Sunday, November 1, 2015


joyous all hallow's eve to you all in whatever form you choose to celebrate it! bodhi and i spent a quiet night with a few friends, breaking bread, sharing sweets with neighboring children, and then snuggling on the davenport watching hocus pocus and allowing our respective surgeries time to heal. it is our sincerest wish that you all are enjoying the evening as much as we have been!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

buzz, buzz, buzz!

"when the flower blossoms,
the bee will come."
-srikumar rao

introducing bodhi, my new little st. bernard puppy! he is just 8 months old and already weighs almost 100 pounds!  oh my, but he's gonna be a BIG boy! he's a sweet little doll baby that was rescued from an abusive home where he spent his first 5 months ignored and cooped up in a tiny kennel. the a-hole who had him bought him from the breeder and then abused him this way, letting him out only to go potty and then right back in. he was being fed the cheapest, worst food and was severely malnourished until the guy's sister confiscated him and nursed him back to health.

two weeks ago, he came to live with me. he didn't respond to the name they had given him (thor) so i started calling him bodhi, which is the buddhist term for wisdom.  he immediately responded and so it stuck.

i've been away from my blog lately as i injured my hand 6 weeks ago and have been unable to stitch, no matter how many times i've tried. my hand is numb and tingly like it's fallen asleep all the time. i herniated the bursa in my wrist which had caused 2 cysts on my bones and one ganglion cyst on my wrist that is wrapped around an artery and sitting on a nerve.  i go in for surgery this coming friday.  then it'll be a couple weeks in a splint and then physical therapy, so there won't be any stitchery or music for a while, but i will find other things to share in the meantime...


Thursday, October 1, 2015

personal archeology

as an artist (though, in truth, this applies to most areas of my self), i sometimes find distractions mounting on all sides leading me astray from intended purpose.i begin to feel rather like the cartoon dog spotting squirrels and darting off in unexpected directions.  perhaps this is not always a negative activity for it uncovers many surprising treasures, both in experiences and objects.

this evening, the squirrels were stuffed away in several binders and boxes. pages upon pages of ideas captured in pencil and ink and paint and cloth. dolls/ quilts. instruments. carvings. paintings. all yet to be manifested.  a walk through memories forgotten. now revisited. it is at times like having a.d.d. of a sort.  the whispers drawing me in so many directions. it is a sublime bit of confusion in the moment. though eventually not very productive.

perhaps this little foray into personal archeology will inadvertantly redirect me down a more creatively productive path.... until then, i am enjoying the journey!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

working through

an uneventful weekend. one of those periods where you feel swaddled in cotton wool. everything around you seems muffled. so you busy yourself with things close at hand. the pants, which have begun to call themselves working through, stirred and whispered. they were as close at hand as anything else. i began laying the foundation. a scrap of red to remind one of the wound upon which this new cloth will be built. stitched up a few rips that were silent.  brought what was left of the hem back into close proximity of the leg.  on my last pair, i underlayed a hem from a different pair of pants. i'm not sure yet what i want to do with this pair. though i do not wish to repeat the past.  next will come layered fragments in a boro strengthen and connect. 


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

salvage blues

things that people
have used 
and cherished. they
have personality,
and soul.

here we have two of my favorite things: music and cloth.  both created, or to be re-created, from salvage.  in the background is my latest acquisition, the troubadour, talked about here.  in the foreground is one of my favorite pair of work jeans. carpenters, complete with the extra little side pockets and hammer loop.  blown out knee with a minor repair already chanted in. chewed to salem and back heel cuz i love to were my jeans a few inches longer than my legs can manage. one of the legs is ripped several inches up along one side where i stepped on the trailing fragments of hem and continued to try to walk.

if you've been following my blog for some time, you'll remember i've already done a pair of skull pants. now it is time for something different. new. at first blush, i'm thinking something japanese. oni masks; foo lions; noh theatre; hannya masks...that sort of vibe. so, over the next few days, i'll be sketching some ideas while needle chanting in some stabilizing scraps and preparing the jeans for what is to come!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

to re-establish a sense of belonging

a bit of needle chanting on an often re-visited cloth, mind flowers.  no real reason to have chosen this cloth over any other. just the need to stitch without much thought. this cloth has many chant sessions to go before it will be fully realized. so it is as good as any to re-establish a relationship with fibre. a sense of belonging to something other than.  a union with cloth and community through stitch.

i spend too much time alone...


