"I love a hand that meets my own with a grasp that causes some sensation." -- Samuel Osgood
I am finally sorting through images of the Attachment Project at Looptopia to put on my website, but I decided to give you preview here at the Land of Serendipity. The photos I am showing today were taken by my friend Sandi Gunnett. You should take a look at her own blog. Her recent photos of a young engaged couple are beyond too cute
Can you tell that folks were having fun?
“If you want to be happy, be.” -- Leo Tolstoy
I share with you an image from my Chirurgi series. It's of a happy, healthy leucocyte cell. Nothing was determined at the hospital. Once again it took two technicians and a cardiologist to find my heart, but there it was beating madly away. I loved the comment from one technician who informed me with all seriousness that my ribcage was blocking her ability to get a good ultrasound image. I thought she was kidding and laughed, but she wasn't joking. Sigh. After an hour they finally got a good read, proceeded with the test and then found nothing wrong. I was also told that the test wasn't very accurate. Well, never you mind, I'm at home feeling fine and am going to put the worrying behind me.
Today has been one of those "golden days." It has been a day when the sun is high in the sky and the temperature perfect. I harvested the tansy for the dye pot, read more of my latest novel, drank a superior cup of coffee, knit half a sock and puttered again in the garden. Lovely. Better yet, the day isn't over. I'm heading back out into it.
"A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones." -- the Bible / Book of Proverbs
I spent the better part of the past two days knitting a sock. Just one sock. I'd knit, make a mistake, rip, and knit again. The heel alone took 8 attempts to get it just right. This isn't me. I'm generally not such a clutz. But after the last attempt I finally realized the problem, I'm scared.
Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Really. The World Wide Web is chalk full of information to scare the wits out of you. In my particular case, I have learned that radiation treatments I received 34 years ago may have hardened my heart. Mom always said I was hard headed, but hard hearted too? I won't even mention the possible long term side effects of the experimental chemotherapy treatments I had.... Tomorrow I must have a stress echo test. Last year it took two technicians and a cardiology specialist to find my heart, so I don't have much hope for tomorrow running smoothly. (I am just full of the puns tonight. A stress echo requires running on a treadmill. I'm just trying to keep things light hearted!)
There is nothing like another's adversity to take your mind off of your own. When I had the echo last year, I didn't blink. I have a heart murmur and thought that was the reason for all the fuss. My mother was at the hospital the same day for the insertion of a pacemaker, so I didn't think to ask more questions. I should have been scared as my doctor took a listen to my chest and sent me straight to the hospital, but my heart was with my mom.
All of this may be nothing. I'm probably fit as a fiddle, but with history of heart disease on both sides of the family tree and the side effects of cancer treatments, I just don't know. But heart disease or not, I think a slice of chocolate cake and some red wine will settle my nerves for now.
"When strawberries go begging, and the sleek
Blue plums lie open to the blackbird’s beak,
We shall live well—we shall live very well."
Blue plums lie open to the blackbird’s beak,
We shall live well—we shall live very well."
-- Elinor Wylie
I was in the garden foraging for my breakfast and as usual became easily distracted. Look at the neighbor's lilies! And the lavender, oh my!
Surely elves and faeries must live under the towering clematis or delicate hydrangeas. But no, I'm the lucky one to live with such summer beauty where strawberries for breakfast are just a pick away.
And dill for the dinner's soup is just around the corner.
I am one of the 18 artists featured in this upcoming book! It is hard to believe that what started 12 years ago as an experiment has brought me to this point. Very exciting!
This is not a naughty dog whose sneaking a snack from the dining table, but a model wearing the latest in canine fashion. Corinne Niessner of Lucky Penny Hand Made is the designer behind these fetching garments.
I first met Corinne 14 years ago. I owned a yarn shop and she loved to knit. My beloved schnauzer Gerttie was the official store greeter, so when Corinne offered to knit her a dog sweater I didn't hesitate to say yes! Photos of Gerttie in her gorgeous cabled turtleneck are somewhere buried in a box, but trust me, she looked adorable. Gerttie thought she did too as no one could resist coming over to give her a pet (and the occasional treat).
