Lisa's Musings

there's little i control

so... the by a thread art talk?? well.... i got to sit in between two art crushes of mine -

Lauren DiCioccio

lauren dicioccio

i really love all her work, but these hand embroidered organza "plastic bags" are just SO delightful.


Victoria May

victoria may

none of the images on her site do her work justice. i particularly love the concrete and thread/organza pieces - like this one .

it's always a treat to meet artists that you have admired and have them be as wonderful as their work. it doesn't ALWAYS work that way - so when it does - well - it's icing on the cake.

a lot of familiar words were batted around: fragility, domestic, mundane, mending, nostalgia, lineage, notion... we all answered why we use thread in our work. i was next to last and really had very little to add on the topic after so many thoughtful responses [which were all interesting to hear]. the dreaded "c" word came up - yet again. i'm talking of CRAFT, of course. i'm not going to extensively rant about this here as i think this topic has been covered numerous times by folks far more intelligent than me, but... here's the short version of what i think....

i'm always disheartened when people continue to want to push a hierarchical divide between art + craft. one artist in particular was speaking about it's all about intention. in essence i can agree to that since ever since duchamp pointed his magic art wand and declared things art - you can "intend" almost anything into art. but i also feel that art can be born even where it WASN'T intended - in some ways it's art even if someone else intends it. this artist also spoke about how they felt that you discover "truth" and "something about yourself" while making something as an artist that you don't while making "craft" [i'm really generalizing here but you get the idea]. honestly - i think that's a load of bull. i think there is "art" that is fantastic/horrid and "craft" that is fantastic/horrid and that you can have an "art moment" [aka epiphany] in front of anything that you please - be it art/craft/utilitarian item. trying to separate them into these meaningful and ultimately elitist categories seems so 20th century [i'm being facetious here - kind of]. i always want my art to be well crafted and my craft to be artful. to me it's not about if macaroni art is "art" or gees bend quilts are "craft" - it's about what moves you in some way in any given moment [and that movement doesn't need to be like or love either]. enough said.

but speaking of said... lindsay sent me a poem that she said was inspired by my work. she writes a poem a day as an exercise [ah how i love daily rituals] and she sent it to me....

She ties the tightest knots,
practices first with her sister
who calls it cat's cradle,
but it's too easy diving her fingers in, out and through,
so she moves on to the living room,
tying the arm of a chair to its leg,
then a chair to another chair,
then a loveseat, a table, a lamp, a book shelf,
the thread like spider silk
that threatens to tangle in ankles
and the cuffs of unlooking pants.

she slips a needle through the patterned wallpaper,
and ties the chairs to the walls,
holding the room to itself.

i loved cat's cradle when i was a child - although i didn't have a sister to play with... how much do i love that last thought... holding the room to itself? so much. thank you thank you lindsay.

her website
her blog

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winter carrots

there is something really satisfying about eating home grown vegetables. my hubby is doing such an amazing job with the garden. we have carrots to last us all winter. they will only get bigger and sweeter as the weeks pass.

i think that the garden is my first metaphor for 2010. it needs tending, it produces amazing things if you care for it properly [or sometimes even if you don't], it changes - day by day, season by season, it is fulfilling and hard work....

we had a bit of a sad ending to our year.

we will miss you so

we had to say goodbye to our kitty chinaski [you can read about him in this old post]. the above photo kind of sums him up. even sick he would purr and talk back if you talked to him [and his purr was this motor, luscious, vibration]. he would always outstretch his paw to touch you if you came near.

all pets are special to their owners. but chini - he was also special to our neighborhood. everyone knew the three-legged cat. he was best friends to major [i hope they are hanging out together now eating popeye's chicken]. people would come and talk to me about how much they loved him. the mayor of our block. a once in a lifetime cat.... such a trooper. such a good good soul.

at the end and beginning of years we reflect so much... i keep reading wonderful summations of the year past. i can't seem to package each of my months nicely in a few memories. in some ways the days and weeks and months have become one long blur - and yet in other ways there are distinct and clear moments of joy, excitement, sadness, newness, fear - of being ALIVE. i can't help but think that it is these extremes that keep us spinning, and as we see saw from one to the other we get to dance a little in the space between - reflect in moments of calm, and catch our breath for the next bit.

a happiest of new years to everyone. may 2010 bring exactly what you want and need and are capable of handling.

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I am officially band-aid color

i didn't think that band-aids were real skin colors. really i didn't. and then i put one on yesterday and looked down and what do you know? i'm band-aid colored. this photo doesn't really do me or the band-aid justice, but honestly - it's kind of creepy how well it matches.

these are actually the kind of thoughts that consume minutes of my day.

i was driving the other day -- rushing rushing -- always rushing -- and i had the thought -- i wonder what it would be like not to multi-task. to actually have enough time in the day to do what you wanted to do AT THE PACE you wanted/needed to do it.

we now hear all these buzz words - slow food, slow media, slow fashion [i'm tossing this one around for another side project i'm working on. but that's another post]. but i never do anything slowly really. except for when i'm actually making art.

my brain is full of ideas. grandiose and minuscule art ideas. ideas that make me want to drop everything else i'm doing - which is simply impossible and unreasonable. but my head - it wants to explode with thoughts of kites, cloud formations, viruses, toxins, balloons, bombs, slovakian bobbin lace, and military ribbons.

and then there's the whole color study work i want to do. nothing but thread and stitching and colors. really quiet. shhhh. all about texture and subtlety and getting back to the basics. but that would be kind of a left turn from what i need to complete and things i've promised to folks. i do want to get there... but i may have to be patient.

colleen double ended colored pencils

i've been inspired by these double sided colleen colored pencils that i first spied here . i like the idea of making drawings using their color combos. sometimes i find it relaxing if one element of what i'm working on is determined by some outside force. the scale, or the color, or something. it makes me feel like i have one less thing to worry about.

i'm working on these very small drawings for an upcoming show - and i found i really had to push myself to use more than 1 or 2 colors. i tend to like small shifts in a color family - like a bunch of teals and greens or several pinks and browns together. throw in one more color and i start getting twitchy. i'm trying to use at least 3 colors in some of them [the work is kind of all about 3] and it's making me work really hard. i think this is good, but part of me is still complaining.

i've also been thinking about pressure. it came up with one of my students who has had some early success with showing and selling his work. he said making art right now isn't as much "fun" as it was before because he has all these extra voices and thoughts in his head right now. i feel for him. the best moments in the studio [for me] are when you are present and yet also somehow in some other world - where you don't really have any "everyday" thoughts in your head and you aren't worried. you are just kind of making. it's hard to banish the outside temptations, influences, general "noise". i'm have a particularly hard time of it now. but i'm going to practice what i preach [to my students] which is to soldier on. discipline through it.

on that note. back to work. i have to re-write my artist statement for a proposal. this proposal is big. it's daunting. if i get what i wish for it will be pretty amazing. and that's all i'll say for fear of jinxing it.

happy wed.

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the days are blending together for me. not because i'm doing the same thing everyday, but because i can't really keep tabs on anything more than what is happening THAT DAY. i think i always want to live more in the moment, but... i guess i must confess that ultimately i'm a planner and i feel as if i'm about to forget something hugely important.

hopefully that won't happen. i also kind of feel like if i can make it through the next few months things are going to shift again. in a big way.

so in no particular order here are some things that have been on my mind/happened:

1. i got a haircut today. as you can see in the above photo [another work day - the outfit made me think of martha and her new line - UN have you seen it?] my hair was almost to my shoulders! i haven't had hair that long since high school??

2. we've been eating out of our garden. the broccoli the other night was the best i've ever eaten. seriously. i'm so glad we conquered those broccoli caterpillars. tonight we had beet greens. our tomatoes are just finishing. my husband has been an amazing farmer and cook. sorry i don't have photos of our goodies [keep eating them before i think of it] but i feel so lucky to see items on my plate that come from our yard.

3. i've got a couple of ideas i'm researching for drawings. i'm thinking about how to take familiar imagery [my vocabulary] down new paths . seeing heather's layered drawing got me all excited to try these new things. it's been a couple of weeks since i've done anything in the studio and i'm itching to. next week....

4. i'm trying to relish teaching as due to the insane budget shortfalls here in california it looks as is my teaching days are numbered. this makes me sad. i've been thinking about how much i missed teaching when i was on maternity leave. and now that i'm back how much i will miss it again. of course there are things about it that are exasperating.... but there are moments in the classroom where i can feel and see minds and ideas shifting and forming and that is so exciting. i keep trying to believe that there is a greater force at work [all things happen for a reason] and that it will be good for me to take a break. spend more time with the little. maybe more studio time? maybe go back to freelancing?

5. the smell of rain is so good.

6. my parents are going to japan soon and i've been reliving my trips there. wishing i could travel again. i think i still have some polaroids to show from that trip. and speaking of polaroids... film. will be back. the impossible has happened !!!

6 is a good number. will stop here. hope things are good in your necks of the woods....

