Archive for the ‘Words’ Category

Work in Progress–Accustomed to Being Invisible

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Have you ever been standing in a shop looking at what is on the shelf a few feet away, suddenly someone walks in front of you, and in between you and the shelf? You step back, out of their way, because you were not seen. Have you ever walked up to an automatic door and found yourself standing there waiting for the door to open? Your presence was not recognized by a sensor. How many times have you touched your iPad screen to open an app and nothing happened? Could you be invisible?

Got to thinking about, well being invisible. And since most of the time I don’t really care if I am noticed, I started thinking about things of substance in nature that are hidden or invisible. Things that have an important function, but remain hidden to the casual viewer.

I am in the process of using plant parts that are typically hidden in my invisible series. The parts are beautiful, often with patterns imprinted on them as the result of their function in the life-cycle of the plants.

Interior Bits

These are the interior bits of Pandorea jasminoides. I collected some pods that I thought would be fun to use. When I opened the pods and removed the seeds, I found these beautiful shields.

I recently purchased a Pandorea jasminoides, specifically to harvest the pods, seeds, and other interior bits. This is the first harvested pod.

Pandorea jasminoides pod

Glycerin Mixture

The Pandorea jasminoides bits were soaked in a glycerin solution to make them more pliable and easier to stitch.

Invisible Code

Code to be used on Pandorea jasminoides bits.

Invisible Stitched

The Pandorea jasminoides bits were stitched with Alpaca Lace yarn. Each piece was stitched with a letter of the quote–accustomed to being invisible.

The current plan is to make a page with the coded pieces on one side and a bound small round mirror of the other side. I seriously thought about making knitted and fulled pages, but I am not pleased with the results, yet.

Decided to try using some embroidered pieces for the pages.

Front Page

The right side has–take notice in code. Not sure that I like it.

Back Page

Each embroidered piece is 45 squares (11.25″) wide and 58 squares (14.5″) high. The openness of the stitches is one of the reasons for using the roofing felt in between. I love roofing felt–the way it feels, smells, and looks. I started using roofing felt when I was investment casting. Some of the roofing felt that had been used in the casting process had lovely plaster stains. I liked the used roofing felt so much I used it in my Headbox series.

Regret Quotes

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

“Regret. It piles up around us like books we never read.”

…is a great line from the movie, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recuit.

A few other regret quotes I have accumulated–

“…stained dark with regret and long-time abandonment.”

from Painted From Memories by Barbara Forte.

“…anger dissolved in a sigh of regret…”

from Deceptive Cadence: The Virtuosic Spy by Kathryn Guare.

“…time of early evening when the world seems trapped in melancholy, and all its regrets for all its mislaid plans for the day spelled in the fading clouds…”

from Where She Went  by Kate Walbert.

And from The Gray and Guilty Sea-An Oregon Coast Mystery by Scott William Carter.

“…no room for even a sliver of regret”

Words Found Today

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

I ran across two words today that could be used in reference to the shocking statements made by the man in the lead to become the Republican candidate.

Paralogism–a piece of illogical or fallacious reasoning, esp. one that appears superficially logical or that the reasoner believes to be logical.

Paracosm–a detailed imaginary world involving humans and/or animals, or perhaps even fantasy or alien creations.

How can a man who wants to be the President of my country claim to want less government while attempting to make laws to restrict health care for women?

Mix of Stuff 16 February 2012

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Today I was asked to make a red target icon that doesn’t look like the target used by Target. I googled archery targets to get a notion of what might be visually expected. I didn’t remember that the center of a target could be yellow.

Whenever I perform searches for work projects, I often receive hits that are of personal interest. Today I found arrows at the Museum of Anthropology, the University of Missouri. I made several series based on weapons, so I’m always delighted to see lovely artifacts that also have a dark edge to them. I especially like sharp pointy objects.


According to the site the artifacts are Javanese target arrows. The description states that the shafts are made of bamboo, a material that I have used quite often in my work. I found that it was a bit difficult obtaining the surface that I wanted until I hit on using heat. Beware though, bamboo can catch fire from the inside. Before you know it, your piece can be aflame.

I chose to use bamboo because it is a prolific grower, its cultural myths, and its use in a variety of rituals.

