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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dusting of Fall

There is a light dusting of fall in the air
Leaves spin by on a gentle breeze
A speckling of walnuts and acorns decorate the earth here and there
Although the heat continues, the nights feel cooler
After such an odd summer season in the United States, filled with
excessive heat waves, hail, earthquakes, tropical storms, floods, severe winds, tornadoes and hurricanes...
I can't say I mind the shift
The colors of fall
Photo by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

My sunflowers are growing!  Yippee!

Yea!  Sunflowers peeking over!
Mmmm...how tall?

Spooky!


Mushroom falls over....Ker-plunk!


WAIT...NO.............BUT WAIT...HEY!
WHAT'S EATING MY NEW WITTLE WEAVES???




A-HA...there you are!
 Look at this little guy!  Oh no there's two!

So we move him...and HIS LITTLE FRIEND TOO over to the tomato plant, which has grown like crazy but Will Not Produce Any Tomatoes!  :(


Where can I go from here?





Because I don't like it here!


I like the underside of the sunflower!
I want to eat THESE green leaves!
So what's a kind-hearted woman to do? 
Yep...but the two little friends back and hope they won't eat All of the sunflowers!!!
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011 

Friday, August 26, 2011

ONE MINUTE ANNOUNCEMENT

BLOGGER SEEMS TO BE HAVING ONGOING TROUBLES WITH THEIR 
"FOLLOWER" BUTTON.
I HAVE NOTICED THAT MINE HAS BEEN DOING A DISAPPEARING ACT 
THE PAST FEW WEEKS.  
I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU JOIN THE CONVERSATION!!!
SO, IF YOU SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN FOLLOWING MY BLOG, 
CATCH IT WHEN YOU CAN!!!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Feathers Will Fly

The feathers are flying...everywhere!  I have been checking in on Jude's recent 
Magic Feather Project
 It has been great fun to see feathers and stories arriving to her
from all over the world!
These two are on their way!

This is his feather

One Crow Feather
Here is his story, in his words:

"First, I helped Grandma dye the fabric in purple cabbage.
Next, I helped Grandma take out the cabbage.  It smelled very bad.
Then, we put the fabric in the the freezer.
When we took it out, the fabric was silverish-white!
Last, on comes the feather."
The Back
Where Quill meets Shaft

He practices drawing crow feathers.  When I ask him, "Are you ready to draw?" (meaning the feather on the cloth), he responds, "Nope, you can't rush art".

He decides to use the purple cabbage fabric.  You may remember it from here.  After the rinse, the sun and the freezer, there is not much purple left!  He whips out the invisible stitch and attaches it to a piece of muslin.  He loves doing this stitch and completes the X in record time!   He chooses to make a crow feather.   He begins by practicing the shape of the crow feather. We discuss the coloring of it, all black. He draws the outline and away he goes!  He notices that where the quill meets the shaft, it is both black and white.  I suggest that he use one strand of each color and he agrees.  You may be able to see this if you enlarge the photo on the right.   He has already taught himself the wrap stitch after watching a moment of Jude's teaching video.
I must say, I love this little feather.  I love the tight bunched up little stitches, the mistakes cut and/or covered up with more stitches.  I love the cabbage fabric that will one day show no color at all, faded away like stories of our past.  This cloth feels so good to hold...it is so soft and it holds the gentle touches of his hands, stitched with his generous spirit and his own way of understanding that this will be sent to Jude for a quilt project for children.
"For the homeless children", he keeps saying. 
It is stitched with the long lashes of his down-turned eyes, focusing on this one single creation.  This one that will become one of many, a part of something bigger...for someone else.  This fills my heart and I hope that this experience, that will become but one in a lifetime filled with experiences, will stay with him in some way.
It will stay with me.

