Monday, November 23, 2015

A roof in the palm of your hand

I wanted to show you my latest commission. It is a really small brooch (6 x 6.5 cms), and it is supposed to be the central bay of the Mausoleum of Galla Placida in Ravenna. These are the symbols of the four evangelists surrounding the cross and floating in a blue sky of stars. OK, pheeewww!! You can see it here or read more about this magnificent place here

I have always wanted to visit this place (it is still on my bucket list) and as an "ex-art historian" I knew exactly what this place was when the person mentioned what they wanted.

On the other hand, as an "amateur embroiderer" I must say it was quite a challenge to try to fit a roof on a tiny square, but I was very curious to see how I would manage. Obviously the blue sky was one big factor pulling me in, but the figures were not. Somehow the more work I did, the closer it started resembling the actual roof... but by no means it is a replica.

I am happy with the result and I think the new owner is quite pleased as well. Pheewww!!

I hope all is well at your end. I feel I want to complain about the weather, but I won't, after all I am not south of the equator, but soon will be close enough. I am quite excited about it!! For that reason,
I have added a discount on my Etsy shop, just use the code: THANKFUL. I will be closing it the 12th of December.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The art of losing

Whenever I lose something I always think of this poem;

The art of losing isn't hard to master; 
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster. 
-Elizabeth Bishop

I like it for many different reasons, but mostly because it puts things in perspective, and makes me think of the things and people I have lost. I've lost cities, and apartments, a beloved grandfather and stepfather, a childhood friend, pets, and chances... I've lost my way, which I find and lose all the time, sentimental objects, and lately (a week ago), a hard drive containing all the pictures from the past year or so. Also the computer... kaput!

I refuse to be angry about this fact, it is after all my fault - I kept leaving the back up for another day, and another... too late now...

Now I have been trying to re-live our birthdays, trips, and silly little memories that make up who we are as a family. I will keep on practicing the art of losing, for it is an art that needs to be mastered. This will not be the last time I lose something, that is certain.

A few things that I've lost and miss:

- a tea cup collection
- my art portfolio
- a few friends... one in particular
- my sense of smell
- my grandfather's poetry books
- more than half of my hair
- books that never came back
- photos... lots of them, apart from the recent ones
- memories... my mind is very selective, and sometimes I don't agree with what it has kept
- a pair of boots

In truth, I don't obsess about any of the above, not anymore at least. The reality is I can't do anything about them, so every now and then, they appear in my mind or heart and then they go... again. Time is a great healer but doesn't erase, that is the only thing I know for sure.

I wish you well, and hope that whatever you've lost, you've made peace with it,

Monday, November 2, 2015

Book binding fair in Leiden #2

Yesterday I drove on a very foggy morning towards the city of Leiden to see once again the paper fair as I like to call it, but its real name is Boekkunstbeurs.
I must admit that it wasn't as good as last year, for some reason many stalls were missing. But, I did manage to see some interesting work, and revisited a favorite from a year ago.

The work of John Spencer is absolutely incredible. I really loved it all. Chatting with him was the highlight!

 Water Leaf Press was my favorite from last year, and I love her new work as well.

 Kamiya Paper has stunning handmade paper.

As always I tend to forget to ask about cards... I just take pictures of what I like, and then I get home to write a post and there are no names to link back. So this one and the ones below are purely for inspiration.

Lots of pictures, not so many words. I think the pictures speak for themselves and don't need my opinion added.
I hope all is well at you end. I'm very excited about a concert I'm going tonight, I have been waiting 20 years to listen to them live, so yes!!! Very, very excited!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A bird Spirit and some other thoughts

First of all I would like to introduce you to my recent piece "Bird Spirit." I'm exploring with different things lately and this is one of those results. I hope I captured his essence and I hope you can see mine as well. It is about nothing and everything, solitude and what we carry around with us, the things that are not visible…

Secondly I want to write a bit more about the subject of depression, just to say some things that were left out last monday...

I haven't had depression for the past 15 or 16 years, in fact my husband doesn't know that part of me. He does know my moody self rather well though. But even if I haven't felt depression lately, I did feel it for many years. So what I meant on monday is that I felt it was creeping back at me. My last pregnancy left me with a hormonal imbalance and lately my downs have been really down - like down there on the minus 10th floor or something. It doesn't mean I am depressed, … I don't think it is something I should feel ashamed of now, but I did many years ago. It was mostly how people made me feel -on top of what I was already feeling.  Some people said to me, among many other things; that depression is a joke, that we are just unhappy and  ungrateful people, that it is all in our heads… Guess what? Yes, it is all in our heads - a chemical imbalance - that most of the times need to be treated with medicine…

Depression doesn't go away because you stop listening to sad music, or exercise daily, pray to God and every saint there is, change the way you dress, read the right books, surround yourself with flowers and nature… It doesn't work like that. Just like explaining what depression is to a person who has never felt it - you simply can't. I doesn't go away because you wish it so… and the harder you fight it, the stronger it clings on to you.

I've had feelings of sadness, melancholy, frustration, failure, abandonment, you name it, I've felt it, haven't we all? - but those feelings are not depression… I can't explain what depression is, because I only know my depression, no one else's, and we are all different.

