Tag Archives: boston

snowed under

IMG_7638There is so much that I want to write about — storytelling, historic research and how synchronicity can make it exciting and affirming… recently discovered facts about the year right before the Lucas family left Antigua, which changes my view of their decision to leave the small Leeward Island quite radically and feeds later scenes with a specificity that I just love.
IMG_7644-0But for now I am literally snowed under. It just keeps coming. There are calling this steady slow accumulation an ‘event’ rather than a storm, but the mind boggling part is how much more may fall: POSSIBLY TWO MORE FEET!! I managed to get up to Salem yesterday, the first time in two weeks — the visit being squeezed between snow storms and snow events. (That’s my sister’s ‘sidewalk’ below).
IMG_7687It seems odd to write this, but there’s an upside right now to my sister being practically a shut in  — and that is:  this weather has very little impact on her. I arrange for groceries to be delivered and worry about her slipping on her iced up sidewalk should she go out to check her mail. But otherwise, not much changes for her.
IMG_7649The city will be shut down tomorrow (again). Schools closed everywhere (again). The T will run on an abbreviated schedule.  K will work at home. This interim time of puppyhood / snowstorm continues weirdly unhinged from former routines — most notably sewing and writing.

But, this morning I was up at four and did write (I love the quiet of the early hours!) and was out of doors walking Finn by six-thirty. There’s a lot to be said for these forced marches, even if they are complicated by gloves, boots, specialty leashes, treats, dog doo, etc. The bracing air and the quiet streets have a way of feeding the soul.

Tomorrow is my birthday, which means I am thinking of my mother.

Because it rained

20140729-082526-30326986.jpgThank goodness it rained on the last Sunday in July, because instead of taking a walk that morning, I went to the MFA.  It was the last day of a quilt show that it would have killed me to miss.
IMG_4648There were about six rooms of beautiful traditional quilts, with a lot of text about the collectors and the quilters’ use of color.  Another friend of mine took exception with how little was said about the MAKERS and how MUCH was said about the collectors.  I spent almost all of my time looking at the quilts, so it wasn’t something I picked up on.  Before I judge the exhibit on this basis, I would want to know what, if anything, they knew about the crafters.  It’s very possible that in the case of many of the quilts, NOTHING was known.

a whole room of Amish quilts!

a whole room of Amish quilts!

In what little text I did read, I noticed an repetitious emphasis on the use of color (we get it! complimentary colors look good together!!) and a real lack of information about the technical structure of the cloths.  Gorgeous trapunto and stippling went without mention; one quilt supposedly had discharged cloth in it where I could find none.

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890's

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890’s

But! I still thoroughly enjoyed the show and firmly believe that quilts belong on the walls of our art museums — and not just the magnificent Gee’s Bend quilts, either.

All the photos were taken with my phone, so please indulge the lack of focus!


bold and dynamic use of plaid



An entire room of variations on the Log Cabin pattern was my favorite part of the show, not only because of the quilts themselves, but because the grouping revealed how profound an impact color/value choices have on design.  All the quilts in the room used the very same pattern and yet were radically different from each other.



unbelievably small strips!

20140729-082527-30327942.jpg20140729-082529-30329802.jpgIMG_4665 IMG_4667 IMG_4668

20140729-082527-30327633.jpgThis was one of many beautiful nine patches in the exhibit.  The show made me appreciate the uses of white when making patterns and colors sing.



woolen, tied quilt — nine patch and rail fence

IMG_4636 IMG_4637 IMG_4638 IMG_4639 IMG_4640

Another Nude — SoulCollage Card — Fertility

Fertility -- Council Suit

Fertility -- Council Suit

Just made this card — a celebration of fertility — in all its beauty, moisture, flesh, and mooniness.  This card has a parallel in the Major Arcana of the Tarot Deck– The Empress, No. 3.  Here is that card from the Rider Deck:


There are some similarities — the watery background (waterfall vs. bayou), the inclusion of grains (wheat vs. corn), the red drape, a seated female.  The primary difference lies in time of day — mine is all about the dark.  This ties my figure more to the classic associations of dark/female/unconscious.  It makes my card’s female a little juicier, I think. Perhaps more about the drive to procreate and the act of procreation, and less about the raising of offspring.  Both, however, are seated in their power and fertility.

In putting this collage up for viewing, I am thinking more about blogging and less about archetypes, however.   Somewhere I read the suggestion of putting “Waylon Jennings” and “taxes” in one’s tags to drive traffic to your blog.  I bet these days Sarah Palin might work, too.

From my own blog experience, adding any words relating to sex brings traffic.  According to the dashboard on my wordpress sidebar, the consistently most active posts of mine are the following:

  • Nude thread drawing
  • Mammogram quilt
  • Birthday buns.

The pattern is a little disheartening.  Based on my small sampling, this post ought to be an active one.

The female figure, by the way, comes from the Boston MFA’s press release on the current exhibit of 16th century painters from Venice.  I hope to go!

To read more about the exhibit, here are two links:

the bostonist
enticing the light

And here is a link to a blog discussing The Tarot and other spiritual matters (thank you for The Empress image!) —

Magic of the Ordinary

Maybe tomorrow, thoughts will return to the image.

