Gathering my wits.

image

I think I may have started this Gather your Sew-plies purse in 2012. This purse was made using this pattern (I call this Pattern #1), it is constructed differently than the pattern that was published in Quilting Arts Holiday 2014, (which I call Pattern #2). There will be an updated pattern coming out soon (Pattern #3), and I do hope you are interested in the upcoming changes.   😛 

image

Back in 2012, I stitched the pink in the negative space, a scrolling flair with daisies.  When I got bored of stitching the scrolls, I began sewing a grid, also in the pink. Then, I put it down. The pink stitch work had taken a while, I had fallen in love with it, but I knew the design was unfinished and that I wanted to push it further.

I just did not know how.

image

This week, after finishing the graffiti stitch Gather your Sew-plies purse, seen in this video (it’s from the post before this one). I took out this older purse ‘start’ and I could immediately see what I wanted to do. I could see these little green stitches, stacking up to color the negative space.

Stitch work is such a quiet and centering activity. Working, one stitch at a time really clears the mind of all activity. I bask in the quiet and apply myself to the task. It feels so good, like reading a great book whose characters are friends, anticipated, hoped for, at each turn of the page, the story unfolds like the glittering gems of a sunny day at the beach. Hearing the needle puncture the cloth, seeing the color of the fabric stitch and change as the stitches stack up is a blessing.


image

 Just so you know, I am updating The Clever Guild, my teaching site. The first class offered will be free, and will demonstrate making your own Gather your Sew-plies!! purse using a new and updated pattern. After which I will release my first offering, Journal Stitch. Please stay tuned for more information. I really hope you are interested. 

I have had several people write to ask me to teach soy wax resist with paint. While I was at Craft NAPA, several students asked me to teach a course about color, and another about composition. If you have a specific idea about what you might like to learn from me, I would like to hear about it. Would you be interested in a class using Procion MX dyes? Thickened dye? Thread dyeing? What? Please leave a comment.

Listening to quiet. 

   

Stitching is a quiet and soothing activity. It is meditative in nature, the world becomes each stitch. The needle emerges, gets a small tug, and then is pushed back through, again and again. It is a slow and steady activity. Expressing ideas with needle and thread is rewarding. Lines become images, small stitches become marks, flecks of color.

Peach likes to sit on my work.

 

I am recovering from a loss. It has not been easy to connect with my creativity, to access and engage with my creative center. I find solace in stitch, it is helping me re-member. Stitch is  populating my mind and pushing the old and stale to the perimeter, and out. Thankfully.

Quiet is helping me reconnect, rebuild and be present. 

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, I have felt a sense of panic. It is as if I fear not having the time to do my ‘life’s work’. As if I need to do all of ‘The Things’ -right now-, because I may not be able to do them later. This has the effect of putting pressure on myself to perform. Making, art, being an artist takes time, it can’t be rushed or forced. My husband, my Man, gave me a great pep talk this weekend, he reminded me just to make stuff, not to think about what I want to do with it, but to just do it. I needed to hear this. It is so good to love a good man.

So. 

I am just making stuff. I may not even call it art. I don’t want to do anything with it. And even if I just go through the motions, I trust I will find comfort, solace and peace in simply making. I am willing to watch ‘this’ unfold.

Magical Peach +

 

magical Peach

This is a reminder to all: There is much magic in the world and you never know where, how, or in what shape/form it might reveal itself.

The above is a typing that occurred when Peach, our cat, walked over my keyboard. I don’t think this was a mistake.

Just a moment prior to this configuration of syllables, I saw the correct spelling of the word,

“magical”.

LightBoxPeach

 And Peach, is, most certainly magical.

This month, we have had her for two years, she was a rescue, a city cat, she had kittens, she got caught with her babies. Her babies were placed in homes. Peach caught ring worm at the veterinary office, which placed her in solitary confinement for two-months-straight, this caused her to modify or shorten, her tail. She had plastic surgery (her tail is very cute!), she healed.

Then.

We found one another. We all fell for one another immediately.

When we met Peach, she was a charmer, whenever someone, a new person, came into her presence, she would charm them. It makes sense that if she were in ‘solitary’, that charming people would become necessary. She must have been lonely.

Everyone needs love and care.

In the last two years I have worked with her to lessen her fear of loud noises. Peach is becoming interested in sitting in our laps. She shows trust and love. She is much less a charmer. I appreciate this, as I prefer her needs are met and that she knows it, without feeling as if she needs to charm anyone.

