Thursday, October 30, 2008

Standing at the Crossroads, The Photography of Marion Post Wolcott

Photograph of a crossroads store, bar, "juke joint," and gas station located in the cotton plantation area of Melrose, Louisiana.

Taken in 1940 by Marion Post Wolcott

Marion Post Wolcott was a FSA documentary photographer who used her vision and photographic skills to showcase and educate the American public on the plight of those most affected by the Great Depression.

Marion bravely traveled alone through New England, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi

in order to show the vast differences between social and economic classes of the haves...

and the have-nots...

She turned her lens towards all that she encountered and exposed the reality of America.

And through her artist and humanitarian commitment, she made a difference by helping to document over a three and a half year period the benefits of federal subsidies, helping to gain support for FDR's New Deal policies and projects, ushering in the promise of hope, a helping hand up and the opportunity for a better way of life.

Marion Post Wolcott

was a true American hero.

I know that we are all weary from the this long political road we have all been traveling lately. But now we are at those proverbial crossroads, and each of us must make a decision as to which way we will go. One way promises hope, and the other way promises to save us from all that we should fear. I choose to chance it and take the path that points towards hope. I do this because I will always choose hope over fear. Because faith is stronger then fear. Because fear is used to control people, whereas hope is used to inspire people. Which way will you go? Each of us must decide which path we choose, and whichever one you decided to take, I wish you well.

"We need to teach the next generation of children
from Day One that they are responsible for their
lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest
curse, is that we have free choice. We can make
our choices built from love or from fear."

- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Imagining Peace: The Renewal of Hope, the Wisdom of John F. Kennedy and the Message of John Lennon

Note: With the exception of this Friday's Halloween post, (see my P.S. at the bottom of this post) all of my other posts, between now and election day, (November 4th) are going to be political in nature. Why? Well, as my oldest, college going, vote registering daughter told one of her peers who declared her disinterest in politics by stating, "I don't do politics." ...
... "You may not do politics" replied my daughter, "but politics does you!"

... I don't know about you, but I like to have a say in what is being done to me!

And now for todays post...
47 years ago our nation elected John F. Kennedy as its 35th president, giving hope for a brighter future to millions of Americans. Sadly this dream was never realized due to an act of irrational violence and hatred. Now for many, with this election, we once again have that hope of a brighter and better tomorrow, for all humans everywhere. I pray that this time the hope can live, grow, prosper and spread, so that we may all live in peace one day.

John Lennon, whose life also was tragically cut short by another act of irrational violence and hatred, expressed the vision of a peaceful world more beautifully then anyone else I can think of...

The following words were spoken by Kennedy, and they are as relevant today as when he first spoke them, more then 45 years ago.

- No one has been barred on account of his race from fighting or dying for America, there are no white or colored signs on the foxholes or graveyards of battle.

- When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.

- The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution.

- We cannot expect that all nations will adopt like systems, for conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth

- If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.

- Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.

- Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.

- We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last.

- Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

- Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.

PS. For those of you who do not enjoy the heaviness of this weeks posts, I have decided that in the spirit of childhood innocence and fun I will be posting something lighthearted and halloween-ish on Friday.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh Happy Days! Opie and Andy Share Their Wisdom, and Victoria Speaks Her Mind

Note: Between now and election day, (November 4th) my posts are going to be political. I hope you all will keep reading.
Much love, and best wishes,

The following video, made by Ron Howard is most enjoyable! Please watch!

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

We are in the home stretch folks, and even though I really do like to keep things light and fun here on my blog, in all good consciousness I feel that I have to use what little time there is left, before the election, to communicate my feelings. I realize that there are some of you who will disagree with me no matter what, and I hope that we can respectfully agree to disagree, I in no way wish to offend anyone. But truth is I am offended. I am offended with how this country has been run for the last almost 8 years. I am offended that we are eyeball high in debt, continuing to borrow from other countries in order to pay for a war that we had no business getting into. I am offended that our government asks the most selfless and bravest of our country to leave their families and risk their very lives, tour after tour, while neglecting to provided them with their most basic needs of safety, health and well being. Meanwhile, as Rome, (America) burns and Nero, (our government) plays his fiddle, we are all told that our tax money will be going to help bail out the greedy Wall Street gang of crooks, (only of course after an extra 150 billion dollars of pork was added onto the 750 billion bail out plan... and yes, I am ticked at Obama, as much as I support him, as well as McCain and all the rest in the Senate for voting yes on this). I am offended that these financial "experts" merrily continue to live the high life during this most serious of economic crisis that they created, taking lavish spa vacations while patting each other on the back for doing such a great job. I am offended by the lie of "Trickle Down Economics". It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you want the economy to do well you need to practice "Trickle Up Economics". In other words, give the tax breaks to those that need it most, so that they have money to put into the economy, which they will, because they need to buy just in order to survive... they don't have the luxury of socking it away in the Cayman Islands! And I am most offended by the lies and fear mongering that this election has spawned, thus igniting the most vile of hate and bigotry. I am shocked and saddened by what is being revealed, and I hope that just like beautiful crops grow from a layer of smelly manure, somehow something beautiful can also grow from all of this crap.

