Saturday, May 31, 2008

artist's book

Like I need to take on ANOTHER project! At least I'm down to the quilting and embellishing on the quart bag quilt that is due June 13 so I have a bit of breathing room. The new project was inspired by a call for submissions from the Abecedarian Gallery for textile related artist books. It feels like a good fit for my current experimentation with the journals I'm making. They have been well received by people who have seen them and I really enjoy working on them too. As soon as I saw the prospectus an idea came full-blown to me from something that's been on my mind for a while now. Of course, I have a feeling it's going to be VERY labor intensive but better to spend the time working on it than leaving it in my head to distract me from everything else. As long as I resist actually creating something from the idea, my brain won't let me do anything else other than think about it. It's almost like it fills up all the creative cells so no other ideas have any room to exist. Maybe if I get it out of my head and onto fabric I can move on to something else. I hope, anyway.

These are all hand stitched pages and beaded, embroidered pieced, embellished, etc. The one at top left with the batiks and rust stained fabrics is my own personal notebook and is made to take a standard size spiral bound book. The rest have 96 page sewn signatures. You can see the different signature treatments on the shot of the spines. All but one of them has a bookmark sewn into the cover. Several of them use pieces of my rust stained fabrics on the inside. Dupioni silk, commercial print, mud cloth and batik covers. 9"x6"

Monday, May 26, 2008

A memorable Memorial Day!

My new Marine! He graduated Friday at Parris Island, SC and we drove all the way out there to see him. Thursday was family day so we got to see him doing the marching thing and then had about 5 hours to hang out with him on base. We grabbed a bite to eat (he ate like they hadn't fed him for the last 13 weeks!) and then, because my daughter was with us, we went shopping. We hit the museum, the gift shop, several side roads as we got lost a time or two and lots of just aimless wandering as we chatted and caught up on things. The feelings switched back and forth lightning fast between feeling like it had been a year since we talked and feeling like he hadn't been gone a week. He seemed to be glad we made the graduation, although we've been telling him since he left that we'd be there. I think he was a bit worried about how his friends here would receive him when he got back (10 days leave at home before heading to Jacksonville, NC for another month of training) but they seem to have not even noticed he's a Marine. I'm sure there were jokes about the hair, but that's about it.

Aidan was so happy to see him she was practically giddy the whole 3 days. He's trying very hard to maintain his Marine face" and not smile, but he's not having much luck. I think he was as happy to see her as she was to see him. We teased her all weekend about getting a shirt that says "Proud sisterwife of a U.S. Marine." One awkward moment when he was trying to introduce us to his Sgt, but it passed quickly with some laughter. It meant a lot to me when he finally decided the appropriate introduction was "This is my second mom" though.

My "second son." I couldn't be more proud and happy and hopeful for him.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mudbug chair

My husband liked my chair so well he wanted something on his too. He considered and discarded several ideas before coming up with the crawfish. I did it right quick before he changed his mind! The chair isn't actually that green looking. It's a true lemon yellow, but it's fixing to rain and the light is funny.

the link between visual stimulation and creativity

Long and wordy and no pictures (but I did add the link for photobucket to the sidebar) this morning.

Catching up on blogs earlier, and as I was reading fellow-blogger Karoda's most recent post about sorting and organizing her stash, it occurred to me that it is very likely that my current dry spell has been precipitated by the cleaning (translation:shove shit in boxes and out of sight from the main living areas of the house) frenzy that occurred when the Japanese quilt magazine people were here to interview me. Most of the clutter/supplies/stash/fabric were willy-nilly stuck in boxes, bags, tote bins, and one lone hat box, and then stacked against the wall in my son's room. More stuff was crammed onto the shelves in there and then the stacks, fat quarters, dyed, stamped, stained, painted, yardage, cotton, poly, mesh, novelty, ethnic, and commercial prints were (sort of) separated by color or theme and stacked on his top bunk. Keep in mind that I'm about 5'2" and the bunk bed is one of those dbl bottom and twin top things so I have to stand back a bit from the edge of it and it's not much lower than eye level for me and the entire top bunk is covered in the fabric stacks. It makes it VERY hard to see more then the folded edge of the front row. So much for the design ideas flowing freely without the visual stimulation of being surrounded by "stuff" in every direction.

