Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Sketchbook New Year

Millicent And Pierre

Daphne The Selkie
Goldilocks Shape Shifter
Back in December, while Christmas shopping, I treated myself to a new sketchbook. Nice and thick and sturdy with nearly 300 pages-- a students "Utility Sketchbook". I had been considering beginning a new sketchbook as a 'drawing a day' kind of journal.  Not a formal art journal, but drawing whatever the muse moves me to....
So far, I have about a half dozen drawings... I'm playing with markers and colour; making character studies for possible future paintings. My character studies aren't the usual kind. I love layering in detail and marks and colours... these might even end up being scanned in the future for framing. We'll see.
Right now I'm happy creating these new characters and working toward a new creative outlet: I want to write and illustrate my own little book of stories... maybe my own folktales... or fairy tales.  I always 'carry' these characters and images and stories in my head; it's time to try my hand at writing them and drawing them.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Where To Start... (again)

January seems like a good place and returning to my blog seems like a good beginning to a new creative year. So much growth-- both pleasant and painful has occurred in the time while this little online place sat neglected, gathering cobwebs.

Today I have cleared out her corners... and dusted and swept and mopped and moved furniture and painted the walls. There will be more. But, for now... this is a good place. A place I want to come to... sitting at my kitchen table... with a cup of tea, pausing in my other creative endeavors to visit and tell stories and share pictures and get to know this little online room all over again.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


This past summer we had the gift of taking a trip to a place that returned a piece of my creative soul back to me. We traveled in a vintage train car, by rail, through the Alberta prairies and the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  For me... the trip was spiritual. There is no way to journey through such an incredible landscape and NOT be moved.

Canadian Rocky Mountains, near Golden.

Returning home... I knew that changes had to be made in my life... in order for me to honor that creative part of my soul. The Universe was nudging me back to myself.
In the time since the trip... I have been renewing my aquaintance with some former subjects in my art work and revisiting them in new ways. I am seeing my world with new eyes and a restored heart as well, which isn't to say that I don't fall back into old habits. I do, but I am catching myself quicker and making sure that none of these stumbles stop me for very long.
To that end... I am attempting to resuscitate this long comatose and left for dead blog... even if only for my own edification.
We shall see what comes from this...  It's been calling to me for a while-- it's about time I got back to it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Citrusy Girl

This is my most recent Book Girl doll... a commissioned girl, ordered and made as a birthday gift. I loved watching her evolve beneath my fingers and needle & thread. I have one more custom doll to finish this week and then all my focus and effort will be on my fall dolls. I've been sneaking in time to work on them... in between these commissions and so many other obligations and time-eaters.
Hope I can post photos of them very soon.

Monday, August 8, 2011

This Is Where I Work

 In the summer... it is damn near impossible--what with the heat and oppressive humidity-- to work in my studio, in the upstairs of my house. I chose the room--long ago--when we first moved in, for it's coziness and the fantastic light; two features that work completely against me in these New York summers. We don't do air conditioning in my house; ceiling fans, table fans, floor-standing fans, cool clothing and lots of icy drinks... but no A/C. So in the summer--more than usual-- I have a mobile studio arrangement. By mobile, I mean bags (lots of bags) of current projects that get carried and lugged around everywhere and set up as needed.

 My 'cutting table'-- a simple cutting mat and sturdy card table I inherited from my mother-- sits in the hallway between the kitchen and t.v. room... next to a sometimes breezy window. This way I can work on tracing out patterns and measuring & cutting fabric and also keep an eye on my cooking in the kitchen and whatever movie or television show is providing 'background' inspiration at the moment.

This is my primary sewing space-- the couch in the t.v room. Summer or Winter, most often you'll find me right here, surrounded by "chaos in a bag"...bags of fabric, bags of thread, bags of felt, bags of beads and pom-poms, bags of whatever is required for the project I'm working on. With the computer nearby and the telly for background... I get a lot of stuff done and manage to keep connected with the world at the same time.

And then..... there's this....... one of my favourite sewing spots. On days when the weather is particularly perfect for working outside... I love my chair under the tree. Nature all around me and the way it lets my mind "go quiet and relax". I can fall into the rhythm of my sewing or my drawing and let it carry me for a while.

