Monday, November 15, 2010

Can You Say "Synchronicity"?

Just a week ago, I brought up the concept that opening oneself to the possibilities that life offers may result in a surprising number of offers from life. Last Thursday, Melanie Testa, one of my favorite artists, teachers, and all-around artist boosters, blogged about a challenge she had set for herself for the next month or so, and invited us all to join her. The object, as I see it, is to have an open heart to the possibilities of what may come from drawing lines on fabric on a daily basis.

Here was a relatively quick and easy opportunity to continue my drawing practice and relate it to textiles in a direct manner. The supplies needed: fabric, a permanent marking medium such as paint or dye, and a  means of making the marks, a particular sort of pen nib called a ruling pen.

Since I had done some preliminary explorations in early autumn with screen printing, I had on hand leftover soda soaked cotton, and a number of bottles of thickened procion dye. Perfect! Only problem was, I live nowhere near a good art supply store and was not likely to find this "esoteric" tip at the craft chains. What to do? Meanwhile busy with the arrival of out-of-town guests, I put the thought on hold.

The next morning saw us off to Michigan City for sightseeing, a chance for photography of our gorgeous Indiana Dunes and maybe a few dollars lost at the local casino. An outrageously balmy day found us wending our way down rural Hwy 12 through woods and National Park land and past unseen communities tucked away in the dunes. Suddenly, out of the "Myst", rose a mysterious, unassuming structure tucked at the side of the road, promising ART SUPPLIES! We doubled back, thinking, "not likely, but what the heck?" Inside, a rabbit warren of crowded aisles overflowing with wonderful enticing art stuff. A slightly eccentric-seeming clerk knew of what I inquired and dove in to try to locate one. Alas, all that was available was the compass set, that I figured was more than I wanted and not quite right.  I thanked him and went on with my company to enjoy the day.

Looking Northwest form Mt. Baldy toward the Chicago
skyline shrouded in the "Myst".

It may look like November, but it felt like September.
It's usually quite windy atop this five story sand dune, but this day
it was totally calm.

Looking East to the Michigan City's coal fired power plant.

The wonders of nature: who'd think that trees could grow in sand atop a windy hill.

The boating season over, their summer home all empty and quiet.

The lighthouse, a symbol of Michigan City.

Many hours filled with beautiful sights, a great Reuben sandwich, and a terribly rare event for me: I actually walked out of a casino with new money in hand! (Hey, no fortune, but $25 on a half hour of penny slots isn't so bad.) Again, a sort of omen: I had to go back for that ruling pen, even if it meant getting a compass I didn't need. But it was now ten 'till five, and surely they would be closing shop. But no, lights still on, and the manager in his easygoing helpful manner, saying no to the compass, pulling out catalogues to show me what I needed, and then...finding a lone replacement tip to sell me for...just four dollars! Use it as is, or attach it to a handle of something else, he suggested. Sold! 

As I stood at the register to pay with my winnings, what should my eyes fall upon sitting in a pile directly in front of me, but a packet of sepia tone pens I had been craving after just seeing them used that week by a journaling classmate.  A bit scary and magical the way the universe has reached out to get me what I wanted and needed, and for free, too!

The simple tools for the line challenge, ready to roll!

Here is my first line study. Thanks Melly for the challenge; thanks universe for stepping up to assist!

Five and a half inches square. Black procion dye on white cotton.

The means and the booty. And the change!
Note the lighthouse on the store logo.
By the way, the nib fit nicely into the handle of an old foam paintbrush.


  1. I love when serendipity pops its head up into one's life. All things line up and what was meant to be - is. Have fun with your new tools.

  2. THAT is the shore of Lake Michigan? It looks more like the Outer Banks.
    I am a "Clevelandgirlie" at heart -born and raised in a little farming community
    right on Lake Erie (Westlake, OH) east of Cleveland. The shores of Lake Erie didn't look
    anything like that. Your neck of the woods look beautiful. Lots of inspiration to be had!