Saturday, February 28, 2009

O M G!!!

We didn't stay on the computer all day, no, I read the Australian magazine Artlink a little bit. Very slowly, because I don't understand art talk, but I sense it's interesting.

Got ready to go to the theater again, and we had a few minutes, so I opened my Facebook trying to study it again. (DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP; I MIGHT QUIT THIS TOO AFTER A WEEK.)

Anyhoo, I find this function "Poke" and didn't know what it was so I poked Ben. And we didn't discover anything, so Ben's been poking me several times. Still not sure what this does, but we sit less than two feet apart, facing our own computers, and are poking each other via the Facebook host machine, which is most likely in the US of A. How silly is THAT!

OK, off to real life/live theater now. Good night.

EDIT: We were a bit late; the show hadn't started, but we had to get to the end of a row, making everybody from the isle to our seats get up for us. Horrible! But a wonderful one-man comedy show.

Well, Well.

I promise this is the last one about Facebook. I uncovered how I can find classmates from high school and college. And lo, I found the one and only Lalla Jones who tried patiently to get me to go to the Minneapolis guild oh, so many years ago, 1977 & 78! Imagine where I could have been if I'd started to learn to weave back then.

I've just send her an email and I hope she replies. Now I see the attraction of this toy.

On Facebook

What a strange thing. I have an account now. and I sort of understood how people can find people. In a short 15 minutes, I found some high school classmates I hadn't thought about in ages.

It's been surreal. It's like a shell with no content. (Well, some people have contents, but not really.) It's like blogging with just the post titles, no meat. And it records and publishes everything I've done, like I've written on someone's wall, or I've edited my marital status, etc. Whoa. I don't feel comfortable with that degree of exposure. It felt as if I had no choice and I deleted a bunch of things. Here on blogger, I select what I say, but there, it's so "The Truman Show".

I can see how some people could get addicted; some friends have told me so. Yesterday when we had drinkies with Claudia and Tim, they told us about two recent "finding long lost love" stories involving the females moving from Downunder to Mother Country. Good on them.

I am definitely too long-winded for Facebook, or Twitter.

I Hereby Declare Myself to be a Luddite

Blog, fine. Website, kind of. But I've been struggling with Twitter, not so much the technology, but because I don't understand the language used by some of the young'uns. (Yeah, you two, I mean you!) And now my best friend from high school quit blogging, Flickr, and Twitter, and wants me to have a Facebook account!!! I've resisted this as long as I could, even though many of our photo blog friends have tried to coax us.

I created an account. But I'm going to use it just to follow the lives of my friends, that's all. (Don't I have a hard enough time keeping up with weaving blogs already??) I'm not putting anything there. And I said so.

I mean, what is Facebook for anyway? I'm not sure.

I'm starting to be in that emotional age group where I want to sit down and spend time learning and improving on the things I know, rather than to learn new things. And if there are things I need to learn on the way, like PowerPoint a year ago, I will, but otherwise, put me in your "too old" basket, Dears.

EDIT: Obviously I am swimming against the tide. But my question, outside emergencies, is, "what's the hurry, mate?"

Time to Say Good-Bye...

Yes, please sing with me, as I mourn the inevitable parting with my old cellphone.

I got it for free in 2000 as part of a free women-getting-back-into-the-job-market course. Even then it was pre-loved, so I don't know how old it really is. But it has served me well, and for someone who only wants to call/receive calls and store telephone numbers, it was perfect. Even though it took me a few years before I learned how to receive a call.

About four years ago, I was having a wonderful Friday after-work drinkie with my friend Marj at Harry's Bar. I had the phone out because it's also as my watch. Harry's has stools for the extremely-hyper-leggy, and the two of us just about fell off when this thing made a funny noise. "Blush" doesn't cover 1% of it.

It's been dieing a slow death; the charger connection has been iffy at best and finally this week I had to coax it to connect and ever so slowly put it down so it would recharge. I liked the buttons being separate, but every time the battery died the date/time were lost.

The new Nokia was NZ$79, (A$61.34/US$39.30/£27.54/€30.87/JPY3815.49,) the cheapest in the shop. Ben had scouted around town for me earlier. It's in my favorite color, gray. It does a few more things than I asked for, but I don't need to know.

Claudia, how has an older version, said sometime hers forgets what it's supposed to remember. So I shall write down all the numbers stored for starters. I don't think I get attached to "things" much, but I get a little sentimental thinking about the time the old one stuck with me; it was after I left my last real job, and saw me through my transition to becoming a weaver, and I must have made some crucial calls on this little baby. Belatedly, I christen the old one Harry Senior, and the new one, Harry Junior.

Rest in pieces.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Long Weekends!!

New Zealand manufacturing sector is considering four-day-work-weeks to overcome the next wee while, among them the textile industry, to avoid having to let go employees. Weavers, put your feet up today; we are allowed three-day weekends if you're manufacturing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life is full of the Unexpected

I am amazed how many things can go wrong with a simple knock-out-old-fire-install-new project. I am exhausted. But the kitchen shelves were redone beautifully. I love Ryan, I like my new mates Stan, Ricky and Murry. I have a break from all this tomorrow, but next week the work continues.

I feel frustrated my weaving year just can't seem to have a real start, but I do have an achromatic gradation-in-six-parts cashmere warp on the 4-shaft, and I tried to play around with draft for that fancy warp which is now going to be three or four shawls. One of the pieces may be sent to the Nelson/Marlborough/Buller Area exhibit, but I have permission to preempt and post pics here.

And while managing (??) the guys today, I also managed to put on two more pieces on my website. I never expected that to be such slow work, either.

Life is full of the unexpected.

What Can I Write at Three in the Morning...

Lest you thought the "deconstruction/reconstruction" was finished, today, in about six hours, an installation team for the new wood burner comes to, well, install the new wood burner. I'm super anxious I've just shot an email to the boss man.

So what can I post at three in the morning? Well, these are two scarves I wove in July and December from last June's SSVE warp. After I wove the small white scarf, I evacuated the warp to weave two warps of cottons for my Santa Fe effort. I wanted to experiment how the drafts translated in wool, so I must have tied it onto the gold cotton warp. This warp is merino with scales, the weft is merino/mohair mix, and I found I had to pack in the weft to bring out the mohair sheen and to make the resulting cloth not netty, and because it's packed, the draft came out flat. I'm not the best judge of the hand because I'm allergic to mohair, (and that's probably why I used this weft for the first time since 2005) but the cloth felt stiff. I didn't like the way it looked off the loom, so I hid it under the couch.

When Marlborough Weavers met with the Richmond Weavers and we did the massive show-and-tell, I brought, unfinished, this to show the difference in the appearance of the same draft, and said I didn't think it worked. June McKenzie from Marlborough and Georgina from Richmond told me to finish it anyway, "because someone will like it." And I finally listened to the wisdom of experience. Still lots to experiment if I want to use this type of draft with wool; if I were to retry, I'd use a merino weft because the draft would look more even... What's that called when the ppi is roughly the same as epi?

I must have evacuated the warp again, because I tied it on to the end of the Festive Towel warp in November/December, and wove it in this draft. The weft is a commercially dyed merino without scales. This is a nice, compact scarf, lovely hand but tighter finish than usual. As it was the warp end, it's a tad shorter than what I would have liked.

