Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Apr 28, 2006

Illustration Friday - Under the Sea

Illustration Friday
Theme: Under the Sea

I made this digital collage earlier this year, using one of my longtime favorite quotes from the ee cummings poem "maggie and milly and molly and may." Usually I like to use Illo Friday as a challenge to create something quickly the morning I see the theme, but know I couldn't come up with anything for "under the sea" that I'd like better than this piece.

Apr 25, 2006

Things I've Made Recently

This felted bowl was knitted of Malabrigo in Lettuce. I love it a lot. Sunday night some of my friends created a grief healing ceremony for me and Patrick's roommates. I brought this bowl to hold the special things I brought to the ceremony, so it's now imbued with all the loving energies of that evening.

This pouch pattern evolved as I knitted and originally was to be a felted vessel. The first was the one on the right and I was using Briggs & Little yarn for the first time. It's Regal 2-ply in Plum and I really love the color and enjoyed working with it.
When I got to where I should have decreased and bound off for a little pot, I just kept on knitting! Obviously this yarn wanted to be a pouch. I did an eyelet round for threading a drawstring through and then was compelled to indulge in ruffled edge, finishing with a picot bind-off. The drawstring is crocheted, a chain the length I wanted, then I went back along the chain with slip stitches, sewing the ends into spirals. I liked it so much I made another.
The second one (top left) is in Cascade 220, one of The Heathers (#2450), a purple was thrilled to discover at Riverwools recently. I made the ruffle and drawstring in Tahki Shannon #21, a 100% wool, variegated single with a multi-colored binder.
I really would like to see these felted, so I think I need to make a couple more!
Just a small odd little felted vessel in Malabrigo, purples called Cuarzo.

Finally, here is another shawl like the one I made for Tifani. This is the same pattern, done in Noro Kochoran (angora, silk and wool). I love this pattern! It takes me only about 4-5 days to make these shawls (I am working on the picot bind-off on a third!), and they drape and fit the shoulders very well. Mine seem to be a bit bigger than the pattern was meant to be, probably because I'm using thicker yarns and bigger needles. In any case, I love this both as a knitter and a shawl-wearer. The pattern designer is an Indiana woman named Jane Campbell and it's being sold by Martha at Riverwools. I think Martha is also offering this as a class.

Speaking of classes at Riverwools, I've signed up for one in June - EZ's famous Baby AND Adult Surprise Jacket. I've always wanted to make one of those and I'm excited about doing one with a group.
It's a gray, chilly, rainy day here in western Indiana - a good day for being inside with tea and a shawl to finish.

Apr 24, 2006

poem-Making Things of Broken Things

Making Things of Broken Things

This morning
I awoke with half-remembered
dreams and a head full
of hypnogogic creations.

I pieced together
broken things with thread:
cups, teapots, vases --

bits and shards knotted around,
linked back together
in a form that was familiar
to them.

Though they were never the same
as they were but irrevocably

they were beautiful
in a way they had not been

And, too,I saw new things
to make
of stones and wool:
hanging things

and they were heavy things
but beautiful.

I awoke fully
i must make new things
heavy things
of stones and wool
and also make things
of broken things,
(cups teapots vases)

until one day I will find myself
stitching around
the shards of my life
linking them back together

until my life is a familiar shape
though irrevocably altered

and beautiful
in a way it was not beautiful

--Zann Carter 04.24.06

Apr 16, 2006

Illustration Friday - Spotted

When I Am Old I Shall Wear Purple Freckles
digital photo, altered in Photoshop & AppleWorks

Illustration Friday - 04-14--6
Theme: Spotted

Apr 15, 2006

Secret Pal Abundance

These packages arrived what seems like eons ago. They were from my Secret Pal Seven pal, and meant to be the final reveal packages for this round of Secret Pal.

It took me awhile before I felt like I could open them and receive the wonderful gifts inside. I know that I finally opened them this past week, but I can't remember which day....

Before I show you what an amazing array of thoughtfully chosen gifts my Pal sent, I'd like to introduce you to my Pal. She goes by the name of Peacock and she is an amazingly talented, creative, sweet, clever woman. You can see for yourself by checking out her blog, Another Hobby Blog. At least pop over for a minute to take a look at the beautiful Pysanky eggs she's made for Easter. And the gorgeous socks she's working on....
Besides all that craftiness, Peacock has a big, compassionate heart - and she has been pouring out support and love and comforting words to me these last awful four weeks. I am so filled with gratitude and feel very blessed to have been matched with her.

