tim walker

i got this for valentine's day and keep getting lost in it. did everyone already know about tim walker but me?

A beautiful post about this book at Colette Patterns blog.



i got some sublime stitching supplies, including this great set of meaty treats transfers. i've been noticing but not thinking too much about all the meat art and craft around these days. although it may be not so new - paul mccarthy has been writhing in meat for decades. and i even saw some patterns for some felt meat softies in an old work basket magazine from the 1940s. i think i'll make some of these old patterns - they remind me of the cool meat plush at schmancy.

and now there's meatpaper, the journal of meat culture. so anyway i really do think there's something going on with meat. oh and here's an incredible installation of a stuffed boucherie by artist natalie lete:

and then the other day, i met with an old professor who has expressed interest in my embroidery. it was wonderful to hear her responses and thoughts and feedback. she was supportive and insightful, as she usually is, but she also made me think that perhaps there is a way for me to finish up with school, a way to renew my interest and experiment with visual forms for my dissertation - or else just let myself off the hook without too much additional drama.

she was telling me that freud in writing on mourning and "grief work," he uses the language of stitching. she is german and she says this comes through especially in the original german. something along the lines of how stitching and working with the hands allows the working over of memory and the processing of grief.

and she said how pouring over handwork like my embroidery must be filled with love and reparation. i was very honest, and told her how i had completely lost my academic voice, and i had no idea what i wanted to say. i don't think she was just trying to make me feel good when she said that my embroideries (certain ones in particular) were very tender and powerful, and said plenty. and when i told her i hadn't started on or shared some of the "darker" pieces i have planned or in process because they were so morbid, she explained how grieving and death practices have varied so much in history - and how in the victorian age, much time was spent with the dead, and working with their hair, and so forth. i had nearly forgotten the little i knew about all that - and i'm thoroughly fascinated and need to undertake some research on this. it also reminded me how nice it is to converse with people who are so well-versed in history and how maybe i should go back to reading the NY times.

my usual advisor is great but she has a very hands-off sort of style, whereas this person may be able to provide me with the hand-holding i seem to need at this stage. her own work has to do with memory and trauma. it's strange, but i've always noticed how her hands look like my mother's hands. so she will likely be on my committee, and she's sending me references to the specific freud, which i'd love to look over again with this crafty angle in mind. i have a sense that this conversation could be very important to the direction things take.

on an even happier note, i've been tagged! i love this idea and am mulling it over..

just a quick post, am out of town for a bit and busy, but with new projects in the works. be back soon!


oh, to want

have i told you yet about that vision i have of my house? the house i am going to grow old in, a grumpy and fierce old gal? i happened to see this house online last night - not needing a house, mind you, just looking for no reason - and this came up at a *really* good price about six miles from where we live now. but it's huge. a grand dame. and so i went for a little drive this afternoon. and it is in fact jaw-dropping and light-flooded, but also seriously in need of fixing in that grey gardens kind of way that would overwhelm me and my budget.. but oh! how i want!

lots more on my flickr.


where did she go?

this morning (well, ok, early afternoon), when i went to feed the little hen nesting in the woods, all i found was her pretty nest. so many eggs! i hope she was nearby, hiding.


edith morgan

Such wonderful photos by Edith Morgan, a photographer, artist and teacher in rural Alabama in the early 20th century. The entire collection can be viewed at Old South Photos.


he still needs a name

so here's my latest "experiment" in the quest for the perfect dog design. just call me dr. moreau! i wanted my softie to stand up a little straighter, and this one does. but i think maybe he's a little long, and a bit tall. i'm just not sure about his proportions. but i like his curved tail!

i tried kapok as stuffing for the first time - and although it's beautiful as fiber, i'm just not sure what all the fuss is about. it's messy - almost as messy as angora bunny fiber, which i have in spades - and i'm not sure it's really less lumpy or nicer filling than polyfill. but i am still holding out hope and am going to play with it more and see. i also used a cotton sheet this time, which i would have thought was too thin and easily frayed, but it actually worked ok and i kind of like it. i poured coffee on it (a benefit of having some of the window panes out! i just held it out the window and poured!) and am wondering why people seem to always use tea for dyeing and not coffee..


this banner that i got from Dana of LeiLiLaLoo - all the way from amsterdam! - has made me absurdly happy. it looks adorable in the doorway leading from the living/tv room to the dining/crafty room.

which is good because i have really been struggling again with panic and anxiety. i *know* it has to do with (legal crap with ex), and i know not to let it fuck with me. i cringe at writing about it, but i am also kind of tired of keeping my stories held inside. i mean, it's my life, and i don't want fear to dictate how i live it. i need to get moving, crafting, cooking, or reading. brushing bunnies is always good. or yoga. something. lately i've been savoring molly wizenberg's sweet book and dreaming of recipes. last night, i finally saw bright star, and how i loved it! how incredibly beautiful it was. but the panic still creeps into the quiet moments.