GenQ

Now, I will change subjects.

Over the last year, I have been working to write a book with a good friend. It has been a lot of fun, I am learning new things. Making great art. Learning to collaborate. Unfortunately, the book was cancelled a few weeks ago. We retain full rights to our materials (no worries there). I will not go into details as to why this occurred, let me just say, the publishing industry is changing quickly. I have mentioned the book a couple of times here on my blog and I reference ‘the book’ in the article about me and my studio in Generation Q (Issue 14). The book will be published, in some form. I/we will not stop working to promote it. But as Forrest Gump says, “That’s all I am going to say about that.”

Life happens. 

Even still! This interview about me, my studio and use of space, is quite interesting. I do hope you will purchase a copy and share your thoughts with me. I have been putting a lot of thought into what a home printing studio ‘needs’ in order to function well. 

StashBuster

Pardon me for the less that awesome photograph. This quilt top is a few months old. I have been sitting on it and waiting for quilt #2. (I am making two sided quilts.) The quilt I was working on over Holiday Break is the mate to what you see here. I am not ready to talk about that one yet. I will clue you in soon.

But this, one.

This is fun right? This is a total stash buster. I cut swaths of squares at 4″. Commercial fabrics, hand printed, I chose fabrics from my entire stash. I grouped these together and randomly sewed. Playing with light and dark was a bunch of fun, I wanted it to sparkle and think it does. I love loosing myself in mindless, though highly rewarding, tasks like this.  This quilt is about 7o” square, I did not make it as a bed quilt, not for my bed, which is a king. It is just that my bed is the largest flat place in the apartment. 

A four inch square stack of cut cloth is so rewarding. I want to use my stash up completely and start acquiring when needed rather than stashing and storing. I think this part is great. (Use The Stash–). I have been printing cloth for quite a few years, but I have not been using it. Using the things you have and make causes you to make more, doesn’t it? It is a complete circle.

I like circles.

And dots.


 (Hey! I have begun using Instagram!! Friend Me, please. This year, I will communicate more through photograph, than words, I am going to start using Instagram a lot this year. Let’s have fun together and hook up over there. Shall we?

Oh, and Quiltography for iPad? Best 15$ I have spent in a very long time. Christopher Oxley? Brilliant!!! And again, that is all I am going to say about that. Buy it. I am not making money for saying so. But, I am sold; hook line and sinker.

Oh, AND!!! I have mentally bought Jen Sinkler’s Lift Weights Faster 2 already. I anxiously await it. March 10.

Winner Announcement? Sonja Mclane

That is all the news that is fit to print.

 

 

 

Introspection and Organization

DSC_0021 This little being teaches me quite a bit. Peach is very adaptable, she seems to accept what is, she does this with a strong sense of self possession. Peach knows what she likes and dislikes. Peach is learning to trust and love and become calm and confident about her surroundings. I love watching her release the traumas of being an outdoor city cat. I can say without hesitation that Peach really dislikes the sound of snow plows, trash trucks, and any of the other large metal monsters. I cannot imagine her out in the city wilds, and I am oh so glad we found each other.DSC_0022

Because Peach spent a few years on the streets, had some kittens and then came into human care and was spayed improperly, I feel, we both feel, that is David and I feel, Peach is a precious being who may not live as long as other cats with an easier start. And this too is a special point of connection for me, for us. Having been diagnosed with cancer, I now know that my time here on earth may be shortened, I am now more prone to recurrence, my morality has been shown to me and I no longer think I am invincible. Staying in the moment and cherishing my time is really the only way to live. Peach teaches me the age old lesson to Be Here Now, and to release the traumas of treatment, of daily life and to consider the tenacious beauty of this moment, no this one, no…

And she does this by unfolding slowly and with great aplomb. Peach came to us on January 4, 2013 and it took just one year for her to begin to see the value and feel able to ask, then settle into my lap for a nice warm sleep. Every small step is cherished and appreciated. I love this little being. We love this little being. Peach helps us heal and love one another. Peach is amazing. 

Watching Peach take her time helps remind me that everything takes its own time. I tend to be an all-in type person, I give my all to everything, I work fast, I have lots of ideas, I work hard, I want things when I want them. Cancer has put these attributes to the test, and I find I need to slow the churning of the wheels, I need to hold back a portion of energy, keeping some in reserve. And this is ok, good even, a welcome change.