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we are 2, but like 1

hello. anyone still reading this blog? it's gathered a bit of dust.

i didn't mean to be gone. life and lack of sleep took over [the little was teething] and so the computer time just had to give.

i really did miss this space, though. more than i thought i might if i gave it up. in fact i started waxing nostalgic. i realized i've been writing here for 5 years. and been part of a community online for that long too.

A LOT has changed since i asked why we blog . in fact i bet many of the links from that post are dead and gone. people who used to be regular readers and commenters here have stopped blogging, had babies, moved onto bigger and better things. some i still keep in contact with in other ways - some i have no idea what happened to them. we've all started twittering and/or facebooking [i really hate this adding of "ing" to a noun to make it an action, but what can you do?]. the circle of who knows who via who expands on almost a daily basis.

i've realized that in some ways this virtual community is more real, more day to day, more dependable than some other communities. but it's also interesting because different social rules apply too.

and i've realized that i still like this as a place to gather links, talk about what interests me, sort out my studio practice, whatever. a few people emailed me to ask why i turned the comments off of the last post. i think it's because i was feeling kind of high school. wondering what kinds of posts generated the most comments - or waiting for comments/reactions. that's not why i started or have this space. don't get me wrong - the comments are fabulous - i love each and every one - or even the lack of them when there aren't any. but i was thinking about them too much. and i was feeling guilty because i knew i couldn't visit everyone and comment back. to me part of what is joyful about blogging is the interaction - and i don't feel right if i can't participate, but people are commenting here.

anyway. i will try to be back. at least once a week. and i will try to participate as i can - understanding that i have new responsibilities in life [and a SHOW to prepare for - yikes!]. hopefully no one will feel slighted. and i won't mind if people stop commenting here. it's just how it will be.

and in the meantime here are some really cool drawings my husband did.

my husband can draw :: 1
mcnulty capturing a cartoon mouse

my husband can draw :: 2
and an "eater" at the bottom of our grocery list.

i love when he draws. i wish he'd do it more often. he does it in fits and spurts.

see you!

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square of sun

i should have taken a polaroid of this moment for the domestic life series.... i bet though if i had grabbed the polaroid camera the loud clzack zzzz noise that it emits when spitting out the picture would have sent chini and mcnulty running from their spot. and who would want to do that to them?

sometimes i think cats are so lucky. find a moment of sun. lay and clean oneself in the warmth. take a nap. what a life. i find myself secretly wishing that a) i could take a nap in the sun and b) i had the ability to sleep comfortably on hard wood. [although lately in my sometimes sleep deprived state i HAVE fallen asleep on floors and in chairs in funky positions - maybe i am more cat like than i think]

a domestic life :: 07 :: girls day dolls

a domestic life :: 07 :: girl's day dolls

in my head this is my attempt at omitting information and trying to bridge the gap between the prince and the princess. see they share certain bits of information. so in my head this ties them together and sort of removes the gender quotient [and this fascinates me. the gender quotient in general and how to remove, circumvent, toy with that whole idea]. it's also sort of funny to me to see how i seem to steer clear of the figure [even in doll form]. if you just look at the drawing what would you think is going on?? i think it reads japanese - but maybe only if you are familiar with the symbolism? i'm not sure. other than that - the space is so funky. floating trees on a colored empty platform? huh?

>>>> art link >>>>>

mia christopher added me as a friend on flickr and i love her work. it's so charming. and she lives in SF. maybe i'll get to see some in person someday. i can only hope. her work has that funny empty space -- what's going on here feeling that i gravitate toward.

have a good weekend!

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a perfect tomato

my mom brought us her first tomato. it is kind of a perfect one. the shape, color, size. it brings out the hoarder in me. i don't want to eat it - i just want to keep it so i can look at it forever. but it's perishable, so it must get eaten.

when i was a kid i would save anything that i liked. i would try and keep things neat and pristine. hence i have hello kitty erasers and pencils that i'm JUST NOW starting to use [i have a pencil case that i think i'll pass onto the little when she gets old enough]. i would silently shake my head at my friends who ripped all their stickers off the backing and put them everywhere. i always wanted duplicates - one to use and one to keep.

i have mixed feelings about this. part of me still practices this - although i've loosened up a lot. i use things when i want to [the childhood me might keep a set of markers until they dried up and weren't usable. the adult me realizes some things don't keep forever and to use what you have when the fancy strikes you]. part of me wonders why i would hold such trivial things so dear.

it even applies to food. i would always save the best part of something for last. so if it was a cupcake i'd tend to eat around the outside until i got to the last bite of the absolute middle. i still often do this. saving a bite of food i know will be most flavorful for the last bite that i take. i guess i want to savor and remember....