Ooops, four now. Must try to get some sleep.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Looking Forward

I don't know any other weaver or artist who regards her/his work with such contempt, particularly right after the work is completed or "hung". I had to tag two of my cotton pieces from the November wall, and felt these don't merit such strong negative emotions. Of course there is plenty of room for improvement. These in particular feel steely because of the skinny weft, and I'm not sure if I'm happy with the pick. Still, they weren't as terrible as I had thought. I need to recover that "joy" thing.

I'm intrigued by my "tampering with warp colors" experiment nevertheless. To the left is the original warp color scheme, the right shows an addition of around 22 ends of one orange and one yellow. I couldn't believe how much warmer the right scarf looks. (The cooler light blue weft on the left piece accentuates the contrast, too, so it's not only the supplementary warps.) I do find the right one more interesting, fancier, but as an garment/accessory, the left appears more versatile. So which one do I want to weave next?

On the other hand, this cashmere was lovely all the way. The colors, mid/dark purple in cashmere/silk and weft in light teal in cashmere, was woven by request. On cones the values weren't so close, but woven up, and with the sheen the silk brings in, it does that "shot" thing. Delicious. Still not sure how to photograph the "shot" thing, though.

Off to put on a white/gray/black cashmere warp now.

Lynne's Fashion Show

In the Denver Library, here. So different from what I aim for, and yet so inspiring.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I was getting rather nervous about SSVE because only Geodyne left me a favorable comment, well, a comment, period, and then I read Noreen's "probably not" post, ergo the poll on the right. But it seems Geodyne and I won't be the only ones after all, and I hope the postponement works for Noreen. (And I love her "Narrow" Scarf Challenge. Maybe we'll change the name next year?)

All submissions welcome between May 1 and 15, give or take a couple of weeks at the front end and a day or so at the tail end; Exhibition will be officially open on Saturday, May 16, New Zealand time.

I hope it works for you.

EDIT: Thanks for taking part in the poll. This is just an indication, (and what a relief for me), so your vote, or not having voted, has no bearing on your participation. Just so you know.

Saatchi Online

I don't know how I got this email, but here we go... Apparently it's new, and it's an arts mag.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Well, What Can I Say...

A doctor (not sure if she's MD or PhD) apparently bought ten of my cashmere scarves at the Red today. As gifts. Hard to believe... On the other hand, my hours at the Red have been reduced. I'm happy to weave some more little gems. But I don't know what to make of the two news.

In the PO Box This Very Morning

Oh, ha ha ha. Good timing.

"Do I Detect an American Accent?"

It's more about me than about New Zealanders. But I've written this so many times it seems I've memorized it, more or less. Chalk it down to another identity crisis and anxiety, rather than anger. I mean it to be funny.

* * * * *

When I meet people for the first time in New Zealand, in a friendly, casual setting (say, a friend’s birthday party), I almost hold my breath and count the seconds from the time I’m introduced to the stranger till he or she pauses meaningfully and makes what’s become the most boring Kiwi greeting; “Do I detect an American accent?” Never a North American accent, mind.

You bet; almost 100% pure, standard, Mid-Western speech broadcasters around America once strove for, free of charge. And you don’t detect it; you’re bombarded with it, by me, an Asian… Hello, my name is Meg and I will be your sociolinguistic anomaly for the evening…

For some folks, it’s the only notable thing about me; never mind they can’t remember my name, I’m Asian, so I must be May… But she speaks with an American accent.

The question can also be disguised in different ways: “Where are you really from?” “Nelson” and “Tokyo” don't cut it, notwithstanding the fact that in most Asian countries, English taught in schools is of the North American variety.

I like the few people who have made the effort to come up with “Are you Hawaiian?” There are Asian-Americans all over the continent, having lived there for three, four and five generations, but never mind, you gave it your best shot to bridge the geographical/ethnic chasm.

But why are you so concerned with the way I speak? Do you ask others with noticeable accents, “Do I understand you’re from the wop-wops?” or declare, “You speak like a moron.” And would you ask me if I were, let's face it, a white girl, or would you just assume?… I don’t have a problem if your interest is genuine, and I got my geographical history down to a 90-second spiel for your amusement, but the inquisitors are usually uninterested in the answer. It's a statement in disguise. They seldom give me the 90 seconds before walking away, so I’m been answering, “Yes.”

What more do you want? I’m sorry for Pearl Harbor and POWs; I’m sorry whaling, our stupid manga, and the electronic industry. I'm sorry for the used cars and the bus tours. I’m sorry I’m short, fat and loud. But guess what? Between Bill Gates, the Internet and Hollywood, your grandkids are gonna sound more like me than you, so get used to it. …

Here, have a cookie.

* * * * *

In 2001, during an announcement on board a Fullers Ferry to Rangitoto Island, Auckland, I first heard the word "cookie" being used by a Kiwi; "biscuit" or "bickie" is still the norm, though one does hear "cookie" more frequently of late. You can tell I started writing this much earlier than 2001, and how startled I was to hear the word in Auckland. By then we had been living in Nelson for five years.

Preempting Exhibitions

Here's something I hadn't thought about.

I've been encouraging Marlborough Weavers to take pics of their work before they ship them to the annual festival, with a post or two in mind. I had thought vaguely that I can hold off on posting until we knew if those pieces made it into the final selection, more to protect the weavers' feeling than anything else.

Than the leaders of MW told me to hold off everything to do with the festival (including the non-juried pieces) so as not to preempt the festival. Fair enough. QED.

But then I thought, what about my showing an entire process of creating a piece I intend to submit to an exhibition? If a particular exhibition stipulates the piece must not have been "exhibited" elsewhere prior to submission/exhibition, would that include my thinking out loud here, posting pics and soliciting advice? Or how far can I post? Any thoughts?

I feel positively Italian; Gino in Blenheim told us years ago; "Meg, if you ever want to shut up an Italian, tie their hands behind their backs!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Then Followed Sunday

* * * Warning: Yet still long-winded, irrational and cryptic in places!! * * *

Woke up several times with bad dreams. The first was a replay of my last four days in Japan in January; I didn't want to leave. In my dream I said so to Mom and packed slowly; in real life we both knew but neither said, and I packed efficiently. Dark-hour thoughts on whether I missed out a lot by living far away from my family for big chunks of my life, or if I won because I escaped dealing with daily drudgery. Regretted always wanting to go somewhere else; I know far more about Minneapolis than Yokohama or Nelson and I was happiest there, but I hate cold winter and I can't go back to being that young. This dream probably brought on by recalling what fun we had putting on that cashmere warp. And having to put that into words.

Then I dreamt my neighbor Neil passed out his/my (?) house and I was to ring the ambulance but couldn't. Neil symbolized my good neighbors (of which I have many) whom I neglected/avoided getting to know in the 12+ years we lived here. Fear of rejection, having to explain why I speak with an American accent, being reprimanded for being shitty gardeners were the most obvious reasons. Not having children made it harder; having a dreadfully shy husband did not help. Neil spent a few months in Antarctica recently; must ask him to show us his photos. Must make the effort. This dream was possibly brought on by the identity exhibit yesterday.

Third dream, I cannot remember. Not significant or symbolic, perhaps; dream analysis fatigue at 5PM more likely. Went right back to sleep this time.

Read Hamish Keith's book in bed until 1PM. Got up only because I've perhaps 50 pages left, and didn't want to finish yet. Absolutely the best New Zealand book I've ever read; one of three best books in my life. Intend to write to Mr Keith expressing gratitude: intend also to collect as much of his writing as possible, as finance allows. Intend to ask everybody if they've read it, and if so, their opinion.

