October 2008

Autumn Thoughts


“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!”

To Autumn
John Keats

When I saw the mists spreading over the fields through my studio window, I ran outside with my camera and quickly tried to capture it before returning to my cutting and folding and tying of ribbons….

It is a busy time for me, with one show under my belt and many more to come through October, November and December. As I have been making things, I have been thinking many thoughts…about time and money and meaningfulness. When this train of thought began last month, I was most concerned with my time and how many offerings I now have and how many I have sketched in my notebooks but haven’t found the time to bring into being.

I was thinking about the small ways I want to adapt certain creations to make them more tactile, more useful, more nourishing. I imagined conversations in my mind, where I asked you whether you most appreciated the stationery I make….or would it be the things to adorn our homes and celebrate the holidays…or, perhaps, those things that make life feel more orderly and tended to? Because sometimes I don’t have enough hours in the day to make all that I think of making and it would be nice to have a few particular areas to focus on (don’t we all wish for that in most parts of our lives!).

And now the news about the economy has added another layer to these thoughts. For it feels even more important to be making things that truly answer needs and desires-in a beautiful and ecological way. So won’t you please tell me your thoughts?

Mine so far have been to make some designs that are inspired by the odd little left-over stacks and boxes of paper and envelopes that have been waiting patiently in my paper closet. It feels good and right to use up what I have before I order any new supplies-even if those supplies are recycled and tree-free and such.

These will be limited to how much

I have of each of these left-over papers….like the brown paper that inspired these Thanksgiving bundles. The envelopes in this set are stamped with my hand-carved pear stamp and the white ink looks lovely against the brown paper.

Because I have been longing for more texture in my papers (probably the influence of the period movies I love to watch!), I have redesigned my Christmas and holiday cards in french-folded paper with a laid texture, rather than the more usual cardstock. It lends them a delicate air and has also allowed me to add greetings on the inside.

I will have my Calendar of One’s Own ready much earlier than usual this year (in the next two weeks), and am happy to share that this year’s theme will be Books and Reading….mmmm….I have SO many quotes and cosy images that I have been collecting and can’t wait to see how they will all come together.

In the New Year, for I don’t think I will have the chance before then, I hope to focus on adding many more greeting card designs to my line. I want these to have really expressive, unusual quotes that say just what we want to say to those we want to stay connected to in these busy lives of ours. And if I can sort out all the many details, I hope to finally offer a Small Meadow Press planner. And so much more….but I would appreciate your ideas.

And has this charming girl brought your attention to my last paragraph? I do hope so, because I just want to say-emphasize-make clear-how very, very appreciative I am for each comment, email and note with an order that I receive. There is nothing I like better to see in my inbox than an email from “Haloscan”, which is the little company that handles the comments for my blog. It is a joy to receive your thoughts and greetings and tho’ I always have every intention of replying, that is one of the many things in my life that slips through the cracks. Please know that I visit your blogs and websites as a treat when I take little breaks from tasks in my studio….and read and reread what you have shared with me…and am just generally grateful for what you leave for me in this viney box in the hedgerow.

PS If Kim Vance happens to read this, won’t you please get in touch with me again? I did respond to your questions in an email which has been returned to me several times, so we need to try again!


Gifts from the Sea and Squam

Three weeks on, it is still hard to find the words. Since I returned home from SAW
it has felt as tho’ a veil was drawn between my days there and my everyday. But I want to try to express just a bit of the peaceful, powerful, beautiful experience I had there.

Travel gave me the gift of opening of my eyes to the beauty beyond my usual small world….on a city-scale in seeing New York from the train…

…and on a domestic scale with my dear friend’s doorstep in Maine.

Squam itself gave me the gift of quiet and reflection in the blue serenity of its waters and the green rocky embraces of its woods….

…and the gift of warmth and conversation and connection I found in the women there who so quickly became a sisterhood to me.

Tara….. Jinny ….. Heather….. me….. my dear roomate Kerri
me…..sweet Jinny, again….. Cat Allard…..Linda

The workshops gave me the gift of delight in my painty fingers…

…and the beginnings of working through my doubts and hesitancy about making art.

The lively and lovely programs in the evenings gave me the gift of encouragement and community and laughter. One endearing speaker was Kelly Rae, and her book is patiently waiting for me to find a space in my home and space in my days to play and learn and spread my wings.

After the retreat, I was given another beautiful gift when my sweet friend Kim took me to Maine and the coast near Two Lights. I spent a precious hour by myself in a little cove, gathering shells, gazing into tidal pools, dashing out of the reach of the wild waves and felt as I haven’t felt since my time in England and Wales more than twenty years ago. Completely filled up-body and soul.


I never did finish Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh….but when I returned home from the sea and Squam, I realized that I had gleaned enough from it-for now. By taking the brave step into the unknown and finding acceptance and joy and sustenance there, I returned home spilling over with love….and tho’ I haven’t been able to “hold” all that I felt there, in my hands here…its gifts are mine.

It is hard to read, but this necklace says “begin” and has a lovely copper feather on top of a brass oval. Another oval necklace! For me who only bought my first necklace in May, it was a happy coincidence to find it. And I love to wear it now to remind myself that I do, indeed, have wings whenever I choose to use them.

“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”
Victor Hugo

P.S. And thank you to the wondrous Elizabeth for making this “Brigadoon” that I hope to return to each September when it appears out of the mist!