then again - often it's in the very simple and mundane that i find the most perfection.


like these spoons. i woke up and my husband had lined up our little baby spoons on our kitchen table. i'm a sucker for anything in rows. and colorful things in rows. well.... i can get absolutely giddy. this very small gesture made my whole day. and i had to take a photo of it to "keep" it.

maybe that's what has also changed. when i was a child i couldn't photograph something to remember it by [or it wasn't as easy as it is now] - and so i wanted to keep everything so that it could "live" not only in my physical world, but in my mental world. now i can photograph a fleeting moment [or tomato] that i find intriguing... and thus it stays with me for as long as i want it to.

i wonder if there's a term for hoarding digital imagery. it's not like it sits in noticeable piles like everything else i hoard - ahem i mean collect .

what do you notice? what do you hoard? what small moments of perfection make you gleeful?

have a great weekend


stamping baby shirts

being sans computer can be a blessing and a curse. it's kind of nice not to have to get design work done, or answer emails.... but then i start feeling antsy. isolated. wondering what you all are doing out there in internet-land. what are you making, reading, taking pictures of, eating????

like see - i missed when abby posted about her hope to go to second storie market ... and the release of a special print set to help get her there. i almost bought this print too.

and then i wonder about this space. what to write when i return. there is so much and so little to say at the same time.

it's almost like each of my days are broken into micro-segments. what do i do with the little when she's awake? what do i do while she's asleep? is she getting enough sleep? [i know i'm not getting enough sleep]. how do i balance what she needs with what i need and everything in between? did i remember to go outside today??

and then some stuff does get made around here. like the above shirts stamped. there are babies being born to the left and the right of me... and with cc outgrowing her clothes faster than you can blink i thought i'd re-cycle ad re-fashion her plain white onsies for the newly arriving babes. the dog stamp i bought - but i carved the robot one.

one cupcake

the other day i did manage to walk to a cafe and get a glorious cupcake. and i put it on my very special robot plates [from amisha and shari ]. which reminds me that i really should properly thank some folks for their gifts that they've sent. which means that i should photo them. cough cough.


and it was the 4th of july in there somewhere, right? just when i think i'm about to loose my sanity... my mom comes. and rescues me. and takes on baby duty in a way that allows me to relax. to realize that i am still my own person. gives me and my husband a chance to watch a movie together.

and how cute is she with the sparklers? in my coat???

sometimes it's the absolute littlest things that loom large. how grateful am i to those close to me that i can lean on. depend on. how special is it to come down the stairs after getting the little to bed and find a plate of food lovingly put together by my hubby for me?? practically every night.

i did manage to make some art these last few weeks. images of that... and my studio... and our new bathroom... and and and??? stay tuned.

happy weekend!

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i have no concept of what day it is....

this post will contain all the random things i've been meaning to post about but have been forgetting.....


christopher faiss sawhorse desk

my former studio mate makes beautiful things [and installs them for other people]. above are his spiffed out sawhorses [what is it about sawhorses that is so appealing?? i want a pair of these, but with galvanized accents instead of bronze.... if only...] i have been hounding him to get his website together for gosh i don't know - like 5 YEARS?? well - we finally did it.


i keep forgetting to mention that i have been in more dialogue videos. the last two were on niche: friend or for [with pia ] and this week social networking [with kate and will ]. i have a hard time watching myself, but i watch the videos to see what other people say. i kind of close my eyes when i'm onscreen and then re-open them when i don't hear my voice anymore. i always feel like i'm saying the dumbest stuff.


my origami mobile was featured in cafe mom today. thanks sheri


the mixtape zine giveaway w/ my birdie on the cover is still going... till tomorrow.... [what i love about give-a-ways is all the new people you meet online]


4 random polaroids from Japan. i did say i'd post more of those, right? these are all the cute things in front of stores and in parks [and that i always seem to shoot on the left side of the frame??? why is that?]

blue elephant

green tea soft



bye for now.

