Thursday, May 31, 2018

Are You Book Enough Challenge for May 2018

A peek at my book project in process - creating the case study 'envelopes'

Have you heard of the #areyoubookenough book art challenge? It's a fabulous monthly book art community challenge to create a book based on a theme for the month. You can learn much more about it at the Editions Studio website HERE. Be sure to sign up for notifications so you can join the fun!

There are MANY amazing book artists I've connected with since I began to participate in the challenge in November last year. Many of these book artists are well seasoned book binders with excellent skills, who execute great books with brilliant concepts and structures...

Once upon a time, I remember feeling like I was an amateur swimming in a sea of professionals and feeling unhappy about my inadequate skills to keep up. This time, I feel like I am swimming in a sea of peers at all levels, that we all have something to contribute, that we all have something we can learn from each other.

This book artist community is truly heartwarming, and as result, I felt safe in my choice to execute my concept for this months theme - SECRET.

Testing an unusual material for elements of my book - plastic cereal bags!

For sometime, I've been wanting to create a book that plays with the idea of 'being transparent', and the idea of 'open secrets', a play on the phrase "it's no secret that..."

I've also wanted to play with an idea I'd seen in the craft book "The Elemental Journal" - on page 49 there are examples of lovely journal pages made using recycled cereal bags! They lend a soft transparency to view the lovely ephemera contents held within...

But loveliness and softness would NOT be an element of my book for this challenge!

I've previously written of people in my world that have been hurtful, and I've 'bitten back' in my own way here in the safety of my blog, which I have to say was quite satisfying! But there have been other hurtful people I need to process my feelings about so I can release the resentments to move forward...

About two years ago I participated in a training to become a Grief Recovery Specialist. It was one of the most powerfully healing things I've ever done, and the tools I learned in my training, I continue to use to process my pain when I feel a loss of trust or a betrayal. This tool is incorporated in the concept of this book...

The process of processing one's feelings of loss begins with the 'relationship graph'...

My book entry is titled "Open Secret", because it is generally an 'open secret' that the people who make up this book are people I do not like and try to avoid whenever possible, due to the toxic negativity they emit.

They are labeled 'case studies' in this book, as there are individual envelopes containing a relationship graph and a letter of completion that brings an end to the relationship as it was. The letter allows me to say what I need to say, good or bad, and it allows me to close the relationship, as it was, so I can choose to move forward in the relationship, knowing that who they are WILL NOT CHANGE.

Transparent envelope for 'Case No. 4'...

I can also choose to not move forward with the relationship if I feel that my needs will not be met, due to any negative behavior previously exhibited from the 'case study' in question.

'Case No. 4' is sealed but the seal is easily opened...if you dare to read the contents within!

Needless to say, some of my letters include highly vulgar language I generally do not use here on my blog...that is not to say that I do not approve of vulgar language, but that kind of 'salty' language is best kept for in person conversations! ;)

Constructing the storage 'file' box to house all the 'case studies' that will eventually fill this box

I've done this grief recovery process on numerous occasions, and there are still other 'case studies' I need to process, so I can finally consign them to the "Open Secret" case file.

For this book entry, I have made a total of 9 case study envelopes, so I formulated my case file to house them, with the possibility of a little more room to hold any other 'case studies' that cross my path in the future, because I've learned that one is never really finished with people who exhibit bad or negative behavior...

The full title of my book entry is:


Case Studies of Selfishness, Manipulation and Traumatic Cruelty of the Toxic Negative Personality*

Case studies** include techniques for clearing pain caused by the Toxic Negative Personality

Completed book for submission for the May AYBE challenge with the theme SECRET

I like to invite the viewer to consider interacting with many of my book creations and this months theme is no exception, but as previously stated:

Open content at your own risk! Foul language is involved, therefore, no one under the age of 18 is permitted to open the contents contained within this book!

