spring break

More time is elapsing between posts lately. I am busy working and thinking. Mostly thinking, as it seems that many recent ideas have stalled, while nagging questions pop up regarding creative focus and directions. I think I am in a rut – doubting where I am heading.

So instead of making much, I have spent time in the garden, cooked, travelled to our capitol, and watched my son's soccer games. I need a spring break, to reflect and to secure my footing. Things may continue to be a bit slow here, just for a short while.

spring cleaning

Once again I am thinking of directions to go and new places to take my art. I feel stuck in a cycle of wanting to secure an income by making smaller and more production oriented work, and a longing for creating something bigger with a farther reach. So I am doing a spring cleaning, both physically and more philosophically. I am trying to sort out what ideas are worthwhile pursuing, and what should wait, and to come up of a list of goals to stick with. Here are some initial plans.

Taking a break from etsy. I opened my etsy store in 2008 and for the most part it has been a huge success. Lately I have noticed a lag in activity, and I think that etsy has become such an enormous marketplace that unless you constantly update your inventory, network, and actively market yourself it is hard to be seen. Instead I am moving my shop to big cartel, where it can be uniquely mine both in looks and content. I would love to know what your thoughts are on this. What are the pros and cons of a more independent web store?

Submitting work to juried exhibitions. This is something that always has intimidated me in the past. But I have come to realize that if I want to consider myself a true artist I need to dip my toes in the chilly water. I want to exhibit more and expand my resumé.

Limiting my production work. For now I will stick with one of a kind sachets, books, book covers, and pillows. Those are things I love to do. The pieces I make are still unique and stand out in a crowd and working on them makes me happy.

I am of course continuing my wall pieces and collages. They are the focus of my work and my true love. But this time I also want to get better at promoting them.

We will see where all this leads. It is always easier to jot goals down than to live up to them. In the spirit of blatant self promotion I encourage you to visit my website, and my web store. I would love feedback, good as well as bad. And I have a new artist page on Facebook, please join me there too if so inclined. Happy spring!

avocado dip

Chopped up a bunch of avocado skins, added the pits, and set it all to simmer. Once strained the concoction made a surprising dye bath - the cloths came out maroon/rust/dusty pink pending on kind. While I had the pots on the stove I could not resist making a few bundles filled with fresh spring leaves, such as japanese maple, redbud, and roses... A wonderful end to a wonderful day. Happy spring.

reclaiming the garden

Gardening has always been a big part of my life, but for the past few years my own garden has been woefully neglected. Family, work, art, and life has gradually encroached on my precious gardening time and lately I have been too embarrassed to face the weeds and the decline.

This is about to change. This weekend I met with Tracey, (blogger friend, horticulturist, garden consultant, artist, and almost neighbor). We had a wonderful time walking around my yard in the warm morning sun, discussing options, admiring the good, noting the bad. Tracey's positive attitude and practical advise, made me see the garden and the practice of gardening with new eyes. I am truly inspired! The daunting job of caring for our acre of our overgrown land, will be broken down in small manageable projects. I have promised myself to stay on task and to rediscover the joy of digging in the dirt and stopping to smell the roses...

new york first hand

We are back from our wonderful road trip that culminated in New York. As predicted there was not enough time for all the things on our wish list, but just being in this fantastic city for a few days was a genuine treat. We walked in Central Park several times, visited the American Museum of Natural History (highlight for the boys), strolled around the village, listened to music in Washington Square, ate fabulous meals, especially the dinner at Sel et Poivre on Lexington Avenue, and toured Columbia University, where my oldest son hopes to attend college.
Near our hotel we witnessed night time filming for an upcoming movie called Did you hear about the Morgans? with Meryl Streep in one of the leading roles (no we did not actually see her, but just the idea that she was nearby was good enough). We had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien every morning, complete with organic granola, baskets of baguette, tasty jams, and big bowls of double-shot lattes. There was a tiny bit of shopping too. I found some mother-of-pearl buttons at Tender Buttons on 62nd street, and a few yards of beautiful reproduction cotton fabric at Purl Patchwork. We had a wonderful time, just long enough to lust for the next visit...

signs of spring

Slowly but surely spring is emerging. The star magnolia buds are unfolding and the maple flowers makes the tree aglow. To celebrate the season I invite you to visit the poppytalk handmade green spring market. An amazing array of artists are showing off their goods at this virtual market place. This is my debut as a poppytalk handmade seller, and I am impressed with the quality and beauty the market represents. You can find the inleaf table here, along with talented friends such as periwinkle bloom, enhabiten, and jewelweeds.

deux fm collaboration

My talented cousin Anna Gilkerson is the artistic force behind the Canadian clothing company deux fm. This summer she and I collaborated on some lace-printed pieces for her Spring 2009 collection. It was exciting to experiment with something new and different, and to discover how expressive lace designs and patterns can be. I love the look of the finished pieces.

 Anna creates lovely and elegant clothes while promoting ethical and environmental awareness. She uses eco- friendly as well as recycled fabrics and utilizes fair labor practices. All of her goods are manufactured and sourced in Canada. Deux fm's beautiful fall line is available now and you can visit their website for more information and retail outlets.

on a brighter note

The fruits on our plum trees are abundant this year. By late July they should be ready for eating, seductively sweet and juicy. The tulip poplar is dropping its unusual but beautiful flowers all over the back yard. My lovely husband made a Jeffersonian gate for the vegetable garden. It is so elegant and fits well with the raised beds. I am happy. 

folds and foilage

I am leaving you with a snapshot of another project I am working on, this one involving lots of folds and fantastic vintage Irish linen. Prints of leaves will be incorporated at some point as well. Also, I can't resist these freshly sprung japanese maple leaves in my front yard. The color combination is perfect in that strange way that only nature can provide. Anywhere else it would look garish. Chicago is waiting. I'll be back next week with photos, marvels, and impressions.

spring unfurling

It is unseasonably chilly here in central Virginia, but somehow spring still makes its way. A buckeye sapling is unfurling its leaves and the crab apple in the far corner of our yard is in full bloom. The geraniums are leafing out (ready for printing yet again) and Trevor, the frog fountain, is waiting for action in his soapstone basin. The fruit trees are blooming as well, both plums and asian pears try hard to attract the honey bees... Thanks to all of you who visited the bloom show, in person or in spirit. The opening went well and the middle room in the gallery was bursting with lushness, flora, and fresh imagery. 

white spring

Cut star magnolia branches are in full bloom in our family room. The flowers are so beautiful in a fringy, delicate way. I spent most of this past weekend outside, working in the garden. Despite near freezing morning temperatures, I happily pruned, dug, replanted, raked, and dug some more. My lovely husband started on the raised beds for the vegetable garden. They look so nice and they will help us conquer the inevitable chaos of rampant growth that will hit full force come July. There is much left to do of course, such as plopping the beds in place, digging and hauling dirt to fill them up, amending the soil, planting the seeds, and watch everything sprout...