Monday, April 29, 2013

Courage, Fear, Growth, Friendship

Courage is resistance to feat, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.  -Mark Twain

During a conversation with my friend, Marie, I was suddenly struck with the thought "I want to be a better person. I want to be the person others see when they look at me." I remember years ago hearing someone say, "Friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other to belong to themselves." Fortunately for me, I am blessed with friends that are doing exactly that.

Being in the different groups which I belong is definitely helping me as an artist. ClaySpace is a huge factor in this too. I am learning something new, pushing myself to create outside my comfort zone. The funny thing about a comfort zone is the more you stretch it, the more it grows. My interview to become a resident artist went better than I could have imagined and now I am on the waiting list. My sketch book is growing with ideas on how to combine fiber/quilts and clay. Leaves are being to pop out on the trees and even in my fuzzy allergy state, my heart sings! I feel I am truly living a creative life. How about you?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

4 x 4 Collage Addiction

Nature doesn't move in a straight line, and as part of nature, neither do we. -Gloria Steinem

I can certainly understand how making small collages can jump start one's creativity. While I have considered making a collage a day like Karen Stiehl Osborn, it was until my friend Jill suggested  making 4" x 4" collages for a heArtist Trading Cards side trade that it all came together for me. Now I am addicted! Making them is also helping me use up "bits."

My friend Barbara and I joke often about our ever growing boxes of bits. This comes from a story I have told about helping a friend go through her mother's quilt supplies after she died. We came across a box labeled "bits too small to use." My friend lived in a small apartment with limited space and yet I watched her struggle to let go of that box.  I do not want to become a person that cannot let things go. It has been a process for me. Last night at Hannah's opening at ClaySpace, there was a discussion about being able to let things go. Some people were good at it and others not so much. I remember a time when letting things go was tough for me too. There is a story, History Returned,  in my book about a quilt returned to the place where it was made. Arline Crowley shared that she heard that when people get older, they want to simplify there lives. She didn't think it would ever happen to her, but it did. One of things that I struggle with is how to balance the need for simplicity with my need to have stuff around so I can create.

So the questions for today are: 1. Do you have a daily creative ritual and if so, what is it? 2. Is it easy for you to let things go?

Friday, April 26, 2013


While I am making progress, I do not have a clear vision on how to finish which is getting frustrating.  "Look Deeper" has not been sewn down as I am not sure if those are the words I want to use. "Look Deeper" is from a photograph taken while standing in line to get into MOMA in San Francisco. I looked down an alley and there were the words on a door.Anyway, I want to get this done soon so I can begin working on the discharged feather on black. Thoughts? Is it time to just stick a fork in it and call it done?

Once again participating in Nina- Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mixed Media Postcard Swap and Friendship

Shannon Ganshorn is once again hosting her International Mixed Media Postcard Swap Version 4.0 so of course, I signed up. You can too. Deadline for signing up is May 10.  You send out 10 postcards and get 10 in return. I've been working on mine. Each is a little different but the overall design is the same. I made two new friends last round. Jill is now a member of heARTist Trading Cards which is also the reason I will continue to do these kinds of trades.

Today was also my interview for becoming a resident artist at ClaySpace. I will admit to being a little nervous but there truly was no reason. Theresa was warm and welcoming and Sharon who sat in unofficially was a jewel as always. I will be presented to the board for a vote then placed on the waiting list. Not sure when I will become an RA. Hopefully I will only have to wait a couple of months. I feel strongly that ClaySpace is going to continue to help me grow as an artist and a person. I love the people I am getting to know. I've been putting poems on Hannah's shelf, a 26 year-old with an old, caring  soul, after learning we shared Mary Oliver as our favorite poet. Today I found on my shelf a gift from Hannah. I am blessed and sad. Hannah is moving to upper Minnesota at the end of May.  I am sure we will stay in touch. We have shared such a deep connection. When was the last time you made a new friend with someone much younger?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Life, Simple Pleasures and a Winner

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. - John Lennon

On Sunday, I gave myself permission to do little except read a book. The book, Turn Coat (Dresden Files, Book 11) by Jim Butcher, was simple pleasure reading. I like to read books that my sons have read. It is just another way of sharing. Anyway, I cannot remember the last time I spent a day reading a book. It was delicious. I did not think about anything other the book until 9 p.m. when I was well into Changes (Dresden Files, Book 12) and started making 4" x 4" collages for the next side trade with the heARTist Trading Cards. Two hours flew by so quickly.

Sidebar: The one thing that has really struck me about Jim Butcher is that his writing got better with each book. I wonder why he picked Chicago as the location for the books. He lives in Seattle.

Yesterday, on the other hand, was not much fun until my pottery class. After nearly two hours and seven painful x-rays looking for a spot on my breast (never found), I was declared fine. I had just enough time to woof down some dinner before heading out to my class. I was exhausted by the time I got home so please forgive me for not announcing the winner of Fiber Art Now yesterday as promised. Drum roll please....Julie! Congrats! For those of you who didn't win have heart. I'll continue to have blog giveaways.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Serendipity Strikes Again!

