14 Dec

#notnormal

Like so many people, I am overwhelmed. There are so many things I see happening that I can’t figure out what action to take, or if it’s even worthwhile to take action. Every day it’s some new outrage. I’m trying to put myself in others’ shoes, to see things through other eyes. Not everyone sees the country the same way I do and that’s fine. So, I want to respect the needs and beliefs of my fellow Americans. But a month after the election I’m having a hard time seeing how this is going to be OK.

“Give him a chance,” people say. “Checks and balances,” they reassure.

  orange“His bluster and “straight talk” on the campaign trail was just that: bluster. He’ll be more Presidential if he wins.” OK, but a month on, he’s lashing out via Twitter at SNL, newspapers, and a union boss for not gushing over him. Businesses and offices can probably handle the backlash, but individual people are not prepared to fend off the consequences of targeted vitriol (see last year’s college student who asked a reasoned question of the candidate and received not only a crude response from him but also a year of online harassment from his followers). I don’t see a move towards either Presidential behavior, nor any effort to bring Americans together as he promised.

“He’s so rich he won’t be corruptible. He doesn’t need to be in this for the money. He’ll work with the average worker in mind.” OK, but before the election there was no evidence of altruism. He still doesn’t show us where his money is or what he does with us. Not long after the election, he said he was working with lawyers to disentangle his conflicts of interest. I actually told my cynical husband that this was movement in the right direction and we should give him the benefit of the doubt. But, a month later, there’s been no discernible effort to distance himself from his money. In fact, it actually looks like he’s putting his ducks (children and business interests) in a row to take advantage of of his and their positions of power to guide policy and decision making for personal financial gain. Oh, and he’s put off until after the electoral college casts their votes, his public explanation of his intentions vis a vis conflicts of interest.

not-normal-1

Heal the divide? Not gonna happen with continued Tweet storms or nominating cabinet members with nihilistic tendencies towards the cabinets they’d head. Don’t like the appearance of Pay to Play? How do his big donor advisory picks and cabinet nominations look?

The backlash (mine included) against him can’t merely be sour grapes. This is not the first time my candidate has lost, but this is the first time I just can’t wrap my head around why the other candidate won. I swear I’m trying to suss out the ways his election will address the issues people say they care about, but I just can’t see it yet.

“Government is corrupt and has done nothing for me. We might as well burn it all down.” Ah, now here’s something I think he can deliver on. Unfortunately, I just can’t bring myself to believe that a scorched earth approach to governance is good for the American people. This is not normal…

not-normal-2

…but I fear that it WILL become normal.

01 Aug

Good Press

There’s still one more month left to go see Stories of Migration at the George Washington University Textile Museum in DC.

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My mobile village “Home is Where the Army Sends Us” is part of this exhibit and I couldn’t be happier about the good press the entire show is getting. As a participating artist it is wonderful to see viewers react to the work, but it is also important to have some kind of context in which to put the show. That many others in the world at large are paying attention to the show is a huge validation. So, in order to have all the references at hand (mostly for future me), here’s a list of mentions in the press that I know about:

American Craft  (USA) Aug/Sept ’16  (p.108) Featuring “Mother Tongue and Foreign Language” by Shin-hee Chin

Embroidery Magazine  (UK) Jul/Aug ’16  (p.11) Featuring “Navigating a Broken World” by Shea Wilkinson

Magic Patch  (France) #123  (p.9)

Textile Fibre Forum Magazine  (Australia) Sept ’16  Six pages, featuring works by Alice Beasley, Kristin LaFlamme, Gloria Daly, Penny Mateer, Susan Else, Daniela Tiger, Joy Nebo Lavrencik, and Carol Larson.

Quilting Arts Magazine  (USA) Jun/Jul ’16  Nine pages, featuring works by many artists.

The Washington Diplomat

CCTV Africa Featuring the work of William Adjete Wilson and more

The Washington Post

19 May

Follow Me

Thinking about yesterday’s post and what to write about, it dawned on me that now might be a good time to remind readers that I do post shorter, but more regular, images and thoughts on my professional Facebook page, and even more so, on my Instagram feed. So, between sporadic blog posts, I encourage you to follow me:

Home is Where night Follow me on Facebook! This is my professional page where I post information about what I’m working on and where to see my work. No cat or food photos here — just art.

Shroud WIPFollow me on Instagram! Here are my creative endeavors and what inspires me. It’s mostly art, but there’s a good amount of knitting and home renovation as well. Plus the occasional pretty flower, cat, or food pic.

24 Apr

Just Checking in

So often it’s hard to blog because I’m just not sure what to blog about. For lack of any finished projects or deep thoughts, here’s a random sampling of what’s going on in my world right now.

There’s been a lot of work on our house projects, both by me and my mom and by hired pros, but nothing is quite finished yet.

Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom Vanity in progress: pro built, stained by me, I added hardware, waiting on a countertop and plumbing.

I took a block printing workshop with Valori Wells yesterday (through the Portland Modern Quilt Guild) which was lots of fun and jump started my thinking about fabric designs again.

Block Printing

I’m super happy with how these designs turned out — both from a printing standpoint, and a design standpoint.

I’m plugging away at several stitchy projects…

Project Chair

Hand stitching at the ready for quiet evenings.

… which have taken over and made more of a mess than anything else!

