Sunday, July 27, 2008

"The Journey is the Destination"

Dan Eldon's book, THE JOURNEY IS THE DESTINATION was in my mind as I tried fitting visiting all the people and places I wanted into my two weeks of vacation. This was especially true of Annie, Patti, and my trip to see Margi and Kathryn in Nova Scotia. There was a lot of yellow car time, on highway through scrub pine, with a few distant vistas of water, and a lot of drawing, earnest talk, and good-natured ragging before we got to pick up Kathryn at a Tim Horton with a life-sized dinasaur.

There was quite the discussion between the original Map Girl and the Miss Gormain electronic directions Girl throughout the trip. Miss Gormain almost sent us back out onto the highway right past Kathryn, but I heard that Miss Map Girl bought her own electronic lady after she got home.

Margi and her delightful husband, Brian, hosted us in Halifax. In what other city would the hostess have sufficient raingear to outfit each guest for the short ferry ride to downtown, gallery-hopping in restored waterfront warehouses, and brunch at Sweet Basil's: lobster flan with maple syrup...YUM! The last night in Maine we all had "undressed" lobster swimming in butter.

Nova Scotia brought us up close and personal with that other ocean, the Atlantic, and I was very happy for my tights and two silk shirts for wamth...much like the Olympic Peninsula in November: Rain and wind and chill.

Margi tried on a very stylish had in Halifax, and we went on to Kathryn and Ed's farm in an unpronouncably-named town, where we dined lavishly on one of their former pig tenants and goat's milk ice cream and Ed recited inspirational poetry at the dinner table.

The shopping in the country was more in the way of oatcakes (which I MUST try to perfect in my own kitchen) and used clothing from Frenchie's. I need to post the recipe I perfected for rhubarb/ricotta pudding, too, but that's another post.

Margi and Kathryn in hysterical form, as always, more studios to see. As soon as they get their paper doll show up, Margi will do something for the Linda and Opie O'Brien book I'm working on pieces for.

Tracy, Sue, Arlinka--we missed you SOOOO much! Next year in France, eh? (my new Canadian accent) or Rhode Island?

So hard to say good bye, after such a short visit...and yet more lobster, but the days were scheduled to the, I savored each minute of time spent with friends, even if I don't have a lot of photos to show for it. I wanted to be more IN the experience than recording it.

Why was I changing my clothes in the back seat of the yellow car? And why was it being documented? I was IN the Experience!!!

We took the car ferry back to Bar Harbor to save time, and Annie kept us going to Belfast, Maine, where I finally saw fireflies--and got my arms totally bitten up by mosquitos--worth every red welt!

There are people on the Olympic Peninsula who have never seen the magical flashing night lights--one of my goals in returning East was to revisit that experience. It's funny the things one misses about a place--or a person. Not enough to try to go back to live that past life, and anyway everything and everyone is changing all the time, so there's never any real Going Back...but the magic is still seductive, maybe the memory even more so than the reality.

The firefly scene the next morning in mist from the Atlantic. It looks like a magical place even in daylight, and yet I know that people travel from all over the world to vacation right in my own home neighborhood, in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe everything seems more wonderous when one is vacationing...and maybe we pay closer attention.

7/27/08 7:21pm I'm going back and forth in email with Annie while I'm posting these photos from our trip. Just came home from watching Mama Mia with Katie and Mike, and hoping I NEVER get too old to boogie with my friends!

What I did on my Summer Vacation (Continued)

Early June, brother Doug's birthday, with Amal cutting the cake that their daughter Serene made. It was Delicious! and we try to instill our Hastings' love of and obsession with FOOD into all the family members, even though we are frequently teased for this.

You know artists don't think or act linearly. You've already seen bits of what I did on my trip East to go back to scenes and friends from my past and new friends in Ottawa.

The next picture is from the ferry to Seattle, where Mt. Ranier is shyly peeking out in the first dip between the evergreens.

I fit my blogging in around my job and all the other tasks I take on. There are SO MANY interesting things to do and experience and SO MANY interesting people to see and experience, I do get overwhelmed and over-extended at times...but I'd rather, much rather, have Too Much to do than too little.

