Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Tiny Glimpse of Work in Progress

Working out the pattern for Ottawa. I use a program called Stitch Painter, which I quite like. Is it totally cheesy that I used a maple leaf? I had to closely examine the teeny tiny one on my permanent residency card so I probably messed it up anyway.

This is one of the ceramic pieces with added elements - pieces of paper I collected along the way with crocheted embellishments. It is actually not finished - still need a couple more things to complete it.

Heading there soon! Did I mention I am flying to Toronto? La la la. No problem about that, no siree. The thrill and exhiliration of pure panic.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Full Knitting Mode

One benefit of having a Zen practice, not often mentioned in books, is that when one needs to be up early and knitting, it is possible to do so without great effort or fanfare. Up early and paying attention to detail.

Could be zazen or it could be one big-ass knitting project.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Workity, Work, Work

This is my big work week. The week in which I play Dan. That is to say, I get up and head out in the morning and don't come back until suppertime or later. Dan plays me, which is to say, he takes care of everything else. It is good to shake up the roles a little now and then but my oh my, how quickly we have adopted each other's stance. Me: grumpy because he doesn't understand the stress of impending deadlines and expects me to come home all happy and ready to join the crowd. Him: grumpy because I am not appreciating how hard he is working to make this all happen. More lessons than, perhaps, we care to learn.

In any case, I am heading out very early this morning and hope that work goes quickly today. Things are shaping up but it still feels like mostly potential. Process is lovely but I need a little product too.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Season of Love

Yes, there is much pain, suffering and cruelty in the world. But there is much love too.

Right now, I love this.

The woman in the middle knit everyone in her family a bright, colourful sweater. And it made the news! (In Wales.)

From our slightly less colourful family to yours...

May you offer and receive much joy and love as we approach a new year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Within Darkness There is Light

Unlike many, I love the dark days of winter. There is a kind of enforced hush that falls across the landscape, even here in noisy, bright New York. Maybe it is because I am deep into reading Kristin Lavransdatter, but this year I am really enjoying the light and the lack of light.

This morning, it was particularly lovely.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

You know what they say, right?

Friday night I started to feel increasingly worse and worse - my nose was running non-stop and my throat was getting raw and scratchy. But I managed to maintain a state of deep denial until Saturday morning when I had to admit that spending several hours on a bus in close contact with other people (people I like and admire no less) could be considered something of a public health hazard. I called in to give up my seat on the bus and fully admit that I wasn't going anywhere further than the living room couch.

It was a disappointment on so many levels - no bus ride, no funeral, no seeing Jimon in the costume in action (with lights and music!), no meeting James for the first time, although it turned out that he was sick too. But no attachment, right? It still kinda sucked.

Ever the one to make lemonade from lemons however, I did knit a bit. Ontario is starting to look like something, if not a province exactly.

(This was taken several days is beginning to be fleshed out).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Work, Play, Life, Death

We passed a major milestone over here. For the first time, Finn and Lucy took the subway on their own. Considering I only just started allowing them to cross the street on their own, without holding my hand, about two years ago - we have come a long way. It still freaks me out more than a little but I know it is important to allow them to have their experiences, make some mistakes, do things correctly, learn firsthand how to navigate their hometown. (I am always amazed when they call NYC their hometown...I am definitely still a foreigner). I guess the hard part is that the possibility for fatal mistakes is so large. It is a big, bad city after all. And yet, most of us manage to get around everyday, mostly without incident. Now they will too. One more string cut, one more step away from the nest. It's great. It hurts!

But what, you say, does that have to do with Ontario? Well, by taking the subway on their own, they allowed me to get in over three hours in my studio to work on Knitting Sprawl - Ontario. Look how big Onatrio is! My fears of not having enough work to show in Peterborough were pushed aside by the flood of ideas that just a little quiet makes possible. Now I just need the time to carry them out. I have my sights set on the time between now and New Year's Day. Sure it is holiday time and all that implies, but to me, it is quiet time.

Tomorrow, however, I will take a step away from all the work and play to attend the funeral service for Daido Roshi in Kingston, NY. This too will be mixture of experiences and emotions - the bus ride up with sangha, the service itself, meeting a friend for dinner, then a performance tribute to him in the evening and a bus ride back to the city. A long day but one that will be fascinating and moving, no doubt.

And I am looking forward to seeing one particular performance in its final state. I assisted Joy Jimon Hintz, a senior monastic and Dharma Holder, with her costume for the dance she has prepared for tomorrow evening. Jimon was a soloist in a well-known dance company before becoming a monastic and it has been very interesting to work with her to create her costume. Not to mention that it has pushed my somewhat rusty sewing skills to a new level.

