Tuesday, August 30, 2011
you know when all those magazines and how-to books talk about the importance of "play" to an artist? play. i always wondered what the heck they were talking about...i mean, how can you not set out to make something? how do you play? i know this probably makes me sound like a person with a pathetic and arid childhood, who was made to clean chimneys and wear her brother's hand-me-down clothes and sell apples in the streets, but i never did get it. then (trumpet sound)this morning around 3am, after i was done pouring resin and sticking my hair to the table, and making maple bacon & oatmeal (how's that right??) i decided to print out some photos on my whiz-bang printer - ink costs be damned. the first one was awesome...stalactites or mites (whicheverrrrr) from Howe Cavern. decided to print another from the same trip. i was all jacked up because the NEW new printer didn't even jam. was all jacked up because the NEW new cup of coffee tasted even better than the last 2. so i loaded the paper in, hit print, and shazam! the printer started printing. i took this opportunity to let diva dog out (yet again) and when i came back, discovered a hot mess. i had loaded the paper in "up" side down...it had printed on the back of the paper. mess. so i took parts of that piece and began to collage. (yes i know i should be finishing up necklaces. sue me). since the piece was ruined, it didn't bother me in the least to cut it, burn it, disrespect it in ways that i will likely have to answer for Some Day. but it felt great. and in the process, i discovered a new technique! ah ha - so this is "play." it's now 9:30-ish, and i have been up for 7 1/2 hours. my mouth is high on Starbucks, so i should end this post now before i say things randomly & regretfully. so you enjoy your day! i'm going to nap.
at 9:19 AM
Monday, August 29, 2011
It's monday, 10:48 am, as i start this post. things are settling in for a good start to the week...the rain has stopped, as has furbaby vomiting and other gastrointestinal rumblings...the sun is actually shining. I am almost done with my 1st workday, having gotten up at 2am and began working then. i'll start my 2nd workday this afternoon, or after dinner. meanwhile, i have resin cooking, the studio is immaculate, with much tossed after watching an episode of Hoarders last night. I have new curtains hung in the studio, and most everything has a place. the 3 cat beds have been removed & relocated, as kitty has a room of her/his own, now that everyone is back at school, and will Not Be Returning Ever by decree of handsome husband. we are once again trying to learn how to be married, without the stress and friction of feeling like we are running a Marriott hotel, rather than a home. (when people said marriage is hard, they should've been a bit more specific). Perfect Stepdaughter drove home last night to bring her boyfriend back - train & bus service canceled due to flooding. he had taken the train in, thrifty guy that he is. but now, she is stuck half way back, as the thruway is closed. she called her dad and he Google Mapped her directions that may or may not work - they don't take into account other potential closures. I texted her the best advice i could remember from my travel days - Find a Trooper and cry. it always got me an escorted trip pretty close to where i needed to be. Perfect Stepdaughter & I agreed this was very 70's, and not at all empowering, but she pointed out that desperate times called for desperate measures, and she still has to get to the end of the thruway and buy books for her classes. it was a solution that her dad never would have thought of, so there was that kernel of righteousness. since i still have quite a long way to go before it can be considered a normal bedtime, i may just shower, nap for 15 minutes, walk the dog, then go on an art date, or maybe to my Lake to see how she fared. there are days (like today) when i wish i was Jane Jetson, and just ran through a machine in 5 minutes and came out all fresh, dressed and even with makeup on. oh well. not complaining, as there are people spending the day pumping out basements and filling out insurance forms. for once, we were spared, and my heart and good thoughts go out to you if you had storm damage.
at 10:47 AM
till it's 1 week away from: To answer the emails - yes! I will have some exciting & beautiful Squam necklaces in sterling & in copper! Also, plan on owning a print of "Magic Orchestra," an original 8 x 10 collage featuring the Rockywold-Deephaven dining room with that incredible window. ok - back to work! lots to do before then! My sincere thoughts & prayers to those who may have been flooded over the past weekend. There's just nothing easy about that, and if i can help in any way, please contact me. Linda
at 4:37 AM
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
as the days creep toward fall, my sleep patterns get even wonkier...today, up at 3am, after just 4 hours sleep. but i was energized and ready to go, so i stayed up and got some prints matted and did more work on my business plan. by 8am i was ready for a nap, so diva dog & i hit the pillow for a 15 minute break. thunderstorms are headed our way today, so i expect we'll be doing a lot of cuddling. i'd give her some benadryl, but she looks so pathetically confused, albeit relaxed, that i just feel like the bad mom of the 50's rubbing brandy on her baby's gums for teething/sleep. yes, i heard you - that does explain a lot. actually, there were quite a number of parenting practices that i was raised with, that would warrant a second look in this enlightened new millenium...i remember my pediatrician sitting at his desk in the exam room, writing notes in my little 5 year old chart - as the ashes from his cigarette grew long and dropped on the floor. yes, a whole new world of parenting & child rearing. today's 3 year old child is as likely to be facing an entrance board to a pre-school as we were facing a disciplinary board made up of mom & God. the "right" clothes meant last years too-short jeans made for mud-stomping and sliding into 1st base. today, some kids have actual stylists. for real. not Garanimals. oh geez i'm off track already. the point i started out on is that i got more done before 8am, than i usually accomplish in half a day, which technically it sort of was if you work a 10 hour day. i'm feeling the need to escape these 4 walls for a bit and believe i'll set out in search of teeny mother-of-pearl buttons. something obscure enough to keep me distracted for a little bit. then lunch, nap, and back to work. hopefully diva will hold up if the storms start before i get home. wishing you a productive and dry day......