Maybe, it is just great to have an animal, and relate to it. I love being Peach’s animal. I love watching her relate. I am learning more Peach talk, Peach words with every day.

In the meantime, I have been enjoying my studio time, I am working with a great friend to (hopefully) publish another book. My fabric line is going to be released in May, I have been working it! I know, I need to slow down and smell the roses. 

Ah, life!

DSC_0024

Printing is interesting. When I open up a print session, I want everything to be neat, clean and tidy. I want to know where all of my tools are, I need them to be clean, I need all previous unfinished print jobs to be organized (I like to visually colate what needs green, what yellow), so that when I mix up color, I am prepared with knowledge of how many pieces might need a bit of yellow.

It takes a good half hour to prepare, clean and colate color/print needs. As soon as that is done, the fun begins. 

I love process, love organization, printing my own cloth caters to both these loves and it gives me pretties to fondle and use in quilts!! It feels good to settle into a print session! When I make things, I settle into the most quiet, enjoyable mental place. I allow myself to work, I love seeing the pretty bits of cloth pile up. It is another way to slow time down to its essential element. 
MTestaDeFloral

This is a piece whose process I would like to expand, streamline and improve. I have since washed it and am underwhelmed with my color retention. I think this is a great idea though, so I wonder if upping the values used to print the background scribble would do the trick. 

More to come on this idea. 

I am off to have a full day of printing. I hope you are enjoying your day, wherever you are. I hope that you too have some moments of reprieve, where you experience exactly what you are doing and enjoy that feeling.

love in a cup

I have so many things I would like to talk about. 

Peach, for instance. 

Peach will have been with us for one full year on January 4. Peach is a wonder and a joy. She has a great and varied personality. She controls her person with grace and focus. Peach had a life on the streets prior to wrapping her magical powers around our hearts, which means she was an established being prior to meeting us. It has been such a fun journey learning her quirks, needs and love.

This little eight pound heavy weight loves her lovins’ her way; light, feathery-light strokes. Sometimes under the chin. And when she is done receiving pets? Stop touching her. She won’t bite but she likes to threaten to bite (I love this!), it is a sensitivity thing. She can only take so much touching. I can relate! Peach has great boundaries, she knows how to tell me to stop without calling me a jerk! 🙂 Actually she is quite polite.

Sometimes Peach challenges me to chase her. I love this too. She likes to feel startled. Her tail goes bottle brush, she forms a Mohawk, and then she becomes sensitive and needs reassurance. 

See? Lots of personality.

Another thing about Peach? She shares well. She loves David in special ways. When he picks her up, he wraps his arms around her body. She gets a smug look and settles downward!!

I am so happy that we adopted Peach. 

 

Relaxing

David and I are on vacation. We have rented a house, on a lake, surrounded by woods and trees, we have packed our bags with great things to do and we brought the beautiful Peach.

We got meds for Peach, fearing she would get riddled with anxiety from travel. She did really well, was quiet and slept most of the way up here. Once here, she hid for 45 minutes before deciding, All Is Well.
As you can see, she has made herself at home, using my sewing machine as a warmer. She showed her fortitude, when I sat down and sewed quite a few rows on my latest quilt top. She was put off by this interruption for a minute, but then accepted it, as she is prone to do. Having her here with us is fabulous. I think I see many similar vacations in our futures.

I realize that I do not know how to relax all that well. I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. If you would like to tell me what relaxing feels like, is like, or what relaxing means to you, please comment and let me know. I think for me, relaxing means there is an atmosphere of quiet to the things I do, the mental gears slow down and allow for…life to occur, without struggle or resistance.
Relaxing is having a beer on the deck with my Man, reading a book, having a cup of tea. Relaxing is also printing cloth, sewing a dress, making quilt tops. When I was growing up, my Pop exposed me to the idea of meditation, and as far as I am concerned, active meditation is the way to clear the mind and accept life on its own terms.

It feels so good to have the time and be able to connect with David in a relaxing atmosphere. David brought his guitar and some recording devices. I brought materials to make a dress and cloth to play around with piecing. I am getting so much done! I completed the back and basted one quilt top. I am working on another quilt top. And I am making a dress, designing pockets, making sure the fit is correct.

