ink

YELLOW = picking up wherever you stopped

Justpickup[Have been yellow/manifesting energy in clearing-out the studio a little - which so far has primarily meant making up some collage fodder stash supplements for a few folks who asked and otherwise looking through art journals and sketchbooks in both complete and in-progress forms.]

eta:  today I brought back a post called from chaos to cosmos just because the title was on point.

I have a particular DIY sketchbook that I sometimes carry around like a studio-to-house/home life transitional object.  Four or five times now it's gone MIA for a couple months at a time because it gets stacked in with other books either up here or somewhere in the dining room wall of book shelves. I posted about a spread I filled shortly after the last time I reconnected with it.

NumberfivecoverI really love everything about this book from the large size to the feel of the recycled cloth-bound covers of an old Time-Life book (Elves & Fairies).  And the paper I selected - Stillman & Birn in various weights and finishes also intermingling bright white and ivory colored folios.  And I'm also enjoying the face About a quarter of the pages have flaps or partial gatefolds.

***

Prior to insurrection I'd begun clearing-out more pragmatically here in the studio.  This is a standard January activity that never happened last year because I preferred to lead the collage challenge while also challenging myself with the daily prompts.  Then the pandemic insured I didn't have to concern myself with what visitors 'might think' if the sink looked like it was part of a creative omnivore's laboratory

So far this hasn't meant much of note beyond unclogging the sink drain and finishing up with anti-bac everything afterwards.  Otherwise I'm 'clearing-up' more in the memory and psychic sense of infusing more/fresh yellow vitality into dark crevices.  Also taking a wander through sketchbooks in both complete and in-progress forms.  Plus Moleskine based art journals.  I mention them right at this particular juncture because at least four people who now read here regularly as part of the Dive have a Moly hoard they don't think they are talented - or otherwise know - enough - to actually use.  but you should!  Then they'd look like the stack below rather than an unused testament to hesitancy!! 

Molysinsunlight***

  The level of ongoing reliable focus I need to pick up exactly where I left off before the siege has not yet returned. This isn't about shifted or disconnecting motivation but more about examining what's whole and stable enough to be built-upon in a more mindfully sustainable way.  I've also found I need more time outside - bundled up and dreaming of the next growing season, providence willing.

My sense of mental-mind is still somewhat jumbled and amorphous so I'm going to go with the inspiration of emergent solar/yellow energy currents.  Today there's no actual sunlight.  The pics were taken yesterday.  Below is a show of the 7:35 a.m. light in the room.  It falls on my work desk.  By close of studio business day the desk will be clear and ready for various creative impulses I feel brewing.  Since I work in many books at once it's ideal to have the desk clear enough to leave a variety of projects to dry overnight.  This makes a great next-morning review space especially with the natural light falling over the pages.

DeskthisamThe other day as I was watching the live feed of the mob swarming inside the only response I seemed able to have relates to making many multiple copies of the woman walking past an open arch way.  I don't know why.  But I'll be ready once I do.

BettercolorofbackingchoiceHave found my choice of a commercial backing for Primary Nest.  I learned the hard way that this series of Holding Cloths are best served to have very plain tightly woven backings.  I've been stitching each day - sometimes more than others.  It's an intentional piece of work so if I feel my heart shutting down or aching in response to my thoughts I set it aside and do something that more directly addresses my emotions of the moment.

Even though I've woken up two mornings in a row thinking of troubleshoots and inroads related to fictionland - once I'm actually up here in the studio I'm inclined to put most of my creative energy to focus on more tactile and visual aspects of creative capability.  I need a visually immediate sense of personal accomplishment rather than two well-pruned paragraphs to show for a whole lot of time thinking and staring into space.  But as the dust in my soul begins to settle from last week's [not unexpected.  and somehow all the more horrifying to bear remote witness to how it was as it happened] melee - I find my need for joy-inducing creativity to be heat/solar seeking at an instinct level.  So I'm picking up where I left off within a study of largely paint based color relationship/pattern deconstruction exploration. 

5innercoverI altered the original faux marble inner covers with collaged image-grid page out of Amy Butler's fabulous Bloom compendium.  If you've ever purchased or been gifted a collage packet from me you've had at least a few page sections included.  For this endeavor - and knowing in advance how I planned to work in the book - I focused on colors and images that held very strong appeal for me.   Personalized with paint swatches and the impulse to trace a magnolia bloom to keep the lotus bud company.

