Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why Would You Hold Back?

Thank you to Shawn, who no longer blogs (more's the pity) but does post some pretty lovely things on Facebook.

Is there anything more beautiful than people living fully in their lives?

Monday, November 26, 2012

T'was A Black Friday, Indeed

The Devil made me do it.  Yah, yah, yah...I know, the Devil is none other than yours truly, take responsibility, don't shift the blame, etc., etc..  But I think Ani over at Widdershin Woolworks must have an inside track with Old Scratch.  She calls the Prince of Darkness on the red phone (speed dial, of course) and says, "I am thinking of having a sale just after Thanksgiving..yea or nay?"  And he says, "Hell YEAH!  While your at it, dye up some of that fabulous Shetland fleece that has been known to be the cause of a fall from grace of many an innocent bystander.  Or, at least, just the one.  You know who I mean."

And Ani says, "Yes, I know who you mean and she will surely fall from grace, just as winter follows autumn.  But hey, it's a pretty soft landing."

So there you have it.

I am not sorry.

PS.  Her sale is still going on, if ye be tempted...

Friday, November 23, 2012


There is a moment in almost every art project that I take up that has me cursing this seemingly uncontrollable desire to make stuff.  It usually happens near the end when I realize that people are actually going to see this thing or interact with it in some way.  I lament and shake my fist at the ceiling, why, oh why must I do this to myself over and over?  It isn't about the actual work of whatever I am doing, although I do have those moments too, especially when the project is particularly large.  No, this lamentation is about exposing myself for all to see.

My thinking goes something like this, "Some people are content to sit at home and watch TV...why do I have to bare my soul so that people can look and criticize and judge?...Why can't I just make sweaters like normal people do?...."  And so on.  Then I bare my soul and usually enough people seem to appreciate it that it makes it seem worthwhile and, some months later, I repeat the whole process.  As I write this, it occurs to me that I have been riding this merry-go-round for over 20 years.  You would think I would get used to it, but it seems as ripe and fresh today as it did back in the 1990s.

I am bringing this up today because this post represents my 1000th posting on this blog.  One thousand little acts of baring my soul.  There have been many times when I have thought to give it up and, usually just as I have made my decision, I hear from someone who tells me that they really appreciate this or that point or idea and I think, "well, if it is helpful to someone..." and keep going.  But there are lots and lots of other times when it seems totally just narcissistic and indulgent and I feel a little sick to my stomach when I think about it.

Usually after I have a moment of nausea like that, I decide with great firmness that, from this day forward, this will be solely an art blog - no meandering into yoga territory or Zen territory or mothering territory.  No pictures of cute kitty cats, no lustful postings about touching this or that fleece, and definitely nothing about teenagers, their eating habits or hygiene.  Well, you see how that resolution has gone.  I truly admire those artists who maintain blogs that are amazing feats of design and content limitation.  How do they do it?  Then, I think about how all that stuff - the yoga, Zen, kids, cats - spills over into my art and about how much I love art that doesn't set up (to my mind) artificial boundaries between it and the life led by the artist.  So, why would I suddenly do that here?

You can call it lack of discipline or call it baring my soul.  You can call it foolhardiness or an unattractive desire to reveal all in a public forum.  I call it my big, fat, messy, apparently boundary-less life, as described by me, in 1000 pieces.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Is he looking for light within the darkness or finding darkness in the light?  Hmmmm...I'm not so sure.

In any case, it is always a good idea to express gratitude, however it comes to you to do so.

Thank you, dear readers!  Feel your abundance...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Patience and Its Opposite

For the intensive training period this fall, we have been studying Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way.  In addition to academic study, we do a number of other things to amp up our practice for three months, including an art practice assignment.  This time, it was to work with three (or six, if you look at it another way) ideas:  vigour, patience and giving (and their opposites: laziness, impatience and withholding).  

I chose writing as my medium this time around.  It was very challenging to work through all the superficial bullshit that comes up first thing and really get to the heart of the matter.  I am not so sure I ever really accomplished that, in fact, I am quite certain that I did not.  Even so, I offer you these four haiku.  They are, perhaps, more like crackers and cheese than red meat, so please, just enjoy them as you would a light snack.

