Friday, April 30, 2010

finding a voice...Judith Scott

"Making something out of nothing, or precisely, luring something from the unconscious and giving it material form is the closet thing to real magic there is in this world." art critic Michael Bonesteel

Almost ten years ago I saw an article in Fiberarts by Barbara Lee Smith who is a fiber artist who creates her art and wrote the book Celebrating the Stitch: Contemporary Embroidery of North America. Barbara had written a review of an exhibit called "Metamorphosis: The Fiber Art Of Judith Scott" at the Intuitive Art Gallery on North Milwaukee Avenue in their North Gallery District. The Intuitive Gallery which opened in 1991, promotes public awareness, understanding and an appreciation of art works created without the mainstream influences. Personal visions and nontraditional folk art often self taught and somewhat ...outsider art. Judith Scott was born with her twin sister Joyce in 1943 in Ohio. Joyce was expected but Judith was a total surprise to her parents and her doctor. Judith was unable to speak and with being deaf in the 1950's being different meant somehow threatening and dangerous. When Joyce went to public school the parents took advisement to place Judith Scott in an institution run by the State of Ohio...In Columbus, Ohio. Here Judith lived in a state of crowded "aloneness" but somehow she maintained her inner voice by hoarding little bits of pieces with a purpose no one was aware of until much later...I suspect that Judith was collecting and sorting pieces of evidence of her silent witness to a life in a public institution. In 1985 Joyce moved to California and made a decision to bring her sister back into the family fold and became Judith's legal conservator and legal guardian. Judith Scott was enrolled in the Creative Growth Art Center and introduced her to independent living skills as well as fostering artistic development. Late in 1987 Judith began a workshop with fiber artist Sylvia Seventy. Judith began wrapping sticks with bits and pieces of twine. fabrics, threads and yarns. "Clearly incapable of conforming to expectations , of following instructions, or imitating what the others students were doing, ...she simply invented something totally new." Her sculptural pieces grew and grew into an almost human shape and cocoons reminding others of Giacometti figures. Judith was a tiny woman 4 feet 9 inches and her works grew to become the size of herself. Judith would work diligently wrapping her found treasures carefully and securely inside the cocoon like bodies of work. At the end of her years she was celebrating the rescue and reunion with her twin sister and in her silent world had developed a language in a visual articulation of her indomitable spirit, which she released in her layered bundles expressive
of a mystery, we will never fully understand or comprehend. I have collected my bits and threads for about a year and hopefully will pay homage to this quiet little spirit. When I saw her works in Chicago I seem to instinctively recognize the powerful voice she was sharing ...maybe I was hearing the voices of my quiet spirits I grew to love when I was a special education teachers for almost sixteen years.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE LICKING COUNTY ARTS! Tonight was an opening of "Color" and fifty years dedicated to the arts here in Licking County. I have been a member since 1986 and I had the best job in my position as the Gallery director and curator for the LCA. Change is inevitable and when they made the move to a different location and to run the space with volunteers there was no need for me. Now over a year later...I miss my personal daily interactions with my artists (but many still call and email me) ....I miss the regularity of my day's schedule from Tuesdays to Saturdays down at the Works. I could see and feel the synergy of collaborating with another nonprofit like the Works. I felt valuable and needed. Now I am learning to work and volunteer my time and energies to explore further avenues. I am including the FAVA art quilt postcard and information for those of you who might be in Oberlin, OHIO this summer to stop by and see a group of adventuresome artists sharing their visions.
Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

p.s. Rabbit Proof Fence is the name of the movie...true account of two determined young girls walking their journey home after being kidnapped by the Australian government and removed to a Christian assimilation and education. Molly and Daisy courageously fought their way home to their mother and grandmother and their narrative tells the history of the lost generations of the Aboriginal tribes.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This morning I realized that I did too much yesterday...

Top, far right is Morgan with Grandma (not my dog--Rosie).

For a short body refused to get up this morning. Ken went in early for his student teachers and I did not sleep well last night because my little Morgan had a very small procedure including surgery ...10 minutes but still surgery. Erin called me early to reassure me that all was well and Morgan was just plain mad...I like that in her...she was not amused and we all know that now. After the talk on the phone I drifted back to sleep and finally relaxed enough to lose half a day.

