A Stroke and broken bones....

I love the start of the new year...a clean slate, and all those possibilities.  In December, while working on the last commission piece of the year,  I outlined 2018.  So excited about a new exhibit, and several new techniques to use in the studio. Also a new vessel with lots of parts and pieces. I even did a little preliminary work on the armature for that vessel.

And then January happened! On the 8th,  I see Patrick walking across the kitchen, his body and face listing to one side, and his face going gray.  I realized he is having a stroke and call the squad.  Off we go to the hospital.   

By the time Katherine and I got there, they diagnosed a stroke.   They gave him a marvelous drug:  TPA.   Darling daughter and I sat there as the color came back to his face and all the “droop” went from his face and body.  He looked so much better by the time Christopher arrived.

This is the important part folks:  if you suspect a stroke, don't wait.   Get help right away. TPA works in about 30% of the population, but here's the important part,  TPA has to be given within a narrow time window of onset of symptoms.   

Patrick was really lucky. We were all really lucky.  It is not fun to sit with your children seeing your spouse like that.   But he walked out of the Neuro ICU unit a few days later, perfectly fine. He has to make some lifestyle adjustments, but he has a life to adjust.

And then January continued. The following Monday I fell and broke my arm. The kind of break where the bones come popping out through the skin.  This leads to being in the hospital for a few day getting IV antibiotics and this really horrible cast.  My cast is better now, but it was a battle persuading the doctor that it was too tight.  My fingers were turning purple and I couldn't move a couple of them!

So I'm not getting a lot done in the studio right now, which is hard because I'm so excited about these new ideas.   But I’m learning patience which is always a good thing, right? And it is okay to ask for help... thank you, Katharine, for tying my shoes. I also learned how to dictate on the Mac (My left hand can't do a darn thing) and that's why I can finally get this out there!

Here's to a marvelous rest of 2018….. a healthy 2018.

Wonderment Wednesday!

I like to post in "Wonderment Wednesday" about wonderful things I see around Asheville.  Believe me, there are so many!  But today, right in my studio, I'm overwhelmed with wonderment!  

Most of the time, I make pieces I like, inspired by the beauty of nature in my "neck of the woods". But I really love doing commission work.  It's fun to create pieces for a specific window or space, taking into account the likes and thoughts of the clients.  If are hikers, I'll make a trail, and embellish it with chopped wild cherry root.  Pastures may get a scattering of oat grass.  I find this enormously creative and fun!

I've chosen local North Carolina wool, beautiful hand painted bamboo, and silk fibers.  

I've just started on three large window panels. Two are 24 x 39, and the third is 27 x 36.  Huge for my wee studio! Two are The Asheville home they are going to is so beautiful...full of meaningful art that is special to this couple.

I met with the clients last weekend, and on Monday, began sketching out the first two pieces.  They are so big I had to move to the kitchen and sketch on the floor.   Now, I make many "French Broad Rivers" in pieces.  It such a mighty river!  But this is such a huge river, it took me all afternoon to get it right.  Allowed for sweeps and swirls in the River.  The banks will have bit of oyster shell and sand.  Blocks for the rhododendrons and pine trees and an oak grove.   And a trail...the couple love to hike!  

These will take a couple on months, but I'm so filled with Gratitude to have the opportunity to take their vision, my vision and create!

Again, with Gratitude!

Wonderment Wednesday, the Laurels, and my studio

The reason I do "Wonderment Wednesday" is to get myself out of the studio.  I waited and planned for years to move to Asheville.  The City is so full of historic buildings.  There are wonderful studios to visit, where all sorts of creative magic is happening.  Restaurants abound, full of food, so much of it freshly sourced from local farmers.    Bookstores (Malaprops!!) for a great cuppa and a read.   

So today, I grabbed a couple of past issues of "The Laurels of Asheville".  This monthly gem is full of local goings-on.  I actually made a list of places I want to travel to on Wednesdays.  "The Laurels" features articles on artists, musicians, authors, farmers, our growing brewery scene, and the outdoor wonders of this area.  If I didn't make a plan, believe me, I'd be happy busily creating in the studio!

Years ago, when I could only visit Asheville a couple of times a year, I'd grab a copy of "The Laurels" and dream about living here and all the wonderful things to do.  Now I live here, and rap my copy to see all that's going on!  And to plan "Wonderment Wednesday".   

On of my vessels did appear in "The Laurels" in an add for Mountain Made Gallery.  Someday, I hope there's an article on my creations!

On the auspicious occasion of this New Year!

I am filled with gratitude for all that has happened in my studio last year.   Seemed that the techniques I use expanded and deepened.  And I have so much more confidence creating all the different type of pieces.  Window panels with their "waves" are constructed differently than a vessel with the glided "fluted" edges.   

I've always love the week between Christmas and New Years....a week "out of time".  To rest and regroup.  But this year, the designs were coming fast and furious.  I couldn't wait to get back into the studio and have at it.  Working in the studio is work I love.  Actually, it is hard work sometimes, but it always feels like play.

