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My Pony And Me: Leaders and Partners

Friday, July 3rd, 2015
Chloe by the apple tree.

Chloe by the apple tree

I rode Chloe around the sheep herding pasture today.   She was happy to go in, and we circled around, hugging the fence line doing fine, until we got back to the gate.  Then she stopped paying attention to what I wanted, which was to circle around again, and she headed for the gate instead.   It was a brawl, but I got her back into the pasture.  I made her turn around 3 or 4 times, as someone suggested.   I kicked her hard with my heels, I even smacked her on the butt (something she didn’t seem to feel at all) with my hand.  I gritted my teeth and got pissed and told her.  “Act like you mean it,” I said, that is what my friend and teacher Eli told me to do when Chloe wasn’t doing what I wanted her to do.

Well, this time I meant it.

And I meant it every time she headed for the gate.   By the fourth time, I was tired and not liking myself very much.  But I made us go around again until I was the one to decide to leave.  Because I know from my own experience with animals and from what Eli told me, that times like these are crucial.  They set the tone for our relationship and who will be the leader, Chloe or me.

I know I have to be the leader if I’m going to ride Chloe.  And it should be simple, but for me it’s more complicated.  Actually I think it’s one of the reason’s I have Chloe, to get me to deal with the issues I have concerning my inner strength and the idea of leadership.

This issue goes so deep with me, I don’t even like the word leader.  I cringe thinking about, not to mention saying it out loud.  Because in my mind someone who’s a leader is domineering, coercive and cruel.   This is familiar to me because I experienced it in my childhood.  And riding Chloe, which I thought was going to be fun, suddenly triggered a painful memory.  It was not fun, not today.

Now,  I know there are other ways of being a leader, I’ve heard and read about it.  But it has no real meaning for me.  I can’t wrap my head around it, my heart won’t go there.

So this whole thing about getting Chloe to do something she doesn’t want to do, which is, walk and run around with me on her back, is bigger for me.  Because I don’t know for sure that she should have to do something she doesn’t want to do.  And I don’t like how I feel when I’m trying to get her to do something she doesn’t want to do.  Suddenly I’m the domineering, coercive and cruel person inflicting the pain.  And I never want to do that.  Not to any being.

I can see that this is one of those issues that will get in the way of my relationship with Chloe.  It’s not something I need to work out with her, it’s something I need to work out inside myself.  Otherwise I won’t be able to be who I need to be for Chloe.

Eli said first I have to be the leader, then me and Chloe can be partners.  I wish I could skip the leader part and go right to being partners.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.   But then I believe this is one of the reasons I have Chloe.  Because I’m ready to deal with this issue.  To figure it out, one way or another.

Maybe I’ll decide it’s not worth it, that if I have to be a leader I’d rather not ride Chloe.  And we can connect the same way I connect with the donkeys, through food and grooming and spending time together.  Or maybe I’ll learn the other way to be a leader.  The way that can bring two beings closer together, in a different kind of partnership, one I’ve never experienced before.

Finding Wild Woman

Friday, July 3rd, 2015
Wild Woman

Wild Woman

My friend Jackie gave me the quilt.  She came to the Open House with three old quilts.  This one was the most faded and worn.  I hung it on my wall immediately.  I was drawn to how subtle the colors are.   The soft  texture.  The places where the batting shows and the backing behind it.

I knew I wanted to do something with it.

This morning when I went into my studio, I decided I would draw directly on it with marker.  Then I tried to do something else.  As much as I wanted to draw on the quilt I was a little apprehensive.   It was so beautiful just as it was and I was afraid to ruin it.   I started working on a wall hanging, something I’d been thinking about, but found I couldn’t get it right, and it wasn’t holding my interest.  I was getting discouraged and thought of taking a walk, but knew that what I really wanted to do was make something.

So I got out my black and started to draw.

