Where should we start?  The very big ideas?  OK.

Artists do not only make art, they live it and in it.  Serious art reflects the ideas, attitudes, experiences and style of the artist.  These things are interwoven and inseparable.  And changeable, but usually the change is slow.  At least that is how it works for me.

Premise 1 in the creating of a style:  Being an artist(s) we don’t have the money that more traditionally employed people do.  We habit the thrift shops and flea markets, looking for shapes and textures and things to repurpose to live in our home.  We sniff out free things in the wind.  We develop friendships with like people and fund each other’s eccentricities.  Old things look good to us.


To me, the base of this enamel table in our kitchen is awesome.  The lines and shapes scream the 1930s.  This table base helped me solve a financial problem in buying the tile for the kitchen, if you will notice the floor.  I bought the majority of the tile at a sidewalk sale at Lowe’s, but there was not enough for the big space of kitchen and great room.  So I laid tile “rugs” in each room, one under this table.  The tile under the table is lighter than the surrounding, and at each corner of the rug is a corresponding black tile (you can only see two black tiles in this image).  The rug tile was free, and the problem was solved.  The four black squares used in the corners integrate the tile rug with the table base.  The rug under the table is much more interesting than had the floor simply been one broad ecru plane.  So my finances dictate another way to create, and push a style forward with lifestyle needs.


We needed a shed to house our pool equipment, pool pump, and machinery related to our sprinkler system.  My love of cheap metal (notice the lamp on the stucco column) led us to buying a used grain bin to satisfy these needs, and it was very inexpensive.  We love the little silo that has an apex that looks like the top of a Coke bottle.

Premise 2:  We live in a world that is using up all its natural resources.  This disposable society cannot thrive.  Many, many artists choose to make their work out of waste materials because they are available, are beautiful and otherwise would be in the landfill.  These artists additionally are making visual statements that describe our recent decades.

We built a barn.  Before this time, some restlessness inside of me accepted a whole group of wooden windows from a contractor friend who was doing odd jobs here.  I put them under a roof.  His work often was replacing old wooden windows with vinyl ones, and he kept bringing me the rejects.  He would have been charged to put them in the dump, so the solution was good for everybody.

1-IMG_0011We used 33 old windows for this barn, and saved a lot of money.  Their glass is wavy and beautiful, and since this is studio and storage space and not living space, they do the job here just fine.  And of course, this is South Carolina and we live in a moderate part of the world.  Glenn later added the cool awning above the entry door.


I hope the case is made for the using of old stuff.  Here is where the incest starts.


My daughter Brady, (who blogs for Lexington County, South Carolina at and has a cooking blog at influenced by my love of old things, found this door of windows at the dump and brought it home.  Neither one of us are beyond “diving”.  She often donates at the Goodwill at the same time she goes in to buy.  She installed this on the wall,  and of course there it was for me to see.  A window on a wall as art.  Hmmm.

Some years later, here is my sculptural work.  Before now, the windows had many other incarnations as I tried to use them.  I was getting too fancy.  For me, for now, it is mostly about the interplay of the windows, and bringing these sculptures way out from the wall.  It takes some time to feel one’s way.










Isn’t experience and influence wonderful?


We are thick with work.  It must move.  And all ways of selling work, I hate.  Entering shows, paying jury fees, shipping work off on a little vacation and then back, usually the worst for wear, never again.  Paying a gallery half of the sales price, no more.  Craft shows??  NO.  I have done all this and it is a new day.

We have a gallery half-built.  Personally, inviting friends and acquaintances to come and look is just embarrassing.  Money sucks.  Really.

And then there is the tool of the web.  This is difficult too, thinking about “views” and “tags” and algorithms.  Very frightening.  I see what my artist friends are doing with this, and it can be good.

Yesterday I stumbled on a list of ten things to do to increase views in your Etsy shop.  I have one and have never mentioned it to anyone.  Totally unsuitable for this kind of blowing of one’s own horn, we will give it a try.

One point on list of ten things is to blog.  Well, I have a blog (obviously), and know how to do it.  What a perfect starting point.  Start with what you know.  The genius of the list says to talk about the work, show the space where you make it, all that.


So here is work sitting on pedestals laying on their sides, reaching down the length of the gallery.  At this point, we have one screw in the wall to support hanging for photography.  It does not work for all sizes of this work made from wooden windows.


Above is the gallery space in progress where the ceiling is partially in.  There are five windows, much like the ones from which I am making this work, down both sides.


This piece is called “Green Square” and it is a deep relief projecting from the wall.  To catch the depth, I also catch a part of a window.  It’s always something.


