Category: this is where i am from


week 50  in my “this is where i am from” year long project:

I had a serious puppet phase. For years I got a marionette for Christmas every year, made some myself and my father made me one, a king.  He also made me a theater from a dishwasher box,  it was covered with classic 70’s striped contact paper and I painted scenery on an old window shade and sewed costumes for the puppets.

an interruption

week 47,48,49  in my “this is where i am from” year long project:

Well there has been an interruption hasn’t there – Weeks 47,  48 and 49  will be the weeks that never were. Hopefully I’ll back on track next week. I hurt my back on the 18th and I tried to ignore that  because I really, really didn’t have the time or patience for my back to be hurt. That made things much, much worse until everything came to a grinding halt on the 20th.  I’m nearly better now and dealing with the work overload mess this interruption has caused.  This experience has  gotten my attention. I’ve been working at a ridiculous pace for too long. I need to change things in a big way going forward. I’ll share that with you as I figure it out – right now it is 0% figured out.

And I  I wanted to show you these – a couple weeks ago  I posted a drawing of a clothespin ballerina ornament I made as a child – I made the drawing from memory – but my sister found the ballerina!  It was packed away with family Christmas treasures along with another I made that I had forgotten about.

I think my dad must have made the ballerina arms for me and the soldier’s arms are wooden coffee stirrers (do they still make those?) – maybe you know someone little who would like to make these.

over the stream

week 46 in my “this is where i am from” year long project:

I  spent the  entire day doing small careful drawings and writing a course description  (both top secret projects I’ll share a soon as I can )  so I needed to do something looser this evening.  I would have loved to have done nothing at all – but thats the whole point of a personal assignment. And I was glad to be painting after a little while – it was like a counter stretch to my day.  This is  the stream deep in the woods with a haphazard little foot bridge crossing to the hill covered with blueberries and the high tension towers.

clothespin ballerina

week 45 in my “this is where i am from” year long project:

I made these ornaments when I was small – I think the same year. I don’t have them anymore and I wonder if I remember them accurately and  I wonder of they are wrapped in tissue in one of my sister’s attics – I would love to see them.

The ballerina was made  from a clothespin and her costume was a scrap of pink tulle and ribbon. And the little camel was made from brown flannel or felt maybe and he  had red blanket stitch all around and sequins on his blanket.

sewing machine

week 44 in my “this is where i am from” year long project:

My Mother’s sewing machine. A White Rotary, I think it was a wedding present. It’s the machine I watched her sew curtains and clothes and dolls and toys on. It’s the machine I learned to sew on and it’s the machine I sew on today.  And because it’s almost Halloween I’ll tell you a spooky and entirely true story about it:

In December of 2006 I had just begun my solo enterprise – I had lots of orders and deadlines and on the eve of one of those very important deadlines I was still  sewing furiously  very late  at night.  With a long way still to go the machine suddenly  stopped and a chunk of metal rocketed past my face.  I found it across the room –  an essential part of the machine – no sewing without it – and it was broken. I tried to fix it but nothing worked.  I have a drawer full of bits and pieces that I saved from my Father’s workshop, things I used in dioramas and assemblages – bits of metal and rubber, knobs, washers, gears, springs etc.  I thought maybe I could cobble some temporary solution together from those.  Another hour of frustration  and  no luck at all.  Exhausted, defeated and ready to give up I pushed the drawer closed and it stuck halfway, I pushed again and it stuck again, I pulled and it stuck. I gave a great big angry  pull and the drawer flew out and what had caused it to stick also  flew out and landed in my lap: to my amazement and disbelief it was a replacement for the broken sewing machine part – the exact part – identical but for the color. Not similar, not “good enough” the EXACT PART in perfect condition. I snapped it in and it worked beautifully, that night and all the nights and days that have followed.

The End.

the big fig newton

week 39 in my “this is where i am from” year long project:

I loved halloween. I loved making costumes and my most favorite of all was  my big fig newton costume – I was 10 or 11. I spent weeks working  on it.  The fabric was shimmery and I learned the song and the dance (note the jazz hands).  So much fun to make but not so much fun to wear – it was pretty awkward and  it rained on halloween that year so I was a soggy, cold, uncomfortable newton.

the swamp

week 38 in my “this is where i am from” year long project: When I am frustrated, or stuck or unhappy with my brain I always benefit from constraints and happenstance. That is where I was this week so today I chose a subject: the swamp (the swamp I loved) behind the house I grew up in in Massachusetts and worked with what was on hand: The Sunday Times.   As an exercise I recommend it – it worked well for me today – I feel the gears turning again.

polyester pants and the revolutionary war

week 37 in my “this is where i am from” year long project:

In the winter of 1976 I had occasion to have dinner with a large group of fully outfitted revolutionary war enthusiasts and re-enactors. I had on plaid russet colored polyester and acrylic elastic waist pants and a slightly shimmery blue polyester shirt with a giant collar that I bought with my own money. It all felt pretty awkward. There was a particularly excruciatingly long moment where I had to stand on the little town hall stage and have my picture taken. I remember wondering “how much worse is this going to get?” and wishing the little stage would swallow me up, and being super into the dudes in costumes. Being 11 is no joke.