The other thing that happened at the Open House is that my sister Fran, who was selling her mini gardens, gave me back the book Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.   I had given it to her to read years ago.  Lately the book has been coming to mind and I was thinking of getting a copy of it.  Then there was Fran giving it back to me.  I had given her a bunch of books and told her to pass them along when she was done with them.  And she had with the other books, but she had a feeling I might want this one back, and she was so right.

So,  I started reading it.  And the introduction was all about Wild Woman.  Who lives inside all of us, but is often buried deep,  dominated by domesticity and societies demands.   Estes says, we get glimpses of her when we hear a song, or see a piece of art, or read a poem that moves us.     And for a moment she emerges.  We long for Wild Woman and sometimes we find her inside of ourselves and allow her to emerge.

So when I picked up my marker this morning  I drew my I’m Alive Goddess first.  I added the wide open eye just below her belly button.  The Hara awake.  The place where our life force and  instincts live.

I’m not done with this yet.  I know I want to add more color with fabric and markers.  I’m not sure what else I’ll do.

Making this released something in me.  I loved working so big and loved the freedom of drawing with markers.  And the freedom of drawing on makers on this beautiful hand stitched quilt.  There’s an irreverence about it, that speaks to my own Wild Woman.  And, I think of the woman who hand stitched the quilt and if she ever knew her Wild Woman.

The Fertile Void

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Fate curled up and fell asleep  in the top of a cardboard box in my studio

Yesterday I brought all the bags and boxes of fabric that were piled up in our dining room, back to my studio.  I moved back the furniture and all the things that I hang on my walls and put on my windows.  I refolded all the fabric and placed it neatly on the shelves.

And today I didn’t step a foot in my studio.  Someone told me it’s called the fertile void and  I liked that.  It’s stepping away from the studio, the routine of creating, to allow something new in.  Today, I walked, I rode Chloe and I swam.  Making space for my creativity to work without me getting in the way. Making space for whatever is inside me to emerge.

Yesterday I rearranged the furniture in my studio.  Tomorrow I’ll go into a familiar and new place.  And I’ll see what happens.

Waves of Grateful

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
Jon with Chloe and Fate

Jon with Chloe and Fate

I wasn’t really thinking about it until I saw the primroses blooming in the garden.  I’m not usually good about remembering dates of important events.  I always have to check the inside of my wedding ring, where the day and year Jon and I were married is etched, to remember how many years it’s been and that it was the 12th not the 1oth of June.

I know now it’s the primroses  that will always remind me of the days leading up to  Jon’s Open Heart surgery.  Jon was in the hospital for about 5 days before the surgery actually happened.  I brought him flowers from our garden in a ball jar, put them on his window sill and some at the nurses station.  There were a few women, from Romania,  who did the thankless work of collecting the laundry and dirty food trays,  who noticed the primroses.   One woman told me that her neighbors had primroses but they wouldn’t give her any.  I only had a few in my garden, but I know they grow like weeds, a generous flower or domineering one depending on how you see it.  So I dug a few up and left them for her.

So that’s where my mind goes when I see primroses blooming, the few in my garden or the huge beds in someone else’s.  Right to Jon’s hospital room. And, lucky me,  I get to smile, because it all turned out so well.

And now, today, on the actual anniversary of Jon’s surgery, I keep finding myself crying.  It’s a mix of emotions I’m feeling.  The memories, not in words or pictures, but feelings flood my body.  And then it’s like I’m hit with a wave of “grateful”.   And I  can’t help myself, I just go to Jon, where ever he is and hug and kiss him.  Touch his face, my hands in his hands, my skin to his, grateful that he’s live and we’re together.  Hyper aware that it could have been so different.

It’s  overcast and rainy today,  gray, soft and sleepy.   I feel the same.  I have no hard edges, I’m round and soft, gentle, open  and loving.  As if my heart  is taking up space in my whole body, flowing through my arm into my fingers and down my legs to my toes, a heart crown on the top of my head.  And I’m made light with gratefulness.

Bedlam Farm Open House On-Line Gallery

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Summer Flower by Kim McMillan

“Summer Flower” Felted Purse with hand embroidery  by Kim McMillan

It’s my second Bedlam Farm Open House On-Line Gallery.  I did this last year after the Saving Simon Open House and it was a big success.

