Tuesday, February 28, 2012

For African American Women of Note...

Last year, I wrote a post about Henrietta Lacks. It had not even occurred to me as I wrote it, that it was the first day of African American Heritage Month. And there are so many amazing African American Women of Note to be acknowledged that I thought I'd write a post to celebrate a few of the amazing African American women in our history...

Of course there is Ida B. Wells, that I have written about and was included in my Currency of Strength project, as was Wilma Glodean Rudolph who I've admired since childhood.

Then I heard of an amazing African American woman who was an early aviatrix and her name is Bessie Coleman.

Bessie Coleman - The First African American Aviatrix
image from her Wikipedia page

She was born before Amelia Earhart and Bessie died before Amelia's disappearance on route to Howland Island, but she was the first African American Female pilot as well as the first African American to hold an international pilots license.

Bessie loved to read and was an excellent student. As a child she dreamed of learning to fly planes but in order to become a pilot she would have to learn in France where women were being trained as pilots. She studied the French language and traveled to Paris in 1920 where she would learn to fly in a bi-plane. 

A few years later, she knew she would need to learn stunt flying to earn money so she traveled back to France to learn how to be a stunt pilot. She also learned  stunt flying in Germany, under the tutelage of one of the chief pilots of the Fokker Corporation.

Bessie was quite successful as a stunt pilot and she dreamed of opening a school of aviation for young African Americans. Sadly, she died in a flight accident in 1926 before her dream could come to fruition. She was just 34 years old.


I thought I'd do a search for some women inventors because I just KNOW they're out there and I found one that is alive today: Dr. Patricia E. Bath.


Dr. Patricia E. Bath's motto is "The Right to Sight"
image from her Wikipedia page


This amazing woman has created a device called the Laserphaco Probe, which is used to treat cataracts the world over. She holds the patent for this device making her the first African American woman to hold a patent for a medical purpose.

The obstacles she faced in her childhood make the achievement of her invention amazing: there were virtually no high schools in the city where she was raised - Harlem. There were no female scientists or doctors, since the field was dominated by men and her family lacked the funds to send her to medical school, though they highly encouraged her academic studies.

Inspired by Albert Schweitzer, she applied for a National Science Foundation scholarship and won it, which allowed her to work on cancer research projects in Yeshiva University and Harlem Hospital Center. Dr. Bath was inspired to help stop the blindness that ran high among minority and poor communities and as a result she has pioneered a new discipline of "community ophthalmology", a way for medical volunteers to bring eye care to under-served communities.

***   ***   ***
These women make me proud to be a part of what once was called the 'Fair Sex', but their achievements prove that we are all capable of great things in our lives, regardless of our gender, race or age.

When I'm ready to begin another round of Currency of Strength, you can bet these ladies will be included!

Are there any women of accomplishment that you admire? I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Art Journal Party with Orly!

If you follow Orly Avineri's blog, you would know that she recently celebrated a birthday. Her thoughts about her birthday were quite inspiring to say the least and this line really resonated with me:

"I come from a place where pain reigns and am in a place where pain teaches."

This sentence spoke to me as I have been struggling with many issues that have come up in the past few weeks and Orly's statement felt so very true for me, as I have been dealing with issues about struggling to earn a living as an Artist, my ever present worries about money and the neighborhood I currently live in, all of which has been painful to look at and to deal with.

These struggles might have been more difficult to deal with if a certain event had not come along to lighten my spirits: Orly's Art Journal Birthday Celebration!

Orly decided to celebrate her marvelous self by having an art journal and potluck party and it was a wonderful day of sharing stories, exchanging special art supplies and papers and, of course, delicious food. I can barely believe I was invited to take part in this wonderful celebration! Here is a peek at what I accomplished in my journal that day...


There were no prompts to guide us so I just began working with the many materials that were shared by my fellow journal-ers. I love using vintage paper such as sheet music or book pages and that's how I started. Before too long, images, color and layers were added...

The pain I have been bumping up against lately is certainly teaching me A LOT but I will not let it reign over my life. This heart takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'!!

