The best intentions. . .

I always have the best of intentions. I actually DID try to start a blog at enchyland.com but I couldn't figure out that blogger.com thing so I paid for the domain for a year and gave up. And so I have come back here for a while. It is interesting (and disheartening) for me to read back over old posts. All of those intentions. No accomplishments. But once again I will attempt to move forward. I am working on a painting. I'm not happy with it - not happy at all. I somehow thought that I could just not paint at all for years and then pick up a brush and immediately paint exactly what I saw in my head. (yes I know - pretty silly). I have taken a TON of on-line classes and done pretty much nothing except buy the supplies for the classes and watch the video and think about what I want to do. Lots of thinking - not much doing. I still visit that 'meaningful body of work' thing. There's not much else new. Another cat has passed away after a sudden illness and a week of hospitalization and no real cause known despite tons of tests. That put me back quite a bit. Now we are 2 dogs and one very old cat - who would have thought that the oldest cat would live the longest - periodically she appears to be on death's door and I take her in to vet who can find nothing wrong and she suddenly rebounds and starts running around the house like a crazy girl. Zakk and Mushu the dogs are getting grey but don't seem to be slowing down. I once again have the best of intentions - only time will tell if I follow through - but for now - have a beautiful day.


Moving on

Mountain Salt Studio has officially closed. There have been a lot of changes in my life the last few years, the most recent one being leaving a job that was making me physically ill and focus on making art. The new blog will be at enchyland.com - it's not there yet but I'm working on it. Thanks for visiting. Enchy


And so life goes on. . .

I had the best of intentions when I wrote that last post 8 months ago - and then life stepped in and mucked up my plans. A lot has transpired over the last 3/4 of a year the most significant of which was the death of my mother. She had multiple illnesses including stage 4 lung cancer and emphysema. The last few months of her life involved numerous trips to the emergency room, brief hospitalizations to stabilize her, returning home - rinse and repeat. The final few months were especially tragic - I had finally gotten her to agree to receiving Hospice care and I made arrangements for her to have 24/7 care so she could go home - she'd been back and forth between a rehab facility and the hospital for weeks - she'd get stable at the hospital, go back to rehab, code and then be resuscitated (despite her Advance Directives indicating that she had other wishes), then back to rehab - (again rinse and repeat) - I flew to Phoenix more times that I can remember, each time thinking it would be the last and each time she pulled through. Unfortunately the last time her heart stopped it was the day before she was supposed to be moved home - May 20th. It was very sad to me that she didn't get to see her precious cats and her lovely home before she died - she hadn't been home in well over 2 months. Instead she died alone in the rehab facility. My adult son and I flew to Phoenix to tend to immediate business - find a placement for the cats, deal with things in the house, make funeral arrangements. . . We took care of what we could in our rather wobbly state and drove home with her van - the wonder van that has the lift in the back for her power wheelchair/my mobility scooter. The wonder van is 12 years old and when we drove it back to Washington, it had 29,000 original miles on it - I took it in for a 30,000 mile service in Phoenix and it was pretty funny to see the look on the service guy's face when he checked the odometer. The wonder van now has 36,000 miles on it - we drove it back from Phoenix and then a few weeks ago Charles and I drove it back to Phoenix to make arrangements to empty the house and sell it, turn off the cable, all of those things that need to be done. Then we drove back to Washington taking the long way via Flagstaff, Las Vegas, Santa Maria, CA, San Francisco and then the Oregon Coast. It was a long trip - a bit over 4500 miles but it was good for us to just be together and drive in the car - sometimes chatting - sometimes just being quiet watching the world go by. It was a trip that was planned for both of us - Charles got lots of desert time and I got lots of ocean time. We went to lots of museums and gardens and cemeteries. We ate at dinky little local restaurants and sometimes just got off the highway and investigated little towns. We could do that every day for the rest of our lives - just explore the world - learn new things, meet new people, eat different things - we tried things like cactus in green sauce and Peruvian beans. I had the best french toast in the world at a little place on the side of the road that was decorated with more dusty plastic plants that I thought existed in the world. We ate the best Mexican food in a little bar in South San Francisco in the middle of the afternoon where we were the only customers and the waitress sat in the booth behind us watching Mexican soap operas on t.v. We reaffirmed our relationship with one another which was important because I've been so distant and preoccupied with my mother's health and living situation. I feel that the I am finally coming out of the funk - my Mother's death represents a closure for me - a closure of a situation that has sometimes been quite volatile. I no longer have the constant stress of not knowing when the phone would ring and I'd need to get on a plane as soon as I could. But there is also the realization that I'm on my own - well I've been on my own for decades but on my own as far as not having parental support. My mother was never really that supportive but at least she was there. And now she's not. I need to figure out what to do with the cremains - my parents are currently in a gift bag from the funeral home in Phoenix sitting in the closet so that the dogs and/or cats don't get into them - Which leads me to my plan - (there's always a plan brewing) - I have been inspired by Sunny Cavahlo to do ceramics again - but my kiln building has been unused for over 10 years and being at the back of the property I'm certain it has become the home to numerous creatures - and the kiln there is giant - it's my old production kiln - I don't want to have to stand on my head to load a kiln again - I'm too old and crippled for that nonsense. And so, I'm taking the money from the sale of my mother's house and having a new studio built! A studio for the noisy, messy stuff - the clay and metal and mosaics and fabric dying - a studio for the big noisy tools and maybe even the big messy canvases. The quiet, tidy things will stay in the indoor studio - the fabric and ribbons and beads - makes sense huh? I'm very excited - (who wouldn't be?) And so I'm researching outbuildings - and tiny kilns. ********** This post was begun a few months ago - the end of August I think and I never finished it. The new studio has been built, I'm still researching small kilns but I have purchased a dreamy new sewing machine that I am learning how to operate and I've joined the Bead Journal Project for another year. Hopefully that will prompt me to do some art and post here more regularly. Until then, here is a photo of the sweet new machine.
and one of the weather vane I bought for the roof of the new studio!


