December 2, 2013


Instead of shopping this weekend I stayed home with my daughter eating leftovers and watching movies.

It didn't take long for the non-stop assault of Black Friday commercials on cable television to get to me. After a while I couldn't take it anymore.

"...if i hear the words black friday one more time...i'm gonna throw up. if you feel the absolute need to get it all over with and buy everyone you love, like and can't stand, a christmas, I mean holiday gift on one and only one day of the year, why the hell do we need to refer to it as black. can't we say red friday, blue, green, orange or anything other than what sounds like the plague is about to hit and destroy the world. yes i agree it's a black day when the freaks at walmart can persuade you to leave your cozy aroma and family filled turkey stuffed living room to get in a cold car and drive in the middle of the night to a flourescent light filled dome with miserable clown like creatures not helping you in a chain store 6 miles away...yes let's please call that bleak, i mean black. if i had to be a part of that i'd think it was the end of the world too...but how did this all get started and more importantly, what's the allure? i just heard a walmart commercial that the item that was originally $109 is now a whopping low of $98. am I missing the math?"

Here's what I ended up watching that night, the decade that made us on the national geographic channel ( It turned out to be a fascinating documentary on the 1980's, the decade that turned out, not ironically, to be a greed filled capitalistic dream come true.
I found out some amazing things like Ronald Reagan based part of his campaign on the movie Back to the Future, and Tetris was created by a guy in Moscow at the height of the cold war...

Now that it's Cyber Monday, I'm glad that it's almost all over.

I don't mean the holidays, just the bombardment of more more more.

There are five different Santa Clauses on both my neighbor's lawns across the street. My daughter said they should make a law, only one Santa allowed at each house. That way it'd be more believable. I think there should be one less black friday allowed, that way America would be more believable..

November 20, 2013


Maybe this is something to address since it keeps popping up. It appears as a major theme in two books I'm currently reading, Rainer Marie Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet and Mary Oliver's Blue Pastures; and it has inadvertently become the topic of several recent phone conversations...

Photos by French artist Maia Flore

The dictionary is really down in the dumps about this word, citing examples of losing loved ones, being put in isolation with infectious diseases, etc. How awful. As an artist I can tell you, solitude is not that bad, in fact it is a much sought after state of being.

You still feel alone when you're by yourself, but when that aloneness becomes a necessary factor to the type of concentration and self reflection that creativity demands, it becomes a very welcome occasion. The idea of being alone with one's thoughts seems absolutely divine to me, and being able to work on my artwork when I want without interruption is pure joy.

Maybe it's not even just artists who feel this way. My friend was just telling me how her kids are so busy all year her daughter recently told her she didn't know who she was anymore because she didn't have a minute to think about it... Obviously we all need those moments to reconnect with ourselves.

from the series Situations by Maia Flore

I think artists just require more of those moments because of the work we do. If we don't know who we are, where is our voice or our vision? And without a clear vision what would our artwork be..

This is what artwrestling is all about!

.....and I guess it comes at no better time because no sooner did I write it down than I spent the whole day today being distracted by phone calls and emails. My daughter read her homework OUT LOUD for half an hour, and my husband has been pacing the floors waiting for me to cook dinner extra early. It's only 3:30! I'm not even doing the type of artwork that I imagine requires that much concentration but every watery mark I make is followed by me having to get up for something. I'm telling myself this is what you get for thinking you could pull this off on the kitchen table...Tomorrow I'll start earlier, but....Hold on, the rice is ready~

Maia Flore

November 12, 2013

Laundry Meat Rope Project

the story of the laundry meat rope project starts with me wanting to create a very large knitted piece. I was imagining it like a large blanket covering an entire gallery floor where you'd have to walk around the edges of it. I began to make yarn out of the laundry meat but it was not holding up well to the demands of knitting.

 all the wrapping and twisting around both knitting needles kept tearing the yarn. so my first thought was to alter the yarn to work better

but I loved the way it looked all by itself; the variations of thickness and color from all the separate batches of laundry meat. I wanted to use the yarn as it was without having it have a specific purpose. I ended up looking at a bunch of youtube videos on how to make rope. using a freshly made batch of laundry meat that I purposely dried in thin strips I started the project.

today's rope making station

on the kitchen table

separate batches of laundry meat piled together. strips are made from this first and then twisted together to make the rope
so far I've made almost 35 feet

details of laundry meat rope

making the rope is an enjoyable process, although at the same time very tedious. it feels very primitive for the fact that there are no tools except my own two hands. and I love the fact that I am creating a potentially useful tool, and then the irony that there's nothing useful about it at all. this is the first time I've worked on a project of this nature and although I have no idea what will become of it, it is satisfying work. it can be very meditative but I find that after a long session of thinking that I'm getting so much done, I've only made a few feet of rope. in retrospect I may conclude that this is just another extension of my fascination with the body and perhaps one can see a correlation to umbilical cords and such, but right now I'm going with a flow that I only subconsciously know anything about!

more on laundry meat here

part of finished project

November 10, 2013

Letters to a Young Poet

My trip to San Francisco didn't yield that many surprises but did give me a lot to think about. 