Whew, I feel a bit better now. I needed to say that. I needed to say that because I love my country, and my country is dying. I fear that if we don't try something new, she isn't going to make it. It doesn't make any sense to keep taking the same medicine, if the medicine is making things worse! I believe that there is a cure, but it means letting go of fear and going bravely in a new direction. That is why I am voting for Barack Obama.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Now You're Cooking!

I have a real thing for vintage cookbooks, and it has absolutely nothing to do with cooking! Don't get me wrong, I like to cook, but I am a pinch of this and a pinch of that sort of gal. I cook generally with my senses... if it looks good, smells good, tastes good, then it's good! I don't usually care for the rigidity of a recipe.

So why do I love vintage cookbooks? For the illustrations of course! Below are some favorites, all illustrated by Kay Lovelace. Her work always puts a smile on my face, and I hope it will do the same for you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Long And The Short Of It.




I woke up yesterday with a sudden urge to cut my hair, and so I did! (Well, I didn't actually take the scissors and do it myself... I went and had it cut!) It's just what I wanted, no muss, no fuss and a little bit boyish!

My long hair was 1 inch shy of being the required 10" length to donate to Locks of Love, but fortunately Patene now has its own program called Beautiful Lengths and will except hair donations 8" and longer, as long as the hair meets all of their other requirements, which mine does! So, as soon as my still wet ponytail, (which is lying on my work table) dries, I will be shipping her off to hopefully do some good. Please click on the highlighted links for more information about this very worthy cause.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Albino Squirrel Visits Our Yard

We have lived in our current home for almost 13 years now, and despite the yard being full of trees, (all of which we planted, or had planted) I have only ever seen 3 squirrels here, which is a-okay by me, as I am afraid of the little creatures! (Years ago, when I was 17, I was chased by a rabid one...STOP LAUGHING... It was outside at a home I was visiting. At first I thought the squirrel was just friendly, but then I saw the madness behind its beady little eyes. As I walked away, it started to follow me, the faster I walked the faster it followed, and when I took off running, it chased me in fast pursuit! As I approached the front of the house, I lunged for the handle of the home's screened porch door, racing through the threshold and yanking the door closed behind me. At this very moment the crazed squirrel took a flying leap through the air, and landed on the screened door, spread eagle and at face level! Again... STOP LAUGHING! It was very traumatic! Had it not been for that door being there right at that moment that nutty squirrel would have been hanging on to the back of my head, with it's sharp little claws wrapped around my face!! We had to beat it off of the screen door with a shoe! I have had the willies for squirrels ever since... can you blame me!?!)

Anyway, 2 of those 3 squirrel sightings took place this week, and imagine our surprise when one of them turned out to be an Albino Squirrel! (Yes,she has red eyes!)

Despite my fear of squirrels, I feel intense maternal urges of protection for this little one, and have been thrilled that it has visited our yard several times now. We have named her Snowdrop, and I hope that she will find protection and happiness here, living in peace with the bunnies, (and me)!

Forgive these pretty awful pictures... it is the closest that I have been to a squirrel in sometime, and I feel terrible because I unintentionally scared her... poor thing. She was getting nervous with my photography, and made a sudden dash down the tree. I screamed like a cat with it's tail on fire, and that scared her even more. Poor little Snowdrop ran from tree to tree, as I stood frozen in fear. Anyway, every time she came to a new tree, she turned and looked to see if the crazy lady was still within sight, and then in a panic ran off to a new spot, zig-zagging across our yard like something out of a Looney Tune cartoon! Eventually she ran into the neighbors yard. However she did come back the next day, so hopefully all is forgiven. Much to Snowdrop's credit, she held onto her black walnut the entire time! Reminded me of the little critter from the movie Ice Age! I look for her now all the time, hoping she will return again. (I promise Snowdrop, the crazy lady will behave, and leave you in peace!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Giveaway Winner, and... The Art of Play

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway! I greatly enjoyed reading what made a year a favorite, and by far I would say that a connection to family and home, marriage and birth, all seemed to be among the top of peoples lists! Congratulations to Rachel of Fog and Thistle you're the winner! I will be contacting you and sending you your calendar ASAP!

The Art of Play:

My focus on my new line of functional art quilts, (see here, here, here and here) has been derailed by a lack of clear focus and a massive wave of media induced, political ADD. So much is going on outside of me, that I am having a difficult time tuning in the old brain waves into producing clean and simple design. I am the first to admit that I tend to absorb the emotions around me, and am not the best with keeping myself centered. I have come to learn that for me, art is always a response to what ever I am feeling emotionally, and during these last few weeks my emotions have been pretty much disgust with the grown-ups running this world.

Creatively, I have only wanted to rebel from all the seriousness, and play like a 5 year old with her box of wonderfully smelling, newly sharpened crayolas. Scribbling to her hearts content.

However, instead of opening up my magic box of crayons, I turned to fabric and the pages of an old children's dictionary.

The illustrations were done by Joseph Low. I love his style! They take me back and make me feel all happy inside.

I used mostly vintage fabrics,

and kept the edges raw.

Simple embellishment was done with a tiny bit of hand embroidery, text from the dictionary, machine stitching and a few vintage buttons.

I am anxious to get back to my functional art quilts, but I still feel like I need to do a little bit more artful playing. To see each of the little sewn collages in their entirety, go here, here and here. Now go play!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2009 Collage Calendar Giveaway!

Happy October 1st Everyone!
Great to be back after my mini blog break! Hope you all have been well, and your money is tucked safe and sound under your mattresses! But we won't get into politics right now, as I would much rather focus on happier things, such as sharing with you the new 2009 Collage calendar from Amber Lotus Publishing, which I am thrilled to be a part of, and to offer one lucky winner a free copy in my GIVEAWAY! Yay!

Above is the cover for COLLAGE: Artplay for your Creative Spirit. The cover artwork was done by Karyn Gartel, and the inside is graced by an amazing line up of artistic talent! I am so tickled and honored to be included, as I greatly admire all of the artists in this calendar!

So how did I happen to wind up here? Well, last year I was contacted by Lunaea Weatherstone who was the force behind gathering all of the artists for this project and who also wrote words of inspiration to go along with each months artwork, helping to inspire and spark the viewers own creativity. She asked me if I would be interested in being one of the collage artists featured in this 2009 calendar, (um....YES!) My job in this was made easy as pumpkin pie, as Lunaea already knew what piece of mine she would like to use, having seen it earlier in Somerset Studio. So off my piece flew for the second time to California, for another photo shoot. (I think I have said this before, but I will say it again, my artwork leads a much more exciting life then I do!)

This is my piece above, (I am the month of March, which is great since that's my birth month!) It's titled "Best Wishes for Planet Earth". I made it the day after I watched Al Gore's "An Inconvient Truth", (which I hope you all have seen!) I needed a place to channel some of my emotions, and this was the result.

I made the frame from foam core, tissue paper, and paint. Vintage ephemera, lace, buttons, plus seed pods and sticks collected from my garden were used to compose the piece, and communicate my feelings of fear, and love and hope for our dear and fragile earth.

Below are little snippets taken from each of the 12 art pieces featured in the calender, beginning with January's. The artists, (and links to them) are credited below each piece:

DJ Pettitt

Sarah Fishburn

Victoria Gertenbach, (Yours truly!)

Teesha Moore

Jenny Doh

Beth Moran

Karyn Gartel

Paula Dion

Angela Cartwright

Tiffini Elektra X

Christi Hydeck

Elise Peeples

I am delighted that this is an Amber Lotus publication. Amber Lotus is a very environmentally conscious company. They are a member of the Green Press Initiative, and in addition to printing calendars on 100% recycled paper with soy-based ink, they also were responsible for having 33,000 trees planted in 2007!

If you would like a chance to win a brand new copy of this beautiful calendar, just leave a comment below and just for fun tell me what your favorite year(s) have been... I liked 1967 because I was 4 years old, and 4 is a pretty fun age in my opinion. I also liked 1986, as I graduated from art school and got married that year. 1989, and 1994 because that is when my daughters were born, and 2005, (October 1st to be exact) because that is when I FINALLY got to see my beloved Rolling Stones in concert, something I had been trying to do since the age of 12!

By the way, only one comment per person please, and make sure that I have a way to contact you should you win! Should you not be the winner, but know a good thing when you see it, and simply must have a copy, fear not for I am currently also offering a few copies of the calendar for sale in both my BooDilly's shop and in my Silly BooDilly shop. I only have a few, so if you are interested grab one now! (Of course you can also order one here from Amber Lotus!)

I will be randomly picking a winner next Tuesday evening and posting the winner on Wednesday October 8th. Good luck everyone!