My Life With Jon, Book Tours And Photographs

March 23rd, 2017

This is my life with Jon.  We’ve been doing this since I started driving him around on Book Tour and he started taking pictures.

It’s  what we do.

We’re driving along, on our way somewhere and Jon asks me to pull over.  There’s a barn or a tree or a horse he wants to take a picture of.  I pull off on the side of the road and he finds his photo.

Sometimes I’ll find a scrap of paper to draw on while I wait.  Other times I just sit and watch.  Every once in a while I take a picture of Jon taking a picture.

Jon’s new book “Talking to Animals” is coming out soon.  May 5th to be exact.  And once again I’ll be driving him around to bookstores and libraries.    It’s part of the pulse of our relationship.  We’ve been doing this together from before the beginning.

I’m not good at remembering what year it was, but I do know the first book tour I went on with Jon was for  “A Good Dog”.   We hardly knew each other then, and Jon didn’t even own a camera.

Things have evolved.

The better I know Jon, the more he impresses me.   I’ve never put myself up to the kind of scrutiny  he goes through when a new book comes out.  I honestly don’t think that I could handle it year after year.

As much as he’s still a part of it, Jon has moved away from the publishing world.  I see his blog as his central creative force.  His daily work.  His ritual.  His magic.

But then a book comes out and I feel that old excitement of being on the road, driving from one place to another.  The talks and the people, the hot tea and the shared bagels from Dunkin Donuts.  The hours spent in Battenkill Books, day after day, me opening the book to the title page, Jon signing his name.  Again and again.

Maybe this year during the book tour, my blog won’t have pictures  of Jon giving talks, but of Jon on the road taking pictures.

I love this about us.  Our patience and support and insistence of each others creativity.

“Do you want me to go back”  I’ll ask Jon, when he says more to himself than me “that would have been a good picture” as we drive by the barn, or horse or tree.  “No” he says ” I don’t believe in going back”.  “Are you sure?” I’ll ask.  And we’ll drive on.

Except for every once in a while, when he answers “Well maybe just this one time.”  And I look for a place to turn the car around.

“Think of yourself as a living quilt”

March 22nd, 2017

“After India”

Think of yourself as a living quilt”    by Sharon in Staten Island

every day you get to re-arrange
and re-align all your pieces
patterns of near empty white
patterns of dense textured colors

moved to the middle or
to the edges or back again

moods or intuitions
or anger or depression
or comfort or healing
or happiness or bliss
grounded or spacey

nothing is right or wrong
it just is. “

 

I was done for the day, ready for bed.  Then I opened my email and saw this poem sent  from Sharon.  It is the truth so perfectly and beautifully written.  It’s always how I’ve felt about my quilts, now I will have a reminder to feel the same about myself.  Thank you Sharon.

 

 

 

 

 

A Day of Invoicing and Shipping

March 22nd, 2017

 

I’ve written my initials, in marker,  on the back of each poster.

I spent most of today and yesterday typing up invoices and packing up my Show Your Soul posters.  I always get worried the first time I ship something.  Worried that it will travel well and arrive on time.  This is the first time I’ve ever mailed a poster in a tube.

The first batch was swaddled in tape.  My great fear that the plastic ends of the cardboard tubes would pop off  somewhere between my house and yours.

Jon said people would be cursing me for using so much tape, they wouldn’t be able to open the tube up.  Wendy at the post office,  who was impressed with the sturdy tube,  kindly suggested one piece of tape instead of three.

So tomorrows fifty-something posters will make their way into the world with only once piece of tape on either end.  But I have a good feeling about it.  I’ve sold almost 100 posters already. (Thank you all)  If this keeps up, I’ll have to buy more shipping tubes.

A New Batch Of Bedlam Farm Wool, Coming Soon!

March 22nd, 2017

On Sunday I’ll be picking up my wool from Vermont Fiber Mill.

The wool will  be different from every other batch I’ve had.

It will be a mix of the Romney, Border Leicester and Cheviot wool.   I don’t remember the exact combinations but,   I think I mixed  Socks wool with Izzy’s and Liam’s with Rosemary’s and Suzy’s with Griselle’s.  I’ll have some Roving too.

But I’ll see and feel it all  for the first time on Sunday.

So if you knit, crochet, spin, or weave, and you’re interested in some Bedlam Farm wool  I’ll be posting what I have available for sale, right here, early next week.

The Path Back

March 21st, 2017

Yesterday I started to get my strength back.  I could feel it’s presence low beneath my belly.

It was on Saturday when the healing began.  When I became aware that I had slipped deep into a place of shame and self loathing.  A place where my confidence and belief in my self shrinks, making me feel voiceless and helpless.

It’s a painful place, one I would rather not go. And so I tried to avoid it, pretend it wasn’t happening, that I wasn’t feeling it.

Being in that place were I believed I had done something terribly wrong,  something  that made me feel great shame and not being able to understand that it wasn’t true, plunged me into the state of anxiety I was living in last week.

Once I was able to go to that place and feel it to its fullest, when I was able to  understand that I hadn’t done anything wrong,  that it wasn’t my fault, that what I was feeling had paralyzed me for most of my life, I began to heal.

I don’t know for sure what triggered it, but I have a feeling it was a combination of things.

One incident from my trip keeps coming back to me.

It was the day I found out I wouldn’t be teaching potholder making in the place where we had planned.  I felt I recovered from that disappointment by the next day and then working with the women at House of Hearts seemed to make it all right.

But what I didn’t allow myself to feel was the sense that I had been at fault for not being able to work with the original group of women as planned.  I immediately blamed myself, and my  sense of self worth quickly diminished.   I wasn’t good enough and neither was my work.    And because I was psychologically thrown into that place, I wasn’t  able to stand up for myself, to protect myself, by simply speaking up and questioning what happened.