Project Table

Lots of work in progress on my studio table and sewing machine. Nothing worth showing yet though.

Work at The Pine Needle is excellent, and I’ve got some behind the scenes projects I’m working on with the team in preparation of summer shop hops and our Fall catalog.

The Pine Needle

This is where I work — surrounded by a wide variety of gorgeous fabrics. That yellow, teal, and maroon whirligig sample in the middle of the photo is one I made. I’m working on an asian-inspired version now.

I hope you all are knee deep in fulfilling projects too; every little bit counts, even if doesn’t seem very blog- or Instagram-worthy.

30 Jan

A Facelift

Time for a Before & After.

Staging was not really a priority for the previous owners of our house. Luckily, we could see through such surface annoyances (with each mortgage check I write I tell myself how much higher it would have been if the house and been staged and therefore attractive to buyers). The biggest offender was the wallpaper everywhere! But there are many other things that were just dated or not our style.

Here’s the kitchen before:Kit Before

 

And now:

Kit after 2

 

The core members of Team Deco/Reno (my mom and step-dad) removed all the wallpaper and I joined them to finish painting the entire space white. We hired an electrician to replace the kitchen lights with recessed can LED lights and to install a cute retro looking pendant from my dad. We replaced cheap mini blinds with new roller shades and I painted the sideboard cabinet solid white.

Looking the other direction:

DR Before

 

Which now looks like this:

Kit after 1

 

And here’s the “dining room” at the other end of the space:

DR Before 2

 

And here’s the dining room now:

DR 1

 

We’re guilty of bringing some ugly with us too. Our dining room chairs, while stylish enough just a few years ago, and still quite sturdy, decided to shed their leather upholstery. With a kitchen/dining room renovation on the horizon, I can’t bring myself to replace these otherwise perfectly good chairs, so I made slipcovers.

DR Chair slipcover

Not wanting to spend much money, I couldn’t find any oil cloth or upholstery fabric that I liked. However, white denim remnants were a great deal at the Mill Ends store. Of course white would stain quickly in a dining room so I needed to do something to the denim. I considered dyeing each slipcover a different color, but then, inspired by the designs of Timorous Beasties, figured I’d try painting them in colors based on my collection of Bauer pottery.

Eventually we’ll do a big kitchen remodel, but in the meantime the space is clean and now light and pleasant to live in for the near future.

 

27 Jan

Knit Night

Robin’s Friend Shawl was the hardest to choose. She’s a quiet, searching spirit. Her quilts are warm, rich colors that glow, and her personal style seems a bit bohemian. A simple color gradient didn’t feel right. One day when I was working at a fiber festival for Elisabeth, I spotted a unique Mega Skein that had more colors than usual and a natural warmth that reminded me of Robin. I snatched it up as part of my payment, happy that not only were the colors interesting, but it would give me the chance to make something with a new (to me) sized skein.

Robin Scarf 2

I knit this scarf as we drove across country from Virginia to our new home in Oregon. It pleased me to no end to see the colors of the yarn reflect the scenery as we drove — from the lush blues and greens of the Blue Ridge, through scrubby high desert, and then to red mesas and finally reddish pines and a blue river.

 

Robin Scarf 1

The pattern is The Way From Brighton. I chose it because of the funky bobble fringe and the simple striped ridges that would show off the color changes.

 

Robin Scarf 3

I had to guesstimate the size and cast-on because I had more yardage than the pattern called for and a thinner yarn. As I knit, I feared that I would get to the end before making it through all of the colors in the yarn, so I cut out sections as I went. Of course, as Murphy’s Law would have it, I ran out of yarn before I got to the end, so I ended up splicing back in some of the yarn I took out. I like how it turned out though because it gave me the chance to bring the blue to both ends of the scarf and give it a sort of symetry.

 

Robin Scarf 4

My Ravelry notes are here.

20 Jan

Knit Night

My third friend scarf was for Deborah.

Deborah loves green and purple together (who doesn’t?), so of course I had to use these colors for her scarf. That meant I had to wait for Elisabeth to make a purple and green combination. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait very long as her May color combo fit the bill.

Deb Scarf 2

For Deborah, I wanted a fresh and light scarf. Lacey but not too sweet. Brickless had the right amount of texture and variation and, to me looks great casually wrapped around the neck.

 

Deb Scarf 3  I knit this project to and from our family reunion trip to California, on planes and in our hotel lobby accompanied by a school of koi.

 

Deb Scarf 1

My Ravelry project page for this is here.

13 Jan

Knit Night

Friend Scarf number two was for Vivien.

Vivien’s style strikes me as classic simplicity. She wears plenty of color, but they never look childish or cheap. They look summery and happy. For her, I needed a neutral with a pop of fun color. Vivien is a dog person, but Feline and Saphire seemed like a good color combination for her.

I knit this scarf through many, many of my daughter’s bass lessons. It also went with me to North Carolina to install my Homefront & Downrange show.Knitting bass

 

As for patterns, I loved knitting Leftie for my mom and was itching to make another in new colors. (The original pattern calls for a plain background and different colored leaves, but I think it looks fantastic with an ombre background and contrasting leaves.) Simple but fun, I thought it would match Vivien’s style well.

Viv Scarf 1

 

My project notes are here on Ravelry.

Viv Scarf 2