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October 2020


Yesterday I knew I was making progress when I hit the base layer of paper scraps related to last January's collage challenge.  That's how far I get every time I attempt to clear my work desk.  Once I hit the point of surveying a tantalizing wealth of collage fodder I pull out various journals and sketchbooks and start working in them all at once. 

Sketchbookpage103020The same thing happened late yesterday afternoon. One thing led to another once I was reunited with this particular sketchbook/journal.  Now I'm back inside of that book and a few others.  Most people I know who become interested in working in books as an ongoing thing often wind up focused on more than one book at time so there's something to do while waiting for other pages to dry, etc.

In the page spread above I'd pasted a few things on the left hand side - planning to explore the color palette in the fabric and painted paper scraps.  But then I wanted something less refined.  I just wanted to jump into the book and stay there for a little while.  I began with paint smears and super basic mixing based on this triad:

Autumnprimary I wish I had remembered that Turquoise and red oxide just do not make a pleasant purple/violet.  I like the grey tones of washing out the color distribution.  For a mixing triad I would generally go with Venetian Red for the other two.  Red oxide was the closest in this line which I'm trialing throughout this year with an eye towards using them exclusively as the first couple paint layers. The paintings need to be camera/scan ready  and I wish I'd opted for the other red I have to hand; no-cad red light.  I also want to mix the turquoise with raw sienna and see what the value and contrast range might look like.  Works great with watercolors.  Today when I play in this book I'll be working with that mixing on a different page.  Also want to see what kind of orange comes from the no-cad red light.

Frontwindow1stsnowfall103020This is what it looks like as I type this post.  The snow may or may not be stopping.  Our baker emailed to offer flexible pickup times in deference to the roads everyone must drive to reach her kiosk deep in the woods.  We opted for tomorrow's pick up and are grateful.

StudioguessNight before last J brought our field guardian inside.  She is not to have any contact with ice or sleet and we knew wintry mix was on its way.

SecretsmysteryAm getting ready for the first/root chakra and thus the color red.  Recalled I had started a spread for each of the energy centers.  Decided to share this particular journal's title page in this post as well as one side of the root chakra's spread.

RootchakrasecretsnmysButterfly and paint chips aren't glued down because they will not remain.  They're helping me visually meditate - the difference between clear running energy and that which is sluggish or in some way toxified.  How that might be portrayed visually.

DonteventhinkAlso set up a personal Above/Below/Within related to the coming month of root chakra work.  I chose themes and imagery related to first chakra qualities that feel especially important to me at this time.  Top to Bottom relating to first chakra's qualities of boundaries, embodiment and core energy.   Bottom to top as aligned with my pre-selected triune: truth, myth, circumstance.  Will next consider how to mix and match those six building blocks.

If you aren't part of the Deep Dive group and are more established blog readers simply following along because why not  --

Search for imagery, pieces of fabric, and so forth that might be used in constructing a red square.  In the second to the last photograph in this post look at the stenciled image.  Notice the blank/cream square behind the chrysanthemum.  Imagine you could remove it and work the center of a sacred symbol as a piece of personal sympathetic magic.  

in other words

NONE of us feel truly stable right now although I imagine most are doing our level best to stay as balanced as possible.

What if there was a physical "red square" where you went to set energetic roots?  Imagine consciously drawing-up nourishment and illumination from ageless wisdom or even just a stray thought you had when you first woke up that offered comfort, nourishment or resilience.  

Think of what's been grounding, stabilizing, and connected you to a deeper part of yourself over the course of time spent in a larger arena of chaos, neglect, autocracy, and soul erosion. 

Let whatever you know to be true for yourself at that specific level be the starting point of building a red square.  This could wind up being a red-on-red nine patch, a freeforall collage you wind up cutting to size or something more deliberate of graphic arts nature.


Today's snow squalls are making hash of my usual atypical neuro-functioning.   I'm at 1/3 speed right now due to nerve-zaps as well as marginal walking and talking level disability. Overlayed with a bit of fuzziness due to pain management option of choice.   Am intent to continue puttering within cleaning up and a spontaneous collage party with myself as I clear more space and also put things back in their places. 


Yesterday I started re-posting old entries and brought back a scrap quilt tribute to my Aunt Grace.  Today I'm bringing back a love letter to my favorite city.  Always assumed I'd be visiting a handful more times but now I've become deeply grateful for the memories from the post and a trip over the winter break of '03 when J and I met T for his winter break and had a massive two week road trip through northern Italy together.

life/work/review: if wishes were dawgs

LightfootcoyoteThis is a dual purpose post.   The above image is the quilt block I contributed for JP's son - another deeply private person.  He and his mother shared Gemini energy.  JP and I bonded a lot over having consciously conceived sons roughly the same age who were very independent and relatively fearless activists.  Throughout her life she watched for and learned from Coyote in the 3-D landscape as well as throughout the further nine to make 12-D.   JP and I loved talking about all the elements in these sentences.  I put it all in the block and released.

 I don't have pictures of the finished raffle quilt but I'll finish telling the story of why when I've found other pictures of the backing and so forth. 