Now, here is the gorgeous, purple-green shimmering lot of wrapped surprises that greeted my eyes when I opened the boxes:

and I carefully unpacked them and set them in front of me and proceeded to open every one of them!
I cannot possibly do descriptive justice....there is beautiful fiber in a glorious procession of color, fabulous dark chocolate bars, blue and purple and green jelly beans (I am munching on them right now), bags with all kinds of little useful items inside for knitting, a teeny-weeny powerful flashlight, Silk Garden #8, little capsules that become animals in water, a turtle button, a peacock tschotske, a Mary Engelbreit notebook, the most magical whisk broom, a pin made with a peacock feather from one of her very own late peacocks (so special!!)....and all wrapped in either an iridescent vinyl or purple and green tulle also with special significance, from Peacock's wedding...some close-ups:
the peacock feather beaded pin, tiny cranes folded from beautifully patterned origami paper, a little sewn blank book with peacock-and-leaves pattern cloth cover....
...the beatifully made whisk broom, red handle, purple bristles, leather hanging thong....
various items previously mentioned...but also the corner of The Most Amazing Letter that is one of my favorite items from this abundance of generosity. In the Letter, Peacock tells me dozens of little things about herself, things like she was once bitten on the finger by a camel...I just loved the Letter!

and finally, a closeup of the beautiful fiber, which was carefully carded and arranged in a sequence of color that I hope I can do justice to when I spin it:
Thank you very much, dear Secret Pal Peacock - for all this and for the gift of your friendship!!

If anyone is interested in participating in the next Secret Pal, which is Number Eight, you can find out the rules, etc at SecretPal8. I can't promise that you'll get an SP match as amazing as mine has been, but if you go into it wanting to BE a great Secret Pal to someone, you should enjoy it.

The talented lady for whom I was Secret Pal has also been fun to get to know. Her name is Jewel and you can find her blog at Jewel's Purls. I still owe her a package and I know she understands why I haven't been able to get around to sending it yet. But I will.

The funny thing is that Jewel was Peacock's Secret Pal!!!
Isn't that a hoot?

Apr 13, 2006

Rosemary...for remembrance

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance, pray, love, remember."
--Shakespeare, Hamlet

My dear friends Don and Meg from Louisiana sent me some beautiful sprigs of fragrant rosemary, an herb traditionally used to symbolize remembrance. There is also a lovely legend about Mary draping her blue cloak over a rosemary bush, and the white flowers turning blue for her.

I want to make some little bundles from this rosemary to hang in the house, as well as to give to some of Patrick's friends. I will also bring these to a women's healing/grieving ceremony that some of my friends are planning for me.

I did some simple crocheting to hold the sprigs together, then made a copper wire hanger.
This first one is hanging on my mantle by the candles I light for Patrick. In the mornings, I greet his picture there with "Namaste" and the hands-together bow and take a moment to envision him surrounded with divine light and love. It's the perfect place for rosemary....for remembrance, prayer, love.
Thank you, Don and Meg - for the rosemary and all your kindnesses...
I have quite a few people to thank for sending me things meant to help me bear this sad journey, not the least of whom is my Secret Pal, Peacock. I will devote my next entries to my gratitude.


Apr 9, 2006

"....I got a telephone in my bosom
and I can call him up from my heart..." from Freedom by Richie Havens

When I started this blog, I had certain boundaries in mind. I wanted it to be a place to share my midlife, long-awaited forays into art, especially fiber arts, and I did not want to be more personally revealing than my art. My son Patrick's death 3 weeks ago, and the kindness and concern of people who read my blog, has shifted the boundaries somewhat.

Right now, I can't view much of anything without viewing it through the lens of this personal tragedy. When I create, I am either creating out of my anguish, or I am finding in the process itself, in the act of creating, some solace -- a way to feel, for brief, blessed moments, whole and at peace.

So if I'm sharing my art, I'm probably going to be writing, one way or another, about my son and my grieving for some time to come....

I'm sleeping a lot - probably a bit too much, but sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed and exhausted that sleep is the only thing I can do.

I am using flower essences (homeopathic-type remedies for emotional states), a combination of five I've chosen myself. I got permission from the Flower Essence Society to make a page about them if you're interested in more details about the specific ones I'm using. I usually just add them to my bottled water and sip throughout the day.

I try to write something every day in my handwritten journal. Even just one sentence.

Here's a poem I wrote last week:

everyday i journey
through the landscape
of my heart.
i light candles in a dark cave of grief
where even the walls
are weeping.
i let him go
again and again.
i climb a mountaintop
and seat myself in clouds
and wait for messages
and signs.

i know little but this:
i must wait
and expect nothing.
i must hold emptiness
out like a cup
until my arm
is numb.
i must believe
what i cannot see
or touch.

my cheeks are scoured red
with salt
my eyes burn
my skin itches and itches

i lie beside an ocean of love
and long to drown
in the blue.
i scan the waves endlessly.
A glimpse just a glimpse
of a certain swimmer

and the whole world
that is my heart
will rock
with joy.

Finished spinning the silk/merino I started what seems like a very long time ago. I think I foresaw it as a lacy scarf, kind of skinny....I still think that's what I'll do with it.

and in the last week or so I made this freeform thing -- I felted it, but it didn't come out as I'd hoped, to be a vessel. So I'm thinking it's a pouch for something.

and I started a hat, using my favorite purple-y Malabrigo and some multi-colored handspun and some JoAnne yarn that's 60% wool, 40% nylon.
and finished the hat. It's a bit big and quite lumpy-bumpy. I may try to shrink it just a wee bit. But my head's a bit lumpy-bumpy too, so it's not such a bad fit...

love to all. much.

Apr 7, 2006

Illustration Friday - Speed

Illustration Friday - 04.07.06
Theme: Speed

Apr 4, 2006

Illustration Friday - Spring

Our Spring Flowers 2006 (Roses for Patrick)

Illustration Friday 03.31.06
Theme: Spring

Apr 3, 2006

lighting candles, tifani's shawl

These are the candles I've been lighting for Patrick for well over a year, as he - as we - struggled with his difficult life. I lit them before dawn after the police left on the morning they came to notify us of his death. And I light them now to remember him, to focus my love for him, to make light in the terrible darkness of grief...a lot of reasons. My spirituality is a patchwork quilt. The image of Mary has always been my image for mothering. One of those candles is of a well-known print of an angel standing over a boy and girl on a bridge. That print hung in Patrick's and Molly's room when they were little....

Some time back, I stumbled across a site called - where you can light a virtual candle that will burn for 48 hours. I also signed up for their Word For The Day email. Sometimes the words are very powerful for me. I wanted to share today's here:

"Reality is permeated, indeed flooded, with divine creativity, nourishment, and care."

Marcus J. Borg Conflict, Holiness, and Politics

I urge you to check out the site, especially if you are like me and on a quest for a spirituality that will live in your bones, that says our daily lives are filled with the sacred. There are poems and thoughts and ideas on those pages which help me know that again and again. I love the little piece on creativity ...

Yesterday's post got comments from dear friends about being glad to see I am creating again - I confess that hat/vessel and pictures were made before Patrick's death. But I am creating other things...and it feels very right. For one thing, the acts of spinning, knitting and crocheting are rhythmical and often give rise to the same meditative state that focusing on the breath provides for me. During those moments, I am granted a precious gift: a deep peace and connection with the universe (and my lost son) that provides a counterpoint to the almost unendurable soul pain that overwhelms me at other times.

Yesterday I finished the little shawl I plan to give to Tifani, Patrick's roommate and best friend. I gave a felted mohairy hat to his other roommate, Nikki. Tifani has two children who Patrick felt like were a younger brother and sister. I daresay his death has been as hard on all of them as it has been for us - different, but as hard I think. For one thing, they became homeless as they couldn't bear to return to the house to live. And they did not have, as we did, the comfort of their own home as refuge and a parade of people with hugs and food. We have done the best we could to pass on comfort and nurturing, to let them know we understand that they were Patrick's chosen family and we know they had a special and important relationship with him. They have found a new place to live and I hope that will take some of the stress away, so they can heal.

As I made this shawl, I thought of Tifani and how much Patrick valued her listening ear and how she tried to look out for him, and how I'd like her to feel it around her like a hug from Patrick, a hug from me. Shawls look like wings...

Apr 2, 2006

a felted thing

Most of the time, I believe this Thing I'm going to show you to be a hat, or a cap. But I'm not sure.
It began as one of my organic hats (okay, it's freeform I suppose, but I always like to make up other ways to talk and think about things...) and it turned out to be just way too big and I've always wanted to try to felt some freeform/organic work. There's a lot of wool in this piece, but some synthetic, and often felted crochet turns out a bit hole-y, so I didn't have high hopes, just regular ol' hope for it to become...interesting. And smaller.

So here is the Thing when it was finished being crocheted. I did this one differently than all the other hats I made a few weeks ago, in that I joined in several smaller bits -okay, they're "scrumbles" I guess, but my bits don't really look scrumbly, with many different yarns, stitches, directions. Mine are usually just spiral-y bits with a couple of different yarns, mostly in single crochet with a few half-double crochet and double crochet stitches thrown in.

Anyway, just way too big:

So I decided to felt it, as I most like to felt, by hand at the kitchen sink. I love this picture of the water spray drenching the piece:
And here I am tormenting it into changing:
into this:
Definitely smaller and I was very pleased that it did not become too hole-y, probably because of my preference for single crochet.

As it dried and tightened up a bit more, I began to wonder if it was, indeed, a hat. The brim just didn't look right. And I began playing with it, as a sculpture or vessel:
And then, eureka, I folded under that annoying brim-thing and loved this and thought, lo, it is indeed a vessel:
But then, it started looking like a hat to me again: