Wednesday, June 29, 2011


LAST week...

I received one...

LAST postcard...

in response to my "call for help" that I posted about...

LAST month...

I'm so THRILLED it arrived before my...


at the office...

How AWESOME is THIS?!?!!??

 "Union Jack" by Mel of "I Speak Melsh"

This arrived on the LAST day...
of the work week...
LAST week...

and I've been giddy about it all weekend, especially since I might get to meet this fabulous blogger in August!! More details soon, but I'm so excited that my "summer vacation" is starting to look AMAZING!!

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This is the LAST week of "gainful employment" (if you could call it that!*) and time seems to be speeding up and slowing down all at once, but the LAST DAY will arrive before I know it. In the meantime, I'm preparing some fun blog posts to celebrate FREEDOM since this upcoming weekend is a holiday weekend to celebrate Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July. I hope you'll stop by to check them out! There will be a special coupon code for anyone interested in shopping at my other Etsy shop, Grandma Betty's Legacy, so stay tuned!

* - after two years of no raises and then a pay cut, I'm not sure it WAS gainful employment!! ;)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Shorts - A Great Blog Post

I've been reading lately how some bloggers are thinking of taking time off from their blogs, a "Summer Vacation" if you will...

Having unintentionally done this myself earlier this year, I would say it's a great idea, though letting your readers know about your plans is a good thing...unless you didn't plan it, like me!! OOPS! ;)

So imagine my surprise when I found this blog post talking about "unplugging" and it comes with a fabulous link to a digital zine that was originally made by hand.

It's a great post that is worth reading and the digital zine is worth downloading and when you've done all that, I recommend that you take a little time to smell the flowers - Enjoy!

Peonies I bought for myself recently...a tiny extravagance for my budget but worth every penny!

PS: Though I will have no internet for some time after JUNE 30th, I will manage to continue blogging this summer and I'm looking forward to sharing my "Summer Vacation" with you all =-)

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Creative Beast Interview - Borbala of Bori Dolls

Hello dear blog readers! I have an interview for you today and I think you'll enjoy this creative lady who creates darling and magical felted dolls...
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Interview with Borbala Arvai of Bori Dolls

I met Borbala Arvai back in March when I took a class being hosted by one of my favorite places to be - VITA ARTS CENTER in Ventura. It was a class on making a needle felted fairy doll...

I had seen Borbala's work before though I didn't realize it at the time I signed up for the class. She has published a series of books featuring her felted dolls and I had seen them at the Vita Arts Gallery. The images were truly enchanting so I was very excited when I discovered that I would be learning from her! She made needle felting seem like it was the easiest thing in the world and I loved creating my own Fairy doll...
My Fairy Doll has accompanied me to the office since I created her - she's become one of my talismans..
I was intrigued when she informed the class that she was self taught and had only been working at needle felting for a few short years. It made me want to learn more about this lovely lady who hails from Hungary. It turns out she was a Graphic Arts designer before she began to do her own creative work in needle felting and many great things have come into her life since then.

I'm so happy she agreed to be interviewed! Thank you for being here Borbala!
"Cave Woman" - One of Borbala's wonderful and whimsical felted dolls

Who first introduced you to creating? Was it a family member - a teacher? How did that person influence you?

I can not remember. I think it just came from the inside.

What were your first creative actions that you remember? (Sewing, Dancing, Painting, etc?)

Since I can remember I was always drawing. I had lots of colored markers and my mom put away hundreds of drawings I made. I really like them, I think those were the times when I could express myself the most pure and I was very artistic with great imagination.
I also went to classes where we made clay figures and I loved to make those. This was all before I started school.

My! You began your creative life very early Borbala. I don't think I began quite so early, though I do remember being taught to sew around the age of six and drawing with color pencils not long after that...

Do you have a favorite medium to create in? If so, what is it?

My favorite medium is wool and needle felting. I have not tried very many mediums though, because I was not interested in other crafts before. Now I would like to explore more.

I know that feeling! It seems the more we learn, the more we want to continue learning and experimenting with other ways to create!

How do you feel when you are creating in your chosen medium?

To work with wool is very relaxing. It is like a meditation, I can be present and be one with the material and with nature. It does not matter what level you are, needle felting is always fun and it is very rewarding too... you can hold your finished creations within a short period of time.

What is the greatest joy you derive from creating? Accomplishment? The process? Sharing it with others? Please explain…

Creation with wool offers joy on so many levels. I love to touch wool. Sometimes I feel content just to look at the beautiful colors and textures. Then when I start a project it gives lots of joy, how wool is surrendering and how the figure comes to life. I love to add found objects (mostly from nature and recycled) and really love how the wool and those objects become a harmonious figure. I have also lots of joy in teaching this technique and see how it makes others happy. The same thing happens when people look at my work, touch it or take it home. I am very much rewarded by their joy in my work.
"SheTransformer" By Borbala Arvai

I hear you Borbala - working with textiles for so many years I can attest to how wonderful it is to handle the various fabrics from smooth silk to nubby wool and looking at the colors and textures becomes the inspiration for projects. And of course it's wonderful to see people being joyful about a creation, but not surprising when you making such fabulous dolls as "SheTransformer"!

Do you think a creative life comes from ideas, doing or being?

For me it comes from all of these. I have to live all these three to let the creativity happen in my life. Sometimes I have ideas, pictures in my head for a long time and I let myself just be with them for a while. With that, their presence becomes really strong and they want to become materialized. Often I feel myself just a channel that lets this happen. I am not really doing much, I just let my pictures come through.

"Hermit Mermaid" by Borbala Arvai

How do you express your creative life? Is it integrated in your daily life or is it a separate part of your life?

My creative life is totally present in my everyday life. I am staying home with my children and work my art at the same time.

What is the most significant creative event in your life to date? Was it a defining moment? Was it a milestone or a lifetime goal?

There were many significant creative events in my life:

* After high school I worked as a dancer/performer and I experienced a great creative event every time I was on stage. I really liked that kind of work and was very inspired by it.

* In 2000, when I got my MA in Visual Communication/Graphic Design as a winner of a previous competition, I was chosen to design the whole Corporate Identity for our school, the Hungarian University of Crafts and Design. That was my work for my degree and it was a great honor.

* In regards to needle felting I had some significant events as well! I loved to be part of the Snow White book series which was published by Csimota Publisher in Hungary in 2009. Five artists were each designing a book, same story, same size but very different artistic expressions. Each of them are very different and unique.

* Also, when I started to make my elaborate art dolls it was a very significant event to be able to exhibit my "Endangered Fairyland" series in Vita Art Center in Ventura in 2010. That was the start and the first print of my real passion: creating creatures from wool and other natural finds like moss, shells, pine cones, acorns, grass, etc. Since then every art doll I make and exhibit is a significant creative event.

 * The most recent creative event was when VC Star journalist Allison Bruce found me and wrote a long write up in the paper. She was very thorough and it was also an honor.

WOW!! Those are some amazing accomplishments and defining moments to be proud of Borbala!! And I'm sure there are many more to come...

What is it like to be a self-sustaining artist?
I am not working a day job, but I am at home with my two boys (5 and 7). They are my first priority and I am working my art around their schedule. On the other hand I always needed to create and express myself and it feels great that I can also provide to my family with something I love doing.

Another whimsical felted doll by Borbala Arvai

Is your life different from the time when you worked for others?
There was a short time in my life, when I worked for others as a graphic designer. It is very hard for me not to be in charge of my time, therefore I was always trying to be a freelancer or having my own business. But even now I am working for others, I am serving my clients, but in a much more free way. I really enjoy these relationships and love that I can work from home.

I understand that feeling of needing control over your own time Borbala! I've worked as a freelance costumer before and I know that it's so much better if you can have some freedom in creating a work schedule that works for YOU...

