Thursday, February 26, 2015

Orly Avineri & Flora Bowley Talk About Visual Language...

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts!
There is a lot that has been simmering in my part of the world, some creative doldrums, some studio shifting and always LOTS of ideas swimming in my head...sometimes I wonder if I should start a series of these ideas, a 'la Diana Vreeland and her column for Harpers Bazaar called "Why Don't You..?" I once saw the book based on this column and found many wonderful, creative ideas in it, such as this one:

"Why don't you...Cover a big cork bulletin board in bright pink felt banded with bamboo, and pin with colored thumb-tacks all your various enthusiasms as your life varies from week to week?"

Now THAT would be a great thing to have in a creative studio, wouldn't it?!?

In the meantime, I want to share this wonderful video featuring my art journal instructor, Orly Avineri, being interviewed by Flora Bowley about finding your own visual language.

One of the important points they bring up is the fact that it does TAKE TIME to discover your own visual language, it doesn't happen overnight. As an art practitioner since childhood, I can attest that it can take YEARS to develop a visual language of one's own and some days, I still struggle with figuring out my visual language as well as my creative identity, and I have been a practitioner for nearly 45 years!

But I can also tell you that you won't be able to develop your visual language if you do not PRACTICE art and creativity...and some days practicing does not come piano lessons ;)

It is a great video to watch as two fabulous artists discuss art, inspiration and visual language - check it out by clicking* on THIS LINK and ENJOY!

* - Sorry it is a link only; I had no way to imbed this great video interview into my blog post!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Creating a Habit of Completion...

Well, my fellow Creative Beasts,
I've made a little progress as I work toward creating a 'Habit of Completion' for myself during this Mercury Retrograde period, which I mentioned in my previous blog post

I had quite a list of unfinished projects to tackle and so far I have managed to complete one of the items on that list, which is sewing up a pair of aprons I had cut two years is how they looked when I posted my list:

Playing with hand-cut bias strips before pinning it all into place to sew it together...

And here is how they looked as I worked toward completing these unfinished projects:

Sewing the bias trim to the top of the apron pocket - I chose to leave the bias with raw edges so when it's washed it will leave nice frayed edges

Bias is sewn around the 'neckline', or top of the apron bib, and pinned along the lower edges, after the pocket has been sewn down into 3 pockets

I begin to realize that the sewing might go faster if I work both aprons in tandem - the upper apron with the pocket cut along the selvedge edge appears as if the flowers are growing upward from the hem!

Bias is ready to be sewn down for BOTH aprons...

All that is left now is to sew the binding strips that will make up the neck and waist ties for keeping the aprons tied on

HOORAY! Two aprons sewn and completed and ready for wearing while making art! Or baking =)

My idea for these aprons is to have a batch of them for students who attend my workshops, whether the workshops are in my home studio or at outside venues, so no one will have to worry about getting nice clothes messed up...

I don't know about YOU, my fellow Beasts, but I have a horrible habit of wiping my hands on my legs when they get wet or dirty. If I happen to be wearing old jeans doing dirty work, this is not a problem but, usually, I am wearing my nice, fun, colorful clothes when I do creative work and getting my favorite skirts dirty with glues and paints is NOT GOOD!

While I love many types of aprons, I find that the best type of apron for me is one that is a full bib apron, meaning it has an upper bib to keep me clean from tip to toe...and pockets are always helpful so I can have my camera on hand to document my works in progress, or have my cell phone handy when anyone calls for a friendly chat...and a pocket to keep a few sweet treats to nibble while working never hurts!

This particular apron pattern is one I made from an old apron belonging to my Grandma Betty, who I named my old Etsy vintage shop after. She had a few aprons that I have made patterns from but this is my favorite apron to date, to make and to wear.

Now, I have three aprons for students to use, if we count the one completed before the start of this Mercury Retrograde:

There are plenty of fabrics in my stash to make a few more aprons to wear, but NO NEW PROJECTS can be started during a Mercury Retrograde, so that will have to wait for a few days since the last day of this retrograde is tomorrow, but there are still projects to be completed before tomorrow, so it's time I get cracking on some of those!

As for the hashtag I used for completing my unfinished and abandoned projects (#ProjectCompletion) it appears that someone else created and used that hashtag, but not for creative projects...guess I'll have to think of another hashtag to use for the next Mercury Retrograde period...

Maybe it can be #HabitOfCompletion, since that is what I am working on cultivating in my life??

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Struggling With The 'Habit of Completion'...

It's Mercury Retrograde again...

