Artist Books!

I watch the sky above my computer, this morning the parallel white marks to the right reminded me of chalk, with the dark cloud threatening from the west…There was a moment of sun, but it’s raining again now.

My neighbor, Jan Dove, is a wonderful Artist Book Maker, and we’ve been attending lectures in the Sherry Grover Artist Book Gallery at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum.

Marshall Weber of Booklyn, demonstrating a tricky fold in a large book. He often uses photo paper in his books and lets people handle them.

We attended a lecture yesterday by Marshall Weber from Booklyn, who showed exuberant books, which could be unfolded in different ways and grow large enough to fill an entire room. His books, like the last lecturer’s, deal with social issues…Art is Politics, Art is a way to Open Hearts and Minds!

I had been dismayed by the last speaker announcing definitively that to be a True Artist Book, there must be 3 copies. Marshall and Jan both say that there are Unique (one of a kind) Artist Books, too, so mine qualify. He had a big book of his Bar Mitzvah and family, and an accordion book about war–rough, reminding me a bit of Dan Eldon’s work, The Journey is the Destination…although no one there knew Eldon.

So, I was inspired to work bigger and bolder and to keep using my ancestors in art works….AND I finished the Brooklyn Museum’s Sketchbook Project…always a joy to finish, but then a hole in time where that energy used to go. Maybe an accordion fabric book–with ancestors. I’ve given my brothers cloth family albums of the antique photos printed on silk. I think I’ll hold on to the sketchbook project for a while to show it off. It’s not due til March…I like being ready on time or a bit before…and I always kept my Art Business going, even when I worked in OT, so I have 8-12 extra hours a day to make art now.

Another project that’s almost finished for this year is preparing for the Handcraft Show at Sequim Prairie Grange on Saturday, December 2, 9am-3pm, with me sharing two tables with Katie Yeager, Diane Williams, and Barbara Light…That will be Fun and Colorful. If you live in this area, you’ll get an email and map. Please Come

I gave you the pattern for these curved dolls in last week’s blog. Here they are the way I decorated them. I’m selling dolls and beaded pins for only $15 each at the show 12/2…Share the JoY





Quilt Sandwich…Looking Forward & Backward

Quilt Back…ready to put the layers together: Top, batting, backing make a sandwich…get them off the counter in time for Thanksgiving dinner

I’m getting a Grand Nephew in February…his sister was born in March almost 2 years ago…the family is growing, in spite of 3/5 of the siblings not procreating. I worry about the kind of world that our new members will inherit, but I guess we each do the best we can with what we get…and try to keep everything as good as possible for those who come after us.

Ancestor-face doll from an antique crazy quilt square…simple arms and legs…make some for gifts!


New bent doll pattern, made from pieced cottons…tune in next week to see  how I embellish. Some patterns on the right for you to try.

I’m making a baby quilt, as I have for the three Grand Nieces. I finished the back yesterday, proud of myself for not buying any new fabric, since I’m trying to downsize. The next step is to make a sandwich: front/batting/back, which is what makes a quilt a quilt.

I hope that the quilts I make will become treasured possessions, but I’ve learned not to have Expectations. I have a lot of photos and stuff that has been handed down in my family for generations. I have a small watercolor set that my beloved high school art teacher, Jessie Loomis, used on a trip to Europe. She got killed by a drunk driver when I was a freshman in college, but I will carry a part of her with me all my life, not just the palette, but the love for words and pictures and lines that she instilled in me.

The Journal Project book is progressing…I only have 5 more pages…pretty intimidating to make them all count.

Objects that have been used, ideas, shared experiences carry a bit of the originator along to the next user. I’m always happy when a student or a former patient tells me that something I’ve said or done has touched them.

Saugerties was where I lived before I moved to WA and decided that I do best living alone and using the whole house as studio space.

My next-to-youngest brother, Doug. He was here yesterday, bringing me a dining table and chairs and helping me with ladder stuff that I don’t do any more.

I’m using old family photos in the Sketchbook Project and pictures and stories I share…there is continuity through art.

Port Angeles City Hall…I just started my term as one of the Planning Commissioners…my way of helping my community.

Make Art! Help Others…we CAN affect the future.