"The core of creation is to summon an image and the power to work with that image." Anais Nin , "The Novel of the Future"

I began on my Eva Hesse piece...I have a small series I hope she would find interesting. Patterns, stitches, working in grids, free form drawings and many loose threads that still remain connected. I have employed a small weaving and sewn on top of a patterned grid on a soft fraying linen. I stopped for tonight and went back to sorting my last bunch of buttons...I am in a special quest to find natural elements like wood and stones with the possibility of another square inside a square. This work is in a minimalist approach ...well at least for me... and I am still processing how I want to finish its presentation. Do I frame it?...Do I make an enclosed wall hanging like a quilt?... do I leave the raw edges and how do I secure to loose threads? ... I suppose time and sleep will help me make this decision.

I also continued my research for photos for my Rabbit Proof inspiration for my large canvas...I think I need to paint my beautiful Australian sky...jump into the white canvas I can begin my assemblage approach to their least tonight at 11:21 pm that sounds like a plan of attack. I am staying in for the weekend to reserve my energies to put a few pieces into the framed format. I also will be putting my bias edge on the large Australian quilt. I am beginning to put the images together in groups of "three" and maybe" five" for the gallery hanging installation. I am visualizing my works in the space so they can guide you through my narratives. My gallery curator Lynne will have to reschedule our studio visit so it gives me time to continue my "mess" approach to construction. Mess should be my middle name...if my mother was alive she would verify my life long messiness.

I renewed my book reviews with a publication from 206 but today is incredibly still vibrant in 2010. by Lynne Perrella. Her group of artists are incredible and she is extremely generous with inspirations, creativity guide and workshop approaches to making books and a million marks to play and explore. Stamps, stencils, inks, acrylics, recycled papers, metal touches and joyous word plays for context. Thank you Lynne for the guidance I needed to make some adventuresome marks. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday at Goodwill...just a short visit...

Where did the day go??? I went out this afternoon for a quick stop at Goodwill and I found a wonderful silk...yes, I said silk mid-calf duster coat and a sleeveless shell to wear under it...perfect for further embellishments to maybe wear at the opening and all for $5.99 and then my 25% senior discount. I am already imagining how to recreate the flat silky surfaces. I found another Dinosaur book for my Mr. Cole and a few small crochet little hats and bits and pieces. The cashier asked my where have I been? I smiled and thanked her for remembering me. With the unemployment over 11% in our area so many more are checking out the Goodwill for children's clothing and household items. I also bought a small paperback all about Horses...research for a summer of sketching with the grand daughters. Life doesn't get any sweeter than having a search for simple joys in a Goodwill Store.

I went to the grocery and then came home to make some red beans and rice for supper and now I am back to being exhausted. Whew I am out of shape. Tonight I am back to work and I want to get to bed at a reasonable time in hopes of maintaining a regular routine speed. I sorted my pink beads and buttons for the April Pink Full Moon composition...tonight is the actual full moon but last night was a spectacular night bathed in milky moonlight and topped off with an actual frost. I am not complaining because I heard on the news that our country is having snowfalls in late April! My irises are budding and just about ready to open up. My Shasta daisies look like they are going to be prolific this May. I love these plants that come back with very little encouragement or coaxing. My daisies came from seeds given to me by a dear friend in Canton, Ohio. I remember Karen with each budding daisy for my dining room table and kitchen.

I am learning more about Eva Hesse and I find reassurance in the fact that she agonized over her personal painting processes and Eva fought to be anything but mediocrity in her brushstrokes. I feel her insecurities and can understand her need to write her own new chapter.
Her drawings are essentially quite free in an "ultra alive "mode. She was determined to fight to be a recognized painter and simultaneously she fought to be healthy. Eva had a series with loose, unattainable strings connecting with "cords everywhere" loosely holding the composition together. I can not articulate why these structures draw me in for closer observation because at the same moment there are elements of life's chaos and irrational forms become visible. During the 1960's when she was exploring this abstraction I was still in high school but these intangible connections spoke to me then and have been resonate in the threads, weavings, nets, fibers I have grown to appreciate for almost forty years. Circles, triangles and repeated patterns held her compositions together and yet appear to be so loose. "I would like my work to be non-work. This means that it would find its way beyond my perceptions. What I want of my art I can eventually find. The work must go beyond this. It is my main concern to go beyond what I know and what I can know. The formal principles are understandable and understood. It is the unknown quantity from which and where I want to go. As a thing, an object, it accedes to its non-logical self. It is something, it is nothing." Eva is own words are poetically attempting to expose her vulnerability and human frailty for all the world to see and possibly judge. I hope I have made some fatigue is catching up on me. Have a wonderful FULL moon night and embrace the pulls and energy of this ceremonial wonder. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I have risen....Tea for Tuesdays

simple gifts...buttons ...loved precious buttons....