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Many thanks to Borbala for this interview! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it! Be sure to check out her beautiful dolls and her felted jewelry at her Etsy shop and read the Ventura Star article as well:
BoriDolls Creations 
~"You name it... we felt it!"~ 
unique needle felted toys, decoration and jewelry

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Today is the Summer Solstice which always makes me a bit sad as the days will now begin to get shorter from here on out...but it's also a reminder that Summer Time is just beginning with Independence Day* on the horizon! While I'm waiting for my day of freedom, here are some tidbits of what's going on...

Outside the window...
it's sunny with blue skies after a morning of "June Gloom"

I am wearing...
my "open doors" earrings made by Nina Bagley - I've been wearing them nearly everyday since the Artful Journey Retreat in February!

I am hoping...
that this summer will not be unbearably hot!

On my mind...
The many things I want to read, learn, do and make during the summer months ahead - I'll share more about this soon...

I'm creating...
more pages for my small and large art books/journals

This page is for my small art book/journal and I used the technique of ink and canned air for the splatter effects I found in my book "Good Mail Day"

On the other side: watercolors bleeding into each other and script stamps make up this page...

Plans for the rest of the week...
to continue working on more pages for my art books and complete the final touches to the next Creative Beast interview for Friday - stay tuned for that!

I'm grateful for...
My dear boyfriend, peony season and lovely blue skies...

I bought these peonies last week...they really exploded when I got them in water!

I hope you are enjoying the Summer Solstice today!

* - Though Independence Day falls on JULY 4th for America, it is early for me as I will  gain my "freedom" from my horrible job on JUNE 30th! Only 8 more working days to go!!! Thank you all for your wonderful support in these last days!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pleasant Surprises...

I love surprises...especially pleasant ones!

I found this definition of the word "surprise" that describes my morning today:


to come upon or discover suddenly and unexpectedly

Here is what I saw as I drove into the office parking lot this morning:

People were dancing in the parking lot this morning!!

Oh yeah! This young man is getting his GROOVE ON!!

There was a camera man shooting video and a few tents were up with what appeared to be some lovely garments and jewelry, but when I came out later in the morning to ask questions they had already packed up and left!! =-(

It might have been a quick rehearsal for the Juneteenth Celebration taking place in the neighborhood...Do you know about Juneteenth? You can read the history of this celebration HERE...I'm sure it will be a great weekend celebration!

And I found this in the office mailbox:

This fun post card came from TJ at Studio Mailbox!! I particularly liked one of the stamps on the back...

A sweet mix of devilish horns and angel wings! I think that could describe many of us ;)

Another pleasant surprise was trying out an art technique that I found in one of my books "Good Mail Day". I tried it out early this morning before I left for work and I like the results. I'll be sure to share pictures of that next week...

I'm taking Friday off and having a three day weekend that will be filled with more fun and I'm pretty sure a few surprises will appear...I hope to share it all with you next week!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making "Street Art" in Orly's workshop...


Participating on Orly's "Off the Street Into the Journal" workshop was amazing, as usual...creativity, delicious food and a community of like-minded people made for a wonderful Saturday. Won't you take a peek?

Orly had instructed us to gather some papers found on the streets, which was not exactly easy in some neighborhoods*, but this is what she had collected to show us and we were welcome to use what we wanted if we didn't have papers of our own...

...this was a spectacularly unique street find that Orly shared with us - it seemed like a huge paper flower, like a desert bloom!

My found papers are on the far left and on the right side of the page - the paint smeared page is from Orly's collection as was the scrap in the upper right corner. The street paper on the right will reappear in a different version in the second spread...

This is where I got to learn and play with molding paste - I can't wait to continue working with it later this summer on my own! Layers are being built with paint, paper and molding paste...the bottom section will reveal itself soon...

I was so absorbed in learning and experimenting with new supplies and techniques that I nearly forgot to take pictures of my journal spread! This is how the first spread ended, though I might add a little more to it later on, one day...

And I was so absorbed in creating that I almost forgot to take some pictures of our lunch, until one of my fellow journal-ers urged me to take pictures before people got to the food!! And would you blame them for not waiting??

