Creativity Feed

Quieting the Monkeys

Stitch Med 1

Have you ever seen the cartoon that shows a woman's mind vs. a man's? The one where the guy sits in front of the computer, just plodding away, just one tab open. On the other hand, the woman has a gazillion (former math teacher here) tabs open and seems to be actively engaged with each one. That's me. That's my mind.

Another way  of saying it, I've got a lot of mind monkeys, most of them doing some really odd things.

So, I've been looking for ways to close some of the tabs, to oust some of those darn monkeys.

Photography is one; slow stitching is another.

Stitch Med 3

There's just something about it that calms me; the rhythmic in and out of the needle, the putting together of odd pieces to make something brand new. The squares are tiny, just 4" X 4", so technically, it should be a fairly quick project. Technically.

Because, you see, some of the above mentioned monkeys begin to chatter. If I don't listen, they chatter louder.

My stitching is crooked and not evenly sized of spaced.

I answer with a resounding, "Yep." 

The idea is that it shouldn't matte; this isn't the time to worry about stellar stitching or an amazing end product. 

It's time to get lost in the process, to just be.

But those damn monkeys just get louder, and I've been known to tear out the stitches that I'm not supposed to worry about, let alone tear out. 

Sometimes I manage it, manage to leave in all the wonderful wonkiness.

I wish those times were more frequent.

Stich Med 2

Most of the time, I grab a fabric that appeals and just begin. 

I'm not supposed to worry about all the bits and pieces going together, but sometimes I do.

This morning I read/wrote about letting go of expectations in my morning pages. Obviously, my letting go is a real work in process, because I do fuss at times. These tiny squares can take several days if I'm having a really tough time letting go. 

But this last square, "Evidence," was planned. The two background, the blue and the off white with brown stripes, came from Phil's shirts that could no longer be worn to the office. They'd been washed at least one too many times. So, I salvaged what I could. 

I liked the idea of creating a stitch meditation recycling these cast offs.

The green, and the pinkish circle, came from a gellli printing class many years ago. 

The black bit and the word, evidence, are the only "new" bits. 

Evidence can be defined as "remains" and "remnants." Discovering that tiny bit buried in my stash seemed to be a perfect find. It fits.

It feels good to be back doing this again.

It does seem to corral some of the monkeys, to close down some of the open tabs.

I'm working on quiet.

I'm working on stillness.

I'm working on letting go.


It's Not So Hard to Make Magic

Loudoun rock

Just about a month ago, my lovely daughter and I hit up Luckett's to do a bit of dreaming, meandering, and hopefully snagging some bargains during their annual "Groundhog Day" sale. 

With an armful of successes tucked into shopping bags, Kara headed for the car to do a quick drop off; we'd meet up inside the store itself. My knees absolutely hate steps at places like this; the inclines are steep, and my knees protest the goings on. So, I stopped to mentally tell myself it really was no big deal - and it isn't! - and took a few seconds to just look at the treasures lining the steps and porch.

If you know Luckett's at all, you know that stuff is everywhere. 

Good stuff. Junky stuff. 

Stuff at incredible bargains right along side stuff that makes you wonder who'd ever buy it. 

I can, and do spend, hours photographing all the stuff. Little vignettes are everywhere, and I never know where to look first.

Thank you, Luckett's, for letting me do this; far too many places don't.

So, back to those steps. Girded for battle, I reached out to grab the railing, and came eye to eye with the neatest little rock ever.

And, I knew exactly why it was sitting on that railing. 

I had found...insert drum roll here...an honest to goodness Loudoun Rock! If you clickety click on this link, you'll see that Loudoun Rocks have been dubbed the new Pokémon Go. Folks living in Loudoun County, VA, get themselves some rocks and some paint, sit down and decorate the rocks, and then go out and hide them all over the county. Just for fun. Just to make people smile.

If you're lucky enough to find a Loudoun Rock, you can leave it alone for someone else to find, or take it, and then hide it someplace new for someone else to find.

