Archive for the ‘Fodder’ Category

life lesson from a bird brain

Friday, April 10th, 2009

(note: this is what i suppose you’d call a cross-post in that i posted this very same bit on my other blog, i’m sure it’s probably not a nice thing to do, but it’s the first time i’ve ever done this, and well, i just had to today, you see. not only is this true an applicable to both blog parts of my self, it’s My Very First Video. yes, that’s right: jeanne is learning a new marketable skill: shooting a little short video, uploading it, and disseminating it. so, i suppose we could say that there’s more than one lesson here from my morning procrastination bird watching . . .)

every morning like clockwork, ms. redbird shows up to defend her space. she’s a tenacious thing, continuing her task despite the would-be distractions of a nosey cat and a growling dog. outsiders are not the issue, you see. ms. redbird tenaciously defends her space from her own reflection, from her own self. when it comes to protecting her personal territory, she is her own worst enemy.


sunday saunter

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

“to hell with the ego of it. be free,” jude says. and, as usual, her crystal ball works better than mine. it’s precisely what i’m after, the notion of being free. it’s what i’m perpetually chasing: an ego-free existence.

having been raised in a religious environment (i’m over that now) (as much as you can ever be over early religious training) (ever hear julia sweeney’s one-woman performance called letting go of god? it’s the catholic version of me.), the phrase “pride goeth before a fall” was something i heard as much as i heard the word “salt”. (i could tell you (perhaps convincingly) that we used salt to cure the hogs we killed for food – and i can actually remember that happening. but just barely. truth is: as grossly unfashionable as it is, we just like salt. which is good for my mother’s side of the family who has low blood pressure and bad for daddy’s side who has high pressure.) pride is, of course, a dress ego wears, and i think i’m pretty much over it now, given all the water that’s run under . . . well, let’s try to contain our metaphors: given all the stitches that have been ripped out of that particular dress.

and though i’m mostly over it (finally), there are still a few remnants of perfectionism (another dress ego wears) hanging around. there’s the brightly colored dress of “will-i-be-found-worthy” that often jumps to the front of the closet (stay with me: i’m trying to stick to the metaphor chiffarobe i created), just within reach (almost) every time i sit down to write a blog entry.

these are the clothes i’m trying to outgrow. don’t want to move off and leave them behind for somebody else to wear; don’t want to donate them to the thrift store because i sure don’t want anybody paying for a wardrobe of such burdensome attire.

and i think this (ever present) desire for a new wardrobe – a wardrobe in which every single piece bears a label (and this would be a good time to tell you how much i despise labels of any kind) with jude’s words – is what’s got me thinking about creativity. i mean i like how elizabeth gilbert resuscitated the ancient romans’ notion of geniuses – “distant disembodied unknowable spirits” who live in the walls of an artist’s studio and sometimes (frequently if the artist spends enough time in the studio doing their part of the work, as glennis so eloquently points out) come out with the most brilliant ideas and schemes.

but somehow along my way, i got stuck on the renaissance notion of self being the center of the universe. self-reliance became (and still) reigns large for and over me, and it permeates pretty much every area of my life. while i’m quite comfortable with the notion of being responsible for myself, for making my own choices and enduring or enjoying the inevitable consequences of those choices, it’s really pretty exhausting. (can we coin a word and say egohausting?) (exhausting = a word that back in steam engine days meant to let steam off after it had done its work. the “haust” part come from latin “haurire” which means “to draw”. and, in certain contexts, the ego does serve a worthwhile function: because orange is not my best color – and the ego knows this – it keeps me from, well . . . let’s just say that it makes me behave. so maybe i’m after an ego-free creative existence.)

ambling back to what i think was my central point . . .

okay. we’ll have to get back to this later. hubbie is (understandably) ready for breakfast and to get busy building cabinets that will, by the end of the day, replace the boxes in our bathroom.

to be continued . . .


enigma continues

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

continuing to think about creativity. about faith, trust, mystery, work – all components of or cousins to creativity. but after a day of shopping for (and finding!) flooring, bringing it home from n.c., and unloading the truck, i just don’t have the wherewithall to pull together a string of complete sentences tonight. i did, however, sit and stitch a wee bit. still creating the image i call enigma:



Friday, February 20th, 2009

must’ve seemed like i had taken the loot, said a public thank you, then rode off into the sunset.

not the case.

just have had no where to sit, and no time to sit – sitting being a prerequisite (for me, anyway) for stitching. but now – just today – i began to create an image i’ve been carrying around for weeks. there’s no translation, no explanation. just the image.


which leaves me (once again) pondering creativity. the intriguing, captivating mystery of creativity.

a few years ago, my son introduced me to TED, a convergence of creative, innovative thinkers and doers who gathered under the umbrella of technology, entertainment, and design. since its inception in 1984, the scope of TED has grown and expanded, while the concept remains the same. my son and i immediately put it on our list of things we want to do before we die: attend the TED conference. now, thanks to, we can!