i picked up this older koigu pattern for 50 cents while i was out thrifting. it is so gorgeously complicated, it might be just the thing to distract me for a good long time. i don't know how old it is, but look at this woman's awesome style. koigu yarn is expensive, but i so enjoy it and thinking of maia and taiu, mother and daughter (and there is a granddaughter now! what is her name?) and their estonian heritage and beautiful farm. i have some older pics of them, i'll have to show you. maybe i can find a dye lot of koigu on ebay.


studio stills

even though there is still some uncertainty (ongoing icky legal problem with evil ex, grad school dilemmas) - i have become quite clear on certain things. and i love clarity because it comes to me so rarely! when i'm stitching or working on a crafty project, i never, ever want to stop. even if i'm cold, headachey, tired, i don't want to stop. even to do fun stuff. so that has to mean something about being on the right track.

also, i'm very clear these days on what i do *not* want to do. i do not want to raise any critters. i love having critters and in another life, i would love to be a farmer. i know from limited experience that breeding and birthing animals is amaZing. but it's just not my thing. too stressful, too heartbreaking. good thing i realized this before getting into breeding bunnies. i'm very glad i took my time before getting into that.

and, as much as i admire some of the amazing taxidermy sculpture that's out there, and i have toyed with the idea of learning it for years, it is not for me either. i have done a couple of experiments with roadkill, yes i have, and while it was engrossing (no pun intended), i just do not have the stomach for it. skinning a dead animal is not so bad, really - but i detest going out and burying what's left over. burying anything just sucks, especially in this hard ground. maybe not surprising, but it surprises me. i thought the macabre fascination would get me over the grossness. but clearly not. i'm leaving open the option for experimenting with found bones and thrifted taxidermy.

so, my experiments in creating the life of my dreams are moving along in terms of defining what i do love, not just as an idea but as a lifestyle, and what i don't. i'm getting soft in my middle age, wanting more in the way of creature comforts, but i'm ok with that, and getting more grounded all the time.


i'm happy with the way my newest softie dog is turning out! it's so different, working on the face before the body is stuffed, and having this little personality looking at you while you're sewing on him. i kept finding myself stressing out that he needed to be put together and quickly rather than all open and unstuffed. strangely reminds me of watching the vet stitch up tallulah recently. he even told me he did a ladder stitch on her! i was thinking yep, i know what that is.

i was thinking of this softie as a boy, but now it seems he wants to be a she. not sure why i feel compelled to gender my softies, but it seems important. every time i make one, i learn so much and find so many things i want to do different on the next pattern. this one has taken me days though, and s/he's not done yet, i don't think. i may want to add a nose at least, and maybe even a mouth, although i never seem to like the mouths i come up with. and maybe some claws. and maybe some other fabric on the ears. oh, and attach the eyelashes better. i do love the eyes - these are taxidermy eyes. it'll be nice when i settle on a pattern that i like rather than re-designing each one, although it is really interesting to see what difference a small change can make.

i have almost completely unpacked my new studio space, and took some pics of it tonight, but they are still in the iphone - will share tomorrow.

and omg, mathyld did the sweetest, most generous post! i am so touched and kind of shocked, you know - i guess most of us never think our crafts are "good enough" - but she has really given me a shot in the arm! it's also a good excuse to pull out my old, massive french dictionary, so i can read all the comments!! merci, mathyld!!


of course i've already put this on twitter and facebook, but i just want to remember that this made me happy. also nice that i found out via email from the coolness that is cal patch. i am so grateful how kind crafters have been to me!

and, well, i've been wondering if/when needlepoint is going to make a comeback. maybe it already has, now that i think of it - there were those needlepoint cuckoo clocks at anthro around the holidays. i haven't been tempted by it until now, even though i did plenty of needlepoint sitting around hospitals when i was like 12, including this whole elaborate needlepoint unicorn on a maroon background. i still hate hospitals, and maroon, which may have colored my view of needlepoint but i remember loving those kits with all the colors and i would always have to have one when we went to the craft store. but these days, having that canvas with all those holes just seems insane.

still, i found all these faux bois needlepoint patterns in a thrifted book (i love old needlecraft books! don't you?) and i am intrigued at all the granny-trailer-chic possibilities...

there are patterns that are all graphic and modern!

and look at this one:


From Needlepoint Design by Louis J. Gartner, Jr., 1970.


i never knew that faulkner had dogs

i have pretty much decided to let the whole grad school thing go. feels funny writing that. well, unless i get that grant that would feed me next year. i would like to finish, in a perfect world, but take this afternoon for example: i tried to work on it for about thirty minutes and it was so upsetting that i barely escaped xanax and bed. i'm stitching now and mostly calmed down. just how long am i going to whine about this? i am generally content, when i'm not wasting my short days complaining about this, so why not focus on other, more interesting things? Like, for example, the amazing work of Summer Zickfoose? found through Joetta Maue (btw i just bought one of her pieces and i am pretty freaking psyched).

i mean, to quote my friend quoting larry david, it's not the manhattan project. or to reference faulkner referencing shakespeare and macbeth:

"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."


i love this song.

Dry your eyes mate
I know it's hard to take but her mind has been made up
There's plenty more fish in the sea
Dry your eyes mate
I know you want to make her see how much this pain hurts
But you've got to walk away now
It's over

it goes with my pit bull hankie series (although i am so slow, i may only list one a day).