I tucked it into my pocket, smiling at my new little treasure.

Full disclosure: it's now sitting on a shelf in my dining room. It probably will never find its way back to Loudoun County again.

I don't know who painted my rock. It might be part of a family project, or maybe a youth group. It might have been a teen or a housewife.

But, whomever painted it; they made some magic for me. They made magic with just a bit of time, paint, markers, and a rock. No big bucks involved here.

A connection was made from one person in Loudoun County to one lady from Fairfax County. We most likely don't know each other, and I suspect we never will. But someone took a few minutes in their day to create smiles in mine. 

An online friend of mine digs up tiny old bottles, cleans them up, adds a poem and a flower to them, and then " releases them into the wild." Take a few minutes to read John Greenwood's posts here on "Raining Iguanas." Wouldn't you love to find a tiny beauty like this? Pure magic and joy, yours for the taking. Again, it cost little in the way of cash, just a bit of time and ingenuity. A spirit of generosity. I know that John's created a ton of magic and joy.

And, then there's the Art Abandonment Project, where all sorts of people leave treasures for others to find. Guaranteed joy. Guaranteed magic.

We need more of this; we just do. 

Connections made, one person to another rather than labeling, name calling, arguing and more. 

Strangers touching each others' lives in the best of ways.

So, make some art and release it. Write a postcard or letter to someone for no reason at all other than to create some magic. Leave a book somewhere with a note inside, telling its finder that it's theirs to keep and enjoy.

As John would say, "Be the reason that someone smiles today."  

 

 

 

 


Hello, Journals, My Old Friends

I don't know the when, and I don't know the why. But, here's the what: I stopped working in my art journals and working in those journals happened pretty much daily. Somehow, gradually over time, this thing that was beyond important to me simply ceased.

Yesterday morning, I pulled one out of its hiding place - one made up of mostly blank pages. I thought about getting a new one; you know the drill - new and exciting would make me dive in, but I quickly realized that I owned enough journals to start my own little art store. Some new, some old. Some professionally bound, others handmade by me or another artist. Some sported line paper, others watercolor paper.

Pretty much, my studio offered up an all you can eat buffet of journals.

My art room exists in a state of semi-chaos right now. I've been tossing or donating bags of stuff, whittling it down to what I truly love. Piles teeter in several places; the art room lives in that state of it gets better before it gets worse.

Heartheroses1

So, I cleared a few piles off the table, and I sat there staring at the blank page, not sure where to begin, and not sure what I wanted to do. Other than knowing I felt hungry for mixed media, no plan existed.

I started collaging...wax paper that served as under paper in a previous life, deli paper that once protected other journal pages or acted as palette sheets, a few scraps of fun papers, some clippings from magazines, some previously stamped images on maps and texts.

Glue. Paint. Move everything around.

Decide I didn't like it; cover it up. Add some paint, and oh, God, why did I do that?

Pull out the stencils.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Lord, I'm rusty!

Eventually, I coaxed her into an appearance - a rather wonky "angel" of sorts. I don't normally "crown" my ladies, but she was too short for the page, just out of whack  proportionally. I gave her roses and then antlers. I'm not sure why, but she told me she needed some. And, then, some wings fashioned from flower petals.

Heartheroses2

She sat for a bit in all her glory yesterday because I needed to figure out what to do with the other half of this spread. This morning, going back through some notes from last weekend's art retreat, I came across the quote you see above, and how very cool...a quote about roses for a lady wearing them on her head!

She's not what I envisioned or expected when I put her face down. She morphed into other creatures several times, until we both agreed on her appearance. When I look at her, I see the "mistakes" that exist simply because I haven't done this in such a long time.

But, I also see something beautiful, something that makes me happy.

I think maybe she's the guardian of more to come.

