Thursday, October 25, 2012

Amazon and Quilt in the Attic

For those of you who alerted me to Amazon stating that my book "usually ships in 1 - 3 months," thank you. Don't panic. The publisher ran out! More are being printed so Amazon will have more books around November 11th so we are talking three weeks not months. Big relief here too. Thanks again and especially to those of you who have bought additional copies as gifts. You're the best.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life's Challenges and Tips of Typography Rocks

I seem to be continuing living in a period of challenges. Now my camera has died. I choose to look at this as an opportunity to upgrade. It's either that or cry.

I have gotten several queries about my typography rocks and how I made them "lumpless." I think the key is stuffing tightly yet slowly. Don't try to put a lot of stuffing in all at once. I used an unsharpened pencil to move the stuffing around and pack it tightly. And yes, I do plan to make more and I will share them.

Here's to a day without any challenges! Or at least only interesting not stress inducing ones.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Letting Go of Perfectionism

“[Conscious] femininity is taking responsibility for who I am – not what I do, not how I seem to be, not what I accomplish. When all the doing is done and I have to face myself in my naked reality, who am I? What are my values? What are my needs? Am I true to myself or do I betray myself?” ~Marion Woodman

Learning something new requires me to become once again a beginner. This is what I love about taking on pottery/ceramics.  One of the things that I have learned is that I love hand building. These are my first "pods" which I now wish had also been made into rattles (my "new" thing).  I am noisy. I love to laugh. I love to dance when I finally "get" something. I want joy in my life. I want the freedom to explore. Saturday at "Open Studio" came the realization that I am now a member of the Clay Space community. I cannot tell you the joy this made me feel. All my crazy explorations are being embraced not by all but enough people to create wonderful sessions of sharing. I love sharing. I don't want to keep secrets. Art is to be shared and I share it with all my being.  This is not to say that the ceramic community is any better than any other community. I will be so happy to stay outside the politics. I just want to play explore, create, stay true to myself and most of all grow and share.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Art is Difficult

Mark Bloome is a collector. I heard him speak in 2001. He shared a poem which he kindly helped me fill in the gaps from my quick scribbling while he recited it. I came across it today and it is so fitting with how I am feeling. Thanks to everyone for their kind words. I have attempted to repair what pieces of broken pottery that could be repaired. I know that if it does not work out, I can make more. In fact, I like the rattle I made today much better than the original. Art for me has always been about the process.

Art is Difficult

We crawl into a fractured cave; the hard crack of creativity pierces 
our hearts. Red visions float forward, fold into our fabric.

Our knees bleed, cut by jutting black stones that pave 
the passageway. Most turn back.

Art emerges, piles up like brown grit blown by the wind: mud
at the bottom, dirt in the middle, a few glinty grains at the top.

Shout at the stars for making mud the way it is. Blast the wind for 
scattering the sand. Baying at the moon will not spin sand into

Take the cloth, sew the coat, carry it to the street, stand on the 
corner, say "This is mine, I made it."

Art fractures us into explosions of light.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In A Funk

My grandmother said that bad things happen in threes. I seem to be in a period of disappointment and today I am truly in a funk. I've been without my sewing machine since September 12. I found out yesterday that it will be another two weeks before Bernina can even look at my machine. (This took three phone calls over three days and finally a trip to the quilt shop to get an answer.) I've never been without my sewing machine this long and while I do have a back up, it's just not the same. 

I decided to put myself out there again. It's not going as expected. My piece, shared here, was not accepted into Quilt National. I knew it was a long shot. I still believe I created a strong piece. there were 851 entries and only 80 quilts were accepted so I am in good company. Still it was a disappointment. I am now looking to find an another exhibition to share this piece.

Last night the container with all my hand built pottery was knocked onto the floor by a fellow student. Hours and hours of work lay broken on the floor. Tom felt terrible. It was an accident. Even writing this I have to fight back tears. I didn't want him to feel any worse than he did and yet...Every pot I tired to throw last night was a disaster. Today I will try to fix what I can. I am trying to embrace that I am learning something new, but it's tough.

My dream of creating works honoring Wangari Maathai was squashed today (notification wasn't suppose to happen until October 31). Maybe "I'll Be a Hummingbird" will still happen.

The effects of environmental degradation, political turmoil, and economic crises fracture our world, so it is easy to forget that peace depends on good governance and the equitable management of our natural resources. Wangari Muta Maathai (1940-2011) understood this and dedicated her life to environmental and human (women’s) rights. In the 1970s, she began planting trees in Kenya, which led to the creation of the Green Belt Movement (1977).  She became the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She was one of the founding members of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and the distinguished chair of the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies at the University of Nairobi. After her untimely death (from complications due to ovarian cancer) in 2011 at the age of 71, people, including me, continue to be inspired by her and continue her work. The Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the Feminist Task Force teamed up to launch Women and Climate Justice Tribunals in fifteen countries around the world.  The Tribunals were dedicated to Wangari’s memory and for her work as a champion for rural women, environmental justice, peace and development. "We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!" said Wangari.    

