Testing….testing…is this thing on?

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Tomorrow morning we head out to the cliff dwellings in colorado, but i don’t want to take my laptop since we are travelling light. So this post is my personal test that I can truly post from my droid. Being a digital immigrant (fabulous article by marc prensky, if u haven’t read it, google it & make time), I tend to be distrustful of new technology and reluctant to trust what they are hawking here in a foreign land…I just hope I find good coffee.

I put a wordpress app on my droid with high hopes. So far, I see my texting shorthand being the #1 issue…i forget..I’m 50 now, u know.

I’m going on a trip 🙂 Stay tuned for pictures from the road…

P.S. Here is a smile from journi 🙂

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how to begin.

the only joy in the world is to begin…~ Cesare Pavese

beginning…i have trouble beginning.  Of all of the creative parts of a project, beginning is the toughest part for me.  I can go thru preparations, gathering, mulling, but the actual STARTING…that sticks me.

Once i start, its gravy.  I can see all the things that work and don’t work, what falls apart, what worked better in my head, what LOOKED better in my head, and it is energizing to actually SEE in a concrete sense what i have been seeing in my head, what i have been theorizing.

So how can you get yourself to START?

Here it is- step by step

1. Put your hands on your sketch or if you have no sketch, close your eyes and picture your finished project in your head.

2. Gather your materials and put within reach in your work space.

3. Picture your finished project in your head.

4. Deep breath…reach up high, and reach down and touch your toes.

5. Picture your finished project in your head.

6. Pick up each of your materials and put them each down.  Do this several times.

7. Picture your finished project in your head.

8. Put everything away for the day and go for a drive…just kidding 🙂

Actually, this is the sticking point- do it! Put pen to paper, start writing, or pick up your paint brush, or put the clay in your hand – but it is time to try to make what is in your hand match what is in your head…

and here is the deal…if this project was going to go easy, you would have already done it- so be prepared for 2 or 3 or 27 false starts or practice/trial runs…in fact, try to figure out how NOT to make it work first- trying the beautiful floaty, ethereal idea you have in your head first may be what is stopping you flat.  So test your ideas out on trials first and see how it goes.  Get those out of the way!  Don’t even attempt to make the first thing you try the Golden Finished Product.

I have, at times, been paralyzed by the fact that i only had enough of a certain material…i didn’t want to waste it if the project didn’t go right, so i just didn’t begin.  In this situation, practice with a lesser equivalent of your coveted material, or pull it out of your project- its a problem.

once you know what will work and what won’t, that beautiful floaty ethereal idea in your head will begin to take on concrete dimensions in your head, AND in your workspace.

Go forth and conquer!

don’t let the technical monsters eat the creativity!

Coolest Commercial EVER!!

i had a brilliant sculpture professor in college- Lynn Carlsgaard- there in the middle of the photo, with the apron on.  He had a passion for bronze casting, but that never stopped him from offering instruction, assistance or direction in any creative direction to anyone who had a question.  He has a raucous sense of humor, and made me laugh in a way that made me put my hand over my mouth, because i felt it was probably not OK to laugh, but he was so funny…in an off limits sort of way.   One thing that he said, that i have said over and over to others, that i mutter to myself when i am mulling a project that seems technically overwhelming…those projects i can see in my head, but can’t figure out how its going to hold together in a concrete sense.  He said to never let the technical issues get in the way of the creative process…he probably didn’t say it that way- he probably laughed “heh heh heh” and said, “Patti, figure out the technical later, keep going with what you got right now” (I went by Patti for the first semester in college- thought it was a cool thing…it wasn’t.)

that concept has helped me over and over- that the vision of a project, if its strong for you, if you can see it clearly- it can carry you thru the technical struggles that make that vision seem impossible.  Carry thru the drawing, the gathering of materials, the obsession with a finished idea in your head, and START! You have to play with things, find out things that don’t work, so you can get thru that stage to the “putting together” stage.

an amazing demonstration of that -persevering thru the technical forest- fell into my lap this week! Tom Eastburn, a potter that is in a neighboring town, put this youtube video on his Facebook…LOVED it and i wanted to share it with you!  Its actually an Asian commercial for a cellphone that has a wooden back, but the artist who had this vision…wow!  I think you will love it!  Am interested to hear what you think!

here is the link again! Coolest Commercial EVER!!

enjoy~

I’m all adither!

Forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past. – Alexa Young

 i’m going on a trip!  i never go on trips, like just for me…i go to visit my kids, to a training, a conference, a leadership seminar… and the whole time I am gone, i am thinking i should be home…that there are things i might be doing, if i were spending this time …

  • sketching
  • potting
  • spinning
  • writing
  • working on my kiln
  • glazing pots
  • writing a business plan
  • blowing bubbles with Journi

it doesn’t mean i WOULD do these things if i had stayed home, but it is a quick and easy, convenient way to guilt myself out and make sure i don’t enjoy whatever trip i am on…

but i’m 50 now, you know.

 i am making a concerted effort to enjoy each moment, to breathe it in…to live every day of my life.

a few days ago when my husband said, “we need to just take off for a week and go somewhere” (keep in mind, he doesn’t like to travel, he likes being home with the pets and his garden and Journi)…my mind stuttered a bit, with all the reasons that we couldn’t, shouldn’t go… and really…where would we go anyway!?  (do you see me shaking my head at the ridiculousness of the whole idea!?)

out of nowhere…a gypsy spirit struck me this morning, whispered in my ear …and i remembered a long ago (my god, Michaela was 5!…she is almost 20 now) failed trip to the cliff dwellings in Colorado…why not!?

and really…seriously….why NOT?! 🙂

so you may see some road tripping blog posts coming up quite soon! stay tuned!

color junkie

Inspiration is a message in a bottle from the distant shore, a window into the other world, a tap of the muse’s finger, the grace of the gods.  It comes when you least expect it.  ~ Phil Cousineau

Update: my etsy shop has a creation called “message in a bottle“- check it out 🙂

so there is a woman on Etsy.com, her profile name is ‘girlwithasword’ and she is from Iowa, and her yarns are … words escape me, they are mouth wateringly gorgeous…and its the colors, some are earthy and some are soft and warm, and some are what you would see at sunset in the Grand Canyon… and they inspired me!

(Imagine ‘superman music’) Dant-tuh- DA! I want to BE Girl with a Sword! I want a houseful of beautiful yarn like that! I want overflowing baskets of it hither and yon in my house!  I can do that, right!?

So I bought Kool-Aid, and Rit dye and got out my wool and kettles and set to dying!

I found out that Kool-Aid does a stunningly silent job of dying.  You wouldn’t expect that, but it does!  Kool-Aid is underrated!  And here is the miraculous part, you add the Kool-aid to the hot water, dissolve it, add the wool, let it sit til cool, and when you go back to take out the wool, the water is clear (whisper ‘its like magic’)…and your wool is brilliantly colored.  I made Orange Orange, and Blue Raspberry and several others.

Rit dye does OK, but it doesn’t do the clear water trick, and its harder on the wool- feels more like your hair when you bleach it or dye it too much…sort of damaged.

And so i have all of these awesome colors of wool! While they were drying, i visited them, held them next to one another, matched them up and fawned over them.

And you know what? I don’t want to be Girl With A Sword anymore… I like my stuff better, and my colors are more me…that is inspiration from another, when you are moved to get up off of your butt and create something…even if you want (dant-duh-DA) to be someone else for a moment…in the end, if you are you again, its OK 🙂

PS…how’d you like that message in a bottle quote? Did you see how i did that? 🙂

keep on tryin…

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.  No apologies or excuses.  No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.  The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.  This is the day your life really begins.  ~Bob Moawad

We took Journi kite flying on Sunday.  It was a cloudy day, a bit cool and windy. The soccer field seemed like a good place, wide open, grassy and flat.  As we unwound the string and got ready for the first attempt, you could see Journi’s dismay at the usually stable predictable adults in her life.  “what in the world are they doing!?” 

She loved the kite, but couldn’t grasp why we wanted to run around a field with that pretty thing on the end of a string.  And run we did!  (well, not me…i took pictures)  Michaela ran up and down the field, tugging the kite behind her.  Even tho’ it was windy, the kite didn’t seem to be taking off…just hovered at about 6-8 feet.  The kite crew reconvened and checked the equipment once more… aaah… the tail…who knew that putting the tail onto a kite could make that much difference!?  (i know…those of you who are aeronautic masters are just shaking your heads at me)

Once the tail was in place, the kite soared, taking up all of the string and sailing high and to the south of the field, until it was just a speck in the sky.

What are you working on right now? What is your immediate goal?  If its not flying kites, what is it? Are you seeing something in your dreams that you are itching to paint, build, create? 

You have to keep trying…this is yours alone, if you don’t do it, no one will.