Notes: My wonky sweet angel began as an image stamped onto an old map. After I glued her down, I "touched up" her face with water soluble crayons and a Derwent sketching pencil followed by some micron pens. Her wings lived as flower petals in a previous life; her crown and antlers came from magazine clippings of things that appealed to me, cut out long ago. Stencils came into play, layered over so many papers, it would require an archaeological dig to name them all!


Monday, Monday

Squaree

Outside my window, bare branches rest against a heavy gray sky, looking far more winter like than the first day of spring.

I am thinking that this budget bit is a load of crap and in now way compassionate. It seems to strike at those who need the help the most. No kid should be hungry, nor should any senior. Such tiny parts of the budget in the grand scheme of things. It breaks my heart.

I am thankful for what I have, and I'm struggling to keep that in the front of my mind and to not let worry overwhelm me. Yes, I'm thinking about myself here, the potential for horrible health care costs just when we need it the most. Who knows about social security....not an entitlement in my mind. I've paid into that baby for years and years and years. So many friends and relatives in the same boat. So, I pray for them, for us, and for everyone, really.

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I am wearing jeans, an old school t-shirt, and a sweater to take off the chill. Cleaning clothes that I don't need to worry about as I delve into closets to de-clutter and sort. There's a pile of packages ready for Goodwill.

I am creating clean space to rest my eyes on. I love seeing this space come into being. And, of course, I'm creating these tiny stitch as meditation squares. They calm my monkey mind and make me happy. So much color and texture, and the in and out repetition of the hand stitching soothes my soul.

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I am reading the New York Times and Washington Post to try to stay informed. I am not reading most of what flies across Facebook, no matter what the party. Fake news seems to be a mainstay of both sides, and it's all a lesson in patience and trying to figure out what's really happening. It's also enough to make my eyes cross.

I am hoping people can learn to think a bit more and not just react. To work for what's good for us as a country, not just what our particular party wants to happen. Mostly, I hope people can really begin to just be kind to one another. It doesn't cost much to do so, and the pay off is huge.

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I am hearing traffic make its way along Old Keene Mill Road, and the voices of students walking home. A few birds chatter noisily, and Mr. Crow scolds us all.

Around the house, floors wait to be mopped, laundry piles up, and boxes wait to be carted away. The twits' toys can be found almost anywhere, including robotic monkeys and Native American projects. Crayons, glue, felt, and more give evidence that creativity happened, and that makes me smile. Other things wait for their assigned spots as I continue this de-cluttering project.

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One of my favorite things, homemade nut roll, whispers, "Come eat me," from the kitchen. I don't think it has to worry; I've already put a healthy dent into it!

A few plans for this week:

 - more decluttering and sorting

 - a start to spring cleaning

 - editing photos

 - creating and sending snail mail

 - stitch meditations each day

 - grocery shopping and more

Squarei

Happy Spring!!!


Inspiration in the Form of a Rusty Red Car

Selfieatbrunswick

Assignment: Create a mixed Media Self-Portrait

Reaction: UGH!

And then the universe stepped in: within a week the concept of self portraits showed up three times - the assignment in Lesley Riley's 52 Pick Up class, a friend's visit to the National Portrait Gallery, and another artist showing a book of self portraits as inspiration.

Message received, and I got busy.

This "self-portrait" is a veritable mish mash of all sorts of bits and pieces.

The greenish blue background is a gelli plate print created earlier this summer. I generally have a stash of them, and they never fail to delight me.

The brownish black and brown  background is an Iphone shot of this beauty at Lucketts Market.

Rustycarfullshot

I cropped it to this:

Rusty car

I cropped it again, rotated it, and then digitally manipulated it using PhotoLabPro on my Ipad, and ta-da....got this!

Carab4

Is this not ever so cool? I quite fell in love with it, and came up with several other variations on the theme using the same app.

Now, down to the nitty gritty of it. I needed a photo of me, and I really didn't want to start shooting more selfies, so I grabbed another Iphone image shot in a silly moment last weekend.

I began with this:

Me

then manipulated it with the same app to what you see in the final portrait. I cut myself out and glued it to the brown background.