anyway, this month elizabeth gilbert (author of eat, pray, love) presented a different way to think about creativity. after reminding us of the way ancient greeks and romans viewed creativity, gilbert proposes that we are not creative geniuses but we have creative geniuses. as gilbert says, the notion that we, ourselves, are not totally responsible for the creative end product somehow takes the edge off the immense responsibility creatives often assume.

take a few (about 20) minutes and watch the video. we’ll talk later.


tent of memories

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

with that awful lace out of the picture and a quarter turn (or more), it became a tent and memories came rushing back as though it was just last night i was sleeping in those sheets and blankets and towels (to cover the dreaded gaps) draped over the living room furniture . . . proving once again that sometimes it’s the taking away, the cutting out that gives us the most. especially when you win the argument with yourself and cut out the part you just never did like to begin with.


at last

Monday, December 8th, 2008

i find myself uncomfortably off balance of late. heavy demands and weeks of living with crashed computer have been punctuated with bits of exciting derringdo, though, and to catch a glimpse of things percolating that don’t involve needle and thread, visit my other blog,

over the next few months i’ll be popping in and out erratically as i move from this house we’ve lived in for 12 years to one a scant 3 miles away. moving is not for sissies, as you know. it’s time-consuming, backbreaking work that allows me opportunities to practice remaining grounded in the moment, patience, and decision-making skills as i sift and sort through all that has accumulated (despite my best efforts) (sporadic though they may be) over the past 12 years.

and right smack in the middle of the holidays. yes, there’ll opportunities galore.

but on the cloth side of things, just this weekend i picked up an old familiar head-scratcher:


still perplexed about what to do, i started snipping, and when i cut that damn lace out, bam. breakthrough. relief: tenacity (even if drawn-out tenacity) wins again.


maybe it’s a goblin?

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

okay. am i working on this piece or is it working on me?


let’s review:
day 1: enjoyed collection of and introduction to materials.

day 2: discontent set in. liked the backside better, so back is now the front.

day 3: hate the lace, but like the way layers peek out from under the pink satin camisole as if they’d been sat upon, squished by the pink. when i started the piece, i fancied the fabrics as representative of various layers of my life. the pink satin = the pretty, fresh, little girl layer where i was absolutely adorable to look at and be around. now here’s little pink layer sitting on the other determined layers. i tend to personify and anthropomorphize, it’s true. (which makes me think of judith’s pathways, actually. and here i’ve been too embarrassed to admit publicly that i make up stories like this with my pieces.)

which brings us to day 4/today: i know i ought to take the advice of my stitching sages and put this piece up, tuck it in a drawer, set it aside for a while, but honestly, there are so many unfinished things, so many loose ends in my life right now that i just can’t do it. i can’t. i want to finish something, dammit. and, bless its heart, this project is what’s going to satisfy that desire. i know i run the risk of hating the piece forever and ever, but (for now anyway), the quest continues.

i tinkered around with it this morning, deciding to pull up the ends of the thread. i mean, they were just hanging there anyway (i didn’t bother with knots or embedding them or anything.) as i “worked”, i listened to susan susanka’s book, the not so big life. i have a strong affinity for place, and one of my favorite thinking candies is how our physical spaces support us. as i pulled those threads,

i got sculpture.


i got cubbies.


i got whatzits.


but i got no ah-ha. no magic. no eureka.

and that damned lace has to go.


still not yet

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

no time to work on it today – at least not with needle and thread. but i did wake up thinking about this piece and puzzled about it most of the day. am now thinking i’ll flip it over and make the back the front. like karin, i usually like the back of pieces better anyway. (in houses, too.) there’s just something more approachable, more comfortable, easier about backs or wrong sides. i like the way the various fabrics play peek-a-boo when this piece is flipped. only thing i don’t like is the lace. blechkdt. i really do not like lace – at all – so i’ll find something to put over the lace. a patch. like mending.

could work. . .


not yet

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

this is just not doing anything for me . . . except possibly contributing to the fall funk. which is, of course, not good. (the funk or the contribution) when i launched this one, i looked forward to something marvelous appearing. this was going to be the most amazing experience, my breadcrumb trail out of the fall funk forest. i would write books about this. people would name their children after me. but this is not intuitive work, this is not (i hope) from any deep well of knowing or enlightenment. this is just plain random. and moving. desperate, uninspired, random motion, that’s all.


i don’t like it any more than my camera likes focusing on the grid of that delicates bag.


the layers are kinda’ cool, but it’s definitely sorely lacking in other ways. ways i hope will soon make themselves known because right now, the back is the best.


and that’s not saying much. not saying much at all.


breaking ground

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

starting is often the hardest part of any project for me. have been thinking lately of transparency and layers – in terms of my life. (of course, it’s all about me.) no image in mind or even a vague idea of what to do. no car to run fetch fabrics or inspiration. having thought way too much of late, it’s time to move. to act. to start. so i went around the house in search of materials that spoke to me, no explanation needed. just do something, i told myself

so i have a dryer sheet:


a bit of pink satin from a camisole i once wore:


a bit from one of those laundry bags used to wash delicates in the washing machine, a bit of pink lace, and some delicious fabric from a pair of pants that i’ve not gotten around to mending:


cut up a jacket to capture a bit of dragon, something else i’ve been thinking about lately: