Pavlov’s Dogs, Private Life


I’ve had nothing to say. On Wednesday, we reached the watershed beginning of the active phase of our combined current situation. It will continue for at least the next two months. In most ways, I’m very glad that we’ve agreed to keep what’s going on private, sharing only with those we love, trust and can rely upon. In another way, I’m experiencing a small, unexpected internal struggle, attempting to disengage from and / or construct the necessary walls here on the blog and in the few types of other social media – largely Facebook – that I regularly participate in.


Shows go out; shows return.

This is a bit of a surprise to me. It’s not as if I haven’t needed to temper my words, or obliquely / cryptically refer to events before; far from it.  In most of those instances, though, I was dealing with adversarial situations, even overt persecution. To be able to focus on my artwork (and its attendant realms like the garden and teaching) was a lifeline and an affirmation. I’m sure writing about those parts of my life will feel that way again, maybe even soon, but at the moment, they seem lackluster; even the upcoming shows are like old repetitive tasks to be completed, not all that much different than doing the laundry. I’ve done it all hundreds of times; what’s to write about?


Plants grow and are cut down; these have already returned.

Likewise, social media, once another type of lifeline (an end-run around deafness), holds little interest just now, possibly because it feels quite false to so severely compartmentalize. Yet, I vaguely miss the bit of daily interaction even as I shun it.


Pre-social-media, pre-deafness, this was never a problem; I simply ‘disappeared’ as often as I needed to, for as long as I needed to, whether it was to get some artwork done without distraction, or to deal with personal situations akin to the one we’re currently undergoing, or just to have some quiet space. In the less-deafened, pre-caller ID, pre-answering-machine days, I can remember a room-mate watching, amused, every time I fiercely stared down the ringing telephone, refusing to answer, “to be one of Pavlov’s dogs!” I don’t know why that simultaneous need for privacy and to question our conditioned responses disappeared for me in terms of technology and particularly the internet, but I do know that, like the woman in this moving tribute, deafness was the impetus. Now that artists are routinely conditioned to live out loud, attempting to withdraw is, well: something I had to write about, if only to share inconclusive thoughts on not sharing so much.



To 2013



Dogbane with pulp painting / silkscreen demo on denim (yes, photo is me, ‘ 90s)

You didn’t think I’d head into the new year without an odd search engine terms roundup, did you?  Actually, this year, though there were more searches and more terms than ever, they were largely spot-on: people came looking for me; for artist and writer friends and for places, shows, classes and events I’ve mentioned; for tools, machinery, fibers and techniques; and there were an unprecedented number of searches for specific artworks (a pleasingly wide range of titles, too).  There were less odd searches than ever before, so I’ve only chosen a mere 21. My biggest blogging surprise of 2012 came when WP added ‘views by country’ to our stats on February 25; people from 72 different countries have checked in since: wondrous!

  • Balbo Vacuum
  • drive through liquor lottery yes
  • whi does my audiologist tell me its worlds best hearing
  • should I cut my kozo fiber is using beets
  • why does my FEOT vibrate
  • related: bark press oldoftware
  • my foot beater
  • Law regalia, excelsior eureka voith valley
  • ‘bound with onions’
  • Lupe Lupe Lupe Dog
  • picture rolled diplomats
  • art benzedrine inhaler hooray
  • nemesis wrestling women
  • time travel in eye
  • i need quotes jay
  • insect artist
  • call me back virgin
  • translucent car mould
  • braces ‘one short leg’ girl
  • always new think logo

.…aaaand, my 2012 favourite:

  • Art Using Buckets

I’m off to use my buckets to empty the bronze beater of a fine wee batch of 9 hour abaca. Thank you each so much for visiting.  I wish us all a happy, healthy, rewarding and utterly creative 2013! Hmmm…let’s call it the Year Of Major Breakthroughs, yes?


Blahg, Albatross.

Isn’t it always how it works? I’ve at least partially gotten my words back, and now have No Time.  In two days, however, I’ll be arriving here:

I have two almost, almost, almost completely written, lengthy catch-up blogs in the offing (there’s a LOT to catch up on, and it keeps building), which I swear I will publish during those first few quiet Ragdale evenings before I go into studio overdrive and probably even more blog clog (but I will publish photos).  See you soon, very soon.

A partial view of my installation at the fabulous Werkspace for this show.


A small attempt

Finally!  Paul jettisoned his uncomfortable old couch…

I’m trying to come back; really I am. But I am still experiencing strange blogging ennui and absolutely needed that two-week break. A lot went on here at home: a major thing that took up a whole lot of time was a fairly massive clearing out of studios and home storage spaces between both Paul and myself. That culminated in a monster yard sale a week ago; it was only a beginning (but a good one), to make room for much more solidified future plans.

…and I got rid of these.  All found new homes at a lovely local cafe, so we can go sit on them if we want, and have great coffee.

…and I spent (quite a bit of) time firming up the details of the final four shows of the year.  Now I have a few days to retrofit the freed spaces temporarily, plus move and/or ship a lot of artwork around for said shows, before leaving on a two month span of: residency, conference, residency. Nonetheless, I hope to be back to blogging shortly with WAY overdue book reviews and backed-up Tales From The Outside World.

(Oddly, readership hasn’t tapered off much during my absence.  Thank you …)

Below: ready for harvest during the six days I am home in the next 2 months.

We are experiencing.

I’m still not one for words, going through a period of keyboard silence.  It’s not writer’s block; I’m communicating fine privately. Nor is it busy-ness, though I am, as usual, busy. It’s more like I’ve lost my public voice for a bit, while deeply internal seismic shifts, some having to do with integrating past and present, finally settle into new places.  Maybe, down the road, these will be translated into words. I’m working on it, but it’s not quite working, yet – and the quiet work is utilizing the energy usually expended on the ‘I’m doing this, in this show, etcetera” posts.