Still not committed, work-wise, to much, but I must now list possibilities to think more rationally.

It's past 4.30, but will spend the rest of the afternoon hemming four scarves and getting them out of my way. I need to post a more coherent rant about the Hamish Keith book, for me, more than for you. You've been warned.

Appreciating, once again, being surrounded by good people: Grae Burton, Kath Bee; Julie, Ann-Marie and Andrea at the Suter; Pat, Ronette, Neil, Ben, Mom, and you among them.

And Then it was Saturday

* * * Warning: Still long-winded, irrational and cryptic in places!! * * *

The day started great. I still felt buoyant from Friday, feeling I'm back to pre-depression state, pretty much where I was in Nov/Dec sans the endless spring/summer cold, as if my 2009 finally started. Simultaneously wondering if this is going to be short-lived. Now that I know more about my depression, I fear a dark phase could always be around the corner, at the same time I will not succumb to self-fulfilled prophecy; I am too busy for that.

Read Hamish Keith book in bed till late morning. It's a memoir, not a chronological autobiography, so I got confused from time to time. Plus though I may have read about the historical/cultural incidents cited, I haven't lived through them, so at times it reads like a cracking good story, but the economy of his writing more than makes up for it. I agree with most everything he believes, except he had information, access and rationale to back his beliefs; I go by gut feeling/emotion and appreciate I can now cite him and his reasoning to back my beliefs.

I've never read or heard such genuine passion for New Zealand by a New Zealander. He loves being a Kiwi, and has not-oft-heard views on the Pakeha (European), Maori (indigenous), Polynesian/Pacific New Zealands within. He's inclusive and doesn't cringe, but commands respect on behalf of his beloved country. Truly refreshing. Whereas most of his peers went overseas to better themselves in their respective fields, Keith never felt the need to join the exodos.

Made me guilty for looking to overseas opportunities. Because there is a vibrant textile art scene in New Zealand. I could say I don't get them and they don't get me, but the real reason possibly relates to identity. That I don't know where I belong.

One thing worried me; I have seldom been able to look at artwork without words, explanations, biographical knowledge, and reading his complaints about too many words obstructing artwork, I was not sure how to remedy my case. I only know I see artwork through someone else's interpretation; it seems this has almost always been the case.

Reluctantly went to the Textile Awards show, resolved to hate everything beforehand. The selection was either flexible or unfocused. Absolutely loathed some, but liked surprisingly many, which troubled me. I liked harmonious, gentle pieces, which were lovely pieces made in traditional methods and material. But that's the trouble. The Awards blurb said it intended to "showcase the use of fibre and textiles in a challenging and more conceptual way from their more general usage..." Most of what I liked didn't challenge and didn't have much concepts I could see; they were pretty straight forward, (though there were no woven scarf), and a few using a bit of fancy material but otherwise the same-old-same-old. There were a few challenging and conceptual work, but these I hated, and that didn't help.

If I had written this blurb and were among the selectors, I would not have chosen what I was hoping to submit, to be true to what I preached. A big load off my shoulder,then, because I didn't know what to do with that warp still sittign on top of my loom, but now I shall weave nice scarves and worry about textile/fiber art later.

Then we went to the Suter's Maui Dynasty exhibition which we had a glimpse of Thursday night during the DNA lecture. I thought it was about the Maori identity; it's about everybody who call this country theirs and make art. Again, guilt for looking outward; justification because Asians are still excluded from the national identity discourse, excpet for a select few athletes; we are often prefaced "(insert-ethnic-origin) New Zealander" even if one is a descendant of five generations of Chinese immigrants; this is not restricted to Asians, but like one Maori woman said in a doco a decade ago, "At least we're better off than Asians; everybody hates them."

I love living and making art in New Zealand; I love a lot of what is made here; I don't like of what's made anywhere. And by no means the entire nation of New Zealand hates every single of its member of Asian extraction. But I am sensitive to the matter, particularly because I feel I'm hard to box in conveniently; I loath being called a Japanese weaver, because I learned the craft here, and I want to include the American influence because that will always remain a big part of me. So when asked where I'm from, I often say, "Tahunanui", my suburb. Either that, or Planet Earth.

Took pictures of my stuff displayed at the Suter shop to set me back to where the two axis meet. I hadn't realized they have a good representation of the styles I've worked on since late 2006. These are what I have done so far; this is my creative past.

Came home to shoot Pat my scathing list of Hated/Loathed/Loved list from the Textile Awards show, and another asking Ronette to discuss textile/fiber art next time we met outside class; I take it in her reply Ronette meant: "yeah, good question."

Comedy at the Indy in the evening. Met up with Kath Been to listen to a Kiwi Jewish, (she coined a nice word for that but I can't remember), Deb Filler who's lived in the US and Canada tell lots of Jewish and old people jokes; refreshingly politically-unworried. Should have gone to bed happy but couldn't sleep, so I read more of Hamish Keith.

The kitchen shelves need redoing, and I must discuss it with the project manager on Monday. My life-saving GP resigned from medicine in December, and now my psychologist is leaving Nelson. Plenty to worry about. Not sure if textile/fiber art or yet another identity examination brought these up. Funny how the mind works. Must go see both exhibitions again.

Friday was a Fabulous Day

A lot to tell you; my mind keeps jumping from a content, wordless state, to various "me"s and Hamish Keith shouting and tossing great ideas like used tissue paper, to bright colors dancing and enticing me to new places. To my surprise I am not reluctant about the last proposition.

I'll explain the only way I know how, then; chronologically. Sorry for being boring.

* * * Warning: Long-winded, irrational and cryptic in places!! * * *

Friday started with the figure drawing class. I'm not a fan of my drawing, but I like how I concentrate immediately and automatically, and I'm feeling very OK about not necessarily following instructions. Said the same to Ronette the tutor and the reply was "Everybody is doing what they want anyway!". Repeated to Pat when asked about the drawing course; I'm still trying to seduce her to join.

Then I made my way to Indy, Independent Theatre and Arts Centre, to pick up tickets. This is the only theater in Nelson with a regular season, opened in October of 2007, by the sheer willpower of one Grae Burton and his friends and family. Bless them!! While conducting the business Grae mentioned he saw my scarves at the Red, (her mum is an experienced knitter), and asked if I wanted my work shown at the Indy. It transpires there are several options, so we will meet and discuss in March.

Feel moral pull to stock the Refinery shop first, but support both burgeoning institutions and want to commit to both. In fact, had a bright idea suddenly how to hang my scarves at the Refinery after a year-plus of clumsy ideas. Weaving idea sprouted, adoptable to both Indy and Refinery. Rushed to yarn shop around the color and sought funky yarns and grabbed six balls. I've moved on from just thinking about Lynne Bruning's suggestions. (And all this time I spelled her family name with two n's; sorry, Lynne. But she is too busy to notice this weekend.)

Picture this; leggy teenage girls with great skin, (of whom we saw aplenty in Indy's last Shakespeare production, both on stage and in the audience), sauntering down Church Street in little old Nelson, throwing Fitzgerald-esque boa scarves, wanting to be seen, admired, and desired. Well, teenage girls aren't that simple nowadays, perhaps, but that's my starting point; of course by the time these balls go through my interpretation, the scarves will mutate into pieces suitable for middle-age theater-goers. Just as well; they'll be more in their price range, I'd imagine.