Only the side walls and ceiling on the second story of this barn have sheet rock.  In the front and back there is just space.  You can look down to the first story.  Definitely no parties until Glenn makes his proposed steel banisters.  Glenn had this little bar, and behind it is an old art fair screen from many moons ago.  I love what light does through the slats, but would never hang a work of art on something like this.  This must have been from Glenn’s high school years.


Here is what the front and back walls look like.  Bare.  We are standing in Glenn’s studio looking up at the new gallery space.

Finishing off, here are more views of the piece called “Green Square”.




Aside from the windows, the piece includes a printing block (the green square) a china cup and dowels.  Color exists here in the paint used on the windows in their former life, sanded in places and varnished to keep the history.

And my Etsy shop is .


Things to which I gladly gave my time can barely be accomplished anymore.  Not fair.  Having been so long out of the loop, this WordPress format is even new.  That’s the thing about technology.  It does not stop, and it does not suffer fools.   

My sad story began in April when Microsoft said that it would not support Vista anymore.  Happily running it on an old familiar Dell, I hated to change.  But the “unsupported ” word did not sound good.  And someone told me it had to do with the Target crisis before Christmas.  Maybe it would be unsafe to use my credit card.  Maybe there would be malware hi-jinks in my circuits.  Unwilling to gamble, I bought a new HP Envy.  

I know almost nothing about computers.  But in collecting comments from others, including a Geek Squad employee, it is my judgement that we bought a computer that is too sophisticated for the countryside where we live.  Our signal is just too “limited” (so says the Envy) to do any good most of the time.  Typing now, I am holding my breath.  Who knows how long this window of connection opportunity will go on?  

Our Verizon Mifi has an only weak signal.  Glenn’s older computer uses it just fine.  My computer tries to swallow it, and says “3G? No way!”  We all used 3G in the past.  It was fast and certainly adequate for us.  My Geek Squad friend told me that it would be impossible for him to install Picasa on the new computer.  It would take days: I would have to bring it in.  What?

We tried satellite.  The poor hot man dug six holes around the area of our acreage where there are not trees.  No luck.  We have spent hours on the phone with Verizon.  ATT is not interested in working in our area;  we have no cable service out here.  It seemed our only solution was to buy a 250 dollar signal extender from Verizon which we could only return for TWO WEEKS.  After that, we ate the money.  

The two week interval made us postpone the solution as we had trips to make.  We didn’t want to waste any of our precious testing time with being out of town.  Upon returning, I went to buy the box.  We had been given misinformation, the box only works if you have high speed internet at your house. Catch 22.   

So there we are.  No solution, no fixes.  My friend Helen says that you cannot face to face renew your hair cutting certificate in South Carolina.  It has to be done on-line.  I am sure there are other examples of why a satisfactory internet connection is a human right.  I have heard stories on NPR where in Africa, villagers use their computers, save up their communications somehow, and then a cyclist powering a service device zooms by on the road and collects the waiting data.  Couldn’t we at least have that out here in Orangeburg County, Mr. (YOU LIE!) Joe Wilson??  


We watched “A Beautiful Mind” some weeks ago. I have but a fraction of the mind capacity of that Nobel prize winner; but we share full blown experiences relating to unwanted images trailing around with us. His were a young girl that never grew up and a college roommate, mine is malware wriggling about on my new computer trying to catch my attention. Both experiences are a pain in the ass.

Dr. John Nash was separated from reality by some of the expansion within his mind. I am separated from reality because as an immigrant to the digital age, and cannot figure out my new computer. Oh, I could do it with my old Dell and the familiar Windows XP. Now I see window battles between dark vibrating updates and my virus protector. I become powerless and cannot type. They trade headlines. Big red warnings cover the screen for minutes. I cannot think where to minimize these soldiers. Before figuring out this duel, these damned updates watched me and lured me places because of my ignorance. I remember John Nash asking a student exiting his classroom if she saw two people standing behind him. He, of course, did see them. She giggled and said that she did not, as if she could not imagine such a scenario. Poor man, what a way to have to live.

But look here; this past half hour has been mind-bending. Able to write and edit without losing power and connection? Unbelievable time rewards. But still the war goes on—-Monkey King, Zulilly, Webroot battles them all. As long as it is strong, I may be able to be normal. Sometimes the good prevail.

Now to figure out the differences between good old Picasa and Google Plus. It looks like Internet Explorer cannot display that web page, shit.


Here is an old picture of me usable because it is already in my library. Upcoming, after a tutorial on uploading images, will be our new little Benjamin with hot striped socks like his mother’s mother, Ela.


We have a new baby in our family; he came more than two weeks early. Planners, we were shocked. A FIRST baby?

We also have a new computer (my old one which understood me used now unsupported XP) which is angry with our hot spot.