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a domestic life :: 05 :: narcissus

ah. moleskines. how i do love thee.

my friend gave me a narcissus plant. so sweet and fragrant and so fleeting. the sepia hue in the polaroid was generated by a filter provided to me by annie bee - photo genius extraordinaire.

i'm finding this process meditative. take photo and then draw something in the photo, or re-draw the photo. sometimes i'm interested in doing it to scale - the same size as the photo, other times i want to change the scale. in a way the whole idea of doing something twice removed intrigues me. the photo is a frame - a glimpse into some other world - a removal from the "real" world while it simultaneously captures it. [there are so many theoretical stances on photography. sontag , barthes and the like can explain it better than i can here].

and then the drawing itself is another removal. it's my hand - my eye - my interpretation of something that is already "false" or "removed". it's interesting to think about how sometimes a photo or a drawing can be more real than reality - especially in terms of conveying an emotion or desire or mood. but then again they can be so fake. in how you set it up - meaning how you generate the image can be so easily manipulated. and in how you manufacture it. when painting or drawing you can use non-native colors or different kinds of mark-making to change the tenor of the piece. you can omit or add things at will. in life you can't will a red rose to be purple [you can imagine it so, but unless you have magic powers or have a strange kind of color blindness the red rose will still be red]. but in making you can alter things as much as you'd like. and even if you are a photorealist and try to copy "life" exactly - you can't... and that is part of where the magic lies in art, no?

i hope that isn't too much methodology for a late tuesday morning. i might have been inspired by all of bara's posts on methodology. the first one is here - and there are 4 total. they are really great.


this weekend a print was featured in sunset magazine's idea house - they had a fair at their menlo park facilities. i think the best part is being on a wall with Rachel Austin :: Traci French :: Andrea Jenkins :: Sharon Montrose :: Eric Rewitzer :: Ian Dingman :: Lisa Congdon :: Leigh Wells :: Dana Robson. i love the wall color and that sofa. no idea who makes that sofa, but it's a beauty, no?

there are SO many june baby birthdays to celebrate... shari , wendy , gwen ... my dad.... ok - now i feel like i have to run to start getting june presents together.....

i'll be back later this week with another domestic life and a GIVEAWAY which round about relates to.....

hello ! to any readers coming from amy's blog.... thanks for the mention ms. chicken....

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one two three


um. i feel out of blog practice. my laptop came back [but now has a red random pixel on the screen. i have to take it back, but i'm not ready to give it up again so soon].... and then i got really really sick. flu sick. sick in some of the hottest weather we've had here.... there is something really not nice about being sick in sticky hot weather. it really feels like punishment.

on the other hand... i turned in my grades. so i'm officially done teaching. this has been one of the hardest years ever for me in terms of teaching and keeping it all together. so it feels good to have a summer of not teaching. i like what i'm going to teach in the fall [JUST 2 classes!] and so i really want to tweek the syllabi and come back refreshed.

anyway.... news? i do have some

contemporary textiles

i'm in this book! along with people like matthew barney and ghada amer [and a whole long list of others]. in a 100 years i never would have thought my work would be amongst pages that contained their work. it's very humbling.

amisha YOUR piece is the image they used !!!!

anyway - the book is on amazon.

and the FOUR? well... believe it or not.... june marks the fact that i've been blogging for four years. how did that happen?? and in honor of that i feel like i should have one of those leave a comment and you'll win something giveaways. i'm not sure exactly what you'll win but i'll throw in a funny wool pompom ring

pom pom ring

in colors of your choice. and maybe a tote or a T from underdog? so yeah. leave comment. random winner will be selected next monday July 1st.

thanks for reading. for being my friends. for your support and interest and to stop from just going all mushy i'll just say you guys are darn swell.....

more news this week. three shows are coming up quick!

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i thought wearing silver shoes today would help.

i am obsessing over these yellow shoes . honestly i need more shoes like i need a hole in my head. maybe i need a hole in my head [or a whole new head]. perhaps what would come out of said hole would make me smarter, faster, better....

i'm also really into imperfect articles a store that has limited edition T's and stuffs by cool artists. I particularly want andrea loefke's shirt. have you seen her work? . she's amazing.

gotta run [at least i'll look better doing it in my silver shoes]
happy wed.

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holy cow it's may?? 5 months into 2008?

yesterday i made my students meet at the asian art museum in SF. we went through the special exhibitions together.

the zhan wang show was really fun. i like that the museum is trying to infuse new life and contemporary art into their program. mr. wang created a mock up of the city of san francisco using shiny silver dinnerware [made in china of course]. it's clever and charming and of course perfectly shiny. he also recreated rocks out of stainless steel - a version of scholars rocks. i'm not sure the showing of those is so resolved. i don't really like the real rock with the steel rock side by side en masse on shelves and the ground as they were displayed. i conceptually get why you want them both in proximity, but something wasn't working for me.... i liked the ones outside of the exhibition best. the real was on one side of the entrance and the fake was on the other. they were close enough so you could discern the steel was a copy - but far enough away to actually see them both. the idea of a steel - not gold, not silver - light instead of heavy and perfectly shaped rock is intriguing. i thought stephanie might like them.