Tears may flow, but I see them as a strength, never a weakness...

Of course, Food will always help to cure what ails you, especially beautifully arranged food as this...

OH! How I love, love, LOVE Lemon Chicken!! Thanks for making this dish Brian!

A delicious tuna salad was hiding among the endive...YUM!

Art journals were shared - SO colorful, SO creative, SO inspiring!


We then continued to work in our own journals, letting Imagination be our guide...here is my second spread...

Favorite colors of burgundy and topaz with sepia brown accents...

The Wise Owl made his presence known on this page and I need all the Wisdom I can muster!

Is this a damsel in distress or is she about to embark on a journey into the Unknown..?

A peek on the other side might provide a clue...

No party is truly complete without some sort of cake and Orly had a variety of sweet bites for us to choose from...

We each blew out a candle and a made a wish for Orly - I can't tell you my wish or it might not come true and Orly deserves wonderful wishes =-)

Here is a final look at my first spread and a few details...

More color and a little taped page is added to the mix...

A little page with a big reminder for me...

Yes, I am...

In the course of conversation, I was asked the question:

 "What do I think makes me great?"

My first answer was my sense on humor, but then I added that I think I have a lot of Determination and Perseverance, in light of the challenges I'm working through at this time, and despite the challenges I face in my Life I do make an effort to meet them head on, which is pretty exceptional, if I say so myself!

But I couldn't do it without Art and fellow Artists in my life =-) 

Many thanks to Orly for hosting and inviting me to such a wonderful event  celebrating her amazing self and many thanks to my fellow art journal-ers for sharing so much of yourselves. It really made my week!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Projects in Process - On Completing One and Being One

I have finally completed a project I began in December - a recycled t-shirt top. Here is how it last looked...

I could sense that it needed a little embellishment and I thought it would be needed at the neckline...


So I gathered some of the remaining scraps of fabric and found some scraps of yarn to use...

And I decided on creating a flower and leaf to add to the neckline...


And here is how it looks stitched to my recycled and remade t-shirt...



It took a little time to get to making this embellishment and it may seem just a little thing, but I think it makes a nice touch...

 
This month, I've been participating in a special workshop co-hosted by my dear life coach Pete Lee and it has been bringing many issues in my life to the surface, which has been a challenge. I'll share some of those challenges in time as I continue to process them but the thing I've been trying to keep in mind is that change is not always a BIG force. It comes in tiny increments, through tiny actions whether made by ourselves or made by others.

This blog post by Karen Wallace of Art Therapy Reflections was a great reminder that change is not always the big scary thing we imagine it to be...

This blog post by Kat of I Saw You Dancing reminded me of the importance of claiming my artistic self...

And her weekly Worthiness Wednesday posts came back to me last week as a powerful reminder that I am WORTHY of things I deserve in my life:

A beautiful home in a safe  and clean neighborhood
A circle of supportive and like-minded Artist friends
An income to cover my life needs and my hearts desires

And don't we all deserve such things in our lives?

My tiny actions to bring about change in my life so far are:
  • keeping a daily schedule - I like to think that this is sending out a message of INTENT to the Universe that I am ready for better things in my life
  • a daily morning meditation - I can ENVISION the things I want in my life and RELEASE the things that are no longer serving me
  • my daily morning walks - this sends a message to my body that I am taking care of it because without it, I can't accomplish anything!
  • taking rest breaks throughout my day - this reminds me that it's OKAY to take a break. Changing habits and lifestyles is HARD WORK! It really is...

And it's time for me to put myself on the daily schedule of Projects in Process, because I am one! ;)

Are you a PiP? Do you make time for yourself as a PiP??

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

HeART-Fully Yours...

Hello dear blog readers and thank you for your comments on my last post! It seems that Art Blog by Kat was the only one to make a guess at the 'riddle' of my haiku and she guessed correctly!

The drink I wrote about was my very first Chai Latte from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, which I was told makes the best chai latte, even better than Starbucks. All I know is that it was the most delicious, savory drink I'd ever tasted and though I tried to make one at home once, with fairly decent results, it just did not compare to the chai latte served up at Coffee Bean/Tea Leaf. I had shared the full story of the chai latte with my fellow art journalers in Orly's workshop and one of them commented that I "latte'd late"!!

