Friday, June 29, 2012

Decisions & Exploration

It has seriously been a crazy couple of weeks. We've had everything from excessive rain to 100 degree heat; trouble with the sewer line; health scares for several members of our larger family; bug infestations of some trees on our property, and more. Thankfully, things seem to have calmed down for most of those issues, though two members of the family are fighting cancer, and we will have to have some work done on the trees. We are grateful that Tropical Storm Debbie didn't do more damage (several family members live in Florida). We're watching the fires in Colorado (two nephews and their families live near Denver), and praying that they are brought under control soon, along with the wildfires elsewhere.

I've also been doing a lot of reading. Many of the books I've been reading lately were written by Robert S. McElvaine. The ones I have been particularly interested in are his books on the Great Depression, as I have been researching for a novel I want to write about the 20th Century. I find myself truly grateful for the library system we enjoy, and the ability to get books for libraries other than the one in my town.

That reminds me of the library at GSU, for which I helped make the bookshelf quilt. I have been serving on the Friends of the GSU Library board for the last four or five years, and made the decision that I need to step down at the end of my term. Elections will be in August. I hope those of you from the GSU community who follow my blog or Facebook page will consider joining the Friends and helping to further the mission.

The mission of The Friends of the Governors State University Library is to bring together those who share a love of knowledge and desire to promote the role of the library in the University and the surrounding community. Friends provide support for resources and services to benefit learners in the university and the community

I also made a decision this last couple of weeks about setting up the Etsy shop. I've decided that I need to take some time to work on UFO's and experiment with different techniques and artforms. So, I will be putting the shop off for a while. Making this decision has helped me to realize how much pressure I was putting on myself. What I need more right now is permission from myself to play. To that end, I have just purchased Destination Creativity: The Life-Altering Journey of the Art Retreat by Rice Freeman-Zachery. I also have her book, Creative Time and Space , which I have thoroughly enjoyed and keep as a reference. My plan is to use the workshops in the book, along with those in several other books in my personal library, to explore different media.

My hope for you is that you give yourself permission to play every day, even if it is only for 15 minutes or half an hour. Our busy lives and fast-paced society cause so much stress, we need to remember to act like children every once in a while.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Making Decisions

I have been doing a lot of research on a variety of things in order to decide how to develop my business and determine next steps. In the process, I have been reading a lot of blogs and books, looking at Etsy shops, reviewing the "Quit Your Day Job" blog on Etsy, and more. In the course of some of that research yesterday, I came across a workshop in the Etsy Success Symposium from February 8, 2011. This link should take you to it: Reaching Your Creative Dreams One Goal At a Time The workshop was given by April Bowles. Her website is a treasure trove of information.

The upshot of listening to the workshop is that I now have a plan. I have been able to work out a more detailed schedule that should enable me to put in the time I need to in the studio, as well as take care of the basics that are part of any business. I was also able, in the research, to decide more clearly on my focus, which should help me to make better use of the time in the studio, since I won't be as likely to scatter my energies on things that won't ultimately advance my work.

One of the other consequences of the research I have been doing is getting my studios more organized. I moved a couple of pieces of furniture around some months ago in the sewing studio,

and discussed organizational ideas with my daughter, who is also an artist. That resulted in some changes in the wet studio.

It is my hope that the reorganization will help me to have the physical and visual space I need to do more of my best work.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I have been thinking a lot about sustainability and the ideas of reducing, reusing, and recycling, lately. Recently, I came across this website: Greennovate. While it focuses on China, it has a number of interesting an informative videos. Watching "The Secret Lives of Our Clothes" made quite an impression on me. I knew that there were environmental and health concerns surrounding clothing manufacture, but the video made at least some of those concerns more vivid.

One of the things that I have been struggling with as I move along this journey to creating my art is how to use materials in a sustainably responsible way. I was reminded of the path that artist Maya Donenfeld has taken by a reference to her work that led me to her blog She uses repurposed materials in her pieces. I first encountered a reference to Maya in Where Women Create's Summer 2010 issue. Seeing her work and reading her blog seems to have come at a good time.

I recently began sorting through denim scraps cut from old jeans. Since I have three grown children and an active husband, I have lots of them collected over about twenty years. While my original intent in collecting them was to make comforters for my boys' beds, I have been considering other options to use them since the boys have grown up. Since watching the video on Greenovate, I have also been contemplating alternatives to jeans and/or ways to find sustainable choices.

As Maya points out on her blog, it is possible to repurpose a lot of different materials. Do you have a favorite material to repurpose or reuse? How do you decide on the best use for something? What types of techniques do you use?