After I finished the icon job, I went out to water a newly planted hellebore. I noticed that the bottlebrush in the courtyard apparently doesn’t like its location. It is thrusting out from the house and in doing so appears to be using a bunny ornament as a support.


When I went back to proofing the database of thousands of words, I found a couple of interest–

of, relating to, or taking place in the morning

carved ornament at the eaves of a tile roof concealing the joints between tiles

Next Stop Wonderland and Books

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

I am addicted to Netflix streaming. Recently I listened to Next Stop Wonderland a film I viewed several years ago. I remembered liking the film for the dialog and the Bossa Nova sound track.

The dialog has some interesting notions–

“quietness without loneliness”

“contemplate something beautiful”

“…it’s important to have some daily ritual in your life that gives it a sense of consistency.”

Reading has always been an important part of my life. I like to start the day reading something to set my day. At the close of the day I enjoy reading something as well.

One of my favorite scenes in Next Stop Wonderland occurs in a bookshop. Erin, the central character, drops a book; it falls to the floor open and face down. She picks it up and is about to close it when the book seller says,

“Don’t close it. You should never close a book until you’ve read something from it… just a sentence or a word, it can be very, very revealing…”

I love books–reading them, thinking about them, the way they feel in my hands, the way they smell. When I was young I was taught to respect books. The book should not appear to have been read. Then something happened. First I started dog-earing the top of the pages to mark text in the upper half and the bottom of the pages for text in the bottom half. Then a double fold made if the text I wanted to remember was on both sides of a page.

Now I use books somewhat like a sketchbook. The books that I like quite a lot have dog-eared pages, highlighting, and underlining. And then there is my obsessive note taking, jotting down ideas, and making sketches in the white space.

Stack of Books

This is a small stack of books that I liked very much when I first read them and when I reread them. Actually I liked them so much, I gave them as gifts. The stack includes work by Joe Coomer, Percival Everett, Brian Morton, Abigail Thomas, Margaret Atwood, and Richard Preston.

Joe Coomer
Pocketful of Names

Percival Everett

Brian Morton
Starting Out in the Evening

When I was preparing the links I realized that nearly all of the books have descriptions of an artmaking process. The exception is Richard Preston’s The Demon in the Freezer.

Proofing: Database of Words for SLPs

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

I am in the process of proofing a database of words for a couple of projects for speech language pathologists. Today I ran across a couple of words that I wasn’t sure were in fact words.

The letter combinations seemed like perfectly acceptable spellings, but something seemed amiss. Turns out they are in fact words and a bit connected as well.

The words I questioned as being such are, stoup and roods. Stoup is a basin that contains holy water and a rood is a crucifix or a painting of such. Coincidence, serendipitous that both words are religious objects used in rituals?

Free to Choose

Free to Choose is part of my Cleanse Your Palate series. Each glass is bound with wool, has a word in code, and is filled with clove soap. The holey rock rosaries are braided and knotted with “Forgive Yourself” in code.


Thursday, January 26th, 2012

I had a vague notion that nyctograph was a form of writing but I had to google the word to find out its proper definition. I found several hits that stated it was a form of night writing, without the aid of illumination, devised by Lewis Carroll. I could not however, find the actual symbols Carroll used.

I don’t know how many times I have attempted to write notes in the dark of night and find the next morning what I had written was difficult to read.

I like the idea of a symbol system using a template rather than graph paper. I could use any available scrap of paper or even my arm. I took to writing on myself when I was giving art sessions at a maximum security forensic facility.

This is a sample of the grid template that I found at Wikipedia.


I pretty much use Morse and Tap Code, or reference to them in my work. Coding for me started when I made a series of bronze daggers and titled them after folks who were particularly difficult. I couldn’t leave it at that so I devised a code based on my nephew’s name and date of birth disguising the actual names. This piece is titled Filfeh, which does not exactly follow the rules of spelling. A few other titles were, Anoa, Nivner, Reima, Anxen, and Frea.


I have attempted to use other codes–Celtic Tree Ogham and the Pigpen Cipher but they haven’t worked with the materials I was using.


Perhaps they will find their way into a series in the future.

