Lisa's Musings

there's little i control

from natasha & babelfish

bablefish is a great source of inspiration. there are always good posts about design, art, etc. on her blog. one day she lamented that she couldn't get anthropologie catalogues in the UK. thinking that was a minor tragedy i offered to send her a few. and a deal was struck. US to UK magazine/catalogue swapping. woo hoo. i was really excited b/c i had heard so much buzz buzz about habitat and now i get to see why w/ my own eyes. that catalogue is seriously swoon worthy. along w/ the mags she sent the most adorable wallet [which i am going to use for travelling!!] and mini colored pencils. [we all know how anything mini makes me dance around]. what's more - those came in a muji bag. when is their store opening in NY? [not fast enough]

the adorable bookmark, amazingly soft neck warmer [in the perfect color w/ ORANGE buttons!!] and delectable skein of hand spun yard came from natasha . just because. if you touch her yarn you will want to make things with it. it's so amazing. i can't get over the colors either.... you can get your own here .

pink stag

when i saw abigail's stag on whip up i gasped. and then i gasped again when she sent it to me....

oh i'm a lucky lucky girl.

i've been thinking a lot about martha's post on obsession and maria's post on alter egos . good food for fodder. i am wondering if we should all reveal our alter egos and obsessions....

happy thurs!

Labels: ,

hello there. shari [who has a great interview with eireann today] and i return today with our documentary project. this week's word was chosen by shari.



moving ahead, making progress, steps in a sequence. this week's word was a difficult one for me, and i chose it! i struggled to find this word in my everyday existence and learned that often progression is taking two steps back and one step forward. my first inclination was to follow the progression of a collage i was working on, to photograph it daily and to watch the progress, noticing the changes. yet i am a bit unsure of myself in this medium and i felt paralyzed. i left this piece on the floor in my study and continued to visit it every day but could not bring myself to keep working on it.

this week i thought a bit more about the word and suddenly realized that progressions are a big part of my everyday life. chord progressions! i am in a creative period where i love playing the guitar and writing music. click the link below to hear more.

link to song

progression for your ears but also for your eyes. i did a quick little watercolor piece recording the major chord progression for my song plums. this visual representation seems a bit like a secret code yet it means so much to other musicians. t picked it up and immediately recognized it as the chords for one of my songs.

watercolor and sketch

what does the word progression mean to you?


progression felt like a $10 word for some reason. i don't think i would say that in thinking about it's "normal" usage... but in terms of documenting it in my life it seemed a bit daunting.

nine :: progression :: 1

i found that i was immediately drawn to nature - especially since it's spring and things seem to be "progressing". buds appearing, flowers popping, plants sprouting. you can't hold back mother nature..... or stop time from it's proverbial march forward.

i also thought about how progression in it's most literal sense means moving forward - or counting up. but as the word rolled around in my brain i wondered if that was really true. does progress fundamentally mean you have to go forward? can't things sometimes improve if you go "backward"? like the idea of living more simply. it's counter-intuitive to the notion of progress because it means to let go... of you gadgets, your crazy chock-full life, your desire to get a promotion [same word root] - but then again - couldn't just being more satisfied with what you have and letting go of cultural, social, self-imposed ideas potentially be PROGRESS?

in art it seems like sometimes the desire to move a thought process forward can actually impede the final outcome. i often feel like i am making progress when i re-visit an idea over and over and over - that upon reflection and not moving on i gain a better understanding of my materials, my vocabulary, my concept. i like this idea of progression in a multi-dimensional way. as if you can side-step, or crawl, or jump, or get to your progress how ever you wish.

then again - there's something sexy about progress isn't there? the future... technology... robots [hee hee].

what i did notice is that i like to place things in progressive order around me:

nine :: progression :: 2

i like arranging things from big to small, or in numerical order, or in color order. it makes me happy - it makes me understand my surroundings. does anyone else do this?

i actually also thought about singing you a scale of notes... do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti-do... but i am shyer than shari and so you'll just have to pretend i did it.

finally i want to share this image because i had to show a client how you can change the stitch length on a sewing machine. we were talking about how to create a sense of depth with stitches and she didn't know you could alter the individual length of the stitch. it fits so perfectly with the word for this week. [and red on white is always a good thing]

nine :: progression :: 3

hope your monday is progressing nicely!


connect 3 thoughts

hello friends. i'm coming up for a quick breath of air. staring at the wall trying to pick between... yellow + tangerine + charcoal OR egyptian lime + pink + fucshia OR turquoise + neon lime + lavender..... it's sort of a choice between too pretty, garishly hard to look at - but on purpose, or referencing the root of the imagery more directly [which happens to be argyle if you are curious]. i think i'll have to come back to this tomorrow. time to move onto some doilies??

