threshold |ˈθre sh ˌ(h)ōld|
• [in sing. ] a point of entry or beginning

The New Year--a threshold. We can't help but take stock, even those of us who would like to deny that we make resolutions--we need to look back in order to look forward. Somehow we must believe that crossing the line from this year to that will somehow bestow on us extraordinary powers of strength and commitment--procrastination will be eradicated, our dreams and desires for the best in us will be made manifest. We'll fall back on our old ways soon enough, but we crave the symbol at least, that moment at midnight where we mark the passage of time in order to say goodbye, to reflect, to have an opportunity to let go--even if it means letting go of resolutions. Always I try in these final days of December to hold on to the notion that redemption is in the knowledge that there never can or will be a place where we arrive and are permanently satisfied--life isn't one epiphany from which you can then move on in a fixed state of bliss. It is a series of epiphanies, discoveries, trying not to falter, learning to trust oneself, and a process, always a process--never an end point. If I can see the beauty in that then there's no need to worry. And if I were to admit to a resolution it would be only to treat myself with kindness in the coming year as I continue to learn, as a woman, mother, wife, artist--all of these facets intrinsically linked, informing and shaping each other. Welcome 2009.


Quotidian sublime: Thomas Broening

© Thomas Broening

I think Thomas Broening's series "Closer to where we want to be" and "Structures" are quietly profound and beautiful. See them on his website here; he also maintains a blog here.


Holiday hiatus

I had a wonderful Christmas down in Philadelphia with my family--the girls were generally well-behaved and entertaining, and most of all loved playing with their cousins (Edie even said that her favorite thing wasn't her gifts, it was being able to be with Luca, warms a mother's heart). It was hilarious to watch them tear up the place and go wild with their various presents. We returned home today and I'm busy unpacking, deciding which of the old toys to give away to make room for the new ones, and generally straightening and putting things in order, so it may be a while longer before I get back in the swing of posting. I might take a break until the New Year when I'm sure I'll have a fresh outlook and will ring in 2009 with a host of new entries. I hope all of you had a lovely holiday, whatever form your celebration took.



Top: Wrinkle; bottom: Freezer, 2008



(Click to enlarge for better viewing of details)

One of my closest friends sent along this poem by Billy Collins today and it really spoke to me. It was vaguely familiar--I think I read it years ago in my pre-child days, but I hadn't grasped it in the past in quite the same way as I did this morning. As soon as I'd finished reading I tried to remain in the space of the words and took pictures of some of the items the girls have made for me. June is too young yet to create in a spirit of making things "for" me, but Edie seems to be grasping the desire to communicate love through the construction of objects. She's learning to write on her own and I find slips of paper and drawings around the house with variations on the theme of "To Mama, love Edie" (or Edith as she's started signing her name lately). Here's the poem, many thanks to the other Elizabeth for the inspiration:

The Lanyard

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.


Portrait of intimacy

I had just gotten out of the shower and was overcome with the need to document the intimacy of the space; the moment of solitude, the stillness, the sense of thoughtfulness that can come through the simple act of cleansing--the particular light on that day in that room. I love my house deeply, and we put in this bathroom in a large renovation completed two years ago. I chose everything in it, and these pictures to me are very much about how James and I have joined our lives, about how we have made our home truly ours, and now share our daily rituals here together with Edie and June.

Print sale

© James Worrell

My very talented (if I do say so myself) husband James Worrell is having a print sale, go here for information on sizes and pricing. He also has some images available as blank note cards (they make great holiday gifts!)


Quotidian sublime: Jennifer Loeber

© Jennifer Loeber

From here on in I'm not going to do Quotidian Sublime Thursdays, I'll just post whenever and as little/often as I feel like within the category. The pressure of once a week on the same day is too much--my blog is an enjoyable pursuit, and anything that I come to associate as a chore in relation to it I know I need to change. Thus it's Friday, and I give you Jennifer Loeber. I'm not sure if the images above fit into the quotidian category exactly--the top feels quite allegorical and symbolic, and isn't necessarily an everyday happening, so if you can think of a better title to put these photographs under feel free to pass it along. There's more nice work on her website here, and she also maintains a blog here.

