Sunday, January 30, 2011

acknowledging success

It seems that along with the benefits of challenging myself to grow and explore, I sometimes suffer the undesired result of missing out on my own success. I'm re-posting a piece from last year just to remind myself what has been accomplished. I'm taking a moment to breathe it in and give thanks. I hope you'll take stock and enjoy a little reveling in the bantam victories today.

"O Pioneers" (after the Walt Whitman poem) was written last year while we were living in our much loved, micro-farm, row-house in the city. I was exploring my relationship with my surroundings, my connection with farming, animals and my desire to experience a hands on connection with our food and wild spaces. I realized the experiences I treasured from my childhood couldn't be recreated at nature camps or parks. If I wanted that for our family I had to honor my own values; I had to stick with it even if it seemed far-fetched... or nearly impossible.

Well, here we are on a farmette at the foot hills of the mountains. There are challenges every day and monetary quick fixes are not in the cards, but instead of making a list of all the things I want and need I'm here to shove them to the side and say, "I did it!" Time is tricky - it can twist our perception and impatience drains our gratitude, but I was there and now I'm here and thankful's what I am.

Pioneers! O Pioneers!

When I was little I loved wandering away from the house and making a little home in the woods out of branches, blankets, and whatever I could haul along in a backpack or pillow case - these are some of my favorite memories. I learned a little about the trees and plants from my parents and would gather anything I knew I could eat - bunches of dandelion, sassafras, and mulberries. I loved the feeling of having my life in my own hands - it was a thrill to imagine I had to survive on the meager offerings of the forest.

Watching my daughter make a fort with her friend the other day, I started to think about how so many of the things that bring me happiness now are not that different. I want freedom like I felt when I wandered until I found a spot that was just right and made the most of what I could find. I welcome the challenge of figuring out how much nutrition I can get from the little plot behind my house, I like the the challenge of making a small home special and brilliant and I can actually say I enjoyed all the moves to new cities, standing in an empty flat and figuring out how it could feel like home in less than eight hours. I know this connection with freedom, survival, and challenge has sculpted my life. I've given up things others have told me were important to hold on to it, and as I understand more fully what's needed from all of us, I doubt myself less everyday.

I remember reading an article with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm He was talking about the challenges of changing farming in America and how he often hears people bragging about their son or daughter who's a lawyer, or investment banker, but has never heard someone say with pride, "My son is a farmer!"

There are people who enjoy a different path to success and what this different perspective brings, we need. Hold onto that desire to be independent you felt a child, just know that real freedom might end up looking different than they told you it would.

Friday, January 28, 2011

a snow day scrap craft

Look who sneaked away from being the Snow Day Hostess. While the kids enjoy some bagel pizzas and hot chocolate I'll share the craft we'll be doing later. This is another craft that makes use of fabric scraps and beads. It's not complicated and gives you a chance to play around with color and texture. Sometimes an activity like this will spark ideas for color relationships I may want to explore further in the studio.

To start you need a pin back. You can find these at the craft store by the bag full. I happened to pick-up some self adhesive ones on sale; you don't need them to be, but it is helpful for little hands to wrap the fabric when there's some cushion and stick.

Take strips of scrap fabric or ribbon and start wrapping the pin.

After wrapping the fabric, attach the wire to one end (right above the clasp) and finish with a simple loop so that you don't leave a scratchy end.

Now, wrap once, add one bead - repeat. When you get to the end attach the wire by wrapping it tightly above the clasp, clip off extra wire and end with another simple loop.

It ends up looking something like this.

There are many ways to fool around with the basic it a snow day Medal of Bravery.

Monday, January 24, 2011

no fear - tea with Kālī

At the beginning of the month I posted about an idea for the new paper-mâché series. I finished the first one today...

"Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction."

Quote by Pablo Picasso

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Choir of the Forest - a poem passing day

The Choir of the Forest

Long before Christ,
there was Krishna
& His cowgirls.