at 10:48 AM
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
my God! you say. who is this person that's been up for 5 hours already Making A Business Plan?? This spreadsheet aversive person who gets nasty hives when asked about balancing a checkbook or quantifying anything?? yes, my friends...it is I who am that self-same person. (grammatical Yogi-ism intentional). and what an eye-opening experience. i am giddy with the picture being painted, and quake with the fear of what might have been. in a few short hours, i have unearthed my vision, my authentic voice, and the inklings of a plan. i have discovered some pretty interesting things, and even decorated a soon-to-be located studio/workshop/office space Outside The Home. and since I've discovered the inklings of The Plan, I see that I can still keep my sacred studio space at home, but for other art...not business. this working in my bathrobe til noon just won't cut it, although it is a nice, cozy bathrobe. and the endless distractions of internet, dog walking, husband helping and general roaming of the house from time to time will be eliminated. an actual Work Environment will be created. you know - like a job. and it excites me and energizes me, and makes me feel uber-confident. even more so. soopa cool!
at 9:09 AM
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
it's that time of year...kids heading back to college .... the first glimmer of the coming change of season, as my ligularia blooms stalky yellow flowers that scent the air with chocolate...yes! chocolate... The hydrangea bush, which flowered in such brilliant profusion all summer, begins to take on a faded softness, equally as beautiful... the giant leafed hosta has given up it's seeds, but stands proud, still sheltering the bunnies and chipmunks. I love fall. the crisp air...the dusky scents...leaves become brilliant light shows, then crunch under my feet as diva and i walk the woods. not to rush the season - there's still plenty of heat left to the day, but the nights are cooler now, and a light blanket is a welcome snuggle. some exciting news: I may be partnering with the Renegade Seamstress herself, Helen Carter of Secret Lentil to do some adornment on her lovely models and outrageous clothing! it is up to every artist to own at least one item from her. you just feel more authentic. oh - did i purchase just one thing yesterday? shame on me. I started reading Jennifer Lee's Right Brain Business Plan. only on page 7, but can tell this is what was missing 10 years ago when i started/stopped/started thinking about becoming a fulltime artist as a career. the timing is right, now. and i remember having a conversation with a realtor 10 years ago that stayed with me like a burr in my shoe. she asked what i did for a living (ie: how would i pay a mortgage), and i easily replied that i was going to be a fulltime artist. she then asked me what plans i had for my business. crickets. umm. plans? well, i was going to make art, i suppose, and sell it. oh, that's nice. sell it where? stores? art galleries? home parties? flea markets? curbside? where? where? and how? and when? well, she didn't get that spanish inquisition about it, but i knew i had to have a plan for my business (hmm, a business plan? oh no!) so although that conversation stuck in my head, i never really did make a plan. that isn't how real artists do it, is it? i mean, you just make soulful, wonderful art and people buy it...getting all corporate takes the soul out of it, right? so 10 years ago, my plans were hijacked by love, and now here i am older & wiser. i have the ability to make art. i have the time. i have a great studio crammed with supplies. i have friends who are artists, and friends who aren't. and i have a business plan. well,, no plan, actually. so it started gnawing at me, and a lengthy conversation i had with the incredible & generous Swirlylast March made things gel a bit. i mean, she was using words like "distribution" "hiring reps" "reorder" all those Big Girl words that a serious business person should use, and also should know. i hung up feeling woefully underprepared. again. so i began to search out business books to help. i could do this - i had a 4.0 GPA in college and can make a decent turkey for a holiday, surely i could follow some step-by-step business plan book. i guess the turkey wasn't the only thing i was kidding myself about. and the need for the plan was growing. so i clicked on a link from the Squam Art Workshops site that led me to Jennifer Lee. and i thought "another person selling hope in a paperback." But there was something that drew me in and choked me up...that left over instinct from caveperson times that made me want more info. so i ordered the book. and it speaks my language...no Harvard biz-speak, no quantum physics or square root of the triangulation of the whatever. it is a fun book and it gets the job done (at least it seems like it based on the worksheets and up to page 7). no, i don't get commission, and no, i don't know Jennifer. I will try not to be a dork when i meet her, but have a feeling that this book will be a very important book to me. i will be able to take those next important steps without needing to look down, because i'll know where i'm going, and when i get there. and in this knowledge, there is no room for the paralyzing fear of the unknown. there may be stressful times of the unplanned for, but a flat tire will not end this journey. come walk with me.
at 11:59 AM
Thursday, August 18, 2011
after a refreshing 4 hours of sleep last night, here i am! am starting to feel the ticking of the countdown, wondering if I'll have enough time to prepare for vendor night at Squam. I don't want to disappoint anyone by not having enough on hand, although I will be taking orders to complete afterwards, if that does happen. Tuesday, before the Great Sucking Vortex of Ugly hit the house, I met with a man I've known for, gosh, 30 years now? is it really 30 years? I must have been 2 when we met...yeah that's the ticket. anyway, Alan helped me through some Mt. Everest sized rocks and twists in the road of my life back then, and is one of those touchstone people...people that you keep in your heart, even if it's years without calling or writing...that when a situation is getting tricky, you think to yourself, "I can do this, and if it looks any worse, I have Help To Call," so you get through it and grow and become proud of yourself and send a special thank you prayer to that person. If you watch Deadliest Catch, he's my Edgar. so tuesday, after 10 years, i grabbed the phone and called, and he made time right then & there to get together. and this, as you remember, was before Armageddon. I am grateful to Alan for all the life skills he has given me. even though i was a little pisser at the time he was attempting to impart them. but he is especially in tune with artists, as well. (poor guy). and offered up some suggestions to me that clicked on a huge neon sign in my head that has given me back the calm & joy that I originally felt about fulltime artmaking and all it's pitfalls and rewards. just like that. in 30 minutes. bam. so i'm back at the bench, after some cranial chiropractic adjustment, and making jewelry like it's my job...oh - it is. I can't wait to show you these new designs! gor-jus! and there are some exciting things to come, as i fireproof my studio (God help us) and pick up the torch once again. I'll be taking a break from amethyst and opals and agate for a little bit in october though, and spending some here! I am incredibly excited about this! I hope you get an opportunity to meet Judy some day ...she is a gentle, compassionate, patient angel of a person, but don't let that fool you. spend some time on her blog gasping at what she's created...both her artwork, and her photo stories. I've asked her to adopt me, and she thought i was kidding. i was not. this class will be awesome! back to work now, with a break for the hot water man at 9am, and poor diva dog to the vet (again) at 5pm...her eye boogies just won't go away (i'll spare you the description, but it's ug-lee). wishing you a productive & joy-filled day....
