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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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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Musings: Art outside the Box: Working and Reworking

This is the time of year when I hunt for the studio floor. I'm not a bad housekeeper. You can't be called bad if you don't do it at all. So at this time of year we have what might be called an archeological dig in the studio, looking for what has been lost in the stratta. Things get flung to and fro in the process of creation and at the end there are large heaps of fabric, stabilizer, clippings, thread ends with small inclusions of scissors, bobbins, and dog cookies, strewn through the studio floor. I don't exactly clean it, but I do sort of sweep through, usually trying to find a path to the iron or to the door.


This is when I find the undone. I always have at least 6-12 projects in different states of doneness. There's the large quilt, ready to bind and I need a back for it. There's the small quilt ready to stitch, and I need a day to just sit and do. And then there's the stymied quilt: the one that didn't quite work. It's waiting for a miracle of some sort. Either I need a new skill or fresh eyes or to decide it just isn't happening. 
I found this lady languishing there.
This series of dancing trees was a challenge I started for myself several years ago. It's particularly a challenge because I really have some difficulty living in my body. I tend to live in my hands and my head. The rest is a lump I drag around with me. So it takes some courage and a bit of extra love to look at bodies at all. But I wanted trees that danced. 




I've found a couple of good tools and an ally. It's interesting to me that my camera sees things I just can't. I'm regularly photoing  unfinished quilts ( particularly quilts I can't take time with ) and viewing them through the lens. It's astonishing how clearly the camera shows me what I've got. My friend Rebecca Dorian Brown is a fabulous art ally. Through Team Viewer (this very cool program that lets you look at each other's computer screen in live time) we've been checking each other's work and been able to see what needs to happen next. It's invaluable to have another set of eyes on something, and Rebecca has the best eyes I know.


Thank God for allies and tools! My tree's not done yet but she's in process again, because I can really see where I'm going.


This is good because she has a date. My tree is  going to be shown at Trinity Episcopal Church on the First Friday Gallery Walk in Michigan City, IN on January 7th.


All four of these pieces will be on display at
Trinity Episcopal Church
6th Street and Franklin
Michigan City, IN
 5PM through 7PM
January 7th
6th Street Entrance
call for info
219-921-0885


The First Friday Gallery Walk is something like River North for Michigan City. There's a number of excellent and edgy galleries, all open and on display each first Friday of the month. Wander, eat, see wonders and dream of art! Please come and see them there.


I hope this year brings you new tools, fresh eyes, true allies, and places to let your work shine.


You'll find Rebecca's amazing work at Rebecca Dorian Brown Art.
You'll find more information about Trinity Church here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Silent Night

I'm in complete rebellion  this Christmas. I can't quite get it. I don't want a tree. I will not shop. I've sung carols with my church but I won't put them on at home. I'm not doing it.


This  Santa boy represents everything I would prefer to miss. He's actually a Japanese vending machine for Christmas. I'm sort of waiting for the Easter bunny version and the Jack-o-lantern issue.Talk about Christmas out of the box. Yuck.


It occurs to me that maybe I just don't understand Christmas. Christmas was utterly changed the year my Dad died. My father was the hearth of our home. When he died there was not much there but gin, literature and cold ashes. I desperately tried to put up a tree and make everyone presents. I annoyed everyone mightily. They wanted a steak dinner, gifts out of a catalog,  a stiff drink and to fall asleep in front of the TV. I've been pretty sour on it ever since.


But the one thing that has made Christmas work for me is the kids in my life. I never had a child, but that never meant I didn't have children. For reasons I don't understand, they seem to creep through the cracks in the door. They stay as long as they need to stay, all for different reasons.   To be fed cookies  at your table , or to dye fabric, or hear stories, or play with your dogs, or to have someone hold down their rage while they learn to do that themselves.The price of all that is the price you pay for every child in your life. You need to be willing to let them go as easily as they come.  The love is all there, but their path is not. And it's cruel to mess with that.


This year, I have children gone again. They're healthy and brave and well. There's no reason to grieve. But I hate the loneness of Christmas eve.


People who say art is your child, don't really do art. Things are just what they are. Your art is your art. It's not ever going to run to you with it's arms open. Or show you a kitten, or bring you a song. It can't be asked to do what it cannot.


In process Daylily Quilt



It is your creation, in a way a child can't be, although it has a life of it's own. So I'm in the studio, pouring life into a new piece, building day lilies out of dragon claw shapes.