To make matters even worse, when I had the "cleaning" (I use that descriptor very loosely) hemorrhage for the aforementioned interview, I stupidly decided that my "workroom" (another loose term) should be for the actual work, and not storage. It made perfect sense at the time for the sewing machine to be in here and not on the dining room table (and kitchen table and living room floor) and for the ironing board to be in here with the sewing machine, and a cutting surface, and all those other tools of the trade I use. There is simply not enough room for the actual work space and the fabric and 'stuff' storage to be in the same room. Hence the fabric and stuff storage in the other room. BUT...and this is a big but....without the supplies where I can see them my mind darts off in too many directions to get a good grasp on any one specific design or project. I am struggling mightily with one piece right now that has a no-flexibility-at-all deadline of June 13 and I am so totally clueless it keeps me awake at night. I have several fabrics that are mandatory to use and I have never been at a loss to come up with something based on a specific fabric or theme or color palette. I had one really good idea that I was ready to run with, but due to circumstances beyond my control (or maybe mostly due to my own internal integrity concerning my work, or possibly simple bullheadness about what I think is right) that idea is no longer an option for me. Unfortunately, I am bereft of other ideas and options. I'm guessing that a June 12 marathon is not out of the question unless I have a stroke of genius between now and then.

All this nattering to say that I have discovered the correlation between being surrounded by the visual cacaphony of my materials and the free flow of ideas. That is apparently a necessary element of my creativity. I realize there are others who are the exact opposite (a repeating topic on the Quilt Art list) and require an orderly space to create in and are distracted by a jumble of colors and fabrics. I ain't one of them. I'm not sure what the solution is though. I know that if I start bringing materials back in here where I can see them, I will once again expand the boundaries of my work space back to the rest of the house and I'm sort of enjoying being able to actually sit at the table to eat.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Well, not actually any pictures in this post, but I have finally gotten off my butt and put them all in one place anyway. You can check them out at

Some of these go back 3 or 4 years and there are a bunch I never got pictures of before they went off to take up space at someone else's house. I haven't had a camera but a few years either so that's another excuse.

edit: I have added a direct link to the photobucket thing on the sidebar, and it only took me 15 minutes!!!!

Festival Chairs

We just bought new chairs last week for the RJ fest and they were sort of plain looking. Like all the other hundreds of identical chairs. Soooo......after a great idea from a JazzFester, here is the unveiling of the new and improved festival chair! The quote is used with permission of Funkkiejunkie. Thanks!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy day, mothers!

Mine was great! A trip to the Robert Johnson Blues Festival in Crystal Springs yesterday started off the weekend just right. We got to hear the Copiah County InBreeds (or whatever they called themselves) butcher some perfectly good music. They butchered some crap too, but that was to be expected. After a couple of hours of bleeding eardrums, the emcee brought out this CHILD all spiffy in a starched white dress shirt (92 degrees and humid....I was impressed) and black dress pants. I think I have blue jeans older than this kid. He was absolutely incredible though, and about 3 seconds after he got cranked up, you totally forgot he was barely out of diapers. I talked to him later and asked how old he is. 14. Only 14 years old and only been playing since he was 11, and he's already traveling the country (he lives in CA, I think) and playing. His name is Gabriel Lambirth and we truly enjoyed his music.

Jessie Robinson and the 500 lb Blues Band took over after that and rawked! The first time my husband ever saw him play, he was sitting outside the Piggly Wiggly playing for shits and giggles while he was waiting on somebody. God, that sounds country. Running into a famous blues player in the parking lot at the grocery store (especially one called the Piggly Wiggly of all things), killing time with a free impromptu concert among the Fords and Chevys. Willie "Big Eyes" Smith sat in for a couple of numbers with the band and he was so good! Then they brought out Steve Bell, just landed from Vegas they said, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. He played a good 30 minutes or so at least, and the band really let him showcase his stuff. They backed off and just let the harmonica music take over. I'm out of words to even describe how good he was. The way he moved holding the cordless mic it looked like he was blowing a horn, and he made the harmonica sound like one too. It was the ONLY set that the sound engineers got right, too. The woman on the bass, Nellie Somebody, got her 5 minutes of fame and showed her stuff. I can see why she plays with Jessie!

Then Honeyboy Edwards. Oh my. Honeyboy. The last living Bluesman who actually played with Robert Johnson. He's 93 years old and hasn't lost a step. They got him on stage and settled, then hovered around adjusting the mics, moving things around just so, making sure there was water and a towel handy, just generally making him comfortable, and it was all done with an incredible reverence. They were at the feet of one of the greats and it showed. Then he started singing. About 70 of those 93 years fell away and it was pure heaven for the duration. There was some sort of glitch and he showed up a couple of hours late so Pinetop Perkins and the rest of the line-up had to be pushed back to later in the afternoon and we missed them since we had to cut out about 4:00 to get back for a supper/Stanley Cup playoffs date here in town. We met out at Corky's and ate BBQ and drank swill. Good food, good friends, good times.

We headed out to the lake this morning for Mother's Day lunch. Just hung out with the kids, threw a few casts into the lake (caught nothing, but the youngest girlchild snagged a branch) drank a glass of wine, ate too much, laughed with/at the kids and siblings, and came home and crashed for a nap. All in all, a very good weekend.

And for your viewing pleasure, a picture of me and Robert Johnson's son Claude. The t-shirt he's wearing is one of only 150 printed. We bought two of them, but Robert Johnson's family doesn't own the copyright to either of the 2 pictures of him in existence so they have to license them just like any random Joe Blow does.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


What would you do? I just posted a comment on another blog that I've seen in passing but don't check regularly. She was excited about being contacted by a woman in London who wants to buy 2 of her quilts for her new home in South Africa. This is a scam!! It has been all over the QuiltArt list and a couple of other lists I belong to and the circumstances and arrangements are always the same, and it's always a scam! They send you too much money and then want you to deposit the overage, then their original check bounces and you're stuck with not only the amount of the original check, but also the additional money you deposited back into their account. I hate to see anyone get taken unnecessarily but I don't know this woman and am not a regular reader of her blog. I felt bad about raining on her parade with even the suggestion it might not be legitimate. Now I'm second-guessing myself about making the comment at all.

Would you prefer to have a stranger steal your thunder by telling you it was a scam, or to just not know? That question sounds like it's loaded to be answered a specific way, but it's not. I'm honestly interested in knowing if you would rather a stranger comment or keep their mouth shut? I guess it's a little late since I've already commented on her blog, but I'm curious all the same. Any thoughts?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Song of the South

I love Mississippi. I love the history and the land and the people and the music and the weather. It is a state of contradictions. It's the KKK and the old white woman at the Deep Delta Festival today leaning in to whisper in the Black man's ear as they both swayed to the Blues pounding from the stage. It's the flash-flood rains we had last night that broke limbs and flooded streets, but mostly washed everything clean and green for the sun today. It's the pine forests, and flat cotton fields for miles, and the sand and live oaks, and the rolling hills choked with kudzu. It's the land of every Camaro-driving-redneck stereotype ever conceived and it's #1 in the nation in charitable giving.
In the last 8 days I have driven to a quilt show in Koscuisko, a Marcia Ball concert in New Orleans and the blues festival in Rolling Fork today. The coreopsis, Queen Anne's lace, spiderwort, vinca, red clover and wild roses are everywhere. The magnolias hang heavy in the tops of the trees. Corn, cotton, beans, pecan trees, cows and horses as far as you can see from the highway. We took the "scenic route" up through Satartia but had to turn back because the road was flooded. An extra half hour down to Vicksburg to go back up Hwy 61 didn't even seem like a detour. At the place where Hwy 16 was flooded out, there was a group of men sitting on upturned 5 gal buckets fishing from the road.
The weather was perfect, the sunburn only minor, the music good and the fried catfish delicious. We have so many festivals this time of year it's hard to even decide which ones to go to. There was another one in Leland today too. And of course, JazzFest and Memphis in May. Blues festivals every weekend through the fall.
For all the insane politics, hurricanes, tornadoes, illiterates, bad roads and worse crime rate it's still home, and I still love it. My feet are planted in the rich black soil of the Delta and seawater runs through my veins.