Saturday, May 29, 2010


My favorite plant and my favorite words from Mary Oliver. The Bleeding-Heart
by Mary Oliver
I know a bleeding-heart plant that has thrived
for sixty years if not more, and has never
missed a spring without rising and spreading
itself into a glossy bush, with many small red
hearts dangling. Don't you think that deserves
a little thought? The woman who planted it
has been gone for a long time, and everyone
who saw it in that time has also died or moved
away and so, like so many stories, this one can't
get finished properly. Most things that are
important, have you noticed, lack a certain
neatness. More delicious, anyway, is to
remember my grandmother's pleasure when
the dissolve of winter was over and the green
knobs appeared and began to rise, and to create
their many hearts. One would say she was a
simple woman, made happy by simple things.
I think this was true. And more than once,
in my long life, I have wished to be her.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The World Turns Green

Someone flipped the switch on the seasons and it is suddenly late Spring in the Rocky Mountains. The trees have advanced dramatically over the last few days. Daily walks in my garden have been highlighted by picking new leaf specimens for pressing. Here are the ones that I collected today. I love the visual texture provided by the rich veining in the next two leaves.

Wanting to find another way to document my finds I decided to do some sunprints using Setacolor paints. My first attempt didn't yield crisp images, but I love the color and the way the paint migrated across the fabric.

These images are much clearer. Check out the beautiful paint migration on the closeup shot.

Can't wait for more warm summer days to make more sunprints.
"I am the leaf born in Spring
when life explodes in living things."

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Path

I've had my mother on my mind so much over the last few days. It started when I was digging through a drawer looking for some fabric. I came across some embroidered pieces that I wasn't sure if they were done by her or her mother. So I called her and we got into a long discussion on sewing and how we learned to sew. Her memories were a lot clearer then my own. She remembers taking lessons from Sr. Jovita on Saturday mornings at Sacred Heart Academy. She was twelve years old. Her mother didn't sew until much later in her life but she encouraged my mom to learn and learn she did. My mother was quite the seamstress and very much a perfectionist. Details were important.

I don't remember taking any lessons until I was in high school. But I know I was sewing before then. I think I must have just picked it up from my mom and also from my oldest sister, Beth, who also sewed. Those high school lessons were wonderful. I loved being able to create something that I could wear and that was one of a kind. I remember my second year of home ec (going to a Catholic school, we call it CFL--Christian Family Living) and taking tailoring. I bit off way more than I could chew, and made a camel colored knee length wool coat. My mother must have spent a fortune on the fabric and supplies. It didn't come out great. The fabric was very heavy and difficult to sew on. But mother and Beth both encouraged me and I did finish it. I cried many a tear over that coat, mostly because I had to model it in the annual fashion show. Still makes me cringe thinking of that. Anyway, it was my mother's and sister's encouragement and help that I am so thankful for. If I hadn't had that, I know I wouldn't have continued to sew.

These are my mother's hands. The hands that started me on my creative path.

Here is her delicate embroidery made when she was a young girl.

I told you she was a perfectionist.

Here are my humble beginnings; an embroidered pillowcase made on a summer's day. I am so happy that I still have this piece--a relic of my early creative life.
I never could have imagined that I would be doing what I am doing today. And all I can say is thank you to my mom and to Beth for starting me on my way.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


In my part of the world trees are just beginning to show life. The fruit trees are filled with buds just waiting to flower. Other trees are slowly uncurling tender spring green leaves. I love trees. They have given me great joy throughout my life. As a young child in New Orleans, I claimed a golden rain in our backyard as my own. When we moved to a larger house we had crepe myrtles, pine, mimosas and rain trees. Out in front of the house was a huge live oak which framed the house and provided us with some much needed shade. That tree still stands today having survived hurricanes, including hurricane Katrina, and termite damage. Trees are strong, they provide shelter and I have always loved how they can change light as Mary Oliver notes in her beautiful poem WHEN I AM AMONG THE TREES.

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."