« September 2006 | Main | November 2006 »



"Moodling, a combination of musing and mental doodling, can lead to floating over any number of obstacles..."  --  Jane Champagne

From where does inspiration derive?  Does it generate from the relationship with a particular person or muse?  And if so, can a woman have a male muse?  For this relationship to occur, is it necessary for the male to subjugate his life to the interests of the woman, or is a symbiotic balance achievable?

I don't frequently muse upon the nature of muses, but I was struck by the above thoughts while reading May Sarton's novel Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Sing.  Certainly, a supportive spouse or lover, whether male or female, is a necessary ingredient of a productive studio life.   Such support allows for concentration, but does it necessarily lead to inspiration?   

I tend to follow the path of moodling.  Inspiration is part musing and part mental doodling.  My muse is my life.  Inspiration comes from the act of living it and then settling into the studio to distill the experiences into images.  Ideas bounce from one piece to the next.  It is hard work, openness and a sense of knowing when to stop and return to moodling that allows me to be my most creative self.

And yet, I am fascinated by the notion of my very own male muse.  Should he be tall and handsome, my very own GQ model?   Or perhaps a tortured 20-something hell bent on self destruction?  Neither is terribly appealing.  I believe I need to do a bit more moodling upon the subject.   

cool crocheted hats


"Design is directed toward human beings.  To design is to solve human problems by identifying them and executing the best solution."  -  Ivan Chermayeff

Check out the latest crochet title, Cool Crocheted Hats, from Lark Books!  It contains 6 of my designs and many other terrific hats.  There is one to suit every mood and occasion from jazzy berets to romantic skullcaps.  My copy arrived in the mail this weekend and already I am tempted.

Two more of my designs are in another fabulous crochet book from Lark Books titled The New Crochet.  My mother will vouch for the linen shoulder bag I designed.  She claims to get a dozen compliments a day while carrying it.  (Okay, so moms are known to exaggerate a wee bit...maybe only a half dozen.)  I love the scarf I made from hand dyed merino wool.  It is warm, fun, and colorful enough to chase away the worst of winter blues.

If you have never crocheted, now is the time to learn.  These books have detailed instructions with precise illustrations.  The designs are contemporary, fashionable and easy to make.  Best of all, they aren't cookie cutter clones of what you see in the big box stores.      

rose bush

"Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas." - Elizabeth Murray

I think of my garden as living sculpture especially when I am pruning.  Clippers, like scissors, bring the garden collage into balance.  Though I consider this balance to be a visual one, at times it is one concerning the overall the health of the garden.  A beautiful old fashioned rose (see above toward the upper right of the photo) has contracted witches broom and needs to be removed before the virus spreads to all other plants in the rosa family.  This one removal prevents the removal of 12 other plants. Removing such a grand plant is akin to unraveling 40-50 hours of knitting in order to rework the piece toward perfection.  The process is heart wrenching, but sometimes necessary.



"The eye is the window of the human body through which it feels its way and enjoys the beauty of the world. "  -  Leonardo Da Vinci

I often tell my students to draw what they see, not what they know. As an example I show work Claude Monet created after he had developed cataracts.  The works are abstract; gardens out of focus.  He could have easily drawn from memory, but he didn't.These last few days I've been thinking about Monet and how he turned a potential liability into an asset. 

Sunday, as I scooped up Squirt from her early morning vigil, I poked my left eye on a rose bush.   Today is the first day I have been able to withstand the bright screen of my computer without wincing or squinting.  The details - I have a 3mm scratch on my cornea with a mild infection caused by the plant debris.  As a result I haven't been as productive in the studio, but my knitting is much more textural.  I've been relying on my sense of touch to guide me. 

In my visits to the ophthalmologist, I have learned quite a bit about the eye.  My previous knowledge was limited to high school biology.  Never one to let accidents be mere accidents, the concept for a new series is already forming. 


shake hands

"Do not protect yourself by a fence, but rather by your friends." - Czech proverb

The act of opening one's post office box is a bit like unwrapping a present.  What's inside?  Will there be a letter, a magazine or just anoter bill?  This week I received a package from the generous folks at Colorado State University.  It contained a delightful card signed by the many students I met and a CD of images to treasure.  The photo above was taken while giving an informal tour of my exhibtion "Woman's Work."  I had brought with me a suitcase of "sweaters" for students to wear and experience.   Most of the items were from my Attachment Project, but the picture above illustrates a new idea.

I have this bee in my bonnet about creating a piece that spans a river.  Being born and raised in St. Louis, naturally I think of the Mississippi River.  Rivers act as dividing lines between countries, states, cities - people.  I want to build a bridge that psychologically connects divided land, thus bringing people together.

The mittens span the river allowing people to reach across to shake hands.  The movement caught in this photo captures the wave motion I envision occuring.   As with any prototype, the visual aspect is easiest, it is the technical that alludes me.  How do I distribute the weight of the yarn so the mittens are easy to maneuver?   How do I prevent the midsection from dragging in the river?  If this idea is ever going to become reality, I need to collaborate with some engineers.

As I, uhm, mature, my work becomes more ambitious, requiring the assistance of others.  The collaboration process is one of connecting and learning.  It shatters the myth of the depressed and anti-social artist working in the seclusion of the studio.  I admire the work of Christo and Jeanne- Claude.  They work with hundreds of people in the process of creating one piece, yet the work always stays true to their original concept.  But what do you do if you learn an idea is not yet possible?  I can't go there.  I need to believe that anything is possible, otherwise I will never make the necessary leaps of faith and try. 

PS - Thank you to one and all at CSU for the CD!  I will soon post a few of your photos on my website under Community / Attachment Project.