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Monday, February 25, 2008

Cheater Cloth Quilt

My version of cheater cloth--a whole-cloth quilt of my hand-dyed cotton stitched along the design lines then bound. A styling blanket for a sweet young thing--my friend Oliver.

BTW, I did take a week off from my sketch a day--just too much going on--but I'm back. Here are some recent sketches:

In case you couldn't tell, the bottom one is my TV when it's off. :-)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Unproductive productivity

Had a busy week with the kids although it was hectic at home. Spent a day in beautiful Northampton, MA (above is the view of the back of the main drag--I think it's even more interesting than the building fronts), did an architecture program at Wistariahurst in Holyoke, had a sleepover with three extra kids (amid newly painted walls and an impassable kitchen) that included the new Spiderwick movie (which was quite well-done, although, as one of our young critics said, "They got everything wrong!), a blizzard, and games with friends (I highly recommend Lost Cities if you like a good, quick--less than 1/2 an hour--two-person game).

Poor kids--they had a lot of fun but too little sleep. Combined with the chaos in our house that really brought home the reality of the move for them. They've been a little fragile this weekend, but looks like they're on their way back up. Catching up on sleep was the best medicine, along with lots of hugs and talking.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ah, the joys of compartmentalization

Went away for a lovely, relaxing weekend of good friends, good fun, good food, and good (at least on their part) conversation with our friends (and tons of snow--just look at it all!) last weekend. There was yoga and strong coffee, loads of fun kids, calm music, sanctioned coloring on the walls, a new (to us) game called Niagara, and a recently un-snowed hot tub. There was also a gorgeous full moon making fascinating shadows and the warm glow of kitchen windows on the snow (below).

Everything was great--so great I literally forgot all about the rest of my life currently, which is, I suppose, what a really great vacation does for you. When I say "forgot," however, I really mean forgot. Like it didn't even cross my mind until I was getting out of the car that the next morning four guys were arriving to paint all the trim as well as the dining room, the kitchen, the hall and the bathroom ceiling. OY! I almost turned right around to drive the three hours back to our friends'!

Instead Bob steadied me and we raised all sorts of dust and used all sorts of muscles moving furniture to the middle of rooms, clearing off surfaces, packing up boxes, etc., so that when the guys arrived we could turn over the house to paint and mayhem, capped off on Tuesday by the guys, who were highly competent in every other way, leaving the refrigerator unplugged.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Small Pleasures

So both my beloved sewing machines were packed away for a month.

During that time we have been emptying the house by the boatload, Freecycling and carting off to Goodwill furniture, toys, clothes, old computers, etc., in an effort to make our house look roomy and perfect despite the fact that we still live here. All in the service of getting the best price on this end so we end up with a lovely home with a great studio space in Kingsport or Johnson City, TN, where we will move at the end of June.

Well, let me tell you, a month is a very long time, and I was in serious sewing withdrawal. Such serious withdrawal that very simple things I generally despise, like mending my youngest's fabric headband and pants and my oldest's favorite skirt, gave me a fix. And making one of the two Round Robin projects currently on my plate nearly sent me into raptures.

There is something intensely liberating about having the sewing machine up. Available is nice, but up means at any moment I could sit down and take off. The potential is so great. And it seems my brain is hard-wired to that availability. With the sewing machine in its case and the table put away I was totally focused on the practical and the mundane and was feeling very disconnected from my creativity. But since putting my machine back up (even though I've had very little time to use it) I am awash with ideas, with possibilities that need to be reality.


I even started what I hope will be a new series of small quilts called "Words to Live By." I began with a wonderful photo of my friend Anoushka and created an abstract image:

When it is done this will be entitled "Insight Joy."

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Week 1: Complete! (more or less).

I left out my one totally unsuccessful sketch, but I learned from it when NOT to use brush pens.

Didn't sketch on Tuesday because my meeting with the Belchertown Cultural Council filled my sketch niche that day. (The BCC is one of 329 local cultural councils in Massachusetts. We get to approve--or decline--small grants funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council that make cultural activities more accessible to Belchertown residents.)

In a trade-off, however, I did choose a more challenging subject (at least for me) for Wednesday, and worked on it today as well:

So, on a scale of:

"I'd rather poke my eye out with the pencil"
"I *heart* sketching,"

I'm hovering between "It's sort of satisfying to draw something recognizable" and "It actually does get easier (almost) every time," so it seems to be working

On another note:

"Night Life" (see the "Thinking Outside the Frame" post) is now for sale at the Fiber Art Center for $465. If you like it, call them and buy it!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Thinking Outside the Frame

I've begun mounting most of my work and have been very happy with the results, primarily because my local framing shop (Valley Frameworks, Amherst, MA--no website, sorry) is amazing and always up to whatever challenge I set them.

I had trouble with this piece. I hadn't left enough fabric to turn the side edges to the back and didn't want a binding to flatten the edge. I also didn't want to kill the vertical line with a traditional frame. I was at Sharon McCartney's studio and couture designer Andrea Zax asked me the all-important queston: Why don't you just frame it on two sides? An excellent question!

"Night Life"
University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center and Library
Copyright 2008 Cindi Huss.