Creation is a love. A dry love often, but a love.And it strikes me that that too is Christmas. For Christmas we get a baby. Not a baby who can love us yet. No baby can. But a baby that coaxes our love out of us. It's a baby that demands our care, our involvement, our concern. It invite us to love and teaches us how. Its advent demands our attention. And flays us open to a heart available for the love that is always there.

I'm making a huge pot of soup for Christmas eve. I'm taking it to church and I'm feeding whoever asks.  Hopefully, angels unawares.
Friday, December 17, 2010

The Butterfly Effect




I Never Saw Another Butterfly
The last, the very last,

So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing 
against a white stone.... 


Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ’way up high.
It went away I’m sure 
because it wished 
to kiss the world good-bye.

 For seven weeks I’ve lived in here
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.

Only I never saw another butterfly. 
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto. 

Written  by Pavel Friedman, June 4, 1942 





I don't remember the first time. I heard about the butterfly effect. Was it Jurrasic Park? The movie of that name was not a favorite. But the concept made complete sense to me. The smallest things effect everything. The flick of a butterfly's wing in my garden effects the weather in China. 


Is it true? I'm not a scientist. I don't know. But I do know that much of my life is made up of tiny interludes with people as I travel. Moments, really. I don't get years with people except for a few rare and dear friends. Those are also celebrated in moments. So, true or not, I believe in butterflies.
Trudi Sissons from  Two Dresses Studio  has joined with the Holocaust Museum in Huston to help bring to flight an amazing exhibit. There were 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust.


Think about it. I really quite can't. I have no idea what 1.5 million looks like as a number. So they are collecting 1.5 million butterflies from artists, one for each child, to exhibit there.
What did we lose with those children?1.5 million symphonies, lullabies, amazing stories, astonishing art............ 


We can never know. We are in a 
way, as much a victim to the hate that killed them as they. Our world cannot afford hate. Each child is a treasure house, and hate is a vicious thief.
If each child were a butterfly and the wings of their life change the world, what have we lost?


So I've made my butterfly to be sent off. To remember what was lost and to hope we can learn the evil math behind hate. And my job today is to take someone I truly fear and hate and find why I'm wrong. Hard as it is, I think it better than Christmas shopping.  And after all, it's what I really want for Christmas,  both to give and receive.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Art outside the Box: Pushing Limits


An odd thing has happened to me as I've gotten older. The stop signs in my life have gotten bigger. Redder. My eye sight may be worse, but my ability to notice a red light somehow has improved. It is possible that I notice my limits more. Or am more willing to acknowledge them. Is it possible that I've finally had sense beaten into me? I'm beginning to recognize that there really are limits I need to pay attention to. I'm afraid to eat too much cheese or sugar. I'm terrified I'll fall.

So it's fascinating to take a break from that. I've spent the last year on a project that's demanded I push all my limits. I've run out of underwear and forks and still pushed on. If the news cameras roll up to my house I know I'm in trouble, but I got done. And now I'm discovering what happens when I push past the limits of sense and reason.

First off, my housekeeping is at a new low, even for me. If you have a significant other who needs an attitude adjustment about creative clutter, mess, and general filth, send them over. I can help.

But I've found, not a second wind. Perhaps a fourth or fifth. I've found I resent the sucking sound of the television, that hoovers away my time and energy.And I've found myself breaking my own rules. For years I've worked towards more realism, more feathers and scales, more intricacy. All of a sudden I'm tired of that. I'm playing with simple shapes.
Intricacy is  fun, but it's also a trap. If all you can to do stretch is make it fussier and harder, there's a day where it won't push further. The system finally collapses.

I almost never work with heart shapes. Too artificial. Too sentimental. Too silly. Too heart breaking, tell the truth. I do romance the way some people do soap operas. Someone else's, please. It's all vicarious because I'm way too scared, old, plain, fat. Since we know all of that is just the dark whispering, let's just  just be real and say scared.

But after having pushed that many limits and dealt with the great unwashed fork incident, my sense seems to have been blunted. I'm playing with heart shapes.

Perhaps if we never push past the limits into that other place, we're stuck where there's nothing but that icky whispering darkness. Baby birds have to push past that egg or it never happens for them. So having pushed past those hearts, I'm off to go make day lilies out of shapes like dragon's claws. You never know.

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