well - it didn't happen

Didn't happen - didn't start - the big "D" overcame me - I'm sure that many of you are familiar with that. Not living life, but going through the motions - getting up (well most days), getting dressed, going to work - and then sitting and staring off into space the rest of the time - or farming pretend cows and chickens and other mind-numbing activities at that place where we click 'like' all the time.

I do think this is the longest time period that I have been depressed for the majority of the time - it's been 2 years - beginning when Scooter died in December of 2010 and continuing now.

But there is always hope - I find myself crying less frequently now - sometimes only once or twice a day which is a BIG IMPROVEMENT.

I have made some positive strides in the past year - I quit smoking - ! that's really big huh? and starting today I'm taking a diet Pepsi sabbatical. 90 days to see if I really do feel better without artificial sweeteners and carbonation.

I've been making attempts at art - I took several classes from the wonderfully sweet Suzi Blu These are really very good classes - I did enjoy them even if I didn't participate much. They have great instruction as well as being a bit inspiring without being so sweet that my teeth hurt. I took a few classes at Craft Edu that were great. I bought tutorials on Etsy and from Christi Freisen - they are all very well written and illustrated. I also started a workshop on the Strathmore website taught by Traci Bautista who is a very good teacher and lots of fun. I bought all the supplies and read all the coursework and went back to harvesting faux corn. I took a class at Scarlet Lime which was totally out of my personal comfort zone but I did learn a few things and actually did a little work -

not the best work but at least I moved a little paint around - but still the art supplies piled up - the work table became a store room - don't believe me? look at this

and so now it is a new year. I've signed up for this STITCHED! - have you heard of it? I'm so happy that I did. I met Alma Stoller several years ago at one of the ArtFiberFests (I loved those so much) - When I saw that she was coordinating this I had to sign right up and today is the first day and I am totally blown away at the quality of this project. IT IS WAY COOL - you need to go there and sign right up - okay maybe not if you don't sew - but you could LEARN TO SEW while you are there - that girl who won Project Runway didn't know how to sew and look at her! Anyway - looking at these workshops got me excited - E.X.C.I.T.E.D. - actually looking forward to something - and so, even though it is almost 3 in the afternoon and I always tell myself that I have to start things in the morning (which is an avoidance technique I think) - I'm going to dive into that pile of art supplies and even if I just shove everything into big plastic tubs ("containerize" it like the wackjob on Clean House said) - I am going to get a flat surface that I'm able to do some work on - and find one of the several sewing machines and one of the several irons and have at it -

and try to come back here and report in less time that I got to posting this.



Well - things really haven't gotten better. Sweet Sedgewick the Monkey cat died suddenly last week. The sad part of having so many sweet furry children is that they eventually leave us and take a big piece of our hearts with them when they go. We are down to 2 cats and 2 dogs at Casa de Enchy, the fewest fur children that have been in residence in recent memory. We won't be adding any new kids for a while - perhaps not at all. We'll see.

In any event - the BIG NEW PROJECT. When I was so sick in bed in January I had plenty of time to do not much more than think - and think I did. While I was thinking, I was also sometimes listening to the television - kinda. I was also really pretty medicated up. So in this medicated and extremely ill state, I partially listened to a documentary about some artist on the Ovation channel - which artist? who knows (I was sick remember?) But what I did catch was the notion of creating a 'meaningful body of work'. That phrase kept running through my head. Meaningful body of work. And I thought about my own art - and how disjointed it is - I'm made a lot of it, it really doesn't lend itself to the definition I have in my head of a 'meaningful body of work'. There are some pieces that might be termed 'meaingful' but the majority is rather insignificant.

