Friday, September 25, 2015

Another year fades into memory

What happened this summer? What happened to my year? Here we are in the early days of fall.  It's raining today. Meg is outside somewhere. I need to water all the houseplants, go for a walk, shower. It's noon so I have a few more hours of work time.

Mid-summer I said, " I'm taking a break from work, nannying will be done in August, the food cart is officially closed, I have nothing else. I'll take a month for myself, for my art, for my health."

 It's been 1 month exactly. I went to the naturopath, I went to the chinese herbalist, I went to the acupuncturist, I went to my intuitive healer. I didn't go to the doctor, because earlier in the year when I went to see my regular doctor she had nothing to tell me.

I sit in the studio for 5 hours a day, more or less, but I'm here. Sewing, writing, cutting, doodling, painting, sketching, listening to music. It doesn't matter what I do, I just have to be here. My rules - No TV, No podcasts, no movies, unless I have a project well underway and have brain space to share. Follow every idea. Don't judge any ideas. Take something a step further. Drink water. Eat as you need.

The first week I was anxious about not making enough money. I had to push that mindset away.

Adjusting to silence. I try to spend a few hours everyday, in complete silence. Listening to myself, listening, sitting with that feeling that wants to be occupied all the time.

I go to the gym mid-day, when it's quiet. I can read an old Sun Magazine in peace on the treadmill. Take a shower, head home. Sit with Meg, read a book, do some chores, take a nap, get dinner ready.

I bake Pita bread at a food truck every Sunday morning. I also bake cauliflower, but the pita is the highlight. I arrive in the very early morning. I crank the oven up to 600. As hot as it goes. I flour the yeasty dough and roll out 6 dozen. Bake them until they balloon, let them cool. Mike says, listen to this podcast, bring your music, but I like the silence with the bread. I imagine I live in the Middle East, I imagine I'm an old man who's been baking pita his entire life,  I imagine a bustling, dusty, marketplace, where people come for falafel. I imagine I'm every person who ever baked leavened bread since the beginning of bread.

A few days ago I had a realization. I'm hard on myself. Always. So. Hard. And because I'm so hard on myself I can't ever really see how good I really am. Even when people tell me. I think their lying. I doubt. Things can always be done better.

The sun came through the Sweetgum tree for a bit. Another day slinks by.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ciao Summer sun

This summer was precious. We got some solid adventuring in.

But rain has finally arrived. I sleep much better when the rain comes. The air feels like a fresh sheet of paper, everything gets a little greener, the plants sigh in relief. It's palpable.

 Our September was full of harvesting. Golden figs, bay nuts, chestnuts, elderberries, huckleberries, we even caught a few early mushrooms. I'm so excited for mushrooms. We made tinctures, apple butter, dehydrated and pickled for our winter stores. Tony will be hunting Elk soon. I've learned how to properly wrap butchered meats at the food truck. oh did I mention I'm helping to run a food cart; where the produce is delivered fresh by the organic farmer, the lamb meat arrives ready for the oven. We simmer bone broths, we roll the pastry, we clean the roots.
Where am I? I'm in the studio constantly. Making books. I found a master bookbinder. Met her at the Laundromat, it felt like a zen master kind of moment. We talked about a lot of things and then the last words she said were, "I'm a bookbinder and I need an apprentice."

and there we go.

And now I'm here, surrounded by stacks of paper and waxed linen thread, cutting down paper in a traditional way, using a bone folder made from real bone, perfecting the knots and stitches, part of a long line in an old world craft.

Friday, August 8, 2014

This excerpt...

" Life in the twenty-first century presents new and unprecedented challenges for women. Major Social changes, including those won by feminism, have given modern women an entree into public life that would have been unthinkable for our female precursors, remembering that american women only received the right to vote in 1920. This inclusion as card-carrying citizens in a masculine world, although a welcome and just development, has created specific issues that our foremothers, whose world was overwhelmingly feminine, did not have to face.

For example, how do we, working in an office, factory or  other institution, accommodate the changes in our bodies and minds that accompany our monthly cycles? How can we ensure that our working conditions will not harm the babies we gestate? Is it possible to work apart from our infants and maintain our breastfeeding relationship? Do we continue paid employment while our children are young, and if so, how can we make the best provision for our children and their real needs for our loving care? How do we keep our public face as we make the transition through menopause, a passage that so often demands we withdraw to complete our inner work?