Chicken and beans with corn on the cob and guacamole - it was like "street food" from downtown LA! I told Orly that there wasn't enough GUACAMOLE for everyone, since I love, love, LOVE guacamole! Next time, I'll need a whole bowl for myself, Orly...I'm just sayin'!!

See that salad in the foreground? It had very yummy nuts that I'll be looking for at my local Trader Joes. And there were tasty LEMON BARS made by one of the students...have I mentioned my LOVE of LEMON BARS? There are no pictures of the lemon bars because I ate them all**...JUST KIDDING!! About eating them all that is!

After a tasty meal with dessert it was time to get back to is my second spread...

We each made a stencil for the first spread and I used elements of the cut out for this second spread. If you look closely, you can see the street paper in the lower left corner is related to the paper used in my first spread, with the I was drying these pages, Orly was enthusiastic about how it looked. I had to remind her that it was just the beginning!

The second spread with more color, paint and molding paste layers, just like a real street wall...add some hand written messages...

...and we've got more street art with a wall of graffiti!

Orly had asked us to use an image which you can see on the upper right hand side of my spread and we needed to find a way to connect it with our focal point, which for my spread is the young girl with the cogs. Somehow I felt that the young girl was protecting the older woman in the image as I felt she was protecting the "Cog of Creativity" in the corner...

click on the image to get a better view of the cogs flying in space and what they represent...

The woman represents Wisdom to me, which needs to be just as protected as Creativity...

I love being in Orly's workshops for many reasons: community, thoughtful conversation and amazingly delicious food, but one of the biggest reasons I love being Orly's workshops is that I learn new things and come away with new techniques that I just might incorporate into my own work. I also create work in Orly's workshops that I don't usually create on my own, such as watercolor painting and the street art from this weekend. Her way of working encourages me to push my own boundaries, which we all need to do in order to grow and expand as artists...actually, it's a good thing to do to be better Human Beings!

* - Having clean streets is generally a wonderful thing to have in your neighborhood, unless you are looking for items to use in an art workshop!

** - But I thought about eating them all! ;)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Shorts...Fascinating Fashion!

Hello everyone!

I wanted to share some fascinating fashion tidbits with you today...many of you may know that I have background in Fashion Design and Pattern Drafting so fashion, and particularly STYLE, is of great interest to me. Imagine my delight when a dear friend and Artful Journey sister shared this link with is one of my favorite images from this exhibit in San Francisco:

OH! Rococco! I love you so! Can you believe it's made of PAPER!?!

And one day on the internet, I noticed a most interesting dress that is part of a larger collection that you can view here...This is what the dress looks like:

More Rococco Style - I just love the use of roses!

You should see the SHOES that were made for this that is what I call CREATIVE fashion and style happening! Check out the links and Enjoy!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

VIBRANT Street Art!

Hello dear blog readers! Today, I am attending Orly Avineri's "Off the Street Into the Journal" workshop today and I'm very excited about this theme!

On Thursday, I shared a few images of street art I found in my dear boyfriends neighborhood that I photographed to use in the workshop, but I couldn't share some other photos I've taken in case Orly stopped by, which she did!

But I have photographed some other graffiti art that is just too spectacular NOT to share so I created this post in advance for you to see what else I'll be sharing in Orly's workshop - here we go!

I've looked for an 'artist signature' but I haven't found one...I wish I knew who created this amazing street art!

This is VIBRANT street art at it's best!! And I can't wait to work with it in Orly's workshop!

This artwork spans quite a length of a local alley in the neighborhood I still work in*. Unfortunately, my trusty NIKON COOLPIX does not have the capability to take such a long shot of the entire graffiti work so I had to shoot it piecemeal, but I think the individual sections can stand alone...I really liked the abstract sections of this street art:

This is what I call "electric color"!!

Then I happened to be in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon and I managed to get a shot of this:

What you can't see are the hanging banners advertising the current MOCA exhibit "Art in the Streets"...