Starting today I'll begin bringing back old posts one at a time in a very mindful way that lets me really think about sharing in a new way while also thinking about the original sharing, its intention, and so forth. This is something I envisioned doing at an unspecified point in the not-too-long before - before I put everything in draft.  Which was an intuitive instinct I understand and am grateful to have thought through but I don't know how to explain it in words (yet) and am not entirely sure I'd choose to even if I did know how to make words fit together for this particular purpose. Imo those of us who choose to be dual status citizens living within internet community as well living on the physical planet need to have a really strong awareness of when their individualized energy needs to also run [deep]silent; when that's the wise and more holistic choice.


I hope that within the way I commence the work of replanting this intentional metaphorical garden space  you'll be pleased to welcome/re-discover some favorites of your own.




life/work/review: Parvati's Paradise

ParvatiscenterDuring the second half of '04 and much of '05 my 'big' karma yoga project was a benefit raffle quilt to supoort an incredible friend, herbalist, and midwife of many kinds:  Jeannine Parvati.  Here's a lovely tribute to her visionary sacral/midwifery contributions.

PomegranatesSometimes I rubbed or painted fabric paint onto the quilt.  My goal was to give it durable rather than intricate detail.  I wanted somebody to dream this baby to tatters with relative confidence that's what it was "for" if they so choose.  But to give it enough specialness and meaning that it could also be something someone might wish know as a kind of ceremony; worthy of careful keeping if that was the winner's nature.

I'm humbly grateful to say the endeavor was ultimately an okay money making success that helped JP and her two youngest over-winter in a greater degree of comfort and atmospheric soul/spirit nourishment.  This was not my first experience with volunteering to make a successful fundraising quilt but it was my first time organizing absolutely everything else in addition to the quilt and the money which went directly to JP. 

Quilt depicting scenes from the Bible

My original point of lift-off inspiration was a quilt I'd studied some-many times  as it hung Boston Fine Arts Museum: a very classic and highly symbolic/deeply moving example of pictorial narrative.  Pictorial Quilt by Harriet Powers has always felt like a creation quilt to me.  A story of transition in which one thing became another.

CentermedallionI asked JP what imperative symbolism I needed to include.  Spider webs.  Butterflies.  'Vagicentricities' which she wouldn't break down more concretely but instead left me with glorious memories of her lovely lilting feminine laugh pitched to trickster mode. So.  Orchids.  Lush evidence of fertility and fruition we agreed meant fruits and flowers but a lot more centrally -- POMEGRANATES.   I added to this a recurring everywoman everygoddess that harkened back to the Harriet Powers quilt in terms of identifiable repetitive human shapes laced through the imagery.  In my case they spoke through the interplay of fabrics that could tell anystory to anywoman.  Because of course I had no idea who would win it.  

CentermedallionwebThen Rachana Shivam won it and that was so beyond appropriate that I felt a sustained moment of interwoven perfection.  She was gracefully patient with my time constraints and then when she received it she expressed joy and satisfaction. She grasped it all while longing for 'my' version of details - but I understood she had won herself her own detailed version of female Story.  She understood the structure and imagery without me explaining and at that point I was very detached once all my intentions and obligations had been met.  I left her with her prize.  She planned to hang it on display for a special gathering of midwives there in Australia.  Beyond that I believe her intention was to sleep beneath it.

SignaturebuttonblgThis is my signature block.  I got the idea/nerve to include it because I'd seen it in other contemporary creation quilts and also because it was an echo of a four cornerstone block within the larger quilt.  I asked JP to trace her foot and hand prints.  What she sent back was the most care-full exact focused-mode Gemini/air sign piece of artistry I've seen to date. The vagaries of fabric left me unable to do those tracings justice.  But they are relics to me.  And I have plans for them.

ParvatisleftfootI divided the quilt into three vertical panels.  On the left side I spoke to JP's more cosmic nature.  She had strong affinity for wild female nature.  Her left footprint steps into it from the "underworld" portion of the quilt which JP labeled The Fall.  Her take on it was really old testament.  I codified most of it in ways I can't include because I haven't come across the images yet. But her point in getting specific (i think) was to speak of patriarchy, period. 

ParvatilefthandJP was a very gifted and charismatic astrologer.  She knew she was too unwell to commit to her version of a full monty chart reading but she encouraged my sharing placement/progression details; particularly in the way my stuff overlayed with my son or husband.  She charted and counseled for possibly thousands; always with the loving touch of charting possibility woven with equal measures of insight and humor.

ParvatirightfootJP's walk on the earth was fierce and mighty.  She was also one of the most objectively lovely looking women I've known with a melodic voice to match.   As I said in my own published eulogy to her - she heard and told the best confessions.  One her favorite archetypal Ladies was Changing Woman.  She sang and danced with equal parts of grace and sure abandon.

I love her very much as a present tense emotion as well as something that's planted to grow as it will more organically.  Our phone conversations held some of the best sisterly moments of my life.