One of the things that keeps our Olympic Peninsula so relatively lightly-populated is that it takes a lot of work and usually a ferry ride to get back and forth. After work on a Tuesday in June, I drove to West Seattle, where my brother, Hugh and his wife, Connie, are located not too far from the airport. Wednesday I flew to Newark, NJ, where I waited several hours for the delayed plane to Burlington, VT, the scene of many happy years of my life, including the first three, and also friends and family whose love survives the years and miles.

Between the very special Welcome to Vermont from my Green Mountain Boy and staying up the rest of the night to catch up on challenging life events with my cousin, Holly, (whatever doesn't kill us will eventually make us stronger) I decided that there was no point in sleeping, and left for NY at 6 am Thursday in my cute bright yellow Chevy rental, which you can see reflected in the rear view mirror in one of my favorite scenes in the world...driving south on Route 7 to 22 along Lake Champlain and looking back up across the lake to the mountains of NY.

Patti (leaning on the car) and Annie (making funny) were ready to rock and roll. Patti's just a young thing, who teaches art to at-risk high school kids...a tough crowd...and was taking off for our adventure on her first day after the last day of school. You can see more of her collage, ephemera and blog at She did a marvelous job of DAILY blogging

It's really fun traveling with other artists, who don't mind if you want to stop to take a picture or make a drawing. Annie has her sketchbook ready

at our first lobster roll sighting in Maine on Friday. Annie and I met at a class I taught a year before I left NY. We instantly hit it off, and have been corresponding via email almost daily every since. She's a Wonderful painter/collage artist/sculptor whose illustration business was hit hard by the world's trasition to clip art. See more of Annie's work at

After the trip, I thought maybe I brought too many clothes and should have taken my camera battery charger instead...but then I often wonder if taking pictures separates me from being truly involved in the Events I'm experiencing. Next month I'll post some sketches from the journal I took in lieu of camera and computer.

We stayed the first night in NH, after a trip to the state liquor store, conveniently-located on a pull-off from I-91. After staying up all night Wednesday, the girls kept me awake with racy stories until we got to a motel. The second night we stayed in Maine close to the border with Canada and had a delightful lunch in Sussex, with the waitress telling us a sad story about being turned back at the border by US security guards who assumed she would want to immegrate to the US, and we started appologizing. I did a lot of that in Canada.

We were on our Trek to see my good friends, Margi Hennen and Kathryn Belzer in their native habitat, near Halifax. We had originally met at the first We Folk of Cloth doll conference in Maryland, when among the hundreds of doll enthusiasts, we strange ones, strangely gravitated together. We had met up in locations East and West, but never at their homes or with their husbands involved. More in the next installment.

Monday, July 21, 2008

MORE JOY: New Book!

I LOVE seeing my work in print, especially when it's in a new book I've published. A MOMENT OF PURE JOY ON AN ORDINARY DAY, IN A COUNTRY WITH THIRTY-SEVEN DIFFERENT NAMES FOR RAIN is important to me in so many different ways: that it show cases a period of new growth and exploration in my painting since I moved to the Northwest, that it contains thirty pages in Full Color, and that it increases my repertoire of self-published books to four.

I am now working on an expanded reprint of my Doll Making Book...soon, soon to be completed, I hope.

The new book is available on the Gallery/Book section of my website:

Below is my painting: WHERE IS SHE GOING IN SUCH A HURRY WITH THAT SILLY GRIN ON HER FACE--DOES SHE KNOW SOMETHING with the text from the facing page. I hope you will enjoy the new book as much as you have enjoyed the others.

"When I was first married and living in the old school house in northern Vermont, I populated my world with fantasy figures in soft sculpture--a way of escaping an untenable relationship. The doll making and selling the resulting products, and being with other people who did not treat me like a deficient ignoramous as my husband did, ultimately gave me the courage to free my body as well as my mind. this figure is a variation on the Four-Legged Lady from that time in the Eighties. She is creating her own interior happiness, not dependent on outside forces.