I'm so thankful for the artistic place Asheville is.  The artists I am getting to know.   Those folks I laugh with and contemplate with.  And the people in town who keep me supplied with the items I need to create.    From the local fiber I buy to the guys at the hardware store who so patiently listen  when I'm trying to explain how I need a piece of "bendy" metal, for example, to make a vase.   

And thanks to all of you who are following along....I will try to improve my social media skills this year!


Just coming up for air....

Last night, I sat down and made a "to do" list for today's studio work.  Busy day, for sure.  I finished the embellishment stitching for a 7.5 x 18.5 rectangle piece.  A white background, with golden interlocking circle.  To get the placement of the circles perfectly placed for the vase, there was lots of measuring against the actual vase.  The groovy thing about these pieces is that a lit candle placed inside, glimmers through the piece.  And since it's a vase, you could use it for flowers, too.   

Then the fun began!  Now I have several different kinds of gold metallic threads...like three.  Experimented with all three before I found the perfect one to swirl over the circles.   Perfect.  

The day was so quiet, and I just stayed in the studio creating.  Just went to a whole other place.  And zounds!  it is dinner time and  that going to be a tad late tonight.   Lasagne and red sauce, which I'll gladly wait for!


Wonderment Wednesday!

Usually, I try to get out of the studio on Wednesday and visit another studio, a gallery, or some other kewl places around Asheville.   Hence the title "Wonderment Wednesday"!  The new issue of The Laurels is out, and it is always full of wonderful articles about restaurants, artists and things to experience here.

But today it is happening right here! Let me set it up for you:  Yesterday evening, I swept the leaves from the pavilion (read long covered space running along the side of the house).  It is always shady and cooler out there.  But leaves that look somewhat fall-ish?  And the light has changed, getting "thinner" is the way I describe it.  And last night I came dead on awake about 2:00 a.m.  clearly seeing a new piece, with fall leaves a-flame, a snatch of blue sky, green grass and a pond.  I had to get up and sketch it out...right then.  This is one of the benefits of having a studio at home, for sure!!

I spent the morning gathering various colors together and auditioning different placements for these pieces.  Adding some brown for tree trunks and limbs.  Find some great gray for rocks.   And do I have a mossy green?  It was so much fun, as I'd spent the last two day embellishing three pieces with layers and layers of paint!

So that's the wonderment!  Having a vision clearly come to mind, and beginning a piece that will reflect the beauty of fall!   

Things came crashing down....

I have taken on two huge projects for this summer and fall.  Very excited about both of these, and will share more later.  So I've decided that since I can't sew, I'll organize the studio.  I'm moving very slowly and being uber careful, as this fracture is a bit limiting. 

Now I have oooooodles of parts and pieces.....antique tickets, slick snippets, corks and keys.  My fav collection is in my "organic" box.   I store these treasures in various tins, and small, medium and larger boxes.  So I've spent a couple of very pleasant hours sorting and am now ready to put all the containers up on the top shelf.  Carefully I climb up on a chair and start putting things in order.

BAM!!!  In a mo, everything comes crashing down.  My antique square nails from the house renovation.  The box of organics splits open, strong out my bottle caps, elk feet,   The collection of sea shells, and the oatmeal container of knitting needles.  

Now I am thinking you might think this sounds like a hoarder writing, but no!  I consider this a sign of a well stocked studio, full of creative possibilities.  That said, it took me a very slow hour to get this all back together, and I figured Patrick can put stuff on the shelves.

Looking down to the floor on this hot mess, I decide to take a break.  A blueberry smoothie is sounding really good at this point.  Using my not so coordinated right arm, I get out the juice, the Greek yogurt, a banana and the carton of blueberries.  You know, the plastic, hinged type of carton?  Opened it and blueberries went flying all over the kitchen floor.  Literally, I just stood there for a mo, contemplating just how badly I wanted the smoothie at this point.  I decided to clean the floor and make that smoothie.  Fabulous!

Capped off the morning with a nap!


An odd source

Artists have supplies, for sure.   I was straightening up the studio this morning before I cast a new fiber vessel.  I noticed a strange mix of items.  Things I never thought would be in my studio.   PVC pipe, washers, metal rods from Lowe's.  Beeswax paint that smooth and luscious to apply with my fingers (I have no clue where this came from!).   Bowls from the Goodwill and rocks from my garden to use in casting vessels.  

I had to laugh at what strange accouterments are accompanying me on this journey!

Art takes me to another place!

Last night I made a list of studio tasks for today.  Clean up the forms I use to shape the fiber vessels and window sill accent pieces I make.  Done!   Complete the smaller blue and green vessel.  Done.  Then I turned to embellishing  the second smaller vessel.   That piece is comprised of all the colors I see from my porch .... the colors of the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains that are all around me.   I used fabulous metallic purple and green paints, and gilded the fluted edges with copper paint.  Just stunning, if I do say so myself!  I'll post a picture of it once the finish is applied.    

A productive day in the studio, for sure.   And I look up at the clock and realize that it's time to start dinner.  Time just goes away when I'm in the creative mode!  A sure sign that I'm on the right path!