I awoke this morning to my Carolina Wren pair singing in the glorious sunshine of the morning as they prepared their nest for their new family this Spring. It was 8:30 am and I have been able to be up all day for the first time in almost two seems I have contracted a virus that has attacked my systems and kidneys for almost a month. My doctor asked me if I had ever had mono and I said No ...because I did not know that I was ever that ill as a teen. Wrong! my blood work showed I have had mono maybe even recently and the virus that is rushing through my body and ravaging my energies has to run its course. With bed rest...sleep for up to 16 hours a and rest and rest I am almost feeling human again. Honestly I was beginning I would never be able to put in a whole day again of normal activities. I worked slowly but I am so happy that I could be up and somewhat productive. I made chicken and homemade noodles for us and... one for the kids...Morgan is having a small surgical procedure on Thursday and I will not be of any a Grandmother I fall apart when my babies have any procedure that might cause them pain. I worked in the kitchen and did not try to climb any stairs while I was home alone. I was given a large cardboard box filled with some dirty but wonderful buttons to use on my pieces as I near completion ...the good lord willing :O). The treasures were there for the sorting...mother of buttons.... every color selection to please a button lovers possible dreams. First I have to hand wash them; sort and clip each remnant of threads used to adhere to their original garments...and finally make selections for my possible placement on my large quilt. "Bake a light " spelling?...buttons and some celluloid materials that can dissolve if they are too fragile from age and my hot, hot soapy water! Believe me it took most of the afternoon and I felt as if I had accomplished something that is a vital design element that visibly communicates a time from the past to the viewers personal experiences living today in our culture. My hand are tired...bruised from pokes from my seam ripper and scissors and multiple tiny paper hands will heal and now tomorrow I have delightful precious trinkets to sew my story. I want to have my large Australian quilt photographed next week for the upcoming needed press releases.

Today it was a brilliant sunny day but the temperatures are dipping into the freeze zone so maybe not getting my plants in this early will turn out to be a good coincidence. My irises are showing their blooms and so far my dear deer have not munched on them. The lily of the valley is up but not quite ready to have enough to cut a small bouquet for my dining room table. The perennial sedum is coming back nicely down the steps and the lilacs are fragrant and soothing as I walk outside. Tonight's moon is almost full and has a somewhat blue light cast to the moonlight on the hillside...I think it is a full moon tomorrow so I am hoping I can get a different view for a photograph to have in the very near future. I am going to try to get to bed early tonight and think positive thoughts for a continued renewal in health and energies. "There is no knowledge of true being. The world is fundamentally in a state of becoming." Nietzsche

Thank for for your prayers and patience as I embrace tomorrow ... the spots in my brain are my brilliance shining through the cloudy days ...the rains have eased and the multiple greens are spectacular as I witness the trees unfolding their arms in renewal. I wrote "Hope like a tree reaches for the sky" back in my junior year of high school at Angela Merici High School in Louisville, Kentucky and for some reason I have been able to hold onto this affirmation. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, April 24, 2010

a good day for resting....

I am still practicing ...being still. I slept during the rainstorms and passed the day away. When I got up to move around I decided to sort..wash...cut old threads...color code ...assemble a box of buttons I was given for my latest works. I know this sound like it is no big deal but I touch...examine...evaluate...sort each little box of buttons in an organized way to use them in my narrative quilts. My favorite are the mother of pearls...I also am beginning to enjoy the black cut glass antique like buttons...I am really not sure if they are antique but they are totally captivating when used on the right work. Tomorrow I will attempt to photograph the newest in my collection and share my glories.

I entered my photographs from my collaboration with Seth Apter's Disco challenge that is just being published in the May/June Cloth , Paper Scissors with a 7 page spread in this very interesting magazine. If you go online at the CPS Homepage and click onto DisCo Project on the left sidebar you can view and check out some of the diverse projects and artists who participated in this challenge. Tomorrow Seth is already onto a new Book Guild at his The Altered Page blog spot so be sure to check out his latest collaborations. He also has shared his final DisCo Book on his entry earlier this week. It is a wonderful exercise for the imagination and I told him I want more...just like Oliver...more please.

