Saturday, September 14, 2013

Oh I'm So Sorry I've Been Remiss

It is almost two months since I've posted. I've been busy traveling, writing, and trying to figure out what kind of art I want to do. Well, it's everything! I want to paint, sew, embroidery, create pictures and dolls. I finished the needle felting for the story book and the book has been printed. It is The Creation Story written in each of our Six Nations' languages as well as English. The image to the left is the Grandmother moon - before she was finished and sent by email to the author Rick Hill.
I would love to show more of the pictures but I have to see what the school has to say about it and I don't know when they will have an official launch of the book. This project was done for the language schools on the Six Nations.
Traveling. Did I mention that I was going to go to the writing retreat in Litchfiled Connecticut? I did and it was great. I had a wonderful time with the ladies and did a lot of writing. I loved driving in the Berkshires and into the Catskills on the way home.
Last week I took the train to Dorval Quebec and my friend Geraldine took me to her house for a visit. I really enjoyed the visit and meeting some of her family. On Friday she and I drove to a ferry dock at Port Kent (I think) past Plattsburg in NY State and took the ferry to Burlington VT. First time for me seeing and crossing Lake Champlain. We drove around after lunch and then drove back across the bridge at the tip of the lake. I had a great time seeing that part of the USA.
In a few weeks my sister and I are driving to Iowa to see our niece in Our Lady of Mississippi Abbey
where she is Sister Myra. We were unable to be there when she took her vows last year so we are looking forward to seeing her and where she lives. If you have a notion to check out the website and blog you will see Sr Myra wearing the apron.
On the trip I'm also going to explore places for wool felt. I like working with wool felt and it is difficult to find here - well, at least I haven't found it yet. The Fall 2013 Creative Festival in Toronto will be the weekend before Halloween and I will be in Florida helping my friend get ready for the people coming around for trick or treat. I'm told there are hundreds of people that get dressed up and go around to the houses. I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully I will get pictures. Speaking of pictures - the ones from the trip are on the i pad and on the cell phone and I don't know how to get those to this blog. Till later, have a great one.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Got it and I'm off.

Well, I was able to go to the camera shop and find the cord for the camera.
This is the quilt as it hangs in the Woodland Cultural Centre Art Gallery until the end of this month. I mentioned that I worked on this while I sat with my aunt and uncle and had it finished just two days before she died. My cousin Ron, who is their son, is also a fabric artist who makes pictures of crewel embroidery using just ordinary four ply yarn. My quilt is hanging between his two pictures in the gallery.

I downloaded pictures that I took on my trip to the Rochester Museum of Science. There were a lot of artifacts of beaded clothing from the Iroquois but the ones I wanted to see were in Germany on loan to another museum. I was told that there were some in Albany but I don't know if I will go there.
This next picture is one of the ones in the archives at the museum. It is bead work done by Caroline Parker - the sister to Ely Parker who was a General in the United States Army and adjutant to Ulysses S. Grant.You can find all kinds of information on Ely Parker on the internet if you are interested.
This piece was part of, if I remember correctly, a shawl. I'm not sure now. I'm not an historian that takes pictures and documents them in a "correct" manner. I take pictures of what I like to see.
This next picture is of bead work done by someone else. I don't have the names - because the museum doesn't have the names of most of the artists either. A lot of the pieces that museums carry are "collections" from Army, Indian Agents, and other affluent people who could buy things. This piece is a "Glengary Cap"
being held by one of the curators at the museum. She wasn't sure if it is one worn by the Iroquois men or the women as both were known to wear that type of hat.
These hats were modeled after the hats worn by the "visitors" that came to North America but these hats were decorated, as a lot of their other pieces of clothing were decorated, with beads. Maybe I'll sort the pictures and show you more later.

