Friday, March 29, 2024

The Morning


"La Dimineata' : The Morning

viburnum in jar, colored pencil


thoughts first thing in the morning, as I made the bed, and washed dishes, and started the coffee before my shower... I think that many, like me, were trained to think happiness is a warning sign, 'regular happiness', contentedness, not a reaction to some major life event, if we are content it is because something has surely been forgotten, we have slowed down when we should have been keeping up, there is something wrong if we can and do stop and realize that 'we are happy' in this moment, this simple task, this morning, these feet on this road, this small goal made and then reached. And that is so much opposite of the truth. Because we know that it is momentary, and we are looking for 'the other shoe to drop', as it will, eventually, but then we entirely forget this moment, the one we are happy in, WHILE we are in it, in the distrust of it. And we are trained that way, by our society, it seems... Well, I was. And I'm trying to get out of it, here and there, between shoes.


Poem (from me)

Le Bonheur

Have you heard it?

That little bell that rings

when you find yourself suddenly smiling

chin on your hand, and you ask Who Me?

Do you see it, that bit of blue

shining out between the tree branches

the taste of your favorite meal

although you had nearly forgotten it

in all the spaces in between

do you feel it?

This is the bonheur

welcome back traveller

drop your bags by the door

while you realize you have returned

to sit upon the hearth and be warmed once more

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Medium in Art

'Mortal', ink drawing, 30 minutes, left hand

I keep experimenting, and think that is more being an artist than making four foot murals all in one style etc...  There is a difference between being an artist and being a commercial artist .. although, yes, you can be both, the goal for one 'mode' is necessarily a bit different than for the other.

The Thoughts:

My husband was commenting on some art news that (almost) everyone he sees making big splashes seems to be 'one medium' - usually something like oil painting, or welding huge metal sculptures etc etc.. and that is all they do, and they are celebrated for it and the museums are full of huge sculptures and four-foot-wide oil paintings etc while there are thousands of artists out there doing their thing in small formats and whatever medium brings their idea most to light. I do like the variety that is shown in the DayLight Gallery in Camden, TN for that reason.
I told him that the one medium I focused on for my years in school was ink - but for some reason the main reaction to that was : 'And it's all 'just' ink - how do you have the patience to do that?', and the second reaction was 'Where's the color'... so yes I have branched out over the past decades into not only colored inks and watercolors, but colored pencils (which are often seen as 'not professional') and pastels and paint ... but the other side of that is that it seems unfocused. You can't have your cake and eat it, too - either you're versatile or you are focused. 'Why do you make so much? Do you ever sleep?' The thing that, I believe, makes me an artist 'the most' is that I am compelled to create, to express, to chase whatever it is almost every single day.

That also equals mountains of work, and little outlets for most of it.. it can be a bit overwhelming at times truthfully to look at it all. I put a few small things in the gallery, or offer one up on a site for a while, but that doesn't mean I'm not making another item tomorrow etc. I tend to send some pieces off to special people once in a while, and then that is sending off little bits of myself to say 'I thought this might mean something to you, too.. and either way, here it is'....

 'What Can you Reach from Here?', paint and inks
black paint, white paint, blue paint, black india ink, gold ink, brush, palette 

What can I reach from here?  This palette, this brush, these paints, this pen... what about that mountain?  I don't know, I haven't built it yet.

Experiments, like left-handed drawing, and 'we're gonna run with whatever we can reach from this point without getting up.. and we're starting with this brush, good luck...'  It's constraints and yet it's also freedom within the circle to do whatever it is that circle can bring... and then expand it, refocus it, do something else.. and through every single thing you do, each thing that is different from each other, the same element is you - and those that can see that, then they know something more than just the casual observer of one piece

Poem : 


