A Few Days At Blue Star Equiculture

April 1st, 2015
Jon and Tommy at Blue Star Equiculture

Jon and Tommy on our last visit to  Blue Star Equiculture

Tomorrow I’m going to Blue Star Equiculture to spend a few days with Pamela, Paul, Piper and the rest of the horses.  I was going to do this in February but it was just one storm after another.

I’m looking forward to working with Pamela and taking care of the horses.  It’s hard work, Pamela told me, you’re tired at the end of the day, but it’s a good tired.  I’m ready for it, feeding, brushing, hauling water, shoveling manure, what ever needs to be done.  I’m used to it small scale at home with the donkeys, but Blue Star has about thirty draft horses.  That’s a whole new experience.  It’s going to be fun spending time with Pamela too.  We speak the same language. Not always in a straight line.

So I’ll be blogging from Blue Star tomorrow.  If I’m not too tired that is.

Lone Sheep in the Snow

April 1st, 2015

zelda in snow

The rest of the flock and the donkeys were grazing.  For some reason Zelda was by herself just standing in the snow.

Hold me close to the earth

April 1st, 2015
Hold me close to the earth

Hold me close to the earth

This is one of those pieces that came rushing out of me.  It was those thoughts I was thinking, that I mentioned yesterday, which somehow came together and became this wall hanging.   The words surprised me.  I thought something the opposite of the curvy roots would work in them.  I could see letters there, but I didn’t even know what this piece was all about, so I didn’t have words for it.  And as quickly as I thought that, the words came.   But I had to write each sentence down before the next would come.  It’s as if there wasn’t enough room for all the words at once.  I had to move them out of the way and make space for what would come next.  I don’t actually feel like I had much to do with any of it. It just happened.

I found the old linen to stitch it on in much the same way.  I just looked through what I had until I found the “right” one.  This linen was cut in half speckled with rust stains, imperfections.   And it was perfect.

I love that the linens I use have a history.  Some I know a bit about and others are mysteries.  I’m never starting with a blank page, from the very beginning I’ve already given away some control.  Wabi-Sabi, nothing is perfect or complete, change is constant.   And in this, there is beauty.

Hold me close to the earth is sold.

hold me close to the earth detail

hold me close to the earth detail 1

 

Dangle my heart for all to See

March 31st, 2015

Hold me close

A friend told me about  Beth Moon’s  book “Ancient Trees”.   It’s a magical thing filled with black and white photos of the world’s oldest trees.  And they have such spirit.  And I was inspired.

I kept thinking of some of the roots of the trees in the book.  I was thinking of sitting on Chloe and being rooted and grounded.  But some of the ancient oaks in the book, with their giant hollow trunks also got under my skin.

This was all I knew when I started the piece.  So I started drawing the tree and as I did, the words came to me.

I’ll finish it tomorrow.

Beth Moon's Book, "Ancient Trees"

Inspiration from Beth Moon’s Book, “Ancient Trees”

 

My Superman Potholder In Its New Home

March 31st, 2015
Adam, Austin and May

Adam, May( their border collie) and Austin with the “Superman Potholder”

Diane bought one of my Superman Potholders (which was made from Red’s bandanna) back in November.

Her son Adam is a Superman fan and Diane buys him anything Superman, even socks.  But the potholder isn’t for Adam.  He went away to college this fall and now every time Diane walks into her kitchen and see’s the Superman Potholder it reminds her of Adam.

I never imagined, when I made those  Superman Potholders, that one of them would have so much meaning to someone.

“Crow Quilt”

March 31st, 2015
"Crow Quilt"

“Crow Quilt”

I went back to my studio after dinner to finish tacking my Crow Quilt last night.  I’ve never made a quilt like this before.  It was the left over pieces of crow fabric and the way I could and couldn’t fit them together that started it.  Those missing pieces, the red in between, those blank spaces that each of us get to fill in.    The broken images speak to me of the movement back and forth in time.  I’m thinking again of the cave drawings, how the images seem to move when I look at them.  Take on a greater meaning, seem to be infused with some kind of magic.

I still don’t have words for the story this quilt is telling.  But then I guess it’s not about words.  It works on a different level.  But I feel it speaks loudly.

Crow Quilt is sold.

"Crow Quilt" detail

“Crow Quilt” detail

"Crow Quilt" detail

“Crow Quilt” detail

"Crow Quilt" Detail

“Crow Quilt” Detail

the back of "Crow Quilt"

the back of “Crow Quilt”

Dancing with Chloe

March 30th, 2015
Eli, me and Chloe

Eli, me and Chloe

It’s like a dance, Eli told me.

I like to dance.  As long as I can do what ever I want.  I’m not  good at dancing when I have to follow what someone else is doing or telling me to do.  I even have a hard time with the Hokey Pokey.  All that left and right stuff.  I still have to think about which hand or foot is my right or left.

I  do have a trick though. I sucked my thumb until I was about 10 years old.  I know I sucked my right thumb.  When someone says to me “go right” I think of the thumb I used to suck and know which way is right and that the other is left.  But those extra moments it takes to figure that out, slows everything down.  I might actually miss the turn or go the wrong way because of it.  Or, god forbid, put my left foot in, instead of my right.

