Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!!

It is a gray overcast day filled with foreboding as the evening draws near. I am so happy I was able to be out and about yesterday because I totally had the best glorious day to be in the country. Now I am inside and working on my quilt until tonight where we will attend the Rotary auction. It is a perfect day to stay in and watch movies in my fuzzy pajamas and eat popcorn. We promised to go but I would really like to just stay in and watch classic movies with scary Halloween themes. This morning I watched the 1963 classic "The Haunting of Hill House" with Julie Harris in one of her best portrayal of a submissive trapped spirit who is finally free from her oppressive mother and has a chance to discover the secrets of Hill House. Catch it if you like old spooky movies in black and white.

I am going to include some of my favorite photos from the trick or treat night in Reynoldsburg on Thursday. Enjoy your spooky Halloween and try not to eat too many that is going to happen LOL.

Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Friday, October 30, 2009

I spent the day in Amish country...

Yes ,I do realize I have not performed one stitch of work for two days but I went up to Mount Vernon to visit dear friends who are going through Hospice Care. Bill has valiantly been fighting his battle against cancer and Marsha is attempting to take care of the farm, the horses and work at her newspaper job and still be a guardian angel to her beloved Bill. They have been together for over 32 and their devotion is still so evident. When I pulled my car into their driveway I realized I did not know what I was going to say or do...but I felt my mother's spirit with me as I climbed the steps up the deck. Their quiet touches, gentle laughter, shared movies and magazines and reassurances that the farm is being taken care of. Marsha is one of my favorite artists friends from my gallery days and she and Bill would always make me smile when they made the trip to Newark for a visit. I was very honored to be inside their intimate home and share the sunshine of their life and beautiful farm land. We visited her horses and walked in the sunshine around the blackberry farm and down into a hillside of color and possible sledding possibilities for this winter. Courage is not recognized as often as we should here in our culture...the love demonstrated of this couple is nothing short of heroic and courageous. Love takes small steps we often overlook in our hurried lives.

The drive back to Newark was breath-taking and I stopped to photograph the hillsides and harvest of our independent farmers here in Ohio. I met a young Amish man Andy Miller and photographed parts of his farm and even though I desperately wanted too take his portrait I recognized his religious beliefs and need for privacy. We only spoke for a moment but I could truly appreciate this young man's simple life, the farm's clothesline, the young black and white calves and the free range chickens that caught my eye and invited me to stop for a moment. Andy was a kind gentle man who spoke softly with a pure innocent gaze into my eyes. I would have liked to know him better and spend some time in his world. Next time I go up I promised myself I would stop and buy some of their eggs and maybe some Maple syrup. The rest of the way home I waved at all the families in buggies and they all waved proudly back to my little old car. I have tried to share some of the best photographs but still I have not decided about the new camera I would like to acquire before the holidays. I am not quite sure how I got home this afternoon...I found myself getting the directions all turned around and the hills and roads are all curvy and twisty....but all the same I made it safely and very tired once again. Friendship is what guided me to Mount Vernon and my reward was immeasurable...I love you Bill and Marsha and I pray we can get together once again soon. I need to get to work for the remaining hours of my day. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Count your happies!!!

I have spent the day with Erin and her 2 1/2 year old Cole and Morgan who is 9 months I think. I am way past tired so this will be short. We went to a morning tea party for three year olds complete with an appropriate height for the dining table and a smorgasbord of delightful hand size foods and drinks with cupcakes and the proper princess dishes and attire. Then the 10 of us headed outside to burst balloons and collect our goodies and prizes. We headed to Erin's house for lunch and a romp in the leaves so when we re-entered the house there was homemade pizza for a quick dinner before trick or treat. Remember my "Hug 1 and Nuzzle the other 1" h1n1 flu should be evaluated by hugs and kisses for those we love. Cole and I took a very small nap together and he told me we need a bigger bed to nuzzle in for our afternoon naps. This is so true! After dinner we dressed our favorite fireman and his loyal Dalmatian for a couple of hours on beggars night. I can hardly type or keep my eyes open right now so I will fill you in later tomorrow. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

H1N1...hug one and nuzzle the other one...

I can smell the fear in the air as the news stations are covering prayerful parents and pregnant mothers attempting to protect their families from this precarious virus. Truthfully I can see and understand the frantic energies struggling to protect while other families still argue whether this is a ploy to force a sense of panic with others refusing to get vaccination. I did get my flu shot but the N1H1 vaccine has not arrived in my doctors and hospital research centers. I will take precautions, and wash my hands frequently, rest and eat properly and hopefully I will stay on top of things. Chocolate helps doesn't it? Chocolate helps everyone! Tomorrow we will head over to Columbus to help the kids with their little kids and the trick or treat parades...I can hardly wait for the sun to come up. What will I be???

"Our task is to say Holy YES to the real things in our life." Natalie Goldberg---I have once again run around the town like a chicken I have worn my body down. The vintage shops, new wipers blades for my lovely old 1998 in one inch longer than the passengers side; and then to Hobby Lobby to buy the last minute supplies for Halloween. I came home and made Spanish rice with three cheeses on top for dinner with crisp corn chips. The days are shorter and the evening comes quickly and I have developed a bad habit of resting after our dinner together...even with a new cup of coffee I can fall into a nap just like the professionals. Now as I scurry to catch up on about a million emails and sit down to focus on the gifts of my day I realize it is really now bedtime. I found a few more supplies for the exhibit but I will have to age a few of the pieces to add to their patina for my book covers. I wonder if anyone really can understand the process my mind develops when I plant that seed of a wanted image I am working for. Deepak Chopra says we should never say we are running out of time...we are energy...ever just keep on trucking by putting one foot in front of the next and you will reach your destination before you realize it. Warm moonlight is coming on my horizon!!! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

This is my friend Jan Cabral is Brain quilt...we both have a fascination. And Morgan Elizabeth is all dressed up with no place to go LOL...Thank you Erin!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

when patterns are worlds emerge Tuli Kupferberg

I have had a busy day but really nothing to really show you... I went to the post office to mail hand made Halloween cards for loved ones and ran into another grandparent mailing their Halloween cards. I then made a rainy day journey to Michael's to try to get a skeleton head paper punch by Martha Stewart for someone as the time is drawing near for the witching hour. I found a garland with dastardly wicked skeletons hanging from jute rope...did I need them well maybe not but I am sure they will end up as a scary embellishment for one of my supernatural dream works. I also found a rubbing of a great skeleton face and wicked spiders to transfer to ...whatever!!! Then I headed south on route 79 and cautiously made my way to JoAnn's Fabrics in search of Halloween buttons that usually they would put on sale the last days before the seasonal celebration and I was right. I found curious little candy corn buttons, skeleton heads , pumpkins and pirate buttons plus half price on their remnant stand. I love a bargain and I know they will all come in handy as I process and sort embellishments to be played with and not necessarily just for Halloween projects. I then hit my favorite McDonald's for a small pumpkin milkshake to renew my energy levels for the rest of the evening.

I have gone through many changes this past year and to be honest I still have certain fears that creep in as I say I am "working" and with the change I have once again realized that there are no guarantees in this life time. Ken was supervising his tutors over in Columbus so I had the day to putz around from laundry to collage to a sweet glass of green tea. I am making my marks daily now even when I do not always want to. I have reread some of my favorite Somerset magazines and washed a batik in vivid values of greens to be used in a piece this weekend. My right hand is terribly sore today from my intense chain stitching so I needed to perform other tasks that would allow my hand to get needed rest.

We have been invited to a Halloween fund raiser on Saturday and today I find out we need costumes ...Yikes!!!! Ken makes a great Jimi Hendrix or even funnier Steve Erkle for an old ABC TV program. I have no idea what I am suppose to come up with in such little time and should I take time away from my progress? I thought about a Grandma Pumpkin plan...I have some quilted fabric...a green turtle neck underneath.... brown flowers and sunflowers I picked up off the floor at Michael's and some funny pumpkin socks...I am still in a elemental planning stage and after tonight when I get some sleep I will see what I can sort out.

Ninety one years ago the Clark family opened a family tradition restaurant in Jacktown where homemade pies and the best fried chicken in the whole state...served family style...this jewel in the country will close on Sunday. Tom Clark said it just was not cost effective to try to stay open and he felt a real sorrow for having to close this well known treasure in Licking county. People are driving from hours away to wait for hours to enjoy their last Clark Chicken dinner as their family had enjoyed for generations. Ken and I had one of our first meals at Clark's when we were searching for a wooded landscape to build our cabin 24 years ago. Moma Clark open the little red cafeteria without a menu...just a good home-cooked fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings!!! It is maybe not the health foods we are suppose to eat more of but once in awhile a person can experience Heaven on Earth with the Clark family tradition. Farewell dear friends!

Take care and remember to Imagine Peace and have a great evening. Cuddle down in a warm, soft quilt.

Monday, October 26, 2009

my dream is in the post...

Mondays after my medications are always tricky so Ken mailed my entry into the juried FAVA exhibit for May of 2010. I will have to wait until November to see what will be is in the hands of the juror and installation committee now but I would truly love to make it to this somewhat prestigious celebration of fiber arts. This biennial exhibit runs the years when Quilt National is in the traveling phase so I will let you know later if the Higher beings are pleased with my art marks. I do feel the joy rising in my spirit as I await the final outcome.

