Blue Horse

August 3rd, 2014
Blue Horse

Blue Horse

It was Pamela, from Blue Star Equiculture  who told me the story of the Blue Horse who sang and told stories with premonitions.  I’ve been thinking about Blue Horse and after drawing this had a dream of a horse who turned into a wolf.  In my dream it was scary, but I got on his back and rode him to help him turn back into a horse again.  He was like a werewolf except he turned from a horse to a wolf instead of a man to wolf.

Blue Horse is SOLD for sale.  It’s pencil on 12×9 archival paper and is $25 + $5 shipping. If you’re interested in it just email me at

I also have two more new drawings for sale on my  Buy My Art page.

Jane McMillen’s Soft Sculpture Pincushions and Blog

August 3rd, 2014
Jane McMcmillen's Acorn Pincushions

Jane Mcmillen’s Acorn Pincushions (Imagine what Lisa’s squirrel would do with these!)

I don’t get to read all the blogs I would like to read everyday, so there are times where I’ll pick one of the blogs on my blog roll and scroll through reading past posts.  I did this the other day with Jane McMillen’s blog Little House Home Arts.  You may remember seeing Jane’s soft sculpture pincushions on my site, her work has been in the Pig Barn Gallery and at our more recent Bedlam Farm Open Houses.  She will, once again, have some of her pincushions at this October’s Open House.

But back to Jane’s blog.  Honestly, sometimes I  find the length of some of Jane’s blog posts intimidating.  But I have to say, they are  always worth the read.  They are thoughtful, informative, always real and funny.  Jane has a great sense of humor and dry delivery which comes across in her writing.

There were two posts that really caught my attention and I felt I wanted to share them with those of you who have not already read them. The first is Testimonial–Little House Pincushions are “Beautiful and Delicious” about how “Project Runway” Contestant and Fashion Designer Emmet McCarthy bought one of Jane’s tomato pincushions as a gift for his friend the artist Lisa Zador and a squirrel stole it from her NYC apartment and tried to eat it.

The squirrel eating Jane's pincushion

The squirrel eating Jane’s pincushion outside Lisa’s window in NYC

The second is a post A Tribute To My Late Father Or How Insanity Helps, that Jane wrote about her relationship to her father and how  his practical advice influenced the artist that Jane has always been.  It begins with her Armchair Journey (sewing fleece socks while watching on TV)  following Pope Francis  during his trip to the Middle East. It’s filled with revealing insights into Jane’s life as an artist and funny (it made me laugh out loud) photo’s such as this one…

"Jane receives a blessing"

“Jane receives a blessing”

And besides getting to read about Jane’s life and art in her home in Vermont, you can see and buy her unique work.  So have fun, I sure did.

A New Batch Of Freedom Potholders

August 1st, 2014
Freedom Potholders

Freedom Potholders

I think it was Jon gaining some of his independence back that inspired me to make a batch of Freedom Potholders today.   I used up the bag of scraps from Laura Israel’s collection making these.  But I have two new bags of scraps  (from other people) waiting for me to break into them.  So there’s more Freedom Potholders in my future.

License to Lift

July 31st, 2014
Jon taking a picture of an old barn on the way home from Albany today.

Jon taking a picture of an old barn on the way home from Albany today. A beautiful thing to see.

Ever since Jon started taking pictures (way before we were married)  he has tried several times in several different ways to get me to assist him by carrying his lenses and tripods etc.  Although before we were together I did many different paying jobs for Jon from researching the history of Old Bedlam Farm to driving him around on book tour to repairing slate roofs at the farm.  But I always had a visceral reaction to carrying his camera equiptment around for him.  It was just something I wouldn’t do.

Until a few weeks ago when he came out of the hospital and not only couldn’t he carry his camera, (he couldn’t lift anything over 5lbs.)  he wasn’t allowed to even lift it to take a picture.  So he finally got what he wanted, not, I’m sure,  that he would say it was worth it.   So for three weeks I’ve been hauler and at time a human tripod.  And I was happy to do it, most of the time anyway.  I tried to be patient and open minded about it, after all, I know it was just as or more frustrating for Jon not to be able to take pictures,  but there were times when it got to me.  And as much as I tried to hide my  irritation, well, Jon just knows me too well for that.

But now, that’s all over.  Today we met with Jon’s  Heart Surgeon  Dr. Akujuo (who he still has a crush on and I don’t blame him, she’s deserving of it)  and she gave him the OK to take pictures again.  So on the way home it was like old times stopping on the side of the road for the old barn or landscape.

I have  a feeling with Jon’s refurbished heart and license to lift, we’re going to be stopping on the side of the road more than ever.  And nothing could make me happier, this weekend I’ll get a new sketch pad and we’ll be ready for every old barn and landscape we can find  in Washington County.

Shawna Makes It Glow

July 30th, 2014

ShawnaLast night I had a dream of a woman in a Native American bird mask and wings. The wings, were filled with drawings of everyday things, like lamps and dishes and furniture.  The mask and wings glowed yellow.   Another woman who was  standing next to the masked woman said “Shawna makes it glow”.

When I woke up I looked up the name Shawna, a name that has no meaning to me.  The Wikipedia definition is “God is Gracious”.  The Urban Dictionary meaning is “a sexy woman”.  It made me think of the  Divine Feminine and the idea that pleasure connects us to divinity.

When I looked for images of the mask and wings I saw in my dream, I found it was similar to the Native American Thunderbird.  Traditionally the Thunderbird is said to make wind and thunder when it flaps it’s wings and lightening comes from its eyes.  It’s a symbol of strength and power.

I’m still sorting this out and I want to research it some more.  But I have no doubt it will make its way further into my work.