There were a series of these murals, with three pairs of eyes looking at me, but since I was in my car at a red light I could only get one shot and this pair was closest to me...these eyes are quite striking, don't you think?

I hope to share what I create in Orly's workshop next week so stay tuned!!

* - but only until JUNE 30th!! =-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Creative Beast Interview - I Saw You Dancing

Hello Dear blog readers! I have another Creative Beast interview for you today and I hope you'll come away from it inspired. Make up a cup of coffee or tea and take some time to savor today's interview from an amazing writer...

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Interview with Kat from I Saw You Dancing

Let me tell you about the day I met Kat...actually, I'll let her tell you how we met since we share this story...and there is something else that has become a shared experience - one of her weekly prompts from her weekly Worthiness Wednesday series...

Many of you know that one of her prompts inspired me to put out a "call for help" on my blog a few weeks ago and her worthiness prompts are soul searching and very helpful, as is her writing in general. I'm so happy that I reached out to her when she began her blog. Her writing has enriched my life in ways I can not describe and her adorable daughter has inspired some successful artwork as well. I'm so happy Kat agreed to be interviewed! Welcome Kat!

Kat's self portrait...

I’d like to start by thanking Monica for this very special opportunity, and for holding such an important place in my creative story.

I started my blog I Saw You Dancing on New Year’s Day in 2010. I didn’t tell my family, friends, or colleagues and didn’t anticipate much (if any) traffic. And then, on January 5, in my fourth ever post, a comment appeared from a certain Creative Beast! It felt like my heart had exploded into a million butterflies: beautiful, unexpected, and slightly scary! I couldn’t believe that a lovely lass in California had tracked a comment I had made on another blog all the way back to my own little fledgling space to offer a word of encouragement. Monica’s powerful little votes of confidence continued, from cheering me on during moments of celebration, to encouraging others to visit my blog, to confiding similar experiences, to exploring some of the themes I’d raised in her own blog posts, to gently nudging me to share some artwork, to recommending some wonderful reading resources, to extending a lifeline in times of doubt.

It was this experience of being seen – outside my daily life as a Mum, daughter, wife, friend, employee – that gently coaxed me to step into my story as an artist and writer, and also to embrace more fully the concept of “radical self care”. Late in 2010, I was finally able to acknowledge that I’d been feeling “down” for longer than I cared to admit and that the relentless pressure I put on myself to take the blame and “fix” myself was no longer serving me. Soon after I started work with a psychologist and, perhaps not coincidentally, also started creating more consciously.

I can attest to her blossoming creativity as I am a lucky recipient of one of her beautiful canvases... 
I love this canvas and it resides on my altar in my living room...

I am very much a work-in-progress but even only six months later I can see how much more spacious my life feels, and how much more room there is for creativity. I’ve been delving more diligently into my haiku practice, and have seen my art and writing converge in this space. I’ve been submitting writing and art for various opportunities, proud to have taken the step without worrying too much about the outcome. I’ve almost finished my novel for children/young adults, have received some really positive feedback, and have been pestering an editor/publisher as politely as can be. I’ve launched the weekly Worthiness Wednesday prompt on my blog, and even though it’s only in its fledgling phase, I am trusting that it will evolve into something powerful and unique, in its own time. I’m slowing down and allowing myself to achieve less… and in the process I can see that there is so much more room for joy and mistakes and learning and mystery.

Thank you all for communing with me in this space, and I look forward to meeting you in that place where you have nothing but compassionate curiosity for the longings of your soul.

Kat, you are a marvelous writer and storyteller - thank you for sharing the story of how we met and your own blossoming as an Artist. You've got a lot to be proud of! I have no doubt that your story will encourage others to follow their own inner whisperings and to share their story.

Who first introduced you to creating? Was it a family member - a teacher? How did that person influence you?

My parents were my earliest and most profound creative influences. My Mum is very practical and inventive and can sew anything from clothes to curtains! She can crochet and knit and embroider and she made all my ballet costumes as I was growing up. She also gardens, and preserves a large range of fruit and vegetables that she grows herself. Her first impulse, on seeing something new, is to wonder how she can make it herself.

