Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What Will You Do WIth Your One Wild And Precious Life

Recently I gave a speech at my church on my creative journey. The starting point was a line in Mary Oliver's Poem A Summer Day.  Here is the poem and then my speech.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

What Will I Do With My One Wild And Precious Life

The one word people often use to describe me is Creative. I don’t think that tells you very much because I believe that everyone is creative. Its also been said that I am highly creative and I would have to agree with that description. There isn’t a moment that goes by that I am not thinking creatively in some way. I am --- The Queen of Creativity after all. That's the title of my blog in case you didn't know.

They say that the mind of a creative person is like have 2,857 tabs open on your browser. Its a little bit of an exaggeration but in its essence its true. I’ve learned that I tend to think differently than other people.

Currently in the works I have 4 knitting projects, 3 weaving projects, 4 art journals that I create in, several canvasses in progress, a novel and memoir of my grandparents that I am working on. In addition I am reading several books, working with clients and developing a new website. On any given day I can be thinking about what I want to be doing next. ** What if? ** Is one of my favorite phrases.

Have I always been this way, well no, I didn’t come out of the womb a highly creative person. Its been a long journey of ups and downs and beginnings and endings.

My mother planted the early seeds of creativity in me. She was a seamstress and taught me to sew at a young age. I made clothes for my dolls and then myself. Sewing led to many other creative passions, like embroidery, and knitting.

After high school I took up oil painting. I had no teacher, I just bought some paint and canvas boards and gave it a whirl. I was frustrated at not being able to create what I saw in my mind and gave it up after a couple years. I fell into a comparison mode which is aways a killer for creativity.

In college I majored in political science which didn't get me anywhere. Another degree in data processing got me into computers and its still a place I am very comfortable at. I worked for various companies including the IRS. I had a stint where I fixed xerox printers over the phone, shlepped books at Barnes and Noble and set up Michaels craft store. No real job ever stuck for me.

All my jobs were left brained activities, so where was the right side of my brain all this time. After spending years sewing I was drawn to spinning. It came into my life after seeing a demo at a fair in Wisconsin. When we moved to Utah I was determined to find a spinning wheel. After learning to spin, weaving was the logical next thing to learn. I really enjoy the process of starting from scratch and creating a useful and beautiful garment. When I am spinning or weaving I feel a deep connection with the women who created this way in the past. Some of the crafts I have done have gone the wayside but I still spin and weave.

My life as a weaver included two events that stand out for me. The first was when I was contacted by a man from Meridian looking for a weaver to make a tartan sample. A tartan or plaid is the fabric used to make kilts, the national dress of Scotland. He had designed the Tartan for the Canyon County Sherrif to honor their service to the community. To get a tartan designed approved, first you need to submit a woven sample to the Tartan Society in Edingurgh Scotland. Once approved then you can have yardage of the design woven and made into a kilt. Having married a Scot I always wanted to weave a tartan, so I jumped at the chance. It involved a learning curve and growth on my part. I still think it was a cool project to be part of. I tend to jump in and try something new if its something I really want to learn. Not knowing how to do something has never stopped me.

The second project that I am very proud of is The Thread Project. It was an international weaving project set up after 9-11 as a hope to bring people from all over the world together. Weavers from all seven continents collected threads from people all over the world and wove 7 tapestries. Each of these tapestries has 7 panels. I wove one of the panels of a cloth called Weaving Reconciliation. It was the one time I felt really connected to people from all over the world. I was fortunate to see the Tapestries when they were unveiled in South Carolina in 2008. To see them hanging together was an awe inspiring experience.

Beyond weaving I was also interested in the paper arts. I had made my share of cards using stamping and other techniques. I was fascinated by all the mixed media artworks out there, but I had never taken the step to doing any of my own. I had a sketchbook that I would draw in occasionally but it was never my main focus.

Then I sprained my ankle, it was a very bad sprain. I found myself stuck in the house with only the internet for entertainment. Online I found Danny Gregory and Violette Clark, both artists with great followings who inspired me immensely. I made the decision right then and there to become the artist I always thought I was. I mean what was I waiting for, the heavens to part and say YOU ARE AN ARTIST… no that didn’t happen.

I joined Violette’s message board, became a member of the GPS otherwise known as the Glitter Power Sisters. I started connecting with other creatives and making my own art. The focus of my blog changed from showing knitting and weaving projects to my explorations in mixed media art. I willingly shared my work, both the mistakes and the successes learned along the way.

Then there is that writing thing, the part of my creativity that I have the least confidence in. Many of you know that I write a novel every November. I’ve written several novels over the years but never could take them to the next level. Often I did not like what I had written, falling into the trap of feeling it was not good enough. So I set them aside, but one in particular kept pulling be back to work on it. This fantasy novel is a story I feel I am supposed to tell. This year I made the decision that its time I invested in my writing. If I am stuck then its time to go find someone to help me. I applied for and received a partial scholarship to a group coaching program for fiction writers. This is the year I am going to finish my novel.

Sometimes dreams stall, you forget about them but they never really go away. When I was a child I remember reading some of my grandparents love letters. They were written in the early 1900's. They had such a fascinating story and I always wanted to write about them. To go to Ireland, to see where they had been, to follow in their footsteps has been a long standing wish of mine. I am going to do that in June. Its going to be quite the journey but one I am willing to take.

In summary my one wild and precious life is all about creativity, dreams, and following them. I can look back on my life and see all the points that led me from one step to the next, that got me to where I am today. I think that the universe puts things in our path, you have to pay attention, when you see them you need to grab the opportunity and go for it. You never know what amazing things it will lead you to.

Monday, April 28, 2014

There Is Nothing Like A Dream To Create The Future

I made these two pages during 21 Secrets Live.  They have absolutely nothing to do with the program covered. She came out of the background, I hadn't intended to do a portrait at all.

This started out with torn book pages and layers of paint.  Then I added some acrylic inks and lifted and re added over and over. Its very yellow and orange underneath it all. Then I decide to throw images on top.  All the collage is from an old calendar.  I often like to cut up old calendars and use the parts for new pages. I liked the quote "There is nothing like a dream to create the future." If you want a certain life, start dreaming it and then make it happen.

Here is a sketch I drew on Sunday. I was speaking at church so I didn't have too much time to devote to the sketch. Normally I would have written on the dress or something but this will have to do for now.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Grabbing A Little Art Time

I painted this today on a Spreecast with Connie Hozvicka.  She started out as a tree and all the lines coming out of her are branches forming.  It was a fun spreecast.  Oil pastel and acrylic paint.

These next two are WIP, This is deli paper with a gelli print and then stamping and stenciling on top. I am leaving it awhile to see what else wants to be there.

I used spray ink on this background and then watecolor crayons and a waterbrush.  I love the colors, but it needs something else but that will come later. I have been finding time for art in little spurts here and there. Sometimes that is all we get and we just have to grab what we can.

Linking to Paint Party Friday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday Musings

I was playing around in an old moleskine and had some fun with gelatos and StazOn ink.  Then I drew this face.  I didn't mean for it to be so symmetrical. Live and learn. I think I may throw some journaling in the background.

Do you ever wonder where the time goes.  It seems like I rarely have time for blogging anymore. So what have I been doing with all my time:

  • Reading Game of Throne series, I am on book 4.
  • Weaving towels.
  • Editing writing to submit to my coach.
  • Working with Clients.
  • Started lifting weights at the Gym
  • Taking Belle for long walks.
  • Planning my trip.
  • Working on a new website.
  • Planning some classes to teach locally.
  • Working on a speech.

Gee no wonder I have no time for art. Busy, busy, busy.  Hopefully I will be coming up for air soon and getting back to doing what I love.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Books Are The Best

I got an order of books in the mail today.  That is always such fun.  I have been watching Jennifer Lee's Right Brainers in Business so I just had to get a copy of her book.  It looks like its going to be excellent.

I had taken Joanne class a few years ago and have always be enamored of her lettering style.  The book is a gem, full of examples, techniques and so inspiring.

On Wednesday in 21 Secrets Live we played with watercolors through the tutelage of Diana Trout. What fun that was.


Today I found out that I received the scholarship to Beth Barany's Group Coaching for Novelists that I applied for a few months ago.  This gave me 50% off the price of the group and elevated me to the second tier.  A really good value. I am so excited to take the next step. To invest in myself, to make my dream come true. I believe if we really want something and don't know how to get there, we find a way.  This is a big step for me. Its going to be pretty all consuming and I know I will need to give up some things to have the time to do it.  I'm ready though, its time to take the plunge and really invest in this dream of mine.

Do you find there is something holding you back from achieving something? Maybe its time for you to step up, to take the leap, to go for it.  Reach for the sky my friends.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A New FInd

Playing with some new ideas. I drew lines inside a stencil instead of paint.  It gives a different look.

I finally found some deli paper. It is pretty cool stuff. Not what I expected. I thought it would be thinner more like what you choose donuts with at a deli.