Buying My Art

July 29th, 2014
"In My Tree"

“In My Tree”

So yesterday I wrote a big long post about how I finally feel free from the pressure of having to make and sell my art every day. And today I spent the day updating my Buy My Art page on my blog. ( A different kind of creative).

Obviously it’s  has been on my mind so I decided to take a look my Buy My Art page, something I haven’t done for a while.  And I saw that it was quite out of date.  It was interesting to me how much I’ve changed since making that page.  At the time, I was so hesitant and ambiguous about selling my work.  I had this whole page dedicated to selling my art but didn’t have much of anything to buy on it, just a lot of “maybe this and maybe that”.

So I’ve revamped my Buy My Art page.  And now it actually has something on it to buy. (It seems I always had some things stashed away that I was saving for I don’t know what, so I figure, why not put them up on my Buy My Art page)   And I hope it’s a bit more clear and direct in how to go about doing that.  I also have some of Jon’s work for sale on the page and I hope to always have a line or two of notecards for sale.

This page will continue to change as I sell what’s on  it and put up new work.  So check it out and let me know what you think.  There’s some new stuff (from both me and Jon) on it that I’ve never put up  for sale before.   Just click here or on the words Buy My Art at the top of my blog.  And let me know what you think.

Jon Katz 5x7 signed photos.

A bunch of Jon’s 5×7 signed photos

Freedom To Be Creative

July 28th, 2014
New Normal

Tacking my quilt “New Normal”

One of the  things that happened when Jon was in the hospital and even after he came home was that I wasn’t working.  And before he went into the hospital I hadn’t been in my studio because I was preparing for the Open House.  So all totaled, I didn’t work in my studio for about four weeks.  This is the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent not working in my studio.  I’ve taken vacations of 4 or 5 days, but would never have imagined not being in my studio for so long.

I remember last year, when Jon had Lyme Disease and was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed, wondering what would happen if I couldn’t get into my studio to do my work.  I worried about it not so much creatively as financially.  Because I had gotten in the habit of making something in a day or two (or longer for a quilt) and selling it right away.  I got good at making things people wanted to buy.  Which, of course, is a good thing because it allows me to do what I love and make a living at it.

But lately, the pressure was starting to get to me.  I felt that if I made something and it didn’t sell right away (meaning within a few hours or a day at the latest) that I was over.  People had gotten tired of my work and didn’t want it anymore.  Knowing if my work was good was becoming dependent on whether or not someone wanted to buy it or how many comments I got about it on facebook or my blog.  I was looking too much outside of myself for validation.

But then it happened.  Jon was in the hospital and I wasn’t making art to sell for four whole weeks.  And suddenly my great fear of not making art and selling it every day vanished. I realized that I could survive without spending every Monday through Friday doing my work.  And with this realization came a sense of freedom.  Freedom in knowing that I could spend time in my studio and make something without knowing if it will sell or not.  Freedom to be creative in a new way, to explore what I might do if I didn’t have to think about selling it.

The anxiety of having to sell everything I make, that I’ve had for the past six years since I started my business, has dissipated.  That’s why I was able to make my Linen Napkin Notebook pieces and “Boot” which I made yesterday. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to sell my art anymore, or that I don’t need to.  I do.  It just takes some of the pressure off and allows me to be more creative and try different things.

I would never have imagined that Jon having open heart surgery could relieve stress for me in some way.  I would have imagined it could only do the opposite.  I hope not to squander this gift, to be able to remember it and incorporate it into my life permanently.  It was too hard to come by to just give away.


July 27th, 2014
Close up of "Boot"

Close up of “Boot”

It’s like I went to sleep a few weeks ago and woke up in another world where everything is a little off. It’s those familiar things that keep me grounded and feeling safe in all the unknown. Walking is a touchstone and my work helps me make sense of it all.

I don’t know why I got the urge to hand stitch a tiny boot, with a needle and thread on a doily this morning.  I haven’t had a desire to hand stitch anything in years.  I do know there’s something cathartic about sewing by hand for me, so I imagine that has something to do with it.   An unconscious reaction, a form of healing.  It was also probably inspired by the 18th century samples I saw yesterday at the Williams College Museum.  One from 1799 perfectly preserved, perfectly stitched.  I thought of the girl who made it when I was haphazardly stitching my boot, free of someone’s elses idea of perfection.

And when I got to the laces, they didn’t want to fly, bows up and ends out, like usual.  They wanted to hang.  Anchored and weighed down at the same time,  by safety and the unknown.

Boot is about movement, being grounded and safe, and the unknown.

This is all very small.  The doily is 5″x5″ from edge to edge and the interior space that the boot is stitched on is 2″x 2″.  The boot itself is 1″x 1″.   From the top of the doily to the bottom of the safety pin it’s 10″ total.  I attached the doily to the wall with six straight pins.

Boot is for sale.  It’s $45 + $7 shipping.  If you’re interested in it, you can email me here or at




“Boot” from top to bottom

Key and safety pin

Key and safety pin




“New Normal” Front and Back

July 25th, 2014

Normal front and back

I am so tired, physically and emotionally today, I could hardly get myself to lift a piece of fabric.   But,  I did manage to pieced together the back to my “New Normal” quilt.   It surprises me how high energy it looks compared to how I feel.  I guess it’s inside of me somewhere, all that energy, just hiding out for a day or so.  Don’t know how much further I’ll get today, I just may take the rest of  the afternoon off.

Chicks Discover Garbage, Out My Window

July 24th, 2014

chick on garbageI heard all this noise like someone was banging around the garbage pails and when I looked out my window there was one of the chicks on top of the pail.  All the hens were hanging around like they just discovered garbage.  They’re all getting used to being together even thought the hens still chase the chicks away from any food I give them. They’re definitely not into sharing.