Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Unexpected opportunity

This magic handmade box holds the prints of 41 artists.  Last September I received an email inviting me to participate in a print exchange in May 2020 to celebrate Pat Clark's 85th birthday.  Pat has mentored many of us in her retirement, but during her working years she was dean of the art department at Long Beach State, also executive director at the Idlywild School of Music and the Arts, and graduate of the Cranbrook Academy of Art.  I give that background to make it clear how fortunate I am to have stumbled into printmaking with Pat the year after we moved to Bend. 

The invitation said we would be probably be making and edition of 30. I have never editioned!!   Pat said, I am inviting you to participate in an artist call.  After examining the environment of water for the past five years with my water table project, I am ready to transition.  In the spirit of exploring water, I would like to investigate the theme of FLOW with an invitational print exchange.  This exchange invites you to focus on the word "flow" using your own unique visual interpretation.  "Flow" has a myriad of meanings in addition to water flow.  Air flow, ice flow, electrical flow, flow state, the flow of time, blood flow, going with the flow and so many other terms can be utilized to inspire your personal vision.

Kelly Salber, a Paper and Book artist in Sisters made the handmade paper boxes for each one of us.  She also wrote a touching and embracing poem to accompany each box.

In the end there were 41 prints, 25% more than anticipated.  I was terrified to participate but I kept pecking away, figuring that I could always quict if I really couldn't do it.  I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't quit until I was truly in over my head.  I don't have a press so had to hand pull every print and I learned so much!!

In addition to the exquisite box we all received a magnetic board to display the prints on.  This is a photograph done by Alyson Belcher and its moody lighting reminds me of summer camp.

One of the very special things is that many of the printmakers are people I know and some of them are friends.  It's a treat to look at the piece and think of that person.  Barbara Kennedy did this one.

Alexia and I are very fond of this print done by Denise Rich.  She printed the leaves then embellished a single leaf, quite a process, times 41!

Before the studio closed 18 months ago Jane Quale came upon a technique of inking distressed cloth and running it through the press, an image that she has made distinctively hers.

This is Pat Clark's and as in everything I've ever seen of hers, I am blown away.  I have no idea how she embossed the paper or created the image on separate blocks so that when printed, it all goes together.

This is mine.  There are only a half dozen relief prints in the collection.  I got the beginning of the idea when washing my favorite vase and putting it away after the flowers had expired.  I realized that because it's clear you could see that there's no water in and I started thinking of "no flow" for my theme.  But wait, if we're in a drought there won't be flowers anyway, so what could one decorate with and I came up with recycled twizzlers.  I can't spread my inky stuff out in my work area just now but I'm anxious to get back to work.  I learned relief printing before I learned photography and I think that's why I am attached to it; it's an old friend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Staying Close to Home

The pine drops are still growing.  I've never had a plant achieve so much height in one month,  Currently they're about 33" and are developing what appear to be buds.  This is an intriguing plant.  it's growing in sand with no water.

I'm continuing to spin 30 minutes each morning and have finished the rust, green and yellow rovings.   I had finished my spinning but hadn't finished my coffee son this morning o decided to use that time to look up some things that have been on my mind lately, like what colors attract bees.  The answer I got was purple, violet and blue.  And just then a bee landed on my roving.  I guess I have my answer!

We decided to donate our old truck to Oregon Public Broadcasting in exchange for a tax writeoff next year.  They told us they'd need a second donated vehicle before they would send the tow service down from Portland, so we moved it onto the RV pad to wait.

I got a phone call midweek that they finally had a second vehicle and would be down on Saturday to pick it up.  Ian pulled it out into the yard which made it really easy for the tow driver to hookup.

The driver had it ready to go in no time and I felt an inexplicable sadness as I watched it leave our lives.  It was Ian's truck and I rarely drove it, but it was part of our lives for 25 years so perhaps it's not quite silly that I was sad.  We drove it into the Sierras and cut Christmas trees.  He and our dogs had a ritual of driving around the valley and what I think I'll think of the most is their erect pointed Heeler ears visible through the back window.  It was the height of their day.