And then the fun began: white Uniball signo pens, black sharpies, a word sticker,  a rub on of the word "Focus" altered with more white pen, a tiny paper butterfly...well, you get the idea!

I threw a black mat over it to look official, and well, just because I could.

Thank you, rusty red card. You can count on showing up in my artwork again and again and again, sometimes altered beyond belief!

 

 


Stitching Like A Drunken Sailor

I've been itching for some time to play with needles, thread, and material. Just plain itching to play. But - I grew up when you took Home Ec in high school, and when cross stitching was the rage. Everyone, every teacher, particularly Anna Hamilton, my high school home ec gal, emphasized precision. Each and every stitch needed to be just so: the perfect exact length, the perfect spacing, and by God, what ever it was I did had to look just as good from the back. My backs were a holy mess, designed to make poor Anna shudder in dismay.

No one had yet to embrace the wabi sabi approach. No one liked, yet alone loved, wonky stitches.

My work always looked like a drunken sailor had gone at it.

Now, no offense to sailors, drunk or otherwise. "Like a drunken sailor" happens to be one of my dad's pet phrases. He took great delight in using it, especially when he viewed his offspring's and their children's first attempt at navigating kayaks. Since dad dropped out of high school to join the navy during WWII and told stories of his youthful escapades while on active duty, I suspect he knows a great deal about sailors, drunk or otherwise.

Squarea

Then, just a few weeks ago, I found Liz Kettle and slow stitching. My Lord, I love this woman. She embraces wonky stitches, explaining that each needle went in and out just where it was supposed to be. She emphasizes that your stitches can be differently sized, uneven, crooked or more. And, as you can see, I embraced this process with a passion.

Liz just follows a few basic rules:

  1. Don't spend more than two or three minutes picking out you fabric remnants.
  2. Never, ever, rip out a stitch. It's fine.
  3. It doesn't matter what color thread you use. Just grab one and get started.
  4. The piece will let you know when it's finished; trust your gut.

Squareb

Liz's slow stitching is her meditation, her way to ground herself each morning. She completes a square each morning before she goes running. I complete one every few days.

Stitching is so new to me; I did cross stitch, but there are wonderful little grids to follow when you cross stitch. I stand a fighting chance to make respectable looking stitches, at least on the front. Just don't look at the back, okay? Miss Anna Hamilton will be shuddering in her grave if you do that, and she'll claim no knowledge what so ever of me.

True confession time - I break Liz's rules.

I can spend a long time choosing my fabric, playing with one color after another, mixing and matching my pieces. This morning, for the first time, I managed to choose quickly. Maybe it comes with practice?

I loved her class at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA. (If you are a fabric and thread lover, this is your place. It's like going to heaven...fabrics from all over the world. Heaven in the form of colors and textures!)

I loved the class, but I tried to kind of hide myself. This group of women seriously knew what they were doing. Awesome, tiny, straight stitches completed in a heart beat. This newbie stood out and not in the star of the class type of way.

Squarec

Another part of my confession: I rip out stitches. They're still wonky, they're still looking like a drunken sailor took this class. But, the more of these little babies I do, the less ripping out I do.

I'm learning to live with the wabi-sabi-ness of it all and have managed to deafen my inner critic (aka Anna Hamilton). And the stitches are getting smaller, tinier, and just looking better. Not great, but better. I can live with better.

And, even though these ladies overwhelmed me with their talent and expertise, they were a friendly bunch, and never criticized my feeble attempts.

Thank you, ladies!

Squared

As I worked my way through the class, fortified with a bit of wine, (These ladies know how to have a class on a Friday night. The wine certainly didn't help my stitching, and I never came anywhere near the drunken sailor level, but it helped with not completely despairing of it all.) I learned a lot.

I learned that cheap needles will create headaches. They don't go through the fabric as smoothly; they tend to snag. I now own some Tulip brand needles.

