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Sextant. Marsden Hartley.

If a Clear Delight Visits You: Marsden Hartley, Modernist Painter and Poet

Sextant.  Marsden Hartley.
Sextant(c. 1917) by Marsden Hartley. Oil on Panel. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Wayne Stratz

Another photo from my and Stratoz’s trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum, of Marsden Hartley’s Sextant. I knew Hartley’s name, but as as poet, not a painter, from my days of writing poetry and going to school for an MFA.   The sextant reminded me of Stratoz’s drafting tools, many of which came from his father, a draftsman(who learned Autocad in his 60’s so he could keep working), especially the compass.  Both a sextant and a compass have a moveable limb, and can measure angles, though sextants are for navigation, and compasses for drawing, but both are a way of finding our way and knowing the world.  Stratoz made a video of his doodling, which starts with a compass.  His stained glass arose from a desire to take his doodles and incarnate them in glass.   I love watching Stratoz draw, as he spins the paper, and the lines blossom.


Here is a poem by Marsden Hartley, which originally appeared in Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1920.

To C——
By Marsden Hartley
From “Sunlight Persuasions”
IF a clear delight visits you
Of an uncertain afternoon,
When you thought the time
For new delights was over for that day,
Say to yourself, who rule many a lost         5
Moment in this shadowy domain,
Saving it from its dusty grey perdition,
Say to yourself that is a flash
Of lightning from a so affectionate west,
Where the clear sky, that you know, resides.         10
The rainbow has crossed the desert once again.
I took the blade of bliss and notched it
In a roseate place.
It shed a crimson stream—
That was our flush of joy.         15

They will come

In the way they always come,
Swinging gilded fancies round your head.
So it is with surfaces.
They will walk around you         20
Strip branches of their blooms for you—
Young carpets for young ways.
With me it is different.
Stars, when they strike         25
Edge to edge,
Make fierce resplendent fire.
I have lived with bright stone,
Burned like carnelian in the sun,
Myself;         30
Myself seen branches wither.
Carbon is a diamond—
It cuts the very crystal from the globe.
You are so beautiful
To listen.         35


Here Kitty By Ivan Chan. Frame by Margaret Almon.

An Awakened Being to Watch over My Studio: Ivan Chan’s Here Kitty

Here Kitty By Ivan Chan. Frame by Margaret Almon.
Here Kitty By Ivan Chan. Frame by Margaret Almon.

I had my first interview on video, with Rachel of Square Peg Artery and Salvage in Philadelphia.  We filmed in my studio, and Rachel had a calming effect on me, since being videotaped made me nervous.  Rachel asked me what artists I would tell others to “google” and why.   One of the artists that I mention in the interview is Ivan Chan, and a print of his fingerpainting “Here Kitty” watches over my studio and glimpses of it are in the video.  The colors in Ivan’s art are full of spirit and intensity, and his tagline is “Invite Beauty” which I love as a motto to live by.  Ivan has been going through the process of becoming a therapist, and I believe he will be a fine one, with his eye for beauty in life, and powers of observation.  I made a frame for this Kitty icon, which Ivan describes as an awakened being, a Buddha disguised as a cat, in all my favorite orange glass to catch the light.

Watching the Square Peg interview was uncomfortable for me, since I feel awkward being on camera, but I was honored to have the chance to share my art and my creative passions, and support Square Peg, which has been a great supporter of my work.  What artists would you tell others to look up on google?



The Nutmeg Designs YouTube Channel: Mosaics and Stained Glass in Motion

In our partnership of marriage and craft, it is good that one of us has some geek talent, and that Stratoz puts it to such good use.  Over Memorial Day weekend he took on iMovie and made 4 videos about our art, and created the Nutmeg Designs YouTube Channel.  I admire Stratoz’s ability to learn by doing, to fully immerse himself in the process.  He’s already thinking in video, imagining what would be brought to life with motion, sound, and jazz.  My friend the “Grout Monster“, Joanne Leva, came over for a grout session, and here are the results of Stratoz’s handiwork(as well as Joanne’s and my hands!)

The latest Nutmeg Designs Production is a cool stop-motion-like chronicle of one of Stratoz’s mosaics. Yes, he mosaics. He is multi-talented! At first, I felt a twinge of protectiveness of my identity as the Mosaic Artist, but it’s fascinating to watch people at craft shows, as they hone in on the ones he’s made, and say that they are definitely made by someone else. His style is all his own, and I love how they incarnate his doodling designs. I do get covetous of his ease of grouting, with the sleek surfaces and larger pieces! Check out his Kurt Elling Sings Joe Jackson as a Mandala Comes into Being:

The Fruits of the Spirit: A Commission for a Wall of Mosaic

Joy Sign Mosaic on Slate

In March of 2011, Stratoz and I received our biggest commission yet.  Our friends Gary and Suzanne Halstead had a wall in their yard, overlooking the labyrinth they created.  The space was host to retreats and labyrinth walkers, and Suzanne had a vision of the wall mosaiced in the style of our Nutmeg Designs’ signs, in the qualities of the Holy Spirit:  Joy, Love, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Self-Control and Faithfulness.

We were honored to be asked to create these words in mosaic.  I remember being in Sunday School in the 7th grade, at Edmonton Moravian church, and studying the fruits of the spirit, from the passage in Galatians 5:22.  In true Sunday School style, the lesson included an exercise in creating a mobile out of paper, a different fruit shape for each quality.  Over the course of the week, I felt compelled to recreate the shapes out of scraps of fabric(the 70’s were good for polyester double knit, which didn’t ravel), hand stitched together, and stuffed with cotton batting.  Bringing the mobile to class the following Sunday, I felt conspicuous, and felt embarrassed by my excess, and yet I loved the soft forms, and still have them in my memorabilia.

Stratoz began the project by designing and cutting out the letters for Faithfulness.  He was going to start with “Joy” but Faithfulness gives us a running start with many more letters!  I will be gluing the letters down and mosaicing around them, and I can freely give myself to this big, bold, colorful incarnation of the Fruit of the Spirit, with abandon!

Here is a video by Stratoz introducing Faithfulness:


Over at Stratoz:  Scraps of Faithfulness:  Doodling