Monday, March 5, 2018

Celebrating Creative Curiosity

This past weekend, I had the honor of making a birthday wish come true for a fellow CMMAG member and lovely friend.  She approached me last year, after receiving one of my postcards at a workshop, about putting something special together for her birthday.  After learning more about her interests *beyond making books* we decided on “An Introduction to Metal Working.”  The idea being a finished piece that encompassed all of the learning of the day – a “charm bracelet of techniques” if you will.  As it often does, Life intervened, and we ended up not celebrating last years birthday until this year – and to my mind, that only made it all the sweeter!

We gathered, a group of 8 women, in her beautiful studio space and whiled away the day learning, laughing, sharing, and making together.  It was a very full day, and as we parted company at the end of it we were the best kind of weary.  More than one of the days guests has contacted me since to share their plans for the “next thing/idea/project” that they want to accomplish with this new-found knowledge.  This *THIS* is what makes my heart soar – this is why I love what I do, and revel in every single opportunity I get to do it! 

…it is for this very reason that there are so few photos of our time together.  I would count this my singular regret from the day.  I was SO in my groove that I neglected to get around the table with the camera in hand more often.  I can faithfully report that there were indeed smiling faces above these busy hands!  Throughout the course of the day, we forged, formed, cut, shaped, smoothed, stamped, textured, trimmed, wrapped, and embellished our way to a wearable illustration of things they had learned.  The hostess and I were tickled with how everything came together, her guests raved, and I loaded up and headed home in the afterglow of a day well-spent among the creatively curious. 

Onward and upward!

Words of Wisdom for Today:
Creativity embeds knowledge so that
it can become practice.
We move what we're learning
from our heads to our hearts
through our hands.

                          ~Brene Brown

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Zoom, Zig-Zag, ZIP!

Ahhh, fickle February with your actual and virtual highs and lows:  new work, new opportunities, slight set backs, and a return to a familiar place.  ...and just like that *snap* February is taking her leave...  SO much news, time just flies right by.  Let us onward, shall we?  Lots o' loveliness in store, and I don't want you to miss a single bit.

New and lovely things are happening in the work realm.  Here are a trio of examples:
Melodies of the Sea
This series (and another:  From the Night Sky) was inspired by the exercise of finding a visual line connecting the random patterns afforded by this marbling process.  It happened quite organically during the #50for50 project, last spring.  It was then replicated purposely for the creation of some special gifts this past Christmas.  Working with a set color palette, and within an established theme is the latest twist.  I have to admit:  I am loving it!  The decision to incorporate different sizes of the mini canvases has opened whole new pathways in my mind.  More happening here -- be on the lookout.  This whole adventure came about as a result of discovering this medium and the company behind it at Art of the Carolinas in 2016.  While I have encountered many loves at that show over the past 10 years, this one has had an abiding effect like no other.  Which leads us to our next nugget o' news...

It's "official" and I am delighted to share with y'all:  I am now an Artist Educator for Marabu.  This means various and sundry things, not the least of which that I get to be an ambassador for a line of products that I genuinely enjoy working with.  While at present I seem to be consumed with ways to use their Easy Marble, I am actually getting my hands dirty with other items (!)  I look forward to sharing some of my experiments with you, here.  I also look forward to incorporating these new goodies in my workshops. 

