Monday, January 5, 2015

Reflect, Reduce, Renew

There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth. -Leo Tolstoy 

I have started this year out differently. The plan is to go through my entire home and reflect on the things that I own. To make sure that I am surround by things that give me joy.  So  I will hold every object that I own and if it does not make my heart go pitter patter out it goes. 

I want to reduce what I own so that I am not burdened with stuff. This was easy when we moved every two years. Tougher now that we have lived in our home for 16 1/2 years.

And finally I want to deep clean and renew my environment. Once this process is done, then I will decide on longer term goals. So far I have cleaned out two bathroom closets and my entire kitchen. Yep every cabinet and my pantry and it also now also sports new shelf paper. I even went through my spices! I cannot tell you how uplifting this felt.

One New Year's day, I read the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo. This book is a best seller in Japan, Germany and the UK. She did not share anything that I did not already know but it was an excellent reminder. Her point "when we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear of the future" has given me much food for thought as I go through the process.

My dad died in March. He promised many times that he would leave things in good shape because his legal guardian did not. Well, my dad did not live up to his promise. I know that want to be surround by things that give me joy and I certainly do not want to leave my children with the burden of dealing with my stuff. How about you?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mixed Media at Heart

I think I am a mixed media artist at heart. I am also a collector of things and it felt good to use some of the things I have collected over the years. Some of the things I used for "Crow Spirit" I have had for more than 20 years. The clay part has been hanging around waiting for me to have time to finish it. My life is truly out of balance so I decided to stop doing for others and take time for me. I am so glad that I did because I really love how it turned out and I feel lighter, happier.

I am putting this in the ClaySpace Ceramic Arts Center's Holiday Open House that is happening this weekend. Not sure I am quite ready to see it go but cash is needed to continue my newest vice--clay. I also donated on of my journals for the raffle. Last year my journal raised the most money. There is stiff competition this year. However, I am happy to support the arts and my community this way.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ever Shrinking Art

Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things. -Vernor Vinge

On Saturday, I taught my "Ever Shrinking Art" class at Quilters Quest in Woodridge, to a great group of women. Joy left before I took this photo. I think they did great! We started by making postcards then moved to making ATCs and finally inchies.  I remember thinking that I could never make tiny pieces of art and now I just love it! And I love that I can now get other people to love it too. I hope that I gave my wonderfully creative students an avalanche of ideas and inspiration.

My small group that did trades has disband so I decided to join the Artistcellar ATC Facebook swap. I kept it simple. The only rule was that you had to use an Artistcellar stencil so I wanted to make sure that my stenciling was apparent. Lisa Cousineau, the owner, lives close--Wheaton, but we have never met. I do love her "Art is Not an Option" bag that I use all the time. Isn't that a great message.  I am trading 5 for 5 so obviously I made an extra. I'm keeping the "love" one because I tried using paint with the stencil and while I like the look, it does not look like the stencil. It will become a Valentine. Cannot wait to see what everyone else has done.

Tonight I am off to give my first clay presentation--"Gone to Pot: a Little History and a Few Technique" at the Lemont Artists Guild. I am bringing different kinds of clay for everyone to touch plus a whole bunch of pottery to show including shards that I dug up at an archaeological site (with permission) when I lived in Aruba. I feel it is important for me to continue to do things that push my comfort zone. What are you doing to get outside your comfort zone?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Surround Yourself with Talented People and Grow

I have always tried to surround myself with people who are smarter, more talented and hold a different point of view. It has helped me grow and push myself to be better. I have also tried to move outside of my comfort zone--I call it putting stretch marks on my comfort zone--especially when I am feeling complacent.

I have been very fortunate to have come to know and trade art with Linda Edkins Wyatt for a number of years. This is our last small group exchange. It's called :High Fashion dia de los muertos." I can only hope that she is as happy with my part of the trade. I can only encourage you to find people to trade art. I know that it has helped me grow as an artist and has enriched not only my life but the walls in my home.

How have you put stretch marks on your comfort zone lately?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sono innamorata!: I Am in Love with a Paste

I am truly trying to use what I have and not buy more stuff. I feel stuff overload lately and yet I could not resist trying Coccoinco potato starch paste after reading about it on friend Marie Z. Johansen's blog. She learned about the paste from another mutual friend Kimberly Baxter Packwood. First, I am a sucker for this kind of thing. It comes in a quaint tin. It is nontoxic (only four ingredients) so it would be great to use with children. It has been made in Italy since 1927. It smells like almonds. Yep, I am now a glue sniffer. The brush is just too cute for words AND it works on just about any kind of paper. I did find that it did not work well on a paper used for a wine bottle. Otherwise, it has become my go to glue You can buy it at Kaufman Mercantile.  No affiliation. Just a happy customer and I love all the connections!

This is the information that is available on their website that was fun to read:

"... When Coccoina, the solid white glue in the aluminum tin, was first introduced, Italian commercials promoted the trademark with this campaign: "It is not a drug, but a solid glue that amazes and arouses enthusiasm in all who use it.”
One of the principle features of the glue was that, aside from its adhesive quality and light almond scent, you could safely eat it. A thin spread of the glue works well on paper, photos, clothes, labels, and any art project you can get your hands on, and perhaps the most welcome feature is the tiny brush that comes tucked away inside. Any surface where you need a smooth spread of paste can be achieved with this miniature aluminum paintbrush and its tiny bristles of pig hair.  It leaves no clumps that need to be smoothed with a finger. Though the glue is considered a solid, it has a consistency that's neither wet nor dry, and the container provides mess-free use and storage that lasts up to a year. It's safe for children too. Not that they should eat the stuff, but if they do, NBD. All the ingredients are non-toxic, solvent-free, and not dangerous. Use this glue on any paper-related task, from keeping photos together in an album to scrapbooking to pasting receipts for accounting records. If the glue hardens a bit in its tin, it's easy to soften up again. You can scoop it out and gently heat in a saucepan with a small amount of water. When it's slightly liquid, pour it back into the tin, and when it sets, it will be good as new, without any effect on the adhesive qualityFor longer usage, replace the cap tightly after each application. Maximum period of storage should not exceed 12 months."

Friday, October 24, 2014

With Deepest Gratitude

Good things keep arriving in the mail. Today came a check for $500 from the Northern Lake County Quilters Guild  to help with my Georgian Quilt Group. I gave my lecture "Connecting Cultures:An American Quiltmaker's Pilgrimage" at their May meeting. They were a delight and engaging group and now they have a piece of my heart. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Turning Tides: Thanks Liz

On January 30th, I did a "Give Away with a Twist" that was inspired by my friend Kathy Schmidt. I did sign up with a couple of people that were inspired by my posting. Well I got a package in the mail from Liz Lystra who received one of my give aways. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful art with me. It bought more than a smile. The message on the card especially spoke to me. The more artwork that I share, the better I feel about creating. I do not have enough room to store it all or even to sell it all so that is the next issue to decide. What to do with it all? Thoughts?