Thursday, June 22, 2006

Studio Friday- Family

"Family history, things that have been passed down from one family member to the next, family values, all influence me as an artist, whether I'm consciously aware of it or not. I wonder how others are influenced or inspired by their families---either past or present. What family treasures might be found in others' studios?"

This pastel portrait of my paternal grandmother hangs on the wall across from my work table. My father and uncle called my grandmother "the Duchess" behind her back. She thought that "the Duchess" was a close friend of her sons- she never suspected. When my grandparents passed away her portrait came to reside with me.

I love it. She looks so glamorous in it. And my friend Harold has identified from whence my "look" has come from. The "look," unfortunately not being her smashing sense of style, but the "I cannot believe you just said/did something soooo stupid look." I have never seen the look myself, but apparently Harold has... heh heh heh...many times.

I also inherited the Duchess's Canton china collection. The basic blue and white china is so classic, but I have been told quite toxic. Does anyone know if orchids can get lead poisoning? Can I blame its refusal to bloom on that, and not my dismal gardening skills?

My life was blessed with three grandmothers, with two of them I had very loving affectionate relationships. But the Duchess didn't do warm and fuzzy well. I always knew that she loved and was proud of me, but personal displays happened rarely. It was made clear to me how much, when in her final days I went to sit with her in the hospital. My grandfather had brought to the hospital some of her favorite things, a needlepoint pillow I had made for her as a child and a picture of me.

Does the Duchess influence my art? Not sure about that, but I often think she is looking down from the wall with a look of approval at my latest creation, if not my gardening skills.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I have entered my first swap. The wonderful Dacia Ray is running a gift tag swap and was wonderful enough to let me play along, even though she had closed the roles. Dacia's tags are here, Joanne of StarDustShoes's are here and Alicia P. of Posy fame are here. I am waiting my return package with great anticipation. All the tags I have seen on other blogs are all so creative, each special with different techniques.

I thought long and hard about what I was going to do for this challenge. Our family has very limited experience with gift tags. Even at Christmas, the tags are basic at best and ball point pen right on the wrapping paper is the family favorite. Santa's reindeers also give us Christmas presents. How those eight tiny reindeer manage to hold those ball point pens in their tiny little hooves, I'll never know.

So, tag-impaired, I tried to think of something inventive to do for the swap. I thought about knitting little tag cozies. That would be cool- so off I went to the stationary store to purchase blank tags. It was Sunday, they were all closed. None of the drug stores had tags either, so I grabbed poster board as an option. Then knitting with wire and beads hopped in my mind, the bead store was closed too. ( I have gotten there since and picked up supplies...maybe some silver knit cuffs are in my future?)

Back home and all I had was a sheet of poster board. I thought maybe I could do some of my mini foundation pieced flags on the tags. While searching for my paper patterns I came upon a bag of unused log cabin squares from a quilt I had made while mourning the death of a dear friend and sorority sister. The yellow centers represented hope cutting through our sorrow. There were coincidently eleven squares, the number of tags I needed. I stitched these on to the poster board, gave them fabric ties and embellished with buttons from my collection.

Handling these squares again brought a flood of memories and a bit of sadness. I am happy that they were incorporated into such a fun project, hope triumphs! I hope those who receive one of my tags in their package feel the love that pieced these squares.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Space? Space? You would think that living alone, all that space is mine. No one else's wardrobe to contend with...Only my shoes... Only my books...Only my hobbies. And yet my home feels amazingly crowded.

They invade every nook and crany of my home. Everywhere I want to be they are- on the couch, in the bed, laying on the laptop, on the work table, oy, even drinking out of the toilet (foul disgusting habit, bad gross Toscabelle!!) How about in the suitcase (ok, zipped in the suitcase while I went to Houston. Bad mommy... stupid stupid Toscabelle. At least Artemis was happy being a single cat again for the day.)

I love my two fur balls, but what I wouldn't do for a smidge of space to myself.