Several of you have now admitted you love to dance around to loud vibrant music with only your loyal pets to testify against you and our secret is safe with the universe. It is not really an official workout session... Jane Fonda had to start somewhere... but dancing and housework do tend to burn up some of tummy. At least this is the lie I tell myself. The Black Eyed Peas are so inspirational in so many ways and the vitality they give their audience is a gift that keeps on giving!

Paul Klee once said...I think it was Paul Klee, "Despite it smallness, a seed is an energy center charged to the highest degree...each seed is a spin off of s certain species and a talisman for the regeneration of that species." My art process begins with a small seed of ideas and inspiration and the time I take to process is a journey that I choose to share with others. One work goes out the door and then I realize my work continues here at home. My blog shares intimate thoughts and loves in my life and I do attempt to keep it simple . I have learned from other generous artists how to do somethings but to be honest their digital prowess is superior to what you read when you arrive here. I thank you all for your kindness and support with both public and private email comments. I want to only be on the computer for an hour so I can find the time and energy needed to be an artist and a grandmother. We all have to have our priorities . I love the word "talisman" to describe what happens when the work becomes visible to myself and my patrons. The exhibit next May is keeping me on track and hopefully in focus; then when I am asked what do I do now it is so hard to express my satisfaction when it does not bring in financial support to my family. This is the first year that I have not worked outside the home since I was thirteen and yes many times there is a "no can this be work? attitudes?" that shake a person's self confidence. Making Art is a way for me to leave a prayful legacy to my children and the little seeds blooming in my heart as I speak. Our children amaze me with their dedication and hard work they daily nurture their little children each day. I am often reminded that the times are a changing ...Thank you Dylan... and in many ways it is very difficult to balance the tugs and pulls on a young family's heart and energies. I am here when you might need me but always know you are so loved!!!

Next week I am heading to Mom Stewart's 89th birthday celebration in Marion. She still amazes me and has set the bar high for all her beloved children and the many, many, many, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I will listen closely to her words and witness her dedication and prayerful life she has modeled for us all in our lives. Nine children and too many children to know the actual number up to date. She will be circled in love and admiration for the memorable hours shared with her pride and joy...her beloved family.

I need to get back to work now. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

not all those who wander are lost: oi gewalt!

not all those who wander are lost: oi gewalt!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It is crazy but I am really starting to understand Larry David...

Sundays are for "Curb your enthusiasm" and tonight I do believe Larry David offended every religious belief and the Catholics are going to be in an uproar for weeks to come. How can 30 minutes can be filled with every personal belief that is confronted and professionally insulted. Then comes "Bored to Death" and the mindless mishaps of a writer who attempts to make a "living" as a private detective...throw in a some pot smoking and a bad Amazon ranking. "When the mind is nowhere... it is everywhere. When it occupies on tenth; it is absent in the other nine tenths."Takuan My mind must be in Detroit!

As you can see I have been scattering my mind to the glorious blue skies today and no, I do not smoke pot. I am puttering from one mindless job to the next and still feel I need more time in my 24 hour day. I had planned my day around a live-chat with Rice Freeman-Zachary who has written an interesting book Creative Time and Space where she interviews artists and visits their studios to share ideas and inspirations. Due to some technical difficulty we were unable to make a connection so I am hoping this can be rescheduled. I, then went on and ordered her book and a couple of others I have been thinking about...I think I have a serious problem with delayed satisfaction. Anyway here we go with another long night of working in the man cave on my quilt top and watch vintage movies of spooky delights.

I had an afternoon of music with the Black Eyed Peas and felting the "Joy rising" in Newark, Ohio. I am 59 years old and a grandmother of 6 and still I love the excitement of this diverse musical collaboration. "Tonight's going to be ...." make it whatever you feel in your heart and dance around your living room and know no one is watching as you incorporate some their dance moves into your routine....Please God I pray no one had a camera LOL! I felt good with just being one with the music and forgetting any inhibitions about age, weight, color, creed....etc. This image should make you smile if you are having a rough start on Monday morning and energize your spirits as your wild imagination runs free reign and you day dream while you receive your instructions and weekly directives from your boss. What is wrong with me tonight... but just remember "To fill the hour---that is happiness". Ralph Waldo Emerson

In my journal I wrote on a calendar entry I wrote in short hand attention... and you will find human effectiveness! I am not a doctor or counselor but my advice went in one ear and out the other. Lord help us all! Have a great evening as I get back to my "focus"...remember??? I have learned from the very best; my friend Larry David.

Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, October 24, 2009

a quiet day inside...rain still covers the skies with low clouds that seem to be in tune with the spooky seasons

I am watching the "Hound of the Baskervilles" with Holmes and Dr. is the old original and has been colorized (1959) with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee star in this classic that I loved as a child. Simple and almost tutorial in the cinema but the tarantulas are still spooky enough to give me the creeps as the brown spiders are attempting to come in from the oncoming cold winter seasons. I should be completing my packaging of my FAVA entry to be judged this week...I am procrastinating but I do have everything I need to get it shipped on Monday. I have grown used to having it hang in my husband's man cave but we will put up something else and hopefully share my creation vision with others if I am lucky. I am cooking chicken breasts in a heavy iron pot for a slow cooked meal and the rosemary is filling our home with an amazing fragrance. Tonight is movie night and Ken and I will stay in and just be together while I work on my next quilt top and the skeleton collage I am layering for my grand children. I need to finish and coordinate a survey I am contributing to tonight and get it off to a wonderful artist in New York. I discovered another blog that I have been in love with in the Somerset publications ...Tumble Fish Studio. You might want to check this site out for her very good witches creations and digital and mixed media artist with a spirit that is infectious and delights the child we all have inside. I am including two photos just because they make me smile...Cole wearing his latest T-rex pajamas and Miss Morgan making her crawling rounds in her latest pink outfit. What can I say...I am a very blessed grandmother!!! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Friday, October 23, 2009

requiem for my mother...

The heavens seem to know my pain and is dark
the grays were dark and foreboding
the trees were in a flutter between raindrops tapping a somber song on the window glass
my house felt colder than usual
my heart felt heavy and breathing was cumbersome at times
I stayed in my soft pajamas and under the summer quilt as my mind drifted...
drifting from a mindless restless sleep
today is the first year without my mother
I miss her soft voice and our evening phone calls
I know she is still here
still here ...and yet so far away
the house is empty except for me
but maybe this private solace is what I truly need
a private time to cry without shame
my small guardian... my dog sleeps especially close
and even the cat keeps watch watch as the minutes tick away
in time my discretion of how long...I ease back into a more normal rhythm
my stitches quilted one at a time are prayerful
I remember my visit with my Mother at the end of Fall... in healthier days
and she asked me where I got the patience to do what I do
often without a road map...
I was working on a small quilted piece with a simple chain stitch
and Mother's eyesight was failing
she could follow my designs with her fingertips...
after a silent pause I answered by telling her I learned from her.
Even in this moment I can feel her with me
as I return to my fiber prayer cloth
and Mother and I are watching a mindless program together
as the evening will come to an end.
Love never dies and the lessons are constantly growing in my heart.
I love you Mom for all you have given me
but I do still miss your soft gentle voice.

Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, October 22, 2009

the last day for pure color in 2009's Fall extravaganza

The trees are beyond description as I hurry out to capture the last moments with God's paintbrush. Last night Ken and I celebrated our anniversary with some dear friends in the golden years of their lives. The 80's and 90's are exciting with these folks and at the last moment I decided to make Halloween cards from recycled materials from envelops and recycled papers...I went to their fancy country club with inks on my fingertips...Yikes! That is what I get for using my dye stamp pads and the Martha Stewart Skeleton paper punch silhouettes and bits and pieces from around my house. It was a childish move in many ways and I did not even know some of the Wednesday night supper group but they all seemed to be so pleased and amused. Maybe they were just amusing me but it was fun. Today I made more silly willy cards that are really spooky for my brothers (4) and sister plus my six precious grandchildren. When I was growing up we did not buy masks and costumes... every one was a hobo with a cigar (fake) and a big pillow for our huge stomach. My mother lets us use our pillow case for our hand made loot and pennies as we scurried into the dark running from one house to the next. I lived in a very Catholic neighborhood where everyone knew you and your parents so I do not remember playing in "tricks" on our friends but oh what my brothers...the infamous Wheatley boys plus that Farleys and Lunsfords ...were known for miles for their high jinx!!! Life has surely changed so I try to make little rituals my grand children will hopefully cherish for years when I am long gone. I will try to get some photos up on the blog so you can see what a professional....mess maker ....I am!!!

