Advent Interlude 3

advent Interlude 001

Let every heart prepare him room.

Some years, preparing room is as simple as changing the sheets in the guest room.  Other years, the room has been renovated.  But this is a year that requires an empty space.

The tree is decorated.  Presents are wrapped.  Packages are shipped.

I need this empty little stable with its one wandering sheep as a vision of empty space.


Shibori Scarves: Working in a Series

Explore shibori in 2014.  I wrote that in my goals last January.  This week five silk scarves became a series, as part of that exploration.  I stitched in designs.stitches

I pulled up the stitches and tied them tight.

shibori 002 Black dye and then the big reveal. Now for input from viewers and readers: is this the finish point or do I add color?shibori 007

Searching for the Way to Create Clerical Stoles for Smaller Budgets

Photo Sep 12, 8 59 30 AMSummer conversations with pastors presented me with a design challenge:  create hand crafted art stoles for  $75.  The stoles will conform to the studio’s standard craftsmanship.  Techniques will be simplified and limited, but the art will still have my signature look.

Emily, my daughter and partner, wants six ready for October 15.  I found fabric for all five liturgical colors in my inventory.  I intend to meet that goal.

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?

Affirmation: A little Salt

Recently I had three craftsmen in my home installing a new heating / air conditioning unit. Their comments on the amount of visible fabric generated conversation about craftsmanship, the joy of problem solving with mind and hands working in concert. In a few moments we affirmed each others’ vocations.

Many years ago, an employer told me I was worth my weight in salt. I retain her quick remark, made in the midst of some hectic retail work, as a page turner on days when I doubt what I am doing. I appreciate that this was not a compliment, but an evaluation. Most days, she preferred gold; she made jewelry. But when there is cooking to be done, a little salt is often desired.

Who has smiled over your work space? Who has described your worth? What do you do with the affirmations?

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.

Game Day

Monday was my personal Game Day. I didn’t know that was what I was having until I was 2 hours into it. It started out as the day to sort and rearrange the four file drawers in my work space.

I planned to transform the drawer space from storage into work enhancement.  As I emptied drawers, I discovered my collection of images for inspiration, a folder full of quotations (artistic fuel for me), and some of the designs and patterns I have created over the last 15 years. When I unfolded the sketch of harpies from one of my early pieces, a shape I thought was lost to me, I knew I was playing “I own it, I use it.”

This game is part of my pursuit of enough. I had somehow failed to include my creative designs as part of my studio inventory. This was as silly as forgetting recipes and cook books in the kitchen. I acknowledged this good segment of property. My mind stirred in new directions as I color coded the files for each drawer.

What have you forgotten to include on your “own it” list? How are you going to find it and use it?

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.

A Short Distance Correctly

I collect quotations.  They are tucked into books, into drawers, into baskets.  Some are neatly assembled in a small notebook.  And some roll around in my head, waiting to be recalled.  On certain days those head rollers push into my routine and demand attention.

Today two quotations have pushed their way into fabric calculations and food preparation.  The first is from Edward Albee, collected in my college days.  “Sometimes it’s necessary to go a long distance out of the way to come back a short distance correctly.”  It has always reminded me of my childhood chore of bringing in the cows for evening milking.  Today it applies to family relationships.  And always, it informs my creative process.

The other quotation is from the poet Adrienne Rich; a copy of it is framed on my bedroom dresser.  “We must use what we have to invent what we desire.”  Today I am not thinking so much of my tangible possessions (Except when I was chopping left over turkey.) as those items I carry in my metaphorical backpack.  Creativity, humor, inventiveness, faith, craftsmanship, wordsmithing, passion.

Those are probably good things to be carrying as I work myself round to coming back that short distance correctly.  I am hoping that the end point and my desire are the same, and that I will recognize it as such.

What good words are informing your day?  What are you inventing?