Book and Collage Art

A hole is to fill.

Old fence post

Several big life changes began in late Fall 2018, hence the 3 year absence of any postings on art, the studio, creative adventures.

I have space and interest to begin again. Like many in the fog and seclusion of pandemic 2020, I went outside for relief and inspiration. Phrases from an old children’s book came to mind, “…a hole is to dig… maybe you could hide things in a hole.” I saw holes in the yard, on my walks, I photographed them and decided to selectively fill them.

Outside, I saw plenty of colorful natural materials to work with growing in the yard or falling from the trees — buttercups, violets, black walnuts and holly berries.

Gaping maw, the work of beavers at Walnut Creek Park
A Hole is to Dig, A First Book of First Definitions by Ruth Krauss, pictures by Maurice Sendak 1952

I decided to buy myself a good condition, used hard back copy of A Hole is to Dig, A First Book of First Definitions, written by Ruth Krauss, illustrations by Maurice Sendak in 1952.

The first time I encountered this book was long after the household interest in reading it had waned. The girls were still young, sharing a bedroom, with matching antique twin beds, but they’d moved on to listening to us read the Narnia or Hogwarts stories aloud before bed time. In 1999, as a new step mom, I would help tidy up and arrange their bookcases, packed with board books and large picture books that they used to read. Sometimes, I’d pause and read. All good titles, many classics, many Maurice Sendak books like this one, all well-read and residing in the house before I’d moved in. 

Violets in tree root hole

The “girls” are 31 now, all those books are gone. Some were given away or packed and shipped to their adult apartments or were lost in our Dec. 2018 house fire.

Thus, I am filling holes figuratively and literally, attending to 3 years of random, Cycle of Life holes in the yard, our house, my life, my body, my new studio.

I borrowed a forest


I have great timidity in being outdoors by myself, actually. I startle easily, I perceive danger and wild animals ready to pounce where others see a calm, inviting forest. But I like to explore and have been seeking an outdoor challenge.

One of my favorite book characters is Mistress Mary quite contrary from The Secret Garden, who gathers her gumption and sets about uncovering and exploring an untamed, unfamiliar space, the out of doors.

She stole a garden, I have borrowed a forest.

Lindsay Nolting asked if I wanted to come out to her Gum Spring property and make art, yes, yes, by whatever means, yes!  She described her annual Open Studio on Sat. Sept. 29, rain or shine, in and about her home and acreage, in bucolic, historic Columbia.

In mid August, Barry and I set out on the half hour drive from Scottsville on Route 6, East along the James River, to the former Town of Columbia, taking a left on Stage Junction Road. With Dulcy dog and Lindsay, we walked the woods, explored the creeks, delighted in forest bathing. I took reference pictures, soaking in the site and imagining what sort of found materials I would use, and what form of installation would happen.

I’ve been back twice since, with clippers, hand saw, boots, and water bottle. I’m going back today, undeterred by several recent stories of copperhead snakes. Then there’s Hurricane Florence and whatever she may do tomorrow.

I’ve asked Barry to teach me some knots and lashing. I’ve chatted with my friend Michael about construction techniques and outdoor aesthetics. It’s begun. What exactly is it? Working through that TBD phase…

The postcard announces “In House and Yard” paintings by Lindsay Nolting, to which she added “Beyond the Curtilage” woodland installations by Terri Long. Points for another vocabulary word.

You’ll find me and my work in the woods, somewhere about and beyond the curtilage, standing in the creek or maybe on a fallen tree.

The Order of Things

Patterns in nature fascinate me. Fallen leaves, a bamboo grove, waves at high tide. The eye zooms in on the shape of each part and then back out on the fuller pattern.

We order things in the home, matched socks aligned in the dresser drawer. Cutlery in the kitchen. Jigsaw puzzle pieces.



We reorder things outside, too. Like a magpie or squirrel, we collect. We take from there and put it over here. We make piles. We move rocks and make stone walls. The National Park Service says “Take only photos, leave only footprints” but sometimes, we’re rule breakers.

One Fall day, I reordered the pine cones. Then, I collected the beached detritus and settled on a ship shape path.


I’ve started to work on a fantasy garden out in the woods behind our house. I’ve been cleaning up the forest floor and started a random, drunken path out of soapstone, granite and quartz cut-outs. But nature will reorder again and again, hiding the path in the fall leaves.


Collecting and cleaning on the shore, Andy Goldsworthy style

I tend to pause when I see trash and discarded objects out of place, especially when they interfere with a natural setting. And so it was that I spent a May morning rearranging 50 feet of shoreline on the Potomac River to get it just so.

My husband, Barry the boatbuilder was sailing at Leesylvania State Park and invited me to tag along. As he crewed in a Lightning regatta, I stayed ashore, rode my bike, cruised the fishing pier, and landed at the shore. I picked up the most of the true trash — shredded pieces of styrofoam, plastic water bottles, liquor bottles, bait buckets, tennis balls and plastic cigarette tips — and assembled them on a sun-bleached tree trunk moored in the sand. Then I set to work, with Andy Goldsworthy like attention, to make a little art with the abundant natural materials at hand.

