…still January

I just haven’t got much to write about. I’m still lining up things that will be interesting for me, and so (hopefully) to you, whoever you are. I’m seeing a steadily increasing number of searches for ‘Melissa Jay Craig 2011 workshops’ and I heartily thank you, whoever you are: there are some classes in my current juggling act, which I’ll post as they’re settled.  The one thing I know is that they’ll start in March.

These are finished now.

The past week consisted of much more of that juggling act with a lot of effort and little refinement, not only for things relating to artwork and teaching (and still, technology) but convoluted medical record weirdness (resolved, finally) and collaborative plans involving other folks like me, whose schedules are written on Mexican jumping beans. Saturday, a suddenly pushed-back deadline allowed me to leap over to an application I’d resigned myself to missing, and I hit the ‘submit’ button at 11:59 for a midnight deadline, laughing. It all works out as it needs to, but doesn’t make for much to blog about while it’s happening.

I’m also cooking, becoming (nearly) a vegetarian.  I’m doing it to ward off a threat of medication. Both the cooking and the reasons for it require research, an interesting ongoing process, but again: not to write about. While I’m sure aging is going to demand a good amount of introspection I might eventually care to share, at this point it and I are simply eyeing each other, new fellows on a long residency together.  I’m aiming to learn to make the whole experience savory, even when I need to tear down and rebuld.

Right now, I’m happy that most folks in the US are off work and busy today.  That let me take yesterday off to just mess about in the studio with no objective, to write this blahg, and to let Lupe take me for a long walk….back to juggling work today and then maybe a bit more studio. I wish you all a nice, quiet, productive day, whoever you are.

Just for papermakers: here’s my sweet cutter, making short work of breaking down a friend’s $1 garage sale linen tablecloth, several layers at a time.  Obviously, I couldn’t shoot it in action till someone else came by to use it and agreed to be a safe-use hand model.  This will make delicious paper:


January Remix


It’s been an odd uneven week, largely personally pleasant (dinners, drinks and visits with friends, fun with Paul and Lupe, sunny cold walks, forays out to now-seldom-visited parts of the city) but also full of pesky reversals and adjustments, none of which seem blogworthy and most of which were time-consuming: exchanging the refurbished iPhone for a new one, dealing with numerous other persnickety results of the recent technology upgrade (about two-thirds of which are resolved), finding out I am not quite as healthy as was originally proclaimed (nothing dire, but adjustments required both physical and in attitude) and so on.  The shootings in Arizona threw me into an all-time low as well.  This far-too-appropriate stencil graffiti was found awhile ago in an alley just off Washington Street in the loop; my personal title for it is Republiguns.

Other than that, I am just finishing up several not-quite copies of the Printworks piece (first two badly shot above), and once again doing quite a bit of intricate spring and summer juggling with a number of lovely unsolicited opportunities that popped in, while trying to figure out how and if things I’d like to apply for (with fast-looming deadlines) might fit into the as-yet unknown mix without my becoming ridiculously overbooked again.  It’s a rather fortunate dilemma to have!  This is the one thing that’s certain…but there are a lot o’ possibilities swooshing around up there in the January air right now. So far, 2011 continues an unpredictable, enjoyable path.

PS: Here’s a bit more Ragdale Revisited by Michael McColly…

Blue Lacuna

Yesterday, the (literal) bulk of the massive research project was finished, delivered and discussed.  There’s more that needs to happen, but it can now become part-time and I can resume my life. Saturday, I took a day off, but just couldn’t consign it to the basement studio. The weather was just too great, balmy, the skies a perfect, luscious blue, beckoning. I did a cursory spring clean-up of the gardens instead. Today, back to the studio and back to (S)Edition, another sort of clearing out of old business.

I have had no luck with the two new residencies I applied for. I’m fine with that; I want and need to learn a great deal more about making my home and home studios work for me, about ingraining my artwork into my daily life on an ongoing basis after years and years of concentrating the lion’s share of my work into intensive residency bursts. The bronze beater definitely adds to all the changes. I’m re-learning where and how everything fits together, and this will likely go on for a long while yet. I’m fine with that as well, but I am highly uncertain about where the blahg might fit in anymore.  Do you want to know that all the tritoma seeds have sprouted? I’m quite happy about that, but would I want to read about it on someone else’s blog? I’m honestly not sure. And that’s all I’ve got for you today.

Limbering (after Limbo)

This is the first image I ever saw of the soon-to-be-mine Bronze Beater. That long green wire was the (scary) way it was grounded electrically. Yikes.

Earlier this week, I finally, finally, finally broke through a gargantuan writer’s block, which was (not surprisingly) centered around another academic cover letter and somehow extended to everything I needed to write.  This block was even more of a monster than the one I had for a similar endeavor exactly two years ago. In celebration, I decided to take Thursday off, and played around in the morning, and spent the afternoon and evening in the studio, just pulling sheets, making something for an old friend, thinking about my next piece, enjoying guilt-free free time.