I met with Pat Spitz, (the exquisite tapestry weaver - I must show you her work some time - and the one who brought my scarves to Santa Fe). She went to the opening of the Textile Award show, but couldn't see the works in detail, as you do/don't at openings. Discussed our tastes (which turned out to be similar) and thoughts on textile/fiber arts. I showed her my possible new direction, and she applauded my courage but expressed concerns I was going to do only "flashy" in future. No worries, I'll always be the muted, "pretty" cloth lover.

Went back to the yarn shop to get a more balls; a grand total of NZ$100 of unexpected spending. Still needing more visual stimuli, I went to where I always go when I seek new ideas; the architecture section of Page and Blackmore Bookseller, and met this book. It costs about the same as what I earn working two half-days at the Red, but I went ahead and put $10 down. I never knew they were called architectural "follies", but always been interested in them since childhood, and collected photographs for decades. Also got the Nelson Mail covering the Textile Awards show, and decided I was going to be throughly anti- and ho-hum about it. Staff Stella asked about my plans for the year, and I gave a non-committal mumble which she mistook to be my opinion on New Zealand textile scene; "and overseas opportunities?" she asked, as if I'd always considered those as well.

Went home in a terribly good mood; didn't mind the 45-minute wait at the Indian takeaway. I had plans, visions, hope. I was getting over this past January, and self-pity at long last. Fell asleep reading the Hamish Keith book.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Quirky Cashmere Scarf

This is the scarf I wove with Mom in Japan in January. Even she approved the randomness and applauded my doing things so against my nature.

Supplementary warps were added and subtracted randomly, so in parts of the scarf, there are lots of these ends, in others, not so.

In the foreground, you can see how the warp without supplementaries looked lop-sided; as I got used to Mom's warping board and we started winding quicker, the color changes became regular.

Selvedge is dismal. It was the first time I wove on Mom's super-light-weight counter-balance loom and her iffy boat shuttle. But the "scalloped" edges suits the randomness of the scarf; I'm sticking to this statement.

I'm sorry if the pics are sub-standard. My eyesight has been a bit crazy all week and I can't even tell if they are focused or not.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Internet and My Weight Problem

I now know why I have a weight problem; it's from eating all these humble pies! Whowoddathunk humble pies were so fattening and low in GI,(like... 35 years?) Either that or I'm pregnant and this kid's approaching 40.

I keep pressing the good folk at Marlborough Weavers to be sure they get the permission of everybody in a photo they want to post. Just out of curiosity, I reviewed this blog this morning just to look at people pics, (of which I post nowhere near as many as I'd like to!). No need to click on all the links unless you're a Marlborough or Nelson weaver thinking of suiing me. Most my subjects for portrait-like shots have allowed me to be posted here, but group shots??? This one and this one are meeting shots, for heaven's sakes, and this one, these, this, this, and this, (though the last, I can forgive myself because other than Win, the faces are relatively unidentifiable...)

Might as well take myself to a pie factory. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about these now.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day... Ummm... Today

I'm so over this now. I can't wait. In the kitchen we're waiting for the pantry doors, and then the edges will be finished. In the living room, however, the ex-wood burner wall (back of the fridge now) has to be gibbed, not to mention the whole installation-of-the-new-wood-burner thing. I think I'm looking at a minimum of five more days. Then after that, we need to sand down the floor, and wash the walls and paint (but probably one coat because we like this color Coconut Cream), and then organize the kitchen, and then.... and then.... But nothing tomorrow.

Construction finished early today - before lunch. So I vacuumed and wiped the surfaces again. Then had lunch. And though I was all ready to either keep weaving the shadow weave scarf or to hem four scarves I've finished this side of July 2008, I was too tired I had a nap. And read. I must tell you about this book, "Native Wit", in some detail soon.

Then I got ready to go to a lecture, and while waiting for the bus at the bus stop, Claudia Lacher drove by and gave me a lift into town. I hadn't seen her since... Tim Wraight's birthday, so that's late November. They are going to Switzerland for Tim to take on a big private commission next month. Hooray. Short, sharp catch up and a promise for drinkies in eight days.

I went to the Suter for a lecture on the origins of the Maori, the indigenous New Zealanders, from the DNA perspective, by Dr Adele Whyte. It seems a whole lot of East Polynesians are related to a few of the native Taiwanese tribes. Fascinating stuff. On Tuesday there is going to be a lecture by a forensic specialist.

Then Ben had the bright idea to get Indian takeaway. And it was wonderful, except the 30+ minutes wait. Then I came home to find I finally got the quirky cashmere scarf from Mom in the mail; I still can't believe I wove this one, but the gray weft tones down the warp colors quite a bit. In retrospect, I should have been more adventurous. Pics this weekend, I promise.

I've been seconded to trying out Twitter. Again. I don't get that, kind of... But I like being connected to friends. I'm not sure what I'm doing there. I said in my one line bio that I'm a technophile/Luddite cross.

Good day, all in all. Figure drawing tomorrow. Theater Saturday night. And in between these, I must catch the textile awards show. Seriously. Gee, why can't I write short, sharp posts?

Made by Someone's Hands

Our Cook Islands (Rarotongan - Rarotonga being the largest island of the group) coconut ukulele. The strings are a blue-green fishing line, all four in the same width, and there are far fewer ... what are they called? Things embedded in the neck to guide you to press the right positions... compared to a regular ukulele.

There is no hiding the rubbish bag today, but it's been a good day so far. Whereas yesterday I was preoccupied about being distracted by the building, today I feel more settled. Time to get a little work done!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shadow Weave, Almost Falling Asleep, and a Crumpled Rubbish Bag

Day 8, and it's starting to look a little more like a kitchen. I vacuum every night, but tonight I vacuumed twice, and washed the floor twice, but it still feels grainy. Yeeeek.

I got the table loom out again; I had enough warp for two scarves, but wove only one in ... wow, September! So today I started to weave an identical shadow weave scarf, but I kept getting distracted by the noise and the vibration. (Yes, the house vibrates slightly depending on what the builders are doing!) Then I tried to read about shadow weave, but I almost fell asleep on the couch, half of me under the blue tarp.

I had no nice flowers in the garden, and I couldn't get to anything nice to photograph for Connie's birthday, but I saw some of the pottery on the bookshelf, and a clean but crumpled rubbish bag I could use as the backdrop. Hummmm. A challenge. I shot one of the tiny Raku vases I always thought looked like a planet, and experimented with lighting a little.

Overall it was an unproductive day; might as work on my website again tomorrow.



Happy Birthday, dear friend. May today be as lovely as you ever imagined, as colorful as you've ever seen, and may Eurika put on the loveliest early spring display just for the birthday girl. And may you be as creative today as you are meant to be!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Meanwhile, on the Home Front...

Day Seven; we came home to find the start of a pantry. The tile/wood burner man, however, has flown to Auckland because his wee boy is unwell, and will be delayed one week.

I am no longer cleaning these rooms. We're going to get more dust tomorrow. I'll clean after that. Or not. There'll be the day after...

Over One Hump

I worked at the Red from 10am to 4pm today, and before and after that, I re-read and edited four "how to" posts in the Marlborough Weavers blog. I wanted to make them as simple as I can, but the more I edited, the longer the posts got!! I've edited them so much my eyes now glide over the page. I've found some shocking semi-sentences and what-happened-here paragraphs.

