Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Process: Open Heart Release Joy

So.... I put aside "Walking on Water" when challenged to illustrate my "core virtue", which is to say, what it is I am about in this world in whatever form it takes. After a lot of thought, I realized that I want to open people's hearts to the joy inside. I came up with an image something like heart shaped candy box opening, or like a heart/curtain being pulled back.

The next step was to find or dye cloth do use in the construction of the piece, and to find other things that might symbolize joy: bits of lace, buttons, embroidered butterflies, flowers. I searched through the local thrift store, the quilts shop, and the antique dealers. Found many treasures that might make it into the piece!

I searched my stash of dyed silks, scraps of brocade, treasured fabrics, and found more treasures!

In my stash of silk left over from a massive dying of silks for a fabric show, I found almost the right color of charmeuse silk, and a luscious piece of onion dyed silk velvet. Also a light blue raw silk for the back ground.

I dyed the charmeuse a slightly warmer yellow,  dipped the velvet in scarlet dye, and the raw silk went into a saphire blue dye pot. While I was at it I made another pot of onion dye and steeped a piece of light blue denim in that for another project.

The dyed cloth was steamed and dried.

I thickened some purple dye (Jaquard dyes for silk) with xanthan gum (which I use in making gluten free breads) and tried it out with stamps cut from E-Z cut printing blocks.

Background and test piece for "Open Heart"
The rune stamps are left over from a project Marj Watkins and I did around her book Rotaida and the Rune Stone.  They stand for strength, protection, and clear vision--all qualities necessary if one is to open one's heart.

Here is Open Heart still in process (but don't believe the colors in this photo).
There will be butterflies and flowers bursting out of the heart.
I'm painting the butterflies on antique silk and sewing them onto wire so that they can fly. The flowers will be of silk I have dyed, using patterns I created from artificial flowers.

This will be the most 3 dimensional piece I have done since high school!

I'll try to give you more photos as this piece nears completion. I am also working on several other pieces for the show at the Tea Shop on Vashon: "Story Box", "Toward the Light", and one I may call "Nurtured by Love", or maybe just "Flower".

"Story Box" in process

Monday, January 12, 2015

Process: Painting "She Walks on Water to Reach the Castle of Her Dreams"

....or just "Walking on Water".
I started by journaling about the concept for this painting. Remembering how it felt to hold my vision of creating a show for local television around my little picture book Atom's Monster-- and to move toward that vision in faith, ignoring the fears and doubts that swam under the surface of my mind.

Then I looked through thousands of my photos for images of water, esp of under water, and anything else that I might use as a reference. I printed out about a dozen.

What next?

I tried to sketch the composition of the painting. Oh man, its been too long since I held a pencil! I can't draw anymore!

Five sketches later...... I still can't draw, but.....well, it's a little better! Not good enough to show you, though.

Time to clean the studio for awhile. Time to put away hand made xmas cards and wrapping paper. Hope I remember where they are to use next year!

In the process I found a piece of silk I might use for this painting--or for part of it?

Tomorrow I'll sketch again.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What does it mean to be a crone?

I am a Quaker crone. Not a witch, not a magic woman, just a woman past child bearing who has lived richly and fully, and gained a little wisdom along the way. And I am asking:

So what does it mean to  be a crone? Is there some test one has to pass? Is it just a matter of age or reproductive status? Does it mean one has some arcane knowledge?

The simplest definition of crone is someone free of reproductive cycles. No more bleeding! No more pregnancies! Free at last!

But there is more to it than that.
Those of us who are crones, who have passed menopause, have gained some wisdom from a lifetime of experiences.
We have faced death, our own or that of our loved ones.
We have memories, both joyful and wrenching.
We know our own strengths and weaknesses.  We can compensate for our weaknesses and use our strengths to good advantage. No wonder we are feared!
We face the future unafraid!
We have established a home that serves us, that keeps us safe.
We have a collection of close friends.
We may have had deep spiritual experiences.
A way to give back, a work, a purpose, or we are retired from such work. Well, Ok, so I am still working on that one. I am retired from teaching, and that was good work. Yet something still calls me. .... Some greater purpose....

I want to tell you my stories.
I want to share your stories.
To share some of the tricks we've learned over the years....

 I have my first show of Crones Stories at the Vashon Tea Shop in a month. Still not sure what it will be. Paintings......with stories.....I think.