These examples highlight the conflicts many women face as we balance our presence in the masculine world with our feminine needs and concerns. One response - perhaps the most rewarded in our culture - is to deny our female bodies: to adopt a pseudo-masculine approach that minimizes our bodies' innate feminine functions. Society sanctions this attitude and provides the means for menstrual concealment and suppression, birth interventions that override the body's natural process, seperation of mothers and babies, formula feeding, and the treatment of menopause with hormonal substances, among others.

While each of these may be convenient at the time ( and easier choices, culturally, than choosing menstrual retreat, natural birth, breastfeeding, mother-baby dependency, and unmedicated menopause), there is a downside. Each time we deny our female functions, each time we deviate from our bodies' natural path, we move farther away from our feminine roots. This can create distress within our bodies and can set the scene for further problems, physically and emotionally, for ourselves and for our families."
 Foreward written by Sarah J. Buckley, MD for the book Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sam Hill's Stonehenge

We spent a gorgeous birthday weekend adventuring.  Our destination was the Mary Hill museum, but once we arrived we discovered this place nearby. Famous roadbuilder, Sam Hill, recreated this Stonehenge as a WWII Memorial to the fallen men of the local counties. It's breathtaking and I couldn't imagine going to the real site after seeing this one in completion.

I couldn't get over the fractioned views of the shifting landscape and skyscape as the wind howled shifting light all around.

 The view of the Columbia River  

Just across the gravel lot was this one hiding in the grass. Not a memorial, but it does feel like it could be doesn't it.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

under the tall trees

I'm going to make a better effort to be here. 

This past week I felt so exhausted and stretched super thin. Tiredness is a sure way to get that negative spiral running. Tiredness triggers worry and doubt.

I realize that I've created these delineations between what I do and what I considered art. I feel very unproductive because the studio hasn't been used, but I've been in home making mode. I work such long hours during the week that I find I have to spend a lot of time outside just regrounding.

The yard has been my studio I guess. I've been reading a lot about herbal and medicinal plants and harvesting them from abandoned spaces in town. Our garden is lovely right now and all I want to do is tend it. The peas have shot up 2 feet and I had to get them nicely strung along the fence. Peonies and comfrey popped out and the bumblebees can't get enough of their blossoms. We planted lavendar and calendula and yarrow, lemon balm, mint, poppies, plantain, nasturtiums, blueberries, sunchokes, kale, arugula, beets, chard, cheese squash,  raspberries, sword fern, oregon grape, a small huckleberry and our favorite dahlias, cilantro, oregano, basil and garlic. That's a lot of friends to check on regularly.

The trees in the front leafed into a shady mass. And we were so excited to see that one is a big leaf maple, which we plan on tapping for syrup next year.

We have chickens getting silly under the bay tree, and a small brick patio in process just outside the back door.

Other than all our outdoor projects I'm teaching myself to knit socks and dreaming of more felting projects. It's not art, but it's something quiet and meditative. And I guess that's the crux of it, right? Making time for the things we enjoy, just doing something that opens your awareness internally and externally, finding a balance between the things we want to do and the things we need to do.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 1 Blurg

** This may just be a daily writing exercise space, open faced journal kind of thing**

No one reads this, no one cares. This is what my brain says every time.
I haven't made anything I would consider art in about two years. That's the reality.
At first I thought I was just coming down from a big show, then I worried that I was stuck and now I'm not quite sure art making will ever come back into my life in the capital A kind of way for me. No idea is exciting, no medium is enticing, there's nothing to say.

This blog feels trite. Especially with so much happening on facebook and instagram and whatever else people are looking at obsessively these days. Who cares about a blog anymore? I feel like I've tried to do this seriously for the last 8 years, but nothing ever comes of it. Who's gonna look at an art blog that has no art?

I don't want to share anymore, I don't want to tell you anything about my life other than the fact that this shit seemed to get real hard.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Precious ones

I've moved about a thousand times in my life and traveled around as much as I can afford to. So, I have a few things that have stayed in my collection for a long while. I find that I am a very sentimental person when it comes to keepsakes, but am realistic in a way that keeps the collection to a manageable size.

In this series I will introduce you to some of my favorite treasures; how they came into my life and why they are special.

The Porcelain Waterbird

This little bird was something I bought in Manhattan in 2006. 
I used to love the little plastic waterbird whistles when I was a kid and was immediately floored when I discovered them in porcelain.
I little man was holding a box of them on the curb and I immediately bought two of the sweetest ones in the pile. One for my dearest friend, and roommate at the time, Aurora, and one for myself. I've seen them around a few times since then, but usually painted in bright colors and not as delicate as this little friend.