Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trying to get a handle on the universe

I'm about to start working on a new rug. I drew this picture and watercolored it many months ago. Since then I've been staring at it every once in a while.

In some ways, the process of making a rug so resembles writing a book. There are long periods of thought, of ambling, rambling through ideas for what I might want to be creating. These long periods can look like wasting time, can resemble daydreaming, often take place during walks around the neighborhood and car drives.

I'm trying to test the strength of my idea--does it have durability? Does it have some odd kind of worth? Will I learn something if I attempt it?

So what does this rug represent? I have no idea. I like circles. I like that when you rug hook you don't have to go in a straight line. I like curving around. I like colors. I like this deep blue--the new Yves Klein exhibit at the Walker shows that I wasn't the only one to like this blue.

I spent a wonderful afternoon dyeing this blue from indigo with my friend Jan. We worked outside and dyed wool and then t-shirts and whatever we could get our hands one--blue. Dyeing with indigo is real magic. The dye bath is kind of the color of Mountain Dew--pea yellow/green. You put the fabric in and it too becomes yellowy. Then, after a few minutes, when you pull it out and the air hits it, it turns blue.

Peter calls this rug Earth and Sun. He thinks they're colliding. That's not how I see it. I see them as two balls of energy, happily co-existing in a swirling blue universe.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Deep in the Trees

I went down to Stockholm this weekend, the weather was outrageously beautiful, and I had to go to a board meeting at the Lake Pepin Art and Design Center. I stopped into my house and then went for a long walk in the woods. The hunters aren't out yet, so the woods are relatively safe. I still wore my red plaid hat and clapped my hands to tell all I was coming.

I walked along the field road at the top of Hap Palmberg's open land, tucked in right under the bluffs and under the treeline. About a block down this dirt track, I saw large creatures moving in amongst the trees. There were about ten horses, saddled up, and tied to trees, hidden in the woods.

Just one of those moment when you get a wonderful surprise, a gift. Dark horses staring at me out of the woods. They neighed, I clapped, we watched each other until we could see no longer.

They were still there when I walked back. Again the nods and nickers. About an hour later, I saw a group of people saddle up and ride, not down into the town, but up into the bluffs. All I can figure is that they had come down for lunch and lived somewhere up on the farmland above.

You never know what you're going to find when you go for a walk in the woods.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Time to Sleep

After my first day on the art tour, I arrived back at my house in Stockholm, WI, to find the phone machine beeping at me, telling me there was a message. It was from Peter. I had an offer on a book. A picture book. A story I had been gently working on for a few years, tweaking and honing. About a little girl who isn't sleepy. Her parents are understanding. They know some nights are like that. But they move her toward bed. She wonders if everything has to sleep. They discuss this.

I won't tell you the ending. No spoilers here.

So all day long I sold my mystery books and my scarves and showed people how to hook a rug. Then, that night, I sell a story from my heart.

This selling stuff is hard work. It's emotional. It's stressful and energizing. It's a part of our work.

Unlike my little girl I was very tired that night. After a dinner of chili and wine, I talked with my sister Dodie about the day. We both fell into bed tuckered, ready to sleep our fill so that we could be up and at 'em the next day, selling those small pieces of our lives—in picture or story form. As they say, priceless.