And so I thought about it. I thought long and hard about where I wanted to go with my art - I thought long and hard about just stopping - selling everything off or giving it away and having a tidy, normal house - one that doesn't have an art studio in the living room. One that doesn't have drawers labeled 'bones and wee skulls' or 'large rusty bits'. I thought about that quite seriously. It was like I was at some sort of precipice - live/die; art/no art; go forward/stay where i am. I need to find a focus; a clarity in my work or I needed to just hang it up. I believe the term is 'shit or get off the pot'.

And so I thought about it - some more. Remember I had close to a month in bed fading in and out of dreamland - the fancy honey flavored cough syrup the doc wrote the prescription for; while it cost $75 after my insurance kicked in whatever portion they paid; did indeed give me some much needed rest and great dreams. And the month of my sickness was followed by the time I spent with Charles in the cardiac ICU. You have a lot of time to sit and think when someone you love is hooked to lots of wires and tubes. I thought and I thought. Maybe it was being surrounded by what seemed like constant death as well as my own self dancing on the brink for a bit there myself and Charles actually dying for a bit; but I kept coming back to the same place. Where did I want to go - what did I want to do? I KNEW that I wanted to create a 'substantial body of work'.

And so, I came up with "The BIG project". It's actually called "The Shrine Project". My initial plan was to make 5 shrines a month for 10 years. Yes, I said TEN YEARS. SIX HUNDRED SHRINES In that period of time I just MIGHT come up with a meaningful body of work - If I FOCUS - because through focus we find clarity. Ten years I thought to myself. Really? TEN YEARS? You'll be 66 then I thought. But then the little voice inside me said - you'll be 66 then if you do it or not. Yes indeed - I will be 66 then if I do it or not. I could be 66 and still thinking about where I wanted to go - or I could just go there.

And so begins "The Shrine Project". Of course I'm late starting it because my hands still don't really work - we'll they work, they just hurt all the time. And it's really not my hands, it my fingertips. Every minute of every day they feel like little bees are stinging them - we are working on a medication level to fix them - so far it has brought the pain down from an 8 to maybe a 6 - that is good - 8 was making me suicidal. But I also have decided that my fingertips may very well hurt for the rest of my life and I just have to suck it up.

I haven't touched an art supply since late December - just before I got sick. And not making art didn't make my fingers feel better so I may as well just go forward and see what they can do. They are going to hurt if I use them or not - I might have to adapt, use different tools, different media - but the joy of The Shrine Project is that I can use all sorts of different media and methods. I'll be setting up another blog or maybe a website and there will be an Etsy site to sell the shrines because there is only so much room at Casa de Enchy.

And so this past weekend I got out some supplies - I have to clear 4 months worth of flotsam and jetsam off the work table before I can actually accomplish anything but I have a plan. A minimum of an hour a night after work - no matter how tired I am because we all know that even when we are tired, once we start at our work tables we suddenly are refreshed. And that begins tonight - the day after Beltane - a good time for new beginnings.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for coming along for the ride. If you want to make some shrines with me I'll create a flickr site for us all. I won't hold you to making 600 though.




It's been a very long time

Life has been not so great but it's taking a turn upward so I feel I can write again. My beloved Irie died last October, followed quickly by Fuzzle the same month. Frida lost her battle with cancer in November. I had H1N1 flu in late December that turned into pneumonia - I was pretty much in bed for the month of January and then had a reaction to the meds or perhaps from the virus, I developed peripheral neuropathy in my hands - which means my fingertips have felt like bees have been stinging them since the 2nd week of January. In February my beloved Charles had a heart attack, from which thankfully, he has recovered. But the same week he came home from the hospital my sweet boy dog Zeke suddenly died. And my mother has been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.

Things around Casa de Enchy have been pretty morose. But Spring has arrived (kind of) and the doctors are experimenting with new medications for my hands that haven't gotten rid of the pain, but have made it somewhat more manageable.

A lot of good has actually come from the trauma of the past few months. I've had lots of time to think about art - to plan a 'big new project'. I've developed a compassion and empathy for my mother and her illnesses after being so sick - pneumonia was horrible - terrifying actually, not being able to really breathe. It was awful. And that is how she must feel every day - so now I have an idea of what her life is like and I can be more patient with her. Charles has quit smoking (after 40+ years) and is eating better - he's actually eating vegetables every day! so while his heart attack was not something I would wish on anyone, it has resulted in positive change.

The 'big new project' is still in development in my mind but hopefully, if the meds keep working, I'll be able to start it soon. In the meantime, here's a photo of my newest doll!

Stay tuned.