Now I'm off to get bedtime for the girls rolling and then go collapse on the couch; I still feel on the cusp of a potential illness that I so far am managing to keep at bay, thanks perhaps to an early-ish bedtime last night.


Pet Peeve:

Dust spots on images on websites. Please, for the love of g-d, if you're going to put something up on your site in your portfolio, clone-stamp those babies out. I just don't see any excuse for them, unless the work is purposefully about being messy and trampled and gritty. Otherwise, spare me.

Pardon my crankiness but I feel like I'm getting the flu and therefore will be missing out on the fun at Michael Mazzeo tonight, boo. I've been spinning my wheels today largely due to not feeling 100%, but I just got this forwarded quote in my email from my inspiring friend Rita Desnoyers-Garcia, and it made me feel better about my current snail's pace:

"Making a little bit of progress is much better than making no progress at all. Even though the going may be slow, keep going. Moving slowly toward your goal is much better than not moving at all. Do what you can, when you can, with what you have. Time will work in your favor when you use that time for positive purpose. Over time, even the small efforts bring big results. If you waste your time wishing you could do more, you end up doing less. Cheerfully use your time as it comes to do the best you can. Even when you're not able to take a major step forward, you can always take a small step forward. Keep taking those small steps, and the opportunity to take that big step will surely come. A little bit here and a little bit there will soon add up to a lot of progress. Even when you can't do much, you can always keep yourself actively headed in a positive direction." ~ Ralph Marston



Two variations of images I recently posted here (the toy car shot below was also part of that similar lineup). I'm feeling indecisive today about which photographs to submit to numerous things on my list. Editing can really make my head hurt sometimes.


Generally I tend to use a shallow depth of field and focus in on one very specific part of the image, but somehow in looking over recent work and editing some pictures today I was drawn to this photograph where June, who would normally be the point of focus, is blurry--unusual for me but it might just work...


Number 9, Number 9...

© Melanie Flood

A few weeks ago I was very excited to open the front door to get our mail and see a big brown envelope leaning against the screen. I opened it and found that I was the lucky recipient of Photograph Number Nine, part of a print giveaway that my wonderful friend/photographer/ curator/all-around talented lady Melanie Flood puts up on her blog every month or so. If you're the first to respond after her posting you receive the image in the mail--the fun part was she didn't let me know I'd won, I just magically received the photograph one day, and what a great photograph it is. Now I have to get it framed and on the wall to join my growing collection. See more of Melanie's work here.


Bare at Michael Mazzeo Gallery

© Richard Learoyd

Michael Mazzeo Gallery will be showing Bare, a group exhibition curated by Jörg Colberg, of the influential weblog Concientious.

Here's the impressive list of artists:
Rachael Dunville, Amy Elkins, Ethan Aaro Jones, Richard Learoyd, Jennifer Loeber, Hellen van Meene, Josh Quigley, Richard Renaldi, Jessica Roberts, Alec Soth, Shen Wei and Carmen Winant.

The show will be on view from December 11 to January 24; the gallery is located at 526 West 26th Street, suite 209. The opening is on Thursday, December 11, from 6PM to 8PM. I'll be there, will you?

*A bit about the above image, which is rather fascinating: "Richard Learoyd's work is the product of a specific but particularly remarkable process. His images are produced individually as singular objects. Utilizing a distinct photographic method he creates life sized images inside a specifically built camera. This construction captures the image without any interposing film negative, transparency or intermediate material. Instead the apparatus of light is directly focussed by the camera and translated onto a sheet of positive photographic paper. With no means of reproduction, once created, ultimately every image is entirely unique in its existence." Read more here.


Justin James Reed on 20x200

© Justin James Reed

Money is tight these days; budgets are being calculated, shopping has been suspended, and while I've always been pretty frugal, we're still having to look at our habits and tighten our belts. I did have the happy chance this morning of driving by a dresser with an ugly coat of paint but excellent bones that someone had left on the curb for bulk refuse; I stopped and loaded it into my minivan and when I find some extra time (ha!) I plan on stripping and refinishing it, possibly going so far as to hand-paint some sort of rustic, folk-art type design on the drawers. But I digress...

