Tag Archives: light

Chores and light

Every season there are surprises that I’m not sure should be surprises — things that make me ask, did this happen last year? Or ever before? This spring I am astonished by how many dried catalpa pods littered the yard. Were they ever this plentiful before, requiring five or six large barrels? Perhaps I forget year to year.

And, in other Aprils, I don’t remember the late afternoon sun being so glorious in what we call “the new room” (it remains “the new room” even as it ages through its second decade). Lately, the light has honeyed the walls and furniture in a way that gladdens me so much you’d think I’d remember. But I don’t. It seems novel and remarkable.

 

I don’t perform an itemized spring cleaning, but I do find myself taking toothbrush and Comet to windowsills and slate on a more regular basis than I might during the winter. Since C is graduating in a few weeks (with a BS in Chem, in case you want to be impressed), I want his room to be nice. Or at least, clean. The old windows in our house collect dirt and insect husks and paint chips in a way that require some real elbow grease. It is kind of gross how much of the filth comes off, but ever so satisfying to watch it go. And yes, the photo is an ‘after’ shot – you should have seen it before.

Now, do you see the black form under the yew bush below? Left side? There’s Finn sniffing along the fence. His insatiable joyful need for ‘fetch’ has a lot to do with the state of our backyard.   We are considering a combination approach: rolls of sod, pea stone, and slate. Using what we had on hand, K and I got a pretty good start on a patio at the garage end. The midsection would get the sod (too much shade to grow grass from seed) and the back third, the pea stone. We’ll see. Right now, half of our dog training goes to getting Finn to sit and then stand while we wipe his paws at the back sliders (he’s pretty good about it). I’m waiting to see if any of the trampled ostrich ferns come back. Fingers crossed.

fade and wonder and authorship

collage light deemallonTry to answer the question ‘what is art’ and find half your audience in a narcoleptic stupor in a heartbeat. But ASKING the question and PLAYING with it in your hands and your lens and your canvas, is a fiery, soulful exercise.

If you make collage using magazine images, you can’t help but feel a little sheepish about matters of originality. When is borrowing theft? And, how important is endurance, anyway? Fade, fade, fade.

I made and framed this collage about thirty years ago. I can’t remember if it’s under archival glass or not (probably not. I was a law student paying for tuition with loans). Does the fact that I covered and cut the images of an artist’s clay masks turn them into ‘my’ work. Probably not, which is likely why I’ve kept this framed piece to myself all these years.

collage light deemallonBut now — look at the light angling across the glass! The light adds its commentary, without my authorship, and changes the stolen images yet again. Does my capture NOW make it more ‘mine’? And if paper is ephemeral, what is light passing over paper — even if captured in a photo?

“Light eats cloth” commented Mo yesterday. Fade, fade, fade.reveled in light passing through clothPart of me shrugs — or even yells a New Mexico YES —  because maybe that is part of the point — this mixing up of signature with indices of time.

I once sent a piece of patchwork to Grace in New Mexico. I had pulled some inner knots tight and didn’t know how to undo them. It seemed a simple thing to ship cloth west. I got energized by the idea of some fabric I had pieced together being touched by her, being blasted by the desert sun and sniffed at by goats.

The exercise gave me this idea of shipping sections of patchwork around the world, and asking others to let the elements ‘do their thing’, then return them to me so that I could piece them together into a more meaningful Global Warming quilt than I’ve made to date. (Still just an idea).

Jude plays at these edges all the time. Think – Magic Feather cloth, which gathered up hand sewn bits from all over the world, stitching a community together in the process (and a masterpiece cloth). Think of her play with light and shadows. A recent post showed one of her spectacular quilts with a shadow of her hand splayed over one side. Is the work the photograph of Jude’s hand casting a shadow on the quilt? Or the brief event of the shadow? Or is it ‘merely’ the cloth afterall, but now with a memory of the shadow?

Enough words. Time for a run to a garden center. It is an absolutely stunning day and I have both boys home!! Happy Mother’s Day to me!!! And Happy Mother’s day to all of you. We all mother something — ourselves, our pets, our ideas, and some of us, children.

Crescent of light

It is bitterly cold today. Cops tend a downed wire at the corner. Gusts of wind are taking branches down and forcing kids on the playground to wear hats. Finn and I take brisk but short walks around the neighborhood. All of a sudden it is a new year.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f6f/5880966/files/2015/01/img_7203.jpgThe light is different already. I noticed it on the buildings near the airport this morning. I noticed it on this Chinese plate this afternoon. Less wan and with a little more warmth.
light-chinese-plate-deemallonI don’t seem to know what I am doing anymore. Or maybe transitions throw me more than they used to. Back to the empty nest, which now includes Finn so it’s a lot less empty, but still….

Here is a rambling list of hopes/intentions for the new year — only things on my mind at the moment, and not an attempt at comprehensive breadth or corrective sway:  I hope to make a blanket for one of the boys this year. And then for the other next year. They have twin sized quilts but it’s time for doubles. I would like to read a little more this year. Walk a lot more. Let more stuff roll off my back, even if it means letting go of reactive anger and feeling more sadness. I plan to learn how to sharpen knives in 2015. And, I am going to get rid of a lot more shit.  A lot more. (It continues to amaze me how satisfying this decluttering process is!) Better blogging – especially, reading favorites — I HOPE so. Progress on the writing front — I HOPE so.  Continued health of my loved ones — I chant daily.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f6f/5880966/files/2015/01/img_7207.jpgAnd now I’ll leave you with a double image that serves as a visual prayer from me to you for the New Year — may you have more abundance, joy, ease!

PS  Finn ate the Nine of Cups this morning.  Thankfully, I have a spare deck which now will only serve to supply replacement cards, though of course the full deck is boxed and out of reach now!

transitions

IMG_0061Here is a conceptual nine patch. It is about all I have time for now.
IMG_0062 I am intrigued by how radically an image can be altered, just by changing how  much light gets in.
IMG_0063IMG_0068This little landscape moves from left to right in installments like a comic book.  I like finding the mountains, lakes, and moons in the fabrics. I like including time as an element in the story of the cloth.

IMG_4963

Colorado

IMG_0019

backyard

IMG_4929

Colorado

IMG_0086

front yard

IMG_4757

back fence

I am in and out of town one more time — so blogging will be more intermittent than usual until after Labor Day. Enjoy the last days of summer!

Cold Snap

In the winter, after the leaves fall, our first floor is flooded with light. It’s one of the things I like most about this house.

Trayvon-MartinOne day last week, when I was feeling a little at odds with myself (I can’t remember why), I found myself thinking, “But this light, I get. This light doesn’t confuse me.”
strange-fruit-on-curtainHow to address the brutal history of slavery in a quilt DOES confuse me. For one thing, there is the question — is this my story to tell? That query triggers the question – does that matter, and if so, how? More on those thoughts later.

The working title for this ‘Trayvon Martin’ quilt is: Strange Fruit, triggered by an email conversation with the fiber artist, Kit Lang.  Ms. Lang responded to the Zimmerman acquittal with two quilts, one of which she titled “Strange Fruit – Stand Your Ground.” You can see it here.

Being reminded of that haunting Billie Holiday song informed the choice of the fabrics printed with trees and vines. The ship in the lower right references slave ships, as does the brown batik with horizontal striping.

I got away from the initial idea of a white house with a white fence beyond which a black boy could not safely go. One of the other Martin quilts may preserve and explore that initial design impulse.

polka-dotsBlogged about earlier here “White House and Privilege” and here “Privilege Progression – quilt slide show“.