we also went through the ukiyo-e or floating world exhibition. time and time again i am absorbed by the overlay of pattern in traditional japanese art. the odd perspectives and the combining of textures feels very familiar to my own way of working. i also really really love the way gold clouds hover and cover scenes below. [note to self - bring back the clouds].

i then separated from my class and walked through the rest of the permanent collections. i always feel a bit strange wandering through rooms of artifacts from other cultures. 100's of buddhas away from their proper homes displayed in perfectly red, brown, teal rooms on little pedestals and tricky plexi double sided displays. the objects are still beautiful, but they are so far removed from their original purpose. it also makes me kind of sad....

but i did fall in love with this very small yellow cup. the heart fluttering kind of love. i went home and sketched it.....

small yellow cup

oh how i want it !

anyway - i left the museum and found a farmer's market right by the BART station i needed to get home. so i purchased the above ranunculus. i couldn't resist. they were so charming. so i share them with you to wish you all a happy may day. i also got fava beans and strawberries. i was also thinking about how lovely it was to come upon a market. and how nice it is to notice how flowers can have delicate two tone edges.... [note to self: plant ranunculus someday]

tonight i am running a workshop at the san jose museum of art . we will make felt robots inspired by the amazing hillary of wee wonderfuls and the uber talented wendy . wish me luck!

tomorrow or saturday i will announce some news - good news for those of you that missed out on the tiny showcase print and wanted one.....

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rainbow mains

this is a photo from my trip. which seems like it was 3 years ago not 3 weeks ago. i spend a lot of time just looking for/at things - 1/2 the time i'm not even sure what it is i'm looking for until i spot it. i know i'm not alone in this endeavor. in fact alicia and heather have started a whole blog on noticing . and they are looking for participants next week .

i've been thinking a lot lately about what we notice. what seeps in through all the various filters and barriers that exist. how we process the bombardment of thoughts, images, sounds in our daily lives. what is it that makes us stop for 1/2 a second. or makes us smile.

yesterday i participated in cca's first year final reviews. and here's what stopped me... the idea of PUNCTUATION in art. what constitutes an exclamation point, a period, a question mark - and how do you insert and utilize those to the benefit of you work?

also the idea of intervention and art. or just the idea of intervention in general. like my photo. someone painted those water/gas/electricity mains in rainbow colors. i'm not sure if it's a coding system, or just because, or.... but it intervenes in how i normally look at industrial necessities.

anyway - i also have a question to pose - if any of you are up for answering. it's high time i re-vamp the portfolio section of my website . and i have a lot of work to add to it. right now i just put newer pieces up as i make them - thinking more about making them look nice on the page as a group of 8. but i'm starting to think it might be wise to have categories - at least in the recent work.... something like : tank installations : doily installations : domestic scenes : doily drawings : etc. any opinions?

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so... i can't believe this show is opening on friday. is that possible? if you are in the bay area and would like to come to the opening from 7-9pm, let me know - i have a few guest spots available on my list....

bots in progress

this is one of the many positions i've been in trying to get my site specific drawing done .... once again i'm struck by this whole process. still formulating, but here's a wee list

today i noticed/thought::

* my elbows hurt from propping myself up on them to paint
* it's easier for me to paint sideways right then sideways left
* when i show up on friday will the piece no longer seem mine?
* primary colors are good
* one, two, three, four, five, six
* pacman, space invaders, pixels
* repetition really is under-rated
* i really could spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week painting. it would be a privilege
* my wall drawing is across from a mother-f*^ck*n ed ruscha drawing !!! i never in my whole life would have thought that possible
* i really don't like being away from home for 14 hours
* i hate LED billboards
* who decided to call a dongle a dongle? [computer thing that hooks your laptop up to a projector]

and oh! if you weren't already bombarded with my spring newsletter... the san jose museum shot a little video of me.... i haven't really watched it because watching myself gives me the willies, but.... you can watch me seem uncomfortable in my studio.... they shot video of several people in the show - including one of my favorite artists [and former teacher] gail wight . her video is here

there's more info on the show and a link to podcasts of the videos on the san jose museum website

and... i wanted to share this little bunny i made for wendy's new baby.

bunny for baby

i could also spend all day making little softies i think.....

happy hump day.

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green & yellow argyle

this is the key for my next tank install at SF State. i have a whole folder full of the keys that i've made - some realized, some not.... i really like this kind of busywork. something obsessive that i know has a beginning and an end and that i can sort of meander around while making... you have to pay enough attention so that you don't put the wrong color dot in the wrong space, but there's a method to the madness. it's a nice balance.

so remember the book by michael kimmelman i mentioned? the Accidental Masterpiece. well, i really want to share this passage [this is particularly for shari and maria ]. the set up is that he's talking about a found photo.