All of this is my long way of saying that despite the poor economy, sometimes you find a free dresser on the street and realize that with the money you might have spent on a piece of furniture you could instead put $20 toward something else, something beautiful. For me that beautiful thing was a print by my friend Justin James Reed--two of his images are now available for purchase on 20x200, and trust me, these are going to appreciate in value. I'll tighten the belt, but not so much that I can't have some frankly affordable art on my walls to admire for years to come.

Quotidian sublime: Ri Anderson

© Ri Anderson

Some interesting work by Ri Anderson, particularly pertaining to motherhood--see more on her website here.

Three-way Battle Photo: Squirrels!

© Justin Visnesky
© Shawn Records
© Ed Panar

Apologies to Amy Stein for pilfering her Battle Photo concept, but I saw Shawn and Justin's squirrel photos a while back and knew at some point they needed to be seen together. Shawn was kind enough to pass along the above jpeg, and gave me the tip on Ed's photo (coincidentally Ed and I were both in the show HERE and THERE that Justin curated at Snowflake/CityStock gallery, so it seemed fated); as a result we now have a three-way smackdown. These guys all make fantastic work, be sure to check out their sites: Here's Shawn, here's Justin, and here's Ed. Enjoy!


Tim Barber news

© Tim Barber

I received an email yesterday from Tim Barber listing a slew of new projects he's been working on via TV Books and Tinyvices. If you're lucky enough to be heading to Miami for Art Basel, TV Books is participating in IT AIN'T FAIR from December 2-7. See all the details, maps, etc. at oh-wow.com. In other Tim Barber news there's an opening December 12th at Space 15Twenty in LA with an exhibition and catalog viewing, click here for the flier; and a new book of Barber's photographs called Mystic Heather and Virgin Snow is now available here. His work, both curatorially and personally, is what I like to think of as "crazy/cool"; everything Barber touches seems to exude infectious, rambunctious creativity.

Submit to Wassenaar Issue 02

The multi-talented Noel Rodo-Vankeulen is looking for submissions to Wassenaar 02, his online publication "primarily dedicated to emerging artists and the innovate photography they produce." I was very happy to be included in the inaugural issue, so get your images in for your chance to be part of this wonderful new venue. All the details are here.

Happy accidents

Gum in hair, 2008

How to win mother-of-the-year award: 1. Put little one down for a nap. 2. Convince older child to lie down with you because you're still recovering from your cold. 3. Everyone falls asleep, a rare miracle. 4. Wake up fifteen minutes after you were supposed to drop older child off at ballet, to the sound of little one screaming. 5. Everyone is up. Older child cries because she's disappointed she didn't get to show everyone her striped tights and yellow sequined hand-me-down recital tutu. 6. Pacify children by allowing them to watch a movie. 7. Pacify children by allowing them to eat dinner in front of movie, including cheese, which they grind into the cushions and let the dog share with them. 7. Give older child gum, continuing with the theme of pacifying--this cold's a doozy. 8. "Uh-oh Mama"; older child has lost her gum. Did the dog eat it? Is it in the sofa? Give up looking, file under "deal with later." 9. "Uh-oh Mama"; older child has actually gotten gum hopelessly stuck in hair. Laugh, what can you do? See #8, "deal with later." 10. Movie ends; put children in bath. Tell older child she's going to get a "trim." 11. Cut the gum out. Realize there's a four-inch chunk now gone from back of child's hair. Tell child she needs a haircut. Child is being an angel, thank god for that nap. 12. Proceed with full-out haircut. Tell child she looks "Parisian." Keep younger child from whacking older child in head with Barbie doll. Grab camera, take pictures of gum in hair (see above). 13. Older child loves new haircut, mom loves new haircut--everyone remained calm, all is right with the world. 14. Pat self on back for smiling through situation. Put children in pajamas. Lie in bed and listen to older child "read" books to mother and little sister. Settle down together nestled under the blankets. Transfer little one to crib--no crying! Play "Pretty Pretty Princess" with big girl, admire her hair. Kiss her goodnight, she's gorgeous.

Life is full of happy accidents.