Would you like to have a class with Ellen?

Ellen would be delighted to have a class with you or your group! You can check out her classes at www.ellenanneeddy.com. She also offers independent studio time in her studio in Indiana. Talk to Ellen about classes at 219-921-0885, or contact her scheduler Sarah at 616-485-5646 to set a date

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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Musing: Art Outside the Box: Who are you?

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day

To an admiring bog!
Emily Dickinson


Caterpillar: Who Are YOU?
Alice: This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. I--I hardly know sir, just at present--at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then
Alice in Wonderland



Gloria Hansen, quite truly one of the quilting goddesses and a winner of many quilting contests and shows, recently posted on Quilt Art Digest a curious interlude she had at the Walmart. She met some women there who were collecting quilting fabric and told them she was going to be selling some of her fabric off and would they like some. They told her they only quilted with Quality Fabric. Essentially they said:"Who are YOU?" The sadly funny thing is if they'd known, they might have crawled  after her down the isle for her scraps. I don't use anyone's fabric but my own, but I'd spit nickels just to look through her stash by way of a cultural artistic experience. She's a brilliant quilter, who's made her amazing fabric and quilts for decades.


The quilt world is an odd and lovely place. We honor our best quilters, but to the main, famous quilters live very quiet lives outside the quilt world. Their neighbors don't know or don't understand. Their kids may not too.It's a world populated by moms and grandmothers and has a civility to it I believe unfound anywhere else.Privacy is honored as well as honesty and fairness. And, to the main, it's a place where strangers are greeted as angels unawares.


I love quilt conferences. It's one of the few places I know where you can simply sit down with strangers and they'll greet you as friends. In a way, I take it for granted. It's only when I walk outside the gentler quilt world, I get reminded of the rougher edges.


Recently I've had a small town cultural experience with my neighbors. Basically, a garden war. And in effort prove I'm not the crazy lady they've claimed I am, I've come out of my quilting closet, and shown myself.


They say it's impossible to prove a negative. It's true. I can't prove I'm not a crazy lady. All I can do is prove I'm a famous crazy lady.   Admittedly I planted my whole yard in so I wouldn't ever have to mow. My neighbors are past offended and somehow think plants bring mosquitoes and rats. I didn't start by demanding my neighbors cut everything in their yard down. But they have mine. It has been entertaining watching just how crazy my neighbors look while they're making their case. Sort of like a very sad comedy. 


Of course, the difference between comedy and tragedy is largely where the story ends.  But it's very about how we treat something other than ourselves. For them I am the stranger. And I have no idea what to do if they get stranger. So far, I've had to check the yard for rat poison and odd drugs (yes, we found those) and I find things like my car dome light on in the middle of the night (something I never do). I'm not that wise. I have no idea how to make either them or me less strange. As Alice said, "I hardly know."


My friend Rebecca Dorian Brown reminded me yesterday that all the great religions pretty much hold the same line on good and bad behavior. It's not good or bad behavior because of some rule book. It really does create the difference between heaven and hell in our lives. Almost every culture has a story about the angel or fairy out of no where who looks like a beggar, or the old woman who, if you help her, leaves you with diamonds, and if you hurt her, leaves you spitting out toads. 


The truth is the either human life is valuable in itself, or it's not. Everyone has moments of fame and moments of quiet existence. Are they different people at those moments? We start as a squalling infant. Who knows who that child will be? The kindness we give to strangers creates the kind of world that is kind. We really give it, not to strangers but to angels unawares. And in the end, it's what we give ourselves.


You'll find Gloria's amazing work at gloriahansen.com She's one of the quilting goddesses and amazing expert in the internet and digital imagery. 


You'll find my wise and lovely Rebecca's work at her site
rebeccadorianbrown.com.She's an inventive and brilliant artist with a wisdom well earned.












Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Trees Speak!

Are books dead?
My first impulse is to grab every child I see on the street, bake a big batch of cookies, sit them on my porch and read to them. Reading is the window to the world. Can you tell I came out to teach primary? Well, yes. 