I feel good because I'm over one hump, and now I wait for questions, requests and contests. Which will be pouring in. Perhaps. Trickle in. Maybe. But seriously, if I can get half a dozen weavers excited about the blog in three months time so they contribute more or less consistently, (can't define consistently at this point, but...) I think the effort would have been well worth it.

We also have half a dozen "non-line" (that's what Mama calls herself) members, so I need to whip up a printed information pack to make things as inclusive as possible. Other on-line members will help them get the information to me.

I also said I'd do as much image and info gathering as I could when I do make it over to Blenheim for meetings. Except last night. I forgot my camera.

And this one was from the left field: Judy Bool started blogging today! Here. There'll be more, I'm sure, after tomorrow. I secretly don't believe she started weaving in 2006; she's too good, but I'll be nice and not say anything just yet.

Oh, here's the high non-point of the meeting last night, and I didn't realize it until I came home. In my impassioned plea/appeal about the blog to the whole group last night, which took perhaps around half an hour, not once did I mention the URL!! Duh!! I got distracted and forgot. That's been remedied. Seriously!!!

I Know. I've Made Your Day!!!

Here. Look at "Fun on the Water II" first, then scroll down to "Fun on the Water".

Monday, February 16, 2009

And it's Official

We just got back from Blenheim about two minutes ago, and the Marlborough Weavers blog is official. Yay. I did "enthusiastic" well, but "low-keyed"?; more like "hysterical". Must try harder.

About 500 meters from our house on our way back, Ben got a speeding ticket. Shucks.


And this has been Monday...

Believe it or not, I managed to weave 172 more picks in the purple cashmere, and the 126cm mark was a little way back, so I have another Red Gallery scarf.

The house is dusty because there was serious sanding going on today. To escape, I even did a couple of hours of gardening. And because I don't want to clean the house once again tonight, oh, and because I miss my fellow weavers, we are off to Blenheim to a 7.30 meeting, for me on a mission to convince the group to approve the website.

Our meeting room hasn't got the Internet, but I've downloaded the blog so I can show the group what it looks like. I have a short speech typed in big fonts. And tons of supplementary info. I don't know why I feel so nervous, but there may be a few Luddites, and I'm trying to sound enthusiastic and low-keyed at the same time.

See ya!

Tight Spot

Can you kind of see the end of the warp? I could weave only 126cm, or roughly... a yard plus less than a foot?? So I want to go on until the last possible shed, even though this one will be too short as my regular Red Gallery scarf anyway. Two inches back, I took the weft off the end-feed shuttle and put it on a stick shuttle. Now even that's getting a tad tricky, so I'll use giant needle Mom gave me a while back - she uses it for frame weaving, but I use it in emergencies. Hold your breath. I'd love to get eight more picks of the twill before the 16 picks of plain to finish...

Builders are coming. Just a bit late because they are attending to someone else's emergency. It's all good.


Look, look, my loot! We hadn't made it to Blenheim, so last Monday, Rose Pelvin stopped by to drop off my towels, and quite a few other things.

"Minty Fresh Towel" by Susan B. Mint green is Hubby's favorite color. The weave looks open but is stable and spongy and the towel is luuuuuuvly to touch. Thank you, Susan.

"A Toast to Blue Skies" by Rose Pelvin. The fact is, these are candlesticks, and they definitely look more like candlesticks in real life, but when I first saw the photograph, and considering Rose is from Blenheim, the center of Marlborough, New Zealand's oldest and largest (?) wine region, I couldn't help myself but see wineglasses, so Rose named it thus.

Being among friends, I don't think Rose would mind my showing you the reverse side as well. they look like flat bottomed flasks. (Chemist's daughter coming through.)

That wasn't all. Rose lent me a memory stick with lots of pics from our group's first meeting of the year; she lent me one of the books I've been coveting, and got the other one out of the Guild library; and gave me another wee towel to boot.

But here's the lovely thing about Rose. It's not just the content, but the packaging. This wee bag held the wee towel, but the handle comes off and, voilà, it's one of her signature bookmarks.

You spoil me, Rose.

Today, in Blenheim, the Marlborough Weavers meet and among other things they will discuss whether to officially sanction the group blog. I'd like to go and state my case, and I even prepared a short spiel, but I don't know if I can make it; Rose will address the group on my behalf if I'm not there, but I feel terribly nervous about it all either way.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


Blind contour, 5 minutes, Friday.

Even though this is not my head, it illustrates well how I feel in my own home. Half of the house has been packed away since shortly after Christmas, and there is so much dust. Construction will go on for at least another week, with strange men coming and going and stomping around in work boots. I don't have anywhere I can sit comfortably and design, or read.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Listen to Peg

I do recommend you to go to Peg's post here, and read the three posts entitled "Finding Your Way in Media and Materials", "Your Path—Content and Themes", and "Finding Your Voice, Your Path" by Susie Monday.

As a linguist, I disagree that alphabet is a building block for the spoken language; there are languages around the world that are spoken but never written, therefore, not read. Writing, ergo spelling, came later historically, as well as in individuals learning languages at a young age, most notably one's native language/s. This is also why Shakespeare spelled the same word differently; spelling was set in stone after the printing press. Language is entirely possible without writing systems, including alphabets. Though I know not how literacy is defined.

But this is just a very minor part of Susie's writing and one which doesn't at all get in the way of appreciating it.

Then, you can listen to a podcast here, by Susie's coauthor, Susan Marcus speaking about creativity as the next literacy. Susie and Susan wrote "New World Kid". More about the book here.

PS. It's not the muse stuff; it's about training children, and in my case, myself.

PPS. Yeah, yeah, another book I have to have...

The Rest of Saturday

But life goes on. As I was thinking nothing I weave will ever be as fabulous as the few I wove in late 2005, through Connie Rose, I found this TED. I love TED, but what a shining soul, this woman!

I tend to think my creativity is my responsibility, and take credit and criticism as mine. In the same way that if I make a mistake in life, I take responsibility, even if I'm misled or coerced. I did the deed so I take responsibility, it's as simple as that.

I know better experienced artists have muses, geniuses and lightening strikes. I don't. Most everything I weave is the result of hard slog, a more calculated planning, a design process. So I seem to think my weaving comes from within me, not from the ether. I understand artists with muses show up to work, put in the hours, and do the hard slog as well, but I. Don't. Understand. The. Muse. Thing.

I've been trying for years now to be open to the unexpected, selecting choices that are counterintuitive, sometimes even appalling, colors and structures I normally wouldn't choose, to the point where I don't know what I would have normally chosen. I can't remember how I used to weave with blues. But it doesn't seem to be enough, or I'm too much of an ego-maniac.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I find the muse talk somewhat uncomfortable, and throughly irresponsible. I don't know where responsibility ends and control takes over. But I'd like to stay open to possibilities. And I'd like to think not committing, this year, opens up the possibilities a bit more.

And I can't be sure, because I haven't read the whole thing yet, but Peg's post here seems to be on a similar track.

The Last Big Whine About the Textile Awards

** This is an overlong post and I'm going to whine about new Textile Awards one last time. You are more than welcome to skip it. **

Yesterday, Friday 13th, I escaped the construction site that is my house. I went to the figure drawing class, which was nice, but the model fidgeted and fell asleep and I found her attitude unprofessional. On the other hand, I'm getting used to doing what I want. Everybody else stuck with white A3 (twice the size of your average notebook) paper, but when Ronette said we could use the easel, I went on to black and gray A1s (four times A3) using brown pastel and white conté. My drawing is nothing to write home about, but I felt good. Then I had lunch with Ben at Delicious.