It made sense to me when Eli said that riding a horse is like a dance.  In my mind, but in my body even more. Yesterday was the first time I rode Chloe, but it didn’t feel like the first time.  Some of the things Eli was asking me to do felt like the first time, awkward  and a little uncomfortable.  I felt like my feet were flailing around.  Press with your right leg into her side,  she said at one point,  but don’t keep the pressure on.  Press then let go, press then let go.  Sounds easy right?  But for some reason it wasn’t .  It’s just not a movement my legs are used to making especially while sitting on a pony.

But I love the idea that our slightest movements are connected.  When I was leaning in my saddle, thinking it would make Chloe go in that direction, she did just the opposite.  She wasn’t being contrary, but thinking I was falling off the saddle, she was compensating.  And it seems like magic to me that just by turning my shoulders in the direction I want to go, Chloe will go there.  (turn from waist, not your whole body, Eli said, like a Barbie doll).  And when Chloe wanted to walk around the other side of the cone, because it was mud and not snow, I was glad she was as small as she is, as I tried to make her go where I wanted her to go instead of where she wanted to go.

Shoulders down, elbows at waist, just the right amount of pressure on the reins, settled in my seat, shoulders leading the way, legs putting the right amount of pressure or not, small toe aligned with the edge of the stirrup and I’m sure some other things I’m forgetting.  It’s a lot to remember and do at the same time. And someday, I’ll actually be able to do all these things.  It seemed almost impossible yesterday, but I know from experience that it will just take practice.  Doing it again and again.

I get all soft inside, thinking of what it will feel like to be aware of the different parts of my body each doing their own thing.   Clear and subtle shifts in my fingers and legs and shoulders that tell Chloe where I want to go and how fast, and her responding.  A place where the words “left’ and “right” have no meaning between us.   My legs moving with the rhythm of her legs.  Walking as one.

Eli said in the beginning I have to be the leader then, after time, we’ll become partners.  This is not just about Chloe learning that I’m the leader, it’s about me learning that I’m the leader.  Something I’ve always been reluctant to be.  But I guess it time to face up to that fear of mine.  I’m going to have to if I want this to work.  And I do want it to work.  I want to revisit that ancient dance between human and horse.  A dance that will bring me closer to nature and to myself.

Riding Lesson

March 29th, 2015
Riding Lesson

“Riding Lesson”

I took my first riding lesson with Eli today.  I rode Chloe for the first time.  But I don’t have words for what I’m feeling so I drew this picture.  Eli told me that in the beginning I have to be the leader, but later Chloe and I would be partners.  I like that.

Crow Quilt Continued

March 27th, 2015

crow quilt 7

I got some new ideas about what to do next on my Crow Quilt when we were at the Open Mic Night at The Round House Cafe last night.  There’s something about listening to live music, it doesn’t matter what kind so much, it’s that it’s live, that gets my creative mind going.

As I was sitting there, I saw the patchwork square on the bottom right, instead of the whole piece I had there yesterday.  And I saw big fields of solid colors surrounding it and the top left piece.  I didn’t quite go with the large solids, but it got me started.  Once in the studio, I could see what I wanted to do.

crow quilt 8

This is as far as I’ll get today. Wish I had the afternoon to continue.  I have some ideas about what to do next. But I’m volunteering at the Cambridge Co-op today (I get to work with Kim, always fun) so I’ll have to get back to this on Monday.  Unless I get the urge to work on it over the weekend.  That may happen, but usually doesn’t.  There’s so much other stuff to do on the weekend and my ideas will keep.

Chloe’s Person

March 26th, 2015
Chloe with her  donkey friends

Chloe with her donkey friends

When I got to Thornwood Farm today, Chloe was outside with her donkey friends.   And I used to know two of those donkeys very well, they were Jon’s donkeys, Jeannette and Jesus.  I don’t think they remembered me, but they did try and get in my pocket where the carrots were.  Everyone got a hunk of carrot before I clipped a lead rope onto Chloe’s harness and led her into the barn.

It’s only my second time visiting and working with Chloe, but I already feel like she’s my pony.  Or as Eli said, I’m her person. But it’s really both of those, I guess it has to be to work.  Not only did I feel like she remembered me today, but I feel like we’ve known each other for much longer than just the three hours we’ve spent together.

The last time I was at Thornwood, Chloe was in a stall in the barn.  I opened the door and there were two ropes blocking the door way.  I’ve seen a single rope keep a draft horse in its stall so didn’t think anything of it until Chloe started to try and nose her way through it.  That’s when I stated to understand what people meant when they said ponies can be feisty.

She also likes a lot of attention.  And when she doesn’t get it, she lets you know.  She’s surrounded by these gorgeous, stately, giant horses.  They call attention to themselves just by being.  But Chloe is small (like me)  and  has to make some noise otherwise she’s easy to overlook.  I get the feeling she’s a lot like a donkey or a cat.  Independent, but wants what she wants, when she wants.

This works for me.  As much as I want an older mare, someone who is calm and gentle and will get along easily with Fanny and Lulu and the sheep, I like that she has spirit and a strong personality.  Actually, I’m beginning to think we have a lot in common.    I think I’ll make a good person for her.

Chloe with Eli and Ken.  She's trying to sneak a treat from Ken.

Chloe with Eli and Ken. She’s trying to sneak a treat from Ken.