Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Scattered thoughts...

I have been away from my blog for so long that I don't know where to start, so as a compulsive list-maker, I am starting with a random list of things...

1. Blessings...
The past couple of weeks have heaped so many on me it's hard to count them all. My niece is home recovering from her fourth open heart surgery and we are all thrilled, and my husband is also home recovering after vascular surgery which is also a great relief. I am also blessed with so many bloggers, friends and family who have wished us all well during these past few weeks. It makes all of the waiting and enduring so much more bearable to know that others are out there rooting for you.

2. And good fortune...
Before I left for Boston with my husband, I was the extremely lucky recipient of a blog giveaway from felllow blogger Cindy Dean. Among Cindy's many artistic talents is creating wonderful soldered jewelry pieces, and her latest creations are these wonderful flower pendants, made with faceted beads and collage elements in the center. The first time I saw one one her blog I was CRAZY for it, and I had every intention of purchasing one at some point just to treat myself, but then Cindy had a giveaway and announced that I had won!!! For me this was better than the lottery -- okay maybe not the mega million, (because I could buy thousands then!!!) but it still made my day.

3. And classes to teach...
Home sweet inchies, inspired by fellow blogger Patti Gramza, is a class I will be teaching at Stampassion this spring, along with a class called Polymer Clay Kitchen, where I will share recipes and techniques for faux jade, bone, and lapis. Yummy!!! I also have several other class plans in the works, but it's too soon to mention them!!!

4. And a brief update on the altered chess challenge -- I am writing an article about the experience and sharing the comments of the participants -- more to come on that too!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


The heartbeat of our family is my niece Avery, who, as I began this post, was undergoing her fourth open heart surgery to repair a congenital defect (hypoplastic left heart syndrome). She is a constant reminder to all of us of what is truly important in life, and what is not. She is a gift, a balm, a constant source of hope, and strength and unconditional love. If I am feeling angry, or petty or in any way less than charitable, I have only to think of her to set me back on the right path.

She is now out of surgery, and reports from my sister and her surgeon confirm that she has done amazingly well and her "stats" are excellent. She will need to be sedated for several days as she begins to heal, so if you read this post, please say a prayer, think a happy thought, hug a loved one -- for Avery!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Creative flow...

My horoscope the other day...
"You can unblock your creative flow and ease your frustrations by letting go of the need to think too much. Simply enjoy what you’re doing and your creativity will flow naturally. You will find relief if you can focus your attention on the specifics of your task instead of worry about the future."

I taught one of my art journal classes over the weekend (at Stampassion in Latham, NY) and that horoscope was the perfect piece of advice to share with students. Of course, in order to get everyone warmed up, I do teach some quick background techniques, but art journaling is such a personal act that I don't like to give too much instruction or advice. I prefer to give encouragement and ideas and prompts, as well as a room full of art supplies to play with, and see what emerges. It is amazing to watch what happens when that creative energy starts to build up in a room. The class is three hours long, but we could easily have continued for five or six hours once we got started.
I was excited to teach this class again, as it's one of my favorites, and we decided to offer it at the request of one customer who had missed it the first time around. This is always a bit risky because we never know when we have saturated our market for a certain kind of class, so I was thrilled that it filled up.
I marveled at the abandon with which the students in this particular class took my techniques and just embraced the moment. And I love that they leave with a work in progress, something they can add to and make completely their own.
After a class like this, I feel immense gratitude to be able to get others excited about art and about claiming their own unique artistic voice.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Favorite quote of the day...

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It is a gift to the world and every being in it. -- Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Monday, March 03, 2008

My February Ta Da list

How can time fly so fast, yet winter drag on so endlessly? This year seems already to be flying by, and I am starting to feel just a hint of the panic that always follows my grandiose plans for the year, when I realize that I could do it all, if I didn't have a house, and a dog, and a full-time job and all of the blessings and curses that go along with them. I did not spend nearly as much time in my studio as I had hoped to this month, but I did teach a class, and I am in the midst of planning several others -- right now I feel like a juggler who has all these balls in the air, and I am about to throw a few more into the mix, because it's just not quite difficult enough yet!!!

So these are the creative endeavors I tackled this month (I question my choice of words sometimes - it felt like tackle this month, rather than enjoy):

I read a bunch of children's books, as preliminary research for my children's book (which I now know already is going to take longer than the rest of 2008)...Among the books I read (and enjoyed thoroughly) were:
Lefty and Righty - A Tale of Two Feet
Backbeard and the Birthday Suit
Backbeard: Pirate for Hire
Bean Thirteen
The Truth about Cousin Earnie's Head
Four of the five are by local children's book writer and illustrator, Matt McElligott. He's a friend of a friend, and I hope to meet him this spring for some direction on my plans for a book of my own.

I continued to do freelance design work (and hand assembly) with my event planner friend.- I designed and assembled 200 place cards and 200 bags w/ handcut butterflies for favors. This is one of my juggling projects. I have many items in various stages of completion for this event. I do little bits each evening when sitting in front of the tv is all I have left;

I taught my first seniors class for 2008, and I am currently planning another one for next week;

I met with my creative coach twice - this is always so helpful to me. By talking out loud with someone skilled in listening and so supportive, as well as having "homework" to produce within a time frame, I am always able to clarify what I want most -- when I can't have it all at the same time.

I finally charged my iPod (a Christmas gift!!) and bought some iTunes -- this may be on the fringe of "creativity" but in spite of my job as a graphic artist, my blog, and my side job as a digital illustrator, I am somewhat of a techno-phobe when faced with new media, so I am listing this accomplishment because it's sooo hard for me sometimes to embrace new things.