ParvatirighthandJP's right hand of activism and midwivery was always rooted in the welfare of the new generation. I found she also sought out the soother's role when an upset Sister was able to be soothed.  Thought I'd vary-up the vagicentricity especially since JP exclaimed longingly to love sweet peas but hadn't lived somewhere that she could hope to grow them.  Precious water was reserved for equally precious food.

SouthernpomspiritAt the center of square made by JP's hand and footprints I created four large pomegranate medicine Womanspirits.  Above, the southern Spirit of Creation.  Sea Turles are my own favorite symbol of female strength, longevity, and fertility. 

WesterngoddessblockThe Western Goddess of Cosmic Ancestry

EverygoddessrisesThe Northern Goddess of Collective at the top of quilt has been birthed by the story told in a clockwise journey.  Woman conceive and manifest many things beyond children.  I actively worked to glorify a specific woman's earthwalk that would still be triumphant for anyone including those who'd been through multiple miscarriages, stillbirths or those who weren't technically infertile but couldn't seem to conceive.   Raffle contributors in this category were proportionally significant in number.  If somebody in that number won the drawing I still wanted the prize to hold comfort and a sense of joyous embrace.

In the end it went home to a place that may well have been divined.  I was, once again just a pair of hands and feet.  Heavy emphasis on my right hand ...

Following JP's death a group of us made comfort quilts for her two youngest children who bore witness and gave care during her dance with the advanced ravages of Hep C.   This block was my contribution to her daughter's quilt.  It's meant to express much but of an organically personal nature for a deeply private person.  Think it's enough to say that's her mother's left handprint reaching out from the cosmic Beautyway.

Jeannine Parvati Baker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(JP declines to be duly centered on the page.  I can hear her laughing.  Saying "Oh Acey.  Get over it!")

life/work/review: contemporary embroidery sampler

Firstsampler  This is the first thing I embroidered after about thirty years of 'silence' - I think in '02.  Took an online contemporary embroidery class with Sharon Boggon who is both a gifted needlewoman and first rate teacher.  This is not what we were 'supposed' to do but I had a very good time obsessively reviewing many threads online before choosing a handful for the class.  We were supposed to make little four inch squares.  Every week my pieces got larger.  This is postcard size.


years after the fact I colored in the too-blank linen with water soluble crayons.  used stamp ink pads to color beyond the stitched border.  I want to use it as a lining for the inner lid of wooden treasure box.

I'm still writing on the daily as my main work of the day but only 7-8 hours spread over the day and evening.  10 or 11 hours day in and day out is no longer sustainable.  Summer's long gone and my crown's taking a bit of a nap.  My main goal for this week relates to getting my studio in far better order. The large houseplants are back up here.  Getting them settled gave me new eyes far more focused on reality:  everything everywhere up here was a disorganized disASter.  Was horrified to take it in until I recalled that up until I widened my frame none of the disaster had mattered as it layered and accumulated over itself -  It didn't matter even a jot.  My landscape has been strictly internal and enormous in scope.  As long as I could walk around without hurting myself or any of the things I wasn't falling over - I figured I was good.

Now that I've stepped back before diving into everything of a storytelling nature that needs doing right before all the emotionally charged and technically difficult stuff I left 'for last'.  It's like I'm approximately six months pregnant - permanently.  So I'm intent to be done enough that I've also decided what to do or not do about it all - by the end of '21. We'll see how that goal pans out.  For now it feels solid and do-able on my end.  All the existential variables however ...


figuring out what matters most

TruthmythcircumstanceHello again.   again.

Above is a creative seed as it exists here in my studio.  For the next several months I'll be posting in a relatively informal way concerning creative/sympathetic manifestation/magic that relates to the central chakra energy column plus the earthstar chakra.  As time goes on I'll explain and exemplify what this means.  For now there's this:

I wanted to devise a loose kind of structure for whatever this is going to mean by coming up with a triune of themes that are both expressive and expansive as ongoing creative cues.  This one came to me as I considered finding something that wasn't gender-based or overly well-worn turf. 

My basic idea is to devise ways - and encourage others to do the same - of applying these three themes to the various chakra energy centers.  It isn't necessary to know anything about chakras or to 'believe' in them or whatever else.  You just have to like color and making things.

I plan to work with paint, paper/collage, fabric, thread, beads, etc.

There's no organization or rules or guidelines beyond the colors and their relational meaning.  Sometime in this next full week I'll have a couple basic informational posts set up that will be useful in having a sense of how any given person might work with this off and on in a casual way that increases their sense of grounding, overall well-being, and personal agency in our seemingly perpetual season(s) of duress.

will be back next with some thoughts on RED in this particular context.


please don't be alarmed

I'm hiding all the posts here for reasons that are both personal and universal.

no matter how many times I sit here trying to cooperatively package up something small and somehow non-upsetting to offer up as an explanation beyond the above I'm not going to unearth a conclusion other than: anything more outta me starts veering ever-closer to the Karen edges of things.  And we've all seen/more than likely personally participated in more than enough of that in these disembodied electronic waters.