Photograph by Youngkyu Park

The little building where I live and work was built as a factory in 1918. It has four north- facing skylights, and in the back, five eight- foot-high windows on the east and west. The light is glorious, but it is impossible to keep warm in the winter or cool in the summer. After toughing out three or four winters at 40 degrees, which eventually made me sick, I borrowed money to insulate the front half of my space. I also had double double-doors (top and bottom) built.

In mid-October, I drag forward my sewing machines, etc., shut the doors, and live and work in the front half of building, dashing back as needed to retrieve thread or fabric. It still isn’t very warm, but 60 is much better than 40.

In late March, I fling open both sets of doors, push and pull my sewing machines into position under the last skylight, between the east and west windows, and use the entire space, front to back. Of course, it is very hot in the summer, especially in back where the windows are, but I use ceiling and floor fans and drink ice water.

If you would like to visit the studio of China Marks in Hunters Point, Long Island City, the first stop in Queens on the #7 after Grand Central, a neighborhood full of good places to eat and drink, Gantry State Park next to the East River, and easy walking distance from PS 1, you could meet the artist, see her studio, her materials, and her working processs, and have a close encounter with her sewn books and sewn drawings. Groups up to 24 can be accommodated, as well as individuals — by appointment. Contact China Marks at


Many years ago, when my cousin Peter was still a dealer in fine art of the Middle East and Indian subcontinent and had not yet retired to paint full time, he gave me a tiny lost wax bronze image of Lord Ganesha, from the 15th or 16th century, I think he said it was, to remove obstacles and to bring me good fortune and auspicious beginnings. Since then, whenever I’ve found a likely Ganesh, which isn’t often, I’ll buy it if I can afford it.

 

Five years ago, knowing of my affection for the portly, elephant-headed god, my friend the painter Barbara Ellmann (www. barbaraellmann.com) gave me a small, colored rubber version of Ganesh made to fit onto the end of a pencil. But it was too small to keep track of and rolled on the floor, where my dog, a puppy in those days with puppy ways, chewed off one arm before I rescued the god and his severed member.

 

I found my latest Ganesh a few month ago at the Butala Emporium on East 28th St. It is a bright red papier-mache dancer’s mask, with a movable trunk. Click here to see a video of Ganesh’s trunk in action. In the meantime, if you have any images of Ganesh that you are particularly fond of, please send them to me at , and I’ll post them with credit...