Big News this week in the land of Your Creative Connection:  We are officially a TRIOMichelle and I had the opportunity to spend part of last weekend creating and planning with our fabulous Guest Artist, Jeanne Faith d'Orleans.  We are SO excited for all that this brings to our efforts to provide a unique, innovative experience in October.  We have some delicious magic hidden up our sleeves, and I am SUPER excited about being able to share that with you, soon!  *ironically, if you were a subscriber to our Newsletter you would already know what I am talking about!?  ...they get all the juicy stuff up to a week before anyone else*
...oh, the giggles that went into getting this photo!
I suppose, in the face of all of this metaphorical sunshine, I should have been ready for a spot of rain -- yet I was not...  With the virtuous plan of heading across town to meet a friend for a good walk on the Cape Fear River Trail, I hopped in the Cute Ute last weekend -- and after a confusing sound and the refusal of said vehicle to run, I hopped back out.  Following a rather entertaining exchange with the delightful Stephen of Mitchell's Towing (courtesy of my AAA membership), I watched my wheels roll away on the back of a large tow truck.  It's amazing how badly you want to go somewhere *anywhere* when you know that you can't (!)  After much less delightful exchanges with various and sundry parties, I was able *with a little help from my friends* to secure a back-up vehicle that in addition to getting me where I am obliged to be in the interim, will also be quite handy and helpful once this crisis has passed. 
"You say good-bye, and I say hello -- hello, hello!"
Finally (and one of the many reasons I could not be without transport for a couple of weeks), I wrapped up the month with a return to the Demo Table at Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh!  I spent a happy afternoon on the final Saturday in February demonstrating Nature Printing with the GELLI Plate.  Had some lovely conversations with folks who lingered a while, and *add drumroll, here* it looks like I will return to teaching at Jerry's in the summer!  This is a "homecoming" of sorts, for me; I am thrilled to be returning and will have all of the details for you, soon!

Whew!  ...and, without a moment to waste, March is knocking at the door!  A few more firsts, and some comfortable regularity -- readying for more new-ness on the horizon, and seeking out additions to the creative roster.  I'll see you back here shortly, with more to share and look forward to.

Onward and upward!

Words of wisdom for today:
No winter lasts forever;
no spring skips its turn.

                           ~ Hal Borland

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New – Now – Neat-o

     Greetings folk of the online realm!  Am I the only one who has trouble believing that today is the last day of January?  *2018!?!*  I suppose that time flies whether you are having fun or not (?)  Luckily, I have been doing much work and having much fun – in spite of some wildly wacky weather for January, in these parts…

     After much planning, and putting off – hemming and hawing – pondering and dismissal, the time has finally come!  …yep, Yep, YEP!  Gentle readers of Blog-land-ia, I offer you *insert drumroll and/or maniacal laughter, here*:  ART PAPER LOVE (AKA my latest love-child OR a newly minted wonderland of visual merriments -- with more goodness arriving weekly, for the foreseeable future)!  I am immensely grateful to the eagle eyes of MDP and mi madre!  Lucky am I to have such vigilant editors in my corner.
     Over the course of the next few weeks, visitors will be treated to loads of new stuff including, but not limited to:  new Blog posts (to further highlight the joys of web-based wonderments), the addition of an interactive Events calendar, and the arrival of an actual purchasing portal (with work, by me, for sale)  *…hey:  Go BIG, or go home – right?*
     More big news is in store with regard to my latest collaborative creative endeavor:  Your Creative Connection.  If you haven’t yet, please do visit our nook on the ‘net for additional information about this unique, creative experience.  …and if you want to be among the very first to know the all of the latest news and developments, remember to sign up for our Newsletter!
     What else is New, Now, and Neat-O in my neck of the woods?  Well:  *thanks for asking!* I will be back at the Demo Table at Jerry’s Artarama Raleigh in the coming months, I have been invited to teach in a new *to me* venue this Summer/Fall (The Yadkin Valley Fiber Room), and I have scheduled what I hope to be the first of many Private Engagements this year *this one a Birthday Party for a CMMAG chum*  So…  as 2018 continues to un-spool before me, I look forward to having even more neat, new, and nifty creative happenings to share with you *some of which are so close I can taste them*!  What has kept you busy throughout the 1st parcel of this most amazing New Year?  I’d love to know!  Drop me a line, or leave a comment.
     The worktable is calling, and so I must go!  Thanks for visiting with me here – I hope you enjoy the new website as much as I have enjoyed *at long last* making it happen. 

Onward & upward,

Words of wisdom for today:

Progress means getting
nearer to the place you want to be.
And if you have taken a wrong turning,
then to go forward does not get you any nearer.
If you are on the wrong road,
progress means doing an about-turn
and walking back to the right road;
and in that case the man who turns back soonest
is the most progressive man.
                           ~ C. S. Lewis

Friday, December 22, 2017

Photos and Poetry

Yesterday as I was blogging over at Your Creative Connection for my latest installment in our Thankful Thursday series, I promised to tell the back story of the photos I used in my post.  I also mentioned that I have a habit of finding words to accompany many of my photographic images -- it's a fun way to expand my love of poetry, and an interesting way to honor my own creative efforts.  I have included below the poems that capture, for me, the mood of these images.