My Dad is a master wordsmith and is also very musical. He is always reading and writing and listening to music. As I was growing up, he always seemed to be humming or whistling or making up silly words and funny songs. We were practically a bilingual household when I was growing up, so the words and songs really only ever had meaning for us. Now that I have a daughter of my own, I see how special this sort of gift really is.

Recently, I recalled the wall of my Dad’s old office, which was like a huge collage wall. There were photos and pictures and cartoons and meaningful/inspiring snippets pinned all over it, literally from floor to ceiling. I could stare at it for hours, marveling at the details but also the composition and overall effect. He recently emailed me a photo of it, at my request, and somehow it seemed smaller than I remembered. But the impact on seeing it again was definitely there, and I would count this surreptitious artistic act of my Dad’s as an important creative influence.

Wow! I can see the origins of each style of work you create Kat, from crochet to collage to writing. You have some very creative parents that seem to have bestowed a wonderful legacy of creativity on to you!

What were your first creative actions that you remember?

If family legend is true, then I wrote my first “thesis” at the age of three. I also decorated the wall of a tutorial room next to my Dad’s office at the university where he worked… with permanent markers. So the power of art to escape and disrupt was clearly imprinted on me from an early age! But in terms of what I remember, I started ballet classes at the age of four and the things I learnt about music and self-expression but also commitment and responsibility have carried me through much of my life.

I hear you on those lessons of  commitment and responsibility coming through ballet classes. I think that studying ballet is one of the most formative experiences in discipline and diligence I've had in my life and it really carries through in most areas of my life...

Do you have a favorite medium to create in? If so, what is it?

My favourite medium (and my greatest passion) is words, written or typed, but also spoken. I think I am at my loosest, creatively, when I am scribbling in my journal with a sumptuous pen. I’m also in my element after a glass of red and some great food with my closest gal pal, talking intensely about life and love and our various passions.

I am also rediscovering my love of collage. I took my first tentative steps in a collage journal around four years ago, and it took a long time to relax and just enjoy the process. Once this came a little more readily, memories came flooding back of how I used to collage my school books and diaries and once made a huge collage poster of Jimi Hendrix for my bedroom wall. I could lose myself for hours in the detail, but also loved the feeling of harmony and completeness that came from composing all those tiny pieces into one beautiful whole. (Perhaps I am always trying to reclaim the wonder that I felt, looking at my Dad’s office wall…?)

During times that I don’t feel like writing or collaging, I read or crochet. I also love to take photos: nothing spectacular or disciplined, just witnessing the (extra)ordinary in any given day.

Isn't collage wonderful? And I love how it relates back to your father and the early memory of his own "inspiration board" in his office...I would have loved to have seen a picture of that Jimi Hendrix collage! I'm listening to some of his music as I write this...

How do you feel when you are creating in your chosen medium?

The greatest gift in finding my chosen media is the total absorption that comes from losing myself in words or paper and paint and glue. Time is suspended and I feel light and free and alone but not lonely… just completely me. 

One of Kat's photos - I love how it imparts her playful side...

What is the greatest joy you derive from creating? Accomplishment? The process? Sharing it with others? Please explain…

This is a really good question, because it nudges me to acknowledge that I don’t create for myself alone. Sharing my art and words with others (mainly through blogging) required a lot of courage and an enormous leap of faith. I was afraid of being ridiculed or diminished, but really wanted some constructive critique. What I got was so much more: support, inspiration, celebration, and connection. This has enriched my life – and my craft – in so many ways. It has enabled me to extend myself, try different things, to enroll in a few classes, take a few more risks, open up a little more. It has also been really useful in rescuing me from the comparing-myself-negatively-to-others vortex!!

I love how all three aspects have created a circle of support for you and how they keep you from that nasty vortex - it's not a fun vortex to fall into. I love the support from the blogging community, too!

