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Crossed Letters

claudia me letters comp

It started with an exchange of comments on Claudia McGill’s post of September 29, “Handwritten Postcards”:
K:  The loose graphics are very appealing. especially the woven look of the top two.
C:  Thank you. I read about how in the past, to save paper, people would reuse letters written to them and cross the previous lines. A little hard to read but very effective use of resources, I always thought, and I really enjoy the tangled patterns you can make doing this as in this postcard you mention. Try it, you will enjoy it, there is something very relaxing about it.
K:  I reuse paper all the time. I hate wasting anything. But the writing over aspect is something to consider…
C:  I’d love to see an example where two different handwritings crossed. Send me a letter and I’ll cross it and send back!

letter claudia s

And so I did.  Claudia sent me two pages of text, along with photos and links to the place that inspired her words, the Dixon Meadow Preserve and Erdenheim Farm.

milkweed s

Her words and photos made me think about my childhood, when even our suburban house was only half a block from woods and meadows and creeks to explore.  We had no devices to keep us indoors, and we went outside at every chance.  It made me think about governments and corporations with seemingly no awareness or memory of being an integral part the natural world.  I wrote about it in a poem and prose rambling over Claudia’s text.

claudia me 1s

I ran the woods too, even in suburbia, there were still open spaces, for butterflies dragonflies tadpoles bees creeks brush meadows woods trees rocks sky prickers blackberries colors and clouds and wind—we ran wild, my mother just told us to be home for dinner, who does that now? They would take your children away from you

The vast blue sky you don’t see in the city in the suburbs it needs open space below and the companionship of trees plants wild things animals and such and such clouds to contemplate I used to lie on my back in the grass and just look at the sky what was I thinking? Maybe thoughts beyond thought before thought now my mind is so busy it never stops to just be and let the world run through like a river like the wind

Milkweed waiting standing in formation sentinels of hope—why are we killing killing killing?—we need the blue sky the green grass the monarch migrating and returning again that circle too many holes now just shot through with holes leaking life but still the sky the stars and moon at night they don’t need us to sing poetry to this world and all the other places that could be points of life of light

No we are not necessary at all in fact we are probably in the way so be grateful give thanks open your heart your eyes

claudia me 2s

Run the woods
opening spaces
tadpoles creeks meadows trees sky–
who does that wild now?

You don’t see
in your house your room
vast blue sky
such and such
companionship and still time
to contemplate clouds…

Thoughts beyond
thought before thinking–
so busy now
let the world
run through like rivers like wind
returning again

me claudia 2s

Claudia wrote one of her wonderful meditations on the details of our lives over my letter and also deconstructed the poem two different ways–I hope she will post all three versions in her post about this project, or, if not, in a future post.  She also, as she is unfailingly generous with her art, sent me 3 text postcards for my own.

postcards comp

Thank you Claudia!  Now I want to do some stitching on/with these crossed letters.  To be continued…

claudia postcard 1s

Because the poems I wrote were shadormas, I’m also connecting to November’s Shadorma Challenge at Along the Interstice.

You can see Claudia’s post about our collaboration, here.

3 1/2 Facts x Two

nk comp 2017

Mek at Work in Progress (10000hoursleft) recently received the One Lovely Blog Award and invited us to also post 7 facts about ourselves (3 1/2 each).  Luckily we each have half a fact that works with the other to make one!

Fact 1:
Kerfe:  I begin every morning with coffee (cream, no sugar) and Brown Cow vanilla yogurt with fresh berries (blue, straw, black or rasp). I like iced coffee in the afternoon and herbal tea before bed.
Nina:  I was skipped twice in elementary school thereby missing the basic facts of mathematics.  To this day I count on my fingers.  I was always the youngest kid in the class and graduated high school at 16.

Fact 2:
Nina:  One of the times I got skipped was (I think) because of a drawing I did of Kate Smith sitting on her moon and singing “when the moon comes over the mountain”.  I wish I still had this drawing and for that matter I wish I had all the drawings I’ve ever done.
Kerfe: I was voted “most artistic girl” in my senior class of high school.  But I really always wanted to be a cheerleader.

Fact 3:
Kerfe:  My first job (after babysitting) was working for my older brother at the University of Maryland, where he was a student employed in the physics lab. I can’t remember how much I made, but they couldn’t find any college students willing to take the job at the salary offered, so it couldn’t have been much. My brother asked me if I would like to try, so I worked on Saturdays during the school year, and during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school. I measured data graphs with an instrument that traced the contours, doing several readings of each to make sure they were correct, and typed punch cards for the computer (this was 1968). We lived in Bowie, Maryland, at the time, which was near the University, but moved out of working range in the middle of my junior year–thus ending my career in science.
Nina:  I’ve been playing the guitar since I was about 12 years old.  That would make it around 56 years of more or less playing the guitar all the time.  I bought a Martin with babysitting money; it’s a small parlor guitar and not worth a lot of money but it’s my favorite possession.  It never goes out of tune.

