Sunday, May 31, 2009

Belfast ATCs and other news

I had a lovely time yesterday at Natasia's Belfast, Maine Library ATC Swap. I arrived only a couple of minutes late and the room was jumping! I met lots of old and not quite so old friends ... Peggy, and Rachel and Laura and Chris. I got a wonderful trade from the girls at skipthechips. I made a couple of packing tape transfers with the group and finally found out that I have a tendency to rub too hard and take off the ink as well as the paper! I made a few cards and have a stack of half-made cards to work on later.

If you want to trade for one of the three atcs just send me an email:
We will trade addresses and get these babies on their way!

I am not at all sure why these last two pictures uploaded sideways ... it isn't the way they are oriented within my photo program or on my desktop ... very odd ... my electronics take on a mind of their own!

Anyway: a thrilling surprise showed up in my mailbox: has just taken on the listing of my two books! Now the wierd thing about this is that both their listings for Nannee and The Great Library ATC Swap are more expensive than the places where I regularly sell them, because they have to make their cut, you know. So I will recommend etsy for Nannee and lulu for GLAS, but I really appreciate being tagged by amazon and hope to publish again in the future in a way that works out even better for our partnership.

My next book out is a picture book about Chang E. She is the Lady of the Moon and presides over the Chinese and Viet Namese Festival of the Full Moon in September. I actually wrote the book years ago for our local Full Moon Festival. My job now is to prepare it for print.

With sewing in between for meditation.
(And I was going to give you a peek at the latest, but now my camera has decided to glitch!! How does a card lock and how does one unlock it??) (I'll find out and get back to you.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Visit to Haystack

Oh My Goodness. The Universe conspired to give me a long weekend at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts this past weekend and I revel in my good fortune.

Away back in 1980 I attended my first workshop at Haystack with Barbara Shawcroft: "Knotted Sculpture". My world spun differently after that. I made sense there. In 1982 I was able to go back and studied "Celebrations" with Debra Frasier, Dan Bailey and Peter Adams. That class started me on a long path that led me to San Francisco from Boston, through adding a couple of new pierces to my right ear, on to changing my name and then to moving to Maine. Where I have written books, and stitched hundreds of thousands of beads, and made prayer and family.
Back in February I received an email from the Maine Crafts Association to invite us all to a May weekend of art to juice our '09 Season. I am a single mom. Trips away from my Dear Ones don't come often. Nigh on never. But I thought that I would ask around and see how our May shaped up for the possibility anyway. The children needed care: their various schedules needed accomodating, their various needs had to be met... One by one every person I asked for help said yes. Every situation that at once seemed problematical became smoothed. I'd go along with it all, and then think, "No, this cannot be correct. Surely I am pressing too hard." And yet consistantly I kept hearing the Instruction to keep trying, to allow this to happen. A week ago I thought I'd faint for the pressure of setting all of this goodness in motion, but just kept following my Instruction.

This is the opening view of the Haystack decks. It is something like a gasp to come up the steps and see the Gulf of Maine beyond the trees, islands dotting the bay like stepping stones on one's visual trip out to the Atlantic and the Great World Beyond. I began remembering. Years of attending Haystack workshops in the summer and fall. Friendships, and sunny days - and more weather than that, for the coast of Maine can't be confined more than a couple of hours in that way - and the projects I have made from tiny embroideries to huge masks, pencil drawings, desktop environments. I have been bewildered on that campus, hurt, entranced, lovely, challenged in every way and always, always so content doing this work of color, texture and philosophy. I don't argue in my head so much when I am there. God/dess exists inside my hands and no one seems to be quite so pissed about that. What an excellent reprieve.

My workshop this past weekend was again with Debra Frasier, this time in collaboration with Catharine Ellis. Debra became a writer and illustrator in those intervening 27 years. Catharine is a dyer and weaver. We learned Osage, and Cochineal, and Indigo, and the words that those colors speak to us. Catherine taught us shibori dye techniques, and Debra passed out colored papers with the writing lessons and prompts. We listened to each other as we wrote. Millions of plants can make a yellow dye, the Cochineal is a bug that dyes that rich red, though there are other ways of getting reds, but indigo is one of only two plants, worldwide, that through a long, complicated and somewhat toxic process can give us blue.

I was both confused and absolutely sure while I was there. I am so correct here at home again and ever so much in our agenda. I toss a bit. The edges and details swerve and dip as they do.

I will send you more. The shibori was a gift of delight. I want to show you. The words came at me ... I want to tell you.
I will.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Healing through artmaking

Oh, My. Go read this. And look at this slideshow. (Thank you for passing this along, Red Thread)

Ross Bleckner has been chosen to be the next United Nations Goodwill Ambassador: he has been painting with children who were abducted and conscripted in war.

These from the NY Times article linked above:

Mr. Bleckner said that when United Nations officials first approached him, they asked him whether he thought art could perform a useful role in drawing attention to the plague of human trafficking, which they said still receives too little attention, despite the widespread use of children in many conflicts in Africa.

“And I said to them that if art can’t perform a role like that, then it has no role at all,” he said on Tuesday.

He said that after several days of teaching them rudimentary painting and drawing skills, many began to open up to him and to create work that powerfully expressed their experiences.

Mr. Bleckner said that he planned to return to the area early next year to enlarge the painting project and that — in his role as ambassador — he hoped to enlist many more artists to become involved in efforts to fight child enslavement and trafficking.

And it is more than stopping the child abuse: Mr Bleckner wrote this in the catalog of 200 of the children's paintings to be sold in New York for their benefit, “It is a personal interaction which gives someone the tools to create something that they can be proud of, and which can help them on the arduous path to restoring their dignity and sense of self-worth.”

Art Saves Lives

Friday, May 1, 2009

I took part in the Interdependence Tree Project that the International Fiber Collaborative. I made some leaves to put on this tree!

More info here:

The tree is 28'x25'x25'. There were more then 7,000 leaves in total from 23 Countries & 39 US States!

They had a grand opening this past weekend and then will be installing it permanently in the Earlyworks Childrens Museum in Huntsville, AL in August.

What a cool idea.