above is an older piece of mine. i did this whole series of pieces thinking about women and their relationships. building on the idea of sewing circles or quilting bees. above the women are relating by thought. i dug up 3 of those pieces that i had left and gave them to the curiosity shoppe - a great online store run by derek and lauren [two incredibly supportive and wonderful people!]. here's my page in their store... but take a peek around as they have so many things i'm totally in love with. like these , this [which is currently out of stock, but], and this, just to pick 3.

shari posts on ship today - and we'll both be here on monday with our documentary project.

have a lovely weekend.... now back to work for me!



sorry, you've seen this photo if you've been to sew green . but i didn't really talk about it there... there's this purple house that you can see from our backyard. and honestly i hate it. i think it's the ugliest purple. and the building is trying to be modern in that 70's-80's trying to be modern but looks so dated way. but the other evening - i think it was the first of the extended daylight savings time - it looked really lovely in the light. note to self : it's definitely possible to find beauty in what you may think is the ugliest thing ever.

my talk went OK i guess. i really am shocked that people want to know this stuff. at some point i managed to find some sort of rhythm i think... what really amazes me is to see the ties that bind my work together. from one thing to the next it's like - OH i'm talking about the same thing! i may add a bit, or parse something down, but really it's all the same ideas. like i'm in the wash cycle... chug chug chug - the suds move around - clothes touch, if it's the wrong/right tempurature one article may bleed onto another.... all the different shirts, pants, socks... coming together in a soup.... i want to particularly thank elizabeth, and mimi for coming by and introducing themselves. it's always nice to confirm that people do really exist outside of the internet! [and are usually even NICER than you think they will be reading their blogs. and it's so good to gaze into people's eyes!!]

i'm at this point where i think i just need to put my head down and barrel thru all the stuff that is on my path and plate.... grading, numerous projects [thank god they aren't all due at once - well, 2 are simultaneous, but], coming up with a new syllabus, an application my heart isn't really into but i know i should do anyway - if only for the experience, 2 other applications that i'd like to do, but not sure if i am going to be able to get it together.... plus research vinyl, pick out new colors for felt tanks [!!!].... hmmmm

so off i go.... [and forgive me if i'm a bit absent the next few days...]

do check out ship - i posted today on the new book - on beauty....

have a great weekend


orange chair :: past and present

so... if you are in the area and have nothing to do tomorrow night, Wednesday, March 14th at 7pm...

i'll be talking about me and my work at CCA - on the Oakland Campus - in the textiles department [if you know where dick blick art store is on broadway - it's above that!]. i'm working on finalizing the order of my images and what the heck i'll be saying. *cough cough* i'm hoping there will be questions. [please let there be questions].

above is one of the pieces i sent of for my show at the richard levy gallery . besides the stuff that i'm constantly dealing with [domesticity, feminism, art + craft, etc] i feel as though i'm starting to talk more about history, about longing, about the past and how things change. i'm really getting into wallpaper - as pattern, as personality and more specifically as a marker for time. you know... if you hang a frame on the wall and it doesn't move for 20 years and you remove it - how the color shifts - it's like the wall has a memory. i'm also developing the idea of the beds and chairs having more personalities - not simply interacting with each other as stand-ins for relationships as they have been, but also as entities in their own worlds. what type of person IS this chair? where do they live? what does it say about them. i titled the above piece orange chair :: past and present - as if it's the same chair in the same room, but things have changed - and the thread is what ties the past to the present.....

if you come tomorrow night you might hear me say the above all over again..... OK i got to get back to prepping...

Labels: ,

sew green

a new blog! a bunch of us crafty gals put our heads together and came up with sew green. it was really sparked by shash , and then as these things do - it's organically grown into this whole other idea.... i'm really excited and hope that you all go to check it out ....

also - don't forget that shari is hosting the documentary project today - i can't wait until i have a moment to see how she responded to last week's word :: delicate

we've been having glorious weather here... many hours were spent in the yard the last few days [i took my computer and grading outside!] we also had our first official BBQ. yum.

and i had to show you this:

tilda learned from garbo that eating grass can be fun in the sun.

happy monday!

Labels: , ,

i'm feeling short on words.... so just a couple thoughts....

uniform studio

the other day i woke up and put together an outfit totally inspired by martha of uniform studio. i have always loved gray and ochre together, but i had never worn them together. my outfit was no where near as amazing as the clothes that are available at uniform studio , but... i was happy to wear things in my wardrobe in a new combination!

julie mehretu

julie mehretu is an aritst i have a serious crush on. her work is so layered - photos will never do it justice - the intricacy and the attention to detail and pattern just blows me away. i've been lucky enough to see her work twice in person. once at the berkeley art museum and one time at the whitney .

there's a new book of hers. i think i might have to get it.

hope your second half of the week goes well! stay tuned... on monday a project gets announced here!


man you guys are so swell. thanks for all the new look love [and for being glad i stayed. i'm going to get teary eyed so that's all i'm going to say]...

so - today we continue with shari and my documentary project. shari picked the word this week : HANDS

