Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Back Again….Hopefully Longer….

Holiday2011C

It’s been an interesting year. Two years ago this time, I looked at my blog and was 200 posts away from 1000. I thought no problem, I can do that easily. Well, I am still about 185 posts away from 1000. Life really has gotten in the way, with illness, depression, and a sense of disequilibrium. It has taken a while to determine what paths I will be following.

It is also ironic that while I haven’t written many blog posts, I have written 110,000 words in a novel. This has been ongoing since August of 2013. I am nearing the end of what looks to be volume one of a trilogy. It is my way of processing political events in this country and trying to deal with how this country is changing. It has meant some interesting research (what is the saying about a true friend? One who will clean out your browser history after you die?). I’ve delved into some pretty terrible things on human trafficking, read lots of government reports, and overall tried to get up to speed on policy that I haven’t spent much time caring about in the past. It will be interesting to see if I can find a publisher….in the meantime, I have started a webpage for the book: http://the-secession-wars.webnode.com/. This is very much a work in progress, and I want to include writing tips as I finish up the novel.

I’m doing a lot of quilting. I’ve been slowly moving away from the marbling business, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. We still enjoy marbling, but the business end of it is tedious. I have lots of projects using the fabrics I have, but not the energy to do anything. I have been quilting other projects, and I have four commissions for quilts lined up: for a good friend, for a new baby,
for my yoga instructor, and for my great niece. I made the commitment to myself that when each of my eight great nieces and nephews turn 13, I will gift them a quilt. Gracie is the oldest, and she turns 13 this August. I want to have the quilt finished for when we move back east and stop to see them on the way. I found a great fleece in her favorite color for the backing, so that’s in the queue.

I’ve also taken up sketching again, through a couple of Craftsy classes. I did some sketching on the road this summer, but I want to make this a regular habit. Pen and ink has always been my medium (and charcoal, too), which is probably why I took to zentangles so quickly.

I have joined a weekly writing group to make my writing more of a regular practice. We meet for two hours and just write – a brief statement of intentions from each person in the group, and then it is total silence for writing. It’s been great, and I think it will get me back to blogging on a regular basis.

So this is a quick catch-up, more so for myself, as I look back on what has happened over the last years.

Till next time…..

Kinda Sorta a Year of Sadness……

Cactus Fountain

Cactus Fountain

One of the most restful places in Tucson for me is the Tucson Botanical Gardens. There is this metal sculptural fountain of various kinds of cacti that is so spectacular. I don’t know how many times I have snapped pictures of it; I never tire of the photos, and it is fun to manipulate them on the computer. Surprisingly I’ve only been there twice this year, both times in the spring when most of the gardens are in bloom. It was also a time of severe depression and sadness. I think the family deaths from last year began to finally catch up with me…anger primarily, and then sadness.

The depression stuck around for a long time, and I realized I needed to get a different kind of medication. I would sit and play solitaire for hours on end, not doing any sewing or anything beyond the basics. One of the side effects – on the good side – was the fact that I completely slowed down. I spent most of the winter and spring in first gear, and sometimes it felt like reverse. Vacation was wonderful, but coming back to a long siege with pneumonia derailed me again. I had a couple weeks before Thanksgiving I felt like I was at least in fourth gear, getting a great amount done, but then the sadness struck again with Thanksgiving, as it always does at this time, commemorating my dad’s sudden death 39 years ago. It was harder to get over things this year, but I am slowly working my way back into fourth gear.

It has also helped to have an endocrinologist who actually felt my thyroid, determined there were problems just from my symptoms, and then had tests and an ultrasound done to confirm everything. It will take a while to get better, but at least, after nearly two decades, I have a doctor who is willing to listen and try alternative approaches.

Overall this year I have not felt productive, not like the last two years of retirement have been. And yet I have made deadlines, the business has had the best year ever, and my own skills continue to improve. So I have to look at that and ignore the fact that some days nothing got accomplished except getting dressed. As is my usual self, I am looking forward to the new year and new projects, finishing some old one, enjoying the 60s (turning out to be a pretty good decade), navigating Medicare and health care, and not feeling guilty when a day passes and all I have done is read a book – or write on the novel.

Last January I only had 200 blog entries to go till I hit 1000, and then I basically stopped writing. I’ve done very few entries this year, and I’ve also read very few blogs this year. Part of me feels guilty, and the other part of me is lashing me with a wet noodle and saying “stop it – no need to feel guilty.” So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it……

Sunday Stories – Misfiring Synapses

I’ve had a couple of people come by and see my “Misfiring Synapses,” a piece I did on depression. It’s getting mixed reactions. Some people don’t get it because it’s fiber and doesn’t look like their mental picture of fiber – which is a typical quilt. Some don’t get the imagery in the abstraction, and that’s okay. But most people who do get it love it – they say it’s exactly what they figure their mind is going through. Which is what I was aiming for in its creation. I think if you’ve suffered from some form of depression, especially situational, you get the idea that something is ultimately not right in your brain.

When the call for this show came up, I spent a lot of time trying to think 1) how I would interpret it, and 2) how I would do it in marbled fabric. We had done some black satin a while back for a different piece, and it was pretty organic in form. As I was going through fabric, I happened on the piece and thought it looked quite a bit like a nerve ending. Very dendritic. So I went with that piece, and I wish I’d taken a picture of the satin without anything done to it.

I wanted the effect of an irritation, like an itch that just wouldn’t go away. As I was checking through my threads, I saw a Rainbow thread from Superior that was a red/purple/black, and I thought it might work. When you look at the above photo, you can see that the red shows, and then it looks like there isn’t other thread. It looks like an irritated part of a nerve. Just what I wanted.

So I had the center of the piece, but I wasn’t sure how to develop the “looking inside” aspect – I wanted it to feel like you were looking deep into the brain and seeing just this one little piece of irritant. I had two different types of red fabrics, both satins, and both with some freeform designs, again very organic.

I did a lot of the same type of quilting, following the black, this time with a variegated series of reds. Lots of bubbling texture resulted. I did the same thing with the second piece of red. What I seemed to have were two different areas of the brain, both pretty irritated.

I also had some more great black satin, this time in more formal marbled patterns, and I figured this would work really well for the outer shell of the brain, all the “gray matter.” I continued with the curved pieces that overlapped each other, much like I would imagine the parts of the brain does. Each of the curved pieces had serged edges with the idea of the gray matter and all the wrinkles you see in the surface of the brain. There were a lot of issues in connected these pieces. I had to work from the design wall to the flat table, and then to the sewing machine, hoping I could get all the pieces of the puzzle together. My intriguing back of the piece started to look really messy, so before it travels at all, I will add another backing to it, to make it a lot neater.

You can see a lot of the overlaps and edging in the above picture. What I particularly love about the piece is that it works both from a distance and close up. From a distance you see this really interesting organic shape, and the colors are somewhat disconcerting and upsetting. Close up it looks like it is undulating.

I left it nice and big for you so you could examine all the various parts of this.

17 by 20 inches, available for sale.

Comments?

 

 

Decompressing…..

I’ve been absent for nearly a week…not really sure what’s wrong. It’s been a busy six weeks, but this week slacked off, somewhat, though I still have work to show. As I’m keeping track of what I’ve accomplished during this, my second full year of retirement, I already have a good half-page of accomplishments. Still in a funk, emails to answer, marketing to do….and I can’t quite get with it. At least the Mercury in retrograde thing will end next week….maybe it really is celestial…..

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