All those wonderful pieces of art that are easy to ship and still available from the Open House Exhibit in my School House Gallery are now for sale right here.

So if you couldn’t make it to the Bedlam Farm Open House this past weekend, you can still buy something from my Gallery.

There’s one of Kim McMillan’s felted purses still available.  This one is called “Summer Flower”.  It’s 8″ at the bottom and 6″ at the zipper.  From top to bottom it’s 6″.   Kim hand embroidered it and used one of her metal vintage buttons for the center of the flower.   It’s perfect for holding the necessities.  “Summer Flower” is $40 + $7 shipping.  If it’s just what you’re looking for,  you can email me at

Blue Plaid Sheet with rickrack and polka dots Size 4T by Karen Heenan

Blue Plaid Sheet with rickrack and polka dots.  Size 4T   by Karen Heenan

I also have some of Karen Heenan’s “Grow With Me” girls dresses.  These are all made with repurposed fabric, most of it vintage.  They can be worn with a t-shirt or long sleeves under them in the cooler weather.   They are all $35 + $8 shipping.  If you see one that would be just right for the little girl you know,let me know at

Indonesian Batik Tablecloth size 2T by Karen Heenan

Indonesian Batik Tablecloth.   Size 2T    by Karen Heenan

Ralph Lauren Vintage Sheet with eyelet and dragonfly size 1T by Karen Heenan

Ralph Lauren Vintage Sheet with eyelet and dragonfly.   Size 1T   by Karen Heenan SOLD

Vintage City Print with daisies size 3T by Karen Heenan

Vintage City Print with daisies.   Size 3T   by Karen Heenan

Purple Scrubs Size 2T by Karen Heenan

Purple Scrubs .   Size 2T   by Karen Heenan

Art Deco Artist Gustav Klimt inspired fabric Size 4T

Art Deco Artist, Gustav Klimt inspired fabric.   Size 4T  by Karen Heenan

Vintage Yellow flowered sheet Size 1T by Karen Heenan

Vintage Yellow flowered sheet with rickrack and rose.    Size 1T   by Karen Heenan

And I have two wall hangings available…

Thinking from my Hara

“Thinking from my Hara ” by Maria Wulf

Our Hara lies about two inches below our belly button.  It the place  our life force inhabits, our energy center. I had forgotten that we can think with other parts of our body, not just our brain.  We can also think with our hearts, where our emotions live.  Or we can think from our Hara, the place of instinct.  So when my brain starts taking me to bad places I’m remembering to think instead from my gut, from my Hara.  When I do, my brain gets quiet and the reality of where I am and what I’m doing becomes clear. That’s the place I made this wall hanging from.  My Hara.

I stitched Thinking from my Hara on a Vintage Cotton Napkin.  It’s about 24″ square and is $125 + $10 shipping.  If it speaks to you, just let me know at

Glory Dog by Maria Wulf

“Glory Dog” by Maria Wulf 

Glory Dog was inspired by a drawing I did a couple of weeks ago by the same name.  It’s the first piece I’ve made that has Fate in it.  You can see her curled up in a circle sleeping, the sun’s rays emanating from her. Don’t ask me to explain the rest of the imagery, it’s just what happened when I started to sew.

Glory Dog is about 22″ square and is also stitched on a Vintage Cotton Napkin.  It’s $125 + $10 shipping.  If you’re interested in it, just email me at

Crescent Moon Tree Potholder

Crescent Moon Tree Potholder SOLD

I also have some potholders for sale.  You can see the patchwork ones I have available on my Buy My Art page.  You can click here to get there.  But I also have 3 Tree Potholders for sale. They are stitched on Vintage Hankies.   They are $23 each + $5 shipping for 1-2 and $7 shipping for 3.  If you see one you like, you can email me at

Lovers Tree Potholder

Lovers Tree Potholder SOLD

Old Oak Tree Potholder

Old Oak Tree Potholder SOLD

Thanks for coming to my Open House On-line Gallery.  If you see something you like or have any questions, just email me here at


Bedlam Farm Open House Spiraling Out

Monday, June 29th, 2015
Poetry Reading at the Bedlam Farm Open House

Poetry Reading at the Bedlam Farm Open House

I hardly ever think to take pictures at our Bedlam Farm Open Houses.  I’m too busy in my Gallery.  I snap a few scenes, but to get the real feel of the days in pictures, it’s best to go to Jon’s blog.

