More than Meets the Eye . . . or Ear.

People who are close to me have probably figured out by now that when we have a conversation, it often continues in my head and then eventually ends up here once I've chewed on it a bit and organized my thoughts.

Such is the case today -- so to the person who said the trigger sentence:

"Why buy albums when individual songs will do ? . . . "  

I say let's finish that conversation now.

iTunes is splendid and just the place to get a particular song I want for my running mix.  When I'm looking for running songs, I'm looking for the right beat, a memorable line or two I can belt without passing out from lack of breath, something that makes me feel young so I forget how my knees don't work anymore . . . the world is teeming with great songs that have a danceable beat.  Dick Clark built an empire on it.

But when I want "capital M" Music . . . when I want art . . . I want an ALBUM.

Some of that bias derives from the fact that, being a very tactile person, I like holding things in my hands while I look them over.  But mostly it has to do with this:

To consider context is to recognize 
that a work of art takes its place 
in a vast and complicated network.

See also:  

Gestalt makes it possible to hint rather than state.  
Which leaves some welcome work for the listener.

While it can be said that songs give glimpses into albums, albums give glimpses into artists because they place songs in a context, revealing patterns and directions and possibilities that are not readily apparent in a top 40 hit.

You get the particular mix of songs in the particular grouping the artist wanted to give you.  Because, like all artists, they were trying to communicate something.

You get the lyrics, if you're lucky . . . which are hopefully poetry in their own right and, even when they're not, are useful for singing along and helping you feel like you can be part of the magic.  And I can't tell you how many times I've realized I've been singing a line completely wrong since 1974 and had no idea -- aha!  So that's what it says . . . (usually followed by "duh.")

You get images.  You get pictures of the artist, and sometimes even artwork that the artist picked to punctuate their offering to you.  As if they hoped the image would add just that little extra something that could communicate what the music is trying to say in yet another way . . . music for visual learners, so to speak.

I'm not a purist to the point of still playing LP's -- although I had a personally meaningful collection that I regret having gotten rid of (drat you, short-sighted garage sale!)

Cds were a welcome technological leap forward. And I dread their demise.  Taking away music in its hands-on form is somehow removing a bit of our ownership of it -- it becomes yet another noise in the overwhelming world of electronic clutter -- the vast swirl of information in bits and bytes so small and complex it's impossible for me to understand how they even exist at all.

So I sure hope SOMEONE besides me continues to buy albums.  
As a maker myself, I just have a gut feeling that artists 
want to keep making them.



Magpie Monday





Target Practice

your words make it hard
to see you, so deep
a cloud, dense
with verbs and nouns
darts and parts
of speech, thick like wind
pointed as glass shards
but maybe just a shell
defending soft places
they sail, they shoot
they drift out, a murmur
a whisper of far away
thoughts, mere hints of what
you mean for me to hear



This poem is a Magpie Tale.  
For more Magpie Monday fun, 
click on over and spend some time . . . 
or better yet, write your own 
and throw it into the mix.

Happy Monday!




It's Shocking! Hold on to Your Hats!


Have you heard the gossip?

No . . . what?

Word has it that Susan is . . . wait for it . . .

Susan thinking domestic thoughts?  
 It can't be true.  

Has the world gone mad?!!

Oh yes, it's true -- 
and it goes beyond scrubbing the floors.  

We hear that she even put away THE PILE!


No. Way.

Not the "ten year" pile?



Something must be up . . . 

houseguests, perhaps?

Yes, it's true -- 

I AM cleaning,
and buying real groceries --

and I did attack the 10 year pile 
rather than just dusting around it again!

So thanks for coming, company . . . 

(Actually, the whole family thanks you.)

Oh, blessed guests who came to stay,
You helped to brighten up our day!
For Mom at last has cleaned the floors
(plus fifty other dirty chores!)
And we can't offer thanks enough
For making her sort through that stuff . . .
We're wondering if you can stay
To motivate her every day?
(If we can strike some kind of deal,
Perhaps she'll even cook a MEAL!)

(don't get your hopes up, kiddies.)

Happy Friday . . . 

and now that my chores are done, 
the party's at MY HOUSE!


Wednesday Weather Watch . . .

The cloudy/cool/rainy non-summer of 2011 continues here in the north country.  Any day I can leave the house without sunglasses is a day that doesn't deserve to call itself summer.  At least I know I'm not alone in my fatalistic world weather views -- on the day of the summer solstice, the grocery checker commented to me that it was almost the 4th of July and then summer was over. I knew in that moment that she and I understood each other completely.  (Even though she forgot to bag my lettuce and therefore it never made it home, and I've since withdrawn the designation of "soulmate"...)

But like the T-shirt says . . . 
life is good here nonetheless.

The sun peeks out occasionally to remind us that he's trying and beg our patience, and of course we're quick to forgive and willing to drop everything to throw a party whenever he shows up.

A great blue heron and I   have been doing an uneasy dance every morning for the past week or so -- it sits on the rail of the little bridge I cross on my walk, and lets me get very close before shooting me a look of annoyance and lazily flying away, legs trailing in an elegant line.  I wonder if it is guarding a nest nearby, and worry a bit about the coyotes and hawks and bald eagle (!) and even black bear (!!) that have been spotted in the neighborhood recently.

 cloudy cabin weather but it didn't stop us from 
enjoying a truly lovely Sunday at the lake

That's the thing about MN -- if you do bother to venture out, you're bound to encounter some real natural beauty not more than 10 steps from your own front door.

As long as it's not buried in a snowbank, that is, and I'd like to thank Mr. Sun for at least caring about his job enough to keep us free of snow in June.

Just counting a few blessings.


(oh -- and my kiddies arrived in Denver without a hitch -- if you're in the area in the next few weeks, please stop by Show of Hands and introduce yourself, because I'd love to meet you!) 



Monday means crossing my fingers . . .

I shipped off a large chunk of work 
to Denver on Friday, and it was bittersweet.

I haven't really made any attempt to sell my Small Works through galleries, mostly because I can't produce enough pieces to support that in addition to shows.  But because my trusty booth-hand is operating with limited availability for the near future, I decided to give it a try.

It was pretty hard watching so many pieces go out the door!  A whole lot of potential liability driving away in that Fedex truck. And I hated the thought of my children traveling unchaperoned.

For one thing, I like selling at shows because it gives me the opportunity to interview prospective families.  (I can recognize a fiber-friendly face almost immediately!)

And if I miss the interaction between the viewer and the work, 
I miss most of why I create the work in the first place. 

Times being what they are, however, it was necessary to cut some of those apron strings and let the children fledge.  Some will surely come back, but at least they will have seen and been seen and we'll both gain a little something from the experience.

As you know, sometimes I don't get a chance 
to have good slides taken . . .
before waving goodbye to my work.  I hate it when that happens.  That's why I was doubly delighted to have had the opportunity recently to correct a previous mistake and have my complete group of Sky Songs photographed.

They've been living in a closet, having only seen the light of day twice since I created them.  There's been some interest from a few commercial clients, but I've been secretly glad they haven't flown off because I really wanted to get a lasting record before that happened.  So when the images showed up for approval on Saturday, I figured it would be a perfect day for us all to get re-acquainted.

They're quite different from my main body of work and therefore don't always play well with the others in the booth (that's why they haven't traveled to shows).  But they get along with each other splendidly.

Okay, NOW they're ready to leave the nest. 

And to my other little fledglings out there in shipping-land, FLY SAFELY!  
And take good notes -- I'm going to want to know all about your adventures.

Happy Monday!



Father's Day.

My Dad has had a lot of 
important titles over the years:

Leader of the Band

Quilter-in-Residence (what?!)

Doter-on-in-Chief  (her and her dog)

Groovy 60's Businessman & Mad Entrepreneur

Driver of Big Cars

Best Date to the Dance

Chef Extraordinaire

Generous Patron of the Arts

Keen Observer of the World

Guy Responsible for the Whole Darn Mess

. . . and no matter what job he's doing, 
he seems to be just about as good at it as anyone could be.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.
We think you're swell!

(I'd give you a raise if I could.)


Death of a Dream.

If you're a follower of the fiber realm you've probably already gotten the memo. . .   

Fiberarts is ceasing publication 
after 30 years.

I can't believe it's getting away!  
Someone DO something!

My own Small Works journey began because for years I had drooled over the Fiberarts Design Books and decided one day that I was going to make something that could appear in those pages.  But I've told that story here before . . .

Unfortunately, there are no good slides of my first piece --
it did not get me in the Fiberarts Design Book. 
Which they were kind enough to tell me 
was because of my bad photography.  
Which explains why no slides exist.  
So this is my second piece, which instead landed me 
in Quilting Arts.  A good start, BUT . . .

When THAT dream died (with the death of the books after the sale to Interweave, which I knew was a tragic mistake, btw) I kept the dream of being featured in Fiberarts magazine alive.

And now this . . . !

Good thing I can feature myself on my own blog, I guess.
Pretty soon there's not gonna be anybody left to do it for me.

But thanks for getting me started, Fiberarts!

And giving me goals.

And introducing me to my heroes.

And giving me many excuses to ride my bike over to Barnes and Noble.

And making yourself so utterly at home in a pile by the side of my bed (for years on end.)

I don't really know what I'll do without you . . .

My very first issue, from 1993, purchased at a Seattle newsstand . . .
and thus began my love affair with fiber.

And for our remaining issues, they are giving us Quilting Arts.

Swell, but not the same thing. . .

I've been in Quilting Arts, which may tell you
everything you need to know about the difference.

Just sayin'.

(Happy Weekend!)

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