If it weren’t for the self-imposed pressure of putting out a blog every week, I might not be so focused on new art–some days I’m too depressed to function, but I have to stay upbeat here in case anybody is out there reading.
Making Art, even if it’s only by copying someone whose work I like, keeps me putting one foot in front of the other and reminding myself how lucky I am this moment. Most everyone in town is masking up these days on my bi-weekly trips to the Farmers’ Market and errands. It’s good to see young people and the Regulars presenting our gorgeous local produce to us.
If the threatened earthquake ever comes, we will be almost totally dependent on local food producers, so please help keep them in business. There are greens and beans, raspberries and blueberries, radishes and locally-made bread and treats. I even saw smoked salmon, but outside my price range. The Olympic Peninsula has only one 2-lane highway to the outside world and Canada doesn’t want us now, so good to be aware of being self-sufficient, along with our neighbors. Good to learn to eat along with the seasons.
I put the ribbon book together with pearls and beads between the pages…it takes a lot of finger strength to sew through all those layers and keep them kind of lined up.
We certainly will NOT be getting back to the old normal…and there was plenty about our previous normal that we could use this opportunity to change for the better.
I started this book years ago when I needed handwork while I traveled to teach. I finished it with pictures of my parents in their courting days. I need to find a way to stitch the pages together, then insert them into the double-width cover. I sewed in actual photos that my father shot using a timer, then developed and printed.
The Olympic National Forest with Colleen. She has a new Great Grandson. I wonder what his “normal” will be. We go on a week day and there aren’t too many other people. I understand that there is a lot of trash being deposited in other natural areas by careless campers….
I’m working on my How I Make Fabric Books book. Stitching is such a great release of tension! Keep making art and Be Kind…wear your masks and Vote (after careful research…Fuse is a great resource).
There’s nothing like computer problems to stretch my patience and my brain power…my brother and I decided that people born after 1982 grew up with the things and don’t have to work as hard as I do to switch my thinking or stretch my thinking to use them.
I turned my street photo (right) of last week into a drawing/collage page (left
Today I spent what seemed like many hours…and I no longer get frustrated and punch too many buttons at once, I just walk away for a bit.
I learned how to download photos with Image Capture…must practice again to hammer the new learning in…who would have thought that process could be so simple?
Along the way, I was able to reset my Instagram password and upload some new images…though I still haven’t consistently found the tool that turns the images right side up. Mere infants can do all this stuff–why not Me! Good thing I’m signed up for my brother’s Instagram class via Port Townsend School of the Arts and Zoom.
On the left, a new doll from gorgeous gray Japanese fabrics David gave me. On the right a collage drawing (body drawn and attached separately, stick-on letters, instinctively-gathered collage materials…my subconscious is my friend and partner.
I finished more actual images this week, too, thanks to copying other artists…I don’t think any of them will care…and it’s good practice for my hand and eye…Plus keeps me off the streets. More people seem to be getting restless to get out, and I live in a touristy area. I’d like to live about another 10 years because David and Brian are looking at houses in the next town over, and I want to see how all this turns out.
My book about how I make fabric books is taking a long time because I keep making new fabric books. This is a small one (3.5″t x 2″w), based on Red and with a Coptic binding.
It seems to take me longer to do everything since I turned 70, so I’m not running out of books to read…supporting my local library and Port Book and News. On advice from Thayer, I’m slowly, slowly reading my way through W.E.B. Dubois’ Black Reconstruction and a lot of history that was Never taught when I was in school.
Good Luck! Stay healthy and kind to yourself and others.
I feel as if I’ve been writing all morning…some to friends far and near, but mostly in my computer-based journal. I’ve been experimenting with adding images from Pinterest and other sites by dragging them to my journal. The more I draw and make the better I get and the more ideas I have. Copying other people’s work helps me see how they do things and how I might make things differently.
I used my new colored pencil set, grays, to copy a magazine face, then worked over it in a sort of Veronica Cay way…Practice! Practice! Practice!
