About Katy Gilmore

Katy Gilmore is an artist (watercolors and artists' books ) and writer living in the Pacific Northwest. She is the author/illustrator of "The Year in Flowers: A Daybook." Katy has had more than 25 solo exhibitions, and her work is included in public and private collections. Her blog "Her spirits rose..." explores art and inspiration in the everyday things of home and garden.

Ann Patchett’s “The Dutch House”

A list of books for Christmas gifts occupies the front of my mind this time of year – they please in many forms (beautifully illustrated books, a graphic novel of the Mueller report!), but finding the right book is still challenging.

So, I enjoyed reading Ann Patchett’s piece in The Guardian books newsletter about her habit of giving books for all occasions (she owns a bookstore).

And her new book, The Dutch House, belongs on the list. It’s the stuff of fairy tales: a mother disappears leaving two children with a distracted father in a haunting, enormous house. The father remarries, then dies, and the wicked stepmother casts out the children. (It’s also a modern tale of real estate and sibling devotion.) I’d saved it for a concentrated time of reading, the book rewarded the wait, and made a long flight pass quickly!

One day on our trip after a library visit, Sweet Baby asked me how books are made, and I gave an overlong explanation of signatures, endpapers, binding, printing.

And then we just made a book – sketchbook paper cut and folded into pages sewn with dental floss – with a story dictated to her mom and illustrated admirably!


A Little About Thanksgiving

Before it’s lost in the December rush!

We spent the holiday with the whole family under palm trees – kids in the pool and ocean all morning, and, with the sound of waves in the background, gathered around the table in the evening. In my long (and I mean long!) life, I’ve never been warm on Thanksgiving and that seemed strange – and very good. Kauai provided crazy stormy days with torrential rain but lovely sunny days.

In many ways, it was just like any Thanksgiving – planning, repeated trips to the grocery store, and cooking ahead. And a homecoming for us all – back to a familiar place, where we have been so often at so many stages of life.

The day before Thanksgiving I turned 75. Holy Moly is what I say. It seemed a miracle to walk up the beach at sunrise, and to climb down a steep incline to our favorite beach few days earlier. In the bleakness of last February, I wondered if I’d ever see that again. So now I feel a renewed lease on active life along with a sense of time running out, and a stronger determination to enjoy and appreciate every single bit.

Watching this family have fun together in a tropical setting made that easy. Sweet Baby attaches herself to Lady B – they duck and bob and torment their parents with splashes in the pool, ride inner tubes and boogie boards in the tidal “river” that forms in front of where we stay, and read books from frequent trips to the library. Lady B can really read, and Sweet Baby hangs on each word her idol utters. Baby Brother also loves books and the beach with limitless opportunities to be absorbed in the work of digging and rearranging sand.

Earlier this fall, I resurrected the moose T-shirts I used to screen print in our basement. (So much easier now with modern technology, draw the image, scan to my computer, and send off for printing.) I brought along one for each, all different colors and sizes and styles – party favors on my birthday night. And, at Thanksgiving dinner, we sat around the table with many moose in the candlelight.

Lucky and thankful!

“Twenty-five Teacups”

Opening this Friday evening, November 1st, Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, the gallery where I show my work, will host “Tea Party” – a multi-media exhibition. I was invited to participate early last summer, and my “Twenty-Five Teacups” will be at the party.

Because I love everything about tea – the warmth, the lift, the comfort – and the cups – whether reaching for a favorite at home or choosing from a good grouping at a friend’s house, I was excited right away to be included.

All spring I’d been thinking about pattern and the Souleaido squares were still on my worktable, so I began there, settling on a grid of twenty-five squares, composed of two patterns (wallpaper and tablecloth) and a teacup (mug or cup and saucer, each has its time). I adapted some of the fabric squares and had fun searching for other inspiration to make up backgrounds (learning a lot about the little motifs used in patterns for centuries).

I rearranged repeatedly (my painter friend encouraged my keeping on through many photo texts). I enjoyed manipulating the color, shape, and stylized flowers in the patterns. Then, with all the backgrounds and cup silhouettes complete, I decorated the cups with more recognizable flower species – from this summer’s garden, from my morning walk, and from my old work.

The squares are small (5½” x 5½”), on heavy Fabriano paper. The gallery plans to hang them unframed in a grid (attached by tiny, powerful magnets), and price them at $65.00.

I will post all 25 teacups for a while here on “Her spirits rose…,” beginning with “Teacup Seventeen” (Helenium) – orange flowers for this Hallowe’en week!