Knitting my way through 2020

A few of my recent Fair Isle knitting projects.

I’ve been knitting, knitting, knitting as a way to weather the storms of this crazy year. Pictured here are a few Fair Isle projects I completed between October 20th and December 3rd. I’ve also knit a sweater, caps, and a bunch of wrist warmers this year. I think, daydream and muse while I knit. During these last few weeks of 2020, I’m also feeling in my gut that the new year will see me experiencing a resurgence of art making energy and inspiration. The fallow period of most of this year will soon be coming to an end. I can feel it. I have a new, spacious home studio and the time will be ripe to start printing again as best I can without an etching press. Of course, I can hardly wait, as well, until I’m able to return to printing sessions in my friend Darlene’s studio at The Button Factory here in Portsmouth. Meanwhile I knit, knit, knit.

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Seeds of creativity are being planted

It is hard to believe three months have passed since I last wrote a post on my website.

What a wild ride 2020 has been thus far!

For the past five years or so, my rhythm has been to take a break from printing in July and August and restore my creative juices. Three years ago I spent two weeks at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine, creatively immersed, learning how to handbuild figures in clay. 

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts’s Ceramics Studio (August 2017).

Last year, I spent one weekend at Arundel Farm Gallery near Kennebunk, Maine, learning how to make white line woodblock prints. 

Workshop at Arundel Farm Gallery (July 2019).

This year has been an entirely different story.

In February I learned the two spots on the skin of my nose, which seemed not to heal, were cancer. Around this same time the COVID-19 pandemic erupted. In early March, I had the cancer spots surgically removed and received a clean bill of health. At this same time, my husband and I also were in the early throes of following COVID-19 precautions — self-isolating, wearing masks and social distancing — as were millions of people around the world.

In June, my husband and I learned the property on which our beautiful apartment of eight years was located had been put on the market. In July, we began looking for a new home. Two weeks ago, in mid-August, we moved to a new home in Portsmouth. Yes, amazing. Lots of support from family and friends. The stars were definitely in alignment. 

My desire and energy to create has been at a low this year which I have not felt for more than 20 years. It seems the craziness of these times — nationally and internationally — and added stresses in my personal life have done a fine job of zapping my creative juices. Still, I continue to put one foot in front of the other: reading, knitting. This post is the most writing I’ve done in months. It’s the best I can do. I’m unpacking lots of boxes, settling into our beautiful new home. Not major creative activity. Still, certainly meditative. 

Last photo of our “girls” shortly before moving to our new home in Portsmouth.

I know the seeds of creativity are being planted this year. I have no idea when and how these seeds will sprout and bloom.

Stay tuned.

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Making is meditative

Noodling in my sketchbook, knitting, reading, walking and taking drives along Route 1A with a view of the Atlantic Ocean soothe my soul during these troubling times in our country and the world.

Noodling around in my sketchbook (May 23, 2020)

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A deep yearning …

Quiet Freedom (2007) Color monotype on BFK Rives (White) paper.

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Change is in the air

I seem to have no interest in making visual art at this point in time with COVID-19 safety measures sapping spontaneity. I depend on spontaneity to keep my creative juices flowing. Ideas keep popping up yet I lack the energy to bring these ideas to life. This, too, shall pass. Still, I have been and continue to be knitting up a storm, more than usual. It seems all I want to do is knit and read.

Katie’s Kep pattern hand knit in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (April 2020)

Just finished knitting “Katie’s Kep” (above) designed by Wilma Malcolmson for Shetland Wool Week 2020 (cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Such fun and so beautiful! Knitting is relaxing, meditative and rhythmic. Making visual art is relaxing, meditative, rhythmic. This year I’m knitting lots of Fair Isle and colorwork patterns using 100% Shetland wool. Totally absorbing. I love it!

This week I came across a photo (below) of some hand built clay pieces I made at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.

Clay sculptures hand built in Deer Isle, Maine (August 2017)

Interestingly enough, the colors in my first Katie’s Kep are similar to those in the clay pieces I made three years ago.

One day at a time. Stay tuned.



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This year it’s all about process

As yet untitled white line linoleum block

This week’s experiments in the studio involve printing a linoleum block (unframed) which I carved using the white line technique. I’m playing around with a different papers (BFK Rives and Hahnemuhle Copperplate), different printing tools (etching press, brayer and Japanese baren), and different colors (Hansa Yellow, Scarlet Red and Ultramarine Blue). All colors are Akua Intaglio Water-Based inks. Each print is 10″ H x 8″ W. I love the process of printmaking as much as (and often even more than) the finished print. Being totally in The Zone is always one of the best feelings ever. Working in a medium I’ve not touched for many years makes being in The Zone sweeter still.

Prints from untitled white line linoleum block made thus far this week

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New year, new writing project

Today the classified ad I placed in the “Antiques and Collectibles” section of Minnesota’s Star Tribune newspaper was published. This ad will continue in the print edition for two more days and in the online edition for six more days.

Seeking information about oil on canvas portraits painted in or near St. Paul by my grandfather, Carl Van Buskirk (1886-1930), during an extended 1923 to 1925. Family records indicate approximately 40 portraits were painted . Reply via email to .

A seed has been planted. Am hoping something will sprout.


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Early Winter

Early Winter actually is a vertical color monotype which sold several years ago. Still, I love this piece and have been playing around with seeing what it looks like horizontally and upside down and turned around. I’m thrilled to see Early Winter looks wonderful every which way!

Early Winter (2014). Color monotype. Private Collection.

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Autumn is my favorite season and it shows

Stunningly beautiful autumn colors are reflected in the fun I’m having making collages this week.

As yet untitled collage: Monotype and watercolor on paper.

As yet untitled collage: Paper embossed with crocheted flowers, monotype
and watercolor on paper.

Autumn leaves blanketing The Button Factory in Portsmouth today are inspiring.

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Printing with the white line woodblock technique

Making my first white line woodblock print at Arundel Farm Gallery

Earlier this week I returned home from a long weekend in Maine which included a stay and workshop at Arundel Farm Gallery near Kennebunkport. The workshop, “White Line Woodblock Printmaking,” was taught by Lisa Houck whose 40 year career as an artist includes working in a variety of media. My entire experience was absolutely wonderful and guess what? I had the same feeling while making my first white line woodcut print that I had when I made my first monotype: LOVE. I can hardly wait to see how my next series develops using the white line woodblock printmaking technique. Stay tuned.

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