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retreat ahead


Spring is in full bloom & I am in the midst of preparations to once again journey to Janie Hoffman’s place on the Blue River in the White Mountains of AZ. Janie & I have organized a tapestry weaving retreat… there will be 7 of us attending, hanging out together in the mountain spring weather, weaving, soaking in the sights & sounds of nature, & talking about all things under the sun that could possibly interest any fiber artist!

I finally completed canyon night. It was difficult to finish, it felt as if all motivation I had to weave suddenly dried up and blew away. The lack of fanfare with its completion is a direct reflection of the ambivalence & dissatisfaction I have been feeling about my design process. I did submit it & painted hills for IWC’s Fiber Celebrated, but I am not sure they will be accepted, especially with my poor batting average as of late. Yet another rejection notice today, received from the Tucson Museum of Art for their Biennial exhibit.

I am not upset in the least by these rejections, they are just confirming what I’ve been feeling… my artistic soul is experiencing a period of fallowness. With the exception of IWC & the upcoming Tohono Chul fiber art postcard exhibit, I have decided to stop trying to exhibit right now. Sometimes we need that thwack on the head to wake up & say, “Yeah, I knew that.”

Time to renew, regroup, reinvent, rethink. I have begun that process, it is in the rumination stages. I am researching new design methods, I hope to greatly improve upon my weaving skills by taking Kathe Todd-Hooker’s tapestry workshop at IWC this summer, & I have registered for a couple of other non-tapestry workshops that I hope will allow for deeper design & creativity explorations. I plan to make major changes to my blog & website. I am ready to dig deep to find my true artistic vision… it’s in there & just needs encouragement to rise to the surface.

I am viewing this upcoming retreat as a door opening to a new & exciting place. While I am there I will be reading about design methods used by collage & journal artists, & I have a new camera, a Nikon P80, that I have started experimenting with & I will take it with me… some of the first images I have taken with it are below. I am preparing a cartoon so I can work on a very small piece while I am there, it will be a postcard for the Tohono Chul exhibit, & it is a depiction of one of our bobcat kittens from a previous year. This particular bobcat mama would leave her kitten in our courtyard lemon tree while she went about her business for the day. We discovered this when one day, as Dennis went out to water, he looked up & was startled by this tiny bit of fluff staring at him with amber eyes through the bright green leaves. Below is my design sketch, just started, using watercolor crayons & pencils. I am working from a cropped version of the photo Dennis managed to take & also getting inspiration for stylized versions of lemon leaves from a Frida Kahlo painting I admire.




Now I am off to continue preparing for the retreat… I will keep a diary of my time there & will look forward to posting about it all upon my return!


happy equinox!

Vernal equinox, Spring’s beginning, equal day & equal night; surprisingly the beginning of our driest season as the days grow longer still. In years of plentiful winter rains, we experience an abundance of wildflowers. This past winter was another of non-abundant moisture, yet it is always amazing that life pushes its way up through the baked, crusty desert earth in bits & pieces here & there, thriving in spite of those seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Seems humans would do well to stop to notice what’s underfoot, as Georgia O’Keeffe once said.

Desert marigolds & globe mallows visually punctuate the dun desert with their vibrant colors, penstemons wave their flowered spires at the sky, blue belly flowers & purple lupines hug the ground. Not in profusion, but just enough to make us notice the desert coming to life. The air is tinged with the sweetness of citrus & acacia trees flowering. Scented geraniums bring beauty to our back door, & the star jasmine’s creamy blooms have filled our bedroom with an exquisitely heavy fragrance that graces our pillows as we fall asleep each night. My insomnia is greeted by the nightly owl hootenanny, coyote choruses, & the unearthly yowl of our resident bobcats. Soon to follow in the spring parade will be a cascading & quick procession of strawberry hedgehog, prickly pear, palo verde, pincushion, ironwood, & saguaro blooms. Life must move quickly here before the intense summer heat arrives to wither & desiccate—the desert does not coddle late bloomers.

Earth, our planet, our only “ride”. Such beauty this planet provides for us to abide in. Yet, we take & take, giving so little good back in return. How long will she continue to love us if we continue to treat her like this? Here’s a wonderful way to tell her thank you, the only cost is an hour of your time…



same tapestry, different deadline

canyon night in progress

So, what I had planned to write in this post was that I had come to my senses after the weaving frenzy over the weekend, realizing that it wouldn’t be humanly possible to meet IWC’s March 15 deadline for the Fiber Celebrated exhibit, not for this human, anyway. I had decided instead to shoot for a different deadline & submit canyon night for the 2009 Arizona Biennial exhibit at the Tucson Museum of Art. Not a shabby proposition by any means, but I was disappointed because I thought painted hills & canyon night would complement each other so well if they were accepted & exhibited together at IWC.

But, suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, or an answered prayer to one of the many saints of weaving (my favorite out of the many I recently discovered searching on Wikipedia is St. Maurice, who besides being the patron saint of weavers & dyers is also the go-to guy for soldiers, swordsmiths, armies, & preventing menstrual cramps), I received a wonderful email from Rebecca Mezoff informing me she had discovered that IWC has extended the deadline to April 25th!!!!

You rock, Rebecca, for recognizing & understanding the angst of a sister tapestry weaver & coming to the rescue with the only thing that could possibly assuage the torture at this point--- a deadline extension! Wooo Hoooo!

canyon night detail


sonoran spring evening

warm day wanes

cool air flows over skin

smell of warm sand

tart kiss of red wine

sunset blushes the Catalinas

dove coos his evening song

gila woodpecker tucks into the saguaro high rise

dogs investigate bursage for errant lizards