Monday, December 20, 2010

Stocking Stuffer Story

It was the Christmas Eve after my mother died.  I was making the traditional Hungarian Goulash and pushing through the last details of Christmas. (Christmas seems to have a lot of details!) Though the last years of interaction with my mother had involved a lot of frustration (on her part, due to memory problems) the finality of her being gone was hitting home. The kids were in high school, so we were several stages beyond wonder and awe.  Still, as I went upstairs to retrieve the Christmas stockings from the cedar chest, I had a palpable feeling of yearning: what did I want in my Christmas stocking? What did I need this year?
I opened the cedar chest and gathered the stockings: my childhood stocking, a gift from my aunt and uncle; Jacob and Mary's stockings from their babyhood; David's and Carly-the-dog's, too.  But along with the stockings came a little girl's blue-checked dress which I did not remember ever seeing before.  The label on the dress says Love. Now it is not as though there was a care instruction tag stating "a Special Message from Ma" but that is exactly what this felt like.  My response was immediate and I was filled with the very sense of awe and wonder (and love) that I had been missing. And it has stayed with me.

So how am I to interpret this event? I am informed by how I see the world as an artist. I have noticed that sometimes when folks are trying to paint, say a tree for example, they are quite frustrated because they have a preconceived idea of what a tree should look like. This makes it much harder than it needs to be. What works best for me is to let the tree tell me everything I need to know. All the information is there before my eyes, I just need to see it. This is how I am absorbing the Love label.  My preconceived idea is that someone departed from this world no longer has contact with us. What I see, however, is my mother filling my stocking with Love.

Merry Christmas, Everyone! May your stockings be filled...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stolen, Kisses

Ah, well.  Mother Nature has other ideas. The Christmas Gift Exhibit scheduled for Saturday, December 18th has been cancelled. So please tuck away in your head that there will be another gift exhibit next year(weather permitting!)  The Courthouse Square Arts Guild will be working hard to organize an exhibit filled with great gift ideas, made where you live!
Would you like to be on my mailing list to receive invitations to openings and exhibits, as well as this year's holiday card?  If you would, please e-mail your snail mail address to me at: and I'll get a card in the mail to you--a little consolation prize. Feel free to check out my website at:   Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ancient Kisses

Saturday is the last chance to buy one-of-a-kind presents for Christmas at The Corner Studio in beautiful downtown Carlisle, KY. I'll be there again with a selection of cards (great for stocking stuffers and little presents for friends and family).  But there is also going to be a special treat, truly one-of-a-kind: Brad Powell and Larry Mitchell went hunting for mistletoe and Brad has promised some special fossil art with mistletoe! Sounds like the perfect present for an old (ancient?) flame. I don't have a photo of one of these new creations, so I'll have to offer up some of Brad's fossil art without the mistletoe and an image of my mistletoe card. You can use your imagination until Saturday.
And I want to put in a plug for Larry Mitchell's fine walking sticks. I always use mine when walking at Blue Licks.It is perfect; just the right weight and length.  Buy one for the walker in your life.

The Christmas Gift Exhibit will be open one last time, Saturday, December 18th.  This event is sponsored by the Courthouse Square Arts Guild.  The Corner Studio is located diagonally across from the courthouse, on Main Street in downtown Carlisle, KY.  Hours are from noon to 4 pm. Come join the fun and buy something unique and local for your special someone.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Workshop of One's Own

   Bob Edwards recently interviewed a songwriter-guitar builder from the artist's workshop, causing me to go into workshop reverie.  Is there any place more wonderful in the man made realm than a workshop, a place that holds the tools for creation?
   I have always thrilled to the idea of such a place.  My earliest idea of the workshop must have come with images of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Santa and the elves working away busily; I was more intrigued by the making of toys than the actual toys themselves. Mrs. Claus in her kitchen (a sort of workshop, too!) baking and packing endless batches of gingerbread cookies--such pleasant industry! So this setting has always been a sort of ideal for me.  Later, I began to make a lot of my clothes, so my workshop was a corner of my bedroom.  The prized piece of equipment was a sewing machine bought with babysitting money.
   In my twenties, a friend of mine and I conjured up the idea of an atelier which would produce ethnic garb (this was the late seventies).  Atelier is French for workshop, and I believe we were perhaps more enthralled with the idea of a workshop/atelier than any actual business model for producing goods and selling them.  We enjoyed books like Cut My Coat and Folkwear patterns.  I created a pattern for wrap-around pants.  After that dreamy experience, I started a custom dressmaking business called Katzwerk. Though, I did not have an excess of business, the business I had required a lot of industriousness and sewing for a living lost its lustre.  I did learn quite a bit about women and their bodies (like the skinnier you are, the more sensitive you are about your body).  Well, I'm getting way off the topic of workshops. To this day, I like having a place to sew, with all my tools to create things I would not have otherwise (like painting smocks and quilts with my studio logo).  And just for the record, I want you to know that I made my husband's wedding suit(!)
   Still, I learned  that sewing was a most labor intensive way of creating. Making costumes for KET made the idea of a sweatshop very real! Painting, as a way to bring color and concept into creation has been more in tune with my temperament.  A love of landscape and a desire to hold beauty in my heart is a major inspiration.  Having a place to work is key.  An artist needs to be able to leave a painting and come back to it, without major dis assembly. Once I had my first studio, my productivity became constant.  It does not have to be fancy, but it needs to have all your tools so that you can create. My favored idea of a studio is more like a workshop, where the practical means of producing are eased. Dreaming and thinking about what to paint can happen anywhere (like in the woods). But then, you need to sit down (stand up) and get to work with your tools all about you.  What a joyful feeling this is!  Getting in there and making!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Angels You Can See on High

    An exhibit of angel art will be ushered in with the Annual Advent Evensong, at St. Peter's, 311 High Street in Paris, KY.  Speaking at the Evensong will be Jane Gentry Vance, recent Poet Laureate of Kentucky and her topic will be: "The Arts as a Window to God". This will also be a chance to meet our new Priest-in-Charge, The Rev. Christina Brannock-Wanter. 
   On Tuesdays, December 7th and December 14th, you can view the Angel art during St. Peter's Advent Musical and Luncheon.  On the 7th, St. Peter's organist-extraordinaire, Owen Sammons will be offering 25 minutes of improv (12:05 - 12:30 pm).  Lisa Clark, Soprano will be featured on the 14th at the same hour. Lunch is served afterward in the Parish Hall,  scene of the Angel Art exhibit.  Please join us!