at 7:16 AM
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
so after six hours, a veritable marathon, of ugly shouting, accusation, name calling and near fisticuffs...after little upset tummies disgorged themselves all about my studio, and 2 4-legged furbabies who have huge capacities for love but english as a second language calmed down...after the husband and stepson called it a battle and exhausted themselves and every adjective in the dictionary and went to their separate corners of the world - briefly, after AFTER all that, husband and i sat down to dinner...me, nerves jagged from the sounds and from restraining myself from going downstairs...him from the effort of the epic and for feeling as though his son was lost to him. The details aren't to be revealed here, but let me give a gentle piece of advice: if someone wants to give you access to $28K just like that, this was not the proper way to show thanks. use this as an example of what not to do. i feel that so strongly, that when the heat resumed an hour later, and i almost joined bulimia cat on all fours, whatever force, sensibility or thought process that held me upstairs to let these testosterone laden combatants "clear the air," well, the force was not with me no longer. (in a battle of hormones, estrogen wins every time). i began to watch myself from the sidelines like those I Died But Came Back shows...i imagined myself literally flying down the stairs - no foot/carpet contact...screeching to a halt in front of the new stainless fridge covered with some shmutz that no one has cleaned up after...growing at least 3 feet to absolute Sasquatch proportions...and i may have said something to the effect of "It's my turn to talk," in a Dirty Harry type of calm voice that new listeners may think an offer of cookies or help with laundry was to follow. it's not an affectation. it just happens. and my husband, dear man, who has lived with me these 10 years, god bless him, my husband has seen my rage only on special and rare occasions, but those occasions have lodged in his memory cells like life-survival instincts...like a Pavlovian response, i suppose, when he hears those words and that tone in combination, he understands at a cellular level that the feces is about to hit the air movement device and no one will be happy soon and the best thing to do is to stand quietly like a deer in headlights until the crap stops flying. i, on the other hand, understand that he is a man. and understand that no matter how heartfelt the words or how long I've kept some particular Mt. St. Helens of an issue under wraps, he will hear this: BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH don't you ever BLAH BLAH BLAH do you not understandhowcouldyoueverblahblahblah. but like Mt. St. Helens, when i get to that point, there's no stopping it. and so, patient reader, as i arrived on my chariot of doom into my kitchen, parking myself at the triangular center of them both and said, It's My Turn To Talk, my husband drew in a sharp breath and held it like it was his precious last and didn't want to waste it on an exhale. but his son, being young and inexperienced and arrogant, patiently advised me in a tone usually reserved for small children, or those from a lesser god, advised Me that they were having a private conversation. (i'll let you listen to the same crickets here that entertained the last calm moment in my humble kitchen just before Armageddon). upstairs, the dog began to howl like the wolf she is - howling for Coco & Pixie next door to help her escape the coming vortex or at least call Jim Cantore to witness. i am exhausted to admit, i lost it. i did. all over the place. i may have yelled I'm Just Getting Warmed Up with a subconscious nod to Al Pacino, at one point, as Regular Thoughts mingled with ephemera from movies, snippets of conversation overheard in line at the grocery store, the 7 words George Carlin said you can't say on TV although at least 6 have been sneaked through...all these words and thoughts came tumbling out like verbal vomit. my husband eye began to twitch. however, his son stood ready for his turn to speak with a smug, slight grin on his face, which had this been the 50's, would be now stored in the fridge in a jar with pickles. so, it's tiring even to write this, and i'm sure will bring back memories to some who had to advise a son or daughter in the gentlest possible way, that it was time to leave the nest...to go about the world freely and make their own shiny lives, and that hopefully it will, indeed, be better than the one that their parents lived, and that hopefully they will succeed at everything they put their hand to...and hopefully will remain successfully out in their new lives at least until you can repurpose their rooms.
at 6:41 AM
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
some incredible things popping...will post as soon as i dare...don't want to jinx anything. Hope everyone loves their Squam necklaces...have all shipped except Christina & Kimbolicious....to the post office by week's end!!
at 11:07 PM
Monday, August 15, 2011
30 years ago, i traveled with a band. yes. surprised? me - the one who can't carry a tune now. the gift taken from me in what i later saw as the most compassionate act. so this band...half of us English-speaking Americans, 1/4 English-speaking Canadians, 1/4 French-speaking or bilingual Quebecois. there were 12 of us traveling Quebec in a few vans, and an occasional fly-in on a private plane owned by the guy who organized all this...Rene, who learned English in a logging camp (mostly harsh consonant sounds), his wife & baby along for the ride...Ev, who became my best friend from Toronto & thought she spoke French til Rene advised her this was not so... Gary our driver, who gave up a summer's employment and would kidnap me to incredible locations without notice (duh, it took 6 months to realize he was "interested" in me as they say)...Eddie, his sidekick and other driver who was the ultimate prankster...and Mark. Mark. Ex-heroin addict, member of the biker gang, the Kingsmen in Buffalo NY, deep gravelly Wolfman Jack of a voice, giant bear hug of a mountain. Mark. We hung together. oh stop - like you're shocked. I remember setting up for an outdoor venue, and I walked toward the back of the park to check sound, and was surrounded quickly by 4 guys on motorcycles. Harleys to be specific. yeah, i was a little nervous. a lot. and they kept asking me something in French, which I didn't understand. so they say it slower & louder, thinking that i'd suddenly learn a new language if it was just slower & louder. then Mark came up. he didn't understand French, but he understand biker. and as it turns out, they were asking me if I'd like a Lifesaver. suddenly. so that was a joke between us. ach. not to be rude, but the anecdotes are definitely "had to be there." When we all returned to our homes, I kept in touch with Ev, traveling to visit her a few times, but lost touch with Mark. i always wondered what had become of him, though i suspected. one day a few years ago, he weighed heavy on my mind. it was distracting to the point where i had to leave my desk and take a lap around the building, offering prayers, hoping against hope that my instincts were off. i tried googling him to see if there was anything to be found, or any contact information. nothing. today, again, i thought of him for some reason as this song came through the shuffle on my iPod, and I took a break to google him again. my instincts had been correct. i wish you peace peace peace, gentle heart. your heart was good with me.
