Saturday, December 31

Ending on a good note

In this last week of 2011 I spent most of my daytime with my Winter Camp kids  at NLArts and most of my night time stitching away. The project I was most pleased with at Winter camp was our winter bird sculptures. The kids made a paper and tape armature and wrapped it in plaster gauze. They painted their sculptures (which would have turned out better if the sculptures had been dried overnight instead of  just for 2 hours or so), and arranged them in a flower pot/stick/rocks setting.
A cardinal in a nest of plastic leaf vines

a duck and pigeon

a graceful chickadee

Our city kids were most familiar with sparrows and pigeons, which are ever-present, but we also had an owl and even a squirrel on a branch (not a winter bird, but anyway).
 Today I brought the final addition to my organza piece over to Wendy Osterweil's studio. This is part of a collaborative wall of tree/skin textures she wanted as part of her Painted Bride exhibit in January and February. I spent a couple of hours on the final assembly and a few extra details, but here it is:

 If time and organza supply had allowed this could have kept on growing indefinitely. It reminds me of driftwood. It reminded Wendy of a bird with swooping tailfeathers. I loved how substantial in scale yet delicate in presence it became. Working on this piece was very freeing- I let it happen and "listened" to the organza. I didn't worry so much about any raw edges or "mistakes". I let it grow as big as it had to be and didn't feel weighed down by the scale and pressure to make something large. The final dimensions are about 10 feet wide by about 4 feet high. I felt unconstrained by the rectangle or grid, and allowed it to take on organic perimeters as a somewhat sculptural piece. I can't wait to see the entire exhibit installed with my contribution included.
the beginnings
 The major work of this week was this little piece. It started with the square of pieced scraps from my gran. On Monday I finished up all the reverse applique windows of various dimensions.They are loosely based on a map of my neighborhood. Last night and tonight I worked till the wee hours filling the entire space with concentric rings of running stitch. Red lines spring from the top circle and fill to the edges and 2 smaller black rings expand from the left and right center. I think I might call it "repercussions". On Wednesday night there was a huge fight with a heavy police response on the corner of my block. I think it might have played a factor in the direction of this piece...
the endings- "Repercussions' (still needs binding)
It has been a tough but rewarding year. I survived student teaching and now am certified to be an art teacher. I completed my thesis and will soon receive my Master's degree diploma. My daughter now attends a middle school where she is flourishing and more herself than I remember her being at her old school. I exhibited work in a museum. I've had numerous opportunities to teach and work with children. Many, many prayers have been answered (with a YES for once!). In this last week of the year I can give great thanks for all the opportunities I've had, for friendships and family, for creativity and inspiration, for the generosity and kindness of others. Thanks for reading this year.


  1. I love how "Repercussions" captures both the heavy structure yet great diversity of a city block, and the red stitching adds an overarching energy.

  2. Awesome- that's exactly what I was going for!