Open Hands

Sometimes it takes me a while to really listen to what I’m hearing.

It turns out I really enjoy helping people spruce up and build their Squarespace sites. 

It is a fun, slippery puzzle to figure out how my clients want their websites to feel. How to help them get to that point. To give them an outside view from above, before diving in to pick out what’s the truest parts, to polish and shine the website until it reflects their message clearly. 

Websites are a big deal, they go deeper than social media, they give us a platform to dig deep into what makes us tick, what we want to share with the world.

I want to help you shine through your site, let’s get started.


Thank you so much for your invaluable work, time and love on my website!

Your intuitive guidance, gentle nudges, and skill gave me a website that I love, and that I would never have been able to put together myself.

Brandi

Harmony Farm


“I tend to ramble my creative genius all over the place in what I call off-road communication. Cat was able to raven within these rambles a clarity of my voice and my offerings. Her ability to hear the greater message in between the words of my truth and orchestrate an organization that made sense while retaining style. She really listens, and is incredibly fast when there's a task at hand. I am so grateful I took the plunge to get her help with my website. “

Nissa Howard

nissahoward.com

Returning from afar

Oh my cocoons, it has been a long time since we talked.

I both missed these creations, these creatures... and didn’t miss them at all at the same time...

This September I picked up my beads and needle again. A trade with a brilliant artist, I finally was (gently) pushed to finish a cocoon that had been languishing away, three-quarters finished, waiting to find her home.  I was glad to finish the stitching I had started. I thought I would turn back to wool and beads.

Then I didn’t.

Was I finished with these sculptures?

                I didn’t want to admit it, even if it wasn’t true.

I realized lately, as the unadorned cocoons hanging in my studio began to whisper to me, that I had been avoiding them because of grief that was inadvertently attached to them. They carry emotion so well, these beauties.

The weekend before my beloved Kelly Call suddenly died, I came back full to the brim and eager to create after taking a brilliant workshop on wet felting sculptural forms. To say the wind was knocked out of my sails begins to scratch the surface. A too-short 6 months later, Kelly {Umberdove} Clark died. The progress I had made walking back to felted stitches was lost.

These blows of loss did more to my creative freewheeling than I knew. I buried it in sewing dresses and weaving. Practical beauty, repetitive in their rhythms, comforting and safe. Painting with watercolors was the closest I got to the deep-down parts I used to be in frequent touch with, via my cocooning meditations.

So.

The truth was found.

Now what?

New cocoons, that’s what. Two forms that have been waiting patiently for their adornments. A large, opalescent cocoon, cavernous. A small, comforting dusky indigo.

This is how I restart this journey.

 We’ve rested long enough.

Come with me, won’t you?

An introduction, of sorts

I'm going to start writing a newsletter, dear readers. 

Something to share that's harder to miss, a place for me to tell you about new work, sales, and other interesting things. 

But in order to do that, I need your help. Would you share your email with me, and perhaps, forward this page along to a friend who may enjoy it too? Just click the image below and enter in your email on the next page

I'm looking forward to sharing with you.

Much love, 

Cat 

Springing

Growth season is upon us! For those of you in the south (hi! me too!) spring is starting to make its slogging roll in to summer already. The daffodils have folded to the peonies, the rhubarb is stretching to the sky. A little too soon, if you ask me. I'm a cool weather gal, give me all the woolly layers, tea and baked things, thanks! *

Either way you feel about the warmth, I find myself caught up in the rhythm of it all. With each season change, reflections, ruminations and planning starts to ramp up. I am growing, we all are. For myself, art making is growing. Both in an emotional well-being state, and into a business I'm proud to call my own.

When I sit down to think about the changes I've been shifting into, all of the wide-narrowness of growth comes into focus. And then it goes right back to blurry. And back into focus, and so on. I know what I want. I want to create clothing, home goods and art for everyone, at every level. I want my art to both boldly challenge and whisper to its viewers. I want my clothes to empower and comfort their wearers. I want my towels to wipe down counters and make people pause in their dish drying to see the moment they are in. To feed people food that makes them close their eyes and savoir the moment of memory and flavor.