I’ve lived in the NW fifteen years now and totally love the cool and damp weather. July finally turned warm this week, so I’ve closed the house and turned the heat pump to cool. Heat pumps are common here and run by water power generated electricity, so are environmentally sound. More and more people are getting solar panels. I switch from knee socks to ankle socks for the summer…and only one shirt instead of layers.
The collage on the right was inspired by a quick photo of my compost…Inspiration Everywhere!
I just did one of my civic duties and filled out my primary ballot, with help from the Fuse Voters guide. Please be sure you are registered and know how to vote in your state–do a search on voter guides. WA has been doing mail-in ballots as long as I’ve lived here and with no hint of fraud. I don’t understand why the person running for our highest office in November wants to put yet more citizens at risk in his opposition to mail-in ballots.
Eat all the healthy locally-grown food available now, enjoy your own patch of sunshine, take walks, take pictures, tell people you love them, and Make Art! No one has yet told me the perfect name for our New Era…I’m pretty sure we’re not going to be able to return to the Old Normal…Pay attention to what’s going on, but not so much to be horribly depressed. There is a chance that this is an opportunity to make a lot of things better in the New Normal.
Saturday I was able to attend a show opening at our local Port Angeles Fine Arts Center in beautiful Webster’s Woods. It was strange to be able to have conversations in person…even though at a six-foot distance and through masks. Visit the show virtually at :http://www.pafac.org/wellbeing.html
Today I attended a birthday breakfast for Diane, masterfully created by her husband, Jeff, and also attended by Lisa, Jeff’s boss, in person…social distancing all the way, though impossible to eat with a mask on.
This young deer got used to napping on my very cushy wooly thyme when it was just a baby and she’s still pretty young. She’s getting used to having me around in the house, but leaves when I step out on the porch. There is still plenty of wooly thyme in my yard.
I was lucky to be able to spend time with my youngest brother, David, who brought his feather-weight singer to work on samples for one of the upcoming classes he teaches online and we hope in person in October at Fort Worden…Watch their site.
With Covid cases rising in numbers in the states that have forced openings, I’m getting myself used to isolating. I am sorry for the people who have gotten ill because of poor decisions from our common president. The elections are coming. We have had vote-by-mail very successfully in the 15 years I’ve lived in WA. Be sure you are registered and know where to vote for your area.
The Deal is still open, email me for free copies of the 6-lesson Hot Flash class.
Are you having difficulty finding enough things to do that make sense? Not me, I find that the more I work, the more ideas for new work I generate. The days seem to fly by…is it a function of age? Each minute/hour, is an increasingly small part of the total.
I hope you are able to go outside and do some kind of exercise that involves moving. I live on the side of a hill, so there is no place to walk without some uphill involved…I know it’s good for my health, and who can afford to get sick these days?
My uphill neighbor was passing on his bicycle as I was working in my yard this afternoon. He’d been 17 miles…or 17 miles x 2…restless and determined to stay in shape, although he never shovels snow, just drives over it in his 4-wheeled drive (we share part of a driveway)…except that in each of the last 2 years there have been snowfalls deep enough to scrape the bottom of his car. He tends the few strips of my yard that need mowing. I’m lucky that my yard is small, contained, and always presents something to do.
Making Art is still my number one activity, along with reading and cooking, 22 minutes of Essential Stretch each morning and a walk around the block in the afternoon. I must keep reminding myself that working on art begets more work…try it out!
My back deck garden is growing well: new dirt, full sun. On the right, my first tomato–dime-sized. I ate it on July 4th. It came on the plant.
Back to the blue sketchbook again, thinking about Quarantine
Hot Flash and Beyond! The POD or e-book, 175 pages, is available on Amazon.com under Pamela Hastings, but I decided to post part of the first online lesson here. If you are interested, send me your email and I’ll send you .pds’s of the 6-part class…I’m always recycling, but I don’t need to do it for money, so this free copy of the class is my gift to you, during this unusual year…when we may have more time than we need to play with new ideas.
HOT FLASH and Beyond! Celebrating Women Who Have Dreams and Are Working to Realize Them
Are You One of Us? Celebrating Women with Life Experience who are still Making ART to live more fully.
