Friday, July 16, 2010

All's Well That Ends Well

So much has been going on around here. Well, not right now as I am being held captive by my worried cat Stella. She knows I am going away. It started when I unearthed a pile of clothes looking for something to wear to my niece’s wedding at the beach this weekend. Stella has come to associate clothing piled on the bed as preparation for my departure. So she climbed up on my lap a half hour ago and has me just where she wants me. So finishing the guest book I am making for the bride and groom will have to wait until my companion gets her fill and moves on to whatever pulls at her next. In theory I am very happy to make a book for the wedding. In practice I find it hard to do. There weren’t many requests about how the book should look so why do I feel so restricted? It reminds me why I do not do custom orders. I really get twisted up inside. If I just make what I want to make and people like it and maybe even buy it, well, isn’t that every artist’s dream? YES. So I am lying in bed last night feeling unsure about what I had created so far and realized I just need to play more, paint more paper with Anna and Blake in my heart and see if this thing can evolve and stop feeling so stilted. What I have makes a perfectly nice book. For someone. But for my wonderful niece and her beloved, nice is not enough. They deserve special. If Stella ever gets off my lap I will go and see what wants to happen.
But she isn’t moving so I will tell you that last week I finished my proposals for Art and Soul in Hampton, Virginia and An Artful Journey in Los Gatos, California in 2011.

The Artful Journey is a sure thing as only 5 instructors are invited and do not have to be juried in. I will be teaching a three day workshop at the Presentation Center, which is a lovely place. Cindy Woods O’Leary produces this retreat and she does a magnificent job. It is simply wonderful. And I think my workshop will be too. Look at what we will be up to at

I have to wait to see about the Art and Soul event. That is a juried process and you throw your hat in the ring with many, many instructors and Glenny Densem- Moir and her fellow jurists put together a fabulous mix. I love working for Art & Soul. I’ve been doing it for so long it feels like a family reunion when I get there. It’s exciting to be in a place where there are hundreds of folks doing art projects and building community. What a privilege it is to be a part of Art & Soul and I do appreciate the opportunity to share what I love. However, the writing up of the proposals is agony for me, as is most of the businessy stuff one has to do in life. It’s a huge relief when the photos and proposals are sent off. On the bright side of the business aspect is my dear friend Elliott Night to. She helps with all things written, official and computer related. Yay, Elliott!

Okay, it’s later and I am moving along on what was once that wretched guest book for Anna’s wedding. I wouldn’t say I was “cookin’ with gas” as Elliott likes to say when she hits the groove, but it’s freeing up now and I can feel a stream pulling me onward. It helped when I abandoned those dinky stamps Anna left me to use and pulled out my hand carved stamp of a heart surrounded by flames.
I can get into that.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Old House

June 20, 2010
I thought I would never do this again, but here I am remodeling an old house. This is a cottage I bought 17 years ago and it was pretty much a wreck back then. The work put into it in the early 90’s has been used up by time and the lives of some lovely people who tenanted the house over the years. So it’s time to fix it up and move into it myself later this summer. It’s a modest little house built in 1950 on a piece of land that is at the edge of the town of Jacksonville, Oregon. I have almost an acre of land and, praise be, neighbors on only one side so far and open land wherever else I look. Of course, as these things go there is always more work that needs to be done than time and money to do it. I am looking at a multi stage project and have decided to tackle those jobs that are most important to me in this first phase. Energy efficient windows are the top priority along with replacing all the doors with solid wood ones. And air conditioning, which led to needing a new furnace. (That put a dent in the budget.) And I need a nice bedroom with a wood floor and a glass door out to the deck we are going to build in the back. That will be where the handmade paper will happen. The indoor studio will be in the larger of the two bedrooms. The walls and ceilings need to be resurfaced throughout the house. The bathroom and kitchen are boring, but functional, and so they will just get a new coat of paint for now and I will dream about their upgrades in the cold of next winter.
July 2, 2010
Yikes, the project has grown! Surprise, surprise. Jay, my friend and building remodeler, has come up with lots of ideas to make this house work for me. So that sheet rock that needed resurfacing, well, now there are new holes, new walls, and I guess those guys will be around here working a bit longer than I had anticipated. But all that is still in the future as we are waiting for the doors and windows to be delivered. There is still lots to do to in the meantime. Just finding the right color paint for the exterior was a challenge. First I had to get over the fact that the building code in Jacksonville dictates color. There are a lot of choices but it was the principle of there being a rule that got to me. Oh, you didn’t know I have a thing about authority? After buying a couple of colors and sampling and rejecting them, I just went and knocked on the door of a house I like a couple of blocks away. They were happy to share the information on the paint they used. Should have done that in the first place; I had been admiring that house for the past year. Speaking of which, I have to get into town this morning to get some of that paint. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.