"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." -- Bernard Meltzer
As convenient as Twitter, Facebook, and Skype may be for keeping in touch with friends, there is nothing like receiving a package via the post. Mine came from Steph who lives in Belgium. Not only was it covered with colorful stamps, it was guaranteed to be full of goodies. We exchange packages several times a year for no reason other than the joy of sending each other a surprise.
Check out the buttons! Aren't they fab! Steph has a great blog and online shop. I want to work her buttons into my purses with the hopes of driving business to us both. Steph is an expert with polymer clay. She can turn it bright like a lollipop or knead it into an "antique" piece from China.
When not fashioning jewelry from metal and clay, Steph turns to bookbinding and photography. I love the little notebook she sent. A perfect size for tucking into my purse.
As always, everything she does is "fait de main."
"The fairest garden in her looks,
And in her mind the wisest books."
And in her mind the wisest books."
-- Abraham Cowley
While wacking back the jungle fondly known as my garden. I came across this gorgeous bug. Look at that blue, red, yellow combo. A very well dressed bug indeed.
What is it? Is it the culprit behind the swiss cheese effect to my cabbages? Seriously. The cabbage looks like something has been taking giant bites out of the leaves, along the edges and in the center. I'm wondering if I'll ever get an actual cabbage by the end of the summer.
No worries with the acorn squash. It's grown so big that my papillon is taking shade under its leaves. Too cute.
"It is no disgrace to start all over. It is usually an opportunity." -- George Matthew Adams
My daughter came up from the studio. "Mom! Your flags look like your art!!" She had expected to see the Stars and Stripes. I guess I'm on the right track if she could see the influences.
Remember these drawings? They are stylized studies of various cell structures,the inspiration for the flags I'm making.
Over the week I've become the honorary Queen of Starting Over. Stitching nylon fabric is tricky. It likes to shift, slip and go its one way. I'm now hooping the fabric which gives me better control as I turn, though I still get a little puckering. Puckering is good. It adds character, right?!
I definitely have a thing for the oval shape. Here is a piece from 17 years ago called "Mother Is Crying," a protest to acid rain.
Join me for some quilting at the Chicago Cultural Center this summer. The City in Garden Signature Quilt is being pieced from scores of hexagons cut from donated cloth arranged in the traditional Flower Garden pattern. Each flower is signed by a visitor to the Cultural Center and added to the developing work. The project is part of the exhibition The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago.
July 15 3-6pm
August 19 3-6pm
September 8 9:30am - 12:30pm
Help quilt, bring your own work, stop by to learn.
June 1 - September 30
Exhibition celebration - July 10
Chicago Cultural Center
77 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Other exhibitions this summer:
July 6 - August 1
"Bigger than Life: An Installation of Flags"
Lillstreet Art Center, 4401 N. Ravenswood, Chicago, IL 60640
Nylon flags based on my gouache studies of molecular structures will be flying atop Lillstreet throughout the month of July. For best vantage point, look up from the Montrose El stop on the Brown Line.
July 31 - August 31
"End of the '80's"
Avram Eisen Gallery, 5204 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60625
This exhibition will feature 4 small cell structures from my Chirurgi series.
The Red Thread Project® - performance 1-2pm
St. Louis Artists Guild
2 Oak Knoll Park
St. Louis, MO 63105
Join us for Stitch-n-Pitch with the St. Louis Cardinals on September 14!
Donation sites for hand knit or crochet hats are on the project's website.
Through July 23
Exposition Park, Rose Garden
Los Angeles, CA
And last but definitely not least!
My piece South of Eden II from the Visions of Paradise series has been donated by a private collector to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Yep, my work is now in a museum collection!
"In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom." -- Barbara Costikyan
My last conversation with Mom was less than two days before she died. We discussed her funeral arrangements and the green tomato pickle I'd be making. I had finally found a farmer who'd sell me a peck of green tomatoes. Just as important, I had tracked down a source for half pint jars within the city limits that didn't cost a fortune and were plentiful in supply. Yet I never did make the pickle, instead I let the tomatoes turn red and served them at the reception following Mom's funeral.
Today I got out those very same jars and made tons and tons of strawberry jam. In my family the canning season officially starts with strawberries. Mom always made her jam with the strawberries left whole, but I prefer chopping them up made for easier spreading on toast.
I also did some experimenting with strawberry rhubarb jam. The fruits of my labor produced 4 cups delicious, sweet-tart jam that will be perfect on an English muffin or better yet, with cheesecake.
2 lbs of washed, hulled, and quartered strawberries (cut them so the chunks are approx. same in size)
1 lb of washed rhubarb, cut in 1/2" chunks (if stalk is wide, split in half)
10 lemon peels approx. 3" long and 1/4" wide
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
Add these to a large steel pot with 1 cup of water. Cover and turn to medium heat. Bring to a boil. Remove lid. Turn heat to low. Add 2 cups of sugar in 1/2 cup increments waiting for sugar to fully dissolve before adding more. Keep on low and cook until the jam reaches a temperature of 212 degrees. It took me approx an hour to get to this temperature with the heat on low, but it kept the sugar from burning. The strawberries and rhubarb will have turned to a pulp mixture by the time you finish.
Let cool and freeze in sterile containers or use the rolling boil method of canning with jars for 10 minutes.
"Quilters know all the angles." -- Anonymous
Fashioned from an old fabric swatch book and lots of seam tape, Pat proudly displays a pillow she recently completed. When you are over the age of 75, you tend to think about projects in terms of what you may actually complete. All the others thought she was crazy, but Pat just smiled and kept stitching. No one is questioning her sanity now, they all placed orders!
George is another I teach. He learned to knit last fall and since then has completed over 2 dozen scarves. He claims to be making one to wear for every day in the month. My favorite is the one he finished last week (not pictured), fondly nicknamed "The Carrot" as it's orange with huge green tassels and 104 inches long.
"If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you'll never enjoy the sunshine." -- Morris West
I'm not waiting for the storm. I'm waiting for more sunshine. Where did it go? I should be thankful for the rain as in other regions of the country, there are droughts. But really, enough is enough! Send some to places that aren't drowning in the stuff. I have tomatoes to grow and zinnias to plant. My cherry tree is covered in powdery mildew. Doesn't Mother Nature know that I have plans?!
You will soon see pics of my dyeing experiments. A whole new line at Enjolive will include accessories made from yarns dyed by me. There are also my studio experiments with felting, two and three dimensional artworks exploring the inner body landscape. Felting is easier to do outside as is dyeing. Clean up is a breeze as the drippy mess gets absorbed by the grass.
I'll be using acid dyes, but natural dyes too. There is the usual marigolds, tansy and cosmos, but I'm also experimenting with "exotics" such as brazilwood which imparts a gorgeous peach. So many plans and all I want are a few consistent days of sunshine.
In the meantime, I'm heading down to Chicago's Cultural Center to participate in Knit in Public Day. Get out your needles and join the fun! To find an event in your neck of the world, check here.
What's a Yart Sale? Why it is Art + Yard Sale = Yart. It was started by Etsy's Team ESST last year and was wildly successful. Lots of great deals for shoppers while shop owners have a chance to clear out the storage bins and make ready for lovely new things to sell.
At my shop Enjolive, all books featuring my art and design work will be shipped for free throughout the United States. This is a great deal considering I have already discounted the books 30% off the publisher's suggested retail price.
I also have numerous caps and scarves marked at 20% off the list price. Here are just a few of the items -
"The pebble in the brook secretly thinks itself a precious stone." -- Japanese Proverb
I promised a new purse and here she is - Brooke. I like her mini size. She tucks neatly under the arm when slung over one's shoulder. Poifect!
Four more bags are in the works. I work on them a little each day around other art deadlines and work schedules. They are such fun to make. Ideas leap from one to the next.
I've been a good girl and resisted the purchase of a new sketchbook. I don't need a new sketchbook. I have several already started waiting to be filled, and yet, I wanted one just for Enjolive. I tend to create as I knit, but with all the ideas zooming around in my head, I need to start sketching them or I may forget. I wake up in the middle of the night going "Oh, yeah!" You know the feeling. I know you do. It's that moment when inspiration strikes. I promise myself to sketch it out in the morning, but I never do. Yes, I need to start a habit of more drawing.
Note to self - place a sketchbook on the nightstand.
The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses." -- Anonymous
The latest bag in my Enjolive collection is a field of abstracted poppies Inspired by my neighbor's garden. Mid-June her side of the fence is awash with every shade of red from fire engine to deep dark burgundy. Why a background of green? Simple. Have you ever seen a flower without a green stem?
When I started Enjolive I decided to look at fashion trends, but not be tied to them. I make from the heart, from what fills me with joy - candy, flowers, nubby textures in bright colors. Hip, but cute. Trendy, but enduring. Always functional. Enjolive falls into that category known as fine craft.
Next up - Bubbles. But you will have to wait another day for that posting. I can be such the tease.