Look Hear

Ample Parking circa 1982Creative Connections is more than just the name of this blog–its how we live our lives at my house. All sorts of stuff comes together, goes elsewhere and wraps back around into our lives again eventually. This weekend finds us getting ready for the Dyeing Days starting Monday, and while I sort things into the various bags for each color, I’m listening to music from my past, because my husband is going through 25 years of  recordings and digitally archiving them. He’s a musician as well as a landscape and mosaic artist, and I’ve recently set him up to do podcasts. He’s coming round to where the computer meets the music, and thats a challenge for someone who claims to be a techno-primitive in style. The fingers are faster on keyboards of another sort, not the PC. But hey–he managed to move from acoustic to electric guitar, and I’m betting that this too will be a more comfortable medium eventually.

Some of the old recordings even include me, back in the days when I split my time between art and music, before adding children to the mix. (Ample Parking was the name of our ’80s band) Then I retired from the music scene and made art and family and writing my full-time jobs. I don’t miss the smoky-bars-3AM scene but I do sometimes miss playing music with others.
And now, the kid who’s persistant kicking along to the music decades ago while still inside  made me put away the bass guitar is making his own films, and coming home to work with his Dad on some soundtrack music; isnt it just convenient that there happens to be hours and hours of it available?!! If you’d like to hear some of it, visit:
http://feed.at-the-helm.us  or his accompanying blog: http://bryanhelm.wordpress.com

 I think I’ll turn the volume up and go back to sorting–its great to be able to use my eyes, ears, hands, and brain all at the same time.

Thank You, Mother

salad greens in our gardenToday is Mother’s Day, and I am happy to have a Mother and to BE a Mother. I’m thinking of my human Mom and of the Earth that is our mother too… and while my human Mom is a buzz in her own right, the buzz I’m most thrilled about today is the bees.

We’ve been growing our own salad greens, herbs, and hot peppers, squash and tomatos  for many years now and its always a reminder of the source of all creativity when Spring comes and the plants begin to show their colors again. Nothing like salads and salsa and spice to make meals more enjoyable!

a bee in the bush is worth twoThis year is already good–we have three kinds of spinach and six kinds of lettuce that are already giving us more baby salad greens than we can eat, so we share, both with the bunnies and the neighbors.

But we’ve been noticing fewer and fewer bees this year. So, I was absolutely delighted to see that for this year’s Mothers’ Day celebrataion I have flowers; they are blooming on my raspberry bushes–and BEES in them too! At least six–and while far fewer than in other years, its good to see any of them at all  here.

Lets hear it for Mother Nature! Creativity starts there.

Socks Appeal

Dyed SocksWhen we do the annual Dyeing Days at our house, we get colorful from head to toe. All year long, everybody keeps an eye out for things that are composed of natural fibers that just might benefit from a jolt of new color. Tshirts are certainly a part of the pile, but we also dye jeans, shorts, socks and hats and other clothing.

Then there are the bolts of cloth, the spools of ribbons, the hanks of fiber and skeins of yarn. This year I have a bowl full of bamboo beads ready to get colorful. They started out as a placemat. They’ll soon be dyed to match silk and rayon ribbons and more.  Bamboo and other wood and vegetable fiber items can be dyed beautifully using Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes. When my kids were little, we used their wooden blocks as part of the tied resists when we dyed a batch of clothing, and the resulting wooden blocks were really gorgeous. We liked the shirts too–but the blocks were the visual winner THAT year, and we hadn’t intended it at all.

12 Tie Dyed PiecesIn addition to my wardrobe of colorful, comfortable cotton socks, shown above, here is a picture of 12 pieces of cotton cloth that were dyed a few years ago using bound dye resists like string, rubber bands, and wooden clothespins. (Those soaked up the color too, but werent as nice as the wooden blocks, which were made of nicer wood.) The cloth is 100% cotton jersey and cotton flannel.

I get my dyes and more from Dharma Trading Co.  who have had  “Fiber Art Supplies and Clothing Blanks Since 1969”. The selection of dyeable goods there is staggering. They have clothing and accessories, fabric by the bolt or yard, ribbons, banners, fibers and household items. All are in black and white, and can be dyed, painted, and embellished with a myriad of textile arts techniques. Take a look there if you enjoy color!

And if you do, be sure to visit Maggie Maggio’s Smashing Color site. Its a visual treat and a great informational source for artists who use color.