A Unique Primitive Art with a whisper to the past~

These truly ARE the voices in my head.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Meet the New Duncan!

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you, the newest of the Duncan series. He will be an official pattern on Crow Soup~ the 15th of August. Many thanks to Jane who has become my right hand person in helping to bring many of my designs to life faster than I ever could. She is certainly a Godsend! I loved the title that she gave it. It is also with great honor that I introduce this pattern and give Jane the credit for the title.....
"Duncan, the Spider Tamer"

On Being Sane In Insane Places

I had to read this short story one semester for college., and the title seemed to fit perfectly here. My apologies as I don't remember the author. It basically was about a young woman that had issues and was placed in a Mental Facility. They put her through shock therapy. Her issues were not mental health and she was quite sane, but there wasn't a facility or diagnosis to help her at that time.I feel as she does at times. Someone just assumed and never looked at the facts.

In the Art world as you stick your neck and your heart out, there are people ready to swipe with cat claws. Those that know me well, know I value honesty a great deal and I put it forth. There are those people out there that swipe at all you do and you wonder...am I dreaming this? Friends , family and wonderful customers have validated my art journey. What does one do with malicious attacks? I've never run. never had anything to hide. I've been honest and told those that have come across such people, " never stop doing what YOU love for them". Time puts a stamp on your work and it tells the truth as to what came first and what was copied. Now... I want to make it very clear here, that I LOVE to inspire people, and people have been inspired with different concepts, techniques and design elements. This is not about that. These people usually state that they are so inspired, either publicly or personally and I say.. go for it!. But others are just very mean spirited people.

I've run into this only twice.. and twice is enough. Honesty and truth continue to work so well for me. Pam Gracia, of Soft in the Head put a very mean spirited piece on her blog about me. While a blog is certainly no place to post ones unexplained bitterness, it does allow the truth to come out for all to see. She posted a drawing that I had done for her a few years ago. She wanted to do some bat wings and was having difficulty as was stated in her blog. As a friend, I drew them out for her. I told her that she could use the body, if she wished to make finished pieces at shows. I'm now accused of taking her bat and making it a pattern. The truth shows for anyone wishing to see. If you compare her drawing with my Bob the bat on my website, you will see that the wings are CLEARLY different in size and SHAPE. Bob even has some quilting done inside the wings if you have the pattern to see. She has her wings as she asked.. free of charge. What is the problem? I used my bat body design for one of my patterns?

I purposely did not put up pictures of each, but they are easily found if anyone is curious. I need not feed into such negative energy. My patterns go on Crow Soup every month on the 15th. That is a time stamp. The Internet can very much be honesty's advocate if you let it. It is so here. It has been noticed by many that watch Pam and I that she occasionally seems to put a pattern out that is somewhat similar to one I have already put up.. generally within a few weeks. Is it riding on my coat tails, or that I simply inspire her? I hope that it is inspiration. I very much hope that Pam goes on and continues to make wonderful designs. She certainly is a very talented woman. I would only advise that she keep honesty and truth beside her in her work and her living.. they really are the best partners you can have in life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Suitcase O' Help

I'm almost there.. almost finished with the samples I have been working on. I've traipsed back and forth to help my parents and work here at the Goode Comfort Cottage. Not that it is bad, mind you.. just busy. I've come across the conclusion that I am a Gypsy Artist. Pack and go at the spur of a moment. No need for a studio, any kitchen table will do! I've had a real enjoyable time making up samples, but I'm ready to move on and delve into some new designs that I have drawn along the way. I still have a couple days left and then some graphics to do.. but I'm excited to look forward.

Now it's one thing to have a portable sewing machine and a box of stuffing.. but what about everything else I need to do my work? Needles, beads, paint , string, wire? So many things, not to mention thread, scissors and needle. How does one do it all? I had, at one time bought a wonderful sea grass basket at a show and dumped all that I needed to take with me at shows into it. It wasn't the best thing, but it worked. As Netty and I packed for our first Trade Show there were so many things to bring and we both brought a lot of finish work to do in our room at night. I bought myself an old suitcase from Goodwill. I absolutely love it and it goes nearly everyplace I do. I feel like Mary Poppins a bit, but I couldn't get by without my sturdy "Suitcase O'Help" as we affectionately call it. It could have been worse I keep telling myself....at least it's not my handbag.....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Good News!

I wanted to share a couple of things with everyone and THANK YOU! Some leave comments, some email me privately and some just enjoy I hope with a cup of coffee or tea. I hope that you do find it all....a Goode Place. I would certainly not be here, as I am, without each and everyone of you~ so on this note. I am honored to share.