It's actually deeper than that. My mother taught school and was president of the library board. Both she and my father read to me nightly. Of course she read me The Little Gray Squirrel. My father read me whatever he was reading. It ranged from the Jungle Book, to Argosy Magazine to Gods Graves and Scholars. I was around three at the time. I can't say I understood it all, but it cemented my love for books. I can't imagine a world without them. I can't go to sleep without one either. The smell of ink, the touch of paper, glossy and full of color and impact, still is electric for me. The stories are often my only company for days.

Technology often scares me. I went through a phase where I refused to learn how to use my voice mail. It was childish, but I felt overwhelmed. My ten year old neighbor is teaching me how to text. I'm not a quick study.

So when you tell me books are dead, my panic starts to rise like sap up a tree. I have images of all of us rushing into book stores and saving the books!

But books are not just paper and binding. Really what a book consists of is a story told, an event explained, a technique discovered, a life explored. Books are information! Information is always holy and always needs to be preserved.

Having written several books, in the current age, I can tell you that they are completely set up digitally now. When I finish a book and it goes to the printer, it goes simply as a PDF file, electronically sent and received. The printed form is simply one of many ways it can be distributed.

Technology changes. As daunting as I find technology, I no longer rush to my herbal books when the dogs are hurt. I go on the internet. The search for information is eternal. The formats will change in time and space. I have an image of monks rushing a printing press saying that it couldn't possibly produce the kind of books they had over the years. They would have been right. The printing press a huge open door they could have never reached with a pen in their hands.

Lately I've discovered Audible.com. You can download books to an mp3 player and listen. I'm in love. It's as if my father is back reading to me. My player holds around 20 books at a time. And my mp3 player fits in my bra. How many books can you carry in yours?

Wrapping it up:
The technology changes, but the need for information is eternal. Books will go on and speak for ever.They may just not be made of paper any more. And since digital storage isn't anything like a library full of books, they may well be much more available for longer periods of time and in ways we can't imagine. 
You'll find MP3 books at Audible.com
You'll find more of my books at Amazon or on my web page at













The Trees Speak!

Are books dead?
My first impulse is to grab every child I see on the street, bake a big batch of cookies, sit them on my porch and read to them. Reading is the window to the world. Can you tell I came out to teach primary? Well, yes. 

It's actually deeper than that. My mother taught school and was president of the library board. Both she and my father read to me nightly. Of course she read me The Little Gray Squirrel. My father read me whatever he was reading. It ranged from the Jungle Book, to Argosy Magazine to Gods Graves and Scholars. I was around three at the time. I can't say I understood it all, but it cemented my love for books. I can't imagine a world without them. I can't go to sleep without one either. The smell of ink, the touch of paper, glossy and full of color and impact, still is electric for me. The stories are often my only company for days.

Technology often scares me. I went through a phase where I refused to learn how to use my voice mail. It was childish, but I felt overwhelmed. My ten year old neighbor is teaching me how to text. I'm not a quick study.

So when you tell me books are dead, my panic starts to rise like sap up a tree. I have images of all of us rushing into book stores and saving the books!

But books are not just paper and binding. Really what a book consists of is a story told, an event explained, a technique discovered, a life explored. Books are information! Information is always holy and always needs to be preserved.

Having written several books, in the current age, I can tell you that they are completely set up digitally now. When I finish a book and it goes to the printer, it goes simply as a PDF file, electronically sent and received. The printed form is simply one of many ways it can be distributed.

Technology changes. As daunting as I find technology, I no longer rush to my herbal books when the dogs are hurt. I go on the internet. The search for information is eternal. The formats will change in time and space. I have an image of monks rushing a printing press saying that it couldn't possibly produce the kind of books they had over the years. They would have been right. The printing press a huge open door they could have never reached with a pen in their hands.

Lately I've discovered Audible.com. You can download books to an mp3 player and listen. I'm in love. It's as if my father is back reading to me. My player holds around 20 books at a time. And my mp3 player fits in my bra. How many books can you carry in yours?

Wrapping it up:
The technology changes, but the need for information is eternal. Books will go on and speak for ever.They may just not be made of paper any more. And since digital storage isn't anything like a library full of books, they may well be much more available for longer periods of time and in ways we can't imagine. 
You'll find MP3 books at Audible.com
You'll find more of my books at Amazon or on my web page at













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