“i knew you would want this…”

I spun for 2 hours yesterday…no music on, no TV, no distraction…just the whirring of the wheel…it was a precious time- felt like it was one of those fluffy dandelions that is captured in the glass paperweight… safe, soundless and insulated.

last fall when i returned to school for the year, my dear friend Karen came to me with a garbage bag in her arms.  She presented it to me and said, “I knew you would want this.”  Turns out she had sheared her llama, Bella, and apparently at some point in time, I had told her that if she ever did clip Bella that I would love the fleece.  I had no recollection of this, but that’s not unusual…i say things like that.  So here i was… with several pounds of unwashed unpicked llama fleece.  I ventured a look in the bag when I got home.  Yep.  That’s what it was.  I stashed it in the waterheater room.  Every so often I would glance at that trash bag and wonder about what i was going to do with it…and then would be distracted by something more urgent.  I had absolutely no idea what i was going to do with this fleece- I didn’t spin, i didn’t knit, i didn’t crochet…in fact, i didn’t know really anything about fleece, except for one failed attempt to make a drop spindle from a Mother Earth News article years ago…and so it sat…and i ignored it.

…until someone mentioned a spinning class in Hot Springs in March…and the rest is history 🙂

life has changed in the past year…my empty nest is full for a time…

so thankful for this quiet tactile colorful art, that allows me to be creative during this time in my life…and so thankful for a friend who “knew you would want this”, even if i didn’t.

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pat…quiet… cocoon

cocoon, a place where a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly, where the magic takes place that allows a fully grown beautiful butterfly to emerge from a dusty husk…

i have magnetic poetry all over my fridge, words scattered hither and yon.  i love words.

Are you familiar with magnetic poetry?

www.magneticpoetry.com

Its words, each on magnets.  One buys a small case full of words- nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and of course, the conjunctions, pronouns, possessive pronouns etc.  There is a basic set and then additional sets that are specific to certain subjects.  I have additional custom magnets with my daughters’ names, my husband’s name and my name.

Yesterday a couple magnets were lying on the floor in front of the fridge and i reached down to pick them up and replace them on the front of the fridge.  When i looked at the words in the palm of my hand, there i saw “pat” “quiet” and “cocoon”

a message perhaps?  certainly an idea that spending some time in a quiet cocoon could be beneficial…

and i am off to find my quiet cocoon…lookin for some magic on this rainy day…

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!

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!

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

on the edge of knowing…

my grand daughter is talking…2 and 3 word sentences and it is miraculous to listen to her.  But sometimes she says a word that i don’t understand, and she says it over and over and over…sometimes jumping up and down to make her point…and i feel so dense when i don’t get it.  I feel like I should know what she is saying, i can almost make it out…i have heard this phrase before, i am sure…This morning it was “ego, ego, ego, ego…ego!! sek ego…sek, sek, sek…ego, ego…”  This is accompanied by looking at me with expectation and repeating herself…until the expectation becomes less, and she starts to decide i might never get it…

i feel like that creatively sometimes too,

that my creative voice is saying something in the corner of my mind – that i am on the edge of knowing what it is, but i can’t get it…if i can just listen a little harder to what my creative voice is saying, it will unlock a beautiful project, piece of work, or maybe a whole new way of viewing what i do…and it is there over and over…and i don’t know what it means.

with Journi, if I can have the foresight to ask her to ‘show me what you are saying’, sometimes that will jog my brain and I will get it.  This morning, when i asked her to show me, she pointed at my computer and said “tweet, tweet, tweet…sek ego!”  AH HA! Check on the eagles! If you are not familiar, there is an “eagle cam” focused on an eagle nest in Decorah, IA and together we check the baby eagles each day to see how they are growing up. Google it, if you like! 🙂

asking my creative voice to “show me what you are saying” can be a way to ‘hear’ that voice more clearly.  Give your creative voice a pencil and paper, a sketchbook, an instrument, a journal, a paintbrush…something to show you what they are saying!  And stick with it long enough to hear- don’t say, “what did you say??” and turn away…actually ask and then listen to the answer.

when you are on the edge of knowing…sometimes you have to wait a bit for the answer…

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