Then ran into Sue Bateup. She had a piece accepted in the Awards show; there were 150+ entrants, and they culled it to 32 or 38; and did I put something in? So I explained the whole mother-in-law-and-trip-to-Japan thing. She asked if I was planning to go to the opening, and I said, probably not. She said a bunch of Nelson's textile people would be there and it'd be nice. I said being asked if I had put something forward and my having to explain why I couldn't was why I didn't want to go. And the missed opportunity thing. She said she understood.

Then I saw "Doubt" with Meryl Streep, and found it dissatisfying; I thought it was more or less a film in which two great actors overacted playing underdeveloped characters.

Then I went to three bookstores but didn't buy anything. Then I found an Australian magazine called Artlink, (Contemporary Art Quarterly, vol 28, no 4), featuring articles about curating, curators as artists and artists as curators, shows outside the "box", and a bunch of articles about exhibitions all over Asia. I bought that. The way I see it, having work selected for any show is a hit-or-miss thing; it's like finding your mate; it's about whether you click or you don't, or rather, whether they click with your work or not. But I wanted to know what they said.

We came home around 6.30. I checked my email and found the Textile Symposium newsletter. I had given up on going this year because of our finances, but I felt so sorry for myself I changed my mind and booked my flight and accommodation. I'm staying at a place that costs about half of what I'd normally pay, but it felt akin to a teenage act of defiance, as if I was daring Ben to stop me. I also know the Hawkes Bay Museum runs seriously worthwhile conferences, and I genuinely wanted to be there.

After that, I was so tired I ate a popsicle and not-nice chocolate chip cookies and drank milk while we watched a couple of comedy reruns and American Idle Season 8 Hollywood Cull Part 1, and then I went to bed at 9.30. I'd be getting about five hours' sleep every night this week.

Saturday, today, I woke up around 9 after a strange having a strange dream. If I'd gotten up then, I could have told you exactly what it was, but I only have vague recollection now.

I kept picking up Hamish Keith's "Native Wit", (a cracking good read), and kept falling back asleep, trying to remember/forget the dream. I drifted between this world and wherever until 1 in the afternoon.

Oh, the dream. It had something to do with a missed opportunity, that somehow, within or beyond my control, I had to forgo a cracking opportunity, and folk just keeping asking me why, and all I could do was to smile meekly. I had my back against a tall, solid gallery wall, and felt crushed by good intentions. It ended with me sticking my arm far into our PO box, and pushing open the door at the other side, which it turned out to be someone else's PO box and our two boxes were connected! She was throughly surprised!

I thought I was over the Awards thing. I honestly did. I realize I sound so self-absorbed, and am so unconsciously or subconsciously, but I find this utterly unattractive. Still, I'm not going to the opening tonight; I feel a sharp pain in my stomach thinking abut it; I'm going to this theater do instead, being easy on myself. I have been searching for other opportunities, and I've altered my plans accordingly. But the warp is still sitting on top of the big loom, just the way I left it in early January, and I get emotional thinking about working on it.

I think I know Ben enough to know he does appreciate my having gone home with him, and I think he knows how disappointed I was to give up the Awards. And though it may be blatantly obvious to you and me that I needed to go under the circumstances, there is a background to my grudge, but I won't go into it just now.

In the first instance, the onus is on me to get over myself and stop feeling sorry. I know this. But it would help if Ben acknowledged my sacrifice, perhaps verbally. In this respect, I feel myself to be a time bomb. A simple "Thanks" would go a long way.

EDIT: Just saw I spelled the program "American Idle" rather than "American Idol". it was not intended, but more apt.

Changes in the Way I Work

I found writing a post about "München Opera House Park" for my website excruciatingly sad. It was a piece I wove very early in my weaving "career", and I was stunned at how far I've come, possibly down a wrong path, in three years and a little bit.

While writing the post, I remembered the raw passion and excitement that pushed me forward when I thought the project was too big for me. It wasn't all fun and games, but I was so sure I would end up with a stunning piece. I was pleased with myself I had enough knowledge to pull off making something in my head into a real cloth. Ignorance was bliss; I didn't have certain kinds of knowledge about weave structure and fibers I do now; three and a bit years later, I still don't know enough, but given a similar commission, I most probably wouldn't plan it in straight draw. Yet, part of me knows whatever I'd weave, it won't be as spectacular as the few pieces I wove in this period.

The nine weeks I worked on this and this alone, I felt joy. And that joy of weaving has dissipated imperceptibly but continuously, replaced by knowledge, a type of confidence, matter-of-fact-ness, and a little bit of disdain. And I know how I arrived here.

I took part in so many exhibitions in 2007 that after a while I didn't want to waste time on the inspiration phase. Rather than designing in the way I think I ought to, I started cranking out original drafts and sensed they would "do". There was not as much love or care or joy put into my work, but treated worked professionally (oh, what an ugly, overworked concept!!), got the numbers, and met the deadlines. But always, as I stepped into whatever venue I was to drop off my work, I felt a tinge of sadness and guilt that these pieces were rushed. And eventually, this abbreviated process became my norm. No wonder the pieces felt "thin". No wonder I couldn't wait to see them out the door and hopefully sold; it wasn't about the money, it was the shame I felt that once again, I wove to meet a deadline, and though they may have been adequate, they were never satisfactory. No wonder I didn't photograph my work beyond the obligatory few mug shots. I used to spend a couple of days taking 300 and 500 shots at different times of the day, only to cull down to about 30 shots. And though I knew less about digital photography and lighting back then, they are better photos than what I've taken in the last couple of years.

I've come to not appreciate commissions. Some clients specify too many factors I dread my finished piece won't match their vision of the final product. Some are so simple there's no room for creativity. This has led me to pay dismal attention to the individuality and uniqueness in these pieces. But I improved at talking the talk!

I think I'm finally understanding, just a little bit, why art schools teach design processes in depth. I thought it was elite/artistic masturbation to dwell on it and thought technical training was lacking. But when enough thought goes into the inspiration/designing, there is something moving about the finished piece, and perhaps I'm starting to sense that. Of course the piece is more appealing if the knowledge and technique backing the inspiration is solid.

I'm doing the right thing in committing less this year. I'm a slow weaver at best; I don't want to crank out more of the same. Though I don't regret having made strides in improving my routine in one way, (and I apparently have something of a reputation of making it on the deadline come rain or shine), I need to pick up the good things I did earlier.

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Our" Ukulele

We bought the tiny, colorful ukulele on the Cook Islands in 1992 on our holiday. Cook Islanders usually climb up a coconut tree, drop a few, drink the juice, hull the flesh, and keep the shell and make a ukulele. Just like that. The strings are fishing lines of one width, controlled by hand-carved wooden pegs. But they know how to make beautiful music on the Cooks, and I had to have one.

We asked around where we could buy a uke and folk looked at me like I was a half-wit because nobody buys one, ergo nobody sells one. We took a wild guess, though, and visited the gift shops in the large hotels, and of course there was a hotel that sold ornate ukes, and this was the loveliest of the three. I can't remember how much we paid, but I know it was pittance, and still the receptionist/Lady Friday at our small accommodation thought it was highway robbery.