at 1:27 PM
an early walk with diva this morning, before the heat of the day captures her stamina. the grass was cool and dew-laden, and the woodspath still damp from yesterday's rain. the earthy, loamy smell of the woods greeted us after we passed through the echo echo tunnel. a beautiful moon saturday, and fireworks nearby...both vying for attention. moon wins, hands down. the brilliance of the meteor shower across clear, dark skies. the past week has been like that - a shower of burned up discard streaking away from me. good, in that a clearing away was much needed. but it left a vacuum and an itch...like the feeling when you're hungry for something but don't know what. you check the pantry, the shelves, the fridge, but upon examination, nothing seems quite what will satisfy you. i don't know what my spirit needs, right now. but it needs something. it's ready to move on to the next step. and i am teetering in the "trust" department, which was (is) my intention word. trust. a difficult word, a difficult way to master. i've danced with this word/way many times, and always abandoned it. it is difficult for me to trust...always looking for suspicion behind a door, just to be sure. or grinding it out myself, rather than trust someone else will do their part. makes for a good producer in the field, but not so easy on the heart. or hands. so trust. and what of this itch to make movement in some direction - but which? and how? so for now i sit, feeling overly caffeinated, waiting, trusting that i will find my way.
at 8:44 AM
Sunday, August 14, 2011
i promise i won't post a picture of the hugest, most unusual bug i discovered bulimia cat playing with while i tried to have a gentle conversation with my Rock Fairy, but suffice it to say it was a cross between a Sikorsky-sized dragonfly and a wasp...a veritable 4-winged, stinger-ready, Very Angry flying menace of a thing that i almost stepped on. once the thing was photographed (large format) and released to an area with a large landing strip (my deck), i looked up "wasp" in my Animal Spirit Guides book, since it made such an unusual statement just by being in my livingroom...a "can't miss" clue, perhaps, to a message. maybe not, but if the book said what i wanted, then i'd believe it. now, lately, i've been feeling rather like i'm chasing my tail...a sort of vaporous, half-thought of a plan for my life...Make Art And Sell It, does not a business plan make. and then i saw a note on the squam site that Jennifer Lee was going to be giving a presentation, and something clutched in my heart. which is unusual. as the thought of filling out forms for biz plans and taxes makes me join bulimia cat. but this was Totally Different...her plan recognizes that right-brainers need different tools, or rather the same tools but presented a different way. (i'm getting to the wasp). and i knew, after checking out her site Thoroughly, (because there are a load of people out there ready to cash your check and tell you how to be a success, when their success has been only to cash people's checks and send out some vaporous, half-baked statement that will not pass IRS inspection) that i had to work with her...that i need a goal, and that i need to begin to honor my craft in a serious way. so, the wasp-ish thing...okay the short version of what the book said was this: "whatever task is before you, jump in and go for it with enthusiasm and determination...whatever you've dreamed of doing, put some plans into action that will help you realize them..." yep. it said that. wowa. so i emailed Jennifer, and i ordered her book from the store down the street and I downloaded the free download worksheets (except for the spreadsheets, because oddly, the Microsoft Office package that came with this computer was just a trial offer that expired.) so now i feel like my dreams and goals have a chance of realization. and i can actually make Big Girl Goals. i am placing a lot of faith in you, Jennifer. no pressure. just my life. don't even think about it. carry on.
at 8:42 AM
Friday, August 12, 2011
Because I'm a dork, i was having this surge of happy feetedness, and had to call my friend Kelleygirl to tell her how excited I was that Squam is coming up quick. she pointed out that 1 month from today, we'd be lugging our supplies and suitcases into a huge, rustic cabin on a lake and taking a deep breath. (and hopefully not hitting a tree this year). GULP. One Month?? I'll never be ready! I have sterling and avertine and turquoise and jade and opals and all manner of sparklies covering my workbench, waiting to be made into beautiful mementos of that week. one month? yow. so in my typical dork-like fashion, i decided to buckle down and get busier (although, i was up at 1am and working by 1:30). i decided to shower and get serious. more serious. but still lighthearted. now, we have this shower, okay? it has 2 shower heads...1 for a short person who likes very hot water except in the summer and then likes cooler water, and 1 for a tall, lefthanded person who prefers moderation in his water temperature (and only in that category). sort of a human carwash. the nights and mornings have been very cool lately. i turned on the showerhead for the short person, and realized the water was Way Too Cool for the day. but - in order to make it warmer, i'd have to walk through the stream of too cool water to reach the controller thing. and the spray was set on "power wash" in order to get the conditioner out of my hair last shower. the point of this pointless post (and i apologize for wasting your time) is to warn you that sidling through a Too Cool water cannon sideways will not, repeat not, help in the least. the water is water...it doesn't know or care if you're too hot/cool/short, etc...so you can't trick it into not knowing you aren't there by moving through it sideways. water is unknowing...it is water. just water. so you see, my apologies to you are well founded, and hopefully well received. carry on.
