Friday, June 24, 2011

Initial Pencil Lines on My Back... Leading to Stitches, I hope

Unable to sleep, so I played a bit with pencil marks, which I'd like to translate into stitches, on a self-portrait of my back.

Thinking about stitching lines and and swirls. Very rough and preliminary. I can see the beginnings of a twisted, almost snake-like scroll down my spinal column. I like where that is going. And big bowed shapes along my shoulder blades. The simple lines of hair remind me of a fountain But the parenthesis of rib lines... these are just beginnings of ideas.

And the hip lines I'm completely unsure about. Maybe there doesn't need to be anything there at all. Maybe I should let that be an empty expanse of space and not embellish it at all with marks, lines and stitches. I'll have to play with the image some more when I get back into town from my trip to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to see my beloved Keefie.

As very rough and basic as it is, it feels good to be sketching again. Oh, yes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Good Intentions Paving Company… How Do you Stitch a song?

Tell me if you know. I can’t stop listening to this astonishing song recommended by my brilliant friend Joe in Brooklyn, an amazing, musical man with ranging, eclectic taste. How did he know I would love it so much? Lucky me for having friends like this. Sometimes you are just fortunate for no good reason.

“Good Intentions Paving Company,” by Joanna Newsom is the most beautiful, weird, raw, surprising song I’ve heard in a long time. And yet, I recognize that it might me hugely annoying to other people.

And, although I can’t see when I listen because the tears almost instantly blur my vision (the song is so beautiful and “mysterious” as Joe described it), I’m moved to try to stitch it, the beautiful lyrics and the strange, fluttering, surprising vocalizing, the changing tempos, the moods.

It feels like a layered tapestry, this song. It makes me feel like something cracked open inside me. And I didn’t know that I could crack open any more. I’m going to be nothing but a pile of shards at the end of my short existence. How to stitch these layered emotions… No clue, but I will try.

I think Newsom, this artist (at least as far a this song goes) lives in such a crazy, free, open, honesty and fearlessness. And I know that I can (as much as anyone who supports herself by working for a corporation) live in this kind of honesty… I always have, often to my own detriment. But to live in this kind of fearlessness to say and create whatever I can possibly imagine… I want to be in that place in my life. I crave it. I’m not there, now. But, I am getting closer by inches…

My favorite line, squeaked out in a scary high register without any apologies on her part, is:

“And am in love with the hook
Upon which everyone hangs”

When you’re in love with the thing holding us all up and it is not defined… it is a hard way to live.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Felt Popsicle Plush Toys and Octo-Boxers, Oh my!

Surprisingly fun times on Saturday with Juline at the Maker Faire NC in Raleigh! Must admit, I haven’t been in a “making for sale” mode for a very long time, but I went to support Juline and OJ Designs. Juline sold her beautiful, spiral felt earrings and necklaces and her embroidered felt hair clips (both available on etsy.) Lucky me, she even made me a pair of felt drop earrings!
Spiral felt necklace, by Juline, OJ Designs
Maker Faire is a hands on event, not just a craft sale, so OJ Designs had a very popular button making table and, freakishly exciting for me, I got to teach kids how to make my simple Felt Popsicles Plushies! This was amazing!! The design is insanely basic, but walking kids (as young as 4) through the process of cutting, gluing, stitching, stuffing and assembling a smiling, google-eyed popsicle plushie was oddly energizing! (I’m not a kid person, I admit.)
They showed such focus, such determination! And they held needles and STITCHED with their chubby little fingers! I was teaching STITCHING! They’d look up at me, not believing they could do it, could stitch ALL THE WAY AROUND the edge. I untangled many a string. They stuffed their little plush toys with "cotton candy you can't eat." But in the end, they smiled with insane glee when they held up the little, smiling popsicle friend that they’d just created with their own two hands! SHAZAM! How inspiring and fun it was to walk them through that.
One little girl was very proud to say that she was taking sewing classes and had a sewing machine. Most of them had stitched before, but a few hadn’t. The six-year-old little girl who was with her parents all day at the booth behind ours held her popsicle all day. I even saw her kissing it late in the afternoon, as her eyes got heavy with sleep. How sweet and amazing is that?!
So, hell yeah, that was a surprisingly fun day. Who knew that I’d like teaching kids to make something so much? That I would find it inspiring? Not me, that’s for damn sure. I know that crafting with kids a a huge part of the crafting community, but for me... I’m an artist, not a teacher. I swear and make inappropriate comments, not suited for children (but I didn't yesterday!) Life is so freaking surprising and odd.
Making weirdly slow progress on the Octo-Boxers (I’m digging this new name for the boxers coined by a clever new person I've met online, but not yet in person.) But I’m still enjoying making them for my friend in Brooklyn. Just have to decide how inappropriately wacky I want them to be.
Other than that, just slowly, haltingly, trying to make it through each day, connect with friends, new and old, and embrace the moment. Stitch the moment. THANK YOU to everyone who has been so kind and supportive of me, both online and in 3D, as I stumble through this tumultuous time of change and uncertainty in my life. 

People are freaking awesome. Most of the time. Gaw.

Maker Faires are held all over the US, so check them out because there is likely one in your area.  It is a super cool event that describes itself as a celebration of  “Makers, Crafters, Inventors, Evil Geniuses, Scientists and Artists.” There were crafters AND robot fighting and hacking clubs (I didn’t know such things existed!) and all kinds of ways to get your geek on.  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

On ways to deal with loss

Sometimes I wonder why 2011 is a year of so much loss and turmoil for me.

Fortunately, no one I love has died, so I don’t mean loss in that sense.  I mean loss in the less of losing two people from my life that meant so much to me for so many years, two of the people I was closest to. (One person I left and the other person violently, without warning ejected me from her life.) Lost ideas of how to construct a happy, full life for myself. Lost my comfortable home and my beautiful dog (I left my home and my dog.) Loss of a fantasy about a relationship that turned out to be a mirage. The loss of so much that I thought I knew about myself, so very, very much. I feel like my heart has shattered.

There are days (well, most days) that I wake up in my empty, beige summer sublet apartment and I’m not sure how I’m going to get out of the bed and face the aloneness. I often feel this almost vertiginous, floating feeling, like I’m not connected to anything on the Earth… like gravity isn’t going to hold me any more and I’m going to slip outside of the Earth’s atmosphere into vast, cold space.

A good friend of mine told me that, in those situations, I should do something grounding, like stitch, do 10 push-ups or masturbate; all three at the same time if possible! (He has a fabulously wicked sense of humor and approach to life.) But, despite the joke, there is truth in there.

So for now, all I can do to try to get through all of this loss, confusion and sadness is stitch and live in the moment. And I desperately cling to the belief (at times, this belief is just a flickering candle flame, barely staying lit at all) that all of these changes that I’m trying to make in my life are going to lead me to a new place, full of possibility and opportunity and, at least for a few moments, joy.

For now I stitch. Very slowly. But I stitch.