Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tribute to Peg Dalton


An opinion column of mine was published in today's Newburyport Daily News. I wrote about the passing of local artist Peg Dalton at age 97 and included some reflections on being an artist. You can read it here.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Studio Sunday-Words For Our Time Continues


Words For Our Time continues. Finished: Courage, Hope, Love, Truth. Being stitched together: Peace. Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr., Ursula K. Le Guin, Maya Angelou, Saint Francis, Erich Fromm, Fred Rogers, and Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. Still to come: Freedom, Justice, Compassion. My deadline is March 3 when I have an appointment with photographer Kevin Harkins. He'll be photographing them on white plexi with lighting from behind. I know the photos I've been sharing are less than ideal and look forward to the quality ones to come. After that, it will be time to figure out some form of reproduction (posters and postcards if they are not too small) and distribution as well as a way to exhibit the originals.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Studio Sunday-Last of My 65th Year


This is the last of it. One more post about the year before I turned 65. Among other things, the writing has inspired to me to try to be more proactive about the career part of my work. I look forward to sharing some of the things I am trying in future posts and letting you know how they work.

Before I do, I'd like to give you one more opportunity to read through my musings on that year in pdf form. Blogs are wonderful but they are read in reverse chronological order. I wanted a format to read what I wrote from beginning to end, not end to beginning. There are links to two versions of the pdf. The first is to be read on a computer or other device. The second is to print out to make a book. I designed it at the end of last year so that I could have a record for myself. I used three sheets of paper printed on both sides There is no separate cover. I designed it so that the paper was folded in half the long way (like a hot dog) to echo the long column arrangement of the blog. The pages are 11" high by 4.25" wide. If you should print a copy for yourself, page 1 backs up to page 2, page 3 to page 4, and page 5 to page 6.


I share all of this because I hope you can benefit from my experience and more importantly, that you will take some time to think and write about your own work and your own journey. My writing does not start out with the words you read here. Much of what I publish on my blog has been edited and refined over multiple starts and stops. If I were only doing it for myself, I wouldn't work so hard at the language. My education is not in art but in writing and analysis (English Lit major) so this is part of my training and now part of my being. I say this to encourage you to spend some time writing about your work, in relation to both the work itself and the ways you get it out into the world and what your goals are for it. It's for you. You don't have to edit and refine it. Just get the words out. Sometimes you will find surprising things. 


Sunday, February 05, 2017

Studio Sunday-Courage


I have a new series underway called Words for Our Times that has grown out of the current situation in this country. I made this over the last two days. The lettering is far from perfect but it adds a sense of urgency and reflects the rawness I feel. It is made from one sheet of paper from Chino Crafts in Nepal that was torn, lettered, and then reassembled with stitching. There are quotes from Michelle Obama, Mark Twain, Eleanor Roosevelt, J.R.R. Tolkien, Martin Luther King Jr., C.S. Lewis, Robert Green Ingersoll, and Jane Austen.

I have six words definitely chosen and several more under consideration. I also have to figure out how they will hang. This one is temporarily held up with masking tape. I will be looking for places to display them, preferably non-gallery settings with public access, in windows (the light accentuates the texture of the paper and the stitching), and for short periods of time. Any thoughts you have would be most welcome.





Wednesday, February 01, 2017

First Spring 2017


May we fill our hearts
with the cold pure light
of these first days of spring 

Imbolc is the first day of spring on the Celtic Calendar.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Women's March Booklet Report


Part of me wishes I had written this post right after the march before the news of this week thundered over me. Another part says no, we need to keep going back to that day, to hold tight all the good in our hearts and continue to reach out and join together.

The little book received more positive response than anything I have ever shared. The link to the pdf to print and share was visited 353 times. I shared it on social media and on the Book Arts List which continues to be an incredible resource to the book arts community.  I heard from people around the US and the world who made books to share. Marches included Sarasota, FL, Walla Walla, WA, Santa Rosa, CA, Lexington, KY, Denver, CO, NYC, Gustavus, AK, and Portugal. Books were brought to DC from Philadelphia, PA, Madison, WI, Middletown, CT, Cincinnati, OH, and Louisville, KY. And I'm sure many more. I shared them with Boston march attendees who rode the buses chartered by the Newburyport YWCA.

The project started when I helped my friend Anne with her sign for the DC March. I felt that I should bring something to Boston. The thought of lugging a sign, no matter how lightweight or simple, to the march left me cold. The obvious solution was a little book which could also be shared. I wore a copy of mine as a necklace.

I started with the quote from Audre Lorde: "When I dare to use my strength in service of my vision, it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid." I had wanted to use it for The Power of Words exhibition at the Clare Gallery in Hartford but it was too long. I thought it contained the right words both for the day of the march and the task beyond.

I originally planned on making a hot dog book and dividing up the text among the pages. When I did, I wasn't crazy about how the words looked on the pages and, perhaps after the Clare Gallery experience, felt that their power was diluted when just a few words were read at a time. I decided that the entire quote needed to be read all at once which led to the simple structure I used. A full sheet of paper for each book made the books larger than I wanted so I designed it so that each sheet of paper would print 4 small books. I originally tried using the front as a title page but that seemed too formal and worked against the intimacy of the small size. Instead I wrote "Marching in protest, in peace, in solidarity, with strength and dignity" on the front and the March information on the back.

When I thought about it after, I realized that the design decisions also made it a better book to share. The fact that the printing was 4 up invited printing more copies. The fact that there were only 2 folds to make made the books faster to make, again making it easier to share more copies. And the small size made them easier to bring to distribute and easier for the recipients to tuck in their pockets. Just as the march was about working together rather than alone, the design process works best when we collaborate with the materials and the content.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Studio Sunday-Cradles for New Spirit Books


For the past few years, January through March have been a time to work on new Spirit Books. Because of the exhibition at the Clare Gallery I didn't start as early as usual but I look forward to choosing and tearing papers for the pages this week. Winter nights are perfect for stitching.
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