MagnoliatracingTo get going I riffed on some of the colors and imagery that made my eye the happiest while also sticking to the theme.  Everything is pretty paint driven with colored pencil and pitt pen additions - with the exception of the smeared oil pastels making up the petal colors in the riffed flower vase.  Ink brush pen over the smears.  Now I know that works ...

Vaseriff

Almondbranchriff

JudeinspiredOnce I 'broke the silence' I moved to an inner section of the book to work on pattern deconstruction on a page spread that included a flap.  The limited color palette was an enjoyable/soothing mix for me visually.  Also of note is that the batik fragment serving as inspiration was originally from a long panel jude sent - wow.  Right after T came home from college for the first summer 'away' from home or his Italian parents' homes.  Putting another part of the globe at 17 into comparative balance, it's pretty hard to consider the Valley to be legit away-away but, yeah. 

Once he was back for the summer I immediately turned the panel into a pair of curtains for his western facing bedroom windows.  They were exactly long enough with the addition of an unobtrusive commercial batik used to form the curtain rod casings.  When the sun began to lower his entire bedroom was illuminated by the batik's colors as well as the setting sun's light.  He kept a sphere-shaped prism given to him at his birth by my mother positioned just off center to catch the maximum amount of sun-time.  The curtains were kept just open enough to maximize the prismatic addition to the visual display.

Here in this house the retrofitted curtains hung in an eastern window - with rod casements running in the other/short direction of the two panels - in the upstairs bathroom.  They caught each sunny morning's light for the better part of seven years until the gifted fabric shredded free of the tight commercial weave.  The paper thin remnants are relics used for very special purposes most usually involving because used as auspicious gift-wrapping in the ultimate spirit of jude-ness.

Pinkandyellowopenflapjust all different mark making tools and spontaneous life-tracking memorabilia inclusion by way of sparkly pink mesh flowers cut from a stashed-up bouquet finishing wrap.  This final inclusion worked out quite well with a layer of pre-applied soft gel medium. I collaged the flower separately and put them under a book with a layer of wax paper to blot-up some of the extra gel.  Any additional gel ooze I buffed-off with a soft threadbare pillow-case remnant. 

Yellowpink3Right now I'm yellow-pushing myself to complete a spread in this same book I stopped working on when I made an unfortunate smear that "ruined' the perfect color and element spacing.  Something always ruins the perfect whatever but sometimes I practice longer avoidance in getting to the fix than is warranted.  It's more than a little ridiculous but since I juggle so many idea-catching volumes at once I usually solve other problems while something else is incubating.  

In this case I deconstructed the color palette and design elements of a chocolate bar wrapper.  When the unfinished page spread has been 'healed' of that condition I'll share where I was - an unflinching close up of the offending unmindful smear - and where-ever I wind up. 

Cottonfabricbackingaudition


orangeness in art journals plus thoughts

This is actually a fairly yellow post in terms of how the words are put together as well as what they express.  [and then heart - uh - muscled into the middle of everything, too.] The journal pages hold orange-ness and distinctly orange qualities of expression.

***Please note.  i spent part of yesterday afternoon bringing back all the collage challenge posts including the numerous prep-posts I published during last December. ***

OrangejustshowupThe centerfold of my first attempt to cut and layer page edges in this kind of way.  I was working with a book that offered a full year's self-guided relatively deep dive into art journaling.  I won't mention the book title because I know this particular process - specifically it's lack of addressing mental health/emotional backup support context - is legit upsetting to a few of my friends who are art therapists. I also know how I felt myself when somebody approached the exercises here in a way that caused disruption to the mainframe for about a minute and a half's worth of teachable-ness that one hopes will be effective - or at least of some marginal use for two people just starting out on the life path of reaching out from a soulful place laced with vision clarity and then seeing what happens. 

subtext:  I'm the seasoned one, here.  so I guess my first line of business each and every month is to figure out what that means as the days unfold.

OrangeLustTulipmania
[another page in my informal botanical art journal.  first I used watercolor ground without reading about it or watching any videoes.  I just put a ton on all around the pasted down tulips.  A strand of hair got caught in it and I just cut off the part beyond the page, etc. Only in retrospect do I realize I could/should have sanded the rippling over-abundance of grounding material and at some point pressed flat[ter] under books.  At the time I wrecked a pitt pen and moved on.  We'd seen the movie Tulip Mania the night before and had a long discussion about the general historical event afterwards.  J was surprised I knew some stuff and delivered info with such enthusiastic verve.  I said to him, 'it's about flowers, isn't it ???']