Friday, the e-mail: “the beater will be finished today or tomorrow” and these lovely small photos, taken as its roll and bedplate were being ground in.  Hooray!

Today, off to Vespine to say my final farewell and pick up my piece.

Tonight and tomorrow: pack up the piece to immediately be shipped elsewhere, where it will soon be included in a fabulous online auction.  I’ll post a link when it’s ready, but plan ahead! You will be able to Buy This Book, and help fund a marvelous place —>

Also today and tomorrow: finish printing, burning cds and packing up applications and other things: massive mailing on Monday.  The rest of the week: big big studio revisions, receiving and storing all the work from The Leaf and The Page, and then: figuring out the logistics of the Beater Retrieval Road Trip!

Sea In Sight

I bought a better desk chair. Interview finished (fun but painstaking) and sent, another web page revised, another cover letter ready for (extensive) editing, more (aiee) new opportunities have been added to the February first deadline. By then I will have been writing and editing and re-writing and re-editing for an entire month of wan grey days.

Silence is an ocean.

Speech is a river.

When the ocean is searching for you, don’t walk

into the language-river. Listen to the ocean,

and bring your talky business to an end.

Traditional words are just babbling

in that presence, and babbling

is a substitute for sight. – Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Later today, close to the ocean in Brooklyn, my beater will be turned on and running at long last!

I fancy I will be able to feel its vibrations, calling me towards the sea.


so I am a bit of a dramahblahg queen today.

But I am so very weary of sitting and writing, was under a pall of a friend’s sad story – and of no sunlight for days and days – and sorely in need of good news.

When I opened the e-mail titled Your Beater,

I shouted


at the top of my lungs,

startled Paul,

scared Lupe.

Two more things to be built on its cover,


the bronze beauty

comes home.

Heal and Tow, ’round we go.

Chan ann leis a’chiad bhuille thuiteas a’chraobh.*

For days and daze now, I’ve been having this continual feeling of trying to run in deep mud; it’s probably just my winter cycle, but a tad oppressive, nonetheless. Progress is being made, but sooo very slowly, with setbacks abounding, a strange dogged forward, back, forward dance.

I ended up using an older piece instead of the (unfinished) new one for a group show entry, and am running later than I wanted to be for a few other things. Fortunately (sort of), the article that’s being written got broken into several smaller, more comprehensive ones, and I have a couple of extra days to finish the interview. My car got swiped again but I now have a brand-new tail light, and got the dimmed headlight fixed and a new battery in the bargain. My cell phone fell out of my pocket, and I had to re-trace the multiple steps of a busy, busy day, but I found it, some decent soul turned it in rather than using all its minutes.

On the other hand, in an obsessive push (and with inappropriate timing, likely) I got the entire new website mapped out, and re-wrote the front-page blurb and resume to put things into perspective, which felt very good.  But, when publishing the revisions, I somehow lost an entire web page (the site for the Respite show) which will now need to be re-built. I also dug deeply into iWeb, and learned exactly how to do what I want. But now I am a bit daunted by the task I’ve set myself. Days and daze of scanning need to take place. I will absolutely love it, when it’s finished, but I sure wish I could hire someone else to do it (to do a lot of things, actually).

I’m taking a break today, to get a badly needed haircut, and to get some equally required sanity in the studio. Then: back to the interview, the next deadlines, the site, and siting sitting sitting in front of this wee box.

* It is not with the first stroke that the tree falls.

Oh, and the Vespine folks got a well-deserved farewell…I hope to make it down for the last day of Retrospect.

Prepare to Inhale

It’s never over, but the first applications (and another slew of recommendation letters) are done and gone. The final push was hilarious in many ways, or at least is now that I am finished. 1. I finally completed a draconian academic job application which, if it had been printed out, would have been the size of a major suburb’s yellow pages. I uploaded the entire glut of documents, hit ‘send’ – and then (and only then) got an instant auto-reply: ‘The position is cancelled because of a hiring freeze. Have a nice career!’  2.  Between mid- afternoon, when I checked for image specs, and mid-evening, when I was ready to upload, a residency program changed its entire application process, image requirements, fee and the deadline I’d just managed to make. Hilarious.

Next up is finishing off my interview, which will be pleasurable. After that, one more academic application (a late listing that I am actually quite intrigued by), and – hooray! – the studio, to finish a piece for a show, and to make something for a birthday…and then it’s back to the February deadlines.  But now I have the CVs and powerpoints and statements and philosphies and blablablahs all updated, and this page made, so it will be easier. Right? I am thinking that the new website might look something like the portfolio page, though I am not sure about the type; it looks much, much nicer before it’s published. I don’t think the typeface changes, it just goes all fat.

Enough!  I’m off to a lavish ‘sushi night’ with my grrrlz, though this time we’re going for bulgogi and other Korean BBQ delights.  With alcohol. Definitely.  And then a stop on the way home to pick up one of my last-minute recommendation letters.

Bookbinding sewing samples by Betsy Palmer Eldridge. Sushi by Oysy.