I also learned that crewel needles are awesome; no matter the size of the needle tip, they have a really huge eye. For those of us whose own eyes are lacking in sharpness, crewel needles are a blessing.

I learned that I love these little square works of art. They're 4" X 4", so that they don't become a "project."

And, I learned that I love fabric, and I love hand stitching.

Right now, I'm pretty focused on making the needle do what I want it to do, but with 4 pieces down and 1 started this morning, I'm finding a rhythm, and things are going more quickly and easily.

Even though I have to work at it, or think about it, there's a calmness about it all, and a timelessness as well. It's certainly a one of a kind result.

If you're intrigued, Liz has a wonderful video on the whole process, and she explains it far better than I can here. You can find her video at: http://www.textileevolution.com/index.php/easyblog/entry/stitch-meditations (Sorry, it doesn't seem to want to hyperlink!)

The site is a wealth of info on stitching, hand and by machine. Liz has published some great books, and you'll also find samples of her own squares.

A few notes:

I didn't include my class square. That poor baby just wants to hide her pathetic-ness away from the world. I'm keeping her to remind me of how far I'm coming, but I'm letting her hide.

The squares appear in the order I've completed them.

Square 1: that awesome piece of netting like material comes from an old bridal gown donated to a thrift shop. The gown was so badly stained, that the shop could not sell it. I got it in another class, where we ripped up that gown and used ever bit we could. This netting comes from the crinoline under the gown! Lesson learned: I need to haunt thrift shops to get my fabric stash where it needs to be.

Square 2: the material that forms the smallest dotted rectangle is a piece of an old scarf. Fun!

Square 3: Ah...fibers! I can use funky fibers that I love, but that I have no idea what to do with. I've never mastered knitting, crochet, etc.

Square 4: The blue piece with black "flowers" is a piece I created in a fabric gelli printing class. It began as white muslin.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                  


Holding Space for Others

Red thread

Laundry tumbles in my dryer; towels wait to be folded and stashed in the linen closet.

Paper, glue, fabrics, pens, and other assorted art make stuff hides my studio floor. More stacks of it play the "Leaning Tower of Pisa" act on my tables.

Meat needs to be repackaged into smaller portions and frozen for later use.

But in the midst of all of this mess, this entering back into reality, I'm playing with photos, catching up a bit on Facebook posts, and just figuring out how to move through my day without losing the magic of these past few days.

In between the busy-ness of today, I've flipped through most Facebook posts, just trying to get a sense of what's been happening out on the interwebs, but now and then, something begs to be read more carefully. Barbara Techel's "On Being a Space Keeper" was one of those. Barbara writes so beautifully about holding space for others, letting them "discover and uncover what is right for them." I smiled as I read and re-read her words; she's managed to capture what I've been living for the last several days, the last several weeks, really.

We need our safe spaces, the people that listen to us, encourage us, and help us to believe our creativity needs to come into being. They don't judge, tell us we need to be doing something differently, let us figure things out on our own, gently offering help if asked. You can read a bit more here.

I spent the last 5 days with an amazing group of women, gathered in Maryland's mountains at Lesley Riley's Red Thread Retreat. We talked, laughed, drank wine, ate amazing meals, and created art books with Nina Bagley. At the beginning of the retreat, Lesley put one rule into place, "No talk of politics." I can't begin to describe the relief when that negative energy disappeared.

Workshops ran from 9 to 5, more or less. We broke for amazing lunches, wonderful nourishing food delivered to the main house. At any time, people wandered off to walk in the woods or along the river, gather leaves, or just be alone for a few moments. Nina encouraged us to take chances, to explore new techniques and methods. If you forgot a supply, you just asked. Someone was bound to have it and offer it freely.

And, here's the big deal: we all got along; no alpha leaders emerged. We simply helped each other on the journey, encouraging, offering help if needed...holding space for each other.

Evenings brought wine, beer, snacks, and lively discussions. More amazing food appeared at dinner, and we took turns cleaning up. No one needed to create a schedule; we simply got it done. A few of us wandered off to get massages.