The clamor can quiet a bit

that deafening onrush of Time

when watching the plain gray moth

grip the stem of the plant

swaying under its weight

and drink nectar from the white flower

that you had not even seen

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Two poems and thoughts

 Random thoughts:

my cat has taken to parking herself in my chair every morning before dawn, and not leaving until I pick her up, protesting and hanging like a limp cloth, waving her whiskers at me and half-flattening her ears until I put down her feet gently on the floor beside me and she looks up and says 'oh, it's like this now, huh?' and curls around the foot of the chair in determination that she will remain as close to as exactly where she wishes to be as possible, with this human involved in the process
I would like some larger paper, and then I use what I've got
and that takes me long enough already, so I guess that's that
I look at my inks and my pigment pens and think I've used up some and don't touch others... but they sell the pens in packs and then I pick up one of the ones I don't usually use and take it for a stroll to do what it can do on the paper in front of me, the same with purple pencils, and reds, and then I am using eight types of things on one piece of paper and perhaps this is how I learn things... they say we all learn through play
two Poems from today : 
knitting : what may or may not be a stocking hat
 and the yarn was quite a pain to start out on the dpns, I thought about giving up but decided to give it a little longer, and now I'm a few inches in and maybe just maybe it will come to a fruition
Follow that Car
Somedays, it can look like a mess
it can be frustrating as hell at times
you can be uncertain you've got enough materials
or if you will ever have the time to finish it
to the standard that is in your mind's eye
and yet, you continue
and that, is when you know you're on to something
Mr. Taximan, follow that car
it's going my way
colored pencil drawing : available at   
the bird was in the grain of the paper, so it truly had to be drawn

Nesting Thoughts
All the words have fluttered away from me
in this hour of nesting
thoughts and habits
an hour of practice
unlike any other – even when they start the same
just like words – the image begins at one point
and before I can figure out what to say
it is already taking its own path
I am simply following
the way the motion goes
the crow’s line
drawn between two points
I did not choose
lessons for life

I've got a couple of other things I did today, as well.. 

 left-handed drawing with some right-handed coloring in on the plant

Friday, March 22, 2024

World Tree with Dragon : Progression

World Tree with Dragon
(image of figure, wearing deer skull with horns (responsibility, family, heritage)  reaching 'through' the life and moon symbol to touch and create light shining on the opposite side of the world tree, while kneeling on the roots of the tree where the Dragon sleeps (mortality, the Earth, 'Universe turns' symbol clutched by dragon, also signifies the march of Time).  Bird giving knowledge (leaves to head).  Rabbit looking forward (symbol of regeneration and generations)
progression of an automatic drawing

pastel underdrawing 'scribble' to music

adding two colors of paint
deciding where the figures are


embellishing with gold and blue paints 

 defining more features

filling in blank areas

next step would be to go over with a fine brush and black or dark brown, or to go over with a permanent India ink pen


 final stage

Monday, March 18, 2024

When is it too much and too little

When it is too much, and too little, and everything in between.

So, there is a project I was asked to do before Thanksgiving, and it has stretched out through what was inarguably a very long, dismal and stressful winter, which could have been worse, and we were so glad that it wasn't.

And I have not done the project.  There have been several small attempts, one large attempt - and a lot of thinking about it and being tangentially frustrated about not doing much on it at all, and not feeling like I wanted to, either.

So, when is too much.  I tend to be a tenacious person about some things, and not at all - at all - about others.  I did try to say I wanted to pass the project on to some other person before - but the project's owner said they still wanted me to do it.  So I kept it, and Mark says it is just too much worry and frustration.  Perhaps, it is, for there will be no return benefit except saying that I actually got it done - it is not for money or for fame, but just what to someone else might be a few turns of the wrist and there - you're done.  

It would be so much simpler if it was like the first project I did for them (perhaps)... that was 'I'd like something like this - it doesn't exist - can you make it?'  This is : Here is the item, go make something exactly like it, the same size, the same look, I know you'll do a good job.  I find, that specifically, is something I'm not good at.  I am not one to replicate something, my perfectionism says I'll never do it.

