Thursday, January 20, 2011
mixed media: embroidery on linen, oils, and graphite
...I was readying myself for another day of work, when I stumbled upon a quirky little drawing my eldest had done at 3. It was this simple, yet lovely, image of a dinosaur that he has scribbled quickly in my sketchbook when I wasn't looking. He was obsessed with them, and for the better part of three years spent the majority of his time talking your ear off about them.
...then it stopped. like that. Three years of a complete obsession suddenly vanished. He decided in a moment's notice that dinosaurs were no longer of interest, and from that day on showed no desire to dive into the piles of dinosaur paraphernalia that laid scattered about every nook of the house. This soon became his standard approach to all interests, and to this day goes all or nothing when it comes to an interest at hand. There was world cup soccer (he could tell you every score of each game, along with the proper pronunciation of every key player. I, on the other hand, could just tell you the name of the incredibly attractive player who kept my interest in world cup at an all-time high). Then came the Tour de France ( my approach to world cup applied here as well), and several interests later, we currently find ourselves knee high into football.
... As I "excitedly" read to him the scores of every football game score since 1968 (his preferred bedtime story at the moment), I am reminded of those many nights spent pouring over every dinosaur book we had. The dinosaur names I once knew so well have become quite faded as I sit here learning the new facts being read out loud. I then look over and see his drawings on the bedside table...pages full of made up football games.
...The drawings are more complex and detailed than those simple line drawings he had done a few years back, and full of "really cool action". As I look through each amazing page, I cannot stop but think about that little dinosaur drawing I had stumbled upon earlier that day.
I had no idea back then what those drawings would eventually tell us about our child, and it makes them even that much more emotional when I look at them today.
...He gets so passionate about things, and the enthusiasm he has can be quite incredible... I am just not so sure I am cut out for three years hearing about every score in the history of football. Now if he were to pick up cycling again, that would be a different story....
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
... The holidays for us were not what we had intended, and the emotional strain that resulted in this period caused some serious concern on how things were going to move on. Could we find a find a solution that fosters the peace and happiness we have so desired in the home? The one thing we were certain of was the need to change our approach...it was clearly not working.
...I truly believe that regardless of whether or not you are dealing with Autism, there always comes a time where a shift in parenting needs to occur. Even with our youngest, we have found the need to change our approach as he developed and grew. What once worked so beautifully at three may not be working anymore at four, and it often takes a few weeks of frustrations to finally realize that a shift needs to occur.
..With our eldest, the shifts are more dramatic, and the the moments in between can often leave you feeling helpless and lost. After hearing some unwanted advice about what we should do (you may be able to make sense of it in the above image...), I took a step back and realized it was time to make that shift again...albeit a much more positive one that would respect the wonderful person that he is.
...I needed to let go a bit more, and give him more freedom and independence to do things without me looking over his shoulder all the time. Letting him accomplish some more challenging tasks without my watchful eye changed the way he felt, and allowed him to feel the respect I have for him. He wanted me to ask him questions, and thus allow myself to be the learner...it made him feel good, and I soon realized that this was one of those shifts that needed to occur. He wasn't feeling the respect that I had for him, because I wasn't showing it enough.
He was showing me that, and for a long time I didn't see it. Now I do, and because of that, the peace and calm we so loved having has returned.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
..it was only a matter of time before that impulsive nature would get the best of me, and this time the victim happened to be none other than the dreadful ceiling fan. (and of course I didn't notice the immense amount of dust it had collected until posting this image...) Apparently five years of passing under this fan was enough, and far be it for me to actually go to the store and buy a replacement. When my impulsive urges hit, they hit hard...action must be taken immediately, and I am left trying to find a solution with what's on hand.
..The old blades were removed, and thrown immediately into the trash
...a lamp I had sitting around was taken apart,(which still had it's label on...I have a weird thing about forgetting to take tags off) saving the harp, finial, and shade for use in this project
I stretched the harp over the main body of the ceiling fan, and secured with a heavy-duty rubber band (a.k.a. the asparagus band I managed to take out of the hands of a cheeky little boy who looked suspicious in how he planned to use it. ) You could easily use wire, but that meant going down the stairs to find it. Too much fuss...
