“How To Dance”, Mary Kellogg’s New Poetry Book

February 12th, 2015
Sara Kelly at the Round House Cafe

Sara Kelly at the Round House Cafe looking through Mary’s last poetry book” Whistling Woman”.

Sara asked me if I wanted to meet her at her office or at the Round House Cafe.  Oh the Cafe, I messaged her back, any excuse for a cup of tea and muffin at the Round House.

I brought her a folder with copies of Mary Kellogg’s Poems.  A few years ago Mary got fed up with her computer and went back to writing her poems on her typewriter.  I couldn’t figure out how to use our scanner, so Sara and I were doing this the old fashioned way.  Sara Kelly, of Sara Kelly Design,  is the woman to go to in Cambridge if you need anything from business cards to typesetting a book.   And this morning we figured out that for the same price as I was originally quoted, we could have some of Jon’s black and white photo’s in the book too.

So it’s begun the publishing of Mary Kellogg’s third book of poetry.  This one is called “How to dance” and we’ll have it ready to sell by the June Open House, if not sooner.

Besides getting Mary’s book together, I also invited Sara to be in either this October or next June’s Open House.  Because as well as doing graphic designer, Sara is also a painter.  She works in water-color and oils and her paintings of nature and animals are spiritual and uplifting, just right for Bedlam Farm.  You can see some of them here on her facebook page.

To help celebrate Mary’s new book, we’re having a bit of a poetry festival at this June’s Open House.  We will have three other poets there and each one of them is having a new book published which they’ll be reading from and selling.   The other poets are Doug Anderson, Tom Atkins and Kate Rantilla.  You can see more about them and the rest of the June 2015 Bedlam Farm Open House here.

 

Sarah’s Quilts: Cat’s Pajamas

February 11th, 2015

cat

Without finishing the first quilt, I started working on the second quilt for Sarah.  In the boxes with Kim’s clothes that Sarah sent me is a pair of pajamas with cats on it.  I couldn’t resist and started with the cat from the pajama top…

cat2

I’ve never used the back pockets of jeans in this way before.  I want to make sure that some of the pieces in the quilt are still recognizable as clothes.  Although I imagine Kim’s family will have no trouble seeing each piece of Kim’s  clothing in the quilt.

cat3

This is where I stopped for today.  More tomorrow…..

Quilts for Sarah: “Bears and Gators”

February 10th, 2015
Bears and Gators

Bears and Gators

I finished the front of the first quilt for Sarah today.  I’m calling it Bears and Gators, because of the Chicago Bears and Florida Gators Tshirts I used in it.  It’s a full size quilt as they all will be.  As you can see it’s too big for my wall.

I didn’t want to introduce any new colors to the quilt and by the time I got to the outer edge, I had run out of the colors I was using.  So I took a bunch of the scraps and sewed them together, in the true tradition of quilt making.

I haven’t made a quilt using so many solid colors in a long time.  I do love how the edge of one color looks up against the edge of another color and how straight forward it is.  And I think I figured out how to use the white too.  It’s no more bold than the rest of the colors.

Donna Wynbrandt – Outsider Art

February 10th, 2015
By Donna Wynbrandt

By Donna Wynbrandt

When Jon’s play, Last Day of Mapleview Farm, was at Hubbard Hall a few weeks ago, he invited our friends  George Fross and Donna Wynbrandt to come see it.  To thank Jon and me for the tickets, Donna did this  painting and sent it to us in the mail.  She so captured the essence of the play in this piece.  And I love that she made the cow, an invisible and yet very important character in the play, real.

Donna has a show coming up in Salem NY this March. And she’s been getting ready for it and writing about it on her new website  Donna Wynbrandt Outsider Art.   I’m looking forward to seeing her new work.

Donna even makes and draws on her envelopes.  It's always a pleasure to get mail from Donna.

Even Donna’s envelopes are art.

 

Quilts for Sarah

February 9th, 2015
Boxes of Kim's clothes

Boxes of Kim’s clothes

A couple of months ago I came home and found these two giant boxes on my back porch.  It was over a year ago that Sarah emailed me and asked if I would make a quilt from her sister-in-laws clothes.  Her sister-in -law, Kim had died suddenly.  Sarah and her husband wanted three quilts  to give to different family members.

I’ve had the boxes of Kim’s clothes in my studio for a while and today felt like the day to open them up and get started making the quilts for Sarah and her family.