Be back as soon as I can be…

Catchup barely mustered

Apologies: I simply have not been capable of blogging, or writing in general.  I will strive to rectify that. But today, even getting this wee tiny bit out is a struggle.

Yesterday, I ushered in September by installing at Art on Armitage.  If you are in Chicago, you can see it 24 / 7 until September 30th.  I opted not to have an artist’s reception and because of my current writing aversion, did not do much in the way of advance publicity, either.  Due to the U. S. holiday, it won’t show up on the gallery’s web site until Tuesday (when the statement will appear in the window as well).

Happy not-laboring weekend, yanks with jobs.


Suddenly it was mid-June

Here’s my wee happy kozo tree, thriving in its new home.  It’s in the ground, surrounded by the sunken rim of a 20″ clay pot that broke over the winter, homage to the Morgan‘s trees, each surrounded by a ring of bricks.

I realized today it’s been a month since I’ve blogged. I’ve mostly rather enjoyed it; it’s been a bit like having a vacation.  I’ve gotten a lot done in the never-ending realms of gardens, house, research for various art and non-art projects and a lot of planning for upcoming artwork, shows and classes.  I still have not applied for anything, anywhere. This is partially due to the fact that for two weeks now, I’ve been dealing with a frustrating physical problem. It took awhile for me to realize it wasn’t going to go away on its own, and then a while longer to realize I’d best get it diagnosed.  That will happen early next week; then we’ll see what sort of treatment is involved.  Meanwhile, it’s caused me to withdraw from a group show; I couldn’t complete the work I’d planned. This is not something I’ve particularly wanted to write about, but working around it is making my world much slower at the moment, including the blahg, so there it is: the reason for my absence. This is still happening; next up.

DelAware, Penlandamonium

Propellers! out of Asheville and back, and the Blue Ridge from above…

I’ve been trying since Sunday to complete some writing about the profound, revelatory experience I had at the Art of the Book in the Twenty-First Century symposium at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art last weekend. The symposium was erudite, provocative and as wide-ranging and comprehensive as The Book: A Contemporary View exhibition it accompanied. The selection of speakers who also were artists represented in the show leaned towards the sculptural side of the equation, something that rarely (if ever!) happens, but the big picture balanced out in other ways.  I enjoyed it all, thoroughly. (But didn’t take many photos).

How I heard.

The reason my experience was personally profound was due to the fact that the DCCA applied for and received a grant to accommodate all levels of hearing loss.  I had CART (Computer Assisted Real Time Captioning) throughout the weekend, and it not only provided for fuller participation than I have ever, ever had before in my own field, it brought me to some startling realizations…which I will need to wait to share, until there is some downtime to quietly consider and edit. All I can do at this point is to wholeheartedly thank and commend the DCCA for being so forward-thinking, so inclusive.

I have perhaps never seen a more appropriate use of the slash symbol…

I worked until the moment I left Penland, and even though the superb Shawn Sheehy has been doing the teaching since I returned, I am exhausted.  Sunday evening (when I also returned) brought an influx of one-week classes. The Penland event calendar, already vigorous, escalated over the top…there are events every single night this week, Friday will bring several at once, including our Edible Books, and that will be followed by another huge party on Saturday (which I predict I will totally need to skip).  Class prep continues to be intense (this week I need to repair equipment for next week), the weather is back to cold and rain and fog and even heavy snow that didn’t stick, which causes mealtimes to be a veritable maelstrom of echoing noise with everyone packed indoors at once. It doesn’t help that I haven’t had a weekend rest since I arrived (I had a guest the entire first weekend, and the symposium and a sweet long visit from old dear friends and hours and hours of plane-changing travel the second, and a steady stream of out-in-the-world things to deal with via the inbox as well…most very good).

It snowed Monday morning and was c-c-cold.  Papermakers are tough. Teams worked out here all day, and on the porch as well. We only have Shawn for 3 days.

In spite of how this all reads, I am still absolutely loving it here! I suspect I just needed to tell you why Penland will be like Ragdale and like my DCCA revelations: it’s all something I will need to write about after the fact, whenever there is time.


I’m writing during my very last quiet moment: show installation begins in full-tilt physical earnest today, when I load the car for the first trip to Rockford very early in the morning; it’s 90 minutes away.  Then it’s completing a skin-of-the-teeth proposal deadline (if I make it; if), packing and at long, long last, after nine mad days: a month at Ragdale.  Whew.

I did take time off to do something highly unusual for me this past weekend: I went to  Riva Lehrer’s outstanding lecture at the Chicago Humanities Festival, ‘Beauty and Variation’.  Riva was joined by Norman Lieska, an associate professor of anatomy at UIC.  Usually I avidly avoid lectures, but the folks at the festival cheerfully reserved me a seat right in front, so I could read lips.  This worked and didn’t work for me: Riva was easy to understand, but Mr. Lieska was not. Fortunately, he had visuals I could interpret somewhat, having studied anatomy from an artist’s perspective.  I was very much engaged, and came away with bags of food for thought. I jotted down notes on the way home: expect a later blahg, during the slower, contemplative winter.  I couldn’t (of course) hear the audience questions, except for two from people who were seated quite near me, a woman whose question will begin my later blog, and…the singing professor!  His riff ended with a resounding, ‘Body does not want to explain!’ Perfect.

A big shout-out to Aimee Lee, who just posted her excellent video slideshow of the Hanji Studio construction at the Morgan!  So good to see this in retrospect, and to see so many Morgan friends, too. It’s also got me thinking about another possible fruit-of-labor project for the winter…thanks, Aimee.