When I thought that the year 2020 might bring us clearer vision, I may have been correct in some ways. While HOT FLASH can mean a physiological change that occurs in women about half way through life, I have recreated the meaning in this class, especially now that I am way past menopause and into what most people would see as old age.
In my version now we gather together all the potential inherent in being older women, and in bringing our power together to celebrate what we’ve done, the skills and energy we possess, and help ourselves and each other do even more and better in the future, especially now that the world, our families, each of us need our accumulated experience even more than ever.
Here we will express the wisdom and emotion of this universal process through doll making and art making. Celebrate your femaleness and knowledge AND your ability to continue to have fun playing no matter what age you are.
We’ll share stories and make cloth, paper, mixed media dolls, journals, and masks on the theme of Hot Flash, giving new meaning to the term, “Power Surge”! Wear comfortable layers and be prepared to have fun with sweat and exuberance…. and since the class will be taught online, like most everything else these days, you can attend in your jammies!This is an opportunity to create your own paper or cloth doll designs, look into your own personal history and aspirations and perhaps regrets, and join group play on a common theme. I will provide inspirations, suggestions, and basic patterns…The group will be supportive of every effort—and magical things will happen! Barb Kobe will provide the ethernet playroom for our six or more sessions, now with interviews and online chat.
Aspirations and Transformations are key words, since we have the opportunity at this stage of our lives and our planet’s life…wherever we may be in years…to re-invent ourselves, just as we did when adolescent, but with lots more experience (and maybe even wisdom) to add to the project. Isn’t this what we’ve always dreamed of? Who would have dreamed that we’d have so much extra time alone in which to make ART and art and explore our lives so far.
Session ONE: What Am I Feeling?
One of the first exercises will be to let our minds roam freely, to re-discover the dreams we’ve always dreamed, dust them off, and see if they still fit, or tailor them to fit the selves we are now.
First Creative Exercise: Alter a book to make a
Hot Flash Journal. (see my downloadable Altered Book Class available at http://www.healingandtransformativedolls.com) I’ll be giving you lots of lists to make, mind mapping, and paper dolls that will fit well into an altered book. You can pick an ironic book or pamphlet for your skeleton, like LARKIN HOUSEWIVES” COOKBOOK,
This book makes it easy to contrast past narrow views of women’s roles with the expanded ones Hot Flash Women are creating. Books are tactile, especially when they show the marks of being individually altered. The altering of a book can enhance or change the original message, or allow an artist to produce a body of work around a whole new subject. There is something magical about the way the viewer interacts with a finished book, the story unfolding through a collage of words, images, found objects, added materials, and manipulations. The altering of books as an art form, often as a way to comment on the text or ideas of the original book, probably first came into prominence after WW I, with the dawn of the Surrealist movement and the greater availability of photography. The combination of poetry, ideas, and images; the scrutiny of all of life; and the discarding of traditional forms and values, along with linear thinking, made Altered Books, collage and Found Objects viewed as
Art, new avenues of expression. Buy books at yard sales, use magazines, or children’s board books for an unusual shape
Making an idea/Hot Flash and Beyond journal from an old book:
Use an Uhu glue stick to attach several pages together to make them sturdier, cut out/remove some pages to allow more space for collage, gesso the pages (paint white or black acrylic gesso to partially cover the original words and images and create a good base for collage). I’ll give you some images of my hand-made Hot Flash book in coming lessons.
A woman’s fashion magazine would make an interesting contrast for these liberation exercises. If altering a book is against your values purchase a blank journal that appeals to you or create a blank journal using my Making Fabric Books book, soon to be available on Amazon.
Self Portrait from 2007.
Since I moved to NW Washington state and am living alone, painting has become more and more a part of my life, even though there seems to be little money or glory in the products. I worked almost exclusively and in a concentrated way on portraits for the last 3 to 5 years of my working life. Painting and writing are the things I find that I can’t neglect, no matter how many other distractions exist in my daily life. Since early 2020, when the Covid Quarantine started, I have few other distractions. I’m trying to keep my possessions to a minimum, which is tough for a creative person, so I made a point of painting up all my canvases…except for the last 4. After Covid and the Black Lives Matter movement got going, I painted the fourth to the last canvas with a big SAD. I am Following my Heart. My Fourth to the Last Painting 6.2020
I have been told I am a story person. All day long in my occupational therapy job, I heard and told stories. In studying Buddhism, I learned that a lot of what we experience in life is based on the stories we tell ourselves and call reality. My intention is for this to be a very inter-active class, in which we all share and play with/examine the stories that we use to form our lives, especially in what is undoubtably the last quarter of our life.