The challenge: how do I accomplish all of these things, and still maintain a semblance of balance in my life? I work at an office during the day, and really enjoy spending time with my husband and friends. The house still needs to be cleaned, yoga stretched, meals cooked, and let's not forget the art I want to be making 24/7!

Doing my best to get all of these things done can feel like an endless race. I admit, it gets exhausting, but it's getting better. The projects that call to me strongest are answered first, instead of what 'everyone else' might want. I'm learning and relearning that if my heart sings while I make, the song will catch other's attention on its own. 

*not that summer has EVER kept me from baking! I have a rhubarb pie calling to me from the garden... gotta go bake, bye! 

Seeking Light

Initially, this piece of fabric was motivated by two simple thoughts:

  •  To use up a giant cone of mystery yarn
  •  To make curtains that provided privacy without sacrificing too much light (we just got new neighbors after over a year of the house next to ours being flipped...)

It began simply as an experiment of creating a fabric that would let light in. It began to turn into a battle of wills. I wrapped the yarn around the back beam in the wrong direction twice. The yarn itself was a bigger pain in the ass to work with than I expected, slippery, stretchy, generally ill behaved. I was making shuttle-throwing mistakes and found a few threading ones... It was becoming a mess. 

I considered cutting it all off and throwing the whole thing out.  It became more complex, each time I let an error or slip stay in the fabric.

Instead, I decided to accept the mistakes, the missed threads. I embraced the fact that human hands made this fabric would show loudly. I changed from twill to a plain weave whenever I wanted. Double, tripling the yarn on the shuttle so that there would be thick and thin bands running across. I realized, after a while, that this simple experiment was turning quickly into a piece of art right under my nose. It was becoming more complex, the less I worried about doing things 'right'.

It became thick with meaning and metaphors. We do not know what our lives will be made of. I do not know what kind of fiber this yarn is made of.  

It is unevenly woven, with thick and thin spots.  Our lives are thick and thin, full of energy and goodness. Worn to gauze with grief and over-action. Stitched up with care and love, buoyed by the support of loved ones.

The pattern changes, seemingly at random. The way we move through present into the future is always changing. As we make adjustments and decisions the path and patterns we walk change. Each decision made to change the shuttle, the treadling {to our lives} changes the pattern. So what seemed random to start with really made sense all along, we just couldn’t see the bigger picture.  

The fabric is hidden on the front beam as it is created, the beginning hidden from the end.  If that’s not a beautiful metaphor for life, I’m not sure what is. When it is pulled from the loom, cut and tied off, washed and held up for inspection, the whole picture is revealed.  

Errors turn into knowledge gained. Patterns changing signal growth and Truth. Knots are healed and healing scars. Fabric is draped around the body, around the home, to add warmth and protection.

 

When I finished the fabric, it had already named itself.  

The Shroud of Living.  

A little morbid, perhaps, but so is life, at the end of it, we will be wrapped in shrouds. 

I cut the fabric in half, and stitched it into curtains.

Death is everywhere, let the light in to the dark places

I hung them in our bedroom, keeping our lives inside a safe place, yet letting light shine in.  

This fabric has taught me. I am grateful and am eager to keep learning.

Back to the studio, to making, for me. I will always go back to this heart-space, it is home. 

Fivers

People always ask how I get things done. "Five minutes here, five there" has be come my quick, truthful-yet-sarcastic answer. It got me thinking the other day. What can we accomplish in five minutes?

No- that's not right. 

Here's a better question: What can we start in five minutes, biting off little pieces until something is finished? 

You need two things to do this. 

A timer, and an activity.

That's it. Here are some things I do

Fivers

  • Doodles, it helps to have everything ready, notebook open, implements ready (currently on my desk, watercolors)
  • Stitches in art or to repair clothes
  • Sit still and breathe/meditate
  • Iron out fabric you remembered to pre-wash before cutting into (see also- prewash your fabric)
  • Trace a pattern (or just a few pieces of one)
  • Rinse cherries/seasonal fruit and enjoy slowly (this will take more than 5, depending on size of bowl/deliciousness of fruit)
  • Mix flour, water, starter so you can bake later
  • Dance
  • Fill/empty the dishwasher
  • Sweep the kitchen floor
  • Brain dump writing into notebook
  • Small exercise (Plank holds, movement, etc)

The beauty of a timer is that it takes the pressure off worrying about time.

One minute can feel like five, five like thirty, thirty like hours. There is only one rule: Do NOT check the timer. Just work up to the chimes, don’t stop unless it feels good to you. Trust the timer, it’ll go off, and yes, you can keep working. Or stop, and move on to other things.

Trust your choice.

It's on the list...

My dear friend Robin posted a map she'd made the other day, of the divine feminine creative cycle. (go find it on her social media accounts, her sites are well worth the time). She asked where we all landed within it and I found myself on the Bottom. A place of slowness, "dark around the edges" and low energy.

Her working points were sweetness in the dark- "rest, singe to the plants, express gratitude, honor other's work, review your own". So here I am, honoring her work, and lemme tell ya, it is mighty work. She and I have worked together for almost two- no... maybe three years? It feels like no time at all, and yet, like we've been dancing towards the truth for millennia. She's the real deal. 

The next point in the cycle is the Way Now. I can feel it coming, rolling gently like fog across a field. I'm ready to be curious, to move my body slowly, dancing in the thickness. I am ready for lists about lists, keeping track of what's interesting and where they might lead. The creative rabbit hole is a sacred place to land in.

I will keep this cycle close to my heart this year. A light to remind myself how to move forward, to get both stuck and unstuck. Stillness and movement have balancing virtues. I think this year is about diving deep into that dichotomy. 

creation and rest

delightful happiness and tearing grief

sweet and bitter

dark and light

color and neutral

wet and dry

whole and worn

warm and cold

Working with Robin, directly, or using the tools and light she helped me develop is always worth it. No matter how hard the work seems, the reward is always truth.

 

 

Thirty Four

Today is a marker for another year. Thirty four.

There are so many starts in year, endings too. So many anniversaries of things that fill hearts to bursting, and those that lay them out cold and low. The light increases, all the same.

I find myself content, and dusted with a deep missing of those who passed away. I missed my Kelly arriving to our party early so as to have the best opportunity to eat the sausage balls Shawn makes. I felt my heart full to bursting having our friends fill our home. I am so lucky to have found these humans, generous, caring, quirky. Everyone celebrating their own strangeness.

Grief and birthdays are an interesting mix. I walk with firmer steps on the path of making and sharing. I am feeling closer to the truth of me, and will keep stoking that flame. The new year is full of the past, and just as full as what's to come. The struggle is to stay present, and not get tied up with thinking to long, to hard. When I find myself feeling this way, I know I have a bevy of souls to reach out to, to ask for help from. Each one is a gift, every day.

And so, to sum up all this birthday pondering, my dear ones;

I love you.

Thank you for being you, and letting me be me.

Apples

I took myself to the mountains of Virginia. In search of an orchard that I hoped would be quiet- no doughnuts, no hayrides. Just mountains and trees, with a soundtrack of bugs and heavy fruit gently dropped into buckets. Peace and quiet and a wide sky. I missed Kelly the whole way there, there were so many late summers we talked about hopping up the mountains to go apple picking... so I went by myself, so she could be there too. 

Oh friends, I found the place. Simple, just unkept enough.

It was cool in the shade and warm in the sun. The golden delicious apples were just that, and the orchard owner couldn't have been kinder, or more passionate about his apples. 

I'll be back next year.

Now... time to make some pies! 

Reflecting on Reflections

I've been noticing and being distracted by reflections lately. A lot of the time, especially in my studio. Maybe it's the new layout, but the light popping off my iron or loom as they move keep catching my eye. It's the corner-of-the-eye stuff. There one second, gone the next. 

I'm not sure what this new noticing is about, but maybe I do, deep down. 

I'll be keeping my eyes open, I'm doing my best to pay attention.