Yesterday I caught up with Corinne at Knit 1 where a book launch was hosted in honor of her new book Doggie Knits. It was great to see her talent so beautifully laid out. I have to knit up one of her hat patterns for the Monster Pup (aka Josie the Papillon). She would look too cute in one with her big fluffy ears sticking out. I doubt she would wear it for long, but it's definitely worth the photo op.
An extra bonus for me was catching up with a few other folks from my yarn store days. Corinne is featured on the far left.
In the dull December light,
When the weather is warm and bright-"
-- Thomas Hood
I made jam. I trimmed the hedges. I installed two hanging plants on my front porch. I weeded the front yard and half the back yard. I am avoiding the studio.
The weather is gorgeous and after Chicago's hellacious winter, I want to spend every minute outside in the sunshine. My studio is ill placed in the basement. I've tried taking my embroidery and knitting outside, but I end up seeing what needs to be pruned. Or better yet, dip into one of the three new novels I just purchased. I want to stretch out, sip my iced tea and chill.
But deadlines beckon........
"Art is identical with a state of capacity to make, involving a true course of reasoning. All art is concerned with coming into being... for art is concerned neither with things that are, or come into being, by necessity, nor with things that do so in accordance with nature." -- Aristotle
Every work I make goes through a stage I define as "butt ugly." I want to hurl the current piece across the studio in a fit of frustration, but the words of my former 2D Foundations professor, Susanna Coffey, echo in my head - "Always finish a piece. You will learn something." She has a point and so I struggle forward with my butt ugly de jour.
The work is slow. I am embroidering a needle felted sphere. I can't get a good rhythm. Worse yet, I keep stabbing myself with the upholstery needle I use. This thing is lethal. It looks like it could harpoon a killer whale.
Why bother if so treacherous? Why does any art get made? I gotta get the darn idea out of my head. If it works, I will be at the beginning of an entire new collection. If it doesn't, well, I will have learned something new.
"Success is a consequence and must not be a goal." -- Gustave Flaubert
A friend said she believed my career to be a success. A success? What is success? According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, it is the obtainment of one's goals. This leads me to my next question - what exactly are my goals?
At this point in time my primary goal is to live entirely off of income derived from my art. I love teaching, but in these last few years I have allowed it to become my main source of income which inevitably takes me away from the studio. In order to maintain the level of production that I have, a sacrifice had to be made. Little social life. Not good. Definitely not good. So I guess this is another goal - to live a life filled with art, but not only art.
It's difficult to keep one's perspective when bombarded by other folks' definitions of success. In this country, that definition often means money. But honestly, I have pretty much all I need. I'd like a vacation and some new kitchen tiles that don't shift underfoot, but even these things aren't really necessary. Time is far more precious.
This week I learned that the cancer treatments I received at seven have an effect on me at 41. My bones have been made brittle from chemotherapy treatments. I'm in line for heart disease given all the radiation I received. My LDL count is higher than desired. Etcetera. It is all rather depressing, but gave me the conviction to follow my goals. Time is of the essence. The seniors I have befriended this past year frequently remind me to enjoy the now and not the later. The now is now!
So though I appreciated the compliment of my friend, my career has been less of a success in my terms, but I know I am heading in the right direction.
"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." - Pablo Picasso
Only at the Greater Fulton Market may you be absolved of your sins. Write your sin with chalk on the blackboard and you too may receive an apple and a pad with which to wipe your hands. It was silly, but I enjoyed the interactive quality of the installation. The installation was, by the way, on the back of a rental truck. Actually, the entire exhibition was on the back of a series of small rental trucks.
A friend had invited me to join her at the "The Guerilla Furniture Market." Though there was plenty of beautiful furniture to see, I was more fascinated with the people watching. You had the hip and chic, workmen catching some free beer and artists enjoying the warm weather.
I was reminded of Wicker Park 20 years ago, though a bit more industrial. You have to mind the forklifts hefting pallets of produce and other food goods here, there, and everywhere.