It made funny noises when I tried playing, so we had it as a decoration for 15 years, but when I tried to learn to play the uke in 2007, teacher Jane had a go, and it made that lovely balmy Island sound. Except this one has even more tentative pegs and one hole seems much too large so you can almost feel it going out of tune while you play. That needs remedying.

Most everybody else's on the Cooks weren't as ornate as this one, but well-used and well-loved.
The green, standard-sized one was a loan while I was in the 2007 class.

Steady rain today. Builder Ryan comes later today, around 8; Builder Shane moves house (as in, his own family home) and has the day off; I hope the rain clears or eases for him and his.

I get to go back to my regular figure drawing class and escape the house for half a day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"My" Ukulele

I posted this on another blog earlier in the week, but I thought you needed a break from my dust.

When I was home, Dad gave me his ukulele, so I came home with it carefully wrapped in clothes and in the suitcase, with a bottle of musical instrument oil. He played it, as it turns out, for over 50 years and we kids used to play with it and abused it, so there was plenty of dirt, grit and who-knows-what-else. Besides, Dad used to smoke two packs of Camel a day.

I always thought he bought it himself when he was a student, but it transpired Mom gave it to him as a present before I was born! Mom didn't remember, but Dad is the kind of guy that remembers these things. (He used to be a hopeless Romantic. He once let me read a letter he wrote to Mom!)

It's a very special thing for me. My parents don't have much they can hand down to us, and there are three of us. But he used to play it most often when I was the only kid, and Mom was pretty sure my siblings wouldn't be interested. He was pretty good, and he knew a lot of Hawaiian songs. Kath Bee tried it last week, and told me it's a really good instrument, even though the pegs (??) at the top are wooden, so it gets out of tune even as you play one song.

I hope to practice, but no sweat if I'm no good or progress slowly. It's a piece of family history, and particularly appreciated because of my tenuous relationship with Dad. Though at times it can be tough being the oldest, there are lots only I share with my parents, because I was the only child for the six and a half years.

But then if you take the humble instrument to Paris, it can be make truly respectable music, especially in the hands of such long fingers!! Hats off. (Thank you, Lynne, for the pointer.)

Day 3

Today was not a productive day; I only added three pieces to my website's gallery. I'm covering significant-to-me pieces chronologically, so I had to recall about work I did in July-October 2005, which is like light-weaving-years ago.

On the home front, I had three builders, one plumber (coming and going all day), three electricians (morning and afternoon) and three ventilation guy (early and mid-afternoon) come to the house, and those are just the ones I met; if anyone came and spoke to the builders directly, I may not have noticed. Though I assure you this is not a big house and the kitchen is four medium steps away from the office.

I also had to ring the wood burner guy twice, the vent guys once, and my regular chimney sweep, an amazing philosopher, rang to say it's that time of the year and would I like my chimney cleaned, and I explained what's what so he'll come have a look when this is all done.

Young Ryan the builder had to level the concrete in the living room, raising smoke-like fine dust. Not much we could do to contain it, so I grinned and bore it. And vacuumed after everybody left, changing the bag three times. And that's just this half I can access now.

It was interesting to watch project manager Mike check things and instruct Ryan; Ryan is hardly an apprentice, he's just younger than the others, but because I've only ever been to "academic" schools, I felt privileged to witness how younger tradesmen get more training on the job. Heartwarming stuff.

Oh, I got talking to Ryan yesterday and ended up showing him my four-shaft Jack and 16-Shaft Big Mac, and explain to him how a computer-controlled loom works. Today, Shane the Man asked to see it. I'm happy to spread the word anyway I can, to anyone who'd listen. I was flattered Ryan talked about it, and Shane was interested!

I'll be sure to take pics of these two, plus Gentle Nigel, my new regular plumber, when they're not covered in fine concrete dust. (Actually, that's Shane wondering what on earth I'm doing.) Fine men, all; salt of the earth kind.

Just now.
Just now.

PS. A while back a columnist kept writing about her house renovations (big job!) in her weekly column in my favorite magazine. I got so bored after Week Two, I stopped reading her column altogether; that she's so far to the Right and I'm towards the Left didn't help either. So I'm sorry I'm boring you with the house stuff, but I'm stuck here and this is the happening thing right now. Shane reckons by the end of next week most everything will be finished. I think he said so.

PPS. You know how, if you have a potty mouth, you can be described as "swearing like a construction worker"? Is that the right phrase? Well, around these guys, I have to watch my mouth because they don't. Swear, that is. I didn't like being called "sweetheart" by one of the other guys, and I reacted the way I normally do, and I managed to amuse my construction guys.

Beware of Your Surrounds

When photographing your work, that is. It's a wet and cool day today, lots of activity in the kitchen, and I'm working on the website, adding contents.

I've been looking at photos from pieces I wove in 2005, when I was a complete novice in photographing textiles as well as weaving, and am disappointed at some.

Take this one, for example. It has merino warp and merino/mohair weft and I took about 200 pics to try to convey the sheen created by the mohair. I actually wove two pieces with the same weft and same draft but different picks to see which worked best. This is one of the photos where you can sort of see the sheen, (well, much better than most other pics), but what's on the floor? On the left is a bunch of rubbish, advertisement that came out of the previous night's newspaper, and on the right is Mama's bright yellow-and-green rug, (very cushy)!!

I've usually been careful of these things, but I must have been concentrating so hard on the sheen I didn't see them. Live and learn. After much groaning and severe cropping and blending.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An OK Day

Well, today turned out to be an OK day after all. I'm covered in fine concrete dust in spite of the sheets, as is the better part of the house, but I got the website's Gallery/Exhibition portion updated. I have so few photos of the more recent exhibitions, and some may need rewriting, but at least I got some contents now.

Tomorrow, the water cylinder is moved to the left, right behind the new wood burner, and the fridge will move to the far right. In between will be my new pantry.


My Kitchen Floor!!

Good Thing/Bad Thing

Thanks to all the work that's going on, I can't get into the kitchen nor the living room, I can't step into my stash room, and I don't want to go downstairs lest the builders need me.

So I've been working on my website, actually managing to get some contents in, though very slowly. , Well, only two exhibitions, but it's still good.

But while looking for some info about Re:Fine I took part in in late 2007, I discovered to my shock & horror that I'm missing one or two notebooks.

At any point I have a sketchbook (or two or three) and one notebook going. Anything goes in my notebooks; I might scribble a To Do list, paste a nice picture, make note about other artists' works or exhibitions, or work on projects before they transition into the sketchbook. Re:Fine opened in September 2007, so I was looking for the notebook from that period, but no, I have a notebook up to February 2007, then the next one starts in February 2008!! That's a whole year missing, and even though I may not write in the notebook for ages, I've not been without a notebook since late 2001.

Travesty. It was one of my busiest periods when I took worked on Re:Fine, Culturally Routed, Twilight Market and Craft 08, so I know I had at least one, if not two, notebooks covering that period. Twilight Market alone was a good one-half of a notebook.

Now I am really keen to clean up that stash room, after all the work with the wood burner is completed. I am shocked, because I thought I could always rely on my notebooks and sketchbooks!!


2.00 PM

OK, It's Me

The Builders yesterday told me they'd be here between 7.30 and 8. So I got up at little after 6, Ben got up shortly after, and we both got on the computer, mindful we needed to get our morning routine out of the way before 7.30.

