Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My March Madness...

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
It's hard to think that the month of March is at it's end today. Where did the time go and what in the world have I been doing?

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I have been in some creative doldrums, though there have still been moments of creativity, which I occasionally shared using my Instagram account. I am still working to cultivate a Habit Of Creativity and here is a book project I finally completed the other day - my Accomplishment Journal:

My Accomplishment Journal is now COMPLETE!

I sewed the signatures with 3 different colors of thick embroidery thread to make for a colorful spine

The book tie is made from a scrap of upholstery thread that unraveled!

The back view of my Accomplishment Journal with vintage lace trims

My Accomplishment Journal stamped with the completion date and my Scorpio stamp

I also began to play with the pages of a special book-lace, given to me a few years ago by a fellow Artful Journey buddy. It has been patiently waiting for me to begin filling the pages with art and I thought I would play with tiny mandalas so I could eventually use this treasured gift as a special talisman, to be worn in times of great need...

This 'booklace' was a gift from a dear Artful Journey friend - it is made of silver with parchment and watercolor pages

The beginning of a Latin proverb: 'Ars longa, vita brevis' (Art is long, Life is short)

One of two mandalas I've made for my little booklace - 'Art is magic!'

The second mandala in my booklace so far, but there will be more!

My Scorpio stamp on the last page of the booklace...

I have to say that the month of March was not without some 'madness', as I revisited some old resentments about people in my life (which you can read about in this blog post that was actually a LOT of fun to write!) and begin to work out how I want to earn my living as an Artist. Delving into these things is hard emotional work, and examining what is working in ones life and what is not working is never easy. As a result, this emotional work brought on a sinus attack which lasted for over 3 weeks in the month of March.

I guess you could say that March came in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb!

Thoughts on the Title of ARTIST
Though I have been a creative being since my childhood, it has taken me many years to truly claim the title of ARTIST for myself, despite my many years of experience and study, and this is one of the things that I've been looking at and examining for myself.

I know how hard it is to claim this title and I witness many fabulous artists struggle with this title of ARTIST. I think each struggle is unique to each person, but I want to share the basis of my struggle with the title of being an ARTIST:

It has long been my personal observation that ARTISTS are not highly respected in the American culture. ARTISTS are often seen as irresponsible, immature, incapable of handling finances, 'overly' sensitive and prone to substance abuse.

With a profile like that, who in their right mind would want to claim such a title??!?

But it has also long been my personal observation that many behaviors and habits are LEARNED BEHAVIORS AND HABITS.

This means that, for fledgling artists, it is possible to LEARN HABITS AND TECHNIQUES that one can practice to become a highly proficient ARTIST.

One can also LEARN THE HABITS AND TECHNIQUES to become a financial wizard or to be disciplined enough to keep away from substance abusing behaviors.

However, all this learning, or unlearning as the case may be, takes much practice and hard work. But I can tell you that, while there may be some daunting times in the process, working and striving to become a highly proficient ARTIST that one can take pride in being and claiming for oneself, is well worth it...

...and I really do need to keep my own words firmly in mind as I continue to learn and practice the Habit Of Completion, which is a habit I want to have so I can eventually accomplish all the creative ideas that I always seem to have, but have so little time to work on!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Orly Avineri & Flora Bowley Talk About Visual Language...

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts!
There is a lot that has been simmering in my part of the world, some creative doldrums, some studio shifting and always LOTS of ideas swimming in my head...sometimes I wonder if I should start a series of these ideas, a 'la Diana Vreeland and her column for Harpers Bazaar called "Why Don't You..?" I once saw the book based on this column and found many wonderful, creative ideas in it, such as this one:

"Why don't you...Cover a big cork bulletin board in bright pink felt banded with bamboo, and pin with colored thumb-tacks all your various enthusiasms as your life varies from week to week?"

Now THAT would be a great thing to have in a creative studio, wouldn't it?!?

In the meantime, I want to share this wonderful video featuring my art journal instructor, Orly Avineri, being interviewed by Flora Bowley about finding your own visual language.

One of the important points they bring up is the fact that it does TAKE TIME to discover your own visual language, it doesn't happen overnight. As an art practitioner since childhood, I can attest that it can take YEARS to develop a visual language of one's own and some days, I still struggle with figuring out my visual language as well as my creative identity, and I have been a practitioner for nearly 45 years!

But I can also tell you that you won't be able to develop your visual language if you do not PRACTICE art and creativity...and some days practicing does not come easy...like piano lessons ;)

It is a great video to watch as two fabulous artists discuss art, inspiration and visual language - check it out by clicking* on THIS LINK and ENJOY!

* - Sorry it is a link only; I had no way to imbed this great video interview into my blog post!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Creating a Habit of Completion...

Well, my fellow Creative Beasts,
I've made a little progress as I work toward creating a 'Habit of Completion' for myself during this Mercury Retrograde period, which I mentioned in my previous blog post

I had quite a list of unfinished projects to tackle and so far I have managed to complete one of the items on that list, which is sewing up a pair of aprons I had cut two years ago...here is how they looked when I posted my list:

Playing with hand-cut bias strips before pinning it all into place to sew it together...

And here is how they looked as I worked toward completing these unfinished projects:

Sewing the bias trim to the top of the apron pocket - I chose to leave the bias with raw edges so when it's washed it will leave nice frayed edges

Bias is sewn around the 'neckline', or top of the apron bib, and pinned along the lower edges, after the pocket has been sewn down into 3 pockets

I begin to realize that the sewing might go faster if I work both aprons in tandem - the upper apron with the pocket cut along the selvedge edge appears as if the flowers are growing upward from the hem!

Bias is ready to be sewn down for BOTH aprons...

All that is left now is to sew the binding strips that will make up the neck and waist ties for keeping the aprons tied on

HOORAY! Two aprons sewn and completed and ready for wearing while making art! Or baking =)

My idea for these aprons is to have a batch of them for students who attend my workshops, whether the workshops are in my home studio or at outside venues, so no one will have to worry about getting nice clothes messed up...

I don't know about YOU, my fellow Beasts, but I have a horrible habit of wiping my hands on my legs when they get wet or dirty. If I happen to be wearing old jeans doing dirty work, this is not a problem but, usually, I am wearing my nice, fun, colorful clothes when I do creative work and getting my favorite skirts dirty with glues and paints is NOT GOOD!

While I love many types of aprons, I find that the best type of apron for me is one that is a full bib apron, meaning it has an upper bib to keep me clean from tip to toe...and pockets are always helpful so I can have my camera on hand to document my works in progress, or have my cell phone handy when anyone calls for a friendly chat...and a pocket to keep a few sweet treats to nibble while working never hurts!

This particular apron pattern is one I made from an old apron belonging to my Grandma Betty, who I named my old Etsy vintage shop after. She had a few aprons that I have made patterns from but this is my favorite apron to date, to make and to wear.

Now, I have three aprons for students to use, if we count the one completed before the start of this Mercury Retrograde:

There are plenty of fabrics in my stash to make a few more aprons to wear, but NO NEW PROJECTS can be started during a Mercury Retrograde, so that will have to wait for a few days since the last day of this retrograde is tomorrow, but there are still projects to be completed before tomorrow, so it's time I get cracking on some of those!

As for the hashtag I used for completing my unfinished and abandoned projects (#ProjectCompletion) it appears that someone else created and used that hashtag, but not for creative projects...guess I'll have to think of another hashtag to use for the next Mercury Retrograde period...

Maybe it can be #HabitOfCompletion, since that is what I am working on cultivating in my life??