An art day

Yesterday morning I dreamed about making a braided rag rug. This is a process Laura Ingalls Wilder described in one of her books, and in my dream I remembered this and figured out how it must work. I think it’s very cool because I’ve been hand sewing this week, and I also spent some time on Friday braiding garlic tops, so my mind put the two activities together into a great idea I can really use. I woke up before 7 AM, very eager to begin. I cut strips of the free scrap fabric I’ve collected from FabMo events — this is a good way to use up the finished edges of these scraps, since I’m too lazy to rip out the stitches (and some of it is in plastic thread anyway, which I’m not sure is good for my seam ripper) — stitched three strips to the ironwork in one of our chairs, and began braiding. In about an hour I had enough braid to make a small round mat about 6″ in diameter. This old-fashioned upcycling is very satisfying.

A little before 9 AM Erik and I drove out in great anticipation to a yard sale that had advertised sewing and craft supplies. But when we got there, there was nothing going on. I was very disgruntled.

On our way back home, about a block from our house, we saw signs for an open studio. I remembered that this weekend artists around the East Bay were opening their studios to the public. We drove in and were Rebeca García-Gonzalez‘s first guests of the day. She was extremely nice to us and showed us her wonderful garden and backyard studio, and we talked for probably about forty minutes. She showed us oil portraits (including her recent series on undocumented immigrants, which is a superb concept), oil and acrylic local landscapes (this pleased us very much, as many of them were of the trails we walk regularly), watercolor landscapes (these were my favorite), a portrait in progress, and a landscape she feels is a failure. After I showed her my baseball sketch, we started talking about plein-air art-making and she suggested I should start doing more brush work, since I don’t have time to properly learn to paint. She said she would add me to her listserv, which sends out notices of her painting group’s plein-air outings. I guess if it works out, I will go to one of these, with hat and water in hand, and just use pencils or pastels or something. Someday I really want to learn to paint, but I’m so time-stretched as it is, I’ve given up that idea for now.

By the time we got home, I wasn’t disgruntled anymore. We’d had a lovely time in Rebeca’s studio, and since she’s also our neighbor (literally down the street from our house), it was our first time hanging out in someone else’s house in our neighborhood.

We got home and had our breakfast, and I spent the rest of the day working on my braided rug, and cutting collage scraps. I’m up to about six or seven yards of braid now, but I’ll need at least twice that to make a rug of any decent size. Here’s the rug-braiding workstation now:

As to the collaging, so far my favorite magazines for images are National Geographic, Architectural Digest, and Martha Stewart Living. Eurie sent me a big stack of magazines this week, and Shra gave me a similar stack the week before, so I have lots of fodder for now… for which I am so grateful and relieved.

Oh, and of course it turns out the yard sale was today instead. I’ll be leaving for that in about forty minutes!