It is my job to betray people's expectations. - Koie Ryoji, master and "rebel" Japanese ceramic artist (born 1938)

The side trade for heARTist Trading Cards this month is to create spring themed thrinches (called because they are 3" x 3").  The last three years spring has meant a relationship with a female crow so I used her as my inspiration. I love thread painting which I have not done in quite a while. My first attempt was too small. At first I was discouraged until I realized that it fit perfectly on top of a box (3" x 2.75" x 3") I had created just for that purpose! Serendipity again. Rejoice! I want to continue to explore ways to combine clay and fiber (beads, wire, buttons, etc. too).

This was my first time creating thrinches. After spending so much time thread painting the crows, I decided to keep the backs simple. I thought using the words "Expect Magic and Miracles" was perfect. Spring is a magical time and the rebirth of everything always seems like a miracle to me. I hope the people in the group enjoy them. I know that I love the treasures I receive from them each month always brightens my day and challenges me to be a better artist. When people ask me why I participate in these kinds of trades, this is my answer. Besides, who does not like going to the mailbox and finding a treasure? With Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays, it has more to do with accountability and supporting another person's efforts. What motivates you?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blog Giveaway and Thoughts on Time

I need more hours in the day as I seem to be in overdrive with ideas. This may be the reason (at least it is the story I am telling myself) I thought my subscription to Fiber Art Now had expired. I did not find what I was looking for at Barnes and Noble so when I saw the new issue, I grabbed it. Unfortunately for me, the same issue was waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home.  Don't you hate when that happens. Fortunately for you, you have a chance to win it!

1. Leave a comment about your thoughts on time. It seems to be speeding up for me. You?
2. Make sure I know how to get in touch because I am not going to spend the time tracking you down.
3. Not advertising so you probably have a better chance at winning.
4. I'll post the winner on Monday. If I don't hear from them by Tuesday, I'll pick another person.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Magic and Miracles Altar

As with my fiber work, I also have been setting goals for my ceramic work. It took me three attempts to create this altar which has a workable drawer. "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life," by Picasso is in yellow. Being able to create this alter was a real confidence builder.
Having it around is also a great reminder especially since I got a recall today on the mammogram that I had yesterday. I wish I did not have to wait until Monday for the follow up x-rays to be taken so I am thankful that I have lots of projects to occupy my mind and time.

The other day I realized why I like pottery so much. It is tactile. It requires me to use both sides of my brain. It puts me outside my comfort zone. It helps me create things that I could not make in fiber.I have so many ideas rattling around my brain.

I have also been asked if I now consider myself a potter. The answer is "no." I consider myself an artist who uses whatever medium works best to express what I have to say. Isn't just important that we create?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Expect Magic and Miracles

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all  I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." -Agatha Christie, An Autobiography

Progress! It has been a busy week with a couple of days of caring for Tom who had knee surgery. (He is doing well.) I have made some progress on the Carol's feather. I so appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions. I abandoned trying to make the figure work (she will end up in a piece of art since she keeps calling to me) and have moved it from a piece on loss to a piece on hope. The crow will have the words "Expect Magic and Miracles Everyday" on the piece of cloth it is holding in its mouth which will not be sewed down. The words are also on an alter I created in clay (I'll share tomorrow). Adding some other elements is still floating around in my head. It will be fun to see how this piece evolves. I cannot wait to get started on the feather on the black fabric. It is good to have this to focus on since the days have been rainy and cold. I am in need of spring and green.

I will once again participate in Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Fridays. Hopefully this piece will be completed by next Friday.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Feeding the Creative Soul

It was a wonderful play date with my friend Barbara. It had been more than two months since the last time we got together and I was struck by how much I have missed our creative play dates. She commented about how we use to spend hours on each card. Okay, a slight exaggeration but we use to stress and work so hard. Now we breeze through (she is still quicker) our creations. We no longer over-think. We quickly came to the realization that each piece does not need to be a masterpiece. It simply has to be expressions of love. This is what comes of practice.

After working on gifts for family and friends, I made some collage cards just for me. It was so much fun. They made me feel good. They are definitely cards that I will be happy to share. It also makes me want to create something similar in fabric. I'm excited! I don't remember who said it but it has always rung true to me, "A state of excitement, and it is like a faucet: nothing comes unless you turn it on, and the more you turn it on, the more comes."

