Geri deGruy's blog of art, musings, and inspiration

WELCOME TO EXPLORATIONS!
the blog of 
Geri deGruy.

 




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Gratitude List Today

I find that I think, and see and hear and work more clearly when I'm grateful. And no matter what is happening, I can always find something to be thankful for, even when I'm grumpy and DON'T WANT TO!

So here's today's gratitude list.

1. That I woke up this morning. I'm alive!

2. Most mornings, including today, I get to hug one or more family members as soon as I wake up. Good, real hugs. YUM.

3. The birds are singing up a storm in this pre-spring spring. Mating songs are gorgeous.

4. My windows are all open.

5. I had a wonderful walk in this beautiful day. I mean REALLY!

6. I'm chock full of ideas!

7. I'm washing our sheets and towels so everything will be fresh smelling. Yes!

8. The blueberries on my cereal were delicious.

9. I can breathe and see and feel this moment and it's incredibly sweet. Thank you.

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5 More Delightful Things to Inspire and Enjoy

There are so many WONDERFUL things to love in this world! Here are a few I appreciate today.

1. TED talk by the amazing Alain de Botton, "A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success." So true and very funny.

2. "You Are Not So Smart" by David McRaney.

Fascinating and amusing book about the many ways we deceive ourselves with our own minds! There is a good blurb about it here in Brain Pickings. I think I would have called it "You are not as smart as you THINK."

3. Speaking of Brain Pickings, I love Brain Pickings! This is a weekly post, full of fabulous information and books across disciplines. Every week I want to buy most of the books they write about, and I have purchased quite a few already. (see #2 above for one...) Here is how Brain Pickings describes itself:

Brain Pickings is your LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces across art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, you-name-itology. Pieces that enrich your mental pool of resources and empower you to combine them into original concepts that are stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful — a modest, curiosity-driven exercise in vision- and mind-expansion.

WONDERFUL!

4. The art quilts of Melody Johnson. Check her out. Her work is colorful and beautiful!

5. "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison. Can she ever write!!! Gorgeous writing with a searing story. Wow!

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A Vision of Art in Thread Snippets?

Well yes. You may think I'm crazy, and my sister DID laugh at me when I started taking photos of thread snippets. But look, don't you see potential in these random arrangements? (I blew them around on a table.) A spider series? Windblown in March triptych? Instead of pointillism, threadilism. I see it...

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Windows and Doors, Into Another World

Our amazing son, Frank deGruy VI, is an architect. He sent a fabulous comment on my post about windows and doors which I got his permission to use as a guest post instead. It is beautiful. Enjoy!

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During one of my reviews in Architecture School, I had a professor really lay into me for the front door placement on one of my projects. He asked me why I decided to put the door where I did, and I couldn't really give him a solid answer. I think I mumbled something about "It's centered on the front wall... sidewalk comes up to the house... sunshine... neighbor... potato chips..." Not a good answer.

 

He got all in my face, as is the norm for a review, but later on, after I was done and had taken all my work down, came over to explain what he meant. How a door was the threshold from one world into the next. Not just from public to private, or inside to outside, or living room to kitchen. It's a threshold from one mind-state to another from one world into another.

 
When you walk through that enormous 2,000 year old door of the Pantheon, you know that you have crossed into a special place. All the noise and bustle and excitement of Rome melts away and you walk into this peaceful, beautiful, powerful space. It literally takes your breath away. Your words are whispered. Your steps are quieter. Your thoughts are clearer.


Those big shiny double-doors in a hospital are terrifying if you're being wheeled through them to undergo surgery, scared, cold, alone, and semi-sedated. But they can also be the big, shiny, happy, gateway that your first-born child is just on the other side of.


The front door to the house of the first girl that you ever asked out on a date is pretty weird. It feels all clammy, and you can hear its heart beating when you stand next to it, and it has some kind of heating device on it because you feel your face getting hotter. But then it's totally different when you bring her home, because then the door is all smiley, and kissy, and butterfly-stomachy.


The creaky, dusty, scary front door of the old abandoned farmhouse (the one that you break into because your friends dared you to) is the threshold from reality into a scary movie. You have to steel your 13-year-old nerves and tell yourself it's just a door and nothing is inside. But you're still thinking "What if...?"


Whenever you go to someone's house for the first time, you get a feeling when you walk through the door. It's the feeling that you are in their space now. They live there and you are in their world. Now of course that feeling wears off if you go to that person's house a lot. In fact, eventually you don't even knock anymore and just barge in and head straight for the fridge.


When you step through the shiny, black door into that big, intimidating conference room for that job interview, you go from "I've been looking for a new job for weeks now and I really need this because I'm running out of shit to sell on eBay" to "I am just what this company needs and I bring everything to the table and I'm a great team leader and yes I can start on Monday."


Every time you go back home to visit, you go through the kitchen door to your Mom's house, because only company uses the front door. And you know as soon as you open that door it will smell like cookies and coffee and old lace curtains and Pledge furniture cleaner and love and family and home.


I looked back at my floor plans and house designs and tried to figure out where the threshold was supposed to be. Nothing about the project was hinged on symmetry, so I recognized that the front door didn't need to be centered. In fact, the whole flow of the floor plan was right-to-left, and the japanese maple on the left side of the lot needed to be framed by a big picture window in the entry anyway, and obviously the front door was supposed to be on the right side of the foyer. Because when you walked through it you wanted to look to your left. That's where the light was coming from, and oh my look at that pretty tree, and is that...

 
A few days later, I tracked the professor down and asked him to stop by my desk and check out my project again. He looked at it for a while, started nodding his head, pointed at the front door and said "That's where the door wants to be."

 

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Birds of a Feather - New Finished Artwork


Paper-cloth is great! This piece started off as a gluey piece of muslin covered with all manner of papers. 

It sat around for months because I couldn't figure out what to do with it. So I reglued a bit, repainted a bit and started over. 

The rest was play. The birds are pieced together with small pieces of fabric and then sewn. There's tissue paper, paint, modeling paste, lace, fabrics. and probably some other things as well.  Lots of texture! 

Happy spring!!

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Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are a fascination of mine. They are often the focus of ornamentation on a building. Sometimes they are the highlight of a house.

But from a psychological perspective, they are passages, entries and exits. They mediate between inside and outside. Windows and doors can be a boundary to keep the world out. From inside, the view of the world is restricted by the size and location of the window or door. One can hide inside, locking entries and exits. 

But they also let in the light when opened, illuminating the darkness. Going through a door, opening a window, the "outside" world is let in. We can walk out into it. Opening. Seeing. Inviting. Uncovering. Going out. Opportunity. Life.

Here are some doors and windows from the 19th century Indiana houses.

Isn't this gorgeous?!

I love the stained glass borders.

Pretty colors.

Looks like they have eyebrows!

Very pretty, and the lace curtains complete the picture.

Charming.

I want to have tea on the veranda...

The windows look almost modern.

A grand home.

Personally, I would have painted the door red...

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More 19th Century Architecture!

There are all manner of decorative features along the roof lines of 19th century buildings in northeast Indiana. I think they're beautiful and interesting in their repetition, novelty, color. Take a look.

This is the courthouse in LaGrange, Indiana. Magnificent building.

Right on top of the roof! Cute.

a home

brickwork right up against the roof line of a commercial building

detail on a residence

businesses

amazing details on a large residence

store fronts

I love this beautiful lace-like detail above a porch.

and this is really detailed!

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