I love sewing clothing. It is a challenge, don’t get me wrong, but I love it. I started off sewing clothing, so I guess I feel a connection to self and past when I sew clothing.
It is almost time to get back to it!

But not before I show you some zigzags. This makes me happy. I am stash busting, using cloth I printed, the graphic nature of the half square triangles in this pattern is very pleasing. I am already day dreaming what the back will look like. I think perhaps large triangles in the 1000 Pyramids layout. I am very excited about piecing and quilting! I forgot how much fun it is and now I foresee a stack of throws in my future.

Love and Happiness, filling the well.

DSC_0084My creative efforts are paying off in more than just the physical manifestation of cloth piling up and asking to be pieced. Making stuff calms and centers me. It helps me to remain true to myself, and it gives back in numerous and often, immeasurable ways.

Having been diagnosed with cancer, going to doctors appointments, settling into life post-treatment is an interesting endeavor. When I was going through treatment, I used writing Dreaming from the Journal Page as a focus to keep me steady, grounded and open to Melanie as a whole, healthy, well rounded individual. Cancer and its treatment can be all consuming, and I imagine that without a grounding force, it could be quite easy to give yourself over to your diagnosis and start identifying as a patient and survivor. I knew from the start that focusing on myself, my whole self, commiting time and energy to making artwork for the book and to writing it, was going to help me get through the difficult bits and help prevent identifying too closely with being a patient.

I will always be a ‘survivor’, but I find this sort of label to to be just a single facet of a broad and sparkling life. I am also a wife, an artist, cat mom, a woman, a friend, a human being. Life can be overwhelming. The trauma of treatment, worry over recurrence can be debilitating or even just plain distracting. When we say things like, ‘art saves lives’, I can honestly say, yes, this is true. In the last 8 months, I have been actively applying art to my daily regimen of getting used to being flat chested, taking Tamoxifen, getting Zoladex shots, healing my body, mind and spirit.

Printing cloth, steaming and ironing it, sorting through it and seeing the results of my efforts is a serious dose of Self Love. 

IMG_2513Loving what you do and refilling the well of the self is truly important and can do as much good for the body as going to museums. Last week, I went to  The Morgan Library and Museum with my friend Kailey (see photo below) and I did this as a celebration of my birthday.

What you see here is the imprint of an ancient seal. Seeing the minute detail in these seals and knowing a human, at one time, held, carved and used these little pieces of magic is amazing. What you see here is the seal itself, not the carved cylinder that creates the impression (that can been seen as a tiny bit of red at far left, but I did not capture it in photograph).

While I was at that museum I also saw the illuminated manuscript show (photographs were not allowed). I love illuminated manuscripts and this collection was amazing. I like to ingest illuminated manuscripts as if watching a movie, I want to see every detail, I like to think about the monks who painted and wrote out the pages, I wonder at the symbols, the scrolls, wonder who held and used the book. This time I was able to see an illuminated manuscript owned by Pope Leo X, and there, tucked into the scroll work on the outer left edge was a unicorn…

Sigh.

That book was almost 500 years old… maybe even older.

I am a mere 44 years old. 🙂
IMG_2515Wait a minute now.

Who is this gorgeous girl? Why, it’s Kailey, a woman who photographs things with real film. Huh? I love this young woman. I can say she has interned for me, but better still, I can say we are forging the bond of a friendship that will last a lifetime. Friendships heal us too and finding people you bond with is a gift beyond measure.

Kailey reached out to me as she was finishing high school and forging a path for college and beyond. She had a final project that required she reach out to people in an area of interest to her hoped for, eventual profession. I was one of those people. You might say I mentor Kailey, And I do, but there is so much more to our friendship.

Again, this is a relationship that fills my well.

IMG_2524And in order to fully celebrate my birthday I needed some girl time! Cricket and her girls, Elliot and Alex, came over and I took this as an opportunity to get the girls sewing and quilting. You can’t start too early! (I must say, Cricket has a jump start here and her girls see her knitting, quilting and making stuff often). Afterward we went to Farmacy and had ice cream! Vanilla with caramel sauce… Yum.

IMG_2526I guess the real point of this post is to say, I am writing a perscription to broaden and expand what fills  my well. I love hanging out with friends, going to museums, walking, lifting weights, making things, hanging out with my man and loving on a certain Peach colored being. These things help heal the rift caused by the traumas of cancer treatment and they help me leave the trauma behind.