If things aren’t working out how you envisioned, can you change your vision? 

If not, are you missing some critical piece- equipment, knowledge, experience, education- ? 

What can you do to get by?

There may be  a few  (or many)  failed attempts on your way to making what you envision for yourself…but those are a necessary part of the process…they can only improve the vision…

and…sometimes you have to do what you can, you have to get by, until you can do what you want or what you envision…

but you have to keep on trying…

it can be done… :)

More

stuck…in creative silence

a few years ago Tasha, my middle daughter, gave me a case of blue glass bottles for Mother’s Day…”what?” you may be saying…”what kind of a Mother’s Day gift is that?!”  Perfect for me!  I absolutely love cobalt glass, and the idea of a case of bottles to play with was exhilarating!  So i set to.  i came up with this marvelous idea of decorating them with wire, and beads, and making them holders of ‘messages’.  I was so excited! I bought corks, and special paper, thread to bind the messages into a scroll to put into the bottles, wax to seal the cork…it was a fabulous idea.  And i finished the wire and beads on one bottle, admired it…hmmm…what to put on the “message”…? I struggled with that for a few days, and decided to go on to another bottle, confident that the “message” would come to me.  Another finished, and no message…another…no message…another…no message.  Well, you get the idea.

So now i have this collection of wire/beaded blue bottles…they are beautiful, they sparkle in the sun…but they are empty.

Yesterday (2 years after i have begun this project, lets keep in mind) i got out one of the bottles.  Determined to finish one of them, i put it on the table with materials to make the message and seal it into the bottle…and there it sat…all day.

Late last night, with the bottle still sitting empty, i realized that I am afraid…afraid to put the wrong message in there, afraid that what i think is of substance to write and seal into a bottle isn’t valuable to another…and so i wait for the perfect message, while the bottles gather dust.  Why does it matter what someone else thinks of my message?

Isn’t this blog, essentially a message in a bottle?  It is.  And I have become braver every day here…its practice…and watching my blog grow in audience, and reading the comments.

Being stuck creatively…i think it might be fear that ‘sticks’ us…the key, it would seem, is to find out what you are afraid of.  Maybe these questions will help.

  • If I move to the next step in this project, what is the worst that could happen?
  • What kind of a mess could I make, if i don’t do this “right”?
  • Who would love this piece?, who would hate it?

so today, i am setting the task of writing the first message, and sealing it into the bottle…i will let you know how it goes.

Update: Here is a link to the finished product in my etsy shop

Message in a bottle

rainy day feelings

i’m feeling nostalgic today…that type of rainy day where i have the fog of creativity running thru my brain.  i want to find treasure…

do you remember brown paper grocery sacks, the big ones?  when i was little, my mom used to cut up one side of the brown bag and spread it all out on the table for me, give me crayons and let me go…i created stories, and inventions, dinosaurs and stars on miles of brown paper. They don’t pack groceries in brown paper anymore…they use those plastic bags now…sigh.

as an adult, brown paper is one of my favorite surfaces to work on- it is earthy, has some tooth to it, and comes in rolls…it doesn’t cost $5 per sheet like some of the spiffy mulberry paper, you can crumple it, tear it, paint it, glue to it, construct out of it, collage it, glitter it, and always color it.

think i will go get some brown paper out…i feel the need to make a story book…

what creative experiences did you have as a child, good and bad?  How have they shown themselves in your life today?

much love,

pat

We love to say yes…

how to not create“Before you agree to do anything that might add even the smallest amount of stress to your life, ask yourself: What is my truest intention? Give yourself time to let a yes resound within you. When it’s right, I guarantee that your entire body will feel it.” -Oprah Winfrey

Are you spending a lot of your time saying ‘yes’ to other people?  I have found that artistic creative people are called on by others ALOT.  Their skills are in demand, their creative brains are valued…and we creators…we say

  • “well, sure, i don’t mind making that poster for you!”
  • “I would love to write an article for the newsletter”
  • “Sure, I can direct the after school play.”
  • “a new business plan? heck, i can knock that out tonight for you!”

We like helping others, we feel valued, and our skills are being showcased.  Nothing wrong with this until it begins to replace our creative pursuits, until it begins to steal the time we spend mulling over new ideas, or the precious time we write or paint or dance…

Saying “no” won’t kill you…and it won’t kill them…but saying “yes” too many times can injure the very creative spirit that has brought them to you.

What one thing are you doing right now, for the wrong reasons?

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