So I procrastinate.  I attempt and fail.  I get frustrated and then it colors all of my other projects with the feelings.  And of course, I know if I did succeed it would do the same - color the rest with accomplishment... if I do not, and give up, it will remain in the back of my mind.  It is a skeleton I can do not enough good with, and even as a success it would be a three penny postage stamp.  What does that even mean?  I'm not sure.  I've been reading a lot lately, but in tiny pieces here and there and everywhere, and it is like a thousand birds in my air, lyrics, thoughts half-flown, and coming down in the field around me hoping to make some sense as I walk through picking up sheaves.

See what I mean?

Oh look, a rock I found, on a walk in the sun yesterday.  It looks like the ocean.


And poems too hot and fresh to have been trimmed yet, just because.  



the dark green ink

it beckons

with a swirl in the bowl

but only in my mind’s eye

because the darkness

is beset upon the morning still

and the sunrise, when it comes

will be full of bustling

and the dark green ink

will have to wait again

in it’s bottle, unspilled

like my thoughts, unspilled


I’m not the only one who used to

lie out in the snow as a child

after pulling some sled up the hill

and coming back down

leaning back and throwing out my arms

there in the cold and the snow

staring up at the big wide sky, feeling alone

and wondering how long it would take

to freeze to death

I know I’m not the only one who did this

how many do this more than once or twice...

And I think I do it in my life with other things

we lie for a time out in the cold

against all natural instincts, it would seem

until that thing within us clicks over, urging

that we get up, and seek our homes

whether they be of body, mind, or soul

that place our feathered things retreat to

to sit by the fire and revive

and then – we appreciate the warmth all the more


You’re such a good girl, she said

you never want anything

but oh, how I wanted things

sometimes so hard that they tasted like the blood

from biting my tongue

but they were not things I could ask for

few of them could ever fit in my hand

and always, always, they would be taken away

somehow or another, I learned early

that nothing is forever

everything is always changing

and those things I truly wanted seemed

just beyond my grasp – intangible

until I learned, through much effort

to hold them in my eyes, and my heart

to weave them into those inner webs

and labyrinths that defy space and time

..and then, the tides rose and carried me away

and I was the boat, and the waters, and the moon


There are always echoes in here

words to string together, this way or that

all the things said, and unsaid

from this morning, from three years ago,

there is little rhyme or reason

I try to connect the dots,

draw stars and equations around them

not enough paper, not enough ink

not enough thread, to sew it together

I turn on music, to try to drown it out

hum along, sing familiar words

but other words, other times, other places

continue to vibrate

in the in-between places of Memory

where Time is not the rule

one box always opening twenty more

a million scattered keyholes

and so few keys

I try to pick them up like tiny beads

that get stuck under my fingernails

I try to line them up like thin steel pins

to stick them all in place, but into what?

They continue to tumble loose, and rattle

against this box that is my brain

Heart Take Wing

There is only so much

you can choose to say

the rest is up to the heart

may it take wing

and sing to you


And when all your years

you believed that the overload

of your senses meant

that you could not handle it

that you must run from it

put on your flat mask

pretend it was not there

like trying to ignore the rain

you can do it – stand there drenched

and be miserable for all to see

run for shelter each time it starts

or you can dance in the downpour

look for the rainbows – prismatic glories

and feel your limbs swimming

watch the drops fall from your fingers

and trace the holes in space as it

bounces off of everyone’s umbrellas

built-in for them – but not for you

perhaps, you are a fish out of water

that swims in the air

and without such rainstorms

where you would be?

I am amazed, also, and grateful - my book has sold nearly two dozen copies in something like a week.  Thank you.  I hope you are enjoying it.  Unspoken Things, Made Words poetry book by Marie Lamb

Friday, March 08, 2024

striped square and mouse


A magic square I saw in a Japanese handbag pattern and understood something from the symbols much better than I have from English-language instructions before.. first one to try, I've cut this one off and will try to make another one to match (the bag takes three)

 Other things in the works : that alpaca scarf still needs one more long length of white yarn knitted on...  the orange weaving is coming towards the end and after I cut it off and put the ends in I'll have to figure out what I want to do with it.  I've started a third market bag, just because it is very easy to do those while watching movies, even in the dark, as long as the yarn isn't dark colored.

