Month: March 2016

Travel Broadens the Mind

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I’m recently back from a trip to Phoenix, AZ! I went for a work conference, but arrived a few days before the conference started for some time to See Things. I deeply believe that if you are going to fly across the country, you should see more than the inside of a convention center if at all possible! My husband came along so that he could make some photographs.

Despite coming down with a cold the day before I was to fly, I made a valiant effort to do everything I had planned. I succeeded, mostly. I cut out the happy hours and parties after the sessions so I could rest, but enjoyed all of the exploring, experiencing, and EATING (oh what wonderful Southwestern and farm-to-table foods we ate!) we had hoped for. I had a chance to visit Sedona and the Apache Trail as well as Phoenix proper, which was pretty great for a sick gal, as well as attended every single session time slot the conference offered. Go me! Go vitamin C! Go tea! (That was a poem I do believe 😉 )

I’m still internally processing my trip. When I came back, I had to hit the ground running, and my next few weeks are filled with committee meetings, workshops, art making, and thinking. I will be a little quiet as I digest this incredible gift of travel. More soon!

image: Red Rocks, Sedona. Yes, it’s that red. Yes, the sky is that blue. Yes.

 

 

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Loony

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I’ve purchased a pair of cotton pantaloons. Shorten it to loon for clearly I am one for wanting such an antiquated, eccentric item in my wardrobe, especially during rationing! Whilst I was at it, I went ahead with reckless abandon and also purchased an all-cotton slip heaping with lace and romance and impracticality and Miss Havisham-ness. I have clearly lost the sense I was born with.

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But wait! Are these items really as foolhardy as they appear? I’m going to argue that they are not. First of all, I’ve been a wearer of slips my entire life, and they have only gotten harder and harder to find over the years. Once you can find them, they are invariably made from nylon, which I want to get as far away from as possible. It’s sticky and hot and bad-artificial and pretty much the last thing you want to be wearing in the climate change summer we are about to have, and will most likely continue to be having (sigh).

So when I saw these glorious underthings at April Cornell, I couldn’t help but pine for them. When my last vintage slip came apart at the side in a very unfortunate way, I finally said, “to hell with already using half of my coupons and it’s only March! I’m going Laura Ingalls Wilder on this and getting my pantaloons!”

I feel good about getting away from sweaty ole nylon, supporting April Cornell and the artisans that make her designs, and finally, finally, finally getting a pair of pantaloons. My inner Little House reading child-self is happy, and my Victorian loving old novel reading adult-self is happy. I can’t wait to traipse about cool and comfortable, my clothing smooth and not see-through, and most importantly — I will be dripping with beauteous lace. No small thing! I think I would have been loony to buy another nasty nylon slip if you ask me!

Slips are 4 coupons, so I’m thinking pantaloons will be 4 coupons too. So — a slip and a pair of pantaloons are 8 coupons.

COUPONS REMAINING:

23 out of 66 (!)

Not Surprised — Scared!

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A quick link to an article, so one can pull out a study when naysayers dismiss one’s rationing project by saying “individual actions do not make a difference.”

The Surprising Way the Stuff We Buy Fuels Climate Change

Not a surprise to us, yes? I won’t say “I told ya so.” 😉

An important reminder, as we recently popped over that scary two degree Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial world scary milestone scientists have been talking about for decades. Have I mentioned this is scary? S-C-A-R-Y.

This really does change everything. I’ve been trying to read This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein since I got it and a few pages sends me into a panic attack. I need to keep going, pause, and keep going some more. Deep breaths.

Making It

Another reason I’m glad I … enriched the title of my blog is that now I feel I can include the mixed media pieces I make here too.

In many ways, making art is the opposite of conservation. You use precious resources just to have something sit on a shelf or a wall, one might say. Paint, photography materials, glues, and papers can be toxic to manufacture, use, and dispose of. You have to make sketches, try, and fail, and do over — surely that’s wasteful? I struggle with these ideas all of the time.

But.

Sometimes.

There is an idea in your head that starts forming. You see things in your travels and everyday life that speak to you, and you collect them, over years in many cases. I’m not only talking about experiences, but materials, too. Then, something (you see, read, go through, all of the above) serves as a catalyst to get it out of your head and into the world. Talking about it or writing about it just doesn’t work completely. You have to make it.

 

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I have (I think) two more on this theme inside of me — working on the second right now!

The box was a plain wood box I picked up in the Middle of Nowhere,  PA a few years ago and painted with the dregs of some acrylic paint I’ve had for ages. The butterflies are German die-cut ephemera, something I purchased simply because they were heartbreakingly beautiful. The pins are from the stash I’ve been sewing with for decades. The women are little railroad models. I grabbed the foam core from my husband’s stash. The lace paper is from an art supply I visited on my magical day trip to NYC with the Fine Arts program. The netting/veiling is from our Christmas ham (!) The text was produced on the typewriter my husband bought me as a gift. The feelings are from a lifetime of being a woman.

Sure, I had to wash the remains of the paint on my brushes down the sink. I didn’t cut the foam core correctly the first time and had to do it again. Maybe you’d make the argument that those pins would be much more useful pinning together the makings of clothing than sitting in a box on the wall. But, I’m at peace with this kind of making for making’s sake. I feel so much better, stronger, more able to suffer those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune* after externalizing/exorcising my complicated, not black and white feelings through image-making. That’s because, through making, you can transform them. Use them instead of having them use you. And darling, I ain’t rationing THAT.

*Shakespeare, Hamlet, but I bet you knew that 🙂