So I immediately dragged out my gelli plate and started playing with stencils and paint.  I really like the paper. I think it will be interesting to try a regular painting on.  It has a waxy and smooth surface and both sides take paint really well.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Knitting, Weaving and More

Since I haven't been doing much art, now what might I be doing you might wonder.

This is a hat I just finished knitting.  I wish you could feel it, it is so soft. Its made from Noro Silk Garden which is a silk/wool blend.

Here it is being modeled but the color is not real true which is why I showed the first picturee.

A side view show the entrelac pattern and the bobbles. I bought the yarn back in January when I visited my sister.  We both made the same hat.


This is my loom all warped and ready to begin weaving. I am making dishtowels.

These are some of the colors I'll be weaving with.

Here is what the pattern look like.  Its a bird eye twill.  I'll be changing the colors every inch or so.


I have been making these Soup Cozies, they are like a potholder for your bowl that you cook in the microwave. That way you don't touch the hot bowl, plus you can hold it on your lap and its an insulator.  I am selling these to make some spending money for my trip.

I have made 15 so far.  I'll sell them at the Snake River Fiber Festival in May.

Each side is a different fabric. That way you can use both sides if you want.

Plus its more fun to make them that way. I am selling them for $12. If you are interested leave me a comment or send an email.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Getting Back to Some Art

With my focus on weaving and other projects there has been no time for art.  I have not even working in my journal for over a week I was missing it. I had an exercise to do for one of my courses but I felt uninspired so I did nothing.  So I needed a jump start to get back in the flow.  Just paper and oil pastel does that for me.

So after playing in pastel I was ready to tackle the labyrinth page I needed to do.

The background is old maps and the labyrinth was made with watercolor.  For me the labyrinth journey was all about courage and preparation for the trip I will take in a couple month.  I see the figure as having strength, the will to be prepared for anything.  This was a great exercise.

Today for 21 Secrets our guest Violette was doing faces with markers but I ended up doing my work with oil pastel and collage.  All the collage elements are from an old calendar.  She seems like a plant maiden of a sorts. She was fun to make. The face was done on cardstock and glued down.  I had many frustrating moments where I did not like what I was making, but I pushed on through. It always more satisfying to do art that way.

How often do you find that you are not happy with your art but you keep at it and find a pleasing gem at the end?

Linking to Paint Party Friday.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Some Time at the Loom

I've been weaving the last few days. A big push to finish this set of towels. I have to free up the loom for a new project so I worked really hard to get them completed.

The cotton towels off the loom

Even though the towels are woven, they are not quite finished. I had a lot of broken warp threads that have to be woven into the cloth. Then I secure the two end of the warp on my sewing machine and then wash the towels.  Next comes cutting them apart and hemming them.  I always hem my towels by hand.

Cones of yarn

Now my weaving studio looks pretty disastrous.  I have cones of cotton all over the floor. I am putting colors together to see how they will work.  Its all part of the design process for me. I have lots of blues and greens and purples to play with.

More color combinations

I am doing another set of towels to give as gifts for my trip to Ireland.  I'll be putting on a natural colored warp in a bird eye twill pattern.  I plan to do different color combinations for
different towels.  Its all in my head right now but I am hoping it translates well to the loom.

I found this version of bird eye twill on this site.  As you can see it makes diamonds with a dot in the center.  Its a pattern I like to weave but I have never used it for towels.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's Hidden Underneath

I woke up on Sunday morning to this lovely stuff.  We got about 8 inches.  It was wet and heavy and soon will be gone.  It was a shock though, it the most snow we got all year. It came down in this big fluffy white flakes and was quite beautiful to see.

In my journal I have been making some small collages. The background on this one was made with some alcohol ink and then the black was printed with a gelli plate. The paper is tyvek. The quote comes from The Medicine Cards book. I typed it out on my typewriter. I really like having that tool at my disposal.  The image of the hawk is from a calendar.

This one is all collage.  I used wrapping paper, scraps of walpaper, cut out from a creft magazine and more. Just lots of fun with layered elements.  There is paint underthe entire thing.  I didn't like what was happening with it so I just covered the whole thing.  Art is like that sometime, you never know what is underneath it all. As a mixed media artist I create layers, layers of word, paint, images.  It is like each layer leads to the next, if I skipped one I would never get to the next step. We have the ability to hide things that we don't want others to see but still those messages are in the energy of the piece. In this piece, by covering it all up I think my message is that you keep moving when you've hit a stumbling block.  You push on until you come out at the other end with some sense of satisfaction.

Do you hide things in the layers of your work?