I made a mouse, or an opossum / flying squirrel thing.  I don't know - I wasn't even trying to follow a pattern, just looking at a picture.  It was supposed to be a cat, but it had it's own plans.  A friend said it looks like a mouse that smashed it's face into a birthday cake, and that made me smile.  Also, he could have had stuffing in him, he has a pocket but he's flat, and feels actually very nice to sit and hold and stretch him out like a flying squirrel in your hands.

languages : Swedish, Espanol, French, Czech, Russian, Italian
I dropped Catalan for a few days, but will probably pick it back up soon.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

whereupon I turn myself into a crochet workshop


 This is the second one of these I've made, a bit smaller than the one last year - and for me, not for 'the workshop'... but I've also made two pink market bags for the workshop drawer, a couple of washcloths, and a little sketchbook full of potential stuff I could make, but I'm not sure if I want to get into it that far type stuff.... And I've dedicated a drawer to 'stuff I'll make in case we go to sell at a market or bring things to the gallery', which used to be the entire six drawers were full of yarn, but I've been using some of it, and moving it around, and now there is enough space to start putting finished objects in it.

But at the same time, I don't want to do a lot of projects actually requested by other people - I'll sit up and chat with someone or watch a movie and make something, but my personality is often (not always) that if someone actually wants me to make something and I didn't come up with the idea, I'm not very likely to finish it.  What makes me do that?  Something about an overbearing parent, I think.  Anyway, that was the big chat with my sister the other night - about how after she left to live at her father's house my mother had cranked down hard on me while at the same time she was losing her memory and always having health issues with her diabetes so I was straddling three worlds at one time - can't do anything she doesn't tell me to do, can't figure out what she needs, and figuring out what I actually need and where it falls outside of those two enough to become an adult.  It was a hard talk - and I don't think my sister will get half of what I was trying to tell her or remember it.. 

but I finished nearly an entire bag while talking to her - because my hands needed to be busy.  We had the talk because it was our mom's birthday, and my sister had posted some 'rose colored glasses' things, and I let them stand publicly but I had to have a 'this is the way it was for me' discussion with her that I usually let slide.. because no, it was not all rose colored glasses and unicorns when she was away, and even when I moved out and she moved back and left her kids with my mom often (and really, my mom was not entirely capable at that point, but she didn't seem to care and had her own issues going on too deep to fathom here) I still felt she should remember it right, even though it was tough, and not paste flowers all over it.

Esme and I took a nice nature walk / bike ride (she biked, I walked), and went and got some groceries and talked about up and down mix of all sorts of things including past present and future... she understands the 'its not all sugar coated' thing maybe too well for her years at times (sigh)   I am going to make her a Mexican inspired taco meal after a bit.  We bought mole sauce, and looked up how to pronounce it, what ingredients it is, what is usually eaten with... and then said eh, we'll make tacos and Spanish rice both how we know we like and then try some of the mole sauce on the side of the rice.

Languages : added Italian to my phone, tested into second section (better than I tested with Czech, not as good as the Spanish) even though I really don't know very much Italian and it is just as 'sticky' to my brain as Spanish is.  (sticky is not good, sticky is I want to separate it from other words and I can't they come up all together four words for the same thing in four languages and it makes it easy to read but hard to speak)  French and Spanish 'stick', Spanish and Italian 'stick'.. Czech and Russian stick but Russian has a different alphabet.  When I try to remember how to say something in one of those languages and have been doing another sticky one - I can't decide which one to respond in, although I can read them just fine the road is not two-way.  Went back on my other computer and continued in French and Russian and Czech and one lesson of Japanese to make sure I could still recognize stuff.  

currently staring at a little Pinterest crochet cat thing and wondering if I could figure it out

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

old school social media and the production philosopher

a fasciated daffodil from my garden

My production philosopher or 'inner critic' is on to me about what to make with what time I have.  This morning only makes it a bit more crystallized.