It is a fair guess that this man, this woman, and their photographer would be surprised to learn, if they are still alive, that their momento made it to the Met, sharing wall space with Rembrandts and Monets. Whenever the picture was snapped, wherever that was, the man and woman peering into the sun, the photographer maybe fumbling with the shutter before asking them to say "Cheese!" -- none of them were presumably motivated by the desire to create timeless beauty... But the art in the photograph of those strangers and the car is there, plain as day. It is in the reflection of the woman's body on the card door. By some act of divine comic grace, the reflection happens to match up precisely with the head of the man so that he looks like the woman's ghostly, dwarflike double, a funny-surreal coincidence that, by adding a layer of unanticipated meaning to the picture, suddenly elevates it from ordinary snapshot to art.

Sometimes art works that way. It appears unexpectedly. It doesn't arrive through the front door. It senaks in the back, the more startling for being the result of dumb luck. This picture would be less likable, I suspect, if we learned that a professional had planned it, because the amateur's fluke reminds us of a basic fact in life, which is always heartening: the art is out there waiting to be captured, the only question being whether we are prepared to recognize it

um. yeah. need i say more? i almost feel like this is the essence of why we hunt for small moments of beauty. why we look around, take pictures, blog.... it's the line. the line between ordinary and art that i seek. i want to see where it blurs, where it crosses over, where it leans more heavily in one direction. this is why i feel like it's justifiable to call one's art practice research. because research is :: the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

textile pattern

and because this matches my argyle and shash is holding a textile pattern week.... my laptop bag from brooklyn industries

have a good wednesday

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japanese primer

it's been a long time since i posted a corner ... remember when amanda started the group? [aside: have you been looking at her daily photo project?]

this was a reject shot from the ones i sent over to jan at poppytalk who asked me to talk a bit about my collections . she's put together a great collection of collections. see them all .

above is what i'm calling my "japanese primers" [finally framed them]. i found them at a flea market in tokyo for 500 yen [$5]. the colors are totally intense and the pictures are really funny. if i tried REALLY hard i might be able to make out what the text on the right is - at least some of it. :)

on poppy today

my brain has been on overdrive lately. i think it's partially because i'm not getting everything done that i want to get done [this 1/2 sickness stuff is for the birds. i think i'm ok, and then i try to do stuff and nope. i'm exhausted]. i think it's also because i haven't had a good studio day yet this year. a whole day of me making. this makes me antsy. i also have several things in their beginning stages - nothing is at a point where i feel like it's on course. i'm still researching and thinking and feeling that something could shift... this is both good and bad.

btw andrea asked when the show with lisa will be at art stream ... we are working on the dates for sure - but july/august.... thanks for your interest [andrea has a piece in their next show! yay!]

i met my painting I students today. i'm excited to be teaching painting again. it's been awhile. i'm hoping that now that my teaching schedule is "set" i can get into the groove of everything else. is anyone else feeling a bit unsettled so far in 08? [and when did january fly by?]

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see bug work

the famous bug was here last week. i was so happy to have her around. i feel kind of bad as i was buried under a big old pile of stuff i had to get done. but being ever so accommodating miss gwen went with the flow. i feel very very lucky to have such a friend - it's not every day that someone says - i just want to be with you. so whatever you need to do, we'll do. and it's not every day that i feel comfortable allowing someone into my space like that.

gwen is a pretty special gal.

we sewed :: we graded :: we had dueling laptops on my dining room table :: she knitted :: she sewed :: i sewed :: we chatted :: we ate :: we had tiki drinks :: we met up with lisa c and diana . she had the brilliant idea to use my tanks on some skirts....

you can see those and read gwen's take on our adventures over here

we didn't just work. we did play [otherwise we'd be dull girls].


i took her to the secret button store. i was only supposed to look as i have buttons from my last visit there i still haven't used, but alas. i succumbed to temptation. i think the blue ones will make a necklace and the bakelite orange ones will become pins....

heath {polaroid version}

we also went to heath . i think i'm the official bring everyone from out of town to heath wagon. the lady in the store even recognized me from the visit with amy!

above is a shot of their colorway chips and a wall of their plates. i can't say enough about how good their aesthetic is. so good that they carry miss sally's cards!

gwen - come back - anytime...


i'm kind of in a bah humbug kind of mood. no decorations this year. just can't fathom it. i have one more big stack of grading and a few more holiday cards/treats to get out. and the big push for my nashville show. almost almost almost. i've had no time for posting here, movies, flickr, reading [barely getting to blogs], real shopping, taking photos [i miss this so much], or.... but i'm letting it all go. there's only so much a single human can do, right?

i do feel like i can see the light at the end of the tunnel if i squint. yup. there it is.

ok - off i go to tackle my lists. type more soon.....