Tuesday, August 11, 2015


"great ideas emerge
from useless fragments
of  thoughts."
-michael bassey johnson

perhaps time has slipped and left me along the selvage. sidelined. overlooked. perhaps this creates space. for thoughts. for dreams. perhaps what we think fills this space really only fills the expanse beside the space. like cloth filled with color and image beside the selvage.  

i seem to get lost all too frequently in these edges. of time and space.  perhaps it is simply a side effect of depression. or merely a forgetting to be present. perhaps i can nudge something from this stagnation. poke the hibernating bear, as it were.

play with some of these fragments. arrange a bit of a shrine, if you will. some tiny vignette  on my worktable to entice an idea. or three. from the ethers. to draw me away from the selvage and back into the tapestry of color...


Sunday, June 21, 2015

playing through the pain

"music washes away
from the soul
the dust
of everyday life."
-red auerbach

a few days ago, a log was dropped on my right foot, breaking two toes and smashing two others. talk about an extreme way to slow oneself down!  even though occupational rehab seems to think that the weekend is all i needed away from the craziness at my construction job to heal enough to return to climbing ladders and hauling steel, i'm still finding ways to take it easy.

i wanted to stitch this weekend...the gods know how much i miss my needle chanting!  but the pain just wouldn't allow me to focus.  so i turned to music.  strumming quietly upon one of my treasured dulcimers. it got me to thinking. i have a wonderful dulcimer collection, but have never catalogued them.  so i started rounding them all up and tracking down the various scraps of paper and digital files containing what information i have on each of them (some are better documented than others). 

these two lovelies are the ones that started my love affair with appalachian dulcimers.  the one on the left is by a wonderful luthier by the name of joe sanguinette (now deceased). it is made of walnut with a purpleheart fret board and dogwood inlaid centers on the hand-cut dogwood pattern sound holes.  it is one of two prototypes that he never put into production because they were too time intensive.  i was lucky enough to acquire this one, with the help of my mother, while he kept the other one (which ended up on ebay some years ago and sadly escaped my bids to be shipped to a buyer in england).  the one of the left is by jack lyle of waynesville, nc (also, now deceased).  this one is made from spalted wormy maple and has a quilted maple back and a mahogany fret board.  where the sanguinette has a lovely, mellow voice, the lyle has a bright, cheerful one.

as i began assembling all of my dulcimers in one place in my home (until now, they've always been scattered throughout the house - tucked in closets, under beds, displayed on shelves, in cabinets and on walls), i realized that i had quite a few more than i thought i did. thirty-six, to be exact. unless there are others lurking about that i don't remember owning...

the most recently acquired, and the most unusual, is this mandolin-dulcimer hybrid by eric holland of dark star guitars in eastern kansas.  eric started by deconstructing a pre-1895 bowl-back mandolin by luigi ricca, then completely rebuilding and restructuring it into a new walk-about style dulcimer.  his workmanship is superb and the sound is amazing!  i can hardly wait to get acclimated to its nuances and subtle differences from a traditional dulcimer, at which time i'll record something with it and post it here on my blog.

meanwhile, as i get them each photographed and documented, i am going to start a dulcimer page on this blog that will chronicle my collection in the coming months. look for it in the tabs at the top of the page.  and as the pain in my foot decreases and i am able to focus on my stitching, i have a couple newly started projects on my workbench that i will be sharing in the coming weeks as well...


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

too short days

"i still find each day
too short for all the
thoughts i want to think, 
all the walks i want to take, 
all the books i want to read, 
and all the friends i want to see."
-john burroughs

spending some time this past week going through my blog and leafing through my non-cyber journals, i realized that i have allowed my life to encroach upon me. i've allowed work to impose and gobble up my time. more recently, i've allowed loneliness and lethargy to rob me of moments that once were spent!

in an effort to turn this decidedly unhealthy tide, i spent some time in my workshop this last weekend working on a new cigar box guitar.  you may remember this one here, where i acquired this unusual (and quite rare, it would seem) skull and cross bones cigar box.  i've had a lot of fun playing that four-stringer over the past year! while i know that i have other cbg's (cigar box guitars), some with four strings, some with three strings, and even that lovely one from my friend in england that is convertible between three and four strings, i came across this companion to that skull and cross bones cigar box with black printing instead of red and fully two inches smaller and decided i needed (yes, "needed" can never have too many music makers) a three string cbg brother to keep the older one company.  some sawing and sanding and shaving and cutting and wiring and happily spent hours later, i had this beauty above! like it's predecessor, it is an acoustic/electric so can be played either way. it has wonderfully low, easy action so will be fun to work out swift blues rifts on!  unlike its brother, this one even has black skull shaped tuners and a volume knob with a tiny skull in it (which you can see if you click on the pic and zoom in).

i think i have a couple old wood wine boxes that just might be large enough if i put them together to create a nice hard cbg case that will hold both of them!  time to go rummaging around in the workshop again and see if this is so...


Monday, April 13, 2015

a hobbit's thought

"there is nothing like looking
if you want to find something."
-j.r.r. tolkien, the hobbit

sometimes i sit and wonder what to do. or not do. or do again. i can make myself crazy doing this doing-ness.  or doing-less, as the case may be. so in order to quell my brain and stop the world from upending itself and folding in, i pulled out my bowl of tiny squares and began stitching. again. tiny stitches. ticking the seconds away. i know one day these tiny squares will become some thing. a larger thing. a warmer thing. but right now they are simply tiny squares. stitched into a somewhat less tiny square. though still not large enough to warm anyone.

and then i noticed a new fray. a small rending at my ankle. a new opportunity to stitch. when i relinquish the tiny squares once again...


Thursday, April 9, 2015

a residue of time

"dark and silent
dreams settle
in the night like
a residue of time"
-d. joseph madl

while contemplating my collection  of burmese marionettes and indonesian wayan goleck (rod puppets), a thought intruded the quiet afternoon. unbidden. an unwelcome guest.  sitting in the corner. watching me squirm in discomfort. 

i have become complacent. 

lazy even.  

dust gathers on my workbench. a surface from whence once poured inspiration. like these puppets without a puppeteer,  i dangle uselessly in my studio. 

some thing 
must be done. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

a little more

"nothing can be done
except little by little"
-charles baudelaire

i'm slowly emerging, not unlike this year's spring. sometimes it seems like there is no time, though there is time enough for a little more. it's been a bit of a struggle...transitioning from a sedentary occupation to a physically demanding one. and at my age, no less!  couple the resulting sheer exhaustion with recurring depression and add into the mix the beginnings of arthritis and sometimes i just don't want to get off the davenport.

but the creative calling is strong. too strong to ignore for long, so this morning found me at the workbench adding cedar shake shingles to the first birdhouse. tiny little things, hand milled from scraps of cedar flooring from the cabin project.  the supply shelves out in the woodshed are filling up with all manner of marvelous bits from this adventure.  blue pine from the ceiling. red cedar from the floors. logs, branches and bits from the various pine trees and juniper bushes we've been harvesting for various projects around the house.  so many visions of new endeavors!  there's a lovely pine log that will become a fairy house...and some gorgeous longer bits of cedar that will make a marvelous box dulcimer with perhaps enough left over to become a scheitholt even!  they will make for pleasant little diversions from stitch and cloth now again.

my hope at this moment is that all of you in the crazy snow belt that has descended upon us are safe and warm and that those elsewhere are also safe and enjoying your days!

meanwhile, i was enchanted by what i found here.


Friday, January 16, 2015

the birds and the bees

"my father told me 
all about the birds and the bees,
 the liar - i went steady
 with a woodpecker
 till I was twenty-one."
-bob hope

the urge for a change of scenery...for the hands as well as the eyes...found me puttering about in the wood shed these past couple evenings. reacquainting myself with the various array of power tools which reside there in.  exploring a back story for a character i've been contemplating. 

from scraps of discarded "waste" this bird house began to arise. it all began when a cast out board "marred" by a gaping knot hole whispered stories of shelter from the fire pile. shifted from there to my truck bed, and then along to my wood shed, it began to whisper in earnest.  buzz. buzz. bang. bang. the foundation of a home arose. blue pine, gifted with the happy happenstance of a large knot hole (the perfect door), needed little coaxing to take form. now to dig into the pile of scrapped cedar cut offs in search of shake shingles to roof this little house ( it's not so little at 23 inches tall). and then....who knows what else will find its way home?

i shall have to begin work on its future inhabitant soon...


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

laying a foundation

it's strange, sometimes, where a tear will appear. center back of the neck. ripping stealthily. sneakily. but the opportunity to play with fragments of cloth and thread will not be missed!  first, a foundation to strengthen. next will be a layer or three of stitch and fragments. perhaps a skull? a crow? whatever, it will be a fun diversion. creating a quiet little secret hidden beneath the hood of my coat. except for when my ears get cold...


Thursday, January 8, 2015

"rabbit underground,
rabbit safe and sound"
-richard adams, watership down

there is a fat little bunny who lives just off the porch in this cozy little nest of dried grasses and snow caps. plump and round and as fluffy as a bunny can be.  he spends most of his days hopping about the yard, eating what grasses and leaves he can find (there is a veritable smorgasbord here). i spend much of my idle time watching him...eyeing me curiously as he munches away. it seems funny that he has the little green gate at his doorway. seemingly blocking any untoward visitors. apparently he does not consider me untoward as he seems genuinely unafraid of my comings and goings.  half-remembered images from some long ago watched monty python film linger in the dark recesses of my memory whenever i approach his doorway.  perhaps i shall simply heed the whispered cinematic advice and "run away"!

meanwhile, a growing of pile of cloth fragments and threads are calling...  i feel some needle chanting is forthcoming. a welcome and long awaited return to creativity.