Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Freedom

She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.
-Roman Payne

I decided to return to the dulcimer later this week when the electric dogwood I had made arrives.  This entry is to just catch up a bit on life and make some observations. I had an surgery in mid-December that had a longer road to recovery then expected. Towards the end of my medical leave, my aging father arrived and it ended up I along with my sibs had to pick up the reins on his medical issues, I'm also grounded first due to lifting restrictions then some issues with the travel trailer. With that going on, making plans to do an at home summer artist retreat seemed opportune. I have a rambling garden going. I threw in some flower and vegetable seeds that I was given and spend a bit of time there every day planning what I'll be working on for art. In the garden I'm loosening the stranglehold on what I thought my life should be and showing up more everyday for what my life is and is becoming. I've let go of time tables, of my lover and opened up to possibilities. 

This morning this beautiful morning glory showed up. It wasn't asked for or planned for. It gave it's vibrant presence freely. I am discovering the same in doing art. Once it is done I'm letting it go, sending it out and letting it have it's own wild beauty. If someone finds it then wonderful, but no comparisons, no angst, just joy in the flow of the experience.

A song from a teacher of art, song and life.

Joni Mitchell, 'A Case of You':

Saturday, May 30, 2015

All the Young Girls Love Alice

All the young girls love Alice, "Tender young Alice," they say.
Bernie Taupin and Elton John 

I was going to go on more about the dulcimer, but tonight there is a side trip to rock and roll. And there is a bit of a story how I got there. Several weeks ago when I was on a tour to vintage stores with a friend I found a Santos cage doll. It was intriguing and I wanted one, but was deterred by the cost. During my Internet searching to try to find a more reasonable one I discovered Retro Art Cafe and they had an interesting approach to make one. I ordered it, made it and then was fascinated by their shrine kits and purchased several. Today I began a theatrical shrine. I decided to take it in a different direction and that leads to the rock and roll I mentioned earlier.

As a teenager I had a set of friends who were more of the inheritors of the flower children of the love generation and then there was another set who were influenced by the edgy Detroit rock and rollers playing  around there. On of the biggest: Alice Cooper. As I moved away from my small town in Michigan, my musical tastes have grown to be more diverse, but my first love will always be rock and roll. A few months ago, I ran across the documentary, "Super Duper Alice Cooper". In one scene they tied Bernie Taupin and Elton John's, "All the Young Girls Love Alice", to scenes of a young Alice Cooper. It made me smile thinking of my and other female friends love of him (much to our parents dismay). So this afternoon when I began the shrine, somehow given my experience  of Alice Cooper's theatrical shows the pictured shrine came out.

Some of my friends are/were surprised by my darker edge that surfaces from time to time. It's part of me that I accept. To paraphrase one of my disciplines mentors Carl Jung, you have to embrace and accept both your dark and light sides to be a complete being. So the 'All the Young Girls' piece, joins another that is lighter in nature. But as I alluded in an other post, this is a whimsical piece that carries a bite. It was fun completing it.

Since I couldn't decide which artist songs to include tonight, it will be a twofer.

Elton John, 'All the Young Girls Love Alice':

Alice Cooper, 'No More Mr. Nice Guy':

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Will you take me as I am?
-Joni Mitchell 

I've been in California almost 12 years now. I didn't exactly embrace the move at first and at times, I despair of being far from others I care about. California embraced me though and here I've become more then I ever dreamed and bloomed. Besides photography, music has been a major growth experience. Last summer I was reintroduced to some mountain dulcimer players and decided it was time to learn. So last fall during the break from blogging I finally had a dulcimer built for me. I'll be touching on the  mountain dulcimer in the next few entries, especially in relation to its California connections.

Joni Mitchell helped with bringing the dulcimer to national attention when she purchased one from JoEllen Lapidus and then composed some songs on her Blue album.  Despite this and other artists embrace of it, many people still don't realize what a mountain dulcimer is and it is fun to introduce them to it.

Joni Mitchell, 'California':

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day or Keeping the Cage Open

Caged Bird

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and   
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

When I reflect on the veterans I know and those I will never know, the one thing remains, is the freedoms that I have today, I owe to men and women who believe/d in the freedoms that we have gained and live with daily. Whether it be on the battlefield or in other avenues that have been fought and protected. They are to be honored for what they have given.

 I love Maya Angelou's poetry and today this seemed to fit. May I and others live our lifes as as free birds and never become caged.

And who else but Lynyrd Skynyrd to celebrate it:

Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Free Bird":

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Aunt Martha Might Flip or Whimsical Embroidery

This ain't your gramma's embroidery. 
-Jenny Hart Sublime Stitching

Embroidery in the US is experiencing a resurgence thanks to people like Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching.  When I was introduced to embroidery as a youngster by my grandma, Aunt Martha's transfers with cute animals were the norm. And while Aunt Martha's still has its place and indeed is trying out more modern designs, I don't do cute any more. As my good friend Gail put it, after the age of 30 a woman should be whimsical not cute. I also like a bit of bite to transfer designs when I use them. While the design above isn't one of Jenny Hart's, hers have the same whimsical bite. I have embroidered several of her designs and they all went out as gifts (none to show tonight). I'm going to embark shortly on doing one of her pillow designs for the corner chair where I do my embroidery. I will share it when done as I consider her to be the one who inspired me to pick up my needle again and to explore my own talents. I am designing portraits and slowly finding my own voice.

I have to give credit for the embroidery above. It was a transfer pattern from an Etsy store called Sew Lovely Embroidery.  I'm thrilled that so many whimsical bite transfers are emerging.  To again quote Jenny Hart "this ain't your gramma's embroidery", but I think my grandma would have had a ball with Jenny's  and others in her ilk patterns.

Britten, 'The Embroidery Song' sung by Susan Welland:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Whimsical Possibilities

All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities. When love comes in to your life, unrecognized dimensions of your destiny awaken and blossom and grow. Possibility is the secret heart of time.
-John O'Donohue

My poor blog has been neglected and left to grow weeds. After contemplation of what to do, I decided to keep it, but it was time for a name change. Some of the blog will remain, I still consider myself a flaneuse, but it isn't only through the eyes of photography. I am doing many things in life to celebrate being alive and being here. I have been learning to play dulcimer, doing embroidery portraits on reclaimed linens and learning how to do free machine embroidery. The Celtic harp and guitar are occupying space also. In life I have said good-bye to some relationships and opened the door to others.  My siblings and I have reconciled and are growing in our connections to each other. Recently those connections were used to start a process of caring for an aging father.

In the last few months I have found myself using the phrase of whimsical possibilities. At first it was in reference to describe a change in decor I had made. After a few times in use, I realized it is a good way to describe how I am trying to look at and live life. This month I will be on the third anniversary of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily it isn't front and center any more. It is there in the background though as I have to regularly see an onocologist to be checked since I didn't do chemotherapy and stopped taking the medication because of side effects. My  path so far seems to be the better one. My doctor just shakes his head and tells me that I really shouldn't be doing as well as I am, but he cannot deny the evidence. So I just tell him "Doc, I'm living the whimsical possibilities."...And so I am. This blog will reflect pretty much what it always has, but hopefully with more of the whimsy. 

To those who may read: welcome and may you find your own whimsical possibilities in your journeys.

From the One World CD from one of my favorite artists:

Jesse Cook, "Beneath Your Skin":

Beginning Yet Again

  "Never feel guilty for starting again." -Rupi Kaur These days being a flaneuse has been more mental than physical. I moved to Ar...