Thursday, November 29, 2007


Cucamonga. I haven't said it in a long time and thought I should.

It's the name of a California town that always reminded me of calls we had to each other as children. Meant to be mysterious and Native American-like as we crept around the swamp and palmettos that surrounded the house. All of us had our own particular signal. Megaline's was 'E-awk-kee', Tootie Middlebrook and my sister Lynda's signal changed depending on how drunk they were on Silly that particular day - the more dumb and doofus, the better. Bobby and Billy Tilly's sounded an awful lot like farts and burps, but we ignored them. Their red orange hair made it pretty plain where they were amongst all the green without a call. Mine was "Cucamonga".

I know I must have heard it somewhere, but it became my talisman against all things dangerous and nefarious when I was very young. It also reflected surprize and angst as in, "Your mama is whistling for you!"

"Cucamonga!" I'd say. The child's equivalent of, "Oh, shit!"

Talisman's are very important to us as adults. Many of us college educated and grown up folks don't think we need such things, wouldn't admit it, but almost to the one of us, we have them: Rabbit Feet, a lucky coin, our daddy's sweater or our granny's afghan, we're all attached to something physical as a shield Against IT at some point in our lives.

That's why I took to making Fetish Dresses for friends and special occasions. I start with a Dolly Dress (* see explanation below) and then decorate the hem or edges or seams or somewhere with fetish charms. As I make the dress and string the charms, I think about the person who will be wearing it and what I want for them. I want protection, a sense of specialness, health and security, full bank accounts, and mostly just love. Lest the men in my life felt left out, I've made Fetish Shirts, too.

There's a sort of alpha state that I get into as I work and bead and embellish. I often light a candle because I realize that this is a special ritual piece, just as important as any surplice a priest would wear or asfidity and bag a shaman would have. The pieces that go on the fetish are important. After the basic ritual garment is finished I sit in front of all my embellishments in piles of trays around me and think of the person, what they need, what would be most efficacious to them. The resultant choice often looks like there's positively NO rhyme or reason, but I know that there is.

I start beading and they just fall into place, making sense as they are placed next to each other like a sentence in a long paragraph. This works with an unknown person as well, when I'm just 'called' to make a piece and put it out THERE.

I've had people run across a lot crying with outstretched arms as if seeing a lost child or parent. They go straight up to the dress, remove it from the hangar and clutch it as if someone else might try to take it. This happened at a benefit art sale for a local feminist book store. "Her" story was that she was to go home and would see the father who sexually abused her for years. She was to testify at his trial for molesting another child. She had 'asked' for a special something to protect her when in his presence in the courtroom so that she could tell him and the world how he had damaged her life and sense of innocence. She didn't find it in a department store and she'd looked.

Her Fetish Dress was a serene peacock blue linen with handmade Celtic Runes sewn and painted on it around the hem. I used: FEOH- Protection, to hasten all affairs to their next stage; ANSUR- Education, communication, writing and debate; RAD -Safety in travel; KEN -Physical well being, confidence; JARA- Help in legal matters, YR- Protection, to remove obstacles, PEORTH- Legacies, finding lost things; EOLH- Protection against the evil thoughts of others; SIGEL - Health, physical strength and self-confidence, clear thinking; BEORC- Domestic, family; TIR -Recuperation, healing, victory; ENG -Successful completion; DAEG- Growth. Of course it was HER dress!

Now there is this new one for Tary Peace's birthday. She almost didn't get it because I lost her measurements and had to cut it from memory. When she finally got them for me, the dress was a done deal and I used them to check it. I was pretty close. I took two days to choose her talismans and bead it - I have to be in the right place to work on it.

What you're seeing above is the finished work. Even though she's a water sign, her soul is like fire. I thought that the one picture I took below expressed this best. I discovered on this particular blog that the fetishes don't like to be photographed. The last shot is what happened when I tried to clean them up. I feel like I'm getting the 'call' to make five more!! If it's you, could you please let me know your bust/waist/hip measurements and your height? It will help.

(Note* The name Dolly Dress is what I call the very free flowing, draping dresses with odd hems and gores, I've made for almost 30 years. They came from a dream I had where I was Dolly Parton in a room full to the walls with dresses of the most beautiful colors and fabrics. My Dark Man applauded approval in the dream, so I started making them. Women love them. Men think they're sexy because they just slip over the curves of a woman like a whisper.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Are you expanded enough from dinners today? Are leftovers haunting your refrigerators -- and your thighs? I was extra good today. Just ate fixings and extras and Martha and Jim Marshall's house - no turkey and no pie. I had several invitations, as I'm such a Queen of a guest, thank you for friends!

The holidays brought out the best and the worst in people, as usual. Back in my younger days, I worked in some high-toned restaurants. Easy money, no work to bring home. We always said that holidays and full moons were when all the crazies came out. This year, both almost coincided.

I witnessed two blow outs - one when a poor old woman with paranoid schizophrenia started a rucus at the supermarket. The staff was chasing her aroung a shopping cart. And the crowded store was not condusive to a road race.

This evening, on the road in front of my home, a couple got out of their vehicle to have a domestic. It escalated. I dialed 911 because the word 'kill' was mentioned a number of times punctuating the curses. They rolled off before the Sheriff got here. So much for good will toward (wo)man.

ATCs are doing well on eBay considering that I've kept my art separate from my eBay business. I want to start listing them here as well. There are just a few of the Flasher Series left that didn't sell or trade at the Gala Show. We had lots of traffic at the gallery. The two fire marshalls conservatively estimated a turnout on opening night of around 5,000 people. I stayed out front and attached straps to everyone of age and took donations at one of the two front entrances.

I have some new art projects in the works. Also found some of the old writing from contributors to the Deepwater Journal piled in a box. Have promises of brand new writings from some of my 'children' yet to appear. I've gotten lazy about showing off art and words. Maybe I'll hit up some of my artist friends for something new.

Dina Kerik. Mood: Digestive

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Coon Children

The burble of fuzz you see above are various parts of three infant raccoons I rescued from the side of the road. They were camouflaged so well that only my sixth sense told me to back up and check the overturned cardboard box. They had been dumped this evening. Why would any fool think that three coon babies were capable of getting up, fixing themselves a steak and going on about life without a mother is beyond comprehension.

I'd been at Martha's all day putting together ATCs to list for sale. We really worked an eleven hour day and I was ramped up to getting something done when I got home. Instead, these fuzzy children have become my wards and my job for the evening. I called M to let her know that I got home, thank her for the day and to tell her about my roadside acquisition. M sez, "Call a wildlife rescue or you'll have three more mouths to feed."

See. Martha knows about my penchant for feeding every stray that comes along - two AND four legged. They all come. She knows that I have this invisible symbol stamped in my aura with, "I WILL" gathered in fluted script all around me. And you already know that I feed a menagerie, including two cats, assorted adult raccoons, possums and various birds right here on the porch and yard of Dog Patch if you've been a reader. What I haven't had time to mention is that someone else dumped a beautiful Himalayan male cat in front of my property and I've been feeding him for about a week. I need to figure out what to do with him. And now these coon children come.

After going on line to a veterinary college, determining their ages from a measurement chart and reading the extent of specialized care that they would take, including tube hydration and emergency feeding, I felt the best I could offer them was a towel laden bed to snuggle into for a safe night until tomorrow comes and a specialist could take over. They were not interested in organic soy milk - my only subtitute on hand in lieu of mother's milk.

George the cat needed an explanation and is taking it pretty calmly after I let her check them out and told her that it was strictly a temporary situation. I called every facility that I could think of, including the Sheriff's Office. I got two return calls that both promised to take them in the morning. So. Here they'll stay until then. Just in case you think I don't do my share, I end with a picture of one of the coons I feed regularly on the porch. That's my toe. He doesn't care.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Opening night. Over 5,000 people showed up to look, shmooz, buy art, eat, drink and just be there. Thank Goddess that there's only one opening night! I worked one of the front doors taking donations, slipping on pink and yellow wrist bands and giving directions to the bano, "Ou'est dans la salle de toilets, ya'll?" (First wooden door on the left, ladies; Second door, gents).

Friends came. I hugged them over the counter. Some stayed for a bit with me. If they went inside, I never saw them again. I was supposed to work one hour and ended up doing at least 5. I'm not complaining, mind you - I'm glad that the show was a success and they definitely needed help!!

I would definitely do it again if they'll have me back and judge me in next year. But when I got home at 2:00 last night, I fell into bed and slept for 14 hours - right through the artists' luncheon today!

All of this has been said with a smug, self-satisfied smile!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Gala Press Night

So. I am recuperating from the last months frenzy of preparation. Still not settled back in my skin. I imagine that it will take me some time to regroup. But tonight was wonderful!! Gala held the private press party along with a private viewing for our site sponsors' circle of friends. Hard to tell who were the doctors and who was press. Most of the artists were recognizable. We have that certain elan, don't you know. Besides. I wore my high top PF Fliers.

I have found some kindred souls there. Their art is so cogent to me that I cannot ignore them. You already know that I'm in love with Martha Brooks Marshall's art and sally forth merrily anytime I can cheerlead her on. Her paintings are just flat world-class good.

Another artist I have a creative crush on is Apatx Latorre. Besides being a spiritually kindred soul, he has a painting called "The River" which is so close to my visual view of the universe, is so rich in metaphor and technique, that I would own it if I could! Oh for all the money in China!! Martha says he's Gustav Klimpt on steroids! I will ask his permission to show it here, but not before he says so. That you have not heard of him yet is just because he's been busy doing life and travel as he sees it. That he's exotically gorgeous AND loves his family devotedly has earned him heart space with me. I will shamelessly promote him as I do me some Martha. He's that good!

Steve Sperry is another artist just discovered. I like his quirky style that's so reminiscent of fractal art. He's got a fractured sense of humor and a boy-next-door charm in a craggy sort of way. You want to bake him cookies and slap him around when he does dumb stuff. And he cleans up nicely!

Cathey Conte follows the legacy of art in a dynasty started by her mother Margaret Conte. Cathey's photos are just microcosmic. And. I WILL own some of Candace Knapp's pieces!

There were several others at the show who awed me. I intend to cultivate them and just hang, hoping to absorb some of their goody. I am humbled to be counted among such incredibly talented people. If you're in the Tampa area, get your butt down to 3965 Henderson Blvd and partake. This is a huge happening and a movement. I love my place in the back of the wagon!

Opening is tomorrow night, Friday from 7 until 1:00 and they have an open bar, incredible fashion show/living sculpture, DJ's playing in 2 rooms, food, an enormous floor space and will also donate to the Humane Society. You really didn't want to go clubbing tomorrow anyway, did you??
(The picture is of me peeping behing Lotus Robe, one of 4 I installed in the show.)