at 12:17 PM
this morning has yet to dawn...it's still dark out at 4am, and the world still belongs to The Night Things. the nights and mornings have been cool & dry, as I sit in the backyard listening for the cardinals and finches to wake up. diva finally comes down the stairs, after sleeping on my empty pillow for another hour. it's the best time of the day. she snuggles up next to me waiting for scratches and hugs, her wag going full tilt. i adore this dog. and my life would certainly be different without her. there would not have been the daily rush home from work to let her out, or the nightly ritual hand-licking she absolutely must perform in order to be sure i'm tucked in properly for the night. she has been a joy, and a stress. i wouldn't trade her for any other dog - even one that doesn't have a tendency to nip, bite, attack anything coming into the house...not for a dog that will eat any food placed in it's bowl and be happy, or never throw up on the couch/rug/clean laundry/cat/me. so we sat out back for about half-an-hour, listening as the moon handed over the day to the dawn...her warm furbody pressed against my leg, and i held that moment, and tucked a little bit of it in my heart for when i might need it...for when i felt a little down or a little overwhelmed...i could take that treasure of a moment out and look at it in my mind and feel it warm me. it's those moments that make this life wonderful, possible, conquerable, purposeful. wishing you warm furbody moments today - look for them...i'm sending them right....now!
at 5:50 AM
Thursday, August 11, 2011
when i first began this part of my journey, quitting my Big Girl job to take care of life events, I was nervous. no - nervous isn't the right word, but my head was swirling with thoughts, ideas, plans, hopes, and wondering how i would put it all together. every morning, i'd enter my studio, approach my worktable and say a prayer of gratitude for the time and materials and ability to make art. no matter how frustrated i was with a piece, or how desolate my creative landscape felt...i always performed that ritual from the heart...i was grateful for the flow...i was grateful for the creativity block, already finding the joy to come when the ideas would come fast and furious...i was thankful for having plenty-and-enough...and for those who were my mentors and teachers and friends and cheerleaders...i asked that blessing be spilled onto them more than they could hope for...standing there in awe of the gifts i've been given, oftentimes became the art - i would get so wrapped up in the thankfulness, that to continue on to my brushes and gel medium and rusty metal and sterling would seem less important than the soul work i had just done. sort of like presenting a beautifully decorated birthday cake to a 1-year old and watching him smash his hand through the frosting. it would ruin the spirit of the moment. so i would step back and release the day to become what it would. there was often some magic waiting outside the studio that would have been missed, had i continued as usual. days became weeks became months, and the gratitude, although still present, became a misty fog as schedules and deadlines and designs occupied my thoughts. till yesterday, when i took a moment to rest my hands and read some haiku...it reawakened that part of my spirit that reminded me to give thanks first...that nothing can succeed without the gratitude for the opportunity. and i felt a bit ashamed and admonished for letting dust bunnies grow a bit in the corners of my inner sacred place...to say "thank you," as i hurried to the jewelry bench was not sufficient. in order to create the work i want to create - have to create - there must be a soul to it...there must be that which touches people...a purpose to it besides adornment...the piece, each piece, must have it's story and it's power...i've never made 2 identical pieces...each time i pick up the hammer or wire or gemstones, the piece will evolve on it's own...colors will dance next to each other in combinations i would never have imagined...textures and materials come alive - grounding, earthy wood next to soulful copper...flashes of infinity bouncing off faceted stones that were once part of the earth... carved talisman beads of skulls, reminding us to respect and learn from ancestors...it all sings together and in an orderly way, if i first stop and meet gratitude in an honest, deep, and authentic way. My bench area is one of the smallest task areas in my studio. i have bright task lighting in the form of photographer's lights in front of me, and to the left side, illuminating the tiny crimps and twists i need to make. those are the only lights i turn on in the studio, and it makes the area cozy and focused and special. today, i spent time in gratitude...i stopped before my bench and gave thanks for the materials and opportunities to share the work of my hands...i de-scheduled an art & craft festival i was to participate in, as there would not be time to make work that was truly from a sacred place, and in that moment of decision, felt a return to the place of true thankfulness and flow and authenticity and of spirit. today, i wish for you that deep feeling of gratitude for the thing you despise most in your life. may you be blessed, and may magic happen today for you. thank you for showing up here, and listening to the ramblings of my day-to-day.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
for a lot of years now, I've taken my heart home for a week in september...here...as usual, i've wished my summer away in anticipation. as i worked this morning, i had a suspicion this will be the hardest Squam for me to say goodbye to at the end...my job as a creative entails long hours in solitude, working in my studio with just diva and bulimia kitten for company. I eagerly welcome Jehovah's Witnesses into my home for a coffee when they come to the door...the FedEx guy usually drops the box, rings the bell and runs for the safety of his truck...and God help the wrong number dialed to my phone. so to have the opportunity to gather with actual people - well! what an experience! and not just "people," but like-minded creative souls...i cannot begin to tell you what this week means to me. in past years, it's been a difficult goodbye to old friends, new friends, all embraced as a new part of my heart. i expect all that again, plus the just plain overwhelmingness of people who speak my inner language - even just people! i know this is stepping into Pathetic Territory, and some would say it would be heaven to be in a studio with No One Bothering Them, and I do appreciate it to the absolute fullest. but once in a while, it would be nice to have a chat with a non-4 legged creature. oy. blame this ramble on a drippy day outside, and Jonatha Brooke hitting my iPod shuffle. but i swear i smell a campfire....
at 9:52 AM
back to my routine. it feels good. i am planning at least 3 uninterrupted days of work, and have so many necklaces to make and send out to their forever homes. i know that sounds dorky, but while i'm working on them, a conversation takes place between myself and the sparkly gemstones, turquoise, sterling, copper, and other materials. i almost hate to see them go sometimes, thinking i'll make a duplicate for myself. but it never happens. ah well. today's thoughts rumbling around include a bursting gratitude for this life of mine...waking, sleeping, eating when my body tells me to, and not having to run by a timeclock. it was like forcing 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag. i'm just not built that way. and when the newness of a job wore off, and the excitement of it all dimmed, my body revolted and told me so. i am feeling healthier than i have in a long while, and that is certainly something to be grateful for. i'm feeling a need to reach out a bit more to people who need a little boost. not sure where that will take me, but it's buzzing around in a way that says something definite will be coming. i'm also noodling back and forth about a studio away from the house. mostly not inclined to spend the money or time away from diva, but the picture of last spring Big Girl Studio Extravaganza keeps coming into my mind. and exactly why haven't i deleted those pictures of that big empty room? so, laundry is almost done...1 necklace is done and 1 designed, waiting for creation...diva is snoring at my feet...kitten is camped out by the sliding glass door, avidly watching the cardinals...the aroma of coffee is calling me from my turquoise handmade mug...time to get back to work! wishing you a peaceful day with great bursts of joy.....