First! I am a member of a couple very nice forums and this one is particularly nice. I enjoy my time among these talented women and hope that you do also. They have an online magazine and asked me to be one of their Editors. So it is with with great honor that I leave this link to share with all of you.

And if that isn't exciting enough, I received a call today from Kathy, from Primitives by Kathy. I had sent some graphic work in to be used as notepads. They have all been accepted and she would like me to do more so that the Spring Catalog will have a good amount from me. I love that the notepads are all made in America! It's back to the drawing board, literally. I have a few more soft pieces to give detail to and the samples for next year are all set. She seems quite excited with the descriptions. I hope you will be too.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Charlotte Slaughter Scott

This is one of my favorite pieces of Art. I have always been drawn to the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. This doll is inspired by a real slave in Virginia. Charlotte Slaughter Scott. I met Charlotte's ancestor, at a Gallery Show. She told me the story of Charlotte, how as a slave she cut off some of her fingers, so that she would not be sold and could stay with her family. She went on to be a midwife and learned much about herbal medicine. It is my honor to share what inspires me with you.
I am thankful to Sherrie~ She is very honest about my work and said that I bring honor to Black Americans. I don't exaggerate features. They are done with a simple dignity to them. I added a touch of me in her headpiece. The knot isn't on top of the head as most of history would depict it, but rather done in a little different way, in what I felt a midwife may have done in the Southern heat and humidity.

When Did THAT Happen??

When did I become an Artist? It's always seemed a journey and a goal, something that I would be, someday if I was very lucky. Sometimes even being told by friends and family, I still didn't FEEL it. Most of the time I was too busy enjoying the media, still learning techniques and rules of media so I could bend and toy with them. It's all about practicing....I was practicing the way someone would play an instrument or dance. The history and technique is a part of the process and that is what we do first. Something is sparked so we investigate it. Then we experiment and continue to practice. We don't wear a badge to tell the world, we just do what we love. We are defined by many things that are a part of our life and Art is just the place where we go quench the thirst of our spirit. It is the same with all of the arts.

As a child I took oil painting lessons while my friends sold Girl Scout Cookies. As a teen I apprenticed and worked my weekends beside a China painter. For no payment mind you.. to learn about the media and techniques. Then I was off to Art School and then College. Even with degree in hand.. to me I wasn't an artist yet. Art was a side thing for me, a love, a drive... a calling. I knew in my head that I would have to work for a living if I wanted to live Upstate and the chances of making a living off from my art would be difficult at most. I made Art to feed my spirit ( I was still practicing mind you), I worked other jobs to feed me. I did work several jobs that had nothing to do with my degree and somehow that seemed to be part of the times. As I taught decorative painting, I still didn't feel it. When my life changed through Netty, I was apprenticing again.. it was still the journey and I was still practicing.

I'm a single Mom now and have been for several years. It took all of three years to weigh the pros and cons of licensing and I'm comfortable with knowing that I am making a living for my daughters and I. I used to think my work was too whimsical to be art, but whimsy has a place too. I found myself looking back and realizing that Arts really do dance with so much of what was a part of our schooling, whether we chose to continue our education beyond High School or not. To continue education was well worth my time and effort. We all start out as "self taught" but I wanted more and I was fortunate to attend college. I have learned many things from my professors. It doesn't change your gift, it is knowledge gained and can enhance it. History, sciences and math do touch the arts without us realizing. We look back and realize that they have danced beside all along. We reach towards what inspires us and naturally delve into much the time period of the inspiration, the science of technique and the measurement of math if we pay attention to our steps. It is similar in all the Arts. You don't have to search for it, it dances beside you while to follow your heart. Art isn't forced, it happens. We make art to please ourselves. I have been fortunate that my work is not only a self expression of me, but so many others enjoy it also.

I know now that I am an Artist. It didn't come with a degree or just giving myself a title... it came on the heels of time and thirst for knowledge, starting with the media. It hasn't been with the journey of a year, but with many. It comes with an open mind that knows that you can learn many things if you just listen to those around you. It's not letting an ego get in the way and not taking it all for granted. I came to this place with a wonderful gift and yes... I can now say I've reached THAT part of the journey... but it's way not over yet! I will do it to the day I die. It is nothing that one retires from. It's who you are if it's truly a gift.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Trombone Reading....

Ok, ok, I admit it. I've joined in the ranks of, "The Trombone Readers". You've seen them or are a part of that club. Over 40 and suddenly, you can't read fine print. You hold it closer, pull it back in little intervals to big. Sometimes just going for the "all the way" at arms length. We do it at restaurants and stores. We even borrow glasses in hopes that it's just a momentary thing. Finally we admit it, another coming of age.