Patience (Bhuja Pindasana #1)
Jump legs around arms.
Exhale, chin to floor.  Stay.  Breathe.
Inhale.  Fall on ass.

Patience (Bhuja Pindasana #2)
Cross right foot over left.
Squeeze arms with legs, weight in rear.
Inhale.  Fall on ass.

Patience (Bhuja Pindasana #3)
Jump legs around arms.
Each morning is a new day.
Breathe in.  So simple.

And this one is for Yudo, my dharma bro who shares my fascination with Namu, the slightly maladjusted cat that lives at the Temple.

Patience (A Haiku for Namu)
With constant practice,
Thirteen years in residence.
One mouse and she’s home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taking A Moment to Indulge My Love for Things British (Disgusting, Really, But I Can't Help It)

It is no secret that I am a bit of an Anglophile.  George Eliot can do no wrong in my book, or in her books for that matter.  I am a devoted fan of the 1970s television version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and, of course, my love of the The Mighty Boosh is well known.

Also, my cellphone ringtone is by Eddie Izzard.

In doing some research for my Do Nothing piece, I was very happy to discover this guy (it is very long, but watch the first four minutes at least):

Ok, books, television, comedy...but what about art?  I discovered this artist recently too.  Considering he has won major prizes and been around for decades, there is no excuse for only learning about him now, but there you go.  And here you go:

Thursday, November 08, 2012

What 450 3/4" Suction Cup Hooks Look Like

Better photographs to come - this was the only one I managed to take before my camera battery died.

Instructions Not Included opens tomorrow at ArtSpace in New Haven, CT (50 Orange Street - right downtown!).  Curated by Martha Lewis.  Reception from 5 − 8 p.m.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

How to Make Your Own Do Nothing

Doing nothing is, perhaps, one of the most radical things one can do today.  There is endless pressure and tremendous validation in getting things done.  But what if you simply did not do that?  Or, at the very least, what if you set aside time every single day to do nothing.  What if you did nothing for no reason – not for self-improvement, not as “meditation” or to rest or settle your mind.  What if you did nothing only for the sake of doing nothing? 

What would happen?  What could happen?

Monday, November 05, 2012

Crocheter, Heal Thyself

Please join me for the opening of the exhibition, Instructions Not Included, at ArtSpace in New Haven, CT, this Friday from 5 to 8 p.m..  Curated by Martha Lewis.  The exhibition will be on view until January 26, 2013.

My piece (which is, as you can see, still not quite finished) will be installed in the gallery window.  Instructions to make your own version WILL be included, but, please, use at your own risk.

Friday, November 02, 2012

The New Normal

Our neighborhood in Queens was not among those hardest hit by the hurricane but it took its toll nonetheless.  We enjoy the shade of 85 year old sycamore trees but these same trees are notorious for dropping branches in wind storms.  This time, in many instances, the entire tree came down.

Again, we were fortunate that none of the trees fell on our house or car.  In fact, all the trees that fell landed in the street so the only damage was to parked vehicles.  This isn't great, but it seems better than the alternative.  The trees stayed in the street for several days but the municipal chain saws came into action on Halloween night.  It was a little strange to see the juxtaposition of costumed kiddies and big guys with chainsaws.

When did Lucy become a super model?

Lucy and her friend both came up with the idea of wearing poofy skirts for Halloween separately but decided to trick or treat together.  They looked pretty great - Lucy in orange and black and her friend in all white.  Her friend lives in the East Village where they had no power or water and where they witnessed the storm surge bring water barreling down their street, trapping them in their apartment.  They escaped to Queens for trick or treating, not to mention a hot meal, cell phone charging and the offer of a shower.  

We are still a little stranded ourselves - the #7 train isn't running and traffic and lack of gas have made driving seem unreasonable.  After five days in the house, things are getting a little...desperate.

We have started dressing up the cat.  Maybe we do need some emergency responders to help us.

This is Lucy's idea.  Olyve looks so happy, don't you think?

No hats for me!
We just heard that the lights are back in the East Village.  Slowly but surely things are returning to normal.  Except, maybe, for the cats.