summer is coming & life is good

The white winged doves have arrived in full force, calling "who cooks for you?" all day-- a sure harbinger that the heat is on.....

More signs of summer, as the desert swings into full gear, with everyone & everything trying to get their blooming, pollinating, mating, & nesting done before the real heat descends...

Our first saguaro blooms are opening, which will soon turn to red, juicy fruits. A white winged dove usually starts sitting on top of the saguaro arms, monitoring the ripening like a nervous chef. The birds will peck holes into the fruits to stuff themselves, sometimes the smaller birds even upending themselves inside the holes to get every morsel!

The pizza pan cactus' blooms glow ethereally in the late afternoon sun. They are a species of "paddle" cactus whose pads are the size of pizza pans & sometimes larger.

Our pomegranate is loaded with its thick, waxy blooms, which quickly begin to form the fruits. Their hulls make a wonderful bronzey green dye & it looks like I will have a bumper crop this fall.

My new website, www.desertsongstudio.com is up & running!!! My web hosts, Other Peoples Pixels have a wonderfully easy & beautiful set up that makes it fun for someone like me who wants to DYI on a budget. The nicest webhosting package I was able to find, & I am very pleased with the results.
I will be packing my bags to head for the American Tapestry Alliance's silver anniversary bash on Friday, & I am very excited to be going. I will be submerged in a sea of tapestry & fiber, & I won't want to come up for air!
For now though, I am looking forward to a very lovely dinner tonight with my very significant other, Dennis, as we celebrate 14 years of life together.


everything is not as it seems

It seems this is the theme to my life as it exists this week...

My latest tapestry, desert island - espíritu santo, woven for a local exhibit about the Sea of Cortez, may at first glance appear that I had taken great artistic license with mother nature's color schemes, but in comparing the tapestry to the actual photo taken by Patrick Fulton, seeing is believing...

Many thanks, Patrick, for giving me permission to use your photo!!!

What appears to be a pile of dead weeds in a scrap of garbage is in reality a treasure--

Dried sacred datura pods with some seeds still inside that I found on my walk this morning. I was also fortunate enough to find a scrap of old plastic to wrap them in to carry them home, so I didn't lose any precious seeds or get repeatedly punctured by their thorns. One of Georgia O'Keeffe's favorite subjects, the flowers are very beautiful. My hope is that Dennis will be able to coax them to grow so I can weave a tapestry.We often bring home "found seeds" & dead flower heads from desert walks to plant them on our 5 acres of natural desert... it is illegal in AZ to dig up wildflowers & cactus, but not to collect seeds... we never collect the whole plant, only a few pods or heads so that it may regenerate itself where we found it.

What appears to be a pile of rocks & gravel dwarfing our already small camper trailer is another treasure.... 14,000 lbs of beautiful sandstone flagstone in peaches, rusts, tans, & purples and 2 tons of "rosa grande" crushed granite to replace the crumbling Mexican adobe pavers in our courtyard & back door porch. Our dog , Roux, is quick to exit areas of apparent construction (or deconstruction, as the case may be!). Dennis has been hard at work...

Here are the stacks of old pavers he has already removed... they will be recycled into a low wall here along the small wash that runs through our property. Gambel's quail have already been making themselves at home, parading across them in the morning sun. It also has been sounding like we have 80 species of birds inhabiting our desert space, but it's really just mockingbirds & curve-billed thrashers competing to see who has the biggest repertoire of mimicked songs & noises.
I will be able to see the wall from here.... what appears to be our garage, is in reality a long held dream of mine that will soon realized several months from now: my new weaving studio!!! The new studio space will have 2 large windows & a sliding glass door where the old garage door is now & a ramada to shade it from the intensity of the summer desert sun-- desertsong studio will soon exist as a physical entity & not a scattered collection of looms & fiber in our house! Dennis will also have a dedicated area within the studio space for his pen & ink and watercolor pencil drawing (thank goodness his choice of media doesn't require the space that a weaver's does!!!). A new detached garage will be constructed in another part of the driveway at the same time.


cereus expectations measures up!

cereus expectations
(~16.5" x 16") wool

Fresh off the loom, with the fibers still relaxing, cereus expectations was accepted for the Night Blooming Cereus exhibit to be held May 3rd - June 12th at Tohono Chul Park's museum, our local botanical garden!!!

I am thrilled for a number of reasons... I love this little park (its name means "desert corner" in the language of the Tohono O'odham Indians who are indigenous to this area of Arizona); Dennis & I have been members since we first moved here 10 years ago; their small gallery & exhibit hall have hosted some exquisite exhibits, & inclusion is by invitation-- they seldom have open calls for entry. When I first began pursuing tapestry weaving seriously after retiring from nursing 2 years ago, it was one of my aspirations to be invited to exhibit at Tohono Chul.

This tapestry's subject is a digital photo I took of a bloom from a cereus cactus we purchased at Tohono Chul's greenhouse a couple years ago. Tohono Chul has an annual celebration surrounding this humble cactus that opens its spectacular blooms at night. The celebration must be timed each year to coincide with the bloom period. Although the original photo was beautiful, I decided to use my graphic design software to "posterize" it-- I wanted to capture the electricity surrounding the festival & it is also how I imagine the moths might "see" the blooms' luminosty as they visit to drink its nectar during the night hours. Another interesting feature of this tapestry-- some of the fibers used in it were dyed with blooms from a sunflower plant we purchased at the park about 5 or so years ago.

Now, I am digging in to the next tapestry, also to be presented to Tohono Chul for consideration for inclusion in another exhibit, Sea of Cortez: A Desert Sea, that will coincide with the Night Blooming Cereus exhibit. So far this year, I have had 3 tapestries accepted for exhibit, & I am hoping the trend will continue...!