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$100 on 7

on the roof

cones in  asakusa

these are actually 3 of my favorites. it's hard to believe that i took over 30 polaroids... and that my mom is in japan right now! [lucky lady!]

how is your monday? i had to get up to start class at 8am. my husband just laughed at me. do they know you aren't a morning person? tis true. but i will be there, and i will start class at 8am! [we are going to have coffee and tea in class though. it's a seminar so it's OK]. and thankfully this is only once a week. granted i will teach until 8pm tonight, but... better one long day then classes spread out over many days. my new philosophy.

amazing houses

my studio mate left me a magazine clipping the other day. with this image of work from my town my home . a project by yoshikazu yamagata and mafuyu [whose website is just so great].

have you ever had one of those damn! i wish i thought of that moments. this did it for me. i think these are so amazing, in concept, in execution.... yeah.

i actually have a former student coming to help me tomorrow. [gasp! dare i say i have an intern?] this makes me giddy. really giddy. i feel very fortunate. mantra : do not take advantage - make sure he learns something.... repeat repeat repeat....

be sure to check out ship where we are talking about a pig in provence... and go and wish karen and bara a happy b-day [eireann's is in a few days]... i think there are other b-day folks around now too, but....

and jan's new venture poppytalk handmade . SO MANY good things. just too many....

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There is something about this time of year…. The dates all seem to mean or commemorate something. A day in the woods where I exchanged vows with the one I love [in my 1950’s cocktail dress], the loss of beloved companions [I still miss you]… the date of my birth … and in the flurry of new classes beginning, classes seeming to gel and come into their own [oh I had forgotten how nice it is to teach a non-required course with seniors. The level of engagement and interest is just so much stronger]… my show approaches quickly. Too quickly. Will I ever learn to just be OK with what is made? To not need 10 things to edit down to 5 – to trust that it will come out in some small way like I had dreamed? [afraid the answer is no, but forward progress continues]

What is it in my nature that forces me into movement? Why do I loathe entropy? When will exhausted be exhausted enough? What exactly am I trying to prove? And who am I trying to prove it to?

With fall in the air, with the change of leaves and the pulling out of coats and tights and blankets I want a little comfort [of the macaroni and cheese variety]. What is this notion of time?

// time [noun]
1. a dimension that enables two identical events occurring at the same point in space to be distinguished, measured by the interval between the events. Symbol t
2. a limited period during which an action, process, or condition exists or takes place
3. a system for measuring intervals of time
4. the minute or hour as indicated by a clock
5. time conceived as a force capable of acting on people and objects
6. a moment or period at which something takes place
7. a moment or period chosen as appropriate for something to be done or to take place


How can you both be such a good friend and such a foe? There is never enough time. There is no way to bargain with you. You are generous to the good memories and forgiving of the bad. I can feel your nudge, your pull, your relentlessness. You don’t like entropy either.

This is when I thank leonard cohen, jimmy scott, nick cave, billie holiday for in those moments when you can belt it out with them at the top of your lungs you are free…. [and more importantly not alone]

I think for the rest of this week I will offer up the rest of my japan polaroids and let images speak more than my typing can [they are better at it than me anyway]


koumi train station

wishing :: i was in japan again :: walking along a lake :: meandering through the birch trees :: eating sushi :: i had more time overall :: i had more studio time :: i could ease burdens :: i could garden :: i could do more ::

grass birch

hoping :: my show will go off without a hitch :: that certain someones really are interested in my work :: that really someone is going to install an entire tank installation FOR me :: that i'm informing my students and pushing them to grow and think :: that the work for the countess and my show at sq. ft gallery in january will be what we dream it will :: that i can keep all the balls in the air a little longer :: that i keep saying no, or later, or i can't ::

cigarette machine

thinking :: about family :: connections :: distance :: desire :: bargaining :: breathing :: cloning :: value [in terms of monetary worth, in terms of personal worth] :: about how vacations are better than real life ::

iris swing

wanting :: for one minute to be responsible for no one but myself :: to simply sit in the sun with my dogs :: this bag in charcoal :: to spend some time with those i love :: a ride in a hot air balloon :: a long swim in a warm warm pool ::

thought it was time to show some japan polaroids. have a good day!

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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!


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