How an Idea Occurs–Banned Books

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Today when I was reading blog posts I saw this image and was off on a creative journey. The image was posted on Sri Threads, a gallery specializing in Japanese folk textiles.


I have been thinking about weaving or embroidering a family tree of important dates using Morse Code. I have woven some pieces for family gifts, but I want to show the connections between the family members. I originally thought that a large wallpiece using coconut fiber, white cotton rope, sisal, and 1″ fence would be the solution. I hadn’t thought about the possibility of the presentation in the form of a book. I love the intimacy that the book format offers. While the form is quite different, it probably would be better received by my siblings.

Then very quickly I started thinking about words and banned books and my series, Cleanse Your Palate. Cleanse started with my attempt to remove a particular word from my vocabulary. A versatile word that has multiple functions.


In No Regrets, the word is embroidered and affixed to the shot glass with a ring that is also in code. The shot glass is filled with clove soap. Yep, wash your mouth out with soap. Clove because of its history in dentistry and I just happen to love its fragrance.

A couple of things of interest–what happens when a code is used to represent a word with negative connotations; can the word appear beautiful when knotted or woven?

From there I hit on using what some folks believe are objectionable words, phrases, ideas weave them up in code and bind them in a book presentation. The series of course would be titled Banned Books.

Might Come In Handy Some Day

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I have been accused of being a pack rat. Sure there is a tad of truth to that description. But I should think that most mixed media artists know–collected materials for use “some day” could mean exactly that.

Many of the pieces that I had in a show last year had materials I saved for several years. For example, the pit fired cup was a demo piece from a teaching gig over 10 years ago. The metal bits I snagged when my brother-in-law was clearing out his warehouse of construction materials.

At Risk

I wanted this cup to appear more goblet-like so I drilled a hole through the bottom to attach a carriage bolt for a stem. The stem has two types of washers that are filling in for the dots and dashes of Morse Code.

The stem has the word “mourning” in code. It is a play on the homophone “morning” as in morning cup of tea. The small bag inside the cup has poison plant bits–not material appropriate for a tea ceremony.

Mourning Cup

The wood for the sides of the next piece came from an old swing that I rescued from my parents’ burn pile. That was more years ago than I care to remember. The bronze bit on the rosary is a piece of a dried fig that was spin cast in the late 80s. I couldn’t find a home for it until this piece was made. The rosary has “Cleanse Your Palate” and “Forgive Yourself” in code.

The thing that was most fun about constructing this piece was how the cast soap cup came into existence. I made a slew of woven and fiber cups that I meant to cast in bronze. I never managed to get them gated and cast so they were stored away. When I ran across them I realized that I really didn’t want to cast them any longer. So, I made silicone molds for casting soap and sugar pieces.

Forgive Yourself

Rarely do I first glimpse a material or object and know precisely how I will use it. Often materials make it known where they would like to live and with whom.

When I was sorting out the stuff in Dad’s barn, I collected materials to ship home. This is some of what I collected.

Metal Bits

The metal drawers have been nicely oxidized from mice living in them.

Metal Drawers

So many possibilities…

Quipu or Khipu…

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

I freelance for a software company that produces products for speech therapy and learning disabilities. I am currently making my way through a database of words to be included in some apps.

I collect words and phrases to use in my work. I integrate them by using Morse and Tap Code. The code isn’t straight forward I refer to the code by substituting color, a variety of knots or stitches, and metal or plant bits.

When I ran across the word quipu I liked the visual structure of the word. According to Wikipedia, “Quipus (or khipus), sometimes called talking knots, were recording devices historically used in the region of Andean South America.”

The image is from the wikipedia site. Can you see the code?


I find the piece visually beautiful. But it is so much more. I recently listened to a Richard Feynman recording in which he discussed the difference in the way people appreciate nature. When I view the example of Quipu I think that it is lovely as an artifact, then I wonder how does the fiber feel and smell, what kind of fiber was used, how were the knots made, how has the work survived… And after thinking about those qualities I think about the context. Then I view the piece differently, but I still find it quite beautiful.

For more information-


Frank Salomon Pages, Dept. of Anthropology University of Wisconsin

Gary Urton & Carrie Brezine, Khipu Database Project