Break the case study file seal if you dare! ;)

If you would like to learn more details about the Grief Recovery Method, please visit their website to learn more about the method and where to find a specialist in your area, if you feel the need to process any loss you are currently suffering. There are over 40 different types of loss we can experience in our lives, starting in childhood. It's never too late to process the pain of loss and reclaim some Joy in your life!

Thanks for visiting my blog and reading about my creative adventures! I hope you enjoyed learning about my process for the Are You Book Enough Challenge of artful book making!

I'll be back to share about some of the previous books I've made for the challenge soon, so stay tuned!

* - PLEASE note, I am NOT an expert on personality disorders, this label is one I created for the purposes of this art book! But it's possible it might exist ;)

** - I use the term 'case study' though sometimes it seems the people in these files are more like a 'basket case'! (insert eyeroll here!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The 100 Day Project Studio Clean-Up!

Currently taped to a wall in my studio as a daily reminder of my INTENTION...

I am DETERMINED to do this!

For the first time ever, I am joining the 100 Day Project and I've chosen to clean and organize my creative studio as my 100 Day Project, instead of doing a 'creative project'...

Do you know what the 100 Day Project is? This fabulous project began 5 years ago as a way to encourage people to get CREATIVE for 100 days, and it has generated some amazing results for many people who felt they had no time for creativity. Many projects include drawing every day, painting everyday, or making something everyday for ONE HUNDRED DAYS, which is an amazing feat of endurance.

I have watched this project play out over the past years with many creatives I follow, notably with Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse as she began to honor her own ART-FULL impulse with watercolor play.

Cynthia has a great newsletter, and in a recent issue, she mentioned how a creative she knew chose to do a STUDIO CLEAN-UP for the 100 Day Project and it really struck a chord with me, as I've struggled to have a clean and organized studio forever, it seems.

The door leading to my creative studio space...

I've tried using the Marie Kondo book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I've watched other creatives do overhauls on their creative studios, which is inspiring, but so far, nothing has really helped, at least for me...

Cluttered bookshelves I plan to move to the other side of the studio - this will be a BIG task

But the idea of doing a little something each day to reach my dream of a clean and organized studio, now feels achievable, and I've made some progress so far, which you can view at my Instagram account.

My current worktable (folding table!) will be replaced with a vintage table that once belonged to my grandmother - this switch will be another BIG task!

In order to achieve my dream, I've had to reframe things into a different mind-set of GOALS, instead of nebulous 'dreams'. I've been using a list app on my iPad to figure out some big tasks I need to accomplish in order to create a studio space that will make me happy, and I also DEFINED what the parameters are in having a 'clean, well-organized studio'...

A section of the studio closet with many unfinished projects and garment repair to be done

Here is how I am defining my project, as I set my intention to have a 'clean and well- organized studio' by the end of this project, which will be JULY 12, 2018:

to have a clean, well-organized, brightly decorated creative studio in 100 days!

CLEAN...means NO BOXES on the floor or under the worktable, no piles of papers, or piles of anything in general, left on the worktable

WELL-ORGANIZED...means every supply, tool, and art book has a home to go to at the end of a creating session, so NOTHING IS LEFT OUT at the end of the day

BRIGHTLY DECORATED...means surrounding myself with colorful art made by fellow creatives, hand lettered messages of MEANING, and fun 'stuffies' or dolls made by creatives I admire, along with featuring my own creative work! Brightly decorated means COLOR in the studio with colorful furniture and/or storage, and a color palette to work within.
TWINKLE LIGHTS are imperative!!
(color palette to be revealed in a future post)

So much stuff hiding under the table, so many piles on top of the table...I've got my work cut out for me!

As you can see from the photos shared here, I have a BIG job ahead of me!

But I am finding that as I make small progress every day, it is really shifting the energy in this room and it's giving me motivation to keep going. I do believe I can tackle this project and MAYBE even get it done in LESS THAN 100 DAYS...

And if I get it all accomplished in less than 100 Days, what then??