She has proven to be a universally-appreciated image and may find her way to tee shirts and mugs.

It is, has been, will be a struggle for me to appreciate on a daily basis the ability (without too much lonliness) I have to create my own life and reality. I can make whatever I want, spend hours weeding my gravel yard, eat barbeque for breakfast, go to sleep at 8pm...anything that I can imagine, I can make happen, at least on some level. I love the freedom to choose among a wide variety of connections with people and activities."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Teaching in Ottawa

To add to my international reputation...and general level of FUN, I taught a Doll Making with Found Objects class to the members of All Dolled Up in Ottawa in early July. The women who attended were both skillful and fearless, as they worked outside their own "boxes" with new materials: Apoxie Sculpt from Aves:, which attaches pretty much anything to anything and is great for the mixed media work I love to do, and also Floriani heavy-duty fusible interfacing, generously
supplied by

Detail of the face of the doll on the far right.

Robots created from discarded asthma inhaller and bicycle parts. And natural materials. Dolls as different as their makers.

Very different uses of boxes as a body part.

A sheet of heavy interfacing with fabric
ironed on and then wrapped with mesh and beads to
create an elegant dancer below.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Figuratively Speaking, show with Rosie Rojas

7/17/08 While I was travelling in the Northeast, Laurie Brainerd hosted a 2-person show with me and Rosie Rojas. I wish I could have been there in person!

Here's Rosie at the show with her black and white seated figure. I met Rosie via email when I wrote DOLL MAKING AS A TRANSFORMATIVE PROCESS. She has also used doll making to work through life problems, especially with depression.

I made a set of new wall pieces for the show, painting with acrylics on muslin and quilting and layering for depth and detail, the way I did back in the 1970's.

It's always interesting to recycle approaches--they come out a little different each time around. This week I went back to Life Drawing for the first time in a long time and even liked what I did. Like any athelete, practice is vital for artists, too!

Another of Rosie's seated pieces, plus the legs of hers on the wall. Being exposed to other artists' work really pushes us to do better and strive for the best we can be. Surround yourselves with work that makes you do better with your own!

The experience of exhibiting also pushes us to create more work and get it out into the world. This creates empty space to make us do more work.

I really need to keep forcing myself back into the studio...even when it feels as if nothing is happening. It takes time to cook and hone new ideas. Now that it's summer in the Northwest (dry, sunny, 70's every day) it takes a LOT of self-discipline to sit in front of the computer and get into the studio.

Never Enough Time for All the FUN!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Greetings Friends, Fans, and Family! I've just returned from my travels back to many scenes and friends of my younger days. I'm delighted by the continuity of friendships over time, the places change the friends undergo the effects of gravity and evolution, but there is a core connection that is consistent and always evolving as we share joys and losses.

Thank you to all who hosted and shared, my new friends in Ottawa.

I'm told I should post more often, or people will stop looking, so I renew my pledge to try harder. This is a picture my brother, David, took of me in the Pike Place Market in Seattle in early June. Note the NW layered look. It is wonderful to be near family and share Doug's birthday with lunch at the new Seattle Art Museum: tiny burgers and sweet potato fries in the same fillagreed, patined, ice cream dish shaped containers as the ones at Skinny Pancakes in Burlington, VT, with Tim and David last Wednesday. I miss you guys!!!

BIG NEWS!!! My long-awaited Next Book arrived yesterday from the printer in Texas. I know, I know, I skipped ahead on the promised second edition of PAMELA'S DESIGNING A DOLL AND MAKING FACES INSPIRATION BOOK and the very long elusive HOT FLASH, but here is a book to savor, with 60 pages, half in color. Paintings I've done in the last three years since moving to the Northwest with a facing page of writing.

I know that memoirs are out of fashion, but I can't stop writing, and I find that some of the issues I ponder in the process of learning to be single again, push the limits of my art, support myself, and try to understand the magical lure of Relationships is Universal.

I'll get the book onto the Shopping Cart/Gallery soon, I promise, and scan a 2-page spread to give you an idea of what's inside.