Talking About Our Lives

The view from my front porch the morning I headed to Seattle to see Hugh in Ragtime at the Fifth Avenue

I have one friend from my college days, and we exchange emails (used to be letters) on our birthdays, November and March. As is the habit of people newly 70, we compare our expectations as twenty year olds to what has actually happened in the intervening 50 years. For him, teaching at a Canadian university and publishing many papers and books in his chosen field, becoming a Canadian citizen and father, grandfather, and great grandfather to many younger Canadians has not been a bad compromise to teaching at Harvard as he’d planned.

Pages from the Sketchbook Project about my accomplishments in the art world after I left my marriage…I had thought the wife was supposed to make the marriage work, but realized I didn’t have time, and the odds with an abusive husband were against me.

I saw my brother, Hugh, in a magnificent production of Rag Time at the Fifth Avenue Theater, even though it had snowed mightily the night before I drove to Seattle.  I was afraid of getting stuck on one of the thinly-populated hills on the way over.

Wyeth show at SAM, since I was in Seattle…I liked his raw drawing better than the meticulously-painted temperas, although his use of negative space was inspiring.

I had thought that I might have a chance at becoming a well-known artist or author or something, though since I was female, I was encouraged to get a career where I could earn a living…I failed to find a husband who would support me. In the end, I have published books and taught, made sculptures and paintings, and had people tell me that what I’ve done has been important to them.  I’m still making visual art, literature, and working at graphic stories.

Magnificent dessert at Palamino (we shared a fillet mignon) and the magnificent ceiling at the Fifth Avenue.

Hugh has been in theater since Junior High, and in spite of quitting college and working in horticulture for a number of years, he came to Seattle to get a Masters in Theater, has been in musical theater all these years on cruise ships and in Seattle. He quit a lucrative job some years ago to go back to theater full time, and now has both.

Hugh made me and Connie a magnificent basil fritata and turkey bacon for breakfast Saturday…sharing food is as good as sharing stories

Our father combined his passion for Railroad Photography with being a psychiatrist, so I guess we learned from his example. Another brother has recently been finding more pleasure in quilt making than in his struggle for recognition in the fine art world.

I completed more pages in The Story of My Life this week…getting closer to the present.

We’ve been noticing poor night vision, bodies needing more rest, a few other physical complaints that make us more aware of our mortality.

Wyeth’s bones beneath the drawing

We thought we could be young and strong forever…and scale all the heights of fame…we don’t need that pressure as much now, feel lucky not to have too much pain, and still be able to care for ourselves. It is nice to know that we share this phase of life with others and don’t need to apologize to anyone…We make the most of who and what we have and take some risks…even if it’s only driving in snow…to share that.

Snow again this morning…there are some winters when no snow comes here…not this one! On the right, a gray trip home on the ferry yesterday, the lights inside the ferry reflecting on the window…Be sure to share your stories. As long as we’re alive, we can learn…and share.



Bladerunner, AI, Fall, and Death

A tree in Sequim against an orange wall. A tide pool at Port Williams Beach

I saw Bladerunner 2049 this week…great special effects, some of which I recognized from my computer graphics classes in 2013. After reading Sapiens, I’m on the lookout for signs of the evolution of society and Homo Sapiens. I saw a piece online about the first artificial intelligence humanoid robot…who was given a Saudi Arabian passport. She was made to look like a blonde woman…to be less threatening to users?

A red maple against blue sky and man-made color and patterns…some kind of shut-off valve.

Of course the new Bladerunner is also about who is “human” and who is not, and will we be able to control the AI we create? After watching the 8th in Ken Burns series on the Vietnam war, I’m not thinking homo sapiens is all that kind or capable to control the havoc we have wrecked since the Industrial Revolution.

Celery that looks like a person

With AI predicted to replace 50% of human jobs in 10 years, 50% unemployed Americans at the same time we’re experiencing soaring inequality and climate change, with a government led by a cadre of ridiculously wealthy capitalists who don’t want their wealth to go away, no wonder no one in power wants to take fast-approaching problems seriously.

A book I won through The Jealous Curator’s Blog, giving me inspiration to go back to work on my Hot Flash book…we older women need as much encouragement as we can get.

