August 2007

Sun and Shadow

What a strange Summer this has been, a complicated mixture of the dark and the light. Illness and death, parting with dear friends, the home circle changing with a dear son working away from home, the giving up of many expectations for the summer….all this mingled with the flowers that have bloomed, the meals shared in the fresh air, the outings, the English mystery novels and the fruits from the garden.

Writing about it has made me think of this quote from the Quaker, George Fox:

“I saw, also, that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.”

(This is an eraser-carving I made years ago to illustrate the above quote for a women’s retreat.)

Long days of giving medicine to loved people and good dogs, and hours in the studio struggling to make ideas come to life, are giving way to healing and lovely new creations and hope.

I have been hampered in the past few weeks with hints that the endometriosis that is usually under control, was awakening again and it finds me nearly immobile for the past 24 hours. But because I can’t do much of anything else for this short time, I am able to sit with laptop on my belly, like a heating pad, and say hello here. And I hope this finds you well, and if not well, atleast able to find some sweetness, some where.

When I look at this photo, I see the stacks of magazines that I intended to go through this summer, finding just what I really loved and wanted to keep. Instead, since time hasn’t allowed that, I have been changing out the top-most ones to summery pictures that give me pleasure…every once and awhile as I walk by. The way life seems to be going these days, I may be changing out the issues to reflect the Autumn and perhaps I will even be rummaging to find the Christmas issues.

That feels ok. I am pushing aside thoughts these days of my muddled closets and the vestibule to the garage where the path down the steps gets smaller and smaller as we pile up the thrift store bags. Instead, I am looking at this photo and seeing the typewriter that my youngest son’s friends have enjoyed using on visits this summer, and the garland that has given me such joy (especially now knowing its twin has the honor of adorning Cherry’s lovely kitchen), and the cupboard whose doors have been opened many evenings so that we could watch good movies together, and that the drought has finally ended and the world is greening up again outside.

Do forgive me if this has been too serious or jumbled (could it be the pain meds?)….but it will be helpful for me to read when I am up and around again and the printer stops working or someone else falls ill or the dogs chew through the porch door-again-and I am not feeling quite so serene about it all!

I look forward to writing soon about all the ideas for Small Meadow Press things that you have stopped by to share, and questions you have asked and what I have been thinking about lately in regards to business and paper and so many things. Oh my! Here is another realization-I had intended to share so many things in this journal this summer and haven’t. Well….more practice in acceptance and hoping that Life will open up the time for that in the future.

In the meantime, you have my wishes for a sweet end-of-Summer, and that you find many moments of sunshine in between the storms and cloudy hours.

Joining the Party!

Just last night I discovered this lovely website for the first time. I was tidying my studio and rewarding myself with peeks at new blogs after each task accomplished. I was drawn to the name “Artsy Mama” because I used to describe myself as “artist mama” in the early days of my Internet-joining-of-groups. My sons won’t call me “mama” anymore, except on special occasions to please me, or if they are attempting to cajole me into something. I hope that Kari (Artsy Mama) still gets to hear that sweet word everyday in her colorful, creative home.

I am in a “clearing the decks” mood in studio and home and Life these days, and don’t have a project to share or artwork to offer. So my Artful Blogger party favor will be some photos of my studio…..most especially the quote that I have been pinning my hopes on as I spend my days freshening up our home.

I made these “paper curtains” to cover all the little boxes of found objects and piles of handmade paper that I keep in this old, ink-stained school desk. The large stamps are some I used to use with my boys when they were young, and the smaller stamps are part of my hand-carved alphabet.

This whimsical bird sits on the shelf that I look at from my desk-when I am not staring out of the window or at the computer screen! On this shelf I have creations and gifts from many of the amazing women I have been graced to meet. This beauty was made by the gentle hands and heart of my sister-in-law Lisa Smith.

The wondrous painted box is from my another of my sisters-in-law-Chiara in Chicago….the cup from dear Dori who knows my love of brown & white crockery….and the picture peeking out from behind you might recognize as the delicate and lovely work of Katie Estvold.

This is a tiny bit of the view from my wrapping area and you can see a glimpse of the handmade paper-chains that I will be offering on my website in the near future. The wispy branch is some sort of plant from our upper meadow, gone to seed. It reminds me of an autumnal fairy Christmas tree and one day I hope to adorn it. You can also see a little doll in a cup. She guards the first dollars I received in exchange for one of my creations when Small Meadow Press began. She was the last doll I made one Winter Solstice before my sons and I gave up our sweet doll-making altogether.

I will leave you with another view from my wrapping desk. I have had this picture since I discovered Green Tiger Press in the early 1980’s when I worked at a wonderful bookshop in Williamsburg. I still have the catalogs of their remarkable stationery and books, and when I think of them, I realize what an unconscience influence they have been on my own little business and the artfulness of my life. This illustration by Cooper Edens has meant many different things to me over the years…just now it speaks strongly to me of holding onto creativity, which can be so elusive…but winged and gorgeous when our arms are wrapped around it.

Wishing full arms to all of us!