Do you think a creative life comes from ideas, doing or being?

Hmmm… this is a really interesting question. I’m tempted to say a degree of all three. Ideas can come from inspiration but they also arise from the process of doing (perhaps even more so). But I also like the idea of just being, and celebrating the smallest everyday things for the creative opportunities they bring. The latter is particularly important for those of us who do not have as much time to devote to our chosen media as we’d ideally like.
How do you express your creative life? Is it integrated in your daily life or is it a separate part of your life?

I have a day job, but I work part time because I am also a Mum of an inquisitive, clever, beautiful, funny, sunny little two year old. So, I think everything I do requires a degree of creativity… even though not all of these things “feed” me in the same way that writing and art-making do. My days have to be segmented, largely due to naps, but I have always been good at doing things in “inspired bursts” so it suits me quite well. I am also blessed to have a husband who is not fussed if I don’t iron his shirts or the floors are always grotty!! It is a privilege to be able to devote some time each day to the things that nourish my soul, but it also requires perseverance, logistical juggling, and a willingness to let go of the tyrannical To Do list.

Oh yes, the never ending battle of clean home vs. making art and feeding ones soul! If only there was a way to make the housecleaning a FUN activity, I'd have a cleaner home! ;)

Can you think of a time when someone else’s creativity fed you? What was that like?

There are countless other women whose blogs I read – artists, writers, seekers – whose explorations and achievements continue to feed me. But as to “what this is like”, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there are gifts but there are also detractions. I mean, I have found the journey of particular women to be inspiring and inclusive but, in my darker moments, it has sometimes felt like I am living a creative life vicariously… which then seems to open the way for feeling inadequate and discouraged.

It has taken a lot of work on my part to see that the things I envy in the journey of other women are not negative comments on me, and that I need to keep focusing on the aspects of my journey that are mine alone. The blog world can feel very crowded sometimes, and the sheer breadth and depth of other people’s talent and achievements can be quite overwhelming. I think Cathy really nailed it in her interview at Do What You Love where she talks about trusting her own journey.

I loved Cathy's take on trusting her journey in that interview too and it never fails that Cathy is usually expressing the same thoughts that I'm processing at the same time and we're over half a world apart from each other! It is SO important to learn to trust your instincts and follow your own path, but sadly it's not something that is taught in schools =-(

What is the most significant creative event in your life to date? Was it a defining moment? Was it a milestone or a lifetime goal?

You know, I’d really have to say that the most significant step I have ever made towards living the creative life was starting my blog. It’s a story that I heard over and over, back in the days when I read a billion blogs but didn’t have my own. I kept thinking: everyone else has said what I want to say; there’s no room for me; they’re all saying it a zillion times better than I ever could; and, I don’t know what my “thing” is yet. And yet, something compelled me to leap in anyway. It’s probably the most public way I’ve made such an in intensely private declaration: that I have something worth saying, even if I’m not sure what it is yet. It wasn’t exactly a lifetime goal, but it was certainly a milestone in my personal and creative development. And it has marked a real turning point in the way I view myself as a writer and artist.

How do you feel about working a ‘day job’? Do you feel your day job is in alignment with your life and your values? If not, does that matter to you?

I LOVE working a day job! And I’d recommend that anyone feeling conflicted about working a day job read Summer Pierre’s The Artist in the Office, as it is right on the money. I am very comfortable with the fact that my writing and art-making and other creative passions do not pay my mortgage or put food on my table. This may change, but for now I feel I need the safety to play and make mistakes and allow my craft to evolve at its own pace. I am not especially entrepreneurial and don’t really have the time to devote to building skills in this area. So, for now, I am committed to taking my craft seriously but I don’t want to put so much pressure on myself that it becomes counter-productive and takes all the joy out of it.

That said, I still claim the right to call myself a writer and an artist. I am very blessed in that I do like my day job and I can do it part time and it doesn’t seep into the rest of my life. I have certainly been in situations where this wasn’t the case, so if you’d asked me this question five years ago, I would have given a very different answer!! My day job mainly calls on my writing skills, and I love the way that my day job and passions are in greater alignment.