Now my wilderness is my ornamental gardens.  They're so much work and they give so much back.

And my wildlife is apt to be a cottontail who isn't afraid of me in the least.  Thank goodness I've continued my practice from the high desert of planting things that rabbits aren't attracted to - for the most part.  Bunny and I are in disagreement about a Standard Phlox that he wants and I've put chicken wire around.  I have a feeling I'll cave and remove the wire.  It's ugly. 

And the deer are back.  So far we've only seen one fawn but I'm sure there will be more.  These guys look like they're waiting in line for the porta-potty.

Our granddaughter Alexia is with us for about a month.  Usually we have trip plans but COVID-19 has pretty much put the kabosh on that.  Plus, she has to take pre-calculus as an online summer school class in order to be ready for fall.  It's really intensive.  She's on her laptop from noon until 4:30 and then has several hours of homework.  It's only lasts three weeks but the accumulative hours equal a semester.  Her paper piles grow by the day.  There are 28 kids in the class. 

The last day of class we're going to pile in the car and go to the coast to spend a few days in Yachats, Oregon.  It's the same Air B&B we stayed in two years ago.  We thought about going up to Tacoma to spend time with family but then Washington got spiking occurrences of the virus.  We're playing it safe and staying close to home.

I'll miss Delany while we're gone.  She is getting quite good at "reading" her books so I've moved them to the shelf with her board books and I let her use them unsupervised.  We're not far off from her sitting for a story.  It's fun having two granddaughters in the house.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Summer in June

I drove up to Prineville on Wednesday afternoon for my first meeting with our guild's spin/study group.  The GPS said it would take 51 minutes and that's exactly what it took.  I even stopped to take a couple of pictures.  It's almost Big Sky Country in the big beautiful agricultural valleys.  This is the field across from Catherine's ranch.

I drove a couple hundred yards and stopped again for a photo of a gorgeous blue heron.  He took flight before I could capture him.  Click for big to see his wing span.  That's the best I could do.

Last spring the conference colors were announced for the 2021 ANWG (Association of Northwest Weavers' Guilds) event.  I haven't spun in a couple of years and decided to buy two ounces of each color to see if it wouldn't get me going again.  I paid for the merino roving and forgot about it.  Until a couple of weeks ago when one of the guild members emailed me wondering if I had forgotten to pick up my roving from her.  Why, yes I had.  So I am once again spinning in the morning with my coffee and wondering what took me so long.  I have finished two of the five colors, which in the end will be ten ounces of yarn.  The same colors are available in Brassard cotton in the event I want to weave with them.

I've been keeping my eye on this odd outcropping in our front yard.  I've learned that it's called Pine Drops and is a fungi, not unlike Snow Flowers.  It's already over a foot tall.  I have no idea what to expect.  Interesting, no?

A couple of years ago when our friend Petey was visiting, he brought six iris bulbs from Dan, his cousin's husband, who raises iris for show.  This is the first year these two have bloomed and they're called Golden Panther.  I made a map of how I planted them so I know what each one is called.  Dan had written their names on the dried flags.  I am very impressed.

I don't know how any of our flowers are blooming.  This is what summer has looked like, pretty much every day.  We've also gotten quite a bit of rain and I remind myself that Portland doesn't see much sun and is very green.  I like taking my morning walks along the irrigation canal.

This is where my sunshine comes from.  Poor baby.  She misjudged her step and fell into some rocks, cutting her lip, requiring two stitches.  They would only allow one parent in the treatment room and since no one is allowed to hang around, Julia had to go home.  She said it's the hardest thing she's had to do yet.  The stitches will absorb in about five days so be all gone by the time she comes next week.

I bought these toys yesterday at a garage sale two doors down.  They'll be waiting for her.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Three Months

The two days I watch Delaney, that's what I do.  I wonder how I ever managed to raise three children and work but this is now.  I didn't have stairs or a cat with claws then.  Sometimes I can slip in some knitting and I've finished this Sunshine Coast cotton sweater.

I like it so much that I went back and bought more yarn to do it again.  This is Willet by Quince, the softest cotton I've ever knitted.  I'll go down a size in this sweater.

The garden is just on the edge of bursting into bloom.  It's been such a pleasant outlet during these past months.  Next week will mark three months of voluntary quarantine for me.  This morning the top news item on my phone was that a second wave of the virus has hit a half dozen countries.  It was hard to get past that and it took the better part of the day to shake it off.

And just yesterday I had a Zoom book group meeting that lasted a couple of hours.  It took that long to share our feelings about Richard Powers latest book, The Overstory.  I enjoy our group so much and then one news article knocked the wind out of my sails.  I can't hide from the news but I need to be more careful about how I react to it. 

We were driving from Sacramento to Reno when my daughter was a toddler.  It's a long windy route and some of the segments seem alike.  She awoke from a nap and wanted to know - are we still here?  That's how I feel right now.  I've sheltered in place and I'm still sheltering in place.

I don't always feel like taking morning walks but I know they do me a world of good.  They're healthy for my bones and heart, and they're healthy for my spirit.  I mean who can watch a mother duck and her ducklings without a smile.

Delaney had a rough patch today.  She is always so sunny so it's noticeable when she's not on top of her game.  My cure when she just is out sorts is to play Teletubbies on my MacBook.  She watched them for an hour today, which is almost twice as long as she's ever watched in the past.  The shows are brain numbing for an adult but she has seen the episodes over a dozen times and I realize that she is engaging with them.

  1. I'll leave this with you to ponder.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

May blessings

Ian and are both in the middle of getting the cataracts removed from our eyes, one eye down and one to go.  My right eye is scheduled for this Wednesday.  Ian's first surgery was last Monday and boy are things different in lockdown.  I was his driver and he called from the car to check in when we arrived.  A few minutes later they called back with some instructions and off he went.  He was in the building for an hour and I waited in the car on premise as they requested.

We've been talking about whether we should take advantage of all the incentives and buy a new car.  I mean, when are we going to see 1.9% interest again?  We went to the lot Thursday evening and initiated the process but our credit was frozen at Equifax so we went home to take care of that and went back the next evening.  This is what we chose, a Subaru Crosstrek.  I've driven a Forester since 2004 and also a standard transmission.  This is totally different and loaded with all kinds of technology.  It felt weird as I started to I drive it home, but by the time I finished all three miles, I was absolutely smitten.  We never did take it for a test drive.  We just bought it.

The yard is just starting to flower.  We are always the last house to bloom because of our strange micro-climate but I took my book outside and read all afternoon, listening to the water feature and the birds.  Absolutely lovely.

This last batch of sourdough got two teaspoons of instant yeast and resulted in a much more satisfactory sandwich bread.  It's different every week.

Grandpa bought Delaney her very own little Bolga basket this week to put things into and take them out of.  She has a set of ten little books and one of those is just about to go in.

She takes a bottle every morning at 9:00 which used to be formula but now is milk.  She used to lie on her back and now she is all over the place.  I know how blessed I am.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Spring has sprung

One of my knitting project is Heidi Kirrmaier's pattern Daydream in cotton.  It's wonderfully mindless knitting for those special occasions.

I'm still baking bread one day a week, experimenting with sourdough right now.  I learned last week that the reason sourdough loaves are scored before baking is to give the steam a path out, and if you don't provide that path, it will make its own.  This week I'm going to try adding some instant yeast to see if that would make a less dense loaf.  The flavor is terrific.

I'm still making masks.  The ten on the left are for High Desert Museum and on the ten on the right are for staff nurses at St Mary's Hospital in Reno.  I have ten more to go for them.

I cut out the pieces this morning and then took a break.  It really gets to my back.

