Blethering down to the wire

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I’m feeling just a tiny bit overwhelmed as the ZIA show approaches. Ironically, what’s going beautifully is what’s happening in the studio. Even that has its limitations, mostly of space, which curtails how much I can get done in a day. I need to periodically stop and wait for things to dry under my ocean-smoothed / Jasper Beach weights, and there are a finite number of those, and no room to set the work aside to dry while working on something else. Night-time work ends at 10 pm; a tired partner with excellent hearing is attempting to sleep in the next room. Still, happily, I am really liking this series. Yesterday I finished the last of the pieces that were built at Ragdale in the fall, and today will move on to two complicated accompanying works.

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Physical therapy goes well, too, and I have come – in the sense of having a big Monty Python-esque foot drop from the sky onto my head – to understand just what it does. Twice daily, the exercises and stretches counteract the specific, constant pull that the arthritis exerts on my skeleton. If I skip a session, that fact is painfully pointed out. (Right now I’m in the middle of a two-week break from p/t appointments, but have an assigned routine for the interregnum, plus really helpful suggestions for keeping the pressure off my back in the studio, where all the current work needs to be done while I’m standing.)

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For the past week, Chance-pup has been experiencing some regression.  I can’t pinpoint any incident that might have triggered it, but he reverted to a nervous, reactive stage. We continued to work daily, but I haven’t been forcing him to take more than a few steps outside his secure space; we’ve been reviewing, watching the world from the porch, building back confidence. Today, a quiet weekday, we ventured back out for the first time: just a short stroll back and forth, past two to three houses either side of ours, into two neighbors’ driveways. He did well (and got lots of praise) for the most part, but challenged the single car that drove past. Sigh. Once the show is up, I’ll contact the vet for advice. There are also Many Things That Need To Be Done in the gardens, and those have to wait too. We won’t even talk about the state of the house, though I do police the kitchen nightly.

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In the studio, it’s been easy to forget all that as colors dance and my stone circles of weights assemble, break ranks and reconfigure in endless patterns. The garden will forgive me, I think.

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Out in the world, social media told me that I ‘attended’ AWP via the Spoon River Poetry Review. I didn’t realize my work was on the covers of two adjoining issues, but I liked seeing this stand full of them. And (S)Edition continues to spread its spores.

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Quiet fireworks

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This is how it was in the studio all this week, beginning with some storms that scrubbed the air clean and soft, and made the light in my upstairs studio equally so.  This week, I did – finally – experience the Productive Balance that I have wanted for the year, and it was blissful.

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It wasn’t a 100% balance, which is never to be expected, but it was mighty fine (the imbalance centered around the kitchen sink). But there was daily dog training. Chance is now mature enough to patiently (if a little dejectedly) lie outside the studio or office to watch, while paperwork caught up to the new plan in our lives between studio sessions, the switch nicely dictated by drying times. And there was time for shared meals, the occasional evening pack walk, daily maintenance of all kinds.

Yet, I was able to get lost in the studio, in the work, in the music of color, the dance of the dyes into the paper. I made a series of five of these pieces at Ragdale last fall, and they have been hanging where I could see and think about them daily.

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Now the piece is done and documented and the digital paperwork is totally caught up and celebrating with tonight’s fireworks awaits.  There’s a little Italian community nearby that does an impressive display I can see easily from my front porch. Tomorrow, a day for the garden while fiber cooks for two and half more weeks that I hope will go much like this.

Fittingly, just as I finished the piece, something else generated at Ragdale arrived by actual mail. I am loving the (colorful) cover of the Spoon River Poetry Review, and am looking forward to reading, particularly with the breadth of focus on the poetics of emplacement that is one of the publication’s hallmarks. Editor Kristin Hotelling Zona chose the image after an excellent conversation about just that in the Meadow studio last year.

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For now, it’s quite interesting for me to experience this work transformed in format. The scale of the image is very close to the actual size of the piece, which I just handled a lot while packing to ship. The cool smooth texture is not what my fingers expect…which I am enjoying.