By 7, I was tidying the kitchen. At 7.15, I reminded Ben to move the car to the top of the driveway so the builders' trucks won't be in his way when he goes to work much later; I got his usual uncommitted grunt as a reply.

At 7.30, Ben came into the kitchen in his PJs and started making his breakfast. I glared at him, so he went downstairs to have a shower first. I still hounded him about priorities, and he looked exasperated and jumped into the shower, then came up to have his breakfast, moving very slowly.

I asked sarcastically if he had moved his car already, to which he mumbled, "Yes, when you told me to."

So the original title to this post was to be "Is it Me, or Is it Him?". Big humble pie, Ben. (Though you could have told me!)



I can't seem to make myself go downstairs today, so I might as well work on the website.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You don't Get Fat from Looking!!

For knitters and cupcake lovers.

And Yet Optemistic.

Issues surrounding the textile show really gets me down, and I suspect it has something to do with my relationship with my in-laws, or Ben's with his own family. I'm anxious about the work being done in my house, and I can't wait for it to be finished.

And yet, and yet, I've felt helplessly and helplessly optimistic about my 2009. I've no good reason to think that, nor know how or why the year is going to be so fantastic, but I feel it. And I usually see how things are going to turn out, however far off my pictures turn out to be, but in this case, I don't really have a good picture. Yet.

Lynne's this post liberated my head, and Connie's this post furthered my good mood. I know part of it must mean I'm really on the mend from nearly six years of mild-to-moderate depression. Work-wise I haven't committed to anything this year, except to a few commission I got last year, and to catch up with everything I've committed myself in the last... five years or so.

I don't see a picture of me getting into challenging exhibitions, not suddenly starting to sell more pieces, or more expensive pieces, at any of my venues. Rather, I feel myself sitting in the organized-and-spruced-up "design room", feeling enthusiastic and content, though I can't even see how I'm going to tidy the stash room.

It's been so long since I've felt this general uplifted-ness, and I'm holding on to it like there's no tomorrow. I want to believe in self-fulfilled prophecy.

And there's something so attractive about a big cloth covering everything in my living room. It's the biggest tarpaulin we found at the DYI store, bigger than what we needed, but I know we'll get good use from it. Have I crawled under it just to have a look? You bet!!


Two nice builders, Shane and Ryan, have been working in the sweltering heat, first knocking off the concrete chimney, now demolishing the fire place from the kitchen. Everything is solid concrete, not concrete blocks, so I was warned tomorrow will be another excruciatingly noisy day. Yikes. I like these guys; they are polite, considerate, and efficient. But I can't wait for the demolition to be over. I can't stand the noise and my whole being feels gritty and dusty.

Meanwhile, the Textile Awards show opens on Saturday. I got an invite; there was apparently a piece in the newspaper. And I'm being asked if I've put something in the show. And I can't believe how anxious I feel to be asked this. I thought I was over it. Wuss.

Monday, February 9, 2009

To Our Australian Friends

We hadn't watched the news since we've returned, and never imagined it to be so bad! Sincere sympathies and good wa to our friends on the East Coast of Australia. I hope you get some reprieve soon.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

English Literature

It appears I have a new email friend Scott who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and it appears he is one voracious reader. I wrote my usual shpil (sp??) about my post-Poisonwood Bible reading habits, Franzen and "The Corrections", Roth, my love for plays, including Shakespeare and Sheridan, but in the end I had to admit my fav author these last half a dozen years has been Nigella Lawson.

Then I said I haven't read nearly enough American classics.

I read "The Catcher in the Rye" in my junior (11th) year and thought it was the most boring, self-absorbed book I've ever read. And I thought "sonovabitch" was a code for an illusive Russian character, much to my classmates' delight, and asked Mr Wolf why it wasn't capitalized. And those are about the only "classics" I can recall. I read "The Scarlet Letter" after graduating from collage and loved the writing.

I had hoped to read American novels while I was an English major at college, in Minnesota, USA. It occurred to me for the very first time as I wrote today, (though I told him it was a while back), that in the US, English Lit means England-or-UK-English Literature, while in Japan, it means Written-in-English-of-All-Sort Literature. Because some readers and critics in Japan separate Scottish or Irish literature from England-English literature, when we say English, we mean the language.

Goolly Gee, the things you find out 30+ years after you graduate from high school!!! What a loss. Golly Gee. And five posts post-Etsy. So I can't shut up. Live with it.


We did finish stacking the wood, in a record less-than-four-hours, in what I think was the hottest, sunniest, stillest part of the day. Good on us!

Pushing vs Pulling

There is an old Japanese saying, "If pushing doesn't work, pull." It's similar to the one I've been repeating to myself for three or so years, "When in a real hurry, take the long way around."

Indeed, Ben tells me there are a lot of Japanese tools that work when you pull, rather than push. Japanese saws cut when pulled and Japanese planers shave when pulled. Japanese knives when used on meat and fish, particularly the long skinny sashimi knives, cut when in a gentle pulling motion, so no use trying to chop the delicious fish. Same with Japanese swards, so you need to get pretty close to cut someone.

With Japanese brooms one is meant to gather the dust at your feet, and we don't have the equivalent of what we call "deck brushes", the kind you push away the dust. And the traditional carts, from just transporting things to a small shop/eatery, we pulled, not pushed.

I've been catching up with Connie Rose's personal blog, thinking I should be able to use this mentally to my advantage. Not sure how just yet.


Envy is an ugly emotion I struggle with. It never used to be like that, but I was influenced by a friend who envies, and from listening to her envying fairly constantly, I picked up the perspective. Around the same time, I quite my office job and faced this "art thing" seriously, depleting my bank account, so it became easier to envy.

But I envy selectively. I envy people who have lovely homes, clean, tidy interior or beautiful gardens, because I feel more relaxed in their environment than in mine. I envy people who can travel because I would like to do the same. I guess I'm envying their buying power.

I don't envy people who are slim and beautiful or are full of energy because in this department, one can only work with what one's given, and I wasn't given much to start with in this department except health, and I don't work as hard as I should. And I know this. By extension, I don't envy people who have nice clothes, but I envy folk with good taste in clothes, and those who have the patience to consistently present themselves well. I can't be bothered with my undertallness.

I don't envy people who are talented or successful in art because, again, one can only work with what one's got, and I'm in the process of finding out what I was given, and I know I don't work as hard or consistently as I should in this department, either. And I work slowly. And by extension, I don't envy people who get a lot of accolade for their art, deserved or not. I just don't like certain works of art, and love others.

I used to envy well-read people, because I can never seem to catch up, particularly since I started the art thing. I am a slow reader to start with, but I'd rather look at drawing and paintings and textile now than read. Or make things. So I'm not as envious, and I'm learning that there is much I can contribute in a good conversation not from having read things necessarily but having thought through something my way. I feel, in some ways, more mature this way.

I take full responsibility for what I do in my life, where I am, and even in my fate, some of which I don't create. I think I've become less envious as I've become older. Even if I envy someone one moment, I'd have forgotten in the next. I wished I could stop envying people for things I can't control for myself. I wished I could turn envy into a positive, proactive force, but I haven't found a way.

And I will envy you if you get a brand-spanking new loom of any kind, but especially a purpose-built computer-controlled one with 24 or 32 shafts. I'm trying to save up for that!

(And this is the second post AFTER the Etsy post, because I cheated with the Collingwood post!)