Right now I'm off now to go and visit friends in Massachusetts, Connecticut and maybe Vermont. I'm going to see a play in NYC with my friend Donna and we are going to visit our other friend Maureen. Then to a writing retreat in Connecticut. I may go and visit my friend in Montreal on my way back home. That too hasn't been decided. So  I will see you when I see you. Have a good one. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Good Morning;
I haven't been lost or gone away but I've been absent from this blog. I've been wanting to come back and edit and add pictures but I just haven't - no excuses. Busy trying to find myself since my aunt passed away at 94. It's funny I never thought that I'd be like this. I'm mature, I'm aware, I was a counselor for many years and I've helped a lot of people with their grieving but it is different.
I cannot explain the lightness, the freedom I felt from being or feeling responsible for my aunt and uncle's care. It isn't that I don't or didn't love them but I've been looking at my self and my feeling of being responsible. I've come from the place of feeling responsible for the whole world to knowing I'm responsible for myself only. What do I mean by that? I've always, from the time I was little, felt responsible for all my family, and all my friends, and all my clients when I was a counselor. I was a "super-responsible" person and to quote a friend "that ain't healthy". I'm not taking care of anyone else now but myself. My mom and I had a talk about that and she told me "you have to look after yourself" when I told her I wasn't going to look after anyone. Mom is 89, still doing good except for a bum leg and she has lots of people who will look after her.
Today I decided I wanted to up-date this blog and I wanted to put pictures of my quilted wall-hanging here because it is hanging in the show at the Woodland Cultural Centre here in Brantford along with the Two Goofy Birds Return from Mardis Gras. Alas, not possible because I cannot find the cord to my camera. So, no pictures of the finished piece.
I'm back from not being lost but now I see that my cord is missing - so it too is probably not lost - it just isn't here right now. So no pictures of a completed wall hanging. But!!!
I do have a picture of the quilted wall hanging
called "The Tree of Life" before it was finished. In this picture, it is hanging on the line at the quilt shop Red Red Bobbin where it was machine quilted, but the beads have not yet been added and the binding has not been put on.
I'm glad that it is finished. It took me seven years to complete all the applique and embroidery but it isn't because I was slow - or slower than usual. It is because I had to collect the fabric, and cut out the pieces and prepare them. I then put it aside while I worked on other things - like my dolls.
But when Uncle Jesse started to fail I would sit with him and auntie and work on the quilt and put it away when he passed at 93-almost 94 to help auntie and make more dolls. Then when auntie was failing I picked it up again after making the dolls.
I showed her the finished quilt on the Tuesday afternoon before she passed. I'd arranged for different people to sit with her and visit while I did some errands and picked up the quilt. When I got back to her room, my brother was there with her and I showed it to them and then she went to sleep. She was able to see it finished but I don't believe she really saw it. It seemed a cursory glance and then on Wednesday she asked about it.
I stayed with her and she went to sleep again. This time she didn't wake. She died on February 14th - it's nice to know that she went to be with Uncle Jesse for Valentines Day. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Art Dolls

The last post I showed you pictures of the doll 'Rainbow Woman' that I made for my grand-daughter. I also said that would be the last doll I make of that kind for a while. I said that before. I'm not sure if I will make another doll of that style but let's just say "for a while" instead of never again.
These dolls are submitted to the Woodland Cultural Centre Gallery for the upcoming First Nations Art Show. They are Crow Hop and Eagle Dancer. When I entered similar dolls a few years ago they were "Two Indian Guys, Crow Hop and Eagle Dancer, Go to the Mardi Gras. Now they are returning from the Mardi Gras.

I don't remember which is which. I think I named the one to the right Eagle Dancer and then Crow Hop was the one with the blue face. They have changed since they left on their trip a few years ago. And again I'm having trouble getting them in place. I think they are still celebrating and don't want to do what I want them to do.

Just to let you know,  they do have a great time together and have talked about going on other trips. I haven't decided where they will go or even if they will go anywhere - especially together. They seem to get into a bit of trouble and I find that they forgot to bring home the outfits that they left with.

I made another art piece for the show that will open on May 24, 2013 but I don't have a picture of the finished piece. It is called the Tree of Life and it is a tree covered with butterflies. The butterflies are then embellished with beads of all kinds as well as embroidery. I will post that in the next update - when I get a picture to show you.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Rainbow Woman

Good morning. It's been a busy day already and it's only 10:00 am or thereabouts. I was awake at 4:30 again and the idea to get up and get back to work was waylaid by a desire to just stay in bed and read.
I finished the doll I was working on and I named her Rainbow Woman. She was for my grand-daughter Lindsay's birthday last weekend. I didn't deliver her till the day after her birthday and she was well received.

She is called Rainbow Woman because she has a dress of many colours - flowers of many colours but they are all related you know. Flowers of many colours and rainbows. I couldn't find the beads that I needed for her cape so I ended up using crystals that I had to glue on. Oh, the horrors. I know that some miniature artists use glue but as a figurative artist I've always made my figures and wall-hangings by hand. Kind of following Salley Mavor's idea that the sewing machine is for other things.

I believe right now that Rainbow Woman will be the last doll I will make of this kind. I'm seeing my art take another turn and these dolls are so time consuming.

There is no place to photograph the dolls in my apartment right now so I choose to use the sun room down the hall and I have to use the window sill to stand the dolls on. Here is Rainbow Woman dancing in the sunlight.

I chose a dark green silk for her cape and her crown and that is basically where I glued on the crystals. I added crystals to the blue ribbon which is a close match to the blue of the dress. I've placed the ribbons on the bottoms of the dress and the underskirt and added beads to them as well. The dark green of the cape and crown is the colour green in the dress material and they are both lined with the same flowered material.

Here below is a close up side view and you can see the rainbow colours of the crystals. 

Now it is time to move on and finish the wall hanging before the art show that I want to enter. It is a huge wall-hanging compared to others I've made and I choose to believe that I will now try to work smaller. Thanks for being here. Have a good one

Thursday, March 7, 2013

St Kateri

A few weeks ago I posted that my "nun" doll or St Katerie was finished except for the shoes and that she was keeping my auntie company. I would not get the doll and photograph her until I could do so.
My wonderful auntie passed away on February 14th while her sister Aunt Eva, and my two sisters ElizaBeth and Shirley were singing "Amazing Grace". That was one of aunty's favourite hymns. I keep telling myself she went to be with Uncle Jesse on Valentines Day and I'm glad for her.
St Kateri, was canonized or made into a Saint in October of the past year. As you will see, if you go to the link to Wikipedia she is known as Lily of the Mohawks.
Auntie was 94 years old and she was a school teacher. She has a paper somewhere that lists all the schools she taught at on Six Nations with the last one being SS #5. Many people have said that she was their teacher and from what I've heard from some of them, she was a wonderful teacher.
How did I get to look after them? I went to visit one day. They asked if I'd like to drive them to Toronto to visit their son, who is handicapped with epilepsy and a bit of other things. I did and I kept on doing that once a month and then I helped them move into the retirement home and with my sisters' help cleaned out their apartment. Then I kept helping them while they were in the retirement home - taking them to Toronto, on shopping trips, to appointments for dentists, hearing aids, hair dressers, shopping etc. Sometimes it was just an outing to go for a a ride and lunch somewhere. Then I was there helping the nurses when uncle Jesse was getting ready to leave and then from there helping auntie till she passed on.
Yes, it is time I took time to look after me and find out what I want to do and where I want to go.

The idea of the doll came to me as I was sitting with the embroidery group in early October, at their first meeting and the challenge for the year was to make a doll. I had been given a card with St. Kateri's picture on it and a bit of a write up about her. I enjoyed making her and I'm now trying to figure out how to make moccasins for her. I want the moccasins that I see in her photograph and I have to learn how to make those.
I also have a wooden cross that hung on Aunty's wall (below the loudest ticking clock I've ever heard) that I want to incorporate the cross into the doll "picture". In the photograph - the only known portrait of St Kateri as stated on the Wikipedia site - she is carrying a cross or holding one. This cross is made of Olive Wood, (aunty's name was Olive Ann) and she purchased it from a vendor who came to church to sell pieces of art from Jerusalem. This cross is about  six inches tall so it will be hard for the doll to hold in her hands. I'll keep looking for a smaller one - maybe only three inches and maybe of some other material. Or, I suppose I could try to make one eh?

I've now begun the process of finding out who I am. I have been a care taker for many years both in a good way and a not so good way, meaning that I've always been there to help others but in doing that I continually put me second. It is scary to think that I can put me first and I catch myself almost offering to do things when not even asked. My mom, who is 88 years old told me that it's time that I took care of me, looked after me now that my aunt and uncle are together on the other side. I'm looking forward to something new, a new adventure, new travels, new excitement and I must admit, it can be a bit scary. Have a good one.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Good Morning

Good Morning all.
I'm just letting you know that I'm still here. I've finished the Saint Kateri doll except for her shoes/moccasins. I can't show you her yet because she is sitting on the dresser in my Auntie's room and she keeps looking at it and the tiny little orchid plant that my grand-daughter Lyla brought her. Those are the two things she focuses on before she drifts off to sleep in her chair. She is sleeping longer. The Dr. said she had a few days to a few weeks and so I'm just leaving the doll there. I sit with her everyday and I am working on some pieces to go on another wall-hanging. Hopefully it will be done before April.

The snow came and piled up in parking lots and roads and I plowed my way through. It was lovely and on a day when I didn't have to go to the nursing home I would have loved to just walk in it. But off I went and found it wasn't so bad - I've driven in worse or worser.

Okay I'm off now to get some groceries before I go and sit with Auntie. I will miss these days even though right now I get tired.

Hope you have a good one.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Almost Finished

Did I mention that I'm creating a doll that is representative of St. Kateri? I started this soft sculpture doll in late September. I've been working on her everyday and she is almost done. I have the shoes to make and to find a couple of crosses and she is finished. I don't want to post a picture just yet but soon.
I've been sewing while I sit with my auntie. The Dr at the Retirement Home put her into the hands of the palliative care team. She is still able to go to the dining room for meals - although they have to take her in a wheel chair and the amount of food is miniscule.
She goes back to her room and sits in the recliner with her feel up because they are swelling so bad and her abdomen and chest area has fluid as well.
I was very confused for a few days because of the "palliative care" term. What I mean is that I figured that is what happens when a person is ready to die and I guess she is because we've done lots of paper work and house cleaning but she is still alert, still eating, still getting up and with help, getting dressed everyday. They've explained that palliative care means she will have more help, she has a different Dr and because she has said no explorations, no surgeries, therefore no treatments they are to keep her comfortable. Changes have happened with her health and quite quickly but she is still with us.
Anyway, I'm not so confused about what's happening with her and I'm sitting with her and stitching, reading, and visiting whenever I can. Today I was there for forty five minutes while she slept. She woke and we visited briefly and asked me to do some shopping for her and when I returned I was able to show the aid where she keeps her clothes.
Now all I have to do is to keep myself on an even keel so I won't get into the emotional eating - which I can do and which can be the subject of another post.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Apology For Not Posting

Good morning. I'm so sorry but things have been a bit of  smozzle for me. That is my word for busy, confusing, sickening, etc.
I had a great Christmas. Christmas Eve with auntie, then to visit my brothers, my mom and my children and grandchildren. I like to give gifts to my siblings on Christmas Eve, though they don't open them till the next day, but for me it has been a tradition to visit on Christmas Eve. I experienced that with relatives on mom's side of the family when I went to Thunder Bay at the age of 17 - thinking my aunt was going to get me into Nursing School - but ended up only being there for a few weeks. From that memory and our families getting so big I decided that the only way to see everyone was to go visit.
Christmas day I stayed at the nursing home with auntie until three when I went to see my sister and her family then to mom's to see her and the relatives left over from having dinner with her. It was a peaceful time for me. I didn't create stress for me by trying to make things or trying to figure out what to buy. I gave pictures of our grandparents to my siblings and pictures or our parents to my children.
Did I mention that I really don't like the holidays? It's not that I don't like them it was just that I don't like the commercialism of it. The emotional stress that people are in and the fact that there are people who have nothing, never mind the people who don't celebrate and who choose to just damage or put down the decorations because of their beliefs or non-beliefs or whatever.
The dratted cold and flu has been running amuck in our families and my one nephew had this cold for over 5 weeks, my brother for over 3 but he did manage to be well enough to have knee surgery. I got the cold the Sunday after Christmas-it's still here and then mom ended up in hospital this past Sunday with the ugly flu and pneumonia.
Through all this 'stuff' I've been going to visit auntie and we are basically in palliative care mode with her - meaning she knows her body is shutting down with congestive heart failure, and liver failure - but because she is almost 95 she's chosen no surgeries, tests, treatments for whatever is going on inside. We are getting her affairs in order and I have the pleasure of sitting and hand-sewing or doing my embroidery with her but only if I have things to sew and embroider so I better get back at it.
I've finished making the doll that will be my version of St Kateri and gathered pieces to sew for her clothes. Going now to put the "kit" together and get to the nursing home.
I'll try to get back to posting soon. Have a good one.