I have had several days now overly full of many, many must-do things. A high-powered push from the moment I open my eyes until I give in to the end of the day. But when a neighborly garden cat sits on your feet and says howdy, you just have to stop and visit.
Let her have your full attention; slow things down some.
Ask what the heck are you rushing around for?
Because it just isn't worth missing this patch of sunlight here.
Still on the lookout for beautiful pumpkins. Easy enough as we get closer to the 31st, and so stunning on the right kind of blue sky day. It's a gray, soggy day here though. I know how much the folks in California would welcome this weather. Thinking of so many who lost their homes, their histories, their place in the world and hoping that the worst of this nightmare is past.
Blog-hopping around, I realized that my article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors is about to come out. You'll recognize the concept I think- and look up top in the right corner- an unexpected and totally wonderful surprise there. What a pleasure it was to work with the entire staff at the magazine- the nicest experience start to finish. I'm so looking forward to seeing a copy along with the work and articles of the other artists too.
My mother has gone home after a most delightful visit with us. I miss her- she's a fun one with a tale to tell about every day of her life- or mine. Staying busy with those deadlines and making Nicki's stew for a friend who is under the weather. (Where did that expression come from?) I do love the smell of something brewing-stewing in the kitchen. Listening to the sounds of the kids playing after-school football out there in the drizzly street, hmm, might just make a fire and get the basket of felt out. Simple pleasures we sometimes take for granted. Not today. Once again, I'm grateful for all. xoC
Busy, busy times here in the studio and elsewhere this week- which is my excuse for not posting much. There is time to waste apparently (as shown above), but not time to write or think through a post so this is it for today. My wonderful DH shopped out and brought home a dreamy new car - with a double-decker hatch cargo for thrifting! It's a CRV with seat warmers which was all I wanted to have in a new car. After 10 years with the old truck and a year of looking at new cars, this sleek scooter is just right...all that and more! O, I love it, but I can't draw it yet so you get this 2-seater version on the pumpkin. But that's me in there- out on the road again! Yay! xoC
The wonderful and kind comments from yesterday's post were more than comforting; they stirred a little voice inside me -and many others too. Thank you so much- it was nice to feel connected to all that again. Sometimes I am inclined to be quiet about the personal and world history that made me who I am, and still shapes the way I think about things. Everyone came from somewhere, lived through events unique to their experience. Some thrived upon those, some were devastated beyond imagination. Which brings me to a difficult subject that I can never quite get to here: the desperate crisis in the Congo and the atrocities suffered by women and children. The humanitarian research center that Erin works with operates behind the scenes of disaster relief, assisting organizations with the tools for crisis management and effectiveness. Currently they are sending medical teaching teams into the region- specifically to the Panzi Hospital to help save the lives of many victims of rape and torture. Teaching doctors share surgical techniques and perform surgery on women and children whose bodies have been savaged beyond their own ability to heal.
John Paul Doguin accompanied the last mission as a documentarian and took a series of portraits there. The subjects volunteered and chose their own settings in and around the grounds of the hospital. Recently when we visited, the images were the backdrop for a seminar held for world health leaders and professionals. The portraits are beautiful, large in size, illuminating the faces of men and women and children who live or work at the hospital, in many cases, because there is nowhere else to go. There is sweetness, anxiety, bravery, sadness, resilience, hope, the open expressions of those who have suffered and of those who defiantly refuse to.
Watching Erin as she admired John Paul's work, I thought of the world our children must experience and engage. We were certainly not the only generation with voices raised for compassion, truth and peace. They speak now with their own articulate, insistent passion for change, one person at a time. As parents, we are in awe, proud and grateful.
Tomorrow I'm going to go back to crafts, cooking, enjoying the visits of these two in from Boston...and also my mother who arrives for a few days. With Erin and John Paul heading off to adventures in the city, our creaky old couch is just big enough for Mom, me and a basket of yarn between. Pretty much the kind of quiet, simple home life that any of these women prays for on a good day. Countless blessings here in my little scene. A very small part of the whole. Hope for peace. Make it so.
