Using the Inventory of Ideas

Pleasure arrived this week in the form of using what I know.  I anticipate hitting the finish line on several projects soon.

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I have cut with these scissors for over 4 decades. I trust my capabilities when I use them. I began my library of figures nearly 2 decades ago and have added four new figures this year. Familiar tool, familiar forms, but a fresh design.

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Brown couched cord creates a clear image, but is warmer than black.  A photograph of this choice from several years ago eliminated thinking about yarn color.  Of course, I did remember to refer to the photograph.

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Hand painted and printed fabric appear in woven strips and leaf shapes.  Now that I have a larger stash of my own fabrics, I readily use them with tried and true techniques and patterns.



A Year of Listening: Week 26

What you praise, you increase. — Catherine Ponder


Farm to Art Initiative: To The Table

Beginning today, fibergig will donate 10% of the sales of our food-related products (aprons, mug mats, table runners, napkins) to local and world hunger efforts. Our heritage includes daily stewardship practiced on a family farm in Illinois. I used funds from my part of this farm to create the craft business I share with my daughter Emily. We are moving farm money through textile art and crafts to bring food to tables. We will contribute non-local funds to ELCA World Hunger.

My parents, Wesley and Juanita Terpening, valued good food and the sharing of it. Wes actively farmed, even on crutches, until his body said no more. Juanita worked in a nutrition program and with the community food pantry to improve meals for many people. Every holiday meal began with her request, “Come to the table.”  Every family meal began with a table blessing. Their grandchildren are now a generation of foodies.

Loss of employment during the economic downturn reduced our generosity. We want to recover the act of sharing good food. You can help. Products are available at our Fibergig shop.

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Working With the Weather

I like to cooperate with the weather instead of resisting it. It’s the farm girl in me. It’s the sensible mom in me. It’s the “be present” mystic in me.

Snow and frigid cold is a gift of time for design and prototype development in the studio this week.

Fingerless gloves knit by my daughter Emily keep my fingers warm. I want her to knit more of these for our fibergig shop next winter. Do you think bright-colored wool is a good addition to a snowy day?

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A Year of Listening, Week 3

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. –Bertrand Russell

One of the original self portraits of the artist as as egg

One of the original self portraits of the artist as as egg

A Bowl of Providence

Providence.  Not Rhode Island.

Divine Providence. I had not intellectually encountered the concept until my friend Susan shared ideas from her seminary training about 15 years ago.  And I periodically ruminate on them.  This week I heard them in my pastor’s sermon.

I am preparing food for a church council supper this evening.  I could find a recipe and go to the store for ingredients.  I choose to open the doors of pantry and refrigerator to see what is there.  I begin to create.  Fresh vegetables from the garden, rice cooked with curry, a can of pinto beans.  The flavors are melding in a big bowl in the refrigerator.

I will call the dish “A Bowl of Providence.”. I learned to cook this way from my maternal grandmother, known to the world as Miz Alice.  She too was a part of my providence.


What are you doing with your providence?  Have you even looked to see what is there?

Enough: Using All your Rooms


Enough: Using All your Rooms

My walking partner asked me today if I use all the rooms in my small house for studio work. Here is the bathroom three hours later. This is not an unusual scene.

Enough: canned tomatoes and darned sweaters

My first-born son and I have had pleasant conversations about “enough” for quite a few months.  But yesterday I shot all the verbal ammo a farm girl raised in the fifties could muster against the idea of home canning.  I have distinct sensory memories of hot summer days in a kitchen made hotter by processing tomatoes: arms discolored to the elbows by the juice, little seeds and curls of vegetable skin stuck to flat and vertical surfaces, and the cloying smell of anything in too great of quantity.

He countered that he would only want to put up a dozen or so jars.  That would be enough for his pantry.  I was silenced.

Today I darned holes in wool sweaters, thrift shop finds for this son’s winter days.  I learned to repair clothing as a child, more of frugal farm life.  It gave me great pleasure to stitch the tiny holes up to make a slightly worn garment very serviceable.  The stitches set my mind free to roam.  I saw 12 jars in a pantry.  Enough tomatoes.  Enough stitches.

Materials at hand

I was thinking about Miss Alice this morning. She was my mother’s mother and an expert in frugal living. She made patchwork quilts and rag rugs from used clothes and household linens.  Her handiwork was colorful and serviceable. At lunch time, she opened the doors to the pantry and the refrigerator to survey what was at hand. In the summer, the garden was also inventoried. Then the chopping and the mixing began. As I child I was intrigued and a bit wary on days when the dish was named a “mess of vegetables.” In later years when I was a Marine Corps spouse, I learned about the mess hall and the food application of that word. But fabric or food, Miss Alice was in her element when she was chopping and mixing the things she had at hand.

This morning I surveyed the stack of silk screens, the tub of paint, and the mound of fabric on the sofa. These were the materials at hand. They beckoned me. Miss Alice whispered, “Times’s a wasting.” I put on my apron, another work habit from Miss Alice, and got busy. I had planned to go shopping this morning. The paint is drying and I am snacking on cherry tomatoes from the garden.  The tomatoes please me, as does the fruit of my hands.

What’s with this name?

Why Studio Three 17?

I have worked under my name for more than 40 years. And it never really satisfied me.

I am doing things differently now. I am working in Studio Three 17.

Studio because I am a life-long learner. A place with books, paper, computer, fabric, thread, paint, tools, and space to use them is a place I joyfully call home.

Numbers pervade my work and I have attached significance to them always. Some of it is like a personal mythology. I am always looking for threes, and there are many to be found. Spiritually, I am a Trinitarian. Finally, 17 is my personal number for abundance. It is a place from which I like to work. I was born on the 17th day of the month.

One reason I chose Studio Three 17 is because I wanted to leave room for company. Often I like to work alone, but I wither without dialogue. So tell me about your numbers.

Do you have numbers that are signifiers for you? If you were to name your creative space, what would you call it?