And as I sat there, feeling helpless, unable to speak, the blanket of shame descended on me.

I never acknowledged all those feelings, didn’t deal with them, so I carried them around with me.

I think the thing that brought them up again was going back to my studio to work after not being there for a month.  I didn’t realize how much my art, my routine, and the rhythms of the farm keep me grounded and sane.

My art is my identity. It is who I am. When I am not doing it for a long period of time, I vanish. Again.

Not being in the studio for so long threw me off.  That and  the emotional and physical experiences of the trip.  I was worn out.

I was supposed to be re-entering my safe place, my studio and work. But suddenly it wasn’t safe anymore.  I doubted everything I did, found it hard to express myself or even understand what I was feeling.

The old anxiety rose in me, a symptom of the abuse that made me feel so bad about myself for so long.

It was becoming aware and admitting that I was feeling the shame and seeing it wasn’t true, that started the process of bringing me back.

That was Saturday morning.  Jon, who has been through this process so many times himself and with me, reminded me that I’d be feeling some grief after coming to awareness. It was natural to mourn the losses that came with  trauma.

So Saturday I rested.  I took the advice of all the good people who urged me to do so.  I sat most of the day reading Rachel Cusk’s new novel and drinking tea. It brought me to a place of ideas where nothing much happens.  The most soothing and nourishing thing I could think to do.

Sunday was better and last night I posted my new quilt on my blog, with just a whisper of self doubt.

So I’m coming back.  It’s a messy path and far from a straight line, but I’m on it.

“Two Worlds”, A New Quilt

March 20th, 2017

I bought five of these pillow shams when I was in Udiapur.  Each one is different.  I used the first one in my quilt After India.

My plan is to use each one as the beginning of a quilt.  The thing is, that each pillow sham is so gorgeous by itself, it’s not easy to add fabric to it without taking away from it.

So they are the centerpiece.  To be framed, but not stand alone within the quilt.

I don’t remember who it was that sent me the small pieces of white quilt, with the intricate hand stitching and hand embroidered potted trees.  Not only did they work well color wise, but I loved the two hand-made pieces, one from India and one from America.  And all that texture.

The old Flour bag  on the top, also had just the right colors and added another element to the quilt.  It speaks of the history of quilting, using the scraps of fabric available.

The machine embroidered curtain panel on the right, brings us closer to here and now.

I gathered pieces of fabric from my stash then cut them up to make the patchwork on the ends.

I used the red and gold fabric to create lines, reminiscent of the stitching in the pillow sham.

Then kept pulling on the colors in the pillow sham…

 

….To create a unified piece.

I’m calling this quilt Two Worlds.  A fusion of my experience in India and being home. I’m still debating edging it in a small strip of white.  Then I’ll put a back on it and sell it.  It will be $400 + shipping.

Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm, Spring 3/20/17

March 20th, 2017

 

Apple Branch Snow Sculpture

March 19th, 2017

I took a picture of my Apple Branch Sculpture today.  It looks pretty different from the first photo I took of it which is above.  Here’s some photos of its evolution or devolution.

My Apple Branch Snow Sculpture today.

The animals ate at it throughout the storm and continue eating the bark and branches.  I found one of the branches by the hay feeder.  They’re doing a good job of deconstructing my sculpture.

House Of Hearts Potholder Order From India, Almost Filled

March 19th, 2017

A pile of potholders from House Of Hearts

Look at those colors!  100 potholders will soon be on their way from the women who work at House Of Hearts in India.

Soma Seal, who created House Of Hearts, posted on  facebook  that the women love making them.

These are the same women I went to India to teach how to make potholders.

So it’s all coming together.  Soon I’ll have them and be selling them right here on my website.  The profits will go back to Soma and the women who work at House of Hearts.  Helping them to earn a living and keep their families healthy and safe.

Soma started House of Hearts, which is in a couple of rooms in her house, to make sure some of the women in her neighborhood have work and can help support their families.

I loved working with them.  Even though we didn’t speak the same language, we spoke the language of sewing.  It didn’t take long at all for the women to figure out how to make the potholders.   And now they’re coming to America!

I’ll keep you all updated and let you know when I get them.

The Women at House of Hearts working hard, making potholders.

“Talking To Animals” Bedlam Farm Open House June 10th and 11th

March 19th, 2017

Jon with his new book “Talking to Animals” in his study where he wrote it.

The sun was high in the window, blinding me as well as warming my face.  Yesterday Jon let me sleep while he feed the animals.  Today I did the same for him, then crawled back into bed.

The dogs were chewing on rawhide and Jon was dozing when it came to me.

Hey! I said, Jon’s eyes springing open,  your book is coming out in May so we’ll have it for the June Open House.

We’ll call it the “Talking To Animals” Open House.   I’ll get books from Connie and sell them in my Gallery.  You can sign them and do a reading.

It all began to fall into place.  Once again I was thinking the June Open House would be a quiet event.

We won’t be shearing the sheep like we did last year because the shearing really needs to be spaced six months apart for the wool to grow the proper length.  So well do shearing at the October Open House and in April, not at the June Open House.

And I haven’t even asked most of the artists that I want in my Gallery yet.  So I’m a little behind in the details.

But having Jon’s new book so hot off the press (it comes out May 5th, just a month earlier) gives a special focus to the Open House.

So join us on Saturday and Sunday, June 10th and 11th  from 11am-4pm at Bedlam Farm.  Meet Jon and some of the animals you’ll read about in “Talking To Animals”.  Have your book signed.  And enjoy an outdoor reading.

For more information on the Bedlam Farm Open House go to my Events Page or click here.