Recently, I had to express to someone the fact that my "office" is at home;  I work from home. Probably because of the comfortableness of my environment.... it doesn't really seem like work at all.
I know different. Many long hours are involved. I have scars and callouses and have sweated & laboured hard for what I create. Looking at these pictures it's hard to think of these as 'work' spaces. But they are. And--maybe most importantly--they are spaces of great peace and happiness. I truly love what I do. And I truly love the spaces I am able to do it in.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Playing with Barbies* Again...

See this little darling girl? In a few weeks she will be coming to live with me.... in my yellow house.  And maybe someday.... in the old dollhouse that's sitting in the attic... but, that's getting ahead of myself. She's not here yet. This morning-for an hour or two- I thought that maybe the universe wanted to convince me that I'm too old to play with dolls.
Well............................. I'm not.
And I just have this feeling that, when this sweetie arrives, the little girl inside me will come completely out of hiding. That's important to me right now. Being a grown-up is stress and worry and more stress and more worry. We all need an outlet. Some way to just fritter some time and not think about to-do's and chores. Some way to be a little kid again.
When I was a girl, my sister and I had quite the collection of Barbies and Barbie-type dolls. We spent hours, on weekends--after the chores were done--playing with all our assembled dolls and their clothes, etc. We improvised a "town house" using the bookcases in the downstairs playroom. We "made clothes" from tissues and fabric scraps. We escaped...... for a tiny slice of time into our own little world.
Not that long ago.... my magickal little niece Madeline got a Coraline doll. She was so excited. Coraline was ordered off Ebay and Maddie counted the days until she arrived.
When Coraline arrived she was elated. Already, she's learning how to stitch little skirts for her. Little girls--when they can just be little girls-- often dwell in a magickal world populated by fashion dolls, princesses, faeries, elves, unicorns and little animals: sometimes there's an occasional truck or car.
We get convinced--as we grow older--that living in this world; playing in this world is something we should wean ourselves off of. We give up our magick...
I was never the little girl who easily gave up on those wonderful magickal things.... I think I'm lucky because I somehow managed to carry them with me into adulthood.  I saw Madeline... so happy with her new doll and so excited about dressing her up and "playing" with her..... and I wanted to have a tiny bit of that. Something to dip into when I feel like everything's beating me down.
So............. after some few weeks thinking and looking and doing some research......... I made an impulse buy... and in a week or so.... my own little doll will be here. Maybe-- if I'm lucky-- Maddie (and Coraline) will play dolls with me.

* Of course my new "Barbie" is actually a Blythe doll. Miss 'Simply Mango Blythe'....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Grey Lady (on the road to Burlington Vermont)

 Every time I make the four to five hour drive up to Vermont to either drop off or pick up my son from college; I look forward to seeing all the amazing old (ghostly) barns, houses, train depots,etc. that dot the roads.... set in the most stunningly beautiful pastoral landscapes. Rolling fields and farmlands with forested mountain back drops.
 I have fallen completely in love with this one house. I pull off the road every time and just sit for a bit looking at it and "feeling" it's history. I swear it's as if I can see the people and the family it once sheltered and was a part of. It's such a gorgeous structure; backed by rolling fields.
 This past spring, as we were heading back home (with a carload of college stuff) my son and I pulled off the road and took this series of photos. We didn't go onto the property itself (although I would love to explore around and inside that house); we stood on the roadside and took our pix.
 The time of day (nearly sunset), the time of year (spring)-- all contributed to the magick of these photos. For me anyway. I would love to bring my dolls up there and stage a photo shoot around that house.
 I don't think I ever will. But I am writing a story in my head ( and someday on paper) where my gray lady dolls live in this wonderful house and roam the fields and woods in moonlight.
 Their gardens are full of white and silvery flowers and plants, such as lily of the valley and dusty miller and lamb's ear. To the unknowing eye it all appears as a tangle and an overgrown ruin.... but for them, it's lovely and cozy and warm and a perfect hideaway from the world.
Even if this house never holds another family within it's walls.... it will always hold my imagination and my creative heart. I think it is so beautiful.
I'm also going to get back into the habit of carrying my camera with me all the time. So, when I see some amazing old, abandoned building that captures me eye and imagination.... I can just snap a picture.... and have it forever to inspire me.