The finial and shade were assembled to check that everything looked level, and then removed until the base for the shade was made.
...Although the lamp was already looking much better than it's brass adorned predecessor, the ugly bulbs were in plain sight and something was needed to cover them up. An embroidery hoop I had in the studio was stretched with my portraits fabric, and then stiffened using a product called "Stiffy". A hole was slit in the center, and the finished hoop placed on top of the harp. The lamp shade and finial were placed back on the fixture and tightened.
...And there you have it! A lamp that really makes me happy as I walk by, and a project that came out better with the limitations I had set on myself. Impulsive behaviour may actually be a good thing, right?
..at least this little monkey thinks so (seen here trying to reach himself high enough to retrieve that rubber band)
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
photo courtesy of Thea Coughlin
... Yes. I do believe I mentioned my lovely photographer friend Thea in my musings about Boston, but did I fail to mention my third companion? The one that decided to start visiting me at 35 and manages to find herself (still) accompanying me without my permission? I do believe her name is Ms. Peri Menopause, and Thea managed to snap an image of her the morning after our show.
... Well, in case you haven't been blessed with her presence before, this is what she looks like. She makes you hot enough to suddenly throw every sheet off, where you swear you were just thrown into a sauna against your will. And just as you think it couldn't get any hotter, you reach over the bed desperate to grab some knee high socks because the sauna has since been replaced with the polar plunge. After a night of repeating this fun ritual many times over, the aftermath of Ms. Peri's visit was documented above. Perfect timing to pay a visit, don't you think?
... and to think that I only have about 5-10 more years of these surprise visits until the real Ms. Menopause makes an entrance...I guess I better go out and get some more socks. (and plenty of towels)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
...As two boys lie asleep with their jammies inside out and full of superstitious hopes that this way of going to bed will undoubtedly bring about the snow day they have been wanting, I thought it fitting to share with you some images of my trip.
..I may not be full of many words in this post, which can happen when you decide to start writing near 11 p.m., but what I can show you are the wonderful images that can come about when you have a wonderful photographer by your side...
...Thea and I thoroughly enjoyed our time at Montserrat College of Art, and the opening gave us a chance to fully engage in some wonderful conversations with the faculty, staff and visitors at the event.
...A moment to step away and sign a young girl's cast was a highlight of the night...so much so, that I had quite a bit of "stage fright" as they handed me that permanent marker. I ended up drawing a man with a mustache, because you just can't go wrong drawing a mustache, right?
..The intentions were all there to fill this post with details, but as I have stated before, starting this post at 11pm probably wasn't the best idea. I was just too anxious to share some of these lovely photographs with you, and hope that you don't the lack of written detail.
..Thank you so much Montserrat for inviting me to do this show for you, and for putting together a wonderful night. And my dear Thea....you do realize that you are now coming with me to ever event from now on? (and it's not just for your photography skills....the chats in the car alone were all I needed!)
Monday, January 3, 2011
carol schlosberg alumni galleryMontserrat College of Art
January 4 – January 27, 2011
Artist Reception: Jan 6th, 5 - 7 pm
Samantha Cotterill, Journal Page: Wednesday
Samantha Cotterill, Fixation
By marrying line work, tacticity, and cadence, Cotterill celebrates the obsessive and the charming found in raising a child with Aspergers. Cotterill practices a free-motion stitching technique to draw a series of whimsical, antiquated narratives inspired by British aesthetic, motherhood, and obsessive compulsive behavior. Repetition can be found in the patterned milk men, double decker buses, and phone booths that reminisce of fairy tales told with old English twang. Iteration is thematic in her work, documenting Sunday through Saturday in fabric journals, her son’s inclination to recognize each and every different license plate, or depicting the way he tattles on a tattler. The childlike aesthetic of Cotterill’s stitchings go hand in hand with her meticulous care for the material.