Keirartworks's Blog

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The trembling flowers of spring

A chickadee nests under the inside eave of the porch, which of course gentles the way I open and close my front door.  I hope to make friends with this family so that the anxiousness at comings and goings subsides for all concerned.  In any case, a new series of daily negotiations has begun.  I consider the exclusive use of my back door.

Flowers bloom trembling, huddled close to the April ground in the yard, in the garden that is choked with goutweed.  The garden that is soon to be dug out with great effort, lined with old carpet, and replenished with new soil, sans goutweed root.  The roses, delphiniums, peonies, holly, coneflower, clematis and rose of sharon will all be temporarily potted – bewildered, no doubt, to be sitting in my driveway.  More gentle negotiations.

Mice in my kitchen – alarmingly unafraid of me – all of whom I will need to kill (not gentle).  A cupboard door has come off it’s old hinges, the de-humidifiers now need daily emptying, storm windows will trade places with front porch chairs.  All of this is comforting, in between the soul-searching and the interminable litigious trials that all leave me feeling quite fragile.  I have the day off from school.

I read, I putter, I sleep, wake, read, write…

the flags in february, laid out to be sewn

a 21-line prayer poem, 7 from a child, 7 a young woman, 7 an elder one.  each will be sewn onto an embroidered, hand-printed windhorse prayer flag.  Reds and oranges.  Yellows and greens.  Blues and purples.


I glue swarovsky crystals onto hand-made square nails, then bind those onto stretched batik fabric with coloured thread.  I sew my wedding ring there too – pulled by red threads from all directions.  I realize I want to sew it into almost-invisibility.  Add a piece of my old sloppy shirt, stone beads, glass beads to form the shape of a hand out of fairy tale.  Red, blue, yellow and green at the tip of each sparkling finger.

The under-narrative of women’s work runs deep.  I think of this as I find myself counting each stitch aloud.


It will all take longer

delays upon delays

upon denial upon fear

upon betrayals that mutter their toxic deep

deep deep in old wounds.

I do not think it’s about me any more.

Was it ever.

It’s about the planets turning

the seasons, the wheel, the fool, who,

blithely unaware of his purpose,

strolls smiling the ever-moment.

Likely a chronic pot-smoker, that fool.

August 18, 2016/April 19, 2017



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Sunday Morning

While Barak Obama was aging rapidly in the effort to deflect the great toxic nastiness of the 2012 US election and (hopefully!) emerge as President with some vestiges of grace, I was building, making, taking apart and putting together, writing and re-writing new art equations in my studio.

this fall’s colour & flashes of sunlight gathered into a neck-and-chest warmer

Through Hurricane Sandy and my dad’s 80th birthday (same day), the arguments over Canada’s Secret Contract negotiations with China and the US Election I’d cleared and cleaned the entire place of all ‘deadweight’ (save for three areas, one of which I’m still tackling – the two-foot-tall stack of chamber music inherited from 5 different mentors over the years, which has been mostly useless to anyone until now).

I gave away old paintings & illustrations or destroyed them, I inventoried the raw materials I have to work with (considerable), I fixed the sewing machine, and mentally catalogued my modest but inspiring stash of fabric – colours like food.

to me, a table full of potential. To the Cat who lives in the building (Toulouse Lautrec), a table full of toys.

I threw out hardened tubes of paint (there were two), moved furniture, re-wired the electronics, fed the plants, ripped out old upholstery, brought out all the drawing materials to a place where they can be used and replenished if need be.

I love order & structure & spectra.

I played music.  I mean, played.  This is different from a regimen of practise, even if you cover exactly the same ground.

I walked a marvelous dog to places neither of us had been, over two days.  She is an incredible communicator.

I bought an omnibus and found a certain dark resonance inside, screwed in things and screwed out things, I drove, I passengered, I observed, I obtused, I gave myself full permission to be utterly, functionally stupid.

I may have said things I shouldn’t, but only among good friends.  I probably should have said more, but I didn’t.

While I was doing this I rehearsed and taught and rehearsed and scheduled, and performed with varying degrees of accomplishment.  The Owen Sound Attack won a game against Barrie – yay, underdog!.  My dear friends cooked up a new good idea, that will permit release from old tired things – long time coming.  My daughter was accepted into the Rotary exchange for 2012-13, my sister blossomed some more, my friend made better friends with his own deep anxiety.

I sifted through the mountain of poppy-seed and sand, and from it made other piles that can now be useful.

2012, house.
by Dominie McGruer

I began seven blog posts and trashed each one because they were dull.   Whoever reads this deserves better.

I fought a war with my own pressurized, inherited idea of what I should be and do, and I won.  So far.

Now here I am, on the other side of this stuff, this hard working stuff, and bless me, but I have nothing to say that has any weight whatsoever.

Toulouse on the studio couch, waiting to play.

I’m so happy to know that I don’t have anything even resembling an edge on wisdom.

mid south window, studio.  Boxes with Rosin & phone cord in by Dave Ma.

Thanks for reading this.  Feel free to join me in the new series of experiments.


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Friday Morning list

Seems this is now a Friday morning ritual.


1. figure out a way to sincerely compliment at least two of the most difficult people in my life.

2. find astonishment somewhere, try to articulate it.

3. daily ritual -clean at least one neglected thing.

4. admit to 3 colossally dumb things I’ve done in the last month & laugh.

5. sew something. plant something.  sing something.

6. throw paint at the wall.

7. meet all contractual commitments; gracefully decline new ones I can’t serve well.

8. finish at least one long-awaited, loving letter and send.

9. play cello.

10. be well.

feel free to add more

My astonishing husband and our friend Patrick lay slate today at our house. 500sq feet laid, 500 to go.