One thing I learned very beautifully from last year's spontaneously decided-upon collage challenge is that amazing things can happen when someone is willing and ready to trust someone else enough to come into a place of much deeper trust with themselves.  I learned that from the group, from the amount of challenges and lessons I juggled behind the scenes, and here on the verge of the House of Self/solar center, I will also say I learned a tremendous amount from my previously established inner resources.  The most important thing I learned was that what I'd already established at an internal level was far less disparate and meager than I imagined in my conscious mind's skew of who I was. 

suicide prevention/risk assessment work needs to have a strong heart connection but the heart center itself must be protected simply to keep it beating and beaming strongly in the rest of life.  That means what I knew of myself as a leader comes from the sacral belly and Ajna territory.  I did not have the luxury (and this is exactly the most organic way to put it) of leading from my heart within my larger work.  It would have been trampled to shreds within - knowing myself as I do - less than a month.

So I found out about the specific creative/healing magic that comes from a purely heart-centered place when I started prepping for the collage challenge in December.  Part of that was various energetic/intentional magic kind of work here in the studio.  I opened a channel.  And because I came from a heart centered place - and purely a heart place - everything that came back to me was from the heart as well. 

the biggest learning:  when you aren't focused on the most broken and abandoned parts of the population, and you offer something that is purely enjoyable and fun within a built-in but intimately sized community - 95% of the heart you will be shown flowing back to you is likely to be WOW so heart-full and loving. 

this is what we all have within us at all times - the Power of Heart.  That's one of the two secondary things the collage challenge taught me.  The subtext, of course, is that combined heart energy is immeasurably powerful.  It can connect disembodied space into a bona fide community.  This is an invaluable thing to start thinking about more tangibly as another season of lockdown living gets underway.

Orangehorsesass[This is from a dedicated art journal I kept during my second Saturn return.  I was really irritated with my husband that day - who was returning right along with me.]

I think it all boils down to what's patently obvious from the onset.  People need to be able trust themselves as well as the leader.  If they can't do both they must at least have one of the trust factors firmly grounded.  After grounding comes focus.  Being willing to give that to yourself and how you're feeling/reacting before it becomes a part of the mainframe's focus.

I've always felt able to trust myself in relation to personal growth/creative exploration work.  I learned to trust my leadership abilities when a person who, by any measure, was a world class leader-oriented teacher told me I had excellent instincts and unique skills worth developing. 

Orangeravens Right now I feel that way very very strongly about the two young gentlemen doing all the heavy lifting so absolutely all I have to do is show up and maintain faith the magic will make itself for and with whoever shows up with me.

I want both R and M to move forward in learning what that means to them.  So in the coming YELLOW House of Self month I'll combine art journal pages with stuff I've learned about leadership, healing energy, and what I've learned that applies to me not quite as specifically as I've chosen to imagine in the past.  My intention is inspire an inner look at your own solar expression because we all need our inner sun's light to shine on and on and on right now.

because we are ALL leaders - if only of ourselves and what directional course we set at any given point of our day/night.

 


eviction work completed

Sacralgridcomplete

Early morning solstice medicine making here in the studio.

The first two layers of sentences really warped the card stock substrateI put it under a pile of books until this morning.,  I painted the diagonal layers quickly because I woke knowing exactly what words to use.  I didn't realize that until I was up here in the studio and started moving all over the space in the cosmic guidance system lane. 

PaintuseupAbove is how and where I worked. Used up leftover paint on the palette to scrape a base coat onto one of the four remaining unfilled page spreads in my informal botanical art journal.  For the most part it's been an overcast solstice morning so far.  But every once in awhile the sun peaks through the grey scrim.  It's about 25 degrees warmer than it was yesterday.   Life's good for those reasons and a good many others. 

Assembledgridframe

One of the things I really like about this particular ghost writing technique is the way the finished results strongly suggest you were working with some kind of monoprint rather than toxic soul-brain runoff.  The visual transformation, coupled with the eye-hand-heart coordination of doing the release work as well as more left-brain process steps such as tearing and arranging the strips, will ground and resound throughout the sacral center.  Breathe deeply from that place.  If it's hard to get a sense of the energetics make a two inch space between the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand.  Center that space about two inches below your naval.  Push your sense of breath-capacity to that specific space through a combination of your fingers touching your skin and your inner mind's eye sense of your spine and the energetic column that runs along it.