We tried to engage a satellite service instead of using the hot spot, but after many holes with poles, we have too many trees.

It is raining, and no work can be done on my new commission, 60 miles from here.

One week late with two textiles, my eyes are crossing.

I miss you guys!



Misscommoncents nominated me as a versatile blogger, for which I am very grateful.  This characteristic is antagonistic to being a clear and easy voice on the web. Trying not to be, there is this thing though.  Some idea rises to the top and it will not be discouraged.  Even when there are other seeds of ideas, the purging of the dominant one just must be heard.  Exorcism.

This is my experience in visual art as well.  Often, it wastes a lot of time.

For this award, the obligation is to tell seven things about myself.  Since my writing is all over the place, hence the award, past blog posts might do the trick.

1.  Love art history…otally-the-guy/


2.  My digs are a composition, too.


3.  Love cats.



4.  South Carolina politics are simply absurd.

joe wilson

mark sanford

5.  I have the gene for colon cancer.


6.  Families have “stuff”.


7.  Love to garden.  All the time.


Many thanks for understanding my various interests, Miss Common Cents!


Ms Rosebud, our church friend was on Facebook just when I was finishing a post.  Since she was on the site when my link came up, she knew we were home.  We live a mile from each other, and she is so impressive with her social connections on the web.

Her daughter lives next door to her but the husband answered the phone.  “I am going to see LEE and the URN for the CATS” she reported to him so they would know where she was.  What?  It made no sense.  When she had to repeat the message to her daughter, two of the three main words were beyond understanding  (Lee always sounds like “me”.  “Who is me”?,  people would say on the other end of the phone).

She got her message across and rode over.  We walked around the acreage, slowly.  She is 82.  “I see your tree-pees, your blue bottles, and there are your new kittens (all talked about on the blog)!  I wish you had known that Ms Modele had kittens just a while ago!” “You are supposed to put that stuff on Facebook”, I said, having had found out the fact about the kittens from Ms Modele herself just days ago.

Ms Modele is my oldest and for a long time, only local girlfriend.  She is 96, and for a while last year she had us all scared, but she is great now.  Her friend Barbara drove her out here the other brilliant day.  We sat outside and talked.  We met 27 years ago when she took a class I offered at the arts center.  Daughter Brady was an infant then, stayed on a blanket in the middle of the room as we all made quilts.

When Garrett said he wanted to go to church, it was Modele’s church we chose.  Because of her.  Modele and Barbara came by after they had gone picking pears.  They gave us some.  There is a tree near here, somebody owns that land, but for sure I do not know who.  A long bamboo cane is left in the tree for all who come by to knock down some pears.  You put it back, and it is there for the next guy.  These pears taste like something you never found in a can.  They are huge and irregular, and do not last long.

But I digress.  We finally made it out to the urn in the barn, still on the workbench, ready to be shipped.  “It looks just like it did on Facebook”, Ms Rosebud said.  We talked about the woman who commissioned it, who is also from around here.  And then cancer.  We agreed:  everybody has a cancer chapter in their lives.  Up to you how you deal with it.  Making an urn for yourself is one tool.

We showed her the outdoor shower, on the bedroom side of the house towards where our preacher lives.  You can’t really see his house; we are protected.  So is he.  Ms. Rosebud said about our old farmhouse then, “We used to work in the field across from where this house used to be, where the pine trees are now.  Back when you moved the house to here, I could not imagine what in the world happened to this house”!  “How did you find out about the house?”, I said.  “Modele told me”, she said.  Modele had an uncle who lived in this house for a time, and Ms. Rosebud knew others.  I met one couple after the house was just moved.  They were in their nineties, and their daughter brought them here.  Good thing we only moved it three miles.  It belongs in this community, named Pine Hill.

1-rosebud's bottle tree

Ms Rosebud is interested in all the creative stuff we do around here.  I was thrilled when she told me that she found some blue beer bottles and started her own bottle tree.

If you want to read about the urn and the cats, click on the words below,  A TALE OF TWO KITTIES.


Don’t wander into a place about which you know nothing, I said to me.  And if this place about which you know nothing is a source of satisfaction, don’t think about money.  Money taints most things.  And is not pure.

(I am having trouble realizing that the money I earn from being old is enough.  The impulse to make art and sell art seems to be meaningless now, after extended examination by moi.   A piece or two once in a while is just fine.  No sense to structure my life around selling.   Keep stashing your money in the Caymans, Mitt, make more.  You are paying for me, I know.)