SHARI'S response

my hand

i chose the words hands because they have been frustrating me lately. i have so many ideas in my head but my hands are unable to create what i envision. they irritate me when i try to draw. they drove me crazy when i took a ceramics class.

at the same time, i love my hands and receive so much happiness from them. i use them all of the time. if you have a conversation with me, you will notice that i constantly talk with my hands. i gesture, i motion, i wave them wildly. i can type, write, knit, play guitar, and bake with them. i can hold tom's hand. i can pet my cats and feel so many wonderful textures with my fingertips. i can't imagine my life
without them. i love everything handmade.


many years ago i became interested in sign language and took five classes in signed english. this is a bit different from ASL because you are taught to sign every word in a grammatically correct sentence. i think sign language is beautiful, expressive, creative and fun. i am a little out of practice but sometimes i sign along to songs on the radio. i can sign "these are days" by the ten thousand maniacs.

jnana mudra

recently, i have been drawn to the practice of mudras in yoga. thinking about where this interest came from, i realized it is so similar to sign language. this is a picture of me with my hand in jnana mudra. jnana means wisdom or knowledge. this is one of the mudras that we regularly practice in my yoga class. i think they are so beautiful too and i feel more graceful and at peace when i practice them.

my hands are not perfect but they are a great gift. they teach me patience, they remind me to slow down, they remind me to persevere, and they allow me to express myself.

a special thanks to t for taking these photos.


when shari chose the word hands i immediately thought of how much i depend on my hands. how many times a day do i need them - as tools themselves - to open something, to pry, to gesture when i'm speaking [i do talk with my hands]. they also function as the mediary between me and something [pencil to paper, fingers on a keyboard typing, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear, petting one of the furry creatures].

making things is such a tactile experience. i want to feel the paper, i want to tug on the string for tension, i want to touch the t-shirt before i print on it, i need to hold the fabric as it moves thru a sewing machine. i really started thinking about how much i take my hands - and the sense of touch for granted. you know how you sometimes think about what it might be like to be blind, or to be deaf? i very rarely think about what it might be like to loose the use of an arm or hand. i can't help but think of my friend and mentor katherine sherwood who had to learn how to paint with her left hand after a cerebral hemorrhage.

seven :: hands :: 1

i also really thought about how i decorate my hands. when i was younger i put a ring on practically every finger. [my grandma has a friend that still does this - we call her the ring lady. when i was a kid she showed me all her drawers and drawers of jewelery and my eyes opened up like saucers]. i couldn't get enough. i piled them on. as i've gotten older i don't want to wear quite as many jewels. and i now have a wedding band on my left hand [and i hate it competing with another ring - so it's always on it's own]. i now just change the ring on my right hand daily. it usually matches what i'm wearing. i like mixing up plastic and funny rings with more delicate and finer jewelry [gorgeous pearl ring set above created by abigail ].

it was funny that shari mentioned hands right after i had been making my students draw contour studies of their hands. i have them do both blind and looking contour - and i also make them draw with their wrong hands. i talk alot about not lifting your pencil/pen/etc. about showing the search for the line [and how that process can be beautiful] , about varying the line, about how hands are great subjects because you can alter their orientation and gesture. sometimes it's good for the teacher to do what their students are doing. so i took this word as a sign i was supposed to contour study my hands ::

seven :: hands :: 3

my right hand drawing my left

seven :: hands :: 2

my left hand drawing my right [i'm right handed - and that's another thing - how does having a dominant hand effect you???]. i like the squirrely nature of these lines... the unfamiliarity of using my left hand really makes it onto the page no?

so what are your hands doing today??

Labels: ,

have you been wondering at all about the whole step thing with my blog? [other than the reference to addiction recovery?]

i guess at the root of it i've been thinking about the steps it takes to run a blog. i was wondering what made a successful blog for me. 12 steps ago i had a mini-crisis and wanted to take a break. i even contemplated stopping entirely. but then i realized that wasn't necessarily the best path. this blog often offers a way for me to re-evaluate what is going on in my life and studio and often helps me re-focus. plus it's definitely motivational - must feed the blog! but i think my favorite part is that it allows me to stay in communication with a host of entirely too wonderful people. since i spend a lot of time in my own head - this is a very very good thing.

in my mind step 12 was always going to be a redesign. so here it is.

happy weekend folks! see you on monday with the documentary project!


My Photo
Name: lisa s
Location: oakland, CA, United States

hello and welcome to my blog. i'm a mixed media artist living in oakland, CA with my husband, 2 dogs, 1 cat and my baby daughter. i try to post once a week about things that inspire me, what's going on in my studio, and little tidbits of my life. thanks for visiting, reading and commenting!

please please please :: i am happy to have you use an image of mine on your blog or somewhere else, but PLEASE just ask permission before you do. and please don't hot link. it really is important that we respect one another and the work we do. and if you are too shy or busy to ask, could you at least link back to me? thank you in advance!


Powered by Blogger

Web This Blog

© 2004-10 Lisa's Musings | Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.