Saturday, March 30, 2013

when i awaken in the earliest morning.  and i am warm and sleepy in my bed.  and thoughts start spinning through my groggy mind.  jolted with worry.  drifting through the scenarios of ruin.  and they will not stop.  warm snoring dog at my feet.  and the steady breath of tom beside me.  but i have to sneak away.  bare feet cold on the wood plank floors.  i come downstairs and start the fire.  meet the day and face it's demands.  make tea.  feed telulah from her special canned food stash.  activity chases away the unease.  my work can save us.  the hollow of night begins to thin, and day is thick and plump ahead of me.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

after so many still months, i am walking along the lake again.  the air is sweet.  the lake is fresh.  ezra has joined our family.  and the light is returning to our lives.  ezra is a 4 year old great dane from a rescue organization.  we are 'fostering' him until we're sure he can endure the cats.  he's only been here since sunday, but we are so in love, it's crazy.
the other day we were heading over the bridge to the lake.  we met a lady we'd seen the day before.  she was walking with an older lady who had a little dog with her.  the woman from the night before said to me in a surprised and sympathetic tone..."he'll fall if he stops walking?" i realized right away that the older woman thought it was edgar i was walking with.  and she'd told the other woman all about him.  i love when edgar is talked about and loved by strangers.  the older lady and i ended up standing and talking as i told her about edgar's surgery and subsequent cancer.  as we started to head towards home, she apologized for bringing up the pain of edgar's death.  i assured her that i loved him being remembered by others and that i love remembering him.  she choked up and put her hand on her chest and told me that he had really touched her, that she was touched at how he was determined to keep up with me as we walked everyday.  i had tears on my cheeks as we walked home. 
so you will hear much more about ezra as he helps to heal my heart and bring spring into our days.    
this is my favorite photo of him so far.  ezra and tracy in the studio.  he is a studio dog for sure.....sprawled on the couch while i make quilts. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

my friend died on the weekend.  a sudden and swift death from cancer.  there were just 2 weeks for her gorgeous children and family and friends across the globe to realize what was happening.  and yesterday we said goodbye.  
teta's life was large and grand.  her personality swept into a room and filled it.  she was a painter.  she was a storyteller. she was a gardener.  and she was a kind and concerned friend.  she loved with all of her.  she was born and grew up in australia. her father, a first generation russian immigrant and her mother a beautiful australian nurse.  both russia and australia were deeply part of her.  
for 2 years she lived with her daughter and granddaughter next door to us, in the house that is now the studio. the spirit and energy was strong and bright and alive.  i am full of her stories.  grand ones and little snippets of memory.  my favorite is a simple little story.  a story of her childhood in australia.  there was a woman.  a woman that held her fascination when she was a child.  a woman who made her little girl self feel special.  who wore perfume she could still remember 40 years later.  and this woman gave her a pretty and delicate robin's egg blue nightgown.  (maybe she gave her the nightgown, or maybe it was a nightgown the woman herself wore).  but because of the combination of the woman and the nightgown, her favorite color for life, was robin's egg blue.  and through that story, i felt myself fall in love forever with the same color.  
i drove to ottawa for teta's funeral yesterday.  a traditional russian orthodox service.  we stood under the dome, her casket in the center of the round room, flowers surrounding her.  incense and beeswax tapers burning.  gregorian chants and songs.  i was struck with the soothing of the soul that this ancient service provided. 
when her gardens begin to bloom in a month or so it will fill my heart with sadness and gladness.  i miss teta.   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

last weekend, was a little disappointing.  we had been expecting to open our home to a 4 year old great dane.  but a series of unfortunate events meant that our visit had to be postponed.  we are crossing our fingers that he'll come tomorrow.  
but in the classic way of my life, i believe the postponement may have been a good thing.   for on monday a major change came to the studio.  this massive quilting frame and quilting machine has it's own room in the studio and has officially transformed me into a rogue quilter.  now my quilts are even less conventional as i swirl them with my own flow of quilting.  moving the machine over my collection of fabrics is very satisfying.  but it's taken me all week to get it rolling along.  and now i feel like i have no limits.  like the quilts can glide out into the world with no restrictions.  i'm pretty excited. 
i've made a few quilts, but this is my first one.  i'll have them up on my etsy soon.  it feels light and limitless.  which is always good for my creative direction!!

