Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Closing The Circle After All This Time

I know, why did I keep you in suspense for all this time? I don’t know, I just kept putting off blogging the final post on City Streets. It has been done since June but life just got in the way.

So here it is. The story of life on the streets of New York is complete. Everyone has gone their way and a new day and new set of people have taken their place. I placed the tapestry high up on the outside wall of my upstairs bedroom so I could see it from a distance, as tapestries should be seen. It certainly was a learning experience. Not only did I learn about how to control weaving techniques (the hard way, of course) but I also worked out composition, color, and scale as well. I liked doing a large piece; it was great having a project that lasted two years. The idea of taking a concept and making it reality is one that I am new to. I never thought I could do it. I thought I could copy well but taking a concept and making it a reality I thought was beyond my capabilities. I guess you don’t know what you can do till you try.

Will I do it again? I most certainly will. In fact, I started a new one already. This will be on a low warp loom and it will be called Rear Window. Stay tuned as I start the process again, a bit wiser and a bit more in control of my technique. That is, I hope I will do better this time. You’ll have to be the judge.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Conquering the Dreaded Miter Box

My pile of unfinished tapestries has been growing, awaiting their frames for some time. I bought a miter box and saw a while back with the intention of making my own frames but its been sitting on the work table in my garage ever since. I found I was just not able to start to do it. I just knew I would make a hash of it or it would be too hard for me to do so I ignored it, hoping it would go away.

But I finished this piece, "The Matterhorn" for Mom and it needed to be framed before I could send it to her.

In addition, I wanted to do justice to "You Must Sing Their Names, Hollyhocks," a fun little tapestry I did when I returned from the ATA workshop with Lynne Curran last July. Every time I showed my work to friends I thought, “I really need to get that miter box out and tackle the frame. I want this to be finished right.” But the days passed and the box remained where it was.

Well finally I decided to either conquer the frame or go down in flaming defeat. What could it hurt to give it a try? So I got out the as yet virgin tools, measured the wood and clamped it into the box for cutting. Well it was easy and it worked! Who knew? Once I did the first one I went crazy and did two more. What fun. What else could I frame I wondered as I patted myself on the back for a job well done. So I found "Saturdays at the Met"and framed it for good measure

At times we convince ourselves that we can’t do something and so we just don’t try. I am not good at exactitude, I am a close is good enough type of person so doing something that needed math to work out stumped me. The same thing used to happen to my sewing. My corners were never quite right, my seams didn’t lie perfectly as they should. So I thought making a proper 45-degree corner four or eight times would just be beyond me. It wasn’t.

It makes me wonder what other things I am stopping myself from doing just out of a lack of confidence or fear of... I'm not sure what. I am willing to jump out of planes, dive to 100’ with hammerhead sharks or take a chance and move to a different country couldn’t seem to get myself to pick up a saw and make a corner. How strange and powerful our minds are to be able to trick us in this way.

So, the next time I think “I can’t do that,” I will think of the miter box and just give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen? I won’t be able to do it myself. But the best is that perhaps I will succeed. That is the scariest thing of all sometimes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

So much shopping, So little time.

“Oh, it is so difficult to get a taxi this time of day,” sighed Brittany, “and my feet hurt from all this shopping.” It had been a grueling work but she had found the perfect Baccarat vase at Tiffany’s for Emily and Theo’s wedding next week. The vase and the beautiful sapphire necklace she just couldn’t resist were now nestled in the oh so recognizable blue bag she was carrying. Charles will shout she thought, he always did, but she just had to have the necklace. After all it went so well with the fabulous little dress she picked out for the Saturday afternoon wedding in Central Park.

“How romantic,” she thought to be married in the gazebo overlooking the lake in the middle of Central Park, just the perfect place for a mid-summer wedding. “Oh, there goes another cab,” she huffed, “I just think it is awful how hard it is to get them to stop. “

Brittany was from Greenwich but she and Charles had found a perfect pied-a-terre on the Upper West Side when he became a partner at his investment firm. After all, they had to have a place to entertain didn’t they? They just couldn’t ask their friend to go all the way to Greenwich every time they wanted to get together. No it is best to have a New York address for those intimate evening dinners with friends. When they were in town she spent her day’s lunching with her friends or going to the spa for beauty treatments or shopping. Of course that was after an absolutely torturous hour with her private trainer Hans. He was a perfect sadist the way he made her sweat. But she had to admit her derriere never looked tighter, Charles had told her so just last night.

She put up her hand as another wave of yellow automobiles came her way. “If I don’t get a taxi soon I will be late getting home and Charles will have to make his own drinks.” He hated that. He liked her to be there when he got home from work. He said if Victoria could be there when David Beckham came home she could too. Brittany had met Victoria at a party just last spring when they were passing through on their way to LA, although why anyone would want to live out there is anyone’s guess. So gauche she thought. No, give me the Hamptons over Lake Tahoe any day. Any place west of Aspen was just not worth go to she thought.

She looked around at all the people out and about. The early summer is the perfect time to be in New York she thought. Even if you have to share the sidewalks with all these tourists, it is still the best place on earth to be.

“At last,” she said as a taxi pulled over to the curb. And in she stepped in to be whisked home. “Now I will have time for a nice bubble-bath and a glass of wine.” She sighed with relief as she gave her fashionable address to the cabbie and sat back with pleasure.

Friday, October 8, 2010

After ONLY 5 weeks …

Well, it took a lot of ripping out and needle weaving back in but the damage has been repaired. I made a few changes to Henry--took him to the hairdresser to give him a new color but I think he looks bright and cheery again.