Big Crow Feather & Little Crow Feather
 Then it was my turn.  I had a few ideas and false start or two.
But, then I came across a square of orange cotton fabric in my stash.  I had gotten it years ago, too many years to remember now.  It was a giveaway square from a local quilt shop, one of those - free with purchase - choose a square.  I looked at it and thought of all the eco-dyeing going on these days.  I loved all of the variations of color and the markings on it.  I didn't even notice the butterflies until I started to stitch!  Orange...not my usual color choice...but it reminded me of the sun and the heat...or lack of heat and rain instead, that has been such a topic of conversation in the stitching community this summer.  It made me think of community and the ways we come together and support one another...how we all need the same basic things.
-Sun-Food & Water-Shelter-Loving Care-Mental Stimulation & Growth-Emotional Support-
Feather Finds the Sun
 In this stitching community...the spiral is to symbolize either spiraling down towards the warmth of the sun or up and away from too much heat.  It's a circling around, a gathering...an open-ended movement...

 These are some of the ideas associated with the spiral found on the web:

 "Ancient symbol of the goddess, the womb, fertility, feminine serpent force, continual change, and the evolution of the universe."
From  radio liberty

"Balance, Progress, Direction, Initiation, Centering, Expanding, Awareness, Connection, Journeying, Development."
From  What's Your Sign?

" Celtic artists used the spiral symbol as a mind-altering creative process in which the act of creating a spiral in their work released their minds into a creative splendor."
From  What's Your Sign?

 "Represents ethereal energy radiating out (or inward depending on your perspective) Also symbolizes growth, birth and expansion of consciousness."
 From What's Your Sign?

In terms of astrology, mysticism and myth the spiral translates into meanings of spirituality and rebirth.In terms of spirituality, the spiral symbol represents the path leading from outer consciousness (materialism, external awareness, ego, outward perception) to the inner soul (enlightenment, unseen essence, nirvana, cosmic awareness).
From Symbolic Meanings Blog by Avia Venefica

The spiral is one of the oldest pagan symbols in existence. It represents the perpetual motion of life, with the spring-like coils suggesting latent power, presenting a picture of life as an endless, evolutionary process bound within the cycles of time. Although each loop of the spiral brings us back to the same place, it takes us to a higher and more evolved level.
From  Exotic India Art


So many of the ideas, in particular the single words themselves really spoke to me.  But, I have to say I didn't do this mini-research until after the feather and spiral were already spinning and winging their way to Jude!  Although, I may have to use some more spirals in upcoming work!!!  I designed it by intuition, by gut, by artistic flow.
However, I did make 'design' choices inspired by what I wanted to communicate.
I chose the 'magic feather' in Jude's traditional style of black and white because I wanted this first (or only?) feather to be a representation of Jude's generosity and the spirit of the Magic Feather Project.  I loved how striking it looked on the bright orange fabric!  When I went to add the spiral, I decided to keep the feel of the magic thread, but mute the color, so the focus would remain on the feather itself...and sort of float off into the spiral.


Thank you Jude for the opportunity to participate in such a worthy project.  Not only is the chosen cause of the nurturing & education of children close to my heart, but I was fortunate to share this experience with my grandson.  For this, I am grateful.
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011 

Monday, August 22, 2011

As The Crow Flies (Sunday Night Post)

6.6 miles off the paved highway





Remains of times gone by

A fistful of feathers find their way to me
Goodnight

All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Update # 3 - Completion

Well the little cloth is close to completed.
A backing of an old flannel shirt of mine has been added.
The edges are being sewn with a snug blanket stitch.
He chooses blue, a favorite color of his.
He caught on to this stitch just as quickly as the others, but his interest comes and goes.
It must be that whole appearing and disappearing thing that Jude keeps talking about!  Ha!
He calls this cloth "cat ears" and it fits right in his pocket.
He has actively done each step to create this cloth...all by himself.
I help at the very end finishing the blanket stitch.
We are both proud!
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011 

He cuts off the white triangle
Old flannel shirt on back
He does several of the blanket stitches

