time flies…

 

starry night startI have started painting again…i haven’t painted since high school really. I really enjoyed painting in high school, but then I got to college. And I majored in art, beCAUSE i liked painting- i liked the paint, the colors, the way I could get so engrossed that i lost time…however our college painting instructor promoted stepping out one’s comfort zone and painting in an abstract manner, which didn’t make sense to me. And I wasn’t assertive or sure enough of myself at that point in time to stand up for my own ideas.

I had a sculpture class that first semester too. It was fun, i liked the teacher, and i felt strong- learning to weld, and bronze cast.So I abandoned painting and became a sculptor for the remainder of my college art career.

Then clay took over and that has been my focus for the past nearly 30 years (my gosh, has it been that long…??)- with small detours into paper-nina's stormmaking, collage, watercolor, sewing…a rather large investment into fiber, spinning and knitting– but clay captured me. It was the fire, the glaze surprises, the accidental nature, the feel of clay, the predictable flow of throwing. There was always something new to learn, to investigate, to try. This is what has kept me coming back to it, over and over.

This winter I decided to paint one little tiny painting for one of the girls for Christmas. She loves sunrises, and every morning sends me a snapchat of a sunrise on her way to work– so I thought it would be fitting to paint one of those sunrises for her. So i did. I had a blast! So then I did another one…and another…  I decided to try my hand at my own version of Starry Night.  I was on a bit of a Van Gogh kick for a bit, doing studies of a few of his lesser known paintings. And now I am doing something of my own. I’m more adventurous than I used to be- I use my fingers, rags, rubber stamps…and a paintbrush now and then. I still have a comfort zone, but its a much different place than it was 30 years ago…

and you know …i still like the colors, and the paint, and the way I lose time…

mulberry treestarry night done

 

beginnings and endings

a dear friend recently commented (we were discussing knitting) that beginning and ending a project were the hardest…the beginning because you were learning the pattern and reading directions etc, and the ending because you were letting go of something.

I tend to think that most beginnings and endings are difficult…

take vacations for example… as much as i like to think of myself as spontaneous, i am not really…i am a ‘closet-planner’.   My husband, on the other hand, is a spur of the moment person, who can decide on the way to a neighboring town for a grocery trip that we should all travel to Seche Hollow to see the fall colors…with 3 kids all under the age of 12 (one in diapers). This is a true story.  Let’s keep in mind that neither of us actually knew where Seche Hollow was, we had no clothes packed and about $125 between us (in an age before debit cards, credit cards, GPSs and cell phones).  His reasoning was ‘we are already heading in the right direction’.  And if we didn’t go right then, we would ‘miss the fall colors’.  Call me crazy, but after i stopped hyperventilating at the mere thought, i went along with it…reasoning that it would be >fun<.  Now that was a difficult beginning… we did make it to Seche Hollow, after a number of wrong turns, one down a section line and into a cow pasture (my husband REFUSES to ask anyone for directions- but that is a whoooole other blog post!).  And the colors were beautiful, the trees magnificent and the quiet was sacred…and it was hard to turn around and go home.

relationships can present some challenges in the beginning…some difficulties.  The normal ones are usually:

  • does he think i’m pretty?
  • did he really mean to slam the door in my face?
  • could i learn to handle his (insert annoying habit here)?

in our case, it was “why does he KEEP driving past my house in that loud pick-up!?”

Ending relationships is always hard, i think…whether a friendship, a business relationship, a marriage.  Always difficult to end, to say that you have learned all you could from one another, to admit that this is no longer serving the purposes that it was created for, to let go for another…always hard.

beginning something new…jumping in…in that moment, you are making a commitment to explore something different…to build something.  Whether its me trying to knit socks (which i have back-burnered for the time being), a new job, riding in a hot air balloon for the first time, or a new creative piece- you are finding your way…learning…and there is so much hope, fear, excitement, wonder…

i like beginnings best.

selling on a street corner

selling stuff… i have said it a million times,

“I can make beautiful stuff, but i have no idea how to sell it…”

And I have thought to myself, ‘if my stuff is so great, then it should “sell itself”…it doesn’t.

and then we can visit the age-old argument about great art, and things that ‘sell’ are not necessarily great art…they are commercially created to please the public.

so i approached Etsy with some trepidation…some “geez, i should have thought of creating a site like this!”…some awe…some “how in the hell will anyone find my stuff in these millions of items??”

