country kitchen!

Hi! Hello! Howdy!

Thank you so much for reading my blog, you are wonderful.

Hey! I had my first critique in 6 years today. It was interesting because I wasn’t allowed to say anything. And none of my work was actually done, I’ve just been messing around (a lot) to find the forms and material I want to work with. And there were some good things said, some incredibly awesome constructive things. Most of them were really helpful. But still. WOW! I feel like I got punched in the face, really hard. It’s going to lead to some good things, I know. And I know it is one of the most valuable parts of artistically educational institutions, this peer critique system. And I’m in New York for goddesses sake. I need this shit to be for real. FOR REAL! And when people call it “country kitchen” I need to either mean it to be like that, or to change it so they don’t think that next time. I am so glad to have a great studio-mate. Thank you Heather, you saved my ass. And thank you for being ok with listening to me cry and then listening to me get the hell over it. I am so glad to have been able to process that shit right after it happened. And now I am way damn stronger! YESSS!!!!! (High five!)

And all of that got me thinking. Why am I here? Why?

Yeah, that’s as far as I got. (Ok, I have a lot of reasons. But the main one I can think of – making things hard for myself so I’ll have to get better as an artist – seems like a jerky reason right now.)

So, let’s change the subject. Fall is for more than falling down. Getting back up is it’s main feature. Hell yes!

The artist Faith Ringold went to my school (as did Lee Krasner, and many others, but that’s different story). Today there was an award ceremony for Faith Ringold at my school. So I went to see the show of quilts that went with it, after school. Thank goodness for Faith Ringold. She not only is an inspiration to generations of women and men all over the world, she also speaks and teaches and writes and all of the other good things besides making art. She is so amazing! Here is more information about the thing I went to. I’m not sure if she was there. By the time I got over there I just wanted to go home and go to bed, so I left pretty much right away. No crying in public! But the quilts inspired by her were interesting and various. I will go back to see them.

So, more change of subject… It’s October! Already! Time is passing very quickly.

I feel so much better than I did just an hour ago. I made a root vegetable roast, chicken in a clay pot, and an apple pie, all of which is in the oven. It’s cold here already. And my building’s heat is not on yet. So we are swaddled in flannel and my goal is to have the gassy-ass oven all hot as long as I can tonight. Cooking always helps me think and calm down, and I haven’t been baking or cooking much since moving here. New York and my patient wonderful husband are both really eating out centric. And it’s been hot in the evenings. But all of a sudden it’s colder at night – so here I go! I will bake the hell out of this godawful east coast winter! Even though being the one who cooks in my household makes me a housewife (something that would have made my young self punch my current self in the damn teeth), well – I am the only one who will cook. So, I’ve just gone ahead and done it. Whatever. Life is change, right?

Soooo, speaking of change – I know I didn’t post on the equinox, but am thinking about that change a lot. Here are a few poems about equinox, fall or change. They are about both equinoxes, but I think that helps – since we are moving into the sleep/death/cold and in terms of that feeling it’s nice to think about the blooming/movement/fever. Although both are also my favorite times of year, for their individual meanings. It’s interesting to explore that from over here in the east. Wherever you are it is probably also interesting. Unless you are not interested in life things.

Thanks for rocking!

Love Forever, Katie Simpson Spain

Nothing Gold Can Stay

-Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Fall, Leaves, Fall

-Emily Bronte

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.


-Joy Harjo

I must keep from breaking into the story by force
for if I do I will find myself with a war club in my hand
and the smoke of grief staggering toward the sun,
your nation dead beside you.

I keep walking away though it has been an eternity
and from each drop of blood
springs up sons and daughters, trees,
a mountain of sorrows, of songs.

I tell you this from the dusk of a small city in the north
not far from the birthplace of cars and industry.
Geese are returning to mate and crocuses have
broken through the frozen earth.

Soon they will come for me and I will make my stand
before the jury of destiny. Yes, I will answer in the clatter
of the new world, I have broken my addiction to war
and desire. Yes, I will reply, I have buried the dead

and made songs of the blood, the marrow.

PS Oh gods! So good! I just saw Blackstar on the Colbert Report. Holy dang! Yay! It was really good! Watch this! It is awesome! The online version has one more song!


7 thoughts on “country kitchen!

  1. I loved feeling a bit connected to you by reading your blog Katie. I love the phrase “fall is not just for falling down” because sometimes it feels like it is all about falling down, so thank you for reminding me that it is not. How did you know I needed to hear that today! And wow, Faith Ringold what a gift!!! I have seen her amazing quilts too. How inspiring and powerful. So my wonderfully creative and ever evolving Katie, don’t let those critiques knock you down, and if they do sometimes, remember to get back up……… and make more art because you have lots of wonderful art to create and to change lives through your art! I believe in you! much love and missing you, Jo

  2. Thank you Jo, that was a really nice comment!
    I miss you too!
    I am glad to have hard critiques, but it’s also funny… you know, you’re from New York.
    This place is tough. And I’m hoping it’s like that song says, “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.” I think it’s just like that. Get enough people together and it’s a bit scrambly.
    Thanks again!
    You are wonderful!

  3. ahhh… good question, why we do this thing, submit to critique, go to grad school, sometimes I think I’m crazy. The only answer I can come up with is that THIS kind of critique either forces us to change (hopefully improve) and understand our own aesthetic. It’s not about making things hard for yourself– I don’t believe a real artist has to suffer– it’s about fully examining yourself, and allowing others to examine you as well. It is through this process, I think, that we learn to listen the strength of own voice. (at least that’s what I’m telling myself!)

  4. You make some very good points, Jenn. I feel so much better than I did when I wrote that. I do agree that the critique creates clarity and improvement through necessity. That can be fun, and it can be suffery. Either way it’s forcing improvement.
    But I still feel kind of like I’m torturing myself. Ha! It’s totally making the art stronger though. It’s getting better, and it has SO much room for improvement. Thank goodness I am only 1/2 done with my 1st semester. I feel blessed and lucky to be here. And I think my voice is becoming stronger already.
    Hell, you are writing a book, lady! That is so completely freaking awesome.

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