With much to see on the littoral beach, I settled mostly on the black walnuts, with their beautiful, warm brown and tan coloring, worn ridges and varying sizes. I stooped, gathered acorns and snails shells, too, and arranged a satisfying wabi sabi assembly, orderly yet disorderly.

Before leaving, I stood in the shade of the tree line to watch and see if anyone else would notice the ephemeral collection. I took my leave and imagined how the incoming tide would soon be reordering it all, cleaning up after me.

Stu-stu-studio, Extended Play

How do you condense three rooms worth of art supplies and ephemera into one room?

Slowly. With gentle, brutal focus, a huge trashcan, an 80s Pandora playlist. Shuffle, repeat. Breathe, switch to Tom Waits, repeat. Haul and purge, repeat.



Decades worth of amassing creative tools & bits & bobs. I am now methodically sorting, purging, discerning the quick and the dead, the loved and abhorred in a blackstrap molasses move up (and down) two flights of stairs. Exhilarating and liberating when a trash bag gets tied up and permanently moved out — mentally exhausting when I hold a valued thing and replace it on another undecided pile.

Yes, Marie Kondo it gave me joy, still does, now Hell’s bells, where does it go?

I am not thinking of arson. But I ponder a summer bonfire and the phrase “a move is as good as a fire.” I’ve been in this house nearly 18 years. I move physically at the gym, not so much at home.




I hit the pause button, switch gears and attempt to inaugurate my newly painted, purty, as yet uncluttered space. Create in the midst of the chaos? No good, had to pack a ditty bag, head to a friend’s home to exhale, play, drink cider and create.

Successful playdate, I made a lanyard necklace. Encouraging feedback and I’m ready to hone technique, play, repeat.



Snow daze

The snow came as expected, so I spent some time in the studio composing some new Readers Digest Book Quilts. Arranged book covers, toted firewood, played with the dog, ate a lot, napped, repeated the sequence.

Nothing’s final, all moveable and up for consideration.


Baines Books & Coffee

My little town of Scottsville has a great coffeeshop called Baines. I’ll be showing some art on the walls throughout November.

Come for the friendly vibe, have a muffin or grilled cheese, listen to the LPs on the phonograph, meet yer friends. Oh and drink coffee, buy new and used books!

I’ll be at Baines for the reception on Saturday 11/14/15 from 3-7pm-ish.

485 Valley St., Scottsville, Virginia (434) 286-3577
Hours? Hmmm, I think… Sat-Sun 9-4, Mon-Fri 7:30-4. Good to call.



Lost and Found – Reception


Such a fine September night for Terri and Rose to meet and greet. Great evening to peruse the show, nibble on shrimp, visit with friends, family and make new art connectionsOur joint show at PVCC is coming to an end, pulling down art from the walls on Wed. 11/4/15.

Thanks to Beryl Solla, gallery director who penned this introduction:

“I had the intuition that Deborah Rose Guterbock and Terri Long might be a match made in heaven. Both artists have a unique style that blends powerful imagery and a profound sensitivity to material and process. In this particular instance, both bodies of work look to nature as a rich source of imagery. I feel like I have struck visual gold.

Deborah Rose Guterbock is a versatile artist who is full of energy and vitality. Her work has significant range but is consistent in its reference to the “other”. There is a lot going on in each of her pieces. We see a kind of alchemic blend of materials, imagery and intention. This interesting mix suggests other worlds, other places and other times.

Terri Long continues to explore books as an essential component of her artwork. Her trajectory over the past decade has ranged from sculpture to collage all completed with a commitment to craft and composition. Her work shows a deft hand at combining interesting imagery with clever visual puns and a playful world view.”

Lost and Found opens Friday 9/18/15


Nothing like the last minute, eh? Finally ready to show a sampling of cropped preview images of recent work. The show is hung and opens this Friday, got my dress picked out and I’m psyched for this happening!












From our Facebook announcement:

Please join us as we celebrate the opening of our two woman exhibit in the V. Earl Dickinson Building, PVCC, Charlottesville, VA on Friday 9/18/15 from 5-7pm.

The show will feature the artwork and various conceptual takes on the idea of “Lost and Found” as explored by Terri Long and Deborah Rose Guterbock. Up-cycling, appropriation, soul searching and geographic adventuring are all relevant themes in these two bodies of work. 

Come support us, help yourself to yummy refreshments and take part in the merriment! Show runs September 18th – November 4th, come on by!

Lost and Found at PVCC Sept. 18 – Nov. 4, 2015





Excited to be part of a two person show opening in Charlottesville on Friday, September 18th. Recent hand surgery has made for a challenging summer and for preparing works, but all is well and I’m psyched to deliver the work in just a few days.

Materials? Discarded library books and ephemera, old text book covers, marbled end papers, leather bindings, one feather, one tiger and quite a few butterflies.

More to come.