 Well we just got back from a trip to the flea market and Facebook is down today and having quite the issue trying to get back up.  I'm sitting here poking and saying well - what other internet things that I used to always use are still up?  Etsy?  Yes.  Here?  Yes.  Duolingo?  Yes.  So, not the end of the digital world.  Ha.  Anyway.  Although, there are some that I do consider friends out there that no, I really can't find a way to get in touch without social media because I don't even have their email or phone number and the few I have an address for (from sending them an art-or-craft, or exchanging seeds or etc.)  a letter would take a very long time to get there.  The digital world has changed the way we think about some things.  

(note - 47 minutes acc. to the news it was down, and yes that was enough that I noticed the tail-end of it, and I was out and about doing things early this morning)

I look at the projects in progress in my workshop, and think about the heirloom farm and all of the things we cook and make, raise and grow... oh yes there is plenty to do around here.  I don't always want to do it.  Go do some laundry and some dishes, make some coffee and a pasta dish and let a dog in from the rain etc etc...

 Like, also, I will draw a very nice picture of a toy I'd like to knit, with colors and details, but I very often will not do it.  There was a time I would - but now I know my hands are going to take a very long time to make that thing that took two minutes to draw.  I think about mittens - which I make for myself and use very much in the winter - even they could be easy to sell if I made them ahead of time and put them away, even if they were only 'my size'... and again, I know it takes a longer time to make and finish them and more attention to do it than it does to start it.      

And then I wonder what use will come of it, or if I will be able to keep it in good condition until someone would want to buy it.  And I think about tucking it away in tissue paper in a box and waiting for that day I would get to the gallery or a show or a flea market stand and try to sell it.. and it is like putting time (and money, investment in the yarn) in a bottle that I haven't spent that time yet (but stash yarn, maybe I did spend the money.. do I want to 'tie it up' in that?)  and I don't know if I want to, just to put in the bottle -- compared to a washcloth or scarf or something simple, easy to pick up and put down, and I know I'll use it. I do have stash yarn - and I've been using mostly that the past few years, with a skein or two maybe of cotton bought for specific projects etc.. 

I've been trying to sort myself out on this.  Time, money, purpose.  The philosopher in me won't stop thinking and sometimes it gets in the way of the production, pondering too long on the whys and ifs and what.  Can you also tell I was reading an article today on the 'Terrible knitters of Dent'?  Those people learned to knit nearly all their waking hours, even one-handed while they were doing something else, in order to sell their socks, mittens and other things to other people.  It sounds bleak, talented, interesting and fatiguee (tiring) all at the same time.

I also saw a lady who had kept a 'flax dowry' of 120 years, it had been her mother's and then passed on to her, and she had kept it all her life and not used it - and it was still good fiber being passed on to other people to finally make something of it.  More for the philosopher in me to chew about industry, time and purpose.

At least, in a way, I carry my languages around with me as a treasure box that does not need to be kept in tissue paper.  I'm thinking on some things I heard someone say at the flea market, as well, that I could not immediately translate.  It's not something others would think twice about, and I forgot everything else that person was saying that was translatable like I would almost any other 'by the by' conversation that wasn't important .. but the non-translated phrases echoed for me to go look that up etc.


zucchini, kale, angel hair, parmesan seasoning mix from a bag, tomato, little bit of jalapeno jack cheese crumbled up

I guess I have a pasta dish to go and make.  I was thinking angel hair pasta with some parmesan and black pepper and kale or zucchini from the freezer.  I saw a picture (on a yarn site, actually HA) that had a plate of pasta with pesto in it for a description of a yarn color.  And now, for some reason, I think 'hey, if I'm the only one eating that would be a nice quick little dish'.