***

breathe deeply.  When you exhale feel the space your release work has created.  Imagine water in one of its most gentle and nourishing forms:  a fine warm mist. Visualize the mist hydrating and re-energizing your sacral center.  Hold yourself dear for what you've accomplished and cannot yet imagine as a result.  Bless yourself for all the corners of your life and its ongoing landscape that you've created with your hands and imaginative impulse.  Promise yourself you'll build a stronger more sustainable home for your inner muse.  Keep your word.

***
Orangeninepatch
Used acrylic ink for the orange and a metallic craft paint for the dark coral.  By then I knew I was going to fill the squares with light attractants.

Used this one for five squares and something gold/violet with star sequins for the inner crosspoints.  The stickles gel stuff is pretty outtasight if you like this kind of thing but it takes forever to dry by air.  Conversely it dries up rather quickly once you break the initial bottle seal.  Plan to work big and use it up all at once or soon thereafter.

MoondustAm devoting the fourth week of my personal chakra exploration work to synchroncity and its impact on co-creative and collaborative sacral energy exchange. 

J and I plan to continue drawing night past this month's chakra work.  We also plan to make more of our meals as a collaborative venture.   Plus J got the permanent job offer right on schedule and has accepted. This is lighting up all the points on our combined energy column but most especially the root.  It's allowing emotional waters to settle as well.  Just as I'm writing these last setnences the sun emerged more concretely.    We have shake rattle and roll plans for the lunch hour ...


one of Pearl's log cabin quilts

Pearlslogcabin

Hand pieced and tied baby quilt made by my grandmother Pearl during her reversal of fortunes/young mother/diligently frugal wife stage of life during the 30's.  She does not appear to have pre-sorted her scraps or limited the scraps' color/design nature or type of fabric.

Jude's focus on baby quilts and quilts still in their infant stage(s) has slowly pushed my mind into a state of active inspiration related to what's on hand and already of strong interest to me.  To the point where yesterday I planned to start deconstructing the quilt above.  Have been previously inclined to work with the blocks just as they are but separated from the heavy cotton sateen borders and backing.  The sateen used to be a not entirely unpleasant acid green that made the somewhat subdued color range of the quilt sing more prettily.   

Pearl had a knack for clashes that work.  I didn't realize that was something I came by honestly until this past weekend when I sat with this quilt on my lap and carefully studied each individual block.  I chose to spend the better part of an afternoon that way in honor of the many hundreds of afternoons I did not have a chance to spend with Pearl.   Despite all the more pressing and seemingly non-negotiable things that needed doing I did this instead.

zero regrets.  A much stronger and radiant heart center.

Over decades of me hanging this particular quilt on one indirectly lit wall or another the color has faded considerably and is now completely unpalatable to me.  I think because, before it faded, it used to hang on a wall where it should have looked smashing but it didn't.  At the time I thought that was the fault of the wallpaper in that particular apartment hallway.  But now I think it was the fault of non-existent light sources beyond recessed fluorescent light bars.   Since moving to mid-state places I've hung it in spots with enough light to properly showcase the way the bright green enlivened the smatterings of bright strips in the primarily muted tones of her scraps to hand.

I loved and admired my grandmother passionately for (a) making palatable and effective creative resolutions with whatever was right there in front of her.  and (b) the wisdom to understand the profound satisfaction (as well as self-sustainability) of wasting-not.

Quiltcu4

Unless she was making something special and tailored to specific tastes Pearl worked at making patches from the ubiquitous paper grocery bag not quite hidden beside her place at the dining room table.  By the time I came along she wasn't sewing as she once had.  The grocery bags were vintage scraps she hadn't gotten around to using.   She was very un-precious about her piece work.  She'd pick up one thing and then another and sew them together.  

In my youth I thought this was an example of how girls raised "in the old days" were taught domestic skills as a form of robotic conformity.  But now I see what's obvious and far-more likely.  She was selling hand pieced and tied quilts made from wool scraps by the time she was 11.  Undoubtedly she kept an ingrained eye on the clock to insure maximum return on her time and skill investment.

It's obvious to me this top was made from quilt blocks pieced in the moment and without a lot of pre-amble.  in terms of her go to underlying traditional pattern structuring - she focused a great deal the dark/light contrast design staple of successful patchwork quilts that are timeless in nature.  She also took care (AL. WAYS.) to space the red scraps evenly throughout the piecing.  That was one of her Things:  Red scraps were highly prized and a mandatory inclusion whenever possible -  but also she felt the color to be inherently tricky and thus subject to innumerable rules/taboos of her own device. 