Whose time
are we in?
What’s the problem?

The solitary leaves
have their own

blinded by
the Soul’s

the Earth
in love
with Itself

the Peace

-Vincent Ferrini

path to the creek - early spring
acrylic and oil on canvas
- Rosemary Markowski

Saturday, January 15, 2011

this salad has no side effects

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”. Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BC)

This salad was my medicine today.

I don't think I can get enough raw spinach and red onions. My body has had it with roasted root vegetables, lentils and stews...they were so comforting as the days grew shorter, but the seasons can't keep up with my desire for greens from the garden three times a day. The first crop of arugula isn't that far off is it?

I'm planning meals as I read the seed catalogs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

retro plants

I love house plants. There's a special kind of comfort I get from house plant heavy 60's and 70's interiors with begonias, bromeliads, spider plants and arrow heads...

photo of the Eames House from 1949, with a large Monstera delciosa in the foreground

 From an old macrame book, “Macrame Accessories: Patterns and Ideas for Knotting” by Dona Z. Meilach (1972)

And things like this ^ hanging around. My parents didn't even decorate like this, so I'm not sure where this nostalgia is coming from, but I went through a phase where my bedroom looked like a kitchen from 1973.

About a year ago Big A brought home a little plant in a tiny terracotta plant, about as big as a thumb, that he bought from a street vendor. We don't know what it is, but it's beautiful and today I spotted the beginnings of a little bloom. Can anyone help me identify this plant?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

a new relationship with destruction and high tea

The paper people population continues to grow, but there's a new series that's been knocking at the door. It took some time to find a way for for them to integrate - it ended up being as easy as sharing a cup of tea.

My greatest satisfaction comes from taking complicated and rambling ideas chewing them up and spitting them out. It's why I love poetry, fairy tales and jelly bellies. I also love symphonies, reading the encyclopedia and Blinis Demidof a l'Oobleck, but that's not what I want to create. I delight in making a little paper and wheat person who tells you a secret to rival Lady Chatterley's without a word. Here's what I've been chewing on:

Stories that remind us everything we need to know we already know, we're just remembering...

"Many hundreds of years before those great European pioneers, Galileo and Copernicus, had to pay heavy prices in ridicule and excommunication for their daring theories, a section of the Vedas known as the Brahmanas contained this astounding statement:

“The sun never sets or rises. When people think the sun is setting, he only changes about after reaching the end of the day and makes night below and day to what is on the other side. Then, when people think he rises in the morning, he only shifts himself about after reaching the end of the day night, and makes day below and night to what is on the other side. In truth, he does not see at all.”

- Nancy Wilson Ross (1901 -1986)

Unexpected heroes.

nice picture of high tea from here.

High tea...because ceremony and manners can be the glue to hold us together while the big issues are under construction.

and a new relationship with destruction.

New work next week....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

the angels by proxy

Today I read that time was slipping

and spent not a blink surprised.

The bouncing, slack and wrapping ribbon pulls a story

from there to here.

It's written by the hands of the angels by proxy

sent from ahead and behind.

Trapped behind glass -

writing secret codes -

tirelessly leading us home.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

new year's day

As the new year approached I continued to untangle the tendrils of distraction and complication. Some I set gently aside and some I whacked through with a machete. At the same time I sheltered the new growth and marveled at its invisible compass - its unwavering tie to the light.

So here it is - new year's day. I'm just wandering around taking stock of things. No time for the studio yet (I'm getting antsy) just cleaning and winding down from the visits and the cooking and the play dates. I'm trying to find things I like about January. The grey stripes of grape vines across the hills looks kind of pretty this time of year...I guess. I like that the ground thawed a little over the past couple days; now I can smell the earth a little. I like losing my hands in the pony's winter coat and eating pop corn and cocoa with the littles.

Around here today:

A scent geranium is blooming in the kitchen

A tree is waiting to be undressed

Dogs are muddy

cat is content

The hens are keeping warm

The studio is still there


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