“Swirling Circles of Color”, Quilt For Sale

April 24th, 2018

Gus Energy, “Swirling circles of different colors”

Me and the rest of my family was with my father when he died.  It wasn’t long after he stopped breathing that I felt  a layer of energy taking up space on the ceiling of the hospital room.  I couldn’t really see it, but I could feel it and imagine what it looked like.   A swirling mass of colorless energy.

My father felt different to me after that.  As if the person who was my father was gone.  For those moments, he because just another person, one of the many who have lived and died.

When people or animals that I’ve known have died, they change form in my mind.

This happened when Gus died.  It didn’t take long for me to no longer think of him as I knew him.  At some point, he became one of the many to me.  Not the puppy I knew, but a more experienced being.

I still have my memories of him, but the Gus I knew is gone, transformed into whatever comes next if anything.  I don’t claim to know, but to me it feels like a return to a source.   The pictures that come to my mind is of Hubble Telescope photos of the universe or William Blake’s paintings.

I think of this quilt as the second Gus Quilt.

Not the Gus I held on my lap and sang to, or went for walks in the woods with.  But the energy of Gus,  as Julz described it… “very fast swirling circles in many different colors”.  


I was working on the two patchwork panels in this quilt just before and after Gus died. They, like the third panel, I used in my  first Gus Quilt, were cathartic for me to create.  Simple and meditative, I opened my box of scraps and was determined, to somehow, make them work together.

I made this quilt between burying Gus and planting pansies on his grave.

It came together quickly, as if it was just waiting for the right moment.

In the quilt are the two patchwork panels, a Vintage Hankie, and a piece of Mola fabric art.    There’s a couple of patchwork squares that someone gave to me, Vintage fabric from the 1970’s, a skirt and pillowcase.

I like the way the quilt keeps my eye moving, from blues and greens to oranges and reds.   The blue skirt with white embroidery is like a snow storm falling from swirling clouds.  The Mola art dances back and forth, back and forth.   The blue leaves on the Vintage Hankie, pull down, deeper and deeper. The colors and patterns vibrate against each other.

To me the quilt captures Gus’ swirling energy.

I’m calling the quilt  Swirling Circles of Color and it is for sale.     It’s 74″x 84″ and is $425 + $20 shipping.

If you’re interested in it, you can email me here at [email protected].  I take checks and PayPal.

Mola Fabric Art

Vintage Leaf Hankie

Mary Kellogg, “This Time Of Life”

April 24th, 2018


Mary and me                                           Photo by Jon Katz

I sat on Mary’s bed in her room at Holbrook Adult Home where she’s recovering from a broken hip.

She sorted through three folders filled with her writing.  Some were complete poems, others had arrows  moving words around and whole lines scratched out.  There were fragments of ideas and whole stories, memories of her childhood, in one paragraph.

I’ve never seen these before.

With all three of Mary’s books, that Jon and I have published, she always handed me a folder of perfectly type written poems.  Her name and the date she wrote them at the bottom of each one.

But on Sunday, I got to see a bit of Mary’s process. How she sometimes writes out a story and transforms it into poetry.

Some of the poems she wrote years ago and never showed me.

One called “The Photo” about the love between her and Dick, her husband who died over 20 years ago, is probably the most revealing and emotional poem of Mary’s I’ve ever read.  I’m not sure if she never showed it to me before because it’s so personal, or if she just never considered it finished.  Lots of lines are scribbled out and typewritten words have been changed with a black pen.

I don’t know how long Mary will be at Holbrook Home.  When, if ever, she’ll be able to go back to her beloved home on the hill.  When Jon and I visited her,  She told us, ” I’m not in any pain” then tapped her heart and said, “except for in here”.

Jon wrote beautifully about Mary and where she is in her life on his blog (something I struggle with doing).  She has two daughters who love her and are taking good care of her.

Mary is my friend.  We share a creative connection, a past of hiding our art from the world, and a friendship since 2007,  anchored in supporting each other’s work.

Mary may not have every shown me some of these poems under different circumstances.

Now I get to bring them back to her and ask her just how she wants to finish them, which word is the right one.  I’ll know why she crossed out the words “Isolation fills the void” (which I think is a great)  the last line in one of poem “Isolation”.

I’m so grateful to be working on another book with Mary Kellogg.  This one will have 15-20 poems in it.  Some memories from her childhood, some about nature and others about her life now.

At the last Bedlam Farm Open House Mary gave me six  poems that she wrote last year.  In one called Silence In Life, she ends it with the words:   “Listen and love this time of life.” 

I’m thinking “This Time Of Life” would be a  good title for Mary Kellogg’s fourth book.


What I’m Working On…. A Video

April 23rd, 2018

Minnie, Flo and Rapunzel Chair

April 23rd, 2018

Minnie was snoozing under the shade of my Rapunzel Chair with Flo in the seat, until I tried to take a picture.  Then she came running out to see me, meowing.  Minnie always has a lot to say.  I just wish I could understand her better.

Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 4/23/18

April 23rd, 2018

The Lone Goose

April 22nd, 2018

Biddy and the Goose

The goose was walking around the pasture as if it belonged there.  The sheep and donkeys seem to accept her.  Red and Fate acted as if she wasn’t there.

The first time I saw her I thought  of how you never see a goose alone this time of year.  I thought of how Canada Geese mate for life.

I remembered the pair of geese and the babies that we’d see marching around the pasture last spring.

How sad I thought, her mate must have died.  Now she’s come  back to the same place to make a nest and raise her chicks, but her mate isn’t here.   I watched feeling sadder and sadder as she seemed to be searching the pasture for her mate.

The next day the goose was in the small pond in the back pasture.

Am I that much of a romantic I wondered, or was I being a realist?

Why did I immediately embrace the story that was the saddest, the most dramatic.  The poor goose pining away for her lost lover.

I watched the goose circle the pond.  I had no idea if is was a male or female.  I actually know little about Canada Geese other than what I’ve witnessed and that someone once told me they mate for life.  For all I know that may not even be true.

So if I’m going to make up a story about this goose, why not make up a happy story.

Maybe this is a male goose and it’s mate is sitting on her eggs, her nest hidden somewhere in the marsh, and he’s patrolling the area, protecting them.

This morning, when I went out to feed the animals, the goose was sitting under the apple tree.

Yesterday’s story no longer made sense.  Why would the goose be so far away from the wetlands if he was protecting the nest.

So, I made up another story.

What if the goose’s mate had died and she was alone. Maybe she came back to the place they had raised their chicks, because that’s what geese do.  And maybe she missed her mate, but had found that she didn’t mind being alone.  She actually enjoyed it.  She didn’t really want to have more chicks and she liked to be able to contemplate nature this time of year.  She liked swimming around the pond and getting to know, at a distance,  the sheep and donkeys.  At the end of summer she joined the flock, once again, and flew south for the winter.

I thought about reading up on Canada Geese and trying to learn the truth about them.  But I don’t want to do that, not yet.  I kind of like the story I’ve come up with. For now, it makes me feel good when I think of the lone goose.

And if that changes, I can always come up with another story.

Either way, it doesn’t  matter to the goose what story I choose to tell myself.  The goose isn’t wandering the moors, under the full moon, longing for her lover.  Or, happy to finally have some time to herself.  Those stories say more about me than they do the goose.

I don’t know what the goose is or isn’t feeling.  I do believe the goose is being a goose. Following his or her instincts and doing what geese do.


Socrates II Navigating A Leaf

April 22nd, 2018

The snails are eating the algae off the leaves in the fish tank.

You can see the pattern their teeth make in the algae.  Small staccato lines of brown and green.

This morning I watched Socrates II make his way from under the leaf to the top of it.  At first he seems just a soft, slow-moving mass of snail.  But slowly, you start to see his antenna, then his tiny eyes, the second pair of antenna, and his breathing tube to the right.

Last his shell appears in all it’s glory.

He uses his long antenna to feel his way around and his shorter ones is what he uses to smell with.  These  the his strongest senses, snail don’t have very good eye sight.

One of the  Goldfish bit off Socrates II’s antennas, no doubt thinking they were food.  But you can see how they’ve grown back.  Once again he waves them around, with the elegance of a dancer.

If you look closely, you can see Socrates II’s mouth working as he eats the algae from the top of the leaf.

Susan and The “Gus” Quilt

April 22nd, 2018

Susan and Gus quilt

My friend Susan bought the Gus quilt.

She’s in Jon’s writing class and picked it up on Saturday.  Susan was so happy to have the quilt (and I’m  happy she has it) I got this picture of her giving it a big hug.  I love seeing the joy on her face.

Once Susan got home she enticed her dog Sally (Sally is not allowed on the bed) to pose for a picture on the quilt.

The Vibrant Energy Of Gus

April 20th, 2018

This quilt came together quickly once I started it.  So quick, I didn’t even take pictures of it.  I was that absorbed by the process.

I made it from the two patchwork squares that I was working on (along with the one I made the Gus quilt from) just before and after Gus died.

When I look at it now I think of something my Julz, my Bellydancing teacher  said  “I see Gus’ energy as very fast swirling circles in many different colors” .

This quilt is more about that vibrant energy of Gus  than his earthly presence.

Socrates II Gets Around

April 20th, 2018

Socrates II moves around the fish tank in many different ways.

One way he gets from one place to another, and pretty quickly too, is by dropping from a high place in the tank to the bottom of the tank.   He’ll slowly make his way up the wall of the tank or to the tip of a leaf then pull himself into his shell and fall.

In this video, Socrates II quickly gets to the hunk of wood on the bottom of the tank that is loaded with lots of good algae to eat, by dropping himself from the edge of a leaf.