I only hope that if you are suffering from this illness you go out there and find help in any way you can.
I suffered in silence for many years until I could no longer do it. In my experience there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it also takes a looong time to find it, and once you find it - it doesn't necessarily mean it will be a constant, and bright light all the time. Life is never the same. It is filled with many ups and downs and beautiful and ugly moments along the way.

Here are a Few Things I'm enjoying at the moment:

- the view from my desk.
this photographer's landscapes which I find stunning.
-I relish this newsletter every week, it is a joy to receive. I can't recommend it enough.
-And this work for some reason is giving me the strength to keep going on with mine. I've always been in awe of her work, but lately even more.

I hope all is well at your end, and that you have a beautiful yellow tree to look at,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fall Garland

Pheewww, glad I got that out of my head/chest, but enough of black abysses and demons- ahem- at least for a while… Now off to fall and all its beautiful colors… those deep yellow, ochres, and oranges (for a lack of a better word that describes that particular color). You know what I mean right??

What better way to preserve those found beauties than a garland?  I was missing a fall garland in my collection of garlands, and my pockets are full of leaves, acorns, pine cones, etc… basically anything that I like I pick up, and everything that has a little twig is perfect for a fall garland.

These leaves had started to dry up, and I love the way they curl up. I don't know if their color will stay, but I'm not after preserving them that way. So they will or they will not stay that color, I don't mind.

All I did was tie them with a piece of thread, nothing more… this would be a perfect thing to do with kids, I think.

And then hang besides all the rest of the garlands... I would have love to be able to do more, but alas, my mind is in the stitching, and it seems that is all it really cares about at the moment.

But I really wanted to show you my new garland and how nice it looks… anyway, I wish you a happy weekend ahead… may you find time to walk in the woods, to breathe all those beautiful colors in, and maybe make a garland or two…

All the best,

Monday, October 19, 2015

Getting a grip

It has been more than a while. I didn't expect this break to take so long, but I sort of let it slip by, and the more time I was away the harder it was to come back.  Strange… I would have thought that after that "resting period" it would've been easier to get back, but no!

I'm rusty. I thought I was done and had nothing more to share, plus a lot of past demons kept resurfacing and I needed to be strong… to make them go away. But they just won't go away, they are there and perhaps they will always be, as a reminder of sorts…

Sometimes I think I am so fragile -handle with care- at other times I surprise myself with the strength that I have -unbreakable- but it is never the two at the same time -what a shame- … anyway this is starting to look like a never ending story… I'll just say that my hair fell out in chunks which led me to a doctor that said; "you have a thyroid problem take this medicine probably for the rest of your life." which made me look for an alternative route, but during this search I've been visiting the dark abyss of what used to be my old depressive self. Oh, boy!! I thought I will never have to see that self again, not look at her scared eyes in the mirror and ask her, NOW WHAT???

I will find a way out, this time with out any medicine (crossing fingers), I'm writing on my journal again, and I'm back at my sofa stitching, doing what I love, little by little, hoping, praying…

This is one of my recent works. Very personal... not at all what I usually show here, but what the heck! I'm all about opening up and confronting my "demons."

I hope you are well where ever you are, and thank you for still being here - if you are-

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Indigo Dyeing and beyond

I have been dyeing everything in sight for the past few days - all the small pieces of fabric I have been collecting for the past 4 months- and trying with different kinds of fabric (even paper), to see how well they absorb the indigo. 

This is my first time doing this at home. I did try to do this before here, but there was really no explanation on how to care for an indigo vat, how long to keep your fabric inside the vat, or how long before you wait for it to turn the blue you need, so on and so forth. There are so many questions that I would like to ask a professional indigo dyer… anyway…

I have been stitching my days away for the past months, being inspired by Japanese boro, sashiko, and of course the color blue. Some of the work you can see here if you like.

Since I use little pieces of fabric for my work, I wanted to search for the perfect blue. There isn't really a perfect shade of blue, just a perfect shade for me, that is, as I do have a lot of the very dark shades, I simply needed a somewhere in the middle kind of blue.

Not an easy task at all, especially this being my first time dyeing at home.

So far this is the whole collection, but there are still more things that need to be dipped in that vat. They really need it, I can assure you that.

 This is the mini set up in my mini balcony.

The light blues. Plus a piece paper that refused to be dyed ;(

The bit darker blues.

And the perfect blue for me!! Hooray!!

I loved doing this. Everything about it, even that strong, pungent smell is absolutely amazing. To watch the fabric come out of the vat looking bright yellow and then slowly bit, by bit turn into a beautiful blue color, is just magic. And I LOVE magic!!

I bought my DIY kit from here, but there are so many kits out there. I really can't recommend this enough.

As you probably figured by now, I have turned into an occasional blogger. It just happened naturally, the same way I blogged 3 times a week, now I simply can't and won't.  Perhaps it will come again, you never know.

I'm always here if you want to find me.

I wish you a beautiful blue and warm day today, where ever you might be.
P.S: I'm a terrible self promoter, but I would be really grateful if you check out my new things here and perhaps tell me what you think?

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