THUNK! I hear this dull thud as a branch falls on my roof. It’s windy out and the woods are pruning themselves of debris – branches that just aren’t strong enough to withstand the test of this strong a breeze in the dead of winter. Or rather, the dead of the end of winter. The days are getting longer. Perhaps, this is pre-spring cleaning?

And inside:

my own debris. I’m not sure I’m pruning. Mostly, it’s just doing all this fine detail work to make sure the colors are juxtaposed so that a viewer’s eye moves across the piece and so that each color glows as much as possible.

And I look at these threads and think : did I ever imagine I would be making art by sewing? I don’t think so. I started out doing watercolors and big thick oil paintings – throwing the paint around. And then, at some point, I had my blood checked, I’m not sure why. In the results, it showed that I might as well have eaten what I was using: there was so much – was it cadmium, arsenic – in my blood. At that point I went to see an “environmental doctor”, a wonderful woman. She put me on this regimen where I would come in for afternoons and get an IV for a couple of hours with the idea that this would clean up what was inside already. I did this for a while. A long while. It was tedious and ate up my days. IV’s are no fun. I don’t think the results were dramatic. 

What happened was that, at some point, the nurse took me aside and said, “You know there are patients that come in here forever trying to get themselves rid of stuff …” I heard what she was implying and decided, forget this. I would leave this behind. I’d also leave behind the oil painting and find a medium that I haven’t already “consumed”. I had done fabric dyeing before but considered it “less” somehow. But now, I would find ways to work with it as art. I was told the dyes were not toxic. That I doubt. But now I would be more cautious …

That was as era before there was so much publicity about the toxins in art supplies. I don’t know. I wonder if I absorbed some of this lousy stuff from growing up on a farm – growing alfalfa: obstructing insects? – when no one questioned these products.

Regardless, here I am sewing. And here I am doing this large piece. And this is exactly where I want to be. I have the background of painting underlying my fabric art. Thanks to the “pruning” earlier.