I need to get back to work. Slowly and quietly I am moving forward. I received the book about Eva Hesse by Lucy Lippard today but all I have done is study her drawings and her sculptures. Hopefully I can begin reading about this remarkable young woman who has been gone since 1970 from a brain tumor but today is still quoted, studied and opens so many new processes to explore. Have a wonderful weekend. I love the sound of the gentle rain outside on the rooftop tonight and feel so lucky to be able to be here in my home. The hillside is cloaked in a soft velvet cloud of and enjoy the gifts from Nature. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday with an old friend....

I got out my collection of poems from Wendell Berry through the years of 1957 to 1982. Wendell is a writer with great clarity and sureness. He has a love for language and a dedication to the beauty in the land of Kentucky, family and community, tradition as a life work. He lived in Henry county in his ancestral home on the Kentucky River... a dedicated man who left a successful New York literary life to return home to Kentucky to write his authentic observations of life in a simpler time. I had him for my professor during the Vietnam war and we were listened to...without questioning our motives... with an open heart when I dared to ask questions that seem to threaten what our values were and where were we going in a time of turmoil. He spoke to us about thinking responsibly, maintaining our individuality and dared us to live an authentic life in the Arts. I should try to contact him now...he made a very strong impact on my way of thinking and looking at the world...then and even more now.

A Homecoming

One faith is bondage.
Two are free.
In the trust of old love,
cultivation shows a dark graceful wilderness at its heart.
Wild in that wilderness,
we roam the distances of our faith,
safe beyond the bounds of what we know.
O love, open.
Show me my country.
Take me home.

I feel that I was so blessed to have been able to be in his class...maybe even all the years later I reach out for his grace in written words. Thank You Wendell. Imagine and Live in Peace,
Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, April 22, 2010

rest for the weary and more questions...

Today I did what I was told...not that I had had any choice...I slept in and under the quilt with my puppy and my little old cat. Grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner and then a quiet evening. I spent very little time on the computer and most of my "up moments" trying to work on the large piece I want to have photographed next week. The quiet slow cloth stitching was soothing and when my vision would blur and act up I would stop and do small household things to rest my body. I have so much to do ...I can not afford to lose time...but the reality I am moving as fast as I can.

Earth Day was so beautiful here and it was so curious to see how 40 years seemed to fly by and we still have so much to learn. I was checking in on another blog and read a favorite quote from one of my professors in my undergraduate studies ..."The Earth is what we all have in common." ...Wendell Berry. He was a very generous gentle teacher and we sat around a very old library table during our class and I always left with gentle thoughts and yet more questions. He is an amazing poet in touch with the human spirit. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Earth Day...40 years later

Tomorrow is the 40th celebration of our Earth Day awareness to halt the pollution and decay from over use of chemicals, trash elimination, lack of renewable resources, loss of natural resources and the next big shortage will be something we take for granted...clean drinking water for everyone on this planet. As I sat in the sunshine this afternoon and felt the cool breeze caress my skin in a gentle breeze I realized why I love living close to nature and the wild creatures that share my small patch of land. Recycle: Reuse: and Reduce is a simple three step program. I s the world listening? I am going to search upstairs for my Last Whole Earth Catalog...I think I still have it and take a few minutes to browse the messages from 40 years ago... Happy Earth Day.

Happy birthday to my dear friend Tea Buddy!!! A little bird told me you were having a celebration so I want to wish you many, many more. I wish you a day full of sunshine, bluebells and a cup of luscious tea to enjoy a quiet moment with family and friends. Happy Happy Happy!!!

I went this afternoon for more blood work...the doctors are still attempting to isolate the causes of my fevers, headaches and total exhaustion. My family doctor has taken care of our family for 24 years and has been there when we searched for answers. Swollen glands are further evidence of what?? Maybe we will know soon.

Ken rented "Blind Side" and tonight I laughed and cried as the story unfolded ...real courage in the face of racism and child abuse. It sounds very depressing but the hard work, dedication and pure love are modeled in this family working to create a better life for a forgotten young man. I encourage you to see it if you have not already... it is truly Joy rising above obstacles.