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Things Found

Late dusk...almost dark, dark
Step out and look down
bend down further, looking...looking
Test it with the toe of my shoe with a gentle kick
and hear the jingly sound of metal on asphalt
Pick it up and see the heart...do you see it too?
See a possible beast hiding in the twists and turns
A few steps, maybe more
A little blue square stares up from the side-of-the-road dirt
"Ah yes" I think as I have a history with tiny blue squares
And then I think of Was* and his blue square of a nose
Next into view comes a small hook 
which reminds me of sardine cans and my Daddy      
As a part of where I'm from
And last a rusty nut, almost left on the roadside, but one never knows 
when they will need a rusty nut

Do you see the heart in the wire on the left...do you see the shadow heart behind the nut?
Photo by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Home again, I place my treasures on my drawing pad and look them over.
Maybe I could trace them as part of a pattern to stitch or use their splendid shapes to dye fabric.  Or maybe I'll toss them in the old glass cookie jar, filled with other rusty things, to be considered another time.
But for tonight, I am noticing shape and symbol and remembering days gone by.

*Was is the expressive cat of Jude
You can see him and his little blue nose here

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Where is Home? Where Are You From?

Over at Grace's today, Michelle left a comment that held a re-posting a poem by Louise Gl├╝ck...revisiting childhood place.  That reminded me of a poem that my sister shared with me by George Ella Lyon titled Where I'm From.  Go on over to her site and check it out.  While there do listen to her recite this beauty of a poem full of language and emotion.  
It feels like familiar comfort and discovery all at once.   
When my sister shared this poem and her own version, I knew I had to try it too, enjoying creative thinking as I do!  I embraced the title expressing the concept that where we are from is really made up of all the little things that create our day to day existence or our bigger life events.  Usually when someone asks you, "Where are you from?"... usually you name a town or a city or a state.  If this person asking is from the same general area, well then you may mention a street or a well-known landmark or place of business to help that person to visualize where you're from.  But really we are from those little things that brand our memories, embellish our traditions and inspire us to stay or to move on to find new homes, elsewhere.  
But no matter where you end up, where you're from travels with you.
What I love about this poem is that it inspires anyone, everyone to reflect in poetic sensibilities.  So maybe Grace is from a Singer Sewing machine and Cindy is from wire flower petals.  I love that this poem has taken on a life of its own and teachers in many schools have embraced it, and used it to inspire their students, to teach their students.  Some creative teachers have even had students make videos of where they're from.
So have you popped over and experienced the original yet?  
Go ahead, but hurry back!
 While you're there, take a peak at this well-done video
Here is my version.  I include it not as a great piece of writing.  I think it's still in process, but I've not yet decided.  The thing about this poem is that once you get started, more and more memories just keep coming back to you!  That can be a real treat at times!  I share my version, to inspire you to write your own.


I’m From

I’m from early morning waitings, smell of dew, and cool pavement on the backs of my legs
I’m from cream cheese and jelly sandwiches and “Do I have to eat my olive sandwich?”
I’m from protest folk songs at a hillside gathering each day’s end

I’m from birch trees to climb, sprinklers to run through, and pill bugs to gather from the dark moist soil at the planter’s shaded edge

I’m from children’s books known by heart, adult book titles studied but never read, and stacks of 45’s played on repeat

I’m from Peanuts comics, a well-organized desk and helping to grade tests in red

I’m from meat and potatoes and meatloaf with crunchy rosemary ‘bones’ in it

I’m from Tom Lehrer, Vicki Carr, Danny Kaye and show tunes by the dozens

I’m from moccasins, sunflower seeds, Helm’s Bakery truck salt-water taffy and a running tab with the ice cream man

I’m from “That’s enough already!” and “Don’t touch the remote” to family famous BBQ hamburgers and kosher hot dogs

I’m from walls to climb over, roofs to climb on, clotheslines to swing from, and the pungent smell and fear of ‘poisonous’ oleanders.