Of course, the concept of time is somewhat artificial, and I’m writing this at the end of what we call the year of 2020. I have been thinking of this as a difficult year, battling the hereditary uneven chemical soup called depression. As I face my 75th birthday in two years, I also face a fear that all I’m doing with my time is working, eating, sleeping, and cleaning up. Time to count my blessings, and make plans. For me, I have to have an ongoing project to help me feel like more than just a working cog in the greater machine. Maybe it’s just an illusion, but I feel better when pursuing a project, and I think you may, too. On the Solstice, one
of my most meaningful holidays, I was watching a video a friend had made of her current art exhibit….this was 2011, of course now most art exhibits are virtual, which means we can see more of other people’s art, which only enriches our own.
In a huge hall upstairs over a kayak store, Melissa said, this kind of exhibit space would be Premium Real Estate in New York City, but in our small, 19,000 souls, town of Port Angeles, it’s accessible to all who want it badly enough. The next thought was: I love doing portraits,
I love collecting stories…I’ve progressed (or decompressed) my portrait paintings from the luxurious 2” deep canvas stretchers to the half-thickness canvases that I can more easily afford to buy and store. I need a long-term project to justify continuing to make paintings…although we can talk about whether it’s OK and Sufficiently Important to do things just because we want to, my mind leapt to a big show of my own, of portraits of women that I would seek out, photograph, paint, and about whom I would do some kind of collaged story. IMMEDIATELY! the TWANG of recognition…and over100 people became part of my project.
Barb Kobe and I have devoted our lives to helping you in the process of discovering your own and each other’s life-defining purpose…for the next few months of this class or for FOREVER!
We women are blessed with all these messy and uncomfortable passages, which have been shoved under the carpet for way too long. We don’t have any choice about experiencing them, so I say: Why not Celebrate them for all they are worth!?! How could all this Energy and Power be harnessed and used for who knows what ? The idea of a Hot Flash can be an opportunity to transform our selves and our later years…not only the biological ones from the end of periods to whatever comes next, but from Now, wherever that is for you, to the Rest of your Life.
Whenever we choose to start, our Hot Flash Years is an Opportunity to look again, or maybe for the first time at whatever we’ve wanted to do and never done, celebrate our accomplishments, and to set goals and find allies for the rest of our lives. It is good to share this process with a group of friends, even if it has to be Virtually…it is reassuring to know that we are not the only ones struggling, but that, indeed, half the world’s population is with us, and the other half is affected by what we do.
Yes, Older Women do have dreams…we may be the only ones with enough money and leisure to have a chance of realizing some form of our dreams…and the wisdom of experience…how else can one finally SEE an emotionally-abusive relationship? or separate what’s important from mere maintenance…not that there’s anything wrong with women who live to serve, just that there can be more to life.
How old do you feel inside? When I was married and making leather bags with my husband in the Seventies, the iron-curled clerk in a leather-goods store in Cambridge shared that she still identified inside as in her 20’s, when I, at 23, thought she was positively ancient, probably late 40’s. Now that I’m almost 75, it’s a shock to see my wrinkled and gray-haired outside, when my mind is still dancing (at least most days). Truth be told, though, sometimes I AM just tired,and I feel stiff when I get up in the morning, my hair is thinning, and my vision fades.
(there is plenty more, send me your email address if you want the 6 lessons as a present.)
The virus marches on, infection counts are rising in states that have opened bars…not that there’s anything wrong with reasonable drinking, but the local hang out is one of those places where people gather closer together and exchange viruses, floating on particles of air and spit. Those who feel that it’s against their “rights” as “free people” to wear masks make it imperative that the rest of us do. They may also be among some of those who who like to exercise their “right” to carry loaded guns around…another group I try to stay clear of.