at 7:15 AM
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
today was to be a gentle day of sailing. Capt. Len and handsome husband rigged the sails at the marina, while i sat like a lady of leisure - sort of, sitting next to the bait bin onshore, and popping pepcid in a pre-emptory strike. soon under way...galley stocked, sails unfurled... skies darkening...skies darkening?? Gilligan! That 30% chance of rain - which means nothing around here - turned out to be more than accurate as sheets and torrents of rain blasted us. i was soaked to the bone. if you know anything about rigging sails, these sails were rigged for racing. which meant the bottom part of the sail wasn't attached to the boom, in effort to grab more wind. it also affords the rain some fun by collecting on that edge, snapping, and dumping itself in buckets down on a person (moi) sitting under or near it. but by then it really didn't matter. we headed back quickly, before lightning decided to bombard us, with all 90 pounds of Capt. Len shivering his timbers. the ride home graced us with near zero visibility at times a hot shower, some cuddly duds, a mug of Constant Comment, and a long nap on the couch was the cure. Now to work on my booth for an upcoming show... (I don't recall where this image came from, but it's a Gypsy varda. not my design, but the booth will be similar) PS: just finished reading Jenny Doh's book, "Art Saves," and I highly recommend it. very tasty! and a favorite friend is in there!
at 4:59 PM
Monday, August 08, 2011
it is my habit to begin work at 5am, and continue on until noon. during this time, before i take a lunch break, i usually stay in my bathrobe. the reason? once i'm showered & dressed, i can find a million reasons why i should go run an errand or something, and the day is then shot, creatively. so, imagine my surprise when i went to let diva out around 11am...imagine my surprise to find my husband's daughter, his exwife, and the exwife's 4-year old daughter with her new husband - all in my kitchen. diva took a moment to take it n before putting on the pit bull. now don't get me wrong - i adore all of these people. just wasn't expecting them to be in my kitchen. at 11am. so i walked diva, and we're up in the studio, with bulimia cat, making jewelry. and i had an extreme urge to play around with plaster, so quickly did this piece. real quick, before i realized i didn't know how to do plaster stuff. funny how sometimes we limit ourselves (or maybe just me) because we haven't been shown how to do something yet. for me, i think it's that i don't want to waste precious art supplies. oh - they were all in the kitchen because they're spending the day painting and refinishing furniture that Perfect stepdaughter had stored in the garage. she moves into her first apartment next week. her mom was singing the One More Week song. i'm just too curious too see what's going on, so i'll finish this post later.
at 2:22 PM
Sunday, August 07, 2011
here's something cool i found....a nice camera bag that doesn't look like an industrial/safari bag.... i'm hitting this convergence of lots and lots of deadline work, but just itching to re-do my studio. by "re-do" i mean emptying it, painting the walls and getting rid of the carpet. i know. when husband moved his office out of this room, and it became all mine mine mine, i was so anxious to get in, and had a show deadline, so i never finished painting the walls on "his" side. the walls were done in a weird light blue, flat finish paint when we bought the house. i couldn't stand it anymore, so began to paint them white with eggshell finish. problem was, he had a huge wraparound desk with hutches, and i couldn't possibly move that. so the paint stopped where his desk began. now that area is where i make my jewelry and do non-torch soldering. so i get to look at a yukky blue wall all day. plus, my back is to the "wall of windows" on the opposite side of the room. what a waste! my huge worktable is at the window end, with daylight tube light fixtures build and installed specifically for the table placement, and my collage materials spill over one corner on (and under!) an 8' conference table. the other wall is all stanless shelving units. i need to see everything. if i were to prioritize, i would say the flooring has to go. there are years worth of doodads and paper snippets in the loopy carpet. not to mention 10 years of dogs and cats scratching their "nests" have made it quite fuzzy in spots. i'm lucky, in that this room was never completed by the original owner we bought the house from...the floor is still the plywood underlayment, so i can do anything with it. i'd like to get some cheap rolled shinal vinyl type of product, so i won't worry about plaster and dye and paint and flying bits of metal getting all over it, and it would clean up easily. but, i have those deadlines looming, so i'll have to daydream for now. the countdown to squam is giving me the butterflies. i can't believe it's been a year! it's sort of my new years eve touchstone - a marker where i can look back and see how far i've come. or not :) this year has brought amazing changes, so it isn't difficult to see the progress. my necklace designs have been selling out as i make them! the other day i stopped into Szozda Gallery, where i unceremoniously dumped all my collages and necklaces after last week's festival. (thank you Caroline!). i figured she was probably feeling like a warehouse for my work, and i should clear out. she had gone through everything and picked out some designs and already had them on display. while i was there, someone came in and bought one. what a treat to see the process of decision that someone went through. and i was glad i had dressed up a bit (ie: didn't have on my sweatpants!) because she introduced me as the artist who designed the piece they were buying. it was such a rush! okay - enough time away from gemstones and baubles and vintage what-nots....enjoy the day and sending blessings to you.
at 7:09 AM
Friday, August 05, 2011
my friend informed me that Mercury is once again in retrograde. i admit, i don't really follow these things, and am not sure what to think about it, but am just superstitious enough to check it out. here's what i found, for what it's worth: The purpose of Mercury retrograde is to review and revise our life and our connection with reality. The timing of this universe is geared toward the Sun as it moves through the zodiac. Mercury has an orbit that at times gets ahead of the Sun allowing us to look into the future toward new and innovative ideas. However, we cannot continue in that vein until we come back to the present designated by the Sun and put our new ideas into manifestation. During the time that Mercury jumps ahead, we ultimately have to bring the ideas back into the present to test and evaluate to see how they fit into our life. As Mercury retrogrades back into the present, the connection with the Sun happens as we test drive our ideas and re-align with reality and the natural timing of the universe. Mercury itself rules how we think, we will be adjusting everything related to thoughts, concepts, ideas, and communication, especially how technology and material elements play a part in the physical manifestation of ideas. When Mercury retrogrades, we find that many parts of our life are being revised. Often these revisions can be a surprise or throw us back a step. However, these revisions which occur during a Mercury retrograde, are a "course correction" and provide a stop gap measure until we can review situations. During this time of revision, change is compounded and confusion is created by our reactions to the ever-changing situations. Thus anything started during this time will ultimately be taken back or even revised further, making for a high-frustration time. This will be especially true with changing our minds, reviewing new ideas and our communication being improved and honed so not to be mis-understood. The best mode to be in during a Mercury retrograde is one of "non-reaction", and with earth signs being impacted, physical environment will be changing continually during a Mercury retrograde. Treat the time period as a time of gathering information, yet because the information will be in constant change it would be like trying to comb your hair in a wind storm. Best to wait until the changes stop before attempting to make things orderly. Therefore, just let the winds of situations blow around you without reacting. Once Mercury turns direct, take a look at the information that is still around at that time and go about putting everything in order, while maintaining the fine art of flexibility. which is kind of weird because it has, indeed, been a time of reflection on goals for me, and also a swirling about of things coming at me. i have instinctively not reacted, rather, waited until there was a calming moment to breathe and consider. as it turns out, this is good advice, should you believe in the power of the retrograde. from what it seems, things seem to be moving backward, but they're actually moving forward too fast...sort of like watching the wheels on a car on TV. who knew? August has typically been a month of change for me...i've moved into new apartments, houses, etc, in August...i've generally changed jobs in August...my Kita passed away in August a few years ago...so i greet August with a wary eye. so didn't I see this little ditty on the sidebar of the same website: August is universally a THREE* month (in numerology* terms). THREE brings in a new creative energy, prompting us to listen to the calling of our heart. It is time to move out of the old environment and move into a new direction. We often make small transitions and revisions, however major changes are at hand with this new phase. The New Moon on July 30th provided events that are now emerging to transport us into our new directions, ready to embrace our new purpose. The Mercury Retrograde course correction occurs from August 2nd through August 26th. During this time our directions are revised, our environment is changed and our pursuits are carried to new levels. The Mercury retrograde is in the creative sign of Leo, prompting us to think outside the box, and listen to the calling of our heart. well butter my buns and call me a biscuit. so what does all this mean? be darned if i know. it's one of those curiosity things, i guess...things you don't want to believe but are afraid not to but then feel kind of wonky for believing but just maybe... I'm not deciding till the retrograde is past.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
i find coming here to this space is a welcome retreat from the madness that is attempting to find receptacle within my heart. in years past, i would absorb it all in, feeling that i could better deal with/release/handle the crisis than the person who was freaking out with it. years of taking on issues that weren't mine taught me that i was kidding myself, and also that they simply were not my issues to deal with. i was, at the least, robbing that person of a life lesson. this is one of the first huge tests i've faced since that epiphany that i do not spin the world...that i deserve to walk by my own decisions, and not have to drag the pack of someone else's baggage. it seems i am being bombarded with calls from people who have made a Major League Mistake In Judgment. some serious enough that the rest of their life could be adversely effected. and for once, i don't feel that i need to take it in. the anger i feel at some of them is a battle today, as i know how anger can tear a person down. "anger," you say? yes. anger. I have had my moments (years) of absolute crazy chaos, and suspect they felt anger/frustration with me, as they could see Clearly See what the answer was, but i was too busy spinning and pointing at someone else as the cause of my problem. i recognize that. but it doesn't lessen the urge to call one or two of these people and just let both barrels go. so i am spending a quiet day in the studio, playing catch-up, waiting for funeral arrangements to be determined, taking deep breaths - many deep breaths, and hugging diva every so often. she's a spoiled little cheeseball, i tell you. and in all this, i am patting myself on the back for a lesson learned in not internalizing other people's problems. i recall working at 911, and talking to a supervisor about a regular caller we'd get. i asked if there wasn't something outside of the box that we could do to help. his reply seemed harsh at first, saying that people spent 40+ years making a mess of their lives and called us to fix it in 30 seconds or less. we do our jobs and that is our part, and hopefully someone else will do their job and help straighten things out. after working there a while, i saw a pattern, with it being easier to call the police to deal with the momentary issue (which was usually the same one over & over) than it was to stop and realize that the way they were living Was Not Working and Big Change needed to happen. for some, this never seems to happen, and the crisis deepens as every year friends and family get worn out by trying to help and soon the person's support system (a/k/a co-dependents in some cases) refuse to offer any assistance. this cut across every socio-economic line, every age line, every line you want to draw. people just get worn out watching someone do the same thing over and over again with the same bad result. i'm not sure (as usual) why i'm off on this tear, but for what it's worth, i am. at some point a few years ago, i realized that being the uber-helpful one was a good way to not have to look at my own problems...i was too busy helping others through their catastrophe. but when that movie was over, and the lights came up, guess what? there i was sitting with my own gum on my own shoe. it all comes down to my favorite life rule...this is a quote from any flight attendant anywhere: Please affix your own mask tightly before attempting to assist others.
at 11:37 AM
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
sometimes it's a scrap of paper in an unusual color...sometimes a riff in a song that stays with you...or the line from a poem...or the smell of cinnamon, or mossy forest floors...sometimes the heart-bursting love you feel when a small paw settles into the palm of your hand during nap time, or the great, contented sigh that follows...the texture of some new found object or swatch of fabric...colors singing up from your worktable as you survey brilliant pastel sticks and dark saturated acrylics waiting for you hand to bring them to life....sometimes, though, it's just sweet silence in the still-dark sky of morning with eyes closed and gratitude flowing, a snoring puppy under my chair, and a kitty resting on the chairback with 1 paw resting at the nape of my neck. yeah. sometimes that's all it takes to recharge, invigorate, energize, begin again.
