Slow Beauty

At work this week I was told that everything I make is beautiful, but couldn't I do it faster, you know, just step it up a notch? The answer to that is no, not unless I and the end product suffer. I'm more methodical than speedy. Anyone close to me will tell you I really don't like being rushed. This got me thinking about my process, and about beautiful things. Good sourdough takes time. Painting usually does too. Making quality things from scratch, like hand-dyed, hand-felted fabric, or handwoven fabric, hand-printed fabric with any depth - these all take time. Embroidery is another beautiful slow art. Maybe the handmade revolution will be a slow one, but I'd like to be part of it, stitching away in a quiet, cozy corner.

Right now, I'm working as a baker, and I make beautiful frangipane tarts, but banging out multiple batches of cookies is not going to happen on days when I'm asked to come in at what my partner and I have started referring to as "pre-morning". If anyone hears of a job out here where I can quietly make beautiful things at my own pace, let me know - I'll be looking.

It rained again today and I walked across the bridge into town, enjoying the raindrop spangled trees and trying not to step on bloated worms. The ocean's surface was rough velvet, melting to invisible.

I am that girl who, drenched and dripping, is grinning wildly. I was soaked. I flirted briefly with umbrellas in grade school but found that they get in the way of the invigoration.

On my way home, the sky made room for a yellow sunset between the cobalt mountains and the dust-grey sky, just an apartment building and some poplars between this slow beautiful fizzle and me.

Good things are worth waiting for, right?

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Coastal January

There is something so right in a rainy day. Even when the dishes are piled on the counter and the dust bunnies are changing shapes in the corners, I can be here in my blanket of tired and just make coffee and stare out the window. I'm inspired by friends who are making beauty with their lives.

This feels like a time of gathering and beginning, with great growth around the corner. In the wet grass around my house, knobby bulbs are radiating their stored sun-energy, pushing upwards light green shoots. Small hard buds on the birch tree's branches are readying.

In my own life, so much has changed this winter. I have gained and lost, and settled into a new place in my old hometown. I'm working at working at another job, soon. I know I will find something better, that things always work out better than I expect, but I'm still scared. What I want is to be at home, painting my imagination.

Soon, I will do the dishes. I will switch to herbal tea. I will sit down at my desk, or maybe on the floor, and set aside the worry surrounding my uncertainty. It is okay not to know. I'm open to today. In my hands, solid things, and in my eyes, wonder.

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Working with light, and a house show

I would like to catch up with myself, my real person studio self, on this blog before I begin what might be called printing week. Last week was the week of screens.

Here is where I was on Thursday:

After a less than productive day in (or out) of the studio, I am reminded of my options. Dishes, for instance, or futzing about on this blog. I spent all day waiting for my screens to dry.

On Friday, a few things happened. The screens dried. I nervously set in motion my rickety light table set up and hoped for the best.

Incredibly, it worked!!!! I have always found getting my screens perfect to be nerve racking and difficult, and hadn't attempted it at home until now. It went flawlessly, with some of my most detailed screens rinsing out best of all.

A quick overview of the process:

Screens have beeen cleaned, then coated with light sensitive photo emulsion (I used Macdermid Autosol 8000), then left to dry in a dark space. When they were dry and non-tacky to the touch, I covered the windows in the spaces I was working in so I had just enough light to see what I was doing and put one screen at a time in a garbage bag, to transport them across the slightly lit hallway. I used a combination of books, or foam, or other screens (most of my screens are different sizes), covered in white paper, to completely fill the inside of the screen, so there was no space underneath. I grabbed my transparancy with the corresponding number to the one I had marked on my screen, and laid it on top, then placed a thick sheet of glass on top of that, and turned on my photobulb (a BBA photoflood) which was um cleverly rigged with a pie plate and latched onto a kitchen stool, on a suitcase. This set up has inspired my partner to draw up a design for a solid, adjustable light table and stand.

I let the light do its magic for ten or so minutes, and then again in the semi-dark, removed the glass and transparancy and stuffed the screen back in the garbage bag so as to not expose the area where the image was. Next, outside, back to the garden hose, in the rain, with gumboots. I turned the hose on full and (taking the screen out of the bag) sprayed the front and back of the screen. I continued to spray the back until my image was nice and clear, all the unwanted emulsion gone. Then, I let it dry and voila, I have 19 new screens to print with. I am thrilled, and relieved.

Friday evening brought with it excitement of another type. We had a house concert.

It is so nice to have talented musicians in one's living room.

One of the nicest audiences ever filled the house, and our cats wove their way through everyone, getting pats.

Here are the folks we were lucky enough to have over for a night of "Swoon Tunes"

Susu Robin

Will Klatte Spoken Word


Daniel Bloom

What fun! Beautiful music, beautiful people, and all put together by the lovely La Marie of Kindredheart.

Also very enjoyable this weekend was a bike ride in the beautiful fall woods. The wet roots weren't  scary like I thought they might be. We ended up only going for a short ride as the logging road to the trail we wanted to go down was already under far too much snow!

This cozy, drizzly weekend was finished off nicely wih an afternoon of baking apple cinnamon swirl bread and making homemade pasta with good friends, and a few board games. Lovely.

Now, silkscreening!