1-pics from garrett's camera, glenn and lee 332

Having readers of my posts is exciting.  And more is more, right?  Therein lies the flaw in my thinking.  My daughter ( upgraded me to  Found a coupon to have the designation for a year for free.  You get what you pay for!  I used to own that name, then let it go, and no one else picked it up.  There is another Lee Malerich, married into the family.  Synthetic.

(We did this on the prospect of getting ads on my blog, like she does.  She makes money over there at brannyboilsover, and I stupidly thought it was a good idea for me.  Another example on the ledger side of my being particularly unable to translate anything into money.  My blog couldn’t have been rejected any quicker than it was.)

1-pics from garrett's camera, glenn and lee 306

Blogging for those defined as being in their prime, not passe, is something quite different than my understanding about what writing is.   Wordy, and wanting to create a composition of an essay sort, this blog is not targeted enough.  Not tight.  For sure.  Understand why the blog was rejected.

(So what was my response to these facts?  I could not write.  If the passion doesn’t bubble up, the words don’t come.  And another thing.  My muse, my seventeen year old Mouse walked away into the woods to die more than ten days ago.  Could not write about it until fairly sure this is what she did.  Although I still look to see her walking down the long drive.)


Dragging your damn self into your creative act never gets you ads.  What was I thinking?


And what exactly ARE the new tricks?

Flo, my daughter's child, sniffing out some new information.
Flo, my daughter’s child, sniffing out some new information.

I started writing here about a year ago because my husband was interested in laying out some money for a web site.  Wondering if that could be created here (it wasn’t), and living in the world where a presence on the web seems to be totally necessary, I kept writing.  The writing got broad, not just about his art or about my art, but about the environment in which we make art.

Mostly my friends read this, and I love that.  Some others have become friends.  My daughter, a food blogger just went to Atlanta last weekend for two days to spend time with other food blogging friends that she has come to know.  It is huge to find fellow travelers from an almost unlimited pool.  We could not do these things years ago.  I love that.

So, I must admit to being a baby boomer.  My brain is not wired like the brain of my millennial daughter.  But I see stuff and hear stuff.  Just listened to two interviews on NPR praising mentoring, social networking, HAVING A PRESENCE ON THE WEB, yadda, yadda.  Sometimes I tell my daughter that this seems like  a house of cards.

In regards to trying to get more viewers to my blog, the most often repeated advice is to visit other blogs and comment.  I have looked at posts with all kinds of advertising up the side, with a grid at the bottom saying “400 bloggers like this post”, and the post is ONE picture of something.  What does that mean?

Does it mean that this person long ago has established so much credibility on her subject that this one picture represents her expertise in this field, and all these 400 people need to do is see it to become inspired?  I don’t have the time to do the front end research to figure that out.  Or does it mean that these 400 bloggers know that all you have to do is “like” something, and they will “like” you back and that is how business is done?  What business?  Does the emperor have clothes?

Or are we boomers not streamlined enough?  I want to create content, but I am not sure that content is what blogging is about for many.  What IS it about?

I can safely say that I have not earned one penny with my art in this last year that had anything to do with my presence on the web.  Nor has my husband, and of course, we both have earned money.  Why do I need a presence on it then?

Most of the blogged things on the web are so superficial.  Experts tell businesses that they need to be “liked” on Facebook.  I get that—your messages go out to people who “like” you.  Or it used to be that way.  Now I am not sure.  Facebook has changed.

I watched an acquaintance, a person who I have done business with, who is a friend on Facebook, make an attempt to keep her business going and perhaps transition to this new norm.  I have not spoken with her about this, these are my observances through Facebook interaction.

I believe that she had a primary goal of getting 500 people to” like” her.  She wrote about her business, the philosophy of her business, the origins of this type of business.  All very interesting to me. I loved reading her thoughts.  After a while, I thought maybe Facebook was not the correct venue for this.  She should be blogging.

She made many appeals to be “liked” for her business over several months.  She also began talking also about acting, her childhood memories.  Lots of stuff I thought very interesting.  Once she talked about why she loved getting up and going to work every morning.

And then BAMMM!  Business closed, building for sale or rent.  What happened?  How did I miss this?

What I mean to say is:  is content and wanting to write 500 words too much?  Is it too personal?  Is it navel gazing?  What am I not getting here?  Any comments would be appreciated!

Another person follows me that I wonder about.  He is a writer.  He has been following me for a while.  I think he said once that he was born in 1990. He gives advice to bloggers and self-publishes books.  He facilitates amazing conversations at the ends of his posts where many contribute.  He says to “like” and make pertinent comments on blogs.  He says to blog for a year before you judge yourself.   He has even found his way to a small second blog that I created which is simply pictures of my art.  How did he find that space?  Does he “like” the whole world, and through examining that set, manage to get a number of ardent followers?

If anybody can enlighten or add information, please do.