At City Lights I purchased the book Letters to a Young Poet written by Rainer Maria Rilke to aspiring writer Franz Xaver Kappus between 1902 and 1908. 

Here is an excerpt from 1903 in which Rilke responds to the young writer's first letter asking him for advice:

"You ask whether your verses are good...Now...let me ask you to give up all that. You are looking to the outside, and that above all you should not be doing now. Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody. There is only one way. Go into yourself. Examine the reason that bids you to write; check whether it reaches its roots into the deepest region of your heart, admit to yourself whether you would die if it should be denied you to write. This above all: ask yourself in your night's quietest hour: must I write? Dig down into yourself for a deep answer. And if it should be affirmative, if it is given to you to respond to this serious question with a loud and simple 'I must,' then construct your life according to this necessity; your life right into its most inconsequential and slightest hour must become a sign and witness of this urge. Then approach nature. Then try, like the first human being to say what you see and experience and love and lose..." 

October 3, 2013

Art House Gallery Archives: REMIXED 2012

Third installment of The Art House Archives:

REMIXED: A site-specific collaborative entanglement of used electronics
by Jon Slackman & Samantha Palmeri
May 6 - June 2, 2012

Sparked by a random comment on facebook about what to do with unwanted electrical equipment, we put out a call for the local community to dump their rejected gear at the gallery. A few weeks later box loads arrived filled with television sets, printers, answering machines, extension cords, cameras, light fixtures, and other outdated contraptions. Armed with drop cloths, gallons of unused latex paint, and some good loud music to listen to, we were ready to get to work. We arranged and hung the objects first. Some of the wires were spray painted but we poured the gallons of paint directly onto most of the pieces. I painted shadow replicas of the wires directly onto the walls adding another dimension to the piece. 

Whatever plugs still worked were plugged in including the television which maintained a fuzzy non-picture throughout the show, Christmas lights, some blinking, and spot lights that were connected to the center piece. 

There's nothing like frolicking in gallons of wet paint! We had a blast. The hardest part of the whole thing was definitely the clean up. Thanks to everyone who was a part of this project.

October 1, 2013

Meanderings of a Painter without a paintbrush...

Small sculptures and reliefs no bigger than 8X10"
Mixed mediums include paper, styrofoam, paint, hot glue, plastic, tape & glitter

September 26, 2013

An Affair with a Lounge Chair

Affair with Lounge Chair, steel and canvas, 21.5 X 72"

Lately I've been learning the art of Relaxation.

I finally got around to organizing my nearly abandoned backyard, and for the first time in two years whipped out the pair of lounge chairs that have been sitting in the shed unused. They're the kind I had when I was a kid with the steel frame that makes a snapping sound every time you lift the back or the feet. I've left them happily out on the patio awaiting my every return.

It's been sheer bliss! I'm out there every chance I get. I take off my shoes and close my eyes and it's like I'm on my own little island. You can plop that lounge in the sand, the grass, the pavement or the dirt and it still feels the same.

There really is an art to being able to relax without the guilt.
It's only enjoyable if you do it right, and I'm learning that you're only doing it right if you can get past the feelings that you should be doing something else. It's amazing how far we've gotten away from such a simple pleasure. They should really be teaching classes on this stuff, How to Relax without the Guilt.

Not to mention I think my lounge chair is making me smarter! While I'm content to do nothing but lap up the sun and the breeze like a fat cat out there, I've noticed that I've been able to get a lot of good thinking done. It's giving me time to see things clearly, get my thoughts together, work on ideas for new projects, write shit up like this, etc. So far I've written 3 potential new blogs, made about 100 yards of rope for my new Laundry Meat Rope project (which I'll talk more about later), and come up with ideas for dinner parties, Halloween costumes and our trip to California...

I heard an interesting discussion one time, probably on NPR radio but I can't remember. It was about research studies done on the practice and resting habits of successful professional musicians compared to those who were not as successful. The resulting studies concluded that those musicians who rested more in between practicing and took naps during the day were more successful than those who actually practiced for longer stretches at once but did not rest as much.

Well, you know I love studies like that! There's a lot to be said for giving your creative mind enough time to work properly.

This morning I woke up and noticed that the house has become an absolute disaster since I've been doing all this relaxing. My studio is also looking a little worse for wear. So off I go. It's unavoidable, I will have to go a day without the lounge. Anyway, I think it's starting to rain...