i also opened an instagram account yesterday.  it's such fun, playing with photographs and making a little visual record of my life.  if you want to follow my instagram photos my username is 'chasinglightningbugs'.  (big surprise).  i'm new, so i'm hunting through photos looking for people to follow. i'd love to follow your photos!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

much has been happening in my little world.  at least for me it's alot.  changes.  major newness.  and uncertainty.  
it has been 2 months since we lost edgar.  and he's never out of my mind.  he's part of everything i do.  at first i was devastated and paralyzed.  unable to work or do much of anything.  now i'm working, in fact i'm swimming in quilts and fabric.  but change is both home and studio.  
recently we have become involved with a couple of great dane rescues.  i have never had a rescue dog, but now i feel like our lives are in a place where that is more reasonable.  and there are so many wonderful danes that are begging for the love and security we can offer.  we have found a lovely guy who was found starving and being used in a horrible backyard breeding situation.  he is loving and sweet, just not crazy about cats.  so, he's coming tomorrow to have a little test run with us.  to see if we can convince him that cats are ok.  
and quilt tops are piling up and quilting them on my little kenmore is no longer even kind of feasible.  megan has been busy quilting  as well, but there is only so much she can do with her busy little family.  so i've found a second-hand quilting frame and machine that will take up an entire room in the studio.  i'm fortunate to have the space to accomodate it, but i'm nervous about the transformation and the commitment.  to say nothing of the frustration of figuring out how to use it. 
so, my weekend is full.  and my nerves are aflutter in anticipation. next week will be full of new challenges for us!!!   

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

this quilt is a celebration.  a joyful collection of a childhood.  jumpers and dresses, pyjamas and skirts.  all cut and sewn into a collage of fabric to cherish for a lifetime.  i'm really happy with this quilt.  and it's been a great experience making it.  for many years people have asked me to make these sorts of quilts.  but they really didn't fit into my repertoire.  since i don't use a pattern or tutorials or follow any sort of direction, i have to work my way into a new direction in my own fashion.  and for so many years, the squares i used were too large for these sort of quilts to work.  but now that i'm concentrating on my farmhouse quilts, it's the perfect fit for this sort of application.  and i felt an immediate connection with the customer when she contacted me and we started to discuss it.  i felt that together we could make this work.  
a box of fantastic clothes arrived at my door....a little like christmas in february.  and after sorting through them, i had to start cutting.  it was hard to start cutting into these little gems.  but once i got started, the vision came to light. the clothing has a presence and we worked along together ironing and sewing little strips of fabric, layering colors and patterns until the beauty of the quilt emerged.  i imagine the family snuggled under the quilt, remembering good times and recognizing fabrics from favorite clothes.  
i think this sort of quilt is also a beautiful way to commemorate a loved one after death.  it's so hard to sort through the clothing of someone you've lost and who you miss so much. clothing is so intimate.  like the touch of the person is still in the fabric.  but having a quilt that carries the memory forward to another generation is  really special. 
the quilts i make are always teaching me, carrying me in new directions.  and this latest path is a beautiful new chapter.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

it was in an art history class in college that i learned an important little bit about myself.  i remember the moment. almost casually. the discussion was about materials.  and that artists have a visceral connection to their materials.  i knew that.  but i'd never heard it said.  i knew that i needed to have paper and paint around me.  that i would feel lonely and a little lost without brushes and colours and sketchbooks.   i would dig into my materials like a meal.  i would stare at them, enjoy just seeing them piled before me. little tremors of joy.  and that has always been my drive.  the process and the love of my materials and tools. canvas and linen in rolls.  stretched on wooden frames for painting.  then i started finding fabrics i wanted to paint on. strange gothic fabrics that would carry the texture through the paint. and that was the beginning of my fabric collection.  buying it because i loved it.  and incorporating it into the work i did then.  
now the materials drive me through this latest incarnation of what i make.  it isn't art in the same sense as painting was for me.  but i approach the making of my quilts in the same way.  no rules.  no directions.  i leap in and let the materials carry me away. and i love the materials hard.  i think this energy is palpable in the physical delight that the quilts are.    

Saturday, March 2, 2013

i rarely do shows outside of the studio.  i just don't feel comfortable outside of my little domain.  but i'm beginning to find some that i want to be part of.  today there is one of those shows right in our neighborhood.  at the harbour, just three houses down from ours.  'she creates' showcases women and benefits interval house.  i'm not sure of all the services that interval house provides for women, but i know it is fantastic.  when i was dropping off my table fee, i was at the door with other people who used their services.  a mother with a small boy.  climbing the stairs to the door, the little boy said 'look mama, this is our nice house'. a toddler who appreciated having a safe place to live.  i was crying when i got back in the car.

so, if you're in the kingston area, come by portsmouth olympic harbour and support the work that women do to help each other.  i believe there are activities for kids and adults too.  today from 11 until 4.  i'll be there with quilts and a few smaller items.