We do all die, some sooner than others. I am enjoying what I can, while I can, the long, warm and colorful fall here in the Northwest, seeing art and design everywhere I look, and as always, making stuff and sharing it with you.

Sketchbook Project High School and Art
Sketchbook Project: Married Life and Art
Sketchbook Project: Post divorce and Art

So much fun to be able to read widely online and off. The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully by Frank Ostaseski:

  1. Don’t wait.
  2. Welcome everything, push away nothing.
  3. Bring your whole self to the experience.
  4. Find a place of rest in the middle of things.
  5. Cultivate don’t know mind.

    Another current Project: keeping the dolls coming along…inspired by the teapot fabric decal. No pattern.

    More from my stash of Ancestor Faces, on the right, using an old fancy fabric quilt block for the body. Arms on the left are pewter from Art Girlz. Free-form cut and stitch. Lots of embellishment.

  6. I finished the baby quilt top for our new grand nephew, starting to lay out the back. I need the counter space for family Thanksgiving. This year’s theme is Palestine, then Serene is moving to LA to be a project manager for film…Brave woman to follow her dreams!

    Think about Welcoming Everything! Be kind to yourself and others.

  7. 10.28.17RedDoll
    I can post a pattern for this one if you want it.

Take Advantage of Every Good Thing!

Last summer’s trip to Rialto with Steve and Linda popped up again…I live in a Gorgeous Place!

There’s some kind of saying about living…or dancing…as if there were no tomorrow, and even though I’m convinced that the comfortable world that I’ve come to know and love is finite, I keep making stuff (Outsider Artist at Heart), eating great food (Moose pate with truffles from Central Market) and spending time with the people I love as often as I can.

We gathered in Seattle with our cousin, Holly and her husband, Bill. This is Doug and Amal’s finished back yard…they’ve lived in their house maybe 15 years and worked on it the whole time.

My back yard…I love working on it a little bit each day

Holly and Bill at dinner at Doug and Amal’s…second marriages get it Right!
David’s neighbors sent over Drunken Chicken…Yummy!
Thanks to David, we hit as many Seattle high points as possible in one day
Bill treated us to lunch at a French Bistro in Pike Place Market
Seattle cooperated at its gorgeous sunny best
Beach in Ballard…sailboats cavorting out on the water…the Sound?

I finally received my official invitation (I applied last June) to serve as a volunteer on the city Planning Commission…that will be my way to serve, along with selling my art work incredibly cheaply and giving it away. From my reading and observation, I’ve concluded that an individual without a lot of money and political connections has very little (no) power in this country/world. However, I WILL continue to research, send emails, VOTE…and read and eat good food and make art and be outside and with loved ones.

Ah, back to normal October, with rain pouring down

Some work accomplished on the Sketchbook Project (left) Practice (right)

I strive to have No Expectations and to Be Kind…and thankful to all those who are working hard to take care of Everyone and Make the World a Better Place. From Sapiens, which I finished last week, I see that the myths that we use to make sense of our lives are vital to our well being…pick your myths carefully!

High School Years…when I practiced mothering on my 2 youngest brothers (they both turned out well) and decided I didn’t need to have children of my own.
Sketchbook Project version

I’ve started more dolls, and the quilt for my new grand nephew is progressing.

Diane Jacobs lecturing about her Artist Books (very political) at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum…Amazing Construction! Yes, this is a book that she has her hands on.
Also at the museum, a show by Mike McCollom…I have the honor to own one of his pieces, and his wife was one of my yoga teachers.

Lots of Joy and Thankfulness for Everyone!


I made myself an Everything pizza last Sunday…all the major food groups in one package.

I’ve been reading Sapiens, a Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, watching the PBS series on the Vietnam War–my high school to past college time; prompted by the Palestinian faction of my family to read Zeitoun about a Syrian family in the New Orleans flood, news of three major hurricanes and disastrous fires in Northern California that are impacting people I know…my consciousness is soaked with disaster.

Fall color comes to the Northwest in the form of imported maple trees; and I love working in my stone and native plant back yard on sunny October days. I try to be outside at least half an hour every day. Nature heals, too.