at 6:19 AM
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
let me say right off the mark that i will never not ever discourage anyone from following their dream to become an artist. it is their dream, and none of my business to poke at it. however...if asked, i will tell the absolute truth about this life. in fact, it really doesn't even take a full sentenced question before i start in. because it's important to know what you're getting into...what to expect. so here goes. pack a snack, it may be a long ride. if you are passionate about making art - absolutely passionate, then proceed to the next step. it is a marriage of sorts...for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and health yada yada. if you have chosen to show your work in galleries, or to vend at shows ("vend" always makes me feel like a candy machine)you have deadlines to meet. no excuses. no do-overs. so you do whatever it takes to get enough artwork ready - whether you need to make prints of your photographs, or 1000 unique necklaces or 35 collages...when the clock strikes 12, it's showtime - with or without you. if you get a reputation for not being prepared, you will find the offers dry up immediately. it's a small community. at the festival i just did, an elderly husband and wife team arrived, but weren't set up until an hour into the festival. the organizer had worked with them for years, however, and cut them slack, saying "they are human beings doing the best they can." that was unusual. most organizers would not want the commotion of set-up going on while there were shoppers, and it's rude to neighboring booths. okay so off track already - not quite a record, though. be prepared financially. save save save and have a nest egg. dinosauer sized. and be prepared to watch it dwindle to hummingbird size. it might. i spoke with quite a number of vendors at this weekend's festival, and they all said the same thing: this has been The Worst Year for sales. and your costs remain the same. actually, your costs have risen too - gas to get to the venue, lodging, meals, even supplies. but people are being very very careful about buying, often returning two or three times to a booth before deciding whether or not to buy. you can see they really want to, but are weighing the impact on their budget. galleries are feeling the pinch, as well. be prepared to Hug The Dog...that dog of a festival you're 2 days into without a sale? it may not be your "product." it may be the financial climate. so find a way to put a positive spin on it. i just spent 3 days hugging such a dog. the first day rained so hard i wished for an ark, or some of those floaty things kids wear on their arms. many booths ended up with ankle deep water in them. then the sun came out. and the steam began to rise from the pavement we were on, and the humidity began, and shoppers got downright nasty. and i never knew i was capable of sweating like i did. my unmentionables haven't been that wet since i was 4. and you keep smiling because everyone is just as hot. i will intentionally sidetrack here to say this: a battery operated fan is a lifeline. invest. also, when designing/purchasing your booth, keep in mind: airflow. there are many Official booth manufacturers out there, and you may be tempted to jump in and buy a professional setup. think first. airflow. the solid panel type are beautiful and versatile, but offer no ventilation...heat gets trapped inside the already warm tent. customers remark how much hotter it is inside the tent. they leave fast. bear in mind that at many/most venues, your booth has to jury in, as well as your artwork, so plan to make a good first impression, as well as keeping comfort & practicality in mind. and while i'm all off track - other vendors are incredibly helpful at shows, for the most part. however, do not assume that you will have any help setting up your booth/tent. that elderly couple i mentioned earlier? everyone would have liked to help, but we first had to set up our own booths, and then customers started coming, so we weren't able to help for some time. so back to embracing the dog. and i address vendor shows now, because i'm fresh off one and it's still emblazoned in my mind. i'll seek help this week. so we have a workable tent with a good battery operated fan, all our merchandise is displayed in a tempting array, and in a fashion that doesn't detract from it, is secure, but gives people accessibility to it (good luck on that conundrum). advertise. even if the show advertises. tell everyone you know that you'll be at the such-and-such festival. if there are post cards available to you from the show, send them out and carry a bunch to give to people. i frequent Barnes & Noble down the street, (God help me "frequent" being the operative word here) and 3 of their employees came down and spend 30 minutes looking for my booth. because they knew me (somewhat) and wanted to see why i bought all those books and magazines. note - if you have a booth number, let people know, so they don't have to spend 30 minutes looking for you. i know all this rambling seems like common sense, but the thing is, many people see a great and positive response to their work and want to quit their Big Girl job and are certain beyond doubt that they will be living the dream, inside of a year. and they may. but between here and there, it is the hardest work ever. and i want you to know that so you go in with your eyes open and don't get discouraged. if you feel deep down that you cannot take another breath without being a full time artist-as-a-career, i will share my experiences with you. your journey will be different than mine, i'm sure. and yours will be different from someone else's, but there are fundamental truths that apply to everyone, i believe. if Risk makes you queasy, do not do this. if you live paycheck to paycheck, do not do this. if you are easily hurt or insulted by ignorant remarks about your art, do not do this. (ok - here was my winner from the weekend: a woman & her friend spent a good amount of time looking at my collages, and finally she turned to me and asked if i was the artist. she had a question that had been bothering her for some time. she wanted to know why anyone would buy artwork with pictures of people they don't know in them. yes. that was her question. i swear. scout's honor.) there are a thousand reasons why you should not do this. and one why you should...because you have to. plan plan plan, as you would if you were starting any other business, because it is a business if you plan to make it your source for income. and save. it's a dicey time right now anyway, so waiting until everything is in place financially will not do any harm, and may actually work to your benfit. ok enough - i have a deadline to meet, and am not even sure if i made sense here. feel free to email me with questions. i don't have the answers, but i'm happy to share MY experiences so far, and you make the decisions for your own situation. be well....make art....most importantly - buy art! :)
at 5:35 AM
Monday, August 01, 2011
oh i know what i said in the last post. but i just read this, and i know it will grip you the way it did me. yes. in splendid words...my heart....your heart...beautiful and sparkling, just like the writer of those words...the unexplainable, perfectly explained. get you some? or maybe this? either way, it is medicine.
at 1:54 PM
my friends, i am taking a day or two to recuperate from 3 days of what was a cross between an Art Festival and perhaps Navy Seal training, with a little Spanish Inquisition thrown in for flavor. i am spent. but promise to regale you with tales of the weird and wonderful from the art trail as soon as i am able to think.
at 7:55 AM