The Man and I received this Bradford Pear as gift from my grandparents when his mother died.  It has been a source of endless enjoyment throughout the intervening 18 years *I didn't even know that these trees lasted that long (?)*.  It's an expressive barometer of the changing seasons:  resembling a snow laden tree in early Spring, when loaded with tiny white blossoms; lush and green throughout the Summer; ablaze in it's finery in late Autumn; and both majestic and bleak against Winter's sky.  

The photo on the left was taken late in the day on December 3rd.  I headed out to the back yard after being consistently distracted by this gorgeous tree all day   The one on the right was taken on Wednesday of this week (December 21st).  The day before had been grey and dreary, and I was very 'aware' of how bare it had become -- and so quickly!  I can only imagine that my awareness was heightened by the slow and steady rain that fell for the better part of the day.  They were both then 'arted up' by using the Prisma app.  It is currently my favorite tool for enhancing images captured with my cell phone (I recently upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy s7 from an s4).

How about you?  Do you have favorite poets you'd like to share?  ...perhaps favorite poems for certain times of year?  I'd love to check them out -- leave me a comment, and I'll see you here again soon!

Onward and upward,

Words of wisdom for today:
Autumn is a second spring
when every leaf is a flower.

                           ~ Albert Camus

Sunday, November 19, 2017

How YOU Doin'?

Hey!  Hi-ho! Hellooo!

So...  It's been a little while since I joined you here in Blog-Land (?)  SO much has happened in the intervening months (!)  It would appear that any sharing that took place during my absence here was done on Facebook -- and there wasn't that much shared or posted there, either!  

After the hustle of May, I opted to turn my focus toward getting a better handle on the homestead, and being more conscious of my health.  The Summer found me wandering the wilds with Ollie as often as possible, and spending more time moving than in the past couple of years.  I made a vow on my 49th birthday to pursue walking more diligently, and committed to at least one organized 5K a month.  To date, I have walked over 150 miles since mid-April and have completed twelve 5Ks *so far;* I've begun stretching my walks to prepare for 10Ks, from here on out.  The ultimate goal?  I want to embrace the big 5-0 by walking my 1st Half Marathon in the Spring (!)  

Let's take a pictorial look back as we catch up a bit, eh?

Scenes from a boat...
Time spent with
Ollie is never wasted!
Water flora
Water flora (pt. deux)

Just a couple of my "lake buddies"...
..and if that isn't a capital A in the clouds, I'll kiss your foot!
That, plus working was about all there was to June -- July entered and proceeded in much the same way, with a few notable differences:  on the momentous date of 7-17-17, I gave up smoking (!) -- long overdue, and far from easy -- so far, so good; I finally returned to creative work (!!!) -- it felt amazing to MAKE things again (things that had been rolling around in my noggin at night for far too long) -- and I am giddy to report that more is coming (both in this series, and outside of it)!

A new series of work (The Dream Keepers) -- begun in late June,
and the first piece hung in a show in July

Good friends, good food, and good memories:
The best things for what ails ya!
*...and "good bye" to the butts*

August brought the return to travel teaching and a 2nd engagement with The International Paper Doll Convention.  It was wonderful see so many familiar faces, and meet new ones.  I taught a packed workshop, and enjoyed participating in various aspects of "The Swinging 60s" inspired event.  A quick stop to see other pals (and make a new feline friend) on the way home, and then the much anticipated eclipse *which I celebrated by taking part in a Virtual 5K, replete with "Eclipse of the Sun 2017" medal!*  The month wrapped up with another momentous occasion:  The Girl graduated with her Master's Degree in Korean Studies from Korea University (a degree earned with straight As, I might add!).