I was limited to what I decided to pack and carry to Barbara's today. I think the limited pallet and Barbara's challenge to use a sheet of rub-ons helped me create them. Ultimately, it doesn't matter to the world that I have created these. The world can get by without them and me, but that is not the point. The point is what the inner process of following our creative impulses will do to us. It is all about process. Love the work, love the process. Grow, make mistakes and above all keep creating. That's what I plan to keep doing. There is no alternative to showing up.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Little Piece Of History

Over the weekend when I was paying for something, I discovered that I had a Buffalo/Indian Head nickel.  My dad loves to collect coins (ones that end up in his pocket) so he will be thrilled when I share him my news. It's been around for a long time and almost all the lettering has worn off. These coins were minted from 1913-1938. The U.S. Mint says, "Buffalo nickels are also regarded as good luck pieces by some and seem to engender a sense of nostalgia for others." I hoping for luck and feeling a little nostalgic. 

I have always had a passion for history and especially the history of women. It is why I became involved in preserving quilt history and why I encourage people to document their own. We need to make sure that there is not a disconnect between object and person.  It is something I need to do more of with my own quilts especially since I have begun to give them away. How are you documenting your work?

Is it important to you to be remembered through your quilts? I remember the first time I was asked that question and to be honest, I had not thought about my quilts in that way. I do know that the family quilts that I have I truly wish I knew who made them and something about the women who made them.  I was thrilled to learn through probate records that my great-grandfather that quilts were listed in the inventory. Who will wonder about you and me?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Feather Quilt- Opinion Needed

The first thing I want you to know is that it is square. I just threw it quickly on the design wall to photograph and did not take the time to straighten it. I often photograph my quilts because seeing them in a photo can often make me see things I do not see when looking at it in person.

The first photograph show what I have put together as of last night. I am vowing to push this quilt as far as I can take it so remember, this is just the beginning. I plan to add words, more texture, etc. I had a piece of fabric I am considering sitting in my coffee cup all night so that it would be less white. My son did not even skip a beat when he watched me take it out this morning before refilling it.

My vision for  this piece is to make it be about loss and rebirth.

I would really like to include the linen indigo piece (see photo 2) but I am not sure it works. It might be a case where I want it to work, not that it does work. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Joining Nina-Marie for her Off the Wall Fridays.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tissue Paper Feathers as Winged Messengers

I seem to seriously have feathers on the brain lately. Working on Carol's feather, it suddenly struck me that I could make paper feathers and use them as my Winged Messengers. I wanted them to be some what real looking. I did not care for my first attempts out of construction paper-too kindergarten looking. Digging through my supplies I came across some yellow gold tissue paper. Success! I used two pieces of tissue paper, some simple white string and spray adhesive (I knew I bought that stuff for a reason). I am going to play around with adding color but I think this is just what I was looking to make and share. They will be much easier to slip into places without being noticed than the watercolor papered winged hearts. Now back to working on my feather quilt. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Incredible Gift, Crow Mask and Releasing with Love

 I continue to be amazed and pleased to be in the company of so many people who share my love affair with feathers. Yesterday in my mailbox I received the most incredible discharged feathers from my friend Carol Esch. I have been the most grateful recipient of many fine gifts from Carol over the years. The fabric is on my design wall. I think I am going to start with the black one. I have an idea which is noodling around in my head. Should be a challenge and fun. With deepest gratitude, thanks Carol.

Monday night I was able to bring home my first in what I see being a series of crow masks. I love the way this one came out except I did not do a good job (lesson learned) in placing straight holes so that I could have items coming up from behind the mask. I am still debating as to whether I consider this one done. Time will tell.

Thanks to everyone for their encouraging words about my clay work. I lost a long time follower last week because she felt that I was being "too distracted" from "my life mission" with clay. She couldn't "support it any longer." This made me sad on many levels.  I have always played with different kinds of materials and feel that it is  important to be creative in every way that I can. Creativity feeds more creativity for me. Also above all I want to be a kind and sharing person. No one likes to hear that she has disappointed someone especially me. I love my followers and appreciate their support and kindness (I am still amazed I have them). So I release Maureen with love.  Is it difficult for you to let go of people?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Learning to Embrace Layers

 I am so thankful for artists who allow me to continue to grow and learn with the opportunities these artists provide. This is especially true of the two artists I participate with in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Art Journal. When Helen Lindton's journal with the theme of "Icons" arrived again I knew that I needed to give this Australian American icons. Please know that I am not overly patriotic. It just seemed fitting. For me, it was a chance to play with layers and have a little fun. Hopefully Helen will be pleased.

Pushing the limits of layers is something that I want to continue to explore. What are you doing to push your limits?

Creativity Assignment 8: When is a Quilt Not a Quilt

“If you shoot at mimes, should you use a silencer?” Stephen Wright

“It’s all about the process for me now.”  Bruce Willis

Assignment #8 – When is a Quilt Not a Quilt? 

Use “found” or everyday objects to make a quilt. Think outside the box ,but close to home (no shopping). How about objects/materials you recycle? What makes a quilt a quilt? And who defines it? (This time you do!)
Remember to have fun!

Suggested Reading: The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle” by Steven Pressfield (This book uses “she” not “he” which is interesting to read.)

Book's description:
A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself. Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.

Suggested video watching: “Frida” - The life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Pay attention to how her paintings are used.