Category Archives: color pattern love

Adding light, revising novel

I’m adding light and shadow to appliqued hawk. Made her head lighter and used white poly for beak to make it pop. A scrap of fabric practically fell out of the basket and felt like a minor show of Providence.

Jude had the idea over on Instagram to darken some of the ripples around the hawk’s head. Since I like the way it adds a sense of motion, I may continue around the body as long as I have that color thread. It’ll look good flowing off the wings.

Had some gross polyester swirled with black in that basket, too. Added to tail and wings for more contrast. Light. Maybe you can see a difference with earlier incarnation, maybe not (below).

It’s nice to have company.

In the meantime, I finally talked to my paid manuscript consultant yesterday. Round three coming up. I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, perhaps even shouting off the rooftops: SHE LOVES MY BOOK.

I think people forget how solitary a process writing is.

House names should not be italicized. If I’m gonna talk about the elder Middletons toward the end, they need to be introduced earlier. Still sags here and there — needs tightening. Not so many descriptions of clouds, perhaps. Maybe not so much about Melody’s first owner. Explain what head rights are and how to memorialize land in Author’s Note, which starts like this:

When I began this novel, Trayvon Martin was alive and as I finished the second edit, George Floyd was dead.

The suggestion that I add an epilogue (say in 1758 after Eliza and Charles Pinckney return from a five year stay in England), will take a little more thought. That’s fourteen years after my original end. Lots of years I haven’t thought about all that much.

A six year time frame (1738 to 1744) allowed a laser-like focus. Etiquette in 1720? I don’t care! Rice markets in 1750? Also don’t care. Now I need to care. I’ll start with Eliza’s letters.

A walk with temps in the 40’s was cause for celebration this week. Daffodils shoving aside leaf debris. Snow shrugging off the curbs. It won’t be long now ’til the miracle of hyacinths.

In the meantime I am trying to answer the question (Acey’s): how do you hold your heart? Or maybe just asking it. Softly.

The collage challenge with Paris Collage Collective continues. This week: Shirley Chisholm.

More to come. I want to cut up seed catalogues and wreathe her head with flowers. In the collage above, the headstone of Harriett Jacobs served as reference to the long history of oppression, Jacobs being another Black woman who overcame so much.

Where you find strength

Today I find strength in others’ words and posts. From Mo’s exaltations of Pinkola Estes to Liz’s resolve to find beauty wherever she is to an NPR radio interview with Kimberle Crenshaw on the historic and catastrophic parallels to “finding unity” and “moving on.”

And, as is so often the case these days, Acey’s pictures and directions and catalogues of thought and image are rolling through my nervous system.

The sewer cap above is one of many answers to Liz’s question: can you find beauty in the suburbs? Look at the color of that brick! The rust! And the delicate shadow of a twig. They make my heart sing.

The magic green dots thrill me every time!

As I begin to explore yellow* — my cutting and piecing paper instincts want to be translated to cloth. Can I even remotely achieve the immediacy of paper collage with stitch and fabric? What a wonderful edge to open up the power of the will.

* chakra exploration with Acey

Indigo square with moon by Jude.

Snow on the way

I might follow along with Roxane Gay’s reading list for the year. One book a month. I ordered the first one, which is getting a lot of buzz and I really wanted anyway. If this effort is like others, I’ll last until April.

I’ve finally attended to the minutiae involved in being able to borrow kindle books from my library. What a gift! Using the Libby app, I can reserve books and then they show up in my kindle reader without having to go anywhere! Black Futures looks like a beautiful coffee table book, though, so I ordered a copy. Here’s the full list in case you’re interested.

In other news, “we” are installing a gas fireplace. This old house’s current fireplace is very inefficient and sucks warm air out of the entire first floor. Plus, you know, because of the mess and effort, we just don’t have fires all that much. We already have gas in the house. I can’t wait to be able to start a fire with a click of a button. Don’t judge me!

By “we,” I mean my husband, of course. We save almost two grand this way.

I just discovered an Instagram group — @pariscollagecollective — that posts weekly image prompts. I may take part (again — will I last until late spring?) Here’s the first prompt for 2021.

I’ve put together one of my digital-collage slideshows (one minute, below), but I intend to work with paper this week. And then maybe, using a photo of the paper collage, create more layered exposures with the Diana app — my preferred method.

Some of my faves follow. Some of you will recognize collage images embedded from the Collage Challenge with Acey a year ago.

Snow to begin before sunset.

* tattooed torso is a dancer from recent remake of West Side Story and featured in the New York Times. Cloaked Egyptian and other smaller white cloaked figure from National Geographic. Cloth is my own. Virgin from photo I took in cathedral in Assisi. Black woman looking at lens, I don’t remember — but very possibly Vanity Fair.

Orange equals overwhelm

Today, I should say. Today, orange equals overwhelm.

A little background. My tech skills need updated. I need to learn how to transfer photos to my new laptop so that I can then delete 1,000’s (and I mean 1,000’s) of pix from my phone. Talk about too much!

Then, I need to figure out why blogger won’t let me leave comments (and there, I speak of too little. Too little interaction with some beloved blogs because *#%*£#).

Finally and most immediately, I need to update my blog-reading app. I thought I was keeping up with a chakra exploration led by Acey and come to find out, I’m way behind. Way behind.

Which is actually a terrific place to begin: with that ancient and enduring sense that I am not enough. Perhaps this sense dwells in the lower midsection. A second chakra phenomenon.

Is looking backward an indulgence? Is it at some times and not others, for some people and not others?

Wondering about that.

I scanned Acey’s posts and took a few pix before and during the morning’s dog walk and then pulled out my SoulCollage cards (so much orange!) and went down to my studio (so much MORE orange!)

There was no prayer, music, or movement involved. Just a burning punk and curiosity. I will let most of the photos sit while I let an approach appear.

But to start: a corner of orange fabric sticking out of a desk that once belonged to my mother caught my eye this morning.

It’s a piece of high-end linen given to me by a local upholsterer with a scavenged piece of paper stitched on top. I don’t remember when I made it, but it’s years ago. The design looks map-like and therefore holds excitement, but the grubby aspect makes it also seem forlorn and wrecked. As I go through the chakra exercise, I will add to this little wrecked, forlorn, exciting map-like shape and see what comes.

I was already thinking about yellow and how key it is to orange, when on our walk (our very COLD walk), I came across a plastic gate in a neighbor’s yard.

Look! In that space between panels, is where orange vibrates.

If I was to pick an emotion that would be moderately difficult to explore right now, it would be MISSING. Missing, as in tender longing, not as in regret or obstruction. I suspect I spend a fair amount of time avoiding how much I miss certain aspects of earlier phases of my life, including (MOSTLY) but not limited to my sons.

More soon after more reading, exploring!

Check it out: Acey’s chakra exercises.

Starting collage book

Again. Beginning with red. Continuing, really.

Opener: The Hanged Man was right to hand in the box of scraps I chose to rifle through. A suitable symbol for certain aspects of my childhood. Perhaps this explains my attraction to the cross as a symbol. I return to it again and again.

When I do this work, collage work specifically, the old crap has a way of showing up. I don’t apologize for it, though an uglier subject can hardly be conjured.

But it’s all so long ago and after so many hands and hearts offered one kind of healing or another, it does surprise me a little — the persistence of childhood trauma as a theme.

PS I did not sleep a wink last night which means I was awake at the time of the partial lunar eclipse in Gemini. The cloudy sky prevented any viewing. What wind and rain we had yesterday and through much of the night. A disturbance of the atmosphere!