On my mother’s shelf is a row of meticulously created photo books that combine two households and contain the family memories year by year

Nancy
July 24, 2011


I'm from special bracelets that fit like a puzzle or make jingly music with charms
Thank you for stopping by to share poetry and memories!

Photo by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011 









Saturday, August 13, 2011

Update #2 - Stitching - Traditions - Maps



Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. 
They help us define who we are; 
they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.
Susan Lieberman
It looks like a map to us, a trail of sorts


 The invisible baste has been completed.  He still wants to cut out the white triangle, to make 'cat ears'.  I am unsure if he will add any more stitches to this cloth.  But, it has already worked a bit of magic as he wrapped it around the throbbing fingers
he accidentally closed in the bathroom door.  Ouch!
"It is really soft" he claims as he cradles his hurt hand in the other one.

My walking map


How many times makes a tradition?  Can it be just a couple of times if the memories are strong enough?  Can it be spread over years, sprinkled here and there?  Can a tradition pop up unexpectedly, sort of after the fact?  And then you say in surprise, "Oh ya, we have been doing that!"  Or you say,  "Well look at that, we all like doing this or that!"  Or maybe the tradition comes on slowly after you notice a comfortable sameness, a certain pattern.  Then you proclaim, "Let's keep doing this!  Let's make it our tradition!"
It seems my immediate family has some sort of connection to maps!
On the way to preschool - Map by my daughter, aged 3
I once wrote a question on the interactive white board in my classroom.  It was early fall and my question focused on Traditions.  
What traditions do you and your family share during the fall and winter seasons?
One mother claimed that her family had no specific traditions.  This led to a wonderful rich conversation defining what traditions may be and then expanding on that definition even more.  She came back to me months later and spoke of what her family does to celebrate the winter holidays.  She came back to me years later and mentioned that she still thought of our conversation.  I basked in our ongoing connection.  Posting that question each fall became a classroom tradition!


My son decorates with maps!


“Tradition is the handing down orally of stories, beliefs, and
customs from generation to generation.”

“Traditions can be adapted from familiar comfortable patterns. 
Traditions don’t have to be old.”

“Traditions provide stability and help us focus on what is important.”
-Origin Unknown, Shared by a dear friend


 What traditions do you share with family and friends?
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dance of the Starlings


                                            
Tonight my guy asked me to do a search for him related to the book (The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins) he is reading.   
I am the Search Queen around here!!!
Flash on to You Tube...type in the name Dylan Winter in the search box.
BAM ...end up with this video that is filled with facts and two more links in the information section.  Watch it too...there's some really good and interesting stuff there!
I figured with all of the wonderful feather happenings going on, I'd post the one above for the sheer joy and beauty in the creative encounter this video holds.
Enjoy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Traveling Feather

Went visiting today
Two favorite elderly aunts
Lovely afternoon spent together
Somewhere on the almost 22 mile drive home, a stowaway joins me
This one, not of cloth, but knew you all would want to see
Knew you all would feel the magic
Little feather catching a ride!

Little Feather comes home!
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Sights

I wonder if this would dye fabric?

Such an interesting flower

The 5th Beatle!

Wearing his beret!

Trees


 Everywhere I look, I see such beauty.
Sigh.


All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tea and Cabbage



Place tea and fabric in glass canning jars.
Place purple cabbage and fabric in the dye pot.
Add water.
Leave in sun for as long as you can stand to wait, to see the mold begin to grow, to smell that cabbage as you pass by!  (It was well over a week - I'm not patient with this)
These have not been rinsed, washed or anything except a slight rinse with the hose and hung on the line to dry in the hot sun.
They've been forgotten out on the line for two days.
We'll see what happens next.  
They may be used on the MD cloth, that is if I can get the smell out!
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Update

He is sewing, stitching...bit by bit...
The 'front' ...two down, one to go

The 'back'
There is one more triangle to baste.  He is proud of his work.  When I wasn't paying attention, he taught himself to thread the needle.  He likes how the two trails connect.  So do I!!!  I wonder what will happen next with this little cloth!

All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011