Hiatus & Newton Open Studios

Sinead O'Connor picture at the MFA

Sinead O'Connor picture at the MFA

After living in the Boston area for 23 years, I finally managed to see the ‘Art in Bloom’ exhibit at the MFA.  Well, sort of.  I had an hour and it was really packed, but I saw a few and marveled over a them and took a couple of pictures…

The bouquet for this picture was amazing (my picture of it was not) — with a spiky plant capturing the stubble, an orchid for an ear, and a massing of white roses for the skin and purity.  I think this was a Ritts photograph, but I’m not sure, and I’m sorry I didn’t see who made the floral arrangement either.  The photograph is very large, which adds to its impact — roughly 3.5 to 4′ wide.

Newton Open Studios is coming up!  On May 16 and 17, my home will be open from 11 to 5.   I have lots of new work, and two other artists will be here — Dan Wiener, who makes incredible ceramics and Maria Mizrahi, who fashions tropical nuts into funky, chunky jewelry.

So the blog will be quiet until after that  (I always work right up until the last minute).  Everything for sale in my etsy store will be available here.  If time permits, I’ll post some pictures.


Journal Quilt Week 6

Journal Quilt Week 6

This week’s quilt was meant to be inspired by a trip to Boston’s ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) in a manner other than it was.  We had to pull teeth to get our two teenage boys to go see Shepard Fairey.  I thought the fact that the artist had been arrested in Boston on Friday, that his work could be found on city streets and the bottom of skateboards, that his motto, “question everything” informed most of his images, would hold some appeal.  Not so.

I started with the idea of using Photoshop Elements to pair words of my kids’ resistance with a photo that revealed some of their exuberance at actually being there.   I was going to print that on fabric, stitch it to another piece of fabric with wild, angry slash quilting, and be done with it.

harbor side of the ICA

harbor side of the ICA

But, in keeping with a prolonged and now excruciating run of malfunctions, the printer ate the fabric and then died.  The top four or so inches printed before the fabric jammed, and those words and ink smears made their way into the finished piece.  I cut out newspaper letters to spell “obey” — a reference to the artist’s “Obey Giant” series — which, of course, ironically also refers to our family conflict.

Because I forgot to look at last week’s quilt for a “carry over” fabric, the carry over is paper.


In the end, I like this quilt much, much better than the original idea, which means I am grateful to the printer’s malfunction.  What I hope I can do now is to translate that to our family.  If our outing yesterday was the printer jamming, then the way we relate to each other in the coming week would correlate to the improved, more interesting quilt.


And I’ll say it here for the record (look again at the spade-like leaves occupying near center of the quilt), the energy and intelligence that goes into rebelling are good things.  Something Shepard Fairey knows for sure.

Scraps make a life


Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.
Meister Eckhart
(quoted in Julia Cameron’s book, “The Vein of Gold”)


sparrow-wisteria-moreI thought I was being soooooo productive and accountable to a blog-posted To Do list by hemming the jeans of Dan’s that have been transiting from pile to pile since Thanksgiving.  Imagine my surprise when D. held up one of the two pairs and asked, “Why did you hem Kevin’s jeans, Mom?!!”  (Kevin doesn’t live here).

Ah, so much for the satisfaction of a thing done.  The cut hems could not be thrown out, naturally.  The pictures above I hope demonstrate WHY not.  Their ragged edges and variations of blue do a better job suggesting the blue shadows of winter than my first journal quilt (below).


I have ALREADY revised my rules. I started with a rule that at least some fabric must come from the floor.  When I discovered over the weekend that I was reluctant to re-bin fabrics that had been dumped out (during some mad need for a container) because it meant I would have less interesting fabrics on the floor to pick from,  I realized that the rule I had created supposedly to trick myself into cleaning up had already become a disincentive.  So!  I revised the rule to —

Each Journal Quilt must include scraps from a bin.

This rule, however, is meaningless, since nearly my entire stash qualifies, so I let it go.  These two new mini-quilts (possibly one will be Journal for this week), put me in mind of perhaps a better rule…

At least one fabric must carry over from week to week.

Here, the deep blue with white dots (suggesting snow fall) was the background for last week’s quilt.


The process of putting Christmas things away is satisfying.  Wrapping, tucking, safekeeping for next year AND clearing space.  The tree is still up, but with only colored lights now.


I wish I could revel in the mess as much as the figure below seems to!


Lastly, here are two figures needing work.  The grey unspun wool figure needs a body.  I find that an interesting metaphor.  I may attach him to a cross-beam and explore the notion of sacrifice while I’m at the business of examining how and why I become dis-embodied (such heavy requirements!! — but then, it is just where the thing wants to go.  I merely follow!)  I drew the head on Shrinky-Dink, copying a portrait of an African man who appeared to be an ecstatic trance.  The priestly figure has a body, but needs arms.  This guy holds interest all of a sudden because he seems to have changed sides on me.  I made him during the height of the sex scandals here in Boston.  Then he was, by virtue of his silence and passivity, a nasty co-conspirator in the abuses.  But yesterday, when I wrapped him in that thread shawl (also made ages ago), he just struck me as sad.  Perhaps he is one of the many priests that was not aware of what was going on.  Perhaps he grieves the damage done — not just to all those victims, but to the Catholic Church itself.  Amazing what passing time can do to a picture, image or idea!