For those of us who would like to continue living, at least for now, a wardrobe of face masks is the vital fashion statement for the foreseeable future. I ordered two very clever face coverings, one with a solar eclipse and the other with double rainbows from Brain Pickings this morning and am working with the latest pattern David sent me to see if I can get it to fit my face, so I can make some masks with Marcia Derse fabric, which is gorgeous, and of a very tight weave.
(Dante Gabriele Rossetti was the painter of this face model.)
Now, the face is a fashion/political statement, as the chest has been. If I can make patterns for 3-D dolls, I should be able to design a face mask that fits me.
I did break through my reluctance to use my new set of 150 colored pencils from Dick Blick. Copying some faces from my collection gets me going on my own variations. Art Saves…I’m reading a lot to try to make sense of this country’s despicable history and how I might be able to help form our future path for Greater Good for All. After a Zoom meeting featuring members of the Polish and British Citizens’ Assembly Process, I am jealous of how other country’s leaders are willing to join in to take better care of their voters. I am ashamed that the US is ranked with Brazil for blatant disregard for people during Covid and Climate emergencies…and this is supposed to be a democracy!
Speaking of politics, which I keep vowing to try to stay away from, Barb Kobe noticed that a lot of older women, like us, are isolated during this long pandemic. She wanted me to expand my Hot Flash and Beyond online class, thinking we could engage a lot more people now. Once we realized how much work was involved, I’ve opted to maybe just publish some of the material from the earlier class here…As you know, I am Always an Advocate for using Every Art form for help in dispelling all kinds of emotional stress…and we have plenty of that around these days. I just re-read Twyla Tharp’s book on creativity for dancers…pretty similar approach in every field.
It’s the Beyond of my book, Hot Flash and Beyond that I’m considering today. And also Summer Solstice, Junetheenth, Opportunity in Adversity, and Making Art for Life…both life-long and to make living more pleasant and bearable.
This week I heard again from Rheba Kramer Mitchell, who appeared in several of my books, but disappeared from my life since the early 2000’s. She and her husband lived on a ranch/wildlife preserve in Texas, and have since moved closer to Austin, so it’s easier for their son and his wife to help them out. Rheba is now 89 and it was a thrill to hear her voice. She reminded me of the potential isolation of older adults and how much she is still using ART to keep her life interesting and fun.
Laying out a whole-cloth table cloth from new Marcia Derse fabric on my free-standing counter work space. I had enough of her other black and white prints to make borders out to the edges of the gray fleece I used to back it. A crises makes me feel like nesting.
I also talked with Barb Kobe this week. We have been talking, teaching, writing, and creating about doll making for 20 years or so; both spontaneously learning animation in these recent months of isolation. We each have life missions involving women, art-making and healing. Barb, who studies these things, says that there is a scarcity of people now working specifically with older women (we’re both there now…OK, I’m further along that road) and art/doll making.
So, the Big News: Barb and I are going to work together on a self-guided learning experience, involving a Face Book group, stories, pictures, things to do, and video or live chats on Zoom, and maybe even animations… Since we’ve both had students all over the world and since we older…although not-so-old women can also benefit from sticking together and learning from each other, we hope you’ll join us.
I didn’t make a lot of time for making ART last week, but I was involved in and surrounded by ART, as I hope you are and will be. I treated myself to 150 different colored pencils from Dick Blick, but have been self-intimidated about starting to use them. That may change today. That will change SOON!
I don’t know what to say. Black Lives Matter. The land where my house sits was once controlled by Indigenous People, probably everywhere I’ve ever lived is the same. Black Lives Matter. I have tried and will continue to try to live with awareness and kindness.
My hair grew long since February, but I feel lighter with it cut. Thank you, Katie, and all the people who have risked your lives to provide essential services…this isn’t over yet. Life will never be the same…maybe we can change our country, our world in some positive ways from these experiences. Maybe we of the 99% will be less controlled by money and those who control it.