As you can see, I have PLENTY of unfinished projects I can work on, and complete if I have any days remaining ;)

So now the question remains...

What will YOU do for YOUR 100 Day Project??

Let me know what your 100 Day Project will be in the comments below so I can support and encourage you! Together we can do this!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to watch my daily progress and be sure to tag me with YOUR progress on your project so I can lend support =)

Monday, January 1, 2018


Seventh and final light of Kwanzaa...

Happy New Year, one and all!

What a wonderful way to usher in the new year - with thoughts about FAITH for the new year ahead, on this seventh and final night of Kwanzaa.


How do we define Faith?

Faith is defined in this way, according to the principles of Kwanzaa:

"To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle."

Now, lets look at the dictionary definition of Faith:

  1. 1.
    complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

    "this restores one's faith in politicians"

    synonyms:trust, belief, confidence, conviction
..."complete trust or confidence in someone or SOMETHING...belief, conviction..."

For many of you who have followed my blog in the past, or have recently been following me on Instagram, I'm sure it will come as no surprise to learn that I believe wholeheartedly in CREATIVITY.

As the quote I share on my 'About Me' page states:

“Art education is important not because it turns out artists or art products, but...
because it seems to turn out better people.” - Abraham Maslow

One of my personal downfalls is giving people the benefit of the doubt, in regards to their personality. I like to believe that people don't have agendas in getting to know you, or in extending the hand of friendship, sadly though this is not always the might take time before the agenda shows itself, but for those who look out for themselves, it doesn't take too long.

One thing I HAVE learned is that CREATIVE PEOPLE don't really have an agenda. Many creatives DO believe in #communityovercompetition, they believe in supporting fellow creatives, and one thing I love about Creativity is that it has no political affiliation...that I know of!

Creativity is open and welcoming and only requires some participation to be part of the gang.

Most of the truly kind, giving, open people I have encountered exercise a form of Creativity in their lives on a regular basis, thus proving out the idea as posed by Abraham Maslow in his quote, above; though he talks primarily about Art Education, it is certainly the launching point to Creativity.

I've learned that people who do not honor their Creative Impulse end up terribly unhappy, and that unhappiness leaches out in terrible ways...I've suffered at the hands of repressed creatives and it is  NOT fun.

The words of Brene Brown resonate strongly on this concept:

“Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief*, rage, judgement, sorrow, shame...There’s no such thing as creative people, and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.”

..."suffocated by resentment and fear"..."grief, rage, judgement"...oh yes, I have suffered at the hands of those feelings from others, the ones who don't use their Creativity. They hate it when YOU are being Creative, and they are not, but they just don't see how THEY HAVE MADE THE CHOICE...and this applies to so many other areas of Life, I see it all the time and I'm sick of it.

So all I can say is that I will try to have FAITH in 2018 that together we Creatives will find a way to share just how fun (and EASY!) Creativity is, and that we will make it seem SO FUN that others won't be able to stop themselves in joining in the Creative Play!

And maybe THEN we will be able to build a better world made up of Better People, so we can put an end to all the struggle that continues in the world.

Anyone care to join me??

How does Faith show up in your world? How would you like Faith to show up in your life in 2018?? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you all so much for stopping by my blog to read my musings on the Principles of Kwanzaa for 2017, and my thoughts on this first day of 2018! I hope you'll return for more Creative Inspiration, here at my blog, or at my Instagram or Facebook pages!

2018 - Here we come!

* - A LOT of grief comes from unprocessed LOSS, and Loss comes in many forms, including being cut off from our Creative Impulse. As a Trained Specialist, I can not recommend the process of the Grief Recovery Method for processing all the unresolved grief in our lives; I do believe it can be used to help process the feelings that happen when we cut ourselves off from our human nature to be CREATIVE, or to resolve feelings around someone who said unkind things about our creative efforts in our childhood or youth. Feel free to ask me any questions about this process.