Clearing and collecting. Weeding and weaving.

Sometimes we gather things, sometimes we let them go. Our own collecting plus family downsizing have resulted in super-stuffed storage areas. Much sorting will be required — just to re-achieve pathways. Last weekend, we put two recently inherited bookcases in the basement and so much satisfying organization ensued! Candles — all in one place! Tins with no tops — in the garbage!  Our better garbage finds – neatly assembled!

20140725-235054-85854904.jpgAll can be done bit by bit.  There’s such a lesson in that. Finally launching decades old technology? There’s relief in that.

Weeding can be a vigorous form of clutter-clearing.  One year, I got rid of all the invasive pricker bushes in our yard (that was brutal). This year, I tackled the Joe Pye Weed variant.  In a previous post, I referred to the plant as ‘Hitler Weed’ because of its overwhelming and unwelcome habits of aggressive encroachment.  The damn weed was sprouting everywhere! The lawn was at risk! Even though I don’t really give a shit about the lawn, I do care about my time and mood in the garden. Once I realized I was spending an obscene amount of time pulling the vagrants out, it was easy to sputter: ENOUGH!  It will take at least another two seasons to be fully rid of the damn perennial, but at least the major propagators are gone.
20140725-235055-85855247.jpgThere were two more barrels, by the way. Already I have moved on to renovating too very messy beds.  It is a lot like editing. And, I am certain such progress was facilitated by ridding the yard of an aggravating eyesore.

20140725-235052-85852636.jpg20140725-235051-85851975.jpgThe opposite of whittling away is building up. Here, I used techniques learned in ‘Considering Weave’ with Jude Hill to extend a map form. The print is a map, I’m not making that up.  But two islands side by side got me thinking about Ireland and her neighbor England.  I am wondering what it might be like to explore a history of oppression that is in my blood — as opposed to a history of oppression which is not.  The map fabric was last used in the Middle Passage series.


weaving the map

20140725-235053-85853702.jpgLess seriously (always good to be less serious!), I tried out eyes. The base fabric matters, always, doesn’t it? The foundation. This loose weave — a former sweater — made needle weaving its surface more complicated than it needed to be.  Still, I like the result.

20140725-235054-85854061.jpgSanta bobbin and screen easel. Such is the living room of a stitcher!

20140725-235053-85853350.jpgLastly, I finished two Star Maps yesterday. I can’t figure out why, but I love these little scrappy things. How they relate to each other. The suggestion of a vast universe in a six by eight inch composition. And, I suppose a faint echo of the ‘Book of Hours’ (which I always loved) adds to their appeal.




flying moon cloth, True Detective and Ruin Porn

Here is a 38-second YouTube video of the cloth I’m working on flapping in the wind during a boat ride this past week.  Watch for the moon.

IMG_4571The white bands of stitching were added to the moon’s surface last night. More needs to be done to stop that off-white square from resembling a Triscuit. Triscuits look woven. So was this:
IMG_3678_edited-1Yesterday, K. and I finished watching the spell-binding first season of ‘True Detective’ — a Louisiana murder mystery with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Holy cow!  The sociopath was deviously smart and a worthy opponent of two driven and clever detectives.  The creep could do voices, accents, and evade capture for decades.  But he also made these very cool pagan-influenced twig and rag and bone sculptures that I just loved (think: Andy Goldsworthy).  It was odd to be enamored of the evil character’s creations.

In looking for an image from the show, I came across this:  “ruin porn“.  I understand the magnetic pull of run down and decrepit structures.  In ‘True Detective,’ the central ruin was a former plantation — complete with greying, rotting big house, rickety slave shacks, and an underground fort.  These sets were beyond creepy, and yet mesmerizing, proving, I suppose the “ruin porn” article’s point. (For the record, they went overboard with the piles of broken, vacantly-staring dolls. They were not needed to create the ambiance).  See add on paragraph below about set design.