I am sharing this not to get sympathy. Although kind words are always welcome. I am sharing this because even though I am feeling a little beaten down, I know that I cannot stop creating. I know tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Halloween Simple Tote Bags

When all else fails, I seem to make tote bags. These simple tote bags will hopefully serve as my two great nieces trick or treat bags for this coming Halloween. The fabric with dancing skeletons with colorful tennis shoes  glows in the dark. I can't even remember how many years ago I bought this fabric on sale. It has to be at least 5 years ago and it still glows. How cool is that? If you look closely, you will find the polymer skeletons attached to each bag. I don't get to see my great nieces (ages 7 and nearly 13) often enough so hopefully this will remind them that I am thinking of them and love them very much. They were fun and easy to make.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Skelton Charms

I couldn't make it to open studio to play with clay so I decided to play with polymer clay. My youngest son (28 years old) joined the fun. He actually made better skulls than I did in the beginning. They are about 4 inches tall (from top of hanger to bottom of feet). The skull that is darker was cooked at a temperature that was too high. I actually like it the best. Two will grace trick or treat bags that I am making my two great nieces. I only get to see them twice a year so I try to send them love in the mail. I haven't a clue what I will do with the rest. They were just a lot of fun to make. It felt good to just be silly and have fun with my son. It definitely took the sting of not being able to attend open studio. Life is simply too short not to have as much fun in life as possible!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Halloween ATCs

I've never been a huge fan of Halloween and yet, I love making Halloween and Day of the Dead art. After making my Halloween cards, I got inspired to make Halloween ATCs. They were so much fun to make. I also learned that Halloween is big in China. I sent one of my Halloween cards to my daughter-in-law's nephews in Shanghai. It makes me smile to think of two little Korean boys celebrating Halloween in China. Their card had a spider on a spider web with the word Halloween on it. It's similar to the spider ATCs I made. Hope they enjoy it. I understand they love Spider Man.

For everyone who was concerned that I was not posting, my son shared his cold with me (although he claims that technically it was his wife's cold). I've been too miserable to write. Thankfully it is going away!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fuchsia ATCs

I remember when I first became aware of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and I thought, "I could never make art 2.5" by 3"5"." Never say never. I now believe that making ATCs is a great way to play, try something new, and learn from others. I highly recommend making and trading them.

I had intended to clean/reorganize my paper supplies but a photo caught my eye and inspiration struck. Cleaning could wait another day. This month's theme for Arts in the Cards is Fuchsia (color not flower). The deadline for sign up isn't until the 7th, but when inspiration strikes I know better than to wait. I manipulated the photo in Photoshop, used a rubberstamp to add the writing, watercolor around the edges, paper and stickers. Done! Can't wait to see what everyone else does. Feels good to have this done and off my plate. I even made some Halloween ATCs. I was on a roll! I'll share those with you tomorrow. Happy creating!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Creativity Traits

I started this list more than 10 years ago and share it with my students when I teach. It is shared with no particular order and has been added to often (including many suggestions from my students). 

Which five do you possess? Which five would you like to acquire? What is missing from the list?

Sense of humor
Open mindedness
Able to evaluate
Willing to make mistakes
Risk taker/willing to risk
Value process 
Open to all your senses
Time management/concentration
Organizational Skills
Love of beauty
Love of language 
Love of logic
Love of mystery
Love of simplicity 
Nonconformity/Free Spirit
Acceptance of challenge 
Alert to gaps in knowledge
Willing to grow
Access to emotions
Depth of knowledge
Intellectual honesty
Intellectual playfulness
Supply own momentum
Able to evaluate
Rule  breaker
Questions norms/assumptions
Reality testing abilities
Tough skinned
Anxiety tolerant

Monday, October 1, 2012

Creativity Assignment 2: Cup of Passion

“True Passion is intoxicating and invigorating, soothing and sensuous,
mysterious and magical.” Tazo Tea

“Passion is the spark that ignites the creative process.”

Assignment – Cup of Passion

In this assignment, you will create a quilt that shows all the things that you are passionate. Remember there are no rules. Start with your “cup.” Is it a teacup? A coffee mug? A martini glass? Is it made of china? Clay? Glass? Does it have a floral pattern?  Or is it deep blue? Does it have steam coming from it? Now fill your cup.  You can use a pattern or create one of your own. You can use any method you choose. You can staple if you wish! Have fun. Don’t be afraid.

Additional assignment: Make a list of five creativity traits that you wish to improve. Tomorrow I will share my list of creativity traits.

Suggested reading: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers