Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Tough times continue

The year 2020 has brought one sad day after another. The pandemic doesn't seem to be any closer to ending. And yet some endings have come. A long hard battle closed for sister's husband in July.

Mike fought hard against glioblastoma for almost two years. In that time he underwent surgery and other therapies. He kept his dignity and strength as his time came to a close. His family surrounded him with care and love in his last days as he spent them at home. He will be dearly missed by his friends, his family, and the community of law enforcement he served throughout his career.

Rest in the peace you deserve, Mike Stapleton.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Still here... at home, mostly. Somewhere around day 107?

It's easy to lose track of time now. We've been staying at home for the most part for the last three + months although we've been out more lately. Each time we're out it's either in open areas where distancing is easy and/or with our masks in place. Hand washing frequently, of course--as each one of you is doing, I'm sure.

People who downplay, don't understand, don't believe, or otherwise ignore the potential of the pandemic are making the situation worse for everyone. Wear the damn mask! 

Times are harsh in other ways, too. The anger and frustration bursting forth about ongoing racism and fear of "others" show us all how ignorance about and intolerance of difference is corrosive.

In this situation, with the world in turmoil and lives being needlessly lost I hesitate to mention this bit of (for me) good news--the upcoming publication of my book being published by the University of North Georgia Press. Release date is in September and I hope by then that I'll be able to have a book signing at the Hambidge Center where I'm scheduled for an exhibit around that time. We'll just have to see how things turn out.

More about the book may be found at the UNG Press link here.

Here's wishing and hoping for all of you health, safety, and better times ahead. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

In for the Long Haul...day 68 or so..but who's counting?

Well, I've tried to count the days we've been mostly at home so far. I think it's at least sixty-eight by now. When I say "mostly at home" I mean we've not visited friends and only had one brief trip to see family early in April. Our outside activities include placing online orders for groceries from Walmart (our ONLY grocery store option in town) and picking them up in the parking lot, taking masked trips to the post office (1), the bank (2), and one or two other places for curbside pickups (6 or 7). I've continued my daily walks and those are done early enough that there aren't any other people around.

When I'm out to walk I almost always photograph one or more things. In fact, on Facebook I usually post a "Good morning, Dahlonega" photo each day. It's something that catches my attention--even sometimes making me stop in my tracks to take another look. I don't go out looking for what might be found... but there are so many wonderful details in the multiplicity of things that make up the world that something will be there. Here's what I posted yesterday:

We have a few friends who've stopped by to drop off fresh eggs and to have a conversation through the open window. My husband had a nice chat with a friend who was driving by when he walked out to the mail box last week--she in her truck across the street and he on the sidewalk.

Our big excitement was to get a haircut at our house last week. The fellow who cuts our hair was willing to come over and use the "salon" we'd set up with a chair on the back porch. My husband and I each had a turn getting our pandemic dos altered into something less scary. All of us masked throughout. It was nice to see the lawn, blue sky and clouds while getting shorn!

My studio work is slower now, even the daily tapestry diary parts I weave. My focus for monthly images to inset into the days is feathers this year. So far, I'm lagging behind in getting the one for May well underway. I've selected the feather (blue jay), drawn it and have woven to the point of starting the feather itself. I have now eleven days to complete it.

I've done a bit of other weaving for another project and sewn the tapestries into a couple of things:

This pillow has the tapestry center sewn into the larger cotton flannel fabric borders.
And, this pincushion is about 3" square.

In early March before the virus began to take its own horrific march through our state I borrowed a Mirrix loom from a friend (thanks, Dinah!) to weave a couple of small tapestries, each based on a photograph of a periwinkle I made earlier this spring. These are for an upcoming project that I'll talk more about later when the time's right.

I hope soon to be able to adjust to whatever the new normal will look like in our world. In the meantime, I have more masks to make and give away.  

Health and safety wishes to all!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Stay at home, shelter in place, hunker down...

...or whatever you choose to call this time of being dormant. Suggested and/or forced, yes. But necessary. It's almost impossible to comprehend what's going on. How could we have been participating in our daily "normal" lives as the new year began ... and three months later be in this situation?

I don't have an answer to that and neither does anyone else, no matter how loudly one says it.

So we get on with our lives as best we can, knowing that many are much worse off and others are in different, more fortunate circumstances.

My daily routine is much the same as always up to a point: get up; write morning pages and have coffee; walk a mile or two around town; weave my daily bit on the tapestry diary; get ready for the rest of the day. By then it's about 11 or noon... if noon, I have lunch and then go to the studio. If 11, I pack lunch and then go to the studio. Once there, that's when the routine changes.

Here's the April tapestry diary feather of hope, a guinea feather.
Since early March it's been quite difficult for me to concentrate on anything at the studio. I have three tapestries underway but all have come to a standstill in the last two weeks. I've been making cloth masks to give to family and friends. I've used several online examples to work from, with the best tutorial for my reference being the one shown through the Northeast Georgia Medical Center site here.

This is one hand-off of masks for a friend: tied to the kitchen door, sealed in a ziplock bag, inside another plastic bag. Text friend to say it's there, ready for pickup.

Although most of my stash is yarn, I had a small amount of fabrics and even some elastic to work with. At first, I fought with my old Singer sewing machine through the construction of about five masks. The machine's foot feed doesn't work consistently and that's a PIA, big time. The back stitch also doesn't work so I had to turn the work around to sew in reverse in some places for seam security. I did a lot of cussing and shouting for a few days while doing those.

Then I remembered an impulse purchase I'd made at a fabric store about a decade ago... a little sewing machine called a "Sew Mini" by Janome. It was less than $100 when I bought it and I tried it out a few times at home, then put it away thinking I'd use it for stitching on paper (I was doing some bookmaking at the time), but never did. Once I remembered I had it, thought I'd give it a try. And, it works the way I need it to!

So, even though there is only one speed (no fast stitching along straight lines here), it has been able to handle the several layers of fabric, plus the pleating of the masks. And it goes in reverse! Thank you, little Mini, for your hard work in the past week. I can truly say that was one impulse buy that I (now) don't regret!

 I even resorted to sewing my own bias tapes once I ran out of those in my stash.

I'm off to the studio to make a few more masks today and these will probably be the last ones I sew since I'm running out of supplies. I will be back to the tapestry looms after that.

May your lives be healthy and safe.

May we all come out of this awful time as better people, if that's possible.