For those of you artists that are embarking on the abstract art challenge I would like to recommend Martha Marshall's blog...An Artist Journal. She has just completed 24 abstracts in her Ritual series and the knowledge she shares with her viewers and patrons is totally priceless. Martha questions and explores her own boundaries as she discovers her own skills and techniques in creating with beautiful compositions.

My young niece called this afternoon after being in bed for two weeks. She has been diagnosed with Lupus. My heart nearly broke for her despair but tomorrow I will be able to inform her and hopefully reassure her that with a new awareness she will develop the skills she needs to have a balanced life. I need to listen to my own day at a time.

Enjoy your Earth Day and Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

my lilacs have returned....

trust me I am not a hero...
I have just come inside from the healing sunshine
the bed has held my human vessel...
finally strong enough and willing to stand...
I embrace the day later than most
but as I walked outside to sit with the resting deer watching over me...
these quiet animals seem to know I will bring them no harm
the silence of the moment is only broken by the song of an unknown bird...
singing in the glory of this sunshine
my fiddle heads of my beloved ferns are unfurling and dancing ...just for me it seems...
my words can not articulate why I love these ferns...their annual renewal is hope
the vinca vine is unfurling and giving birth to beautiful blue blooms turning up toward the sun ...
the greatest of my gifts are the blooms from a lilac of the survivors from the winter's ravage...
fragrant and uplifting to the sky's clear blue velvets dotted with fluffy ethereal clouds.
I am at peace wrapped in the moment of an afternoon's quiet.
Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, April 19, 2010

Methotrexate Monday Blues.....

I started the day with a rough reaction to my methotrexate injections from last night so I had a late start for my day. When I could stand up straight I was moving like a three toed of my favorite animals... so slow that moss can grow on their backs. I did get up and going and made a casserole for Ken and myself for tonight and an extra meal for Erin and Chance for tomorrow. It ended up being a pretty comforting meal for my stomach. I then went down to continue quilting stitch at a time...while watching Doctor Oz and the news.

For my break in concentration I continued my online research about Beatrice Wood; the ceramist who lived to be 105 and modeled how to have an authentic artist life without boundaries. She was known for saying "I do what we are not supposed to do...add courage and a rebellious spirit she would create her amazing glazes by an intuitive process and a slow smoking process in her kiln. The lusters she created have a powerful pull and interest to many ceramists working today. She began with mud...became an alchemist and transformed the simple clay by transforming ...taking a risk and would discover iridescence in colors that still remains a mystery today. Beatrice is a national treasure because she is a link to a visible past..her spirit and proud sense of revolution. I even found a photo at the age of near 100 with four young men serving her delicious chocolates. She is my hero! Imagine and Live in Peace,
Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life...expect more..a wonderful series on the Discovery channel...

Today I have spent the entire day practically watching "Life on the Discovery channel with Oprah Winfrey narrating this fascinating journey around the earth. With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday the timing was perfect for a refresher why we might want to be gentler with the care of our Mother Earth. I created a hand painted Mother Earth over 20 years ago and I love hanging it in my living room... as a reminder how lucky I am to live close to Nature in our hand built log cabin. I have been an earth friendly mother even when there was no hoopla or celebration. If you get a chance to watch this series it is like they say...a photo is worth a thousand words and the camera work in this educational family series is almost unbelievable.

I also collected my photos and biography about a woman who just makes me smile when I examine her life as an artist. Beatrice Wood was a bright, articulated ceramist who at the age of 97 was still blazing trails as a contemporary artist in ceramics. Beatrice lived her life as if every day was or could be her last. "Never do the commonplace, DuChamp told her. Rules are fatal to the progress of Art." Her beauty and rebellious desire to be an artist and have a life on her own terms should inspire all artists to live each day to the fullest! In one of her very early drawings shows a young girl and the caption read "I who wanted danger, adventure and love." is an example of her spirit and spunk. When asked how she stayed so vibrant and adventuresome she would reply..."I love young men and good chocolates!"

I better get back to my quilting ...35 more work days so when I am able I will work... the time flies by and my vision is precarious but I do what I do when I can. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

The autobiography is I Shock Myself...Beatrice Wood

The quilt was painted over 24 years ago while I was on twice a day IV treatments.... Remember to Save Mother Earth by MHFS

Saturday, April 17, 2010

my thoughts are complicated on this Saturday....

My day was a circle of gratitude for the loving support I am receiving from my family and artists supporters. I woke with the headache and the weather change turning cold overnight seemed to irritate the circumstances of the numerous headaches. I rested and went to making slow movements...I had planned to make a few errands today but decided to remain home and work quietly. I am finishing my small collaboration 's transformation into a vessel. I am also attempting to work on the large Australian quilt so that I can put the binding onto it so it can be photographed for a postcard. I am looking at about 35 days to complete my works so that we have a week to install and make final adjustments for the gallery. Ken worked on getting the first floor together in preparation for Lynn and her assistant to come to the studio to check on the work's progress. I am planning a relaxing lunch and tea for everyone involved as we make our final selections and share collaborative ideas about the details for every one's considerations and satisfaction.

I ordered a few more research books from Amazon...they are getting every penny of any extra funds I might have. I do love my books...technical and historical books.. both have a strong hold on my curiosities. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp is one that should be arriving some time next week. I have been wanting to read this for quite awhile so now I will have it at my leisure to pick up. Eva Hesse was a young remarkable artist who died at the age of 34 and her name keeps showing up in my consciousness so I ordered a paperback with her minimalism sculptural works...very "thready" inspirations and her drawings are mesmerizing when I study them . John Daido Loori has two entries ...Zen of Creativity and a photographic poetic combination to encourage the viewer to hear with one's eyes...sounds strange but the sample I read and saw online were so beautifully captured in this small book. I will pass on my humble review later when I am working through this latest surge of interest. I am hopeful that you have had a creative weekend and restful tomorrow. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

an art journal made for me ... heartstrings connect us both as we heal in our journey...
prayer flags for my studio window
a funny buggy magnet with healing glitter...
moon flower seeds for my healing garden from my tea buddy and friend...
beautiful lotus papers gilded with gold...they will be in my works for the whispers....
pepper plant seeds to put out maybe tomorrow...healing energies from New York

Friday, April 16, 2010


We met with the neurologist and with his encouraging soft gentle voice he shared... the images of white matter showing up in the right side of the brain (my brain has polka dot brilliance) ...lypoma(sp) size and changes...a complete break in some of the arteries that make important connections to brain functions ... and a mengianoma (sp) at the base of the brain...all are further evidence of systemic lupus progressing in my body's systems. Now what do we do next...1) maintain observations on any facial changes and continued visual interruptions 2) further moderation observations inside the brain with other tests still to be attempted 3) some new medications to help me deal with the extreme fatigue 4) continue doing what I can to keep my life normal...whatever normal is for lupus patients. The good news is I am not ready for radiation procedures as long as the growth continues a slow progress, maintain a healthy blood pressure and continue with healthy organic whole food approach to our diets and I will add LAUGH every day. Love the ones most important in your life, do what you love the most! and remember to reach out when you need a helping hand and remember to give a helping hand when you can. Art Saves Lives!!!

Ken and I went over to be with Cole and Morgan while Erin went up to be with her mother who had a total knee replacement. Ken made his famous barbecue chicken wings, I made wild rice with mushrooms and a baby romaine salad, guacamole dip for veggies and sugar free vanilla pudding topped with blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. A messy meal to totally relish and enjoy the coming of the good old summertime. Cole was my assistant when Ken had to go into a couple classrooms and poor Morgan had developed quite a fever and now we know an earache ...all she wanted was to be held and soothed. Around five Erin arrived home and she made medication adjustments and within an hour she seemed to come back to being a more mischievous little angel. I did the dishes and we headed home with a little concern that the whole family would be able to get a good night sleep. Erin and Morgan were up a five am and the doctor confirmed little Morgan's earache so with an antibiotic and medications I am praying she will be squealing once again with laughter. I fell asleep rather quickly when we arrived home and realize once more why God gives babies to young is a necessity!

I am going to try to get some work done tonight and relax at home with a movie from Netflix...Men Who Stare at Goats...I am curious about this Clooney endeavor. Have a great weekend. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

remember to remain calm...

Before I get started several readers have asked for further connection to the beautiful slow cloth I shared a week or so ago. "albedo" -chronicles of concupiscentia oculorum - a Canadian artist in Calgary that has been showing up on the internet in fyberspace and ARTeries. I typed these words verbatim so I hope they will be useful for seeing more of her explorations in her slow cloth. I the address is do not understand the title/language in her post so if you do let me know. Her handwork invites the viewer to come closer and look into her stitched designs and heavily beaded surfaces.