I do have to admit that the whole experience took a bit of the wind out of my sails. Perhaps it is because I am working on another diamond and I am just bored but I don’t seem to have quite the same enthusiasm as I did this summer. I think that will change when I get to another element of the piece, I am fast coming out of the park and up onto the front stoops of the buildings. Maybe then I will be excited about it again.

In the meantime, I am starting on a new piece, a whimsical one called “You MUST sing their names… Hollyhocks.” Let me tell you a bit about how it came about.

I’ve always liked hollyhocks. Not only because they are so tall and colorful but also because the name always sounded so musical. I can never pass one by without singing their name… hOLLYhocks. It is said with a rise in the middle like riding over a hilly road on a bike.

While we were in Taos New Mexico this summer I noticed these wonderful flowers all over town. I would sing hollyhocks and Betsy Snope would respond with cellar door, a phrase she found just as musical (yea, I know, who’d ‘a guessed?). I decided I just had to create a piece with the musical flower to remind me of our trip.

As most of you know, I was in New Mexico to go to the ATA biennial and take a workshop with Lynne Curran. When I saw her fun and amusing pieces I determined that I wanted to incorporate that whimsy into my piece. Here is the cartoon, what do you think? Does it look whimsical to you?

Friday, August 27, 2010


I came home from my very enjoyable trip to Europe to find my cats had gotten under the cover I had on my tapestry and used it for a scratching post. Just look at what those little B******ds did.

Yes, they continue to exist. Luckily for them my mom was still visiting so they got off with being banished for the day. Every time Tucker came out to see if I had gotten over my inexplicable rage I sent him packing again. I know they haven’t the faintest idea of why I was angry but I just couldn’t stand to see them without going into orbit again. It was best that they stay away.

I guess I will have to cut out the damage and needle weave it in again. It will certainly take some time to repair. I guess it will give me another chance to work on faces and make Henry’s head a bit bigger. It is also good practice on repair and conservation. I hadn’t wanted to learn these tools right now but there you are.

Anyone who might have an idea of another way to repair the damage can leave me a note. I would be eternally grateful at any thoughts on this disaster.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shawn, the Statue of Liberty, and the New York Yankees

Shawn is a huge baseball fan. So huge that he had talked his dad into taking a trip across the US to go to the very last game to be played in Yankee Stadium before it was torn down. It didn’t take too much arm twisting to get his dad, Robert to agree. They arrived and on a hot June day we were running around the city seeing the sights.

I love taking people to the city it makes me see it again through their eyes. Robert had visited the year before but this was Shawn’s first time. It was all too exciting for him and he was determined to see everything.

The trip to the shrine of baseball was to be the following day. Today we were just going to be tourists, eat New York food, and see the sights. We took the train into the city arriving at Penn station. Shawn was already agog at the amount of people in the station itself. Being a California kid he could not believe the amount of people actually walking around. They just didn’t do that in CA. they drove; sidewalks were nothing more than quaint, decorative devices that finished out the front yard there. Now here were hundreds of people walking around, bustling around, all with things to do and people to see.

Of course, we hit all the stops - the Empire State building, Times Square, St Patrick’s Cathedral and now we were at Central Park. We had decided that with their tight schedule we weren’t going to have time to do the Statue of Liberty. Shawn was disappointed but he was okay with it. Now as we walked up to the park we saw the street performer. “Oh, Shawn,” I said, “here is your chance. Go pose with that guy and I will take your picture. It will be perfect, a real New York moment.”

At first he was a bit shy but with Robert and I encouraging him he stepped up. We made a contribution to the performers fund and he posed with Shawn. I thought the peace sign and the sun-glasses were just perfect. How could you miss with a picture like that? I snapped it and got another just in case and we thanked him. Only in New York could you walk down the street and experience moments like this. It was not the highlight of his week (After all, Yankee Stadium…) but it was a fun thing to do. And it makes me smile every time I look at the picture. I could not think of doing a city street scene without this image being a part of it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Millie comes to the Big Apple

This was their first trip to the Big Apple, heck it is their first trip outside of Missouri in the last 10 years. Not since they went to Kansas City for their honeymoon had they taken a trip for the sheer fun of it Millie thought. But the kids are with my mom and dad and we are footloose and fancy-free.

We arrived yesterday so this is our first day walking around. I have never seen so many tall buildings in my life I just can’t stop gawking at everything and everyone. People walk so fast here, always in a hurry! Where are they going? And so many of them, too.

Of course Henry is taking pictures of everything he comes across. That camera is going to become a part of his face if he doesn’t stop snapping pictures. Here I am posing again right at the entrance of Central Park. Imagine such a big park right in the middle of all this concrete. It really is amazing.

Millie shook her head one more time at the way Henry dressed. I tried to get him to change his shirt but you know him… “What?” He had asked when he saw me looking at him in the hotel room. As for me, New York fashion scares the heck out of me. No way I am going to look like a rube here. The problem is I'm not quite sure what a non-rube wears here. I decided on a simple white blouse and dark pants. Can’t go too far wrong with that. I hope...

She looked around again after Henry took about the thousandth picture of her. I can see him eyeing that Statue of Liberty guy... not a chance honey. Oh, what a cute hot dog stand, so New York. I wonder if it is safe to eat something you bought right off the street. But other people are doing it and after all, it is New York. Why not? “Come on, Henry. Take a picture of me buying a hot dog at that stand. No one will believe it.”

To be continued.