One would think that after almost two years, I would have this aspect of my life wrapped up and tucked away, right? In my experience of cancer, the fight starts just after treatment ends. But we all know, even if we have never faced a diagnosis like cancer, that the only way out of a situation is through it. When we ‘stuff’ the effects of daily life, it only seeps back into our present through back channels.

I read an article in the New York Times called The Trauma of Being Alive, it’s quite a good one. It helped me. It suggests that you lean into your trauma. I like this term, I like the image of ‘leaning into’, it suggests being in control-being able to back away, but it seems gentle. I would push it a bit further though and say, ‘Lean into the trauma’ but also look to your passions and invest in yourself through them. 

So what do you do to fill your well? How do you regenerate, slough off  the ‘trauma of being alive’. Do you lean in, as the article suggests? When you are faced with difficult times, do you invest in yourself and your passions? Take naps, go for walks? Exercise? Bury your head in the sand? Drink some awesome beer?

How do you fill your well?

IMG_2540Maybe you lay on the rug and take salacious photographs of your furred friends!

My week in review

In all available time, I have been printing, batching and steaming. I keep daydreaming new images, but have not yet had time to gather my thoughts.

I came across a how-to make your own citrus cleanser on the web and am trying it out. I soaked orange peel in vinegar for two weeks. I am trying it out, it seems to work just fine, the vinegar is a bit tiring to smell.

Peach continue to beguile us. This little being is a treasure.

Hon~E~Lixr, oh yeah! I purchased this at the farmers market at Union Square, from Tremblay Apiaries. This is the smoothest, yummiest honey I have ever eaten. I make herbal tea and eat this honey on the side!

Got my hair cut again. I love getting my hair cut.

I visited my Dad and Mom this week. We had a great time. I ate ice cream with my Pop, we all took a drive over to Domestic Possessions in Madison Connecticut where my Mom has some of The Captain’s Chest items. My Pop and I made pasta and we chewed down some tasty eggplant and mushroom marinara.

I went to the City of Hope luncheon, where Carmen Marc Valvo was being given an award and had a fashion show. Oh my, it was so much fun to see.

The Park Plaza hotel is very pretty.

Short and sweet!

Strong Curves

Strong Curves

The week I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I realized the only thing I wasn’t doing to be the healthiest person I possibly could, was exercise. When I told my breast surgeon that it was time to start, she laughed at me and said, “you get diagnosed with breast cancer and you think it means you should start exercising?” I raised my shoulders in a shrug, ‘Yeah!’  

I have never related to running and have no interest in spending time on tread mills. I started reading about how to lift weight, the effects on the female body, and I started surfing the web for women’s weight lifting and fitness blogs. The results I saw in women who have been lifting weights for a while were amazing, muscle definition, strength, pert pretty butts, who knew! I found Marianne Kane’s website, myomytv and began working with her over the internet. We use skype to work on proper form, email to ask questions and now, after 6 months or so, I too am seeing some great results in my own body.

During this time, Marianne turned me onto Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis who just recently came out with Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body. Bret calls himself the Glute Guy, which is his area of study in sport science, he is passionate about The Bum and this book is a testament to his passion. Beside which, how funny is it that he calls himself the Glute Guy? And Kellie? She is awesome, her body is gorgeous, and if you check out her web site, she wasn’t born with perfect genes and gorgeous glutes, she earned them with hard work.

This book is a veritable bible for training women (although it could be used by men too). Strong Curves is 320 pages long, it is filled with full color photographs of each exercise, contains several 12 week programs to get you started. It also explains how to use the information within the book to maintain and build upon what you have learned. I admit, there are a few paragraphs that might have been edited out, but (or Butt-as the case may be) even if they were edited out, the book would not be much shorter for having done so and the information it imparts is well worth the read. If you are looking for an exercise program that will help you get the results you want? I thoroughly suggest you purchase this book. I love my copy so much, I had the binding removed, the cover laminated and a spiral binding placed, now my book opens flat.

And if I ever have a question on what exercise to substitute for a Romanian Deadlift? I know where to turn (and so does Peach, who wanted to be included in this post). I may even join Marianne, Kellie and Bret’s online community called Get Glutes.

 

Still Here, after all these years.

Peach

I have been quiet for a long time. I am well. I am feeling better and better and have been sinking deeply into my creative process.