My cousin Ginny Mallon (photographer/painter/blogger) has been exploring all kinds of ruination, especially along coastlines.  Most recently she photographed Dead Horse Bay, which is in Brooklyn near the Marine Parkway Bridge.  Its beach, “Bottle Beach” is so full of garbage from such a long span of time, that it’s considered a ‘living museum of trash’.  Inexplicably, her photos of the garbage are gorgeous.

Driving from Newton to Brookline today, I almost stopped to photograph a robust rose bush spilling over with vermilion flowers. It screamed ‘summer’. It was beautiful. This is almost the exact opposite impulse of the one I documented a few weeks back — the desire to shoot pictures of parking lots, guard rails or gas stations, in part to upend a narrow sense of what constitutes ‘beauty’.
IMG_3023I guess I am allowed to feel both urges. This door was captured about a year ago after fabric shopping in Arlington, I think.

Debbie’s comment inspired me to find out who designed the sets for ‘True Detective’.  His name is Joshua Walsh and you can read about him here.   The ‘vulture’ blog post had this to report: “’He’s the son of a family that ran a funeral home, and he’s an avid hunter and taxidermist — basically, the perfect dude for the job,’ DiGerlando told Vulture.”

I had just commented below that Louisiana itself is a landscape of ruination, and one we’ve seen before in ‘True Blood’ and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’.  It is was no surprise to discover that Walsh also did the set design for ‘Beasts’.





Butterfly gets a body

The butterfly has slept soundly for three seasons. Not a caterpillar, but a pair of wings, without a body.

Now with the weaving ideas flowing at Jude Hill‘s Considering Weave class, I am trying out some of the surface weave techniques.


20140715-233212-84732285.jpgOne of Cindy’s quilts (blog: handstories) inspired the beginning of embroidered words. Reading them now, it places the insect in time — the beginning of D.’s senior year.

Now of course, over.

I am off to Maine today for an informal writing retreat. Two days.
IMG_4011I cannot believe it is the middle of July already!

Walking downstairs and out the back door

Before coffee.20140715-080349-29029381.jpg
One of the saved baby outfits. This one D.’s.  College-bound (the boy, not the outfit!):20140715-080445-29085704.jpg[When I was about eight months pregnant, I showed my bed-ridden mother this little vest and onesie. "You're finding his palette," she announced in true art teacher/mother fashion.  She would never meet him].

Speaking of palettes, on the coffee table, random partnering:20140715-080525-29125303.jpgOn the ironing board, ready for sleeving:20140715-080559-29159380.jpgBookcases. Wooden boxes from Japan. Classics, hardbound.  Some of the many new-to-us things:


this photo taken last night; but en route to back door

A saturating rain yesterday:20140715-081058-29458791.jpg


Lines straight and curvy

20140713-020126-7286934.jpgWe were away and now we’re back. A summer rain releases the smell of the earth as I type. We need it, this rain.

The above patchwork panel is a ‘toss off’ from the Middle Passage series and I am afraid that the whole time I was quilting it last night I wondered what it is going ‘to be’. I don’t like to think that way, but it would not go away, this question: “What is this GOING TO BE?”

On the yellow-ish square, I experimented with the idea of creating a VISUAL WEAVING by treating striped fabric as a strung loom.

My earlier ACTUAL WEAVING (below) was left damp and pinned while we were gone, but it was still lumpy, so I used machine quilting and a stiff upholstery fabric for a backing to try and even it out. It’s not there yet, and it may not get there. The central cut-away may have been too big to be supported by the sides.

20140713-020127-7287455.jpgAnd now because of the stiff backing, it is pretty much ruined for hand stitching. I used to muscle my way through, but not anymore.

While we traveled there were moments where the WORLD struck me as a loom.  In the tunnel, I was part of the warp.  But when traveling along row after row of erect pine trees, I was the weft.




Lastly, before we left, I darned a big hole in a pair of my husband’s jeans. I had fun with it even if it is kind of a mess – particularly the vertical section, which to my mind looks like a badly stitched together wound.