August moments from August
More natural wonderments with Ollie,
visits with my sweet ones, and a crash course
in DIY home repairs rounded out August of '17

September found me hitting the road again, this time for The Rock n' Roll Marathon Series 5K in Virginia Beach.  The event takes place alongside the American Music Festival over the course of Labor Day Weekend.  My new walking buddy (and long time BFF) and I went all out, and got the 3-Day Pass for the Music Festival -- and the tales we can tell from that weekend would warrant a whole SERIES of blog posts -- it was QUITE memorable, to say the least!  ...and, in truth, it felt amazing to be making new laugh-until-your-cheeks-hurt memories.

Road trip:  VA Beach, here we come!
Medals, fireworks, odd street signs, amazing sushi,
and a visit from a lady bug

The Chihuly at the Museum of Contemporary Art was incredible
The full moon over the ocean on our last night was an added bonus
From just before the middle of September to the present, my attention has been split between getting serious yard work done here on the Acre, and establishing a new business in partnership with a dear and admired fellow artist.  *much more to come on the details of that venture -- I promise!*  October brought the opportunity for some hard-core adulting; you can bet your bippy that it was accompanied by some rather colorful language -- HA!  *kidding not kidding*  Suffice to say:  I now know a great deal more about the workings of homeowners insurance than I can ever imagine needing to have learned (?)  ANYway...  Live and learn, right?  I just keep on learnin'!

Stolen moments in October:  New frontiers (aka lakes) with Ollie,
realizing how old Ms Wito is getting,
and testing my new motto in wearable form

Pieces of November -- so far
A stem full of wishes, the bucket brigade headed for storage,
and laughter really
is the best medicine

Which brings us to today!  Just last weekend marked the 10th anniversary of the CMMAG's role as Workshop Fairies at Art of the Carolinas, in addition to my role as Co-Chair of the Committee that organizes our efforts there.  The yard work of October revisited me in the form of tendinitis, and for the 1st time in 10 years, I moved no water on Saturday or Sunday of that fabled weekend.  Perhaps it is time for a changing of the guard?  Other developments of the weekend might hold sway over that decision...  More to come, as details emerge, gentle reader!  Intrigued?  Me, TOO!  I promise to spill the beans as soon as I have them all in one pot!

As always:  
Onward & upward!

Words of wisdom for today:
A healthy human environment is one in which we
try to make sense of our limits, of the accidents
that can always befall us, and the passage of time
which inexorably changes us.

                           ~ Rowan Williams

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Merry Month of Marbling - Week 4 Wrap Up

Wherein we *nearly* seamlessly recover from the bizarre, cosmic disturbance that was the actual Week #4...  

Here we have the last grouping of Marvelous Marbled Mini-Canvases for the week of May 22-26 -- #s 36 through 50!  These are now officially up for grabs both here and in the MMM - #50for50no1 Album at Arrowood Paper Arts on Facebook.  Updates will be posted everywhere as quickly as possible. 

I mentioned elsewhere last week how much I was enjoying the creation/composition of these trios...  Given that each piece was created individually, I find it intriguing that they can be arranged as if in series (!)  It was great fun to lay them out for the past two weeks with an eye toward continuing the lines, without regard for color *within reason*  ...well, not so much without regard, as with a link -- but not wholly from the same palette *knowwhatimean?*  

To claim any of these lovelies as your own, please leave a comment with the number (s) corresponding to your choice(s).  I'll be in touch to wrap things up.  As always, thanks for visiting!

Next up:  The Grande Finale -- wherein we blatantly ignore the previously posted dates in righteous favor of "winging it!"  Because of the sheer number of little pieces of paper involved in having Wito the Wonder Dog perform the drawing of the winners, Management has opted for the use of a Random Number Generator to finalize the Winners.  All interested parties *that would be you, gentle reader -- nudge, nudge - wink, wink* have until 3pm (EDT -- Noon, PDT), Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 to complete their final entries (via purchase, share, like, pin, and follow) -- full details in the original post (May 1, 2017) *minus the previously mentioned Finale dates -- we're winging it, here!*

Onward & Upward,

Words of wisdom for today:
"You need not fear it, but you must always bear in mind
that the past is never quite as finished with you
as you think you are with it."
                             - Kathryn Kennish