I am including three photos for the January, February and March Full moon collaborations with The Dog in the Studio Hole challenge with Bea. January was my Blue Moon Wolf including some of my photography and my sketches with mother of pearl embellishments. February was the Snow Moon Wolf also including photography and hand stitches to tell the brief story. My March Full Moon is my Crow Moon with a short Cherokee story about the two is good and the other is evil... which energy will you decide to feed. Now my April small quilt is is pieces and hopefully I will be able to come in on time for the sharing at the end of the month.

I am having a difficult time thinking... to speak clearly tonight...tomorrow morning I have an appointment to gather further information on the white images /growths inside my brain. I respect my neurologist and his conservative techniques but it is just another door to walk through in living...Living with a chronic progressive systemic attack on my body. I began in a research group over 20 years ago and I am the only one still standing...everyone else has passed. I know that my Art has Saved my Life...I may not mass produce but as long as I can create through my ever changing cycles but the main thing is that I have been able to be strong because to the support of my loving circle of family and friends. Thank you for all you have given back to my heart's journey.

Today my Tea buddy mailed a beautiful card filled with blessings to plant...white moon flowers ...a fragrant bloom that reflects the glow of our lunar cycles. Lennie I already know where we are going to try to plant these seeds. Thank you for the further inspirations to photograph, paint and inspire future designs. Lennie I am sending you an image I created for Mater Dei's Moon Garden...Mother of God Moon Garden...dedicated to Ken's father back in 1993 where I was first introduced to these magical night time white blooms evolving in a midnight's dance. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

January Blue Wolf Moon...
February Snow Moon...
March is My Crow Moon ....

Mater Dei's Mother of God's Moon Garden...for Ken's father's memory

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tea for Tuesdays....iced tea

I have spent the day resting...the ballgame made me feel like I was 20 years younger and the Columbus Clippers played Louisville and these young men were spectacular. The Huntington Stadium is only a few years old and it was filled with families enjoying "dogs" for a dime night. Professional sports are often very confusing to me but I do love the game. The antics...the music...the giveaways are all for further "branding" of local businesses collaborating with the park to make it financially affordable for families. I did take my camera but Ken forgot to put my chip back into my camera and I forgot to check before we left. I could have had a few good photos but that means we will just have to go back for another all American experience.

I have had some extreme fatigue today with the medication's complications...I do have an appointment on Thursday morning so until then I have the unknown hanging over my head. I walked in circles around my studio...moving this and moving that...but never really getting anything accomplished. I will try to just accept the "greyness" in my mind' s state for the moment. Performing mundane tasks like laundry and straightening magazines and mail filled the moments when I could not think clearly.

My Amazon order arrived this afternoon and two books came just in time...Jane Davila's Surface Design Essentials has 15 exercises for exploring paints, inks, mediums, and pencils for fabrics and more. It is small and handy with lesson plans to play and develop new techniques for surface design. The booklet is only a little over 70 pages so it has a way of helping one center on a specific focus. The second book is by Angela Cartwright Mixed Emulsions for altered at, techniques for photographic imagery. This second book was published in 2007 but I did not have this in my collection and Angela provides simple approaches to one's mixed media styles. The gallery at the end of her book also offers an intimate view of each person's styles and focuses. I will hopefully come back to these later in a post as I practice and develop something new that I had avoided because no one I knew was experimenting with.

For now I am going to work on the handwork for my " down the rabbit hole's last clue". I had difficulty cutting up something I considered to be too precious to cut. (Which is totally ridiculous) I recognize I need to perform these lessons more often and realize I will not like everything I make or touch but there are still lessons to be learned. Have a peaceful evening and enjoy the Springs treasures. Wildflowers are coming out on the hill but no blossoms presently but the green vines themselves are wonderful observe each morning. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, April 12, 2010

I really do GLOW in the dark...

I did finally hear from the neurologist...they have very busy lives so I just figure no news is good news plus it was Spring break for many of our schools. I have some good news... there are no new aneurysms but...I have developed white spots... growths???? unknown characters in my brain. I have an appointment with the specialists on Thursday at 10 am. Until then I consider these new images to be my evidence for my is that for a positive attitude? Sometimes I feel like I am in a soap opera!!!

Today I completed several steps of my mystery "down the rabbit hole challenge"...I have included some process photos to kind of explain the clues/steps I am given each Monday. This helps me to relax and just all artists should do...we often do that you know.

I am getting ready to go to my first baseball game of the this will be a short little post. The days are just getting better and tea for Tuesdays is iced passion teas from my buddy Lennie. Muchas Gracias mi amiga!!! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

1. paint your
2. add context/
3. on the machine
4. cut into 6 individual pieces
5. collect embellishments
6. stay tuned for the finale :O)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

cooking eases me into my process...

As I saute my onions, celery and garlic to the browning of the center cut pork I am thinking about my processes. As I peel the carrots and chop into sweet morsels to add to the roast...I am thinking about my next steps...I poured the white wine from Australia over the mixture with delicious possibilities and season with rosemary and blended seasons and salt...I am thinking about my schedule....nine weeks to coordinate and frame the works and complete the hand embellished stage of the quilted narratives. I think about the compositions and colors to add to the layers of my canvases...I keep Ramona's assemblage close by just to study her comforting eyes. I throw the scraps into the woods for my furry friends and to compost the hillside...every little bit helps. :O)

I did work on my down the rabbit hole collaboration with Bea in Wisconsin...I hand painted the fabric...I stitched the top layer of my top/batting and pink background...I stamped context onto of the stitching...and next I will add embellishments and some photo transfers...then tomorrow I will cut it up and reassemble into a new configuration. I may be slow but I kind of have rock and roll theme with "tribal" influences coming to the surface. Thank you Miss Bea for all your patience.

Now I am going to work on my finalization and hand stitching of the Crow Moon composition. Last night I ended up taking the machine stitch out and I am much happier with the chain stitches with beads framing my two wolves in the photo.

Ken and I are going to a Clippers baseball game tomorrow night over in the new Huntington Stadium to celebrate our neighbor's 50 th birthday... we should have a great time because the weather is supposed to be fantastic. Images for my heart's desire to incorporate into a future work...everything is a gift to my mind's eye. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I got to drive today...scary isn't it?

Don, Mary and Judy Thedos...the flowers in my heart...JOY even found at Krogers!

I made a Bea...made the first stop at my daughter's house to check in on the sweet girls. I went to Joanne's for button...went to Finders Keepers... a place where I am able to locate pristine vintage fibers...I even met my angel...her name was Kathy and she loves collecting these visual, textural narratives as much as I do. I explained how I am working with these small memory works and invited her to come to my opening. I also found a wonderful. rusty ringer washing machine and quickly photographed it...I think it was the same model that my grandmother used on Wash /Laundry Mondays. Then I went to exchange a too ripe large baby garlic at Krogers (whew did my little GEO stink to high heavens...) and found myself stopping to photograph beautiful tulips in all their glory on this Sunday afternoon. As I was temporarily parked in an awkward non parking location some very dear dear friends drove up and asked me what I was doing? We ended up completing our grocery errands and sat down at our only Newark Starbucks for a special catch-up conversation and a Passion Iced Tea. Mary is one of my guardian angels and has just celebrated her 90th birthday in Las Vegas with all her children... I love this lady and her contagious smile and energetic Faith that "Today is for celebrating" and the glow she shares in her eyes of peace and prayerful life...I am so blessed! I then made my way to pay a bill and headed home for a much needed rest. My body has to be careful to not write a check that my physical strength can not cash :O).

No...I did not get to my "down the rabbit hole" project...I am that student you knew whose dog ate her homework...shame on you little Rosie! No, I did not get to my gardening mecca for their re-grand opening for my new little herbs to plant outside my back door. No I did not get the much needed refill inks for Ken's printer...but there is always tomorrow!!! I was a naughty girl I guess.

Yet today I was filled with Joy...I could forget the medical what -ifs and my life's responsibilities to just enjoy my moment in the sunshine. My special moments with my dear special friends who have a hold on my heart...forever. You bless me so and I am the wealthiest woman. I knew the moist optimism I so enjoyed in the graceful tulip blooms. may God bless and keep us all so that we do it again all over tomorrow. Imagine and LIVE in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

" to see a world in a grain of sand...
and heaven in a wild flower...
hold infinity in the palms of your hands...
and eternity is in an hour." William Blake