Today, my head is filled with numbers.  I like to sort out the sales and commissions quickly and get the checks in the mail to the artists and poets who are part of the Open House.  But I’m not really good with numbers.  I usually come close enough to making things work out.  But for me, when numbers are involved, there are always mistakes.  15’s can easily become 51’s, my mistakes in adding and subtracting are usually unfathomable to me.

But I had good help with Kim and my friend Mandy (who showed up on Sunday because Kim had to work at the Co-op).  And as much as I love to see how much each artist sold and how much money they made, there is the other part of the Open House.  The part that has nothing to do with numbers.

And that’s the real heart of the Open House, the part that’s about people.  When we first started having the Open Houses, I used to worry that something would go wrong.  But I don’t even think of that anymore.  It seems somehow that the people who show up are just really good people.  They’re kind to each other and the animals. They’re happy to be here and up for it all, art, poetry, sheep herding and visiting with the donkeys and Chloe.  Mary Kellogg, the poet and our friend who was reading this weekend said she felt as if the farm was surrounded in a  joyful energy that expanded out into the rest of the world.  That it was good news among all the bad news we’re so used to hearing.

I see that in the people who come here, and the artists and poets who are a part of it all.  And everyone who comes to help make the weekend a good one. I see it in the businesses in the town of Cambridge.  How they welcome the people who fill the streets and shops for the weekend. Doug Anderson, who read from his new book “Horse Medicine” and has read his poetry at different places all over the country, said that this was a great place to read poetry.  I think it had to do with the people who were here.  The feeling of the place and the event. There is an ease and comfort and sense of safety and encouragement.

I’m not sure why our Open Houses attract such good people from all over, but thinking that all that loving energy that swirls around here for two days, may be reaching beyond Bedlam Farm reminds me that numbers are only a small part of it all.  And I want to remember that when the numbers don’t add up. I want to remember and revel in what’s really important.  Which is all the  good people and the kindness they bring, spiraling out from Bedlam Farm.

The Bedlam Farm Open House, School House Gallery

Friday, June 26th, 2015
Karen Heenan's Girls Dresses

Karen Heenan’s Girls Dresses

I’m all ready for the Open House tomorrow.   Just a few things left to do in the morning.  If you were to come into my School House Gallery and turn to the left  and keep walking, this is what you’d see…

One of my  wall hangings and my potholders

One of my wall hangings and my potholders


Carol's fabric prints, trivets, notecards and cutting boards.  Also an original Batik.  Jack Metzger's " "Shaman" and my wall hanging.

Carol’s fabric prints, trivets, notecards and cutting boards.  And her original Batiks.  Jack Metzgers sculpture and my wall hangings.

More of Carol's, Jack's and my work.  Also Mary Kellogg's books, Tom Adkin's books, and Jon's books.

More of Carol’s, Jack’s and my work. Also Mary Kellogg’s books, Tom Adkin’s books, and Jon’s books.

One of Carol's original Batik's.  Rachel's magnets and Hoga Charms.   Kim's felted purses.

One of Carol’s original Batik’s. Rachel’s magnets and Hoga Charms. Kim’s felted purses. ( Oh I see I left my potholder on top of some of Kim’s purses in this photo. And oh, it’s too late for me to go out and take another picture….but  you get the idea)

And here’s a few close ups….

Jack Metzger "Shaman"

Jack Metzger “Shaman”


Kim McMillan's  felted "Owl Purse"

Kim McMillan’s felted “Owl Purse”

Rachel Barlow's "Hoga Charm"

Rachel Barlow’s “Hoga Charm”



The Bedlam Farm Open House, Coming Together

Thursday, June 25th, 2015
Kim McMillan and her felted purses

Kim McMillan and her felted purses

Kim came by this morning and dropped off her Vintage button inspired felted purses and wallets.  A sheep and owl, the moon and flowers.  All hand embroided with Kim’s original designs. The owl has a heart button right at his center and the sheep has a flower in her mouth.  I can still remember seeing the moon, just the thinnest sliver of light and the planet (which one, I’m not sure) to its left.  The next day Kim started making the wallet that’s now in the Open House.

Kate at Battenkill Books with Mary Kellogg's new book "How to Dance"

Kate at Battenkill Books with Mary Kellogg’s new book “How to Dance”

Then, this afternoon, Brad from A&M printers called to say that Mary Kellogg’s new book, “How to Dance” was all done.  We started working on Mary’s book over six months ago, but somehow it was a last minute rush to get it printed in time for the Open House.  Mary will be reading from it on Saturday and Sunday I’ll be selling her book and so will Battenkill Books.  Mary will be glad to sign her books too.

I just have some labels to make and  hang and take care of those things that don’t get done till the day before.  Then I’ll be all read for the Open House.

Fate and Her Little Green Bear

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
Fate and her toy

Fate and her Little Green Bear

In the box with Karen’s dresses was a toy bear.  Karen made it for Fate.  She sells these stuffed animals that she makes for dogs,  on her ETSY page, but said most people don’t buy them for their dogs, they give them to Thier children.

Well, Fate loved her toy bear from the moment I gave it to her.  First she chewed it, pulled at it, tried to, unsuccessfully, rip it to shreds.  But when that didn’t work, she fell asleep on it.

Fate and her little green bear were good company in my Gallery today.

My Studio Became a Gallery Today

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
Karen Heenan's Kids dresses

Karen Heenan’s Kids dresses

I spent the day moving art into my studio and moving furniture out.  But before I did any of that, I went through the kids dresses that Karen Heenan made and put them on hangers.  All of Karen’s work is beautifully and finely made.  I’m enchanted by these dresses, they look like the kind of clothes a character from a children’s book would wear.  Dresses for creative, individualistic girls.  They’re made from Vintage table cloths and sheets, rick rack and doilies.

Rachel and her magnets.

Rachel and her magnets.

Later in the afternoon Rachel dropped off her magnets and her stove pipe to hang them on.  Rachel made her magnets, each one by hand.   Each with one of her very funny cartoons on them.  She made (with her husband’s help) a smart display for her magnets from a stove pipe.  Which is appropriate since her wood stove pops up in so many of her cartoons.

Jack's small sculptures.  (Jon took this photo in Jack's Gallery and Antique shop. )

Jack’s small sculptures. (Jon took this photo in Jack’s Gallery and Antique shop. )

And Jack came by with all his Found Object Sculptures.  A group of whimsical pieces, all of which he found in the Battenkill River.  Jack is an antique collector and seller for many years.  He started making sculpture from some of the  odd pieces he’s collected over the years.  These small sculptures look like they’re going to get up and dance with each other.  He also dropped off some sculptures that can go outdoors.  I’ll be showing them just outside my studio along with Fran’s mini gardens.

Jack won’t be at the Open House this weekend.  He’ll be in his shop Jack’s Out Back on Main Street in Cambridge.  You can visit him there and talk about his art and see more of it and a magical display of antiques.  Jack has a story for each one.

What my School House Gallery looked like at the end of the day.

What my School House Gallery looked like at the end of the day.

This is as far as I got today.  I’m still waiting for Kim’s felted purses and a couple of pieces from Carol.  ( you can see her batiks on the wall). I have some wallhangings, potholders and pillows.  There’s still last minute changes to make and cleaning to do.  Then there’s labels to make and the money stuff to take care of.

But, enough for tonight. Two days till the Open House, plenty of time to finish it all.