AH! That elusive ALIGNMENT! This is something I'm striving toward and I love how you address this question of working a day job - I think it's possible to be an artist and work at a day job if it's in ALIGNMENT with your values. If I take another day job in the future, I will most certainly be looking at how a day job is in ALIGNMENT with my skills and CREATIVITY. And thank you for sending me a copy of "Artist in the Office" Kat! It is a good book to have as a artist that works a day job.

One of Kat's original collage canvases. I LOVE the colors in this one AND the message! It's what I hope to achieve in the future...

Do you think it’s necessary/important to be a self-sustaining artist?

I think it’s important to be a self-recognised artist. I know quite a few people who want to be able to write or paint full time, and have their passions sustain their livelihood, and I totally respect that. I am not at that point, and I am not sure I ever will be, but I don’t think that an income is necessarily the litmus test of whether or not you are a writer or an artist. 

If you love writing, if you love art-making, then do it as often as you can. It doesn’t matter if no-one is prepared to pay for what you produce (there are other ways of getting paid for the skills that you have), but it is critical to find a small number of people who really get what you do and why you’re doing it. The latter is so important for nourishing and extending you, personally and artistically. Then all that’s left to do is keep doing the good work and good things will come… in ways you never imagined!

You've hit the nail on the head Kat - SELF RECOGNITION! I think that recognizing myself as an Artist throughout my life, even if I never admitted it to others, has been a covert source of strength for me through the years. I have many outlets of art I've worked in privately and publicly and not been paid for it. I agree that making an income from your art is not a great litmus test, but continuing to work at your chosen medium is the important part and sharing it with others who "get it" can pave the way for sharing your work with a larger audience over time, which can lead to things you never imagined, as it has done for me - you just never know where it may lead!

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Many thanks to Kat for this interview! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it! I really look forward to seeing her story continue to unfold and to watch where her writing and artwork may lead her...You can watch her story continue to unfold at her blog:

Stop by her blog, say hello and be inspired!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Goodness to Share...

GOODNESS! Where did the week go?!?! It was a wonderful weekend and now it's nearly time for another weekend!! Let me recap what has taken place and what's to come...

I attended the Montrose Arts and Crafts Festival on Sunday with my dear boyfriend and saw fellow blogger Kathryn in her booth. You can read about her experience at her blog but here is how the festival looked on Sunday:

A happy crowd on a beautiful day...

And I received some great mail art this week:

This dancing card came from Emilie at Winnie's Girl. I love the quote she wrote on it:

I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance - Friedrich Nietzsche

I agree wholeheartedly! Thank you Emilie for sharing yourself and this postcard!

This came from a dear friend on the East Coast - she sent some "funny pages" and some artwork by her three year old know I'll find a way to use the artwork in a future collage!

This lovely gift came from Karen Wallace who blogs at Art Therapy Reflections...a bag embroidered with pink flowers and packet of "acceptance cards"...

I love how "acceptance" is shown in so many beautiful, natural environments. It is such a lovely treasure - I love it! Thank you Karen!

An interesting item of "mail art" arrived in the mail box but it wasn't addressed to me. It was addressed to someone who worked in this facility long ago and the sender doesn't have the current address of the intended recipient. I was intrigued when I looked at this postcard and the cryptic message on it...

I know I should "return to sender" but I love this mysterious post card!

In the meantime, here's what's coming up in the next few days...

I have a new Creative Beast Interview for tomorrow so I hope you'll stop by to check it out. You'll want your cup of coffee or tea handy to savor this interview!

I'm going to another Orly Avineri workshop on Saturday and I can't wait! It's all about street art and I took some photos of local street art in my dear boyfriends neighborhood. Here's a peek at what I found and might use in the workshop:

sometimes street art can be magical...

sometimes it can be vulgar...

sometimes it can be striking...

I hope you'll stop by tomorrow to check out my next interview - stay tuned!