To be honest, recovering from cancer treatment and getting used to being a flat chested woman is not easy. There are the physical concerns, feeling as if I have a tight rubber band around my chest, feeling physically constrained from the cording or Axillary Webbing. And there is getting used to not having breasts in my relationship with my husband. All of this takes time and patience. I am not one to easily step back and allow time to work its wonders, I am a go-get-em sort of gal, so I am working on my own sense of timing while pouring myself into my work and feeding other aspects of my person.

This blog and The Clever Guild site have gone fallow during this period. While I apologize for this, it seems it is plainly needed and beneficial. Since I started this blog almost 10 years ago, I have never allowed myself the luxury of letting go and not checking in. While I hope to start investing in the blog and my virtual narrative soon, I would like to ask for your understanding while I gather my pieces, parts and selves back into a healthy whole again.

Luckily, I have found a Chinese medicine practitioner who will be helping me with my scars and range of motion issues.I had my first appointment yesterday and I have high hopes of feeling some relief in my body while working with his protocol. He would like me to do stretches, scar massage, and Chi Gong in addition to weekly visits for a few more weeks. It feels good to step away from western medicine doctors and take some more control back.

Miss Peach continues to fortify our hearts and illicit big love within our family and home. Today she will be having some blood work done in preparation for her next heat cycle and hopeful respay.

MTestaFloral

 This is a strike-off of a multicolor set using paint on paper. I rather like the design, it taught me a bit more on setting up repeats and creating an all over feel for the eventual image. I have been delving into mediums that help create the correct texture for printing with a brayer. Initially I thought it would be tough to figure out, but I think I almost have that down too. I am just trying to figure out the proper ratios so that the paint dries as quickly as possible.

MTestaStamps

See? I have been quite busy over here! I don’t know how many stamps, stencils and images I have made in the last two months, I could count them, but no.

MTestaPrints

I much prefer to continue carving, cutting and figuring out the repeats as I go.

 

On my desk

MTestaDesk

I am happy to say, I am on a creative roll, an amazing stint, where all I have been thinking about and doing in the last few years is coming together in new and exciting ways. It seems I am no longer concerned about what media I use to express my vision, cloth, paper, it does not seem to matter and better still what I am working on translates to both substrates. I am off and running on the concept of multicolor printing. And it seems that with each success, another avenue of exploration opens itself up to me. 

MTestaMultiNo

This is a strike-off, a ‘trial and error print’ that failed to make the grade, that is why you see the red x’s in the lower right (Red x’s mean NO!). I like it a lot, but this printing taught me the order the different layers need to be applied in. As you know, if you have been following me, my blog and creative process, I like clean lines, fresh ideas and a pristine presentation. This print appears gritty and slightly blurry to me. I like the grit and can work from that, but I don’t like the blur. So figuring out the order to the printing process was invaluable. 

Now I want to try printing it with thickened dye on cloth. And just to let you know, I am working through my Procion MX whoas, so I will be printing in a new and improved manner soon.

SleepyPeach

 And here is my studio kitteh. She is a merp button, a cutey-pie, a love dove. She has a sassy personality and will fake a little nip when she does not want to be pet. Other times, when she is ready, she lays on the butter! And I love butter.

Oh, it is lunch time and I am hungry!

Continued Story.

PeachYawn

 It seems Peach has done another awesome thing. She found David and I, specifically. 

Last week I had several conversations with the veterinarian who ‘spayed’ Peach. It turns out, the spay was incomplete and uterine tissue was left inside her body. This tissue is producing estrogen. Peach needs to go into heat again, so that a specialist might be able to find the tissue and remove it. There is no guarantee that Peach will make enough estrogen in order to go into heat, but as this is the best case scenario, we hope that she does. If she does not, we need to regularly screen Peach for mammary carcinoma, in other words, breast cancer. Sigh.

I know that there are no guarantees in life, we have, just this moment, to live as fully as we are able. I love this little being and honestly hope she goes into heat again, that the surgeon can find the tissue, that we are able to lower or obliterate her odds of getting breast cancer. I am happy that she found us, that I can advocate for her. I am happy to love her. I wish that breast cancer could take a lesser seat of prominence in my life, but I accept what life has given me and us.