I worked on them off and on this afternoon and happily am close to being able to stitch on the ties.

Yard work is on the front of my mind these days.  I went plant shopping with two of my neighbors yesterday.  Clover wanted to introduce us to her favorite nursery, Landsystems, now my favorite nursery.  It was such a lift to get out and drool over the plants.  I came home with 11 plants in gallon pots and I planted every one of them.  It was a cool breezy day with rain forecast for today.  It came, my plants are smiling and so am I.

Clover was loading her cart up with geraniums.  Initially I wasn't interested because growing up in San Diego, they were the plant du jour - common!!  She said that deer don't eat them so she's buying them for her front porch. Times have changed and the varieties are staggering.  Clover asked me to pick one out for myself because she wanted to buy it for me, in gratitude for the hot tub.  I sure didn't expect that, and I chose this one with leaves so intricate they look like silk flowers.
We're still baby sitting, which is the best part of my week!

For Mother's Day we had the kids over for sub sandwiches and Corn Hole.  We haven't gotten together often but when we do, we don't wear gloves and masks.  In the back of all our minds was the knowledge that son Josh was scheduled for major surgery the next morning for extensive repair of scar tissue in his small intestine.  He said that the first 24 hours after surgery were the most painful in his life.

They finally got him stabilized and he was able to go home on Friday.  This situation is a fallout of a birth defect called Meckel's Diverticulum, that first surfaced when he was 12, 36 years ago when he had his first surgery.  Out of 20 feet of small intestine, he only has five left.  He needed surgery a month ago but had to wait until the hospital opened up again, and it was a long month - on top of all the hoopla of Covid-19.  Recovery is slow and painful but we're all relieved to have that time bomb out of his gut.

Last Friday Governor Kate Brown provided the guidelines to begin the opening up of Oregon.  Suddenly Downtown is filled with people again.  I've heard that a lot of them aren't wearing masks and it appears that visitors are returning.  I'm in no hurry to find out.  But I might need to make another trip to the nursery.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Same old, same old.

I've been obsessed with making bread and after getting successful yeast breads, I decided to get serious about sourdough.  My starter is getting more lively by the week.

All of the sourdough recipes are focused on crusty artisan breads but I want a good useable sandwich loaf.  I tried to make two loaves today out of a King Arthur recipe that I thought was big enough to fill two pans.  Back to the drawing board.

We've learned that we live in a region of microclimates and that our yard seems to be the last one to mature and bloom.  It's the best ornamental garden I've ever had so I try to be patient, even as I see yards all around us flowering at this point.  I've come to the conclusion that it's because we live on a flag lot and are quite a distance from asphalt and sidewalks that tend to hold heat.  I am spending about an hour a day, cleaning up, clearing out and pulling unwanted grass.  I finished pulling all the dead canes from the raspberries today - hope for delicious yummies soon.

I thought I was done with medical masks when I sent that shipment of 25 off to my daughter in Reno who is trying to get masks for her staff.  And then she said she needs more. I came into mask making reluctantly, and when I finally caved and decided to put my sewing skills to work, told myself it was only temporary.

And then the High Desert Museum sent an email asking if any volunteers would be willing to make masks for their staff.  They dropped the fabric off on our front porch last Monday.  So here are the finished masks on the left and another ten cut out in green. 

Ian has been following a situation in Reno.  Our friend Tamara is the head of the nurses union at St Mary's hospital and struggling to get PPE (personal protective equipment) for the staff. Tamara was our neighbor out in Red Rock whom I consider to be a closer personal friend.  I called her to see if she could use masks.  OMG.  "If I sent you a hundred dollars, what will that get me?"  I said, Tamara, it doesn't work that way.  We'll all volunteers.  Our materials are donated.  Okay, she said - let's start with 20.  So that green fabric is the first half of that.  And here I am with cataract surgery Monday, wondering how soon I'll be able to see again to get a move on those masks.

And then there's that ray of sunshine who swells my heart.  She's very much into books this month.