The immediate present tense source of construction/design inspiration also comes from jude and her working methods that are equal parts construction and subtraction.  I don't generally have compulsions to stitch through layers that are barely existent but having spent some quality time with the Summer Bitch in my hands as I prepare for the coming season - I can definitely understand the appeal of such working.  So I got it in my head I would liberate the pieced blocks from the borders and backing - then tell some kind of relevant (appliqued and stitched) story upon them.

Thought I would indulge in a super-soft collaboration and stitch-in cuttings from a scrap jude sent a staggeringly long time ago.  a scrap from her grandmother's silk kimono.  I want to tell some kind of story to Pearl in these choices and what I make of them.  I guess it's kind of the inverse of what grace does with her blog - as a chronicle of self for Emrie to keep as providence wills.  I want to bypass time and sequencing all together.  Just showing my grandmother's spirit who I am and how much of her I carry within me.

Blockscu1

All these ideas and frames/spheres of influence & inspiration has been a nice thing to consider slowly as the weeks move closer to the season of life force's rapid growth.  In that time I've grown accustomed to handling this quilt as Pearl herself probably handled it.  Previously I've been careful with its heirloom nature.  In the past twenty years I've often kept it rolled within the top layer of a cedar chest full of family linens and needlework.  But now I've been carrying it around so that I can arrange it in different ways in different places.  Trying to learn what it wishes to become.

For starters I decided it wished to become two distinctly different things.  I envisioned working with the ground of pieced blocks.  Assumed the cut-off sections of the border would be repurposed.  Perhaps as a book cover for an album of family photos I'm amassing.  Thought it seemed like a summer project so I put it aside until last week.

Then, once I had it out and had solidified the practical steps of initial transmogrification something happened that's happened before.  I have never liked the green sateen finished treatment because it wasn't the right green to harmonize in my eye's mind. I think it would sing a lot more convincingly if she'd gone with a rich dark jade.  Think how the BLUE would have popped then - as well as the darker rusty reds and browns. Not to mention the glimmering radiance it would lend the whites and light pastels.

Indeed I have come to this moment of truth four or five times now.  I get exactly this far (my goal used to be to get one of those glass-topped table display cases for displaying and contemplating the deteriorating pieced blocks) and then I see the places with visible stitching lines and marvel at the knots of cording - all chosen and placed with my grandmother's hands.  And I just can't bring myself to undo the work.  So I thought I'd do what I can and in the process approach much bigger work.

Cabinblocks

I'm not going to undo all the ties and thus create sight-based cutting lines.  I'm going to cut away the sateen in strips just shy of the seam lines.  Will pick out those stitches and then see how much I can or cannot de-layer.  And I think questions to myself over and over such as:

Will I repair anything?  Or just let it be with some kind of very delicate binding and then whatever I make on the 'other side' If I decide to go all in on the symbolic family lineage I may use as a ground cloth a very well worn cotton gauze nightgown of my mother's.  It was floor length but after she died I cut it down to a short swingy sort of lounge top or a mini dress.  On the other hand - I'd just as soon keep her out of this.  So I could use some of the same fabric but crisp and new rather than worn thin.  There'd be more strength and body to it.  Hmmmmm.

 The blocks themselves are a trove of fabrics my grandmother used to outfit herself, my mother, and all the windows, tables, etc.  She also made men's dressing gowns and camp shirts for hunting excursions arranged and guided by my godfather.   I spent a bit of time really studying the blocks and touching all the fabrics.  Letting the sensitive edges of my finger tips linger over the confident knots she made without a single one slipping over time.   
Logcabincu2

For the center chimney squares Pearl used a shiny silky gold fabric.  I love the places that are worn-away.  I thought of here and there very lightly needleweaving.   I thought I might ask her questions I've so wished I could ask over the years.  stitch them here and there.  Or maybe I will just think the questions as a rolling mantra while I work on this in whatever capacity.

have wanted to do something of this sort for 46 years.

and in doing so grieve her death as I did not have the ability, on any level, to grieve at the time when she died.

So I am going to cut-away the faded green panels, leave the ties in place and dye the pieces in a mourning color - either deep purple or grey.  Perhaps a bit of both.  Have a strong hankering to do this with ink rather than dye.  Then I will piece them back together and include fabrics I have that I would like to be able to share with her.  To see what she might create from the scraps. 

And also I really need to speak a quiet language of sorrow that's gone unexpressed until now - that she didn't live long enough to see my ways of embracing the things she taught me that have become the most significant cornerstones of my life.

it's finally do-able.  this particular release & goodbye...

Things that fit.  One step at a time.