Nature continues to amaze and delight…as well as nurture us…can we preserve enough of the processes that are vital to our existence? Can we all bend to be sure that everyone has equitable opportunities and that we change enough of our cruel and wasteful habits to survive as a species? Or do only the ones the president supports survive?
It feels as if we are just experiencing one crisis after another…We are, perhaps, inundated with Too Much News, Too Much Drama…take some time for quiet during the onslaught to appreciate, to savor, to show kindness and caring for nature and our fellow beings, sentient and not.
The Environment is still all around us. We still owe her attention. The climate is still in the process of undergoing changes that we humans helped to cause. We still do actively need to seek connection with and provide sustenance for our fellow humans, not some glib platitude, but the hard work to overcome lifetimes of conditioning on all sides. Younger people don’t realize that I, as a woman, remember when it was unusual for me to be able to sign a mortgage in my own name, and to be listened to at meetings…I need to actively make sure that All have the same privileges that I have gained in my lifetime.
I apologize to the Universe and Black People..and Indigenous and Others and will work at doing better, knowing that I am human and therefore fallible.
I will keep making Art and writing, because that is what I am programmed to do. I’ve been reading Just As I Thought, essays by Grace Paley, who wrote and worked all her life to make the world better. Even though we seem to be fighting the same battles again and again…it is worth our time, worth our lives, to participate.
Keep Making Art, seeing the world, bringing joy and connection. We’ve lived months now without having to drive everywhere and buy as much, and with talking with our neighbors and feeling concern for their lives as well as ours…Maybe Each Experience has Lessons to teach us.
A number of places across the country are experimentally starting to open up with tomorrow’s first day of June. I am hoping that eagerness for increased freedom and income will not lead to increased incidences of Covid 19 and a return to more quarantine.
My life experience of being a self-employed artist has given me a head start in coping skills for being on my own. We seem to crave structure, but at the same time, need to be very forgiving of our failures to achieve our highest goals…some days are more difficult than others. It’s nice to have a buddy to whom to whine occasionally and share a new recipe or art work with, too.
Eating the correct amount of a healthy, balanced diet is important…along with occasional treats and regular daily exercise. If you can go outside safely, try to do so. I do a daily 22-minute Essential Stretch workout each morning before breakfast (my reward) and work in my yard and walk every afternoon, even in the rain. To decrease chances of exposure, I stick to the three long blocks around my house, moving to the other side of the street when I see someone coming.
Earlier, a little girl down and over said to her dad, “What is that Grandma doing?” I guess it’s official, I am one of the old ones now, so I have to be extra careful of myself and others. I keep my masks in the car, only shop once a week, and keep myself busy around home the rest of the time…travel in my imagination.
Making Art, in any form, Is a perfect way to keep oneself amused during the long days in isolation. I try to have just the right number of projects going at one time, not too many to be overwhelming, not too few to get boring. Right now I’m working on two fabric books, One of way-back ancestors and one of my nephew’s life–both for him; and two books that I will publish via Amazon Kindle, a book about how to make fabric books and my second graphic novel about my experiences during the pandemic. On the weekend I bake the week’s treats, make place mats and napkins, a painting, something different.
From a life-long study of my own habits, this is my daily routine now: Up at daylight (whenever it may be), check and deal with email–I do some random exploring to learn new things online, exercise, wash and dress, eat breakfast while reading non-fiction. Work on my projects, the most difficult task first, when I still have energy and before my back starts to hurt. Walk and be outside. Eat supper early and got back outside or tackle a semi-demanding task (work on book once routine is established). 7pm do mindless stitching and watch movies on my computer, 9pm OK to go to bed and read.
A little structure, but not too rigid. Projects, but not too many at a time…have the next one planned as you are close to finishing the first. Stay in touch with family and friends via email and Zoom. Keep yourself and your environment clean, though casual. Keep a diary of finds online. Collect easy recipes. Allow space to those with whom you live…and to yourself. Feel bad sometimes…perfect time to make expressive art. There will be more challenges arising in the months and years ahead…good to develop coping skills now. If you live singly, develop a circle of friends with whom to share feelings and creativity. My grandmothers used to do Round Robin letters with friends…we have easier, quicker ways. Make Art!