Minion, our fifteen year old tortoiseshell cat

Monday, March 04, 2024

pvc loom crochet hamper huge cat


I had set up a very simple pvc loom, but a bit more complicated than this, about eight years ago.  Of course, I drew three plans last night thinking about it, and then went and looked in the box of stuff in the garage, and slapped this together without having to cut anything or go to town for parts. Currently, waiting for my brain to kick in what I've forgotten - or throw some simple acrylic yarn on there and see what the in-real-time issues are that show themselves.  I made a purse on this last time and I know it had a cross-bar of some type.. and it was always falling over with JUST ts on the bottom, so I put some extensions on this one to hold behind the brick.  But still - I know this is only 1.0.. maybe even .99, because I didn't even have to cut anything.  

(curiosity / techie : the height is a good 36 inches (plus a few, so finished 36 is possible), by a potential 36, more likely a 30 or 24 inch width.. we'll have to see.  The bars are now glued in such a way that the top 'u' can be removed, and extended with a coupling and more pipe for greater height, but the bottom cross-bar is glued tight to keep that from slipping and the elbow and T are glued at the top corners, as well)

I would like to try a twill or a herringbone type thing again, and that takes some distance to make it look really nice, but it's also 'tetchy'.  I'd like to try multiple coloured warps.

Mark wants to bake today, and make candy. 

He made terrariums for propagating begonias with Esme the other day, planted coleus and tomatoes etc etc.. They've been very busy there.  Esme bought a new bike with the money I had set aside for her, as her other one was not adult sized and she has grown.  She could have bought whatever she wanted I told her - and that is what she wanted.  It was on sale, and we had to replace some parts on it right away, and it was a bit fraught and tense, but between the three of us we did get it operational and she learned how to use the new gears and brakes which were different from her old bike.  Sometimes when Mark and I are arguing about tools (wrench type and sizes) and methods though, Esme feels like she is caught in the middle... but we got through it, even with my dyslexia that always adds to that.

I made a little distance on the orange weaving although I have no immediate use for it at the moment.

Mark was watching a horror film last night (well, historical vampire thing) and I had just begun this, so I continued working on it so I could look at it and not the screen most of the time.  Still, images tried to repeat later when I wanted to sleep - such is a half-photographic memory.  But I made a good progress and I love the colours on it - it is almost all black with the red thread on the bottom, and then it will stripe, then be the lighter color on top with the handles - I made a bit larger one a few years ago and use it as a hamper hanging up, but keep forgetting it by the washing machine and then coming upstairs and saying 'oh, the hamper is gone'.  A second one won't help that entirely, but it can't hurt, and I do love the stripes.

Loki cat with all his stripes
telling me I can't make the bed because he is so huge and can't move... it's a queen sized bed, and I usually do put all the blankets right in the morning - but with twenty pounds of parked cat, it's a bit difficult.

Charlotte and Minion cat

Languages : Czech, Catalan, Spanish, French, 
bit of still very introductory Russian to compare the Cyrillic
 spellings with the Czech

I tested into third section with the Spanish on my phone, only in the first section of Catalan (tiene muy poco!) which is in Spanish (so it's really double-duty and fun because of that), and into the middle of the first section of Czech, which I was quite happy with as I didn't remember how much I remembered.  Doing the (high level grammar) French and Russian alternatively on the other profile to round out the xp there daily.  Sometimes I can do the French all day and that is the best thing - sometimes I only want to do that grammar once and then move onto something simpler.  I really appreciated alternating with the Cyrillic alphabet today - it felt like I was using another part of my brain that needed the exercise.  I've been considering updating and practicing the Greek again for exactly the same reason, but not quite ready to dive back into Japanese - I feel like that needs more time to percolate through layers and then well back up to be interesting again.

Charlotte snoring loudly and having what seems to be an excellent afternoon nap...  We've made four dozen cookies, Esme has put a ring with the hatchet around a tree that we intend to cut down sometime in the coming years, and I've used some pvc glue on half of the joints of the loom and warped up a strap to test it out with.  I remember I had made myself a 'nail apron' pocket thing to tie to the bottom rail to hold bits of yarn bobbins that were in use - going to have to find that again, it's in the gardening things likely.