The veterinary office that helped Peach through her Trap and Rescue ordeal is shrugging off monetary responsibility for this portion of Peach’s care, though the vet who did the work, has said that she will pay for Peach’s re-spay out of her own pocket. I am glad that the doctor has taken an ethical stand, I am considering how to let the veterinary office know of my dissatisfaction. Speaking out is a new path for me and is directly related to my cancer experience. I have less tolerance for bad behavior now, and I want the world to be a better place, so speaking out is called for. There are many gifts related to the cancer experience and I bet part of the reason Peach found her way into our hearts, apartment and life.

IMG_0370

As I make more and more multicolor stamps, I am finding new and interesting ways to build images. Previously, I would draw the image, cut it out of a single piece of fun foam, mount and print the image. Now I am doing more of a call and response, I might cut a simple drawing in two colors, then cut additional layers to darken or shade an area of the image. Next I will work on incorporating textures into the background.

IMG_0377

 Creative flow is interesting. I work away at an idea as if a hound on a mission. Then I run up against a learning curve, as I did while working on The 20. This is when I switch gears, trying to access the intuitive thoughts that might solve the original creative conundrum. This post has two cogs in that wheel.

As I try to workout the Procion MX dye wash out troubles, I began making multicolor stamp portraits (the image of David in the middle of this post, and also this self portrait). Now, needing a break from the portraits, I have decided to carve a set of alphabet stamps. It is at times like this when I need to complete a project or two so that I can get back to what is really bothering me! This week will be geared toward finishing up my side projects and solving my Procion MX whoas.

 

Printable Daydreams

IMG_0344

 The lovable Peach (Little Miss has settled into her name quite well) has been settling into life as a companion animal quite well. She is a cardio kitty, she loves to be chased, and she is an UP cat, she like to be up high, looking down at life around her. She also likes to eat plants, so I am going to have to re-home some of my green babies. But check out these cat shelves! Peach is shy to make the final jump to the top platform, so we may need to lower it. This morning, I encouraged and helped her to get up there. She is quite acrobatic.

Peach has been a blessing. I mourn the loss of my good Arrow, while at the same time, I honestly feel I need cat-energy in my life. I need to pour love into a furr being. I also believe that David and I share a bond based in our love for animals, specifically cats, that heightens and enhances our relationship.

IMG_0346

I am on a stamping mission right now, my creative synapses are firing and I am finding new and creative ways to get images out of my mind and onto the page. I am still working on The 20, but I have come to a halt because the Procion MX dye is washing out in an unacceptable rate-an so need to find a solution to the problem. Additionally, I need to find a new ink or manner to print on paper, as the Memento ink pads I am using are insufficient to the task.

If I were totally honest, I don’t like cheap art supplies like this very much, which seem like little plastic items, whose refills are expensive, I just keep thinking, there has to be a better way. But at the same time, I use these things and am getting some really good results. This particular stamp is too large for the Dew Drops, and so is actually insufficient to the task. Maybe I really just want to hear the the-thk-thk of rolling ink out. And I daydream about using watercolor pigments and rice starch, so I will find a solution, it will just take some time.

IMG_0347

 This set of stamps is loosely printed, I could print it ‘tighter’, but I like what is happening here. This is, of course, a self portrait, using this photograph, I have not quite figured out how to get the ‘goggly eyes’ to look right. I am still working on this. Stay tuned.

American Bittern, thought differently.

American Bittern 13

 A few years back Pat Gaignat taught the Journal Study Gals her Faux Screen Printing technique. I remember feeling overwhelmed and not quite knowing what to do with myself or how to use it. Then I went home and started thinking about it and the technique just bloomed and became something quite interesting and useable. I have been working steadily with The 20 series, and have for the most part, used Pat’s technique step by step. But then, I started wondering how else I might use and expand upon the idea. 

And Oh-My-Goodness, I think I have come up with something very interesting. The American Bittern image, above, can be printed using any of 13 different stamps, and I still have a stamp or two that I want to make for the set. I really look forward to trying the stamps out, and will have time later this week.

And the interesting thing about this is, I can use any of the 13, some of the 13, or all of them. It is as if I can build each  image separately of the last. The image here uses 7 stamps to complete the image, so I have 6 more stamps to add shadow here, a compositional element there. I have to say, this is quite interesting.

PeachWarm

 Peach is settling into apartment living quite well. She did go into heat last week, which was interesting. The vet says they spayed her but that it must have failed. I don’t want her to have to have surgery again, but she does need to be spayed. She will go to the vet tomorrow.