I started removing some of the appliques from the quilt I chose as a background for my new fabric painting. I try not to think about what will happen next, but just stay in the moment. This was just something I had to do to get the process rolling.
One of the wonderful things about doing this kind of work is that I don’t have to worry about making mistakes. Because what may seem like a mistake, just leads to the next thing that I might not have otherwise done.
The process is a lot of small steps each building on the one before it.
It feels slow right now, but apparently I need the time in between each step. I trust that there’s some sorting out going on between me and the piece.
It was just yesterday that Jon called me from his office to tell me that Zinnia was sleeping under his desk. When I came in from my studio an hour later she was still there, and Jon had the kind of smile on his face that told me just how much had missed having “his” dog.
I get that. I felt the same when my dog Frieda died. Even after she was gone I’d walk out the back door to my studio calling “Come on Frieda, let’s go to work”.
Maybe it’s because our work is so solitary that the presence of a dog means so much. I know my studio feels empty without Fate in it. I didn’t even want to take walks when she cut her foot a few weeks ago and had to spend 5 days resting.
So now, when I go in the house and see Jon at his computer and Zinnia sleeping behind his chair or under his desk, where Red used to, it feels as if the balance of Bedlam Farm has returned.
Zinnia has become Jon’s dog as Fate is mine.
I can’t get enough of that smile on Jon’s face. He and Zinnia are already so good for each other.
The mist this morning seemed to randomly scattered crystals of ice all over the farm.
A few tiny crystals clung to a spider’s strand, between the pasture gate and post, bending it like beads on a necklace.
A bit of fluff, not more than a half-inch long hanging from one of the cattails in the marsh became a cluster of jewels when the sun shone through it.
I walked around the farm with the macro lens on my iPhone taking pictures. I got these two that I liked.
To someone else, it might have just been part of an old stone wall, but to me, it was an altar in the woods.
A rock so square it looked like someone cut it in a cube, rested on top of a large boulder surrounded by more rocks holding them all in place. Around them, the old wall fell away in a tumble.
The boulder created what looked like an entrance to a small animal’s home. It was how purposeful the whole assembly of rocks looked that caught my attention. The combination of natural and manmade.
I squatted, leaning my back against the pile of rocks, looking out at what they saw. I could feel the moisture from my boots seeping through my leggings. A light snow tickled my face. I hugged my knees and closed my eyes.
I welcomed the chills that ran through me.
It was refreshing to be outside and cold after being inside most of the day. It awakened my body and focused my mind. I listened and heard the cars a mile or so away on Route 22. The road always seems louder in the winter, maybe because the trees are bare. For some reason, I always think it’s because of the cold air, but I have no idea if that’s true or not.
The stream, rushing with all the recent snow and rain was louder and more constant than the road noise. A single bird peeped high up, the sound slowly growing more distant till it disappeared. And could I really hear the snow falling, or was I imagining that?
After a while, I opened my eyes and although I hadn’t given her a second thought, I wasn’t surprised to find Fate as close as she could get, without touching me, waiting patiently.
I stood up knowing that if I couldn’t go home, put on dry clothes and sit in front of the woodstove with a hot cup of tea, I wouldn’t be enjoying the cold so much.
Fate ran ahead, she would slip under the gate and be waiting for me again, this time in the pasture as she anxiously watched the sheep, hoping for me to tell her to “get the sheep.”
Living so close to the woods and being able to walk in them whenever I choose no longer feels like a luxury to me. It seems a necessity.
The woods filled with altars, some more temporary, like the leaf I saw today, sticking straight up out of the snow supported by a forked twig, to the old stone wall, shifting slightly every year since it was built over at least 150 years ago.
Of course, I could survive without walking in the woods, but I think I would be less whole if I had to.
I picked up my “Zelda” Doily Woman postcards on the way home from Bishop Maginn School where Jon and I brought Zinnia today (you can read all about that here).
As usual, they were waiting for me on the front counter at A&M Printers. I picked up the postcards, waved to Brad who was in the backroom, thanked him and left. Sometime before the end of the month, I’ll get a bill in the mail for them.
And, of course, I’m selling packs of Zelda postcards in my Etsy Shop. So even more people will see her that I don’t even know. Mailart like this is so democratic because the image can be inexpensively owned by so many people.
