Mosaic: Sources of Inspiration

Devon Miller-Duggan and I went to Philly to see the Isaiah Zagar mosaic garden. The neighborhood is also full of bits of mosaic.

He is a trained artist, but the use of space and materials has a lot in common with outsider/visionary art. Devon is known as a writer to readers on this blog. She also does mosaic–there is one in my back yard. Zagar gives an impression of using what comes to hand–but you can also see the careful selection.

As always, I’m looking for text.

I am planning on some mosaic for the Santa Fe Poetry Garden. Although right now these walls are bare–but inviting…

Thank you, Isaiah Zagar.

Betsy Hotel: Part 2


One of the things I’d planned to do at The Betsy was write a site based poem and spell it out on the sand. The technology was simple—a set of plastic alphabet letters. I’d “wet run” the alphabet during a summer’s visit to Cape May with my friend Devon. I’d expected to use the letters as molds, creating a small 3-D effect. But actually they worked just as nicely as type.
Here is the poem I wrote.

geomancy = science of the sand

a berm
thrown up by winter storms
full of ghosts—

a footprint
filling with salt water

there was the sea
and often
a mild regret
a child’s plastic alphabet
tumbled in the sheets

a refusal
a knothole
an expanse
a wish

what small necessary object
you’d lost (in this case a comb)

fingered coral
white as a head of cauliflower
on the writing desk;
the only visible
part of my skeleton
was my teeth

I was wearing my dress inside out
as if trying
to remember something

the aleph
washed by the third wave

the moon
was bigger then
in my childhood
when it first shot
from earth

the power of self-accumulation

blue pool
in a courtyard
bound by darkness

arriving by taxi
at an odd hour

what you dreamed
who you loved
what enormous
currents bore you

keyless, climbing
the stair—
you beat the tattoo of some as yet
unwritten composition
on my arm

apocalyptic tideline

the ocean
locked and groaning
like a book
with uncut pages

an Atlantis

to build a sand castle

a single continuous line creates the pattern

head of a buddha
in red light
on a rooftop

a large starfish
a green bolide meteor
the sense that
the self
was about to be

letters of each word
slipped through our fingers
in the infinite presence

this was desire
this was also
an avoidance
of the personal story
like all landscape

I wrote it on four sets of color coded index cards—one for narrative, one for facts, others from various notebooks or povs. I had about twenty-five in no particular order. I took a few phrases from the deck and spelled them out in the sand. Willa Kaufman was documenting, taking video and stills.
A variety of unexpected things happened:
1. People walked carefully around the text.
2. I encouraged two little girls to run across it and wreck the text. They gamely ran back and forth, but wouldn’ destroy it.
3. We “borrowed” a tiny little guy from his watchful dad. He was happy to create AND destroy.
4. Two northern European women in bikinis said to Willa: “Please! Take our photograph! You are a professional!” And she obliged.
5. Trying to get waves to erase the text was tricky, and all the plastic letters got carried out and had to be chased more than once.
I had a huge amount of fun. And Willa took a lot more footage of the environment—orchids by the pool, an “apocalyptic tideline”on the floor of my room built out of items in my purse and toiletries bag.
So possibly the project will complete with a short poetry video.
As a final step, I revised the poem and put it in order, using the beach/video experience as a kind of editing process.


Starting a New Embroidery and Text Project (and looking for advice)

There is no particular need for me to start a new project, I’m busy and don’t have a venue. But I do have an idea, and materials. I was at a fantastic second hand textile and quilting store in Leadville, Colorado and bought a bagful of things. I also have a dress of mine from childhood. My overall image is of a clothesline piece with seven garments or hangings on it, with some hand embroidery and some commercial (or machine, but I need to find someone who can do that).


1. Will it be emotionally satisfying or creepy to finish a piece someone else left undone?

2. Do I dry clean pieces AFTER I finish the embroidery? If so, does this destroy the ink pattern?


3. The piece is partially about my synesthesia, my lifelong ongoing hallucination of the days of the week as colors and as actual people. There are seven pieces. Does each need to be a day of the week?


4. Is there another word for “weekly”?


I love the hole in this hanky!

5. Does anyone know how to do machine embroidery?

Any other suggestions?

Wet Run on Sand Poems

Just back from Cape May with my friend Devon. We were experimenting with making sand poems. I am doing an ephemeral installation at the Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach in December.



These are Devon’s:



Creating the letters is much easier than I’d imagined–don’t need 3-D molds but rather can just “type” in sand. But this opens up a much more concrete element, shapes of letters, lines, making me realize I’ll probably compose as I go–more exciting but a bit scarier.


How I Put My Journal On A Jacket

Check out the photos in the post below. Here was the process.
1. I kept a one line a day journal for a year. The process started on Valentine’s Day, 2013.
2. Went back and picked one entry per month that seemed representative.
3. Bought a windbreaker and had a local commercial embroidery business put the text on it. I had to fight with them a little to get one entry on the sleeve. I actually wanted the text scattered more, but this was an experiment.


mylar heart balloons float

middle of night zazen–snow falling window

thrasher babies–chase tiger cat with broom

petroglyphs, parallel lines, maps?

lobster roll en route

sugar ants in the cat food

snipping mint in the rain

black furry caterpillar of autumn

sunset, EMPIRE lit, pink, green Thunderbird

multicolored embroidery thread, one strand unsplit

strands of monarch butterflies eucalyptus grove

no aurora Arctic night

They sort of read like one-line haiku here. I still wish some were embroidered upsidedown.
Any suggestions for if I do this again?

Question About Projecting Video Text on to Fabric Sculpture

I’m investigating an idea that involves projecting video text on to fabric sculpture. For example–a poetic text broken up and projected on to a geometric shape.
Can this be done relatively simply and inexpensively? Can the text change a few times as in a slide show?
How can this be done?
I’m asking blog readers and Facebook friends–my creative virtual group! This project might also be a way to cover a wall in text without having to install vinyl lettering.
Your ideas are truly welcome!