I’m attempting to walk a line between Buddhist non-attachment and doing what I can to make the this world now, a more Humane place. I feel that the more I read and think (and stay away from divisive harangue), the more I may understand…what’s going on and why…maybe…and maybe help here and there in a world that seems to be reverting to the original aggressive us-against-them side of Homo Sapiens versus needing to cooperate in order to survive.

Reading Woman, mixed media collage…fun to put out a couple of drawing/collages as a break from the Life Review
A 1937 photo inspired this collage…no point in hoarding materials…go ahead and use them!

I have three close friends, in different parts of the country, who have ended up in Emergency Rooms since the beginning of the month. I feel that the stress is getting to us. As always, making Art is my answer…all kinds of Art. I’m back to Life Review…it’s something to do. Interesting to see how the natural world, woods and water, have played major roles in my life.

I lived two separate years in Northampton, MA, for Kindergarten and Second grade
The Sketchbook Project version…any story can be told numerous ways.
Cedar Hill, great woods and Hudson River, and we were allowed to roam and explore.
Not so different for the sketchbook project
Canandaigua, NY, still a beautiful little city by a Finger Lake
The Sketchbook Project version. I got a room of my own in that tin can house. It was so cold in winter, we dress over the heat vent. Good to see that the town appreciates the park-like setting. I later studied Buddhism.

Hang in there. Be kind to yourselves and others.


Spending Time (on Art and Life)

Small Collage art making inspired by my signing up for the Art Flea Market in Port Townsend. I made a bunch of  new small pieces, and it was FUN!
Part of a label from a can of crushed tomatoes, red checked tissue from take out.

We each have a finite amount of time to spend in this particular place…usually we don’t know how much time…Time is Money, but is Money Time? Once we spend the time, we can’t get it back.

I trace figures from my life drawing sketchbooks onto thin Japanese paper and apply them to gessoed pieces of mat board, add colored pencil, paint, gel medium, papers, marks.
I still LOVE stitching, too. This one is part of the 5″x5″ series, just scraps from by the sewing machine…a piece of shell with a hole already in it for attachment, shell discs.

I think of Outsider Artists as spending time on Art, without worrying about money; although looking through Pinterest, we see that many of them have been discovered and marketed…who is getting the money? Does it matter?

Boxes of collage materials, so much fun for Art Play.

The Making and the Marketing are two very separate tasks…and I re-discovered my Inner Outsider when I decided on the spur of the moment Monday to participate in an Artist Flea Market at Fort Worden to benefit the Port Townsend Art School.

Inexpensive materials help me to be fearless. Try something else. I got some serious Artist compliments.

My 30 years of making a living doing craft shows were shouting, “Danger! Danger!” but I went ahead and did it, anyway. $40 for the table, a day, and $10 gas. My main goal (I try to be clear with myself and clear-headed about my expectations) was to get rid of some of the stuff I can’t seem to stop making. I was also curious about possible differences between Port Townsend and Sequim shoppers, an event billed as Artist and Flea Market, as opposed to Holiday and Shopping (the show Katie and I are doing again in December).

I traced the figures onto thin Japanese paper with a fine brush pen…these are all under 8″ in any dimension. Fun to play with different papers and color schemes.
I can’t stop working with old family photos…back to the Sketchbook Project this week.

Not a very scientific study, of course, but interesting…I’m happy I spent my time doing this research and getting rid of stock, and I have about the same chunk of cash I made last year at the Holiday show, less stock…like an outsider artist, I’m ridding myself of Expectations of what my time is “Worth”…not very much…

Low, low prices…I’m working for joy…and to share, rather than to get rich.
I have work in a fiber show at the Museum and Art Center in Sequim. This is one of the seats from the original Boys in the Boat racing skull…face inspiration.

One of the last really nice, sunny and warm days of fall today. I can see the Strait and the cloud bank over Mt. Baker from the southeast corner of my deck…why not sit out there and read Sapiens, the book I just downloaded to my kindle? The mountain came out. I made myself a pizza and finished my weekly blog.

My plan for aging: try to make each moment–making art, getting it out to the public, making myself a homemade pizza, spending time with friends, exercising, learning…spend each moment with as much awareness of its preciousness as I can.

Sunrise Thursday morning…I don’t have to get up in the dark any more, but sometimes I just want to be up and doing things…and look outside.