I’m selling six 4″x6″ “Zelda” postcards for $12 including shipping. You can buy them here.
It’s another snowy morning at Bedlam Farm. The sheep gobbled down their hay. Fanny and Lulu are a little more delicate when it comes to eating at their own feeder.
Fate, undeterred by the cold and snow, made her usual rounds, circling the sheep.
The hens found shelter in the barn…
….and Minnie and Flo cozied up on the back porch.
Like any good Lab, Zinnia loves the snow. She’s exploring the yard, seeing and smelling everything for the first time.
While I was waiting for my photo program to update this morning, I walked around my studio trying to decide what to do next.
I looked at the box that Carole sent me with fabric in. Every once in awhile I agree to do a commission. Much of my decision depends on how I’m feeling about the commission when I’m asked.
And this is just intuition really. It has less to do with the person and what they want and more to do with a feeling. There are just times when everything inside of me screams no and other times when it’s a yes.
But it also has to do with the person asking and what they’re looking for.
When I agreed to make a quilt for Carole, she reminded me that the last time she asked I told her it wasn’t a good time for me. But today a box of fabric that Carole has been collecting sits on my studio floor waiting to become a quilt.
I also thought about sewing together the Potholders that I started making last week and finished up yesterday. And as I looked at them wondering if that was indeed what they wanted to become, I lifted the old red and white quilt that was on my ironing board and spread it out on the floor.
I have the beginnings of an idea for another wall hanging. Another full-length Goddess on an old quilt top backing.
When I unpinned the piece of fabric that Colleen sent me with The Three Graces on it, that’s been hanging on my studio wall and placed it on the red and white quilt, it didn’t work.
So I began looking through the stack of old quilts folded on top of my shelf. It feels like when I’m doing this, I go to another place, a different state of mind. I stop thinking with my head and start feeling from the center of my body. It’s like I’m connecting to the space around me. Boundaries are dropped, my gaze, as well as my body, becomes soft.
Without using words, I’m asking what it wants.
As soon as I put The Three Graces on top of the old quilt, I had the answer to my first question. And because I don’t know what the piece will look like when it’s done I also opened up an unknown amount of more questions.
I cut off a section of the old quilt the size that seemed right with the colors that worked best. This is the first step in a new fabric painting.
The little red arrow moved around my computer screen and the voice on my phone told me to click on the different places the arrow landed.
This went on for a while, as the very helpful man on the other side of the country told me how to clear much of the junk off my computer. Then he explained how my operation system was very old and the benefits and potential problems with updating it.
We talked about the weather, the snow in upstate NY and the cold mornings in California while we waited for the prompt to begin the update.
I am mostly helpless when it comes to figuring out problems on my computer and grateful for Apple Care and the people on the other end of my phone who always help me out, even if it takes a few tries before they get it right.
The thing that got me to call Apple in the first place was that I was having trouble getting on my blog. I would sporadically get a very dramatic and disturbing message saying I was “Forbidden Access.” If I kept trying, eventually the message would be replaced by my admin page. This was the only thing that kept me from calling Apple sooner.
My photo program was still updating when Jon and I left for Glens Falls after lunch. He was getting a an enhanced driver’s license, then we dropped off our vacuum to be fixed.
Everything took longer than I expected today. By the time we got home, it was 4pm and already starting to get dark.
This time of year, when the sun doesn’t come out and it’s dark at 4:30 I get sleepy by 6pm and envy the hibernating bears whose scat I see on my walks in the woods the other three seasons.
After taking care of the animals and getting the woodstoves going, I stood for a while in my cold studio and knew I wasn’t going to be able to do any work. It was too late for me to get my head into a creative space.
But while all this was going on, I did sell some potholders and now that my computer is working so well, I can print out the shipping labels and get them in the mail. I don’t need a creative head to do that.
And my computer really is working so much better with the updated operating system. I’m surprised by that, it feels like my computer has taken a deep breath and been brought back to life after slowly declining for a long time.
So really, as frustrating as it was at times, it was also good in many ways. Including that Jon made a delicious pizza for dinner and right now, Fate is sleeping outside Zinnia’s crate without snarling at her.