And, now, I sit typing, trying to put it all into words, and pretty much failing. So few people truly hold space for each other. We seem to have tumbled into a mad world of too much anger, too much judging. I'm tired of political rants from both parties, of rude and uncivil people trying to cram their beliefs down my throat and/or making each political candidate to be the devil come back to life. I avoid it as much as I can, but it's pretty damn hard to miss all of it. If we all just held space for each other, could you imagine the change?

As Barbara writes, "Holding space, sitting in silence with my soul, praying for peace for our world, that energy then moves out into our troubled world."

Please, go read what Barbara wrote. Sit with it for awhile, think about at least one person you could "hold space" for and then do it.

Really, truly, go do it.

It's wonderful. I know it, because I lived it.

Thank you, Lesley, Barbara, and all my Red Thread friends,  for everything.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Permission to Do Less

IMG_3962

Sometimes, I do myself in; there's just no two ways about it. I create work where there doesn't need to be work.

It's all in the name of being creative, and in some ways, people's expectations. For the last several years, I've participated in Jennifer Belthoff's Love Notes. I do it because I love snail mail, and because I love creating snail mail. I love sending it, and I love receiving it.

In Love Notes, we send 3 postcards over the course of 3 weeks to a partner. Each week comes with a prompt, and for 3 weeks, my mailbox and I smile in delight.

Here's where I make work for myself: I decided my post cards needed to be hand made. No store bought post cards for me, no sir. It began easily enough, 3 postcards, tiny little 4" X 6" works of art. Sometimes, I opted to create note cards, not post cards, but still, easy enough.

And, along the way, it snow balled. Not only did I send my little works of art off to the current partner, but I sent them to past partners as well, as well as some newly made online friends. And, then to my sister, Denise. And then...

Well, I'm up to 20 pieces of art each week. Yikes!

Really, I love it...well, when I'm home to create, I do. This past week found me in Vermont for 6 days. I came home on Tuesday, did my laundry on Wednesday, and packed yesterday and today for a 4 day art retreat.

The stress levels began to climb, climb some more, and well, I may have been on top of Hogback Mountain with my stress. My art room looks like Hurricane Matthew has come and gone, plus which, I needed to be packing the supplies I'd be using.

Even if I worked non stop for this last day and a half, 20 handmade post cards would not be happening.

My pride / ego got a bit bruised; no one would be marveling on line at my creations.

Yet, here's the kicker. I didn't need to be creating 20 pieces of art; that's not what Love Notes is about. It's about connecting with people; it's about bringing happiness to someone once a week for three weeks. It is NOT about my art or my ego.

I've packed my ego away for the time being; 20 beautiful Vermont post cards are going out into the world. 20 gorgeous images of Vermont in the fall, with those wonderful bright reds, oranges, and yellows. 20 post cards with messages written to bring delight.

The best part? I'm okay with this letting go of stress I've put on myself. I'm okay with realizing I can't do this all the time.

There will be post cards going out next week, as time is limited there as well. Probably, I'll do something handmade the last week; I do love the creating and the joy my tiny creations bring.

But, if not, that's okay as well because like I said, it's not about me. It's not about my art.

It's about connecting, and Lord knows, that's something we need in our crazy world.


Don't Let the Noise Stop You

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We all have stories to tell and art to make, and it's so very easy to let the voices inside and outside of our heads stop us.

But these stories, these pieces of art...collages, paintings, batik, potholders, and more...well, each and every one deserves to come into to being. And, yet if we listen to the naysayers, to the "let's be practical" folks, to everyone who wants us to toe the line in some way, well, most of what lives inside our heads and hearts never comes into fruition.

Last weekend, I listened to Jon Katz and Tom Atkins talk about creativity, most especially writing. Commonalities emerged, and they emerged when I listened to Maria Wulf and Carol Law Conklin as both worked with fabric in some way. These precious bits we need to internalize run right across the spectrum of living creative, not substitute lives.

We need to remember to create for ourselves and to keep creating whether folks approve or disapprove. We are gathering the bits and pieces of our lives for us, to make ourselves whole, and a part of us ends up in anything we create. How could it not?

What we create is important; we need to acknowledge this - well, more than acknowledge it. We need to honor it, make it central to our days. It doesn't need to be huge, it might just be 20 minutes as we can grab them.

It doesn't need to be a huge finished project, but we need to do it, to trust what we have to say. We might go astray, even produce something we think should never see the light of day. (Although, others might just disagree!)

So many of us, myself included, find all sorts of reasons to not sit down and write, make art, sew, etc. Sometimes we're afraid of those external voices judging us, judging what create, or judging how we spend our time. They create so much noise in our head, that we just want to clap our hands over our eyes and give up.

More importantly, it's really the internal voices that stop us. Maybe we don't feel that what we have to say or create is anything new. All of it seems to have been done before, right? So, little old normal insignificant us - well, why bother? It's all been said and done before. I heard this over and over as our groups met.

But, as we began to listen, to talk, to share, we found out that we had unknowingly touched each others' lives in so many ways.

Sometimes, it's okay to put ourselves first, to claim what's important to us. Easier said than done, I know, because you see, I know I've apologized for taking my time to be creative.

We all need to stop this apologizing; we just need to stop. Everyone in our group love how being creative made them feel; we felt joyful and complete. Creativity nurtures our souls.

We need to push the judgemental voices, internal and external, right out of our heads. As Jon told us over and over, "The space inside your head is very very precious."

I'm lucky; I've found my safety nets, as Tom would say. I have so many supportive people in my life: a husband who understands that dinner might not make it to the table at a prescribed time because I lost all sense of time as I worked in my studio. I have Jon and Maria, who gently push, prod, and encourage me to claim my creativity, and even more so, to share it. I have Tom, who listens and then reminds me to invest in me. I have a wonderful sister, Denise, who reminds me over and over to let myself soar. I have family who tells me that what I create is pretty darn cool. I have the Creative Group, who leave positive reinforcement and gentle suggestions about what might make something better.

Plain and simple, these are the voices I need to listen to.

Photo of Mary Kellog and Jacqlyn Thorne, members of "The Creative Group at Bedlam Farm." Both ladies write beautiful poetry, and I am so grateful to know them.

 

 


Bits and Pieces Equal Art

Paying attention to spaces between words

Not too many folks get terribly excited about leftovers, although I confess that I enjoy them. Sometimes, they even seem to taste better the second time around.

And, even better than the kitchen leftovers, are the art leftovers...

  • the paint that I don't want to waste, so it gets brayered onto a blank journal page
  • scraps of papers
  • words cut out of poetry books and magazines
  • bits of washi tape
  • photos I've printed, just waiting for a home

Pages just evolve over time, adding bits and pieces of this and that, mostly whatever happens to be on my studio table because I haven't cleaned it up yet.

I'd love to tell you that my studio gets cleaned each day when I finish, but I'd be lying. And, honestly? The jumble of supplies never fails to inspire. Media and scraps that have no business being together look totally cool.

I love getting my photos off the camera; they might end up on note cards, tacked onto my walls, or on an art page.

I love the play of it all, moving this and that around until my eyes light up.

It's not a steady process; this background languished for a day or two, until it told me what it needed.

A quote about resting in the silence between word caught my attention the other day; it's been floating around in my head ever since.

So, I grabbed a poetry book bought at a huge sale, and begin to search for similar words. And then...gasp!...I cut them out.

Billy Collins, I apologize for this transgression and all future transgressions, because I'll be snipping words again. You can bet on it. My only excuse is that poets use the best words.

I love the words I found; they say so much, as words can.

But, sometimes, you need to listen very closely to what's not being said...the spaces and silences between the words.

If you can manage to still yourself enough to do so, you learn a lot of good stuff. Important stuff.

At least, I do.