Then, yesterday she pulled me aside with the words that it was "honesty time." Immediately, I thought, "oh no, here it comes - she will finally reveal me as the fraud of a seamstress that I know I am!" But no, she just wanted my opinion about how the dress looked on her. Oh, there you are my friend, my ego. Maybe Jimon felt that too.

Monday, December 14, 2009

How Sad is That?

Things have been hectic around here, what with holidays and deadlines and such. I don't have any photographs, which are usually the driving force behind blog posts, so I have been quiet.

In the meantime, a couple of fellow Cooper Union alum and I have been having a conversation over on Facebook about the state of representation of women in the NYC art scene. Apparently the 2010 Whitney Biennial is nearly 50/50 split between men and women - a very, very rare thing indeed. I made a snarky "it's about time" sort of comment but the conversation drifted into deeper waters from there.

The truth is, if you check out the NY Times Friday gallery section, you will notice that most, if not all, the exhibitions reviewed are by men. If you look at museum exhibition schedules, they too are still heavily male dominated. Museum collections: check. Major galleries: check. It seems that, even in 2010, women are woefully under represented. But to say that aloud these days is very uncool. Like Feminism happened, you know, back in the 1970s so what's your problem? Still whining about that old thing?

Here is one thing I wrote about this situation:

I remember being in a project at Art in General that included monthly talks by various curators (both men and women). Some of them would talk to me ahead of time to get a little more information about my work. I will never forget the way the whole conversation once just sank and I was instantly dismissed when I mentioned that I wanted to touch on issues of labour, time, women's work, etc.. It was like I said I was using hearts and rainbows to show the joy of life or something. I could almost hear the curator, a guy, erasing the words "serious artist" from next to my name. Naturally I never said that again!

My friend pointed out that she sees a majority of women when she attends artist talks, visits art schools, or goes to grant-related workshops. And often women over 40 (do they even exist? I wonder...). So where are all these women showing their work? Oh, I get it! They're not.

Also, she pointed out that most of her CV is filled with exhibitions curated by women. I find this to be true as well. Do men not like our work? If so, why?

This poster was made by the Guerrilla Girls almost 25 years go, but it is still completely true. How sad is that?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Warping Thread is Here! The Warping Thread is Here!

Millimeter by millimeter, we get closer to actually using the giant loom that is taking up valuable real estate in our living room.

Monday, December 07, 2009

I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No

Here is the start of the Ontario piece. I am creating pieces that go with the porcelain pieces I made for each place we visited. Then the rest of Ontario will be filled in. There is a lot of the rest of Ontario, by the way.

I was rushing to complete at least a small section of this so I could take some photographs for the invite for the Art Gallery of Peterborough exhibition in January. For some reason, everything I have made related to my Knitting Sprawl project has been either crochet or made of paper or ceramic. Hello? It's Knitting Sprawl, not Paper Sprawl or Porcelain Sprawl. But nothing like a deadline to spur a little creativity and problem solving.

I hope I got decent photographs because I will have exactly no time to make further changes until later in the week. Tomorrow is an all-day Boston affair - early morning train to make a late morning class at Simmons, the afternoon spent in their extensive archives (I am looking forward to this!), then back on the train and home by nighttime, if all goes well. I am depending a lot on Amtrak, which is always dicey, but here's hoping.

As I laid awake this morning, trying to imagine how I will complete everything and wondering how it is that I have double and triple booked myself yet again, I realized I need a strategy for saying no. I absolutely LOVE everything I am doing, but I have fears about needing to cut corners to make it all happen, and I don't like cutting corners.

How do you say no and feel good about it? Hint: it is that second part of the question that is the real kicker.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Lucy's Poem

Every evening for the past month or maybe longer, the phone has rung and the caller ID says (literally, the thing talks in weird robotic female voice), Pub Interest Co. Since this sounds suspiciously like someone asking for money, I don't answer it. I give happily and readily to several groups, but not over the phone and not in the middle of supper, thank you very much.

This one caller has been persistent, and regular. We know exactly the time of day when the phone rings and "Pub Interest Co" comes warbling out of the handset - of course right in the middle of supper. Finally, Lucy decided she would answer the call and she started making up reasons why I was unavailable. First it was simply that I was busy but she quickly moved on to more, shall we say, esoteric answers. The last one was along the lines of "getting rid of pollution at this time of year". Please don't ask me what that means.

Yesterday she decided to prepare a list of answers to have at the ready for the inevitable call. Here it is, as written:

Robyn A. Love is busy:
She is canning in her spare time
She is at a meeting
She is sleeping
She is having lunch
She is a yogini
She is ordering a pizza
She is making a magnet
She is taking a picture of me
She is eating Cheez Whiz

Such a beautiful poem!

But you know what? Last night, they never called. I think my efforts on behalf of reducing pollution at this time of year finally put them off.