Hee, hee, hee! I love silly puns! ;)

Today I'm doing a little post to share an observation I made while looking at some photos of artwork I've made in the past and I was finding a certain shape recurring over and over, like a motif...

It's in this work created for City Hearts - a sewn wall hanging...

...and details from an art book made for City Hearts...

...which lead to making quite a few bottle cap embellishments...


...even the special label I've been using for my hand-made books has it...

...and it shows up in 5 out of 8 affirmation cards I make!

And of course the shape shows up in this artwork I created for Patti Digh's wonderful little book, "Four Word Self Help"...


The four word phrase I originally got for Patti's book was "Let Yourself Be Beloved", which I found challenging at the time, but this is what I thought it would look and feel like.

Lately, I've been thinking about a quote by Henry Miller about money, but I started to wonder what the quote would look like if the word "money" was replaced by the word "love". To amuse myself (and hopefully you too!), here is the quote with "love" where "money" usually is - I think it now goes rather well with my "beloved" drawing!


"To walk in LOVE through the night crowd, protected by LOVE, lulled by LOVE, dulled by LOVE, the crowd itself a LOVE, the breath LOVE, no least single object anywhere that is not LOVE. LOVE, LOVE everywhere and still not enough! And then no LOVE, or a little LOVE, or less LOVE, or more LOVE but LOVE always LOVE. And if you have LOVE , or you don't have LOVE, it is the LOVE that counts, and LOVE makes LOVE, but what makes LOVE make LOVE?"

Henry Miller (1891 - 1980) - original quote from "Money and How It Gets That Way"


I hope you spend some loving care on the person who truly deserves it today -

YOURSELF!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

More Art Journaling with Orly

Hello dear blog readers! Thank you for wonderful comments on my last post. I particularly enjoyed the comment from Kat about the 'house-cleaning' quote...maybe I should create some artwork around that quote to hang on your walls??!?! ;)

In the meantime, I've got more pages of my art journal to share with you today...

Orly Avineri held another wonderful art journal workshop last weekend and it was called "Coffee Tea Me". The theme was about hot drinks and the memories we have of them...

Tea and paint waiting for each of us at Orly's workshop....

Orly had instructed us to write out and bring a memory of a hot drink and I was having a bit of a challenge coming up with a memory. I did finally think of one and decided to write a haiku about it because it was the best way I could describe the experience of this particular hot drink*:

Steaming exotic spices
from a distant land
A savory memory

Unfortunately, my haiku does not follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllable format, but a 7-5-7 one instead - OOPS!

However, it was fine for me to use in the workshop and that's what mattered =-)

Here is how my first journal spread evolved:


At one point we were instructed to choose three images to work with and these are the images I chose...


And this is how I worked with them:

The full spread above...detail shots are below...


Of course we had a delicious lunch, made for us by Orly - she really is quite the hostess!

What a FEAST!!!

We also had a special guest joining us in the workshop that day - Jill Berry, the author of "Personal Geographies"! We were able to purchase a copy of her book and she graciously signed them for us. She was a lovely lady and shared some of the most fascinating stories of her travels with us. Jill is quite the globe trekker and storyteller! I could have listened for hours...

However, there was a second journal spread to be made and here is how mine developed...


I began with the same techniques we started with but I decided to cut my images to collage them to the pages and I added some of the contents of the tea bags that were available for us to incorporate into our journal spreads however we chose to add them...

Can you see the grounds of tea on these pages?

and then I added the tea bag altogether...

I like to think that this is what the Tea Fairy looks like! ;)

It was a wonderful day of art, storytelling, delicious food and great company.  I really love being in Orly's workshops - it is an all sensory experience!

I had a lot of fun creating my journal spreads but I may decide to add some more elements or details to them in the weeks to come. You can be sure that I will certainly share the process with you, so stay tuned!


* - can anyone figure out the hot drink I wrote about??? =-)