The birds are full of ideas. I watched pair of sparrows with straw in their beaks searching for a perfect nesting spot today. The bees as I walked down the wisteria laden arbor here at the Bishop’s Ranch are also full of ideas. Their busyness got me full of ideas as well. I’ve been admiring the Cala lilies along the Ranch house walk for a few weeks and realized I better get busy if I was going to catch them before they start to fad. So I snapped a bunch of pictures on my phone and wandered off wondering what next. So like the birds and the bees I got a creative idea too! I printed about 12 of my Cala lily photos onto printable cotton and with a bit of inspiration from the early photo collage work of David Hockney got to work on this fabric collage of Cala Lilies at The Bishop’s Ranch (if you look closely you can see the Chapel of St. George in the back).
Don’t delay follow those creative ideas buzzing around in your head let inspiration take over, you’ll be glad you let it rule the day!
This is the bed my parents put into the dream house they built together when they were in their fifties – like I am now. And this is the bed they slept in, she on the right and he on the left for twenty-eight of their sixty-one years of marriage. This is the bed my dad rose from early every morning to walk the rural road beyond their driveway. He rose from this bed for his walk every day, rain or shine, in sickness and in health to, with few excepts, walk his goal. While that goal got closer and closer to home over the years, he rose from this bed just the same even deep into his journey with the cancer. This is the bed my father lay down on each night to sleep, and dream and hold my mother close. This is the bed I joined my father in during his last week to snuggle and keep him warm while he dozed. This is the bed, on Sunday night, that my husband and I lifted him into for his last earthly sleep. This is the bed my mother curled up beside him and held his hand and stroked his cheek and hummed and sang and sang and sang. This is the bed I sat my chair beside and joined my mother’s song to comfort his journey, to settle his body, to release his soul. This is the bed my husband sat beside to join the vigil, while I spooned my mother’s tired body, as we sang until finally we just hummed. We hummed a like a mother to a restless baby, an ancient tone of comfort, in this bed we hummed my father through the threshold of this life to the next. This is the bed my mother laid beside by fathers body, his spirit released, one last time till they came to take that ravaged, tired body away. This is the bed I wept in, sliding my body into the divot my father, my daddy, left behind still warm from his last corporeal moments on this earth.
My sweet, loving, obstinate, loyal, opinionated, talented, strong, generous, complicated father – Dodd Thorpe – died in the arms of his wife, at 3:23 am, Monday September 26, 2016. May his spirit live on in us!
I didn’t sleep very well last night so I almost talked myself out of my morning hike but I rallied after some oatmeal and a big mug of coffee to take a loop through the woods and out into a hilly clearing that provides vista’s to the east, west and south. The morning fog lay over the river and steam was rising from the dry grass hill as the suns rays warmed the frosted grey-brown grass. I sat on a near by bench facing the Northeast to watch and listen and breathe. The first sound I took note of was the distant road noise and marveled at the low hum. Then I watched the fog lifting its lacy fingers releasing the Russian river from its nights embrace, in the distance a murmur of starlings swooped across the valley and out of my line of sight. Then before I could see them I heard them behind and above, a rush of sound as blood and bone and feather worked to move wing and beating heart on and away out of sight again. The sun won the day- fog drifted, steam lifted and I rose by blood and bone and long limb to walk into my day. Strengthened by the reminder that I am part of the great net of life, one strand in the vast universe, one with the fog and the sun and starling.
As some of you remember I have been working on some aerial view art quilts. I’m using photo images taken from a plane to create iPad drawings then having those drawings printed large on fabric then quilting. (see these links to past posts Flying High & A Stitch’n Week). I have completed a couple more of these art quilts and I’m ready to share. I was pondering what to say this morning on a chilly early morning hike. As I wandered along the trail, in and out of trees and into clearings it struck me that these aerial views are of the same place I’m walking but seen from a different perspective. In that same vein I’ve been pondering my family relationships – specifically my relationship to my demi-adult son and my eighty-something parents. I am finding that navigating the parent/demi-adult relationship is harder than I was expecting. How to support him and love him but let him go and make mistakes and find his own way. So my experience as the parent of a young adult has made me reflect on my own young adulthood and my relationship to my parents. I have new empathy and insight into what I put them through, how I wrestled and struggled with my self-definition and sometimes let them in but often not. So in these landscapes I am experiencing and translating the same place that I have walked through and painted again and again but from a different point of view where I can experience it anew. As I climb higher, I can now see the river carving through the valley and the hills sculpted low against the mountain and the row of trees reaching up and out. This landscape is like my own life- carving, sculpting, reaching up and out; connecting to the journey but separate from my son’s journey and likewise connecting to but separate from my parents’ journey. Here I am like a hawk on the wing, riding air current of my life in this unique space between beginning and end seeing each from a new point of view and grateful to catch a glimpse now and then of where I’m going and where I’ve been.
I have a couple more quilts ready I’ll show you soon in another post.
In late spring the red poppies in my yard were in full bloom. Every couple of days I would take a picture of a bloom or two on my iPhone. When I scrolled through my phone photo file later, it seemed to me these photos would make a great fabric print. I cropped and manipulated about twenty close-up poppy photos and created a grid of poppies. Then using the PS touch and Waterlogue apps in my iPad I got this great, brilliant watercolor bleed effect. I up-loaded my image and had the pattern printed at Spoonflower on canvas weight fabric. Just recently I recovered this old craftsman chair that sat in my grandparents house when I was a kid. It’s lovely to have a bit of family history and my own fabric flare all rolled up in one living room chair. I’ve got to say I love how the digital age has expanded all the ways to manifest creativity – and can’t wait to see what’s next, what new ways to combine technology, creativity and craft!
You can buy this fabric and all my designs by the yard at http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/lisathorpe. Spoonflower has a wonderful array of fabric they print on from delicate Silk Crepe de Chine to hearty Eco Canvas and everything in between. Check it out!
About a month ago I shared a series of peace quilts I’d made. With the scraps from the fabric that I had created I made some 5×7 mini quilts that I stitched to card stock and made into mini quilt cards. I stashed the cards away in a box ready to send. I found myself reaching into that box numerous times this month, two dear friends had close family or friends pass away this month, another friend is going through chemo treatment. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to send to a friend in need and what is most important is to just let them know they are in your thoughts. I found these cards hit the right note. They are a little piece of me- my art and my heart.
I used so many that I made a whole stack this week to have at the ready to express my affection and concern and hopefully give a little bit of inspiration to someone I love.
I have always had trouble assigning a price to my art. I believe strongly that art should be a part of everyone’s life that why long ago I framed the following “the why cheap art manifesto” that my sister gave me decades ago:
I’m sharing this because I have always struggled with what price to charge for my art. On the one hand I want the art to be accessible to lots of people and on the other hand I want to feel like my time and skill are being duly valued. Some people have said I don’t charge enough for my art but I want people to have it- If I make it and it just sits in a box under my bed then what’s the point!? So I have come up with a formula that feels ok to me. I loosely keep track of my time per piece then price the art the same way I would price a free lance graphic design or art teaching seminar, by the hour this seems fair to me, it values my time and it the price reasonable (I hope). So now I would like to introduce my Etsy Shop where I have my art quilts from the most recent “Peace” series to others I think you will recognize from the blog. I hope you will check it out! Thanks for your support and pass this link on to others you think might like my work.