I am heading out this afternoon to get some pictures of the full trees in their glory and hopefully my little camera will hold up for just a little longer. I need to borrow Ken's big car and go pick up an old headboard and foot board that I am hoping to set up in one of the bedrooms for the girls when they come over for sleep overs! It has wear and tear on it but I fell in love with it because it brought back the time I spent with Buh...Lillian was her real name... my grandmother on Friday nights after she got off from Ben Snyder's. She worked in the children's department and I would gladly straighten the children's stock for her after her long day on her feet. Then we would go home to her grandfather built this house and I just loved it for so many reasons; and we would stay up and watch Johnny Carson and eat junk food that we did not have at home. Those were the days...well I digress because I want to make the most of the daylight and get my pictures. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Indian summer in my hidden valley... shadow dancing

I needed to get a box for shipping and a new battery for a 23 year old watch that Ken gave me years ago. It, the watch is a simple reminder that I wear years later and each time I look to check the time I am gently reminded of his guidance throughout the years. With this moment of cultivated consciousness...remembering the small gifts we receive; I find a new admiration for this friendship. I then asked the warehouse people for a box that I can recycle to ship my beloved work to its next destination and hopefully final judgment. The lady was more than generous and brought out two cartons to consider and for no costs to me or our mother Earth. I now have a clean, sturdy carton that will safely carry my dream work up North.

The sky was brilliant blue today and I took my little old camera with the aspirations of capturing flying milkweed seeds and fluttering blurs of colors floating like flowers on invisible currents. The fresh air and sunshine seemed to fill my body with a missed energy that flowed from deep down inside of my being. I had some difficulty capturing the moments in a photon of light to savor on a cold winter's day. Hopefully if I can get the new SLR camera with my points from my one credit card I will have more success the next time. I have learned so much over the years about how critical good technology can aid in the documentation of an artist's journey. I came home exhausted from nothing more than being out in the wild fresh air and after a "happy family" Asian dinner I went for just a moment to rest on my bed. I slowly woke up to having the cat and the dog curled up beside me and sharing their body warmth on a cool evening. I think I am ready to work for about an hour and then must get back to some regular schedule of sleeping and eating. Ken is already down for the night and I am ready to find shelter in my messy but warm bedroom. Have a warm and safe night. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, October 19, 2009

Namaste to my dear friends...

My friend JoAnn is home safely in Naples,Fl but has discovered she has developed shingles on the back of her neck...this is such a painful situation and time will tell how long before she feels real relief. She received steroids to ease the pain and hopefully all will be well soon. She called as she was on her way to pick up Mary at the train station and today is Mary's birthday!!!! Woohoo! I hope you both felt well enough to go out and celebrate with dinner and wine toasts. Happy birthday dear Mary.

I went out near the end of the day to pick up medications and make a couple of errand runs. We had a clean out the refrigerator night so I did not have any cooking to do and the flavors had mellowed and mixed to be even better than before. I have received very encouraging words as I plod along on my quilt surface with one stitch after another. I am presently felting some old woolens in the washer with an idea to recycle into a cute Fall purse. I am making drawings and simple plans for the pattern...keep it simple silly always works for me and leaves me space and energy to add my favorite accents and buttons. I am hoping these fabrics will remain soft and hold their shape enough to appreciate the woven patterns and designs. Goodwill is a great lace to find woolen goods and sweaters to recycle creatively into a new accessory.

I worked on a simplified artist statement today and hopefully tomorrow I can purchase a safe box for shipping for my quilt and make arrangements to get this creation quilt into the mail. I get nervous when I have to send my work alone into the universe and have heard so many horror stories and mishaps. I made a soft cotton envelope and will wrap the information inside with the quilt. Then I will wrap the entire contents in a plastic addressed bag to insure from any possible "wet"damage in the transit phase to the final jury selection. Then I do a little dance and sing the hokey pokey and pray to St. Jude and St. Christopher for safe journeys. The Catholic church has really done a job on me in the last five decades!!!

Well I am back to work for tonight . Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My day in reflection and refraction of colors

I have spent the day with my process...
Making silent marks and planning for a tactile, beaded journey on a map yet to be revealed on a magical surface in colors
My mind is meandering much like the landscape that inspired the work I am cradling in my lap
Australia fills my mind's memory threads of burnt red skies and mysterious music rhythms
My stitches are slow and at times cumbersome but with patience and time
the invisible becomes real and visible to the passerby.
When this exploration reveals itself I find myself turning to a higher power in the recognition
in the power of words and images for equality for all mankind.
My words fail me to articulate the silent narrative in the pursuit of a human perfection... an honorarium to the ancestors who walked before me on sacred soil
or as close as this moment can reveal to me.
It is interesting to realize that years after a work may be finished... I am made aware of how much I have revealed about myself and my witness in time
Creation is so spiritual in this work and continues to express what my humble words fail to reveal.
I never travel alone on this journey ...because every experience... and every person's loving support gives me the strength to risk a very personal revelation.
Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart