“The answer is always yes.”
Sandra Brownlee

photo studio

I took a shot.
One shot
among many
that flashed

I took a shot
a year
like a flash
still crisp in memory.

I took a shot
and in a flash
I remembered something.
“The answer
is always yes.”


Labor Day

The other night, the word “incubate” presented itself in a bolt of awakeness.

patch 1

In that flash, it became clear:


why I’ve had no words as place markers on the personal map,

White Windows

why I have been sitting on most of the process work for the last month,

Stitched Cube

why I have been brooding, the kind where trusting and questioning can get frustrating and cause a pall on mood.

Grid Stitch 2
earlier piece

The work is incubating, (has been for quite some time)

Black Circle

gathering strength so it can hatch.

Fallow with Possibility: New Roots

While the new year beckons  “starts,”  i’ve  had a good week 12 sorting some projects that are waiting patiently to be finished.  Now that the move is a short distance behind us, even though there are a couple of “house” projects remaining, I am setting my sights on my real work. “Real,” of course, is relative:  that of continuing my art work, (themed appropriately)

TOM Landscape2

TOM Grow2

making new connections, taking stock and restocking and grounding myself in a concrete way, to the land of the Low Country by signing on to a garden plot as part of the Okatie Farmers.

212 weed wrap

We adopted this bereft patch of ground with great excitement and anticipation on Sunday, like parents adopting a puppy.  We will train it as best we can, its attributes still a bit in question.  It has a nearby hose bib and a dozen stakes that we can recycle as fenceposts when we build up the perimeter of the  garden with more lumber.  It has sun from all sides,  centered on the power-line alley.   We will put it to work to occupy us and feed us,  as our neighboring farmers are successfully working this land.


The other gardens show the promise for this orphan.  Organic cabbage, rhubarb and pumpkin waiting for last pick before we begin the new season.  Peas, beets, the more sensitive greens being discussed or just peeking above the ground.

Farmers Cabbage3

Farmers PumpkinJanuary, perfect squash!

Farmers RhubarbFlourish of nature’s compliments

This enormous system of small personal gardens share space and sunshine beneath the power lines that stretch for miles in Bluffton.  I had spied one of the smaller garden plots while driving though on a random day of house hunting.  But it was only when I entered the spectacular rabbit hole beyond my new front door, dog walking and exploring, ( Thank you, Nellie) that I discovered it was literally in my backyard.

2015-01-06 12.36.09

In South Carolina “winter,” vegetables still grow.  There are  two planting seasons,  I’ve learned, that encompass most of a calendar year.  The Farmer “Establishment” offers serious advise and farming expertise.  I’ve had my crop of tomatoes, here a year and there a year,  in past houses, but I expect to learn amazing things about how to get organic food for the table in abundance.

I am also excited to plant and hopefully harvest some Indigofera for dyeing cloth, as well.  According to the club president, she doesn’t know of any other Indigo patches here, but South Carolina is perfect in climate to make it happen.  Sea Island Indigo is the local template. Like my dyeing, farming is an experiment with surprises worth trying.  Here’s to a joyful, colorful and edible New Year!




Week 3: Low Country

Landing in Low Country, where it’s normal to be below sea level in most places, at any given time,  is in sharp contrast to the heights of the Summit.   After a 850 mile road trip,  it was a rather abrupt “bump,” if not a gentle crash into life without a schedule,  the solitude of anonymity and  dilemma of personal reinvention.  Life took control and we hopped the unexpected wave, ready or not.  Three weeks in,  I’m seeing why it’s worth it.

The metaphor of being underwater is tempting in the wake of daunting feelings of loss and doubt.  But I prefer to refer to the broad view of forest, marsh and ocean to signify unbound potential.  The deep breath of nature, above and beyond, drums a calming rhythm that is gradually quelling my northern hiccups.  The girth of 300 year old oaks, their  chandeliers of Spanish moss decorate nature’s banquet.  Bug and beast abound – the gnat and gator, and multitudes between speak big messages of note.







Palm Fans


Sumac and Rust

No fireworks, but lots of positive results, after several tries.  I discovered, or really just noticed, a tree in our shop parking lot that looks like some variety of sumac (not poison).  Correct me with a comment if I’m wrong.




Pale color, hoping for red on steamed paper.




But instead, a beautiful orange sumac soup at the bottom of the steam pot.




Pale linen from the first steaming was turned into bundles and dyed again in the sumac juice, turning different shades of  orange.  Small strips of linen were added to soak up every drop of this discovery.  Rust shapes were put on the flat cloth and the juice deepened further.




The small bundles were made from the linen test strips that got some color from the juice.  Then, rose petals, leaves and pods were tightly wrapped into the strips.




Another try at pressing leaves and steaming.  Rust added.



Extra rust pieces are used to weight projects during drying.