows, with an antique card catalogue that still holds dog-eared typed up cards from a library renovated long ago, with...You get the idea. Books in my homes have always shared space in dining rooms, in bedrooms, in living rooms. They sprawl, they pile up, they topple. I haven't yet been able to say, in reply to an inquiry about the whereabouts of a family member, "he's in the Library" with a pretentious faux accent designed to prove that I really know how pretentious that sounds, (though secretly digging it). So coffee tables have always stood in for the library, and in a way, that's good - the books of the moment aren't tucked away neatly, and when finished, they make way for the newer ones, forming that towering stack of words and photographs and essays and articles and illustrations that tilt and topple and color in your internal life.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Studio Visit

Working in my studio last night, I looked down, and discovered that Oliver had made a bed out of my fabric bin.

He's not a studio cat-he comes in only occasionally, to watch cars go past the window, or to steal a pompom, to beg for supper, or nurse his paws into a shopping bag full of brown fleece-(mother, mother, is that you? we imagine him saying). But this night he chose the bin of scraps, making a nest of felt, cotton swatches, black velvet, an embroidery of mushrooms and bees.

Every time I looked up from my work, he was expanding the boundaries of cuteness, testing the limits of what one poor human can absorb-

until he decided it would no longer do, and he was gone.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Petri Dish

If art-making is a transformation of the invisible into the visible, then the petri dish is the perfect metaphor. Target Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia has assembled a small works exhibition with one stipulation-the pieces must fit the parameters of a petri dish. Two of my biotopes are taking part:

Amy Gross, Cultured Biotope, Parasol Mushrooms with Ears

Amy Gross, Cultured Biotope, Pomegranate and Crown of Thorns Blossoms

All the works in the show are here, on the Target Gallery blog,
and the show itself runs December 1st - 31st, (reception December 8th, from 6 to 8).

Target Gallery, in the Torpedo Factory Art Center

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Humble Pie

Stick me with apples and my Mom's New Settlement Cookbook, (the one so well-used that the spine has peeled away and the cover has fallen off, the one with the water stains, the one that also teaches you how to set the table), and I manage  the only thing I can bake, apple pie for Thanksgiving dinner with my aunts and uncles and cousins.

Thank you that everyone who was there last year is still here.

Thank you for good company while I bake:

The crust is never even, I never flute the edges as artfully as I think I should. Food bloggers would cringe-it's never exactly magazine worthy. Like actual life. But it'll do fine.

(The best baker I know-right here)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Collections: Vintage jewelry

I've never owned a piece of jewelry that had an ounce of worldly value.  I'll never have any stories about trading in the family jewels to save the house. But ask me about my all-time favorite necklace and I'll describe the plastic Oreo cookie with a bite taken out of it, on a leather string, a reward for a good third grade report card. Or the egg with a chick peeping out from the cracks, strung on chord, or the hand painted driftwood mouse. I barely remember anything else, anything bought in a jewelry store.

So maybe that's why I love thrift store jewelry, second-hand, or third, or fourth.  Things buried deep in yard sale bins, sealed up in baggies, in the back of the case near the cashier at Goodwill. It's almost as if you're adopting them, becoming part of their story. In one case, it's a story I know-the snake belt was my Mom's, her gift to me. The rest are anonymous, but make suggestions all the time, of seventies fondue parties, of a sweater-set teenager's high school graduation,  braless young women in  turtlenecks at a Women's Lib rally, long nailed fingers holding cigarettes at a Ladies Luncheon. Cliches, of course, as most suggestions are. Someday, maybe, someone will wear my own silver charm bracelet, read the charms, and make up a story of her own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coral Gables

On Sunday my friend Amy and I drove south to Coral Gables in her new red car to see the play Red. And after a week of laboring on a piece consisting of thirty red fiber objects, it's been a decidedly red week, completed by a jarring sight, in the play, of artist Mark Rothko asleep in his studio with his arms immersed in a bucket of bright red paint. After the play the world outside was mercifully green and yellow and blue. The rows of trees, ficus and banyans, formed wonderful tunnels through all that low blue Miami light. The street I grew up on, on Long Island, was not nearly as dramatic or grand, but our maples were decades old and linked branches over the road this way. They weren't as large or embracing, but this is how I remember them, and I love the trees here as if I grew up under them.

The buildings are beautiful, iced like cakes...

with The Biltmore Hotel  at the neighborhood's center, with all its Di Chirico angles and shadows,

its swimming-pool-blue tilework,

and twilight interior.

The chandeliers are like brooches, and the ceilings as intricate as if they were embroidered.

It's a mix of Italian and Moorish and Spanish architecture, collaged together with the "why not?" that Americans have always been so good at. It shouldn't make sense, though it does, because it's here. You can't quite place the hotel, each corner recalls someplace else, but it still manages to be recognizable as itself somehow, a South Florida design buffet. It fits my adopted state perfectly.