Kim's clothes, before

Sorting through Kim’s clothes

But before I opened the boxes, I spoke to Kim.  I told her who I was and what I was doing.  It’s an intimate thing to be going through someone’s clothes who is no longer alive.  Someone I never knew or even met.

Then I opened the boxes and looked through Kim’s clothes,  getting a feel for what I would be working with. Colors, types of fabric, that kind of thing.  I  sorted them into piles of similar colors and prints, all the time looking for the special ones, those pieces of clothing that were the most worn and faded.   These I know are the person’s favorites.  The ones they wore for years, each time they came out of the wash.  I found a few of these in the boxes, but the one that stood out the most was a Chicago Bears T-shirt.  I imagined Kim wore it as a nightshirt.  It’s big, the fabric thin and  soft with so much wear,  the words and images cracked and fading.

Kim's "Bears" Tshirt

Kim’s “Chicago Bears” T-shirt

Even though I’ve given up doing commission’s, I know that every time I do one I get something out of it.  In a way I get to know the person whose clothes or fabric I’m making the quilt from.  But I also often do something different creatively because I’m working with a selection of fabric that I didn’t choose.

With Kim’s clothes it was using white.  In the box was a pair of white pants.  They still had one of those plastic tag holders on it and I wondered if she never wore them, or wore them a just a few times and didn’t notice it.  I know I’ve done that by mistake, more than once.  I suddenly felt a little closer to Kim, as if we shared something.  I also felt as if using the pants was the right decision, even if I wasn’t sure quite how to do it.

White can be so stark and bold and I usually avoid it.  But I’ve seen it used in the Gee’s Bend Quilts and it always works.  So I flipped through my Gee’s Bend book to see just how the different women used white.  What I noticed was how graphic it was in the quilts.  So I decided to use it the same.  Big blocks and stripes with solid colors.  It actually scared me to do.  It’s so not a part of my color vocabulary, it was like I had to get used to it.  That’s how I knew it was the right thing to do.  That it was so different for me.  Me stepping out of my comfort zone.

This is what I have so far.  The white is bold and I see how it sets off the colors and frames them. I get little nervous looking at it, wondering how I’ll make it work, but actually that’s also the fun part.  Otherwise it would just be me doing the same thing over and over, like a formula.

What I do know is I’m going to somehow continue using the green on the two other sides that don’t have it yet, and use more white too.  If I look at the quilt out of the corner of my eye,  I can almost see it….

sarah quilt

Endless Winter Potholders : For Sale

February 8th, 2015
Endless Winter Potholders

Endless Winter Potholders

 Endless Winter Potholders, not  the grays, outside my studio, but just the opposite.

On Friday, I collected the scraps from the 1970’s dress that inspired my quilt Labyrinth, found the colors that worked with them and started making potholders.  And I couldn’t stop, not until I used the last patchwork patch from that dress. dress Not a bit of it was wasted.  Some of the other fabric  I used came from a box of fabric that Kenna just sent me.  They wouldn’t have been the same without that green fabric with the  big blue and brown dots on it.

When I saw Jon’s post about his Endless Winter Color Initiative I knew that’s just what these potholders were about.  Bringing some color to the gray world outside.

I’ll drop these off for Kim to assemble and have them back late next week.  They’re for sale and are $15 each + $5 shipping for 1-2 and $7 shipping for 3 or more. (shipping is a bit more outside the US) So if you need a little color in your life, or a potholder for your kitchen, just email me here at maria@fullmoonfiberart.com.  I take checks or can email you a paypal invoice.

Tireless Fruit begs to be known

February 6th, 2015
Tireless Fruit

Tireless Fruit begs to be known

I’ve made art on and off throughout my life. Mostly I never took it seriously enough.  Even when I was in school I never expected it to go anywhere.  There were times I didn’t  make art for years.  But I always came back to it.

Then I met Jon and in him I found a person who was very serious about creativity.  He never questioned it’s worth, he just believed in it.  Really, it was like religion to him.  For someone to squander his or her creativity was a sin.  He was always looking for artists to encourage, which is why he gave me the barn at Old Bedlam Farm to work in.  And why he published Mary Kellogg’s poems and why he writes and takes pictures everyday.