Fact 1/2 plus 1/2:
Nina:  I received a BFA from the University of Cincinnati in 1969.
Kerfe:  I attended the University of Cincinnati in 1970-71.
I was a student at FIT 1971-73, graduating with an AA in Fashion Design.
Nina:   I received an AA from FIT in 1974.
The universe finally got its timing right around 1975.  We were both employed as textile designers at Fair-tex Mills, Kerfe in knits, and Nina in prints.  A friendship was born!


Our Wordpress avatar, above, which you may recognize, was put together from drawings we did of each other in 1978 (Kerfe by Nina on the left, and Nina by Kerfe on the right).  The drawings that start this post are our 2017 updates, 40 years later.  We look just the same, right? (or maybe even better).

Another Question (K)

another question cloud art s

another question magnetic

Nina and I alternated lines in our consultation with the Magnetic Oracle this week.  My art is a monoprint on rice paper with tissue paper “glued” into some of the paint–I used it quite liberally for this one.

another question cloud art close up s

Why listen to rain?
relax beneath wet nature
here soon long peace
gentle clouds will breathe

We have a sunny cool day here in NYC…hope you are relaxing, rain or shine.

May 2017 – Issue 30

Pleased to have my art paired with the poetry of Devon Balwit in this issue of “the light ekphrastic”. Devon found a whole new world in my collage.

the light ekphrastic

We are pleased to share the work of the following artists and writers in the 30th issue of The Light Ekphrastic:

Devon Balwit – Blessing; magic (poetry)

Edward Doyle-GillespieWrecker’s Cove; Socorro Prophesy (poetry)

Robbi NesterThe Lives of a River; War Rug (poetry)

Cara OberMeshuggeneh, This Train Don’t Stop (artwork)

Kerfe Roig – Blessing; magic (artwork)

Magan Ruthke Wisdom in the Missouri; Hand-Woven in Afghanistan (artwork)

Crystal SnoddonLay Full and Sleeping; Garage Diagnosis (poetry)

Simon J. Ward The Memory; An Atmospheric Railway (poetry)

Mychael ZulaufFrail Forms; he returns with fire (music)

LuAnn ZubakLost; Untitled (artwork)

Contributor Bios





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Feel Gardens

feel gardens art s

feel gardens

Nina and I consulted with the Magnetic Poetry Oracle way back in February for this one.  I’ve been working on this illustration for a long time, but my stitching is always slow.

Cover cold wind
feel gardens
follow bright stones
behold harmony
breathe wild blooms
of secret sanctuary
listen to
the beautiful song

 Nina has a completely different interpretation for our collaborative verse which she will be posting today as well.

Been Quiet/Magnetic Poetry Saturday

Our weekly collaboration which almost reads like a letter we would write to each other. Just waiting for spring, for birdsong, for hope. 

Peace Renga


Clear crystal dew drops
cascade from weeping willows
filling the Koi pond

iridescent circles grow
a frog drinks the falling tears

orbiting beyond
earthbound sorrow, birds call souls
to return to air

Poets in order of stanza appearance: M. Zane McClellan, Merril D. Smith, Kerfe Roig

Poets for Peace is sponsoring a community renga to promote using words “to light the way” towards a better world.  The last stanza of the poem, above, is my contribution this week, adding to the two previous weeks’ stanzas.  You have until midnight each Friday to add your own thoughts to the chain, here.

Call and Response: Pairs and Surprises


the pebbles
rolling all over the place
always in pairs

come explore
the unexpected
“There is no rush”
really just the beginning

Claudia McGill is calling:  time for another response.  This time I painted the junk mail, and then collaged.


You can see other calls and responses here.


Magnetic Poetry Saturday: Ask These


Ask these tongues
how can my dreams
shine by day
yet ache like storms

together their music rains
symphony and sky
shadowless moon

This was another collaboration with Nina and the Oracle that fit together really easily.  We decided to surprise each other today with our artwork and post separately.  I punched holes to embroider on the paper, and then decided just to leave the holes.  The weird light is because I photographed the collage taped to the window so the sun would shine through the holes.


Magnetic Poetry Saturday: Do Magic


Nina and I came up with this collaborative verse from the magnetic poetry oracle almost instantly, and then our artwork, done separately, also fit together perfectly.  Magic! (with a little help from Photoshop)

devour fire
drink fever
dance  fly
do magic


Happy Saturday!