Donations that will assist this mission can be made here.
Feeling very much my age today. Standing in line behind the super-stylish young mothers at Starbucks this morning started it. I still don't get that coffee-talk they sling there. I just wanted a small black coffee in a paper cup that I can walk away with and make it on time to an appointment. Exchanging smiling baby looks with the little sweeties in their strollers, ignoring their rushing, huffy mothers' sideways glances sizing me up in my super-un-stylish jeans, I'm all jittery when the guy at the counter waits for a more expert order from me. Um, Small Black Coffee. That's all I got.
Home to the safety and messy comfort of the studio where I discover I misplaced a few good ideas. Others don't pan out today. But then I open an email from sweet Sally who sent me a link to this video of Joni Mitchell, her BBC performance in London, 1970. I was so infatuated with her loveliness, pure voice, her songs like layered, stitched quilts, piercing anthems for our age. I wrote a paper about her poetry and lyrics in 1971- the only A that I ever genuinely earned in high school. Watching this just now, I found myself in tears with a mix of transport and bittersweet longing for those days. That dulcimer and the first few chords. I was 16 when she recorded these songs, ones I listened to endlessly on an 8-track or vinyl, thinking our generation really invented Music. And you know, we kind of did, as much as it is so intrinsically woven into our daily lives anyway. Those fancy women at Starbucks missed out on some good times (and cheap concert tickets) though that's not their fault. The snappy mom with the brand-new, trendy wool kilt....sheesh, it's a copy of the one I wore when I wrote that paper. (Gotta give it up though- we would have looked much better in kitten heels, rather than the sensible kneesocks and brogues with brown flaps.) But that was my youth, as it was- and o, it was amazing, wonderful, adventurous.
I'm not old, I just got an authentic and enviable head-start on a sweet life set to music. I'm sending the video link on to Erin. She is a fan...and who knows, maybe the snippy, kilted mom loves her too. Hope so. xoC
Thought you would enjoy seeing the continuing ed., extra credit, independent study on that scrappy dollhouse project. Soon after the celebrated success of the big house, Mo and her friend, Annie, made this one, actually two, one for each. Those were the days when Beanie Babies were everywhere, all looking for happy homes. I was so pleased that she could- indeed, would - work creatively without me. Now, of course, I'm the one asking for her help and input when she floats by the worktable. Inspired? If not, and you haven't stopped in to read this blog recently, treat yourself to this. Our very own vicariously adored pup. I think that should do it! xoC
After my workshop Saturday, I signed some books and actually stopped to look inside one again, a beautiful scrapbook of my creative life at home c.1999. This beloved dollhouse project is a creation that always draws me back in and I can see that the Tinsel Trading candy house was another version of my old stand-by specialty: trash crafts. There is really no end of imaginative things that can be crafted from cardboard, cans, bottles, rags, thrown-away bits. Mo and I made this dollhouse from a cardboard box found at the curb on recycling day. Turned on its side with a divider, it provided two floors of colorful doll-living and we added a third with - what else? - more cardboard. She was about ten, the glory days of our mother-daughter crafting years.
The window Mo is peeking through while we papier-mached the house looks alot like the door shape I often use, and it's there too in the candy house design. One of the workshop participants put a school picture of her daughter behind a cut-out window- so her face was peeking through. I loved that. I remembered Mo, winking through the window, the smile in her blue eye, her hands in a bowl full of papier mache paste. Something extraordinary from nearly nothing. Such delightful, homemade fun- gluey fingers, wild ideas, invention and excitement wrapping us up in memories and bonds that the heart never breaks. And it's so easy to do- really, just look in the trash, find some overlooked box and hold it up. What else can it be? Could be a dollhouse, a rocket ship, a cardholder, a keepsake- tomorrow it might be the most magnificent, cherished object in the world. As the saying goes...use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Just make it do. That's so, so much sweeter. xoC