Maybe I caught Jon’s passion for creativity, or maybe I was just ready to hear it.  Ready to live the creative life that burned inside of me since I can remember.  I would dip my toe in the creative waters, but fear kept me from really committing.  I was afraid of failing, of not being good enough.    I had a million excuses from believing I had to do something that was of more value to society to thinking if I couldn’t be original in my art that it wasn’t worth doing.

But when Jon offered me the barn to make into my studio, I felt it was the first time someone was really seeing me. That he knew me in a way that I didn’t even know myself.  It was the first space that I ever had that was truly mine. And every night when I worked on it, cleaning it out, painting the walls and floor, washing the windows, I cried.  Sometimes silent tears and sometimes loud sobs.  I baptized that space with my tears.  But it was a baptism for me too.  I was about to be immersed in a creative life.  In a life where the longing in me was finally fulfilled.  The longing that was the acknowledgement of my true self.  Me the artist.  And there came a point when I knew that I would always make my art.  No matter what, it would be a priority in my life.  And I would always find a way to do it. Because, as Jon saw, it’s who I am.

Tireless Fruit is the creativity that I tried to squelch again and again.  It’s that part of me I tried to deny.  But it wouldn’t stay down, it  kept coming back.  It wanted to be known, needed to be known, for me to know myself.

My wall hanging Tireless Fruit begs to be known is Sold for sale.  It measures about 25×26 and is $100 + $7 shipping. If this rings true for you and you’d like to own it, just email me here at maria@fullmoonfiberart.com.  I take checks and paypal.

Detail from "Tireless Fruit"

Detail from “Tireless Fruit”

Detail from "Tireless Fruit"

Detail from “Tireless Fruit”

My Iron, A Glowing Grotto

February 6th, 2015

iron reflection

I saw the blaze on my wall and it looked holy to me.  A glowing grotto.  A message from….my iron.  That’s what it is, the sun reflecting off the bottom of my iron and onto my wall. But what’s with the red at the tippy top?  My iron is speaking to me in and of, all it’s glory.  Warm when it’s cold out, laboring day after day. Taken for granted.  I have not praised my iron enough.  look at me, she’s saying, I am the sacred in the mundane. The glowing glory of the forgotten. A miracle on your wall in the middle of the day.

Too Cold for an Old Dog

February 6th, 2015
Frieda and Flo by the wood stove

Frieda and Flo by the wood stove

Frieda doesn’t hear very well these days. Sometimes I’ll be right behind her and she doesn’t know I’m there.  But somehow, every morning, she’s always right beside me at the back door when I go to my studio.  I do see her watching me as I gather up my computer and iphone and tea.  We do this five times a week and just as it’s my work to go to my studio, it’s her work to go with me.   She doesn’t wait to be invited, she just comes.

Sometimes, like this morning, when it’s below zero out, it’s just too cold.  Not for me, I  pile on the layers, light extra candles on my alter (it feels warmer just having those flames going) put on my hat and scarf and pour my tea in a thermos cup.   But it is too cold for Frieda.  Anyway, I think it’s too cold for her.  So as much as I love having her with me, I don’t want her to be any more uncomfortable than an old dog already is.

I do get a pang when I leave the house and she runs to the door and looks at me expecting to follow.  But then I think of her curled up in front of the wood stove, dozing and warm, and I feel a little warmer too.

My Old Singer

February 5th, 2015
My old Singer

My 30 year old Singer Sewing Machine

There’s something about the simplicity of my old Singer Sewing machine that I like.  I haven’t used it in so long, I was expecting to be frustrated by it.  But when it started to slowly chug along, making that thunk thunk noise, it felt good.  Like deliberately walking slowly and purposefully. I can actually feel the needle go up and down, not in a blur, quick hum, like my Viking.  It’s as if I can feel the mechanisms of the machine at work, gears turning, wheels spinning, like a primitive pulley system powered by a foot treadle.

I picked up my Viking today.  It’s all clean and ready to be used again.  It’s good to have it back, but I felt a little sad unplugging my Singer and sliding it under my desk.  Not sad enough to use it instead of my Viking, which is fast and easy in so many ways.

In the past I’ve thought of getting rid of my Singer.  Giving it to someone who  doesn’t have a sewing machine and could use it.  But now I know I’ll keep it.  Not only because I might need it someday, but because I like it.  I have a feeling that it’s the kind of machine that could last forever.  The kind of machine that will never give up.