But after getting kicked out of the Farmers Market, ya gotta do something…find some type of outlet for your work…

I had an account years ago…etsy remembered me…she welcomed me in with a hug…saying “come in out of the hot sun and look around! We have everything here, everything you need for your creative soul…there are shops, and supplies, circles and treasuries and enough pretty pictures to keep you entertained for weeks…you can meet people here, and have coffee in handmade mugs…you can find your friends, have conversations, heart your favorites…etsy is all you need…just come in and set up shop”

and so i did.

taking time to play

I have been making pots, and picking wool and soooo enjoying the sunshine!  You know, when its so warm that when you lay back in the sun and close your eyes, you can see the brightness on the inside of your eyelids…ahhhh! been waiting for that!

Yesterday i was putting handles on mugs and pitchers in the studio- hands happily in clay.  Journi had come with me- she is loving the warm weather too.  She had walked out of the studio and i didn’t hear her, so i ventured outside to look for her.  She had found some pans that i use at the edge of the roof to catch rainwater and was pouring water from one to the other.  She was so intent on her task that she didn’t hear me.  Pouring the water from one pot to another would make her giggle, and then she would take a second and just swish her hand in the water…and giggle some more- mutter to herself and then pour water from that pan to another and swish again.  What a good time she was having! 🙂

I paused to watch her, marveling at how entertained she was- but also reflecting that this was one of the first times, at her age, that she had been able to explore her surroundings and make her own discoveries.  It has been winter until just recently, and snowy.  She has needed supervision and a hand to hold in the slippery conditions.  But on this day, she could walk around a bit on her own…that made all the difference.

what do you love about the medium you work in? is it a tactile thing? a visual thing? is it how the words sound? what makes you giggle with delight about creating?

take time to play today…walk around a bit…make some discoveries on your own…

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? 🙂

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

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?

spinning…centering

Spinning with Journi

Spinning with Journi

So as I alluded to earlier, I took a class in how to spin wool this past winter.  Only 3 of us and the teacher.  One of the other two students, a lady named Janet, had a spinning wheel and wanted to take the class so she could make sure she was doing things right.  The other woman said she knitted quite alot and for some reason, I felt that she also knew how to spin.  I was thinking…”oh shoot, I am the only one who doesn’t know what is going on here…”

And I was very nervous about trying to learn something new…want to learn myself, without someone standing over me.   i tend to drop out of stuff that doesn’t come easy- i get embarrassed that I can’t be perfect immediately.

Initially I probably would have had more luck trying to spin with my feet, because it felt just that awkward.  Our teacher was really good not hovering, she helped if you wanted help, but mostly she let us work it out ourselves.  Janet was a stellar spinner, one hand pulled the wool from the wad she had in her other hand, and fed it toward the spinning flyer in this slow methodical rhythm.  Looking at her, she seemed to be actually relaxed, not stressed about doing it ‘right’, sortof looked like she was even having fun.

And then Terry, our teacher, brought out some raw unprocessed wool…wool that just been sheared off the sheep and bagged.  She gave us each a handful and told us to try it out…my breath caught as I rubbed that wool between my fingers.

We raised sheep when I was a girl, and they got sheared every year on Mother’s Day.  It was always hot, and dusty in the shearing shed.  My job was to bundle the sheep’s wool after the fleece was clipped free of the sheep and she ran bleating back to the herd.  We had this paper-like twine that I wrapped around the big bunch of wool…around and around like wrapping a gift with ribbon.  Going around the back of the large bundle of wool forced me to bury my face in the wool, using both arms to try to keep the wool up and out of the dirt.  The wool stuck to my sweaty face, fibers in my mouth, nose, eyes and the creases of my neck.  It was loud in the shed with the noises of the electric shearing clippers, sheep bleating, men shouting.

Just the feeling of the wool in my hand brought all of this flooding back and I was speechless…and a bit teary.  Until that moment, i never connected spinning with anything other than a nice earth-mother type of craft that I wanted to learn.

I pulled the leader out on my bobbin, threaded it thru the orifice and feathered some of the brown sunburnt wool onto the leader.  I started the wheel spinning with my hand and with the wad of wool in my right hand, I pulled and fed it toward the orifice with my left.   It was working…I could hardly believe it.  The spun wool was winding onto the bobbin, nice thin yarn like Janet’s…I was delighted.

Focus…

center…

when i began the class, I was all over the place…worrying about how inept I looked, admiring other people’s skills, feeling out of place and ridiculous.  Feeling that wool somehow grounded me.  When we are feeling ‘all over the place’, worrying about others…and not finding that place of energy, quiet and ideas inside ourselves…we are not feeding our creativity.  We are pouring it down the drain.

What grounds you? centers you? focuses you?

What activity helps you find that place of energy, quiet and ideas inside of yourself?

(I added a picture of Journi and I spinning llama wool yesterday…she likes to sit with me :))

have a brilliant day,

pat

timing…my dear, its all about timing…

More

Previous Older Entries

Top Clicks

  • None