Friday, January 22, 2016

Making a Difference

The wild weather we have been experiencing around the world has me thinking about climate change and ways we can do something about it. I've come across some very interesting articles recently that illustrate possibilities.

Most urban trees grow yards; they belong to individuals, but we all benefit from them. Rain falling onto branches and leaves is dispersed, meaning gradual absorption into the soil as opposed to sheeting over the ground that causes erosion and flooding.

Likewise the sun’s rays are intercepted (shade), foliage absorbs air pollutants, and beneficial root fungi take up phosphorus and heavy metals that would otherwise pollute ground water. During major storm events Gainesville’s abundant tree canopy intercepts the winds, deflecting damaging force away from homes.

Home Sweet Home by Carolyn Pearce - this has sparked some ideas for pieces focusing on places and peoples that have not received a lot of attention in the artistic community nor the media.

Making Do . . . - reminded me of the times I sat with my grandmother while she darned socks or sewed on buttons.

And then, there was this from a book I've been reading:

[O]ld quilts made from recycled fabrics reminded Japanese needlewomen of the past, of the days when their mothers patched clothing or made household items from scraps. It didn't matter that these quilts had tears or worn patches in them, this was part of their charm. We Japanese have traditionally cherished old fabrics, and the idea of creating something artistic and useful from scraps appealed to our ideal of beauty.  (Japanese Quilts by Jill Liddell & Yuko Watanabe (c) 1988, p ix)

It ties in, of course, to using recycled, found, and vintage materials in my work.

What do you think? Is there something you would like to suggest to others?

Until next time, I wish you peace.

(Note: I provide links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation by me with any site.)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Goal Setting and Other Thoughts - Part Two

Knit ear warmer

As soon, it seems, as Christmas was over, I found myself excitedly working on my year-end inventory and goals. Still, it took a while to be able to work through everything, which is why I have been so quiet here. 

I used a slightly different method this year. Before I got started, I had written a list of things I felt I should consider as I determined my goals for 2016, letting it simmer in the back of my mind for a few weeks. When I finally sat down to work on the inventory and goals, I listed the things I had accomplished in 2015 and wrote down everything I thought I might want to do in 2016. One of the books I had been reading about goal setting suggested creating a "pie" with wedges indicating areas of your life that you want to focus on. The categories I arrived at were: Financial, Health & Exercise, Creativity, House/Housing, Intellectual Stimulation, and Family & Friends. My next step was to divide everything I want to do into those categories. Then, I cut them down to a maximum of five items per category. (I may need to reduce that further, however.)

After working with those items for about a week, I realized that I needed to be more specific in a few of them. In particular, I needed to decide how to implement the Creativity goals with a focus on the business. As I mentioned back in September, I decided that I could create for myself. What that means to me is that I am free to experiment with techniques and styles without as much concern about the marketplace. In keeping with my concerns about our world and its future, I returned to the idea of incorporating the concepts of simplicity, functionality, and beauty into my work. In addition, my goal, as always, is to use recycled, found, and vintage materials where possible, expressing the concepts of global equity and sustainability.

Finally, while I am very pleased with the things I managed to create in 2015, like the ear warmer (which was a big hit!), I was disappointed in how few there were. In addressing the issue, I began to come to terms with the difficulties I have in sticking to my schedule when people around me request my time. After coming up with a more definitive schedule, I made some decisions about how to handle those requests. Only time will tell if I have finally come up with the answer, but I am hopeful that 2016 will prove to be a much more productive and satisfying year.