What to do? A sign of the times. One either goes for it and goes to the eye Dr. or like me; not wanting to take the time, hoping it's just temporary... we go for "The Cheaters". Off to the Dollar Stores to try on a pair to get us by. My "Cheaters" are a lovely shade of dark turquiose. I was hoping that they would be easily found where ever I set them. Sadly it's not so. What to do? Back to the Dollar Store for a couple more pairs because not only can I not see close up, but apparently I'm going blind altogether and can't find the darned things.

Now I'm resorting to one of those nifty neck chains to keep them on me while I work. I feel like the blue haired lunch lady of my youth. Argh... I began a search, If I was going to have to wear these things on my neck, I was going to do it in a funkier way. After searching several stores I rejoiced in finding a lovely turquoise beaded neck chain. Thoughts of my Arizona trip and and all it's beauty were held in this neck chain. Where did I find it? The Dollar Store of course. Right next to the rack of "Cheaters".

Thursday, July 12, 2007

You Touch My Heart....

I want to thank everyone of you for stopping by. Some of you visit quite a bit, some have found me quite by accident. I found this little Neocounter on a kindred friend's blog. Thank you, it gives us all a chance to see that it is a small world after all! I would have never in my wildest dreams have guessed that I would have touched so many of you with my writing...but then again, it is because of you that I am sharing my journey. Please feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email. If this is your first time, grab something to drink and enjoy. You are most welcome here and I hope to call you friend. For all of my friends here.. thank you for being there for me.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Better Is One's Own Path~

A couple of days ago, Netty stopped by my house with a bag of fabrics that she could no longer use. We were chatting away , each sharing projects ahead and the joy that we both share designing for Halloween.

We were looking back to our very beginnings when she asked me to draw for her. I loved it and also loved the sculpting. I have just started my journey this Spring, sculpting and casting Chalkware. I first met Netty in the Craft Dept. of a store that I had worked in for years. I didn't know who she was, but I always looked forward to seeing her and chatting with her. One particular day I was talking with her about an article that I had read in a magazine about Chalkware. I had spent time on the Internet and in the library trying to find how the process was done. It seemed to be quite a secret. I had spent a few years as a young teen apprenticing to learn how to pour ceramics and we later owned a shop for many years. I didn't mind pouring molds, but I wanted to cast things that I had made. Chalkware could give me that. Netty shared with me a few things, that the molds were made of rubber and yes, it was a very tight-lipped media, not many would pass on their secrets. Imagine the joy to be able to eventually work for Netty and sculpt for her! She has followed her path along the years and explored Chalkware and wax casting. Her love of paper remains a great love also. It is all a journey, a path that an artist will explore blending history, science and willingness to learn from others.

When I first saw Netty's dolls, that was where my heart went. I didn't know how to sew though.. a great obstacle? Even if I could sew, I'd need a pattern. That was "The Rule". I had watched my Mom sew Barbie clothes to earn extra money here and there. Many of my school clothes and summer shorts were made by my Mom. It was quite a process to lay the fabric out, pin on the patterns, cut and then follow the rules to put together something in the right order..... I REALLY loved the dolls though...enough that just maybe, I could follow what my Mom had done so painstakingly and lovingly and what I thought was ....torture.

I asked Netty about it one day.. How do you make these dolls? Is there a pattern? She laughed at me and her eyes twinkled. She told me.."draw it out on muslin and sew on the line. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't." "You'll get the hang of it." In that moment, she gave me the world. It dawned on me~ as artists we are rule breakers, we don't need patterns , we just need to understand the process. Netty has been beside me now for about 10 years. She has been my mentor and my friend. She has shared so much with me and has inspired my work greatly. Like a Mother, she has always encouraged my journey and has always had confidence that I would find my way, just fine. Just like Mom, she has always been right about that. When Netty and I do a show together, many are surprised to learn that neither one of us knows what the other has made. We load all of our work in the van and set up our things. It always works out great, like it was ment to be. We don't need to know what the other has made, we each enjoy our very own journey and love what we do. It all comes together. We also enjoy the journey of the other and appreciate the gift that each of us has. We constantly inspire each other. There are no egos, no jealousy of another's gift. We simply enjoy the gifts that each has and watch the other's journey with smiling eyes. You don't need a license for the journey but sometimes you just need to be reminded that there are no rules. You will find your own way.

"Better is one's own path, though imperfect than the path of another well made".
author unknown

This was my quote in my Senior yearbook.