Once upon a time I scoffed at the mishaps and crossed connections that are associated with this cosmic period in the Universe, but during one particularly difficult week of computer issues and other communication problems I encountered, I eventually learned that there are some things you just don't scoff at!

I now tend to be more respectful about this cosmic period, but I've also learned to look at Mercury Retrograde a bit differently these days.

About two years ago, I heard of another way to look at Mercury Retrograde - to view it as a good time for cleaning and clearing the unwanted and unnecessary from your life...and I've recently discovered it's a GREAT time for completing unfinished projects!

I don't know about YOU, but as I continue the cleaning and clearing of my small studio space, I am discovering that I have MANY unfinished projects waiting to be completed...not the least of which is organizing my studio space so I can actually work in it!

Once again, the table is cluttered as I begin to move things around in the studio to make it fit for teaching...

I am a fan of SARK and I've read a few of her books, such as A Creative Companion and Inspiration Sandwich. In one of these books, I remember SARK sharing her difficulty with completing things, from stories to artwork. I remember how she wanted to begin a 'Habit of Completion' and I was quite taken with that idea, as I too have a problem with completing my projects. Sadly, this idea fell by the wayside with me as the years passed, despite my capacity for disciplined work...

Until my Life Coach, Pete, recently informed me that the Mercury Retrograde is not only a good time for cleaning and clearing, but a great time for finishing old projects...HOWEVER, one should NOT begin a new project at this time!

Luckily for me, I began assembling my Accomplishment Journal before the Mercury Retrograde commenced, but it is still a Project in Progress, not yet completed - the signatures still need to be arranged and sewn in before I can start to use it:

I also need to sew on that little button to use it with a ribbon closure for keeping the journal closed

...and you might be happy to learn that the little flower sprig that went missing has been found and it is now placed into the cover pocket as originally planned...

I like having this little 3-dimensional item for my journal!

Now, this journal is NOT the only PiP I have, there are (quite!) a few others, such as:

A t-shirt skirt I hoped to complete on the last day of 2014, only to have my machine die on me mid-way through the hem...and the waist elastic for this skirt is currently MIA!

A few other book binding projects that have been lying in wait for completion - some of them have been waiting for over FOUR YEARS...

These are recycled materials books that I began making a few years ago - here is one I donated for an art auction

Some booklets I'm making out of old greeting cards I've received in the mail from dear friends, which I'm making as a way to recycle these 'keepsakes' into a purposeful and useful item, instead of taking up space in a drawer...

At least one of these booklets is already hand-bound - the others still need paper cut to make pages, which could be seen as 'starting a new project', so I will just bind the one with pages already cut...

A fake fur muff to keep my hands warm - I remember reading about them as a girl when reading the Little House on The Prairie books and was quite taken with the idea of a why not make one for my adult self?!? This has been waiting to be completed for over four years...

A 'striped' fake fur with chinoiserie satin lining and chocolate brown velvet ribbon for decorating the ends...

A rag doll that needs a face and hair and some real clothes - this poor thing has been waiting to be completed for over SEVEN YEARS!! Poor little dolly...I've been a bad doll mommy!

This poor rag doll has been waiting to 'come to life' for over 5 years! =(

Jewelry objects begun at my second Artful Journey in 2011, but STILL not's been sitting for over 4 years...

Still waiting to become a necklace to wear - a booklace of fabric scraps, fabric pocket and crochet chain of beads...

My first knitted lace shawl, which you can find a peek at in this blog post...there is the charted lace border to knit and it could be finished in approximately 30 rows of knitting or maybe less!

Aprons I cut over a year ago that need bias trim to finish them, which I'm cutting and making myself...

...but at least I DID finish one of the aprons before the Mercury Retrograde began:

A new apron for my creative work - just needs a little messy paint to look like a working artist's apron!

Knitted coasters to be embroidered and embellished...

Once I made the colored set of coasters, I made a set of cream color coasters and plan to embroider them in red thread...

A 'puzzle' I painted with watercolor wash over 4 years ago... 

I now have a fun idea for this puzzle and who I will send it to...but I've got to complete it first!

And let's not forget the bird house wind chime I began last year for our garden patio...

 A few little collage elements and the 'chimes' need to be added to make this wind chime sing...

These are all projects that were begun through the years but they are yet to be completed. I think now is a good time to attempt to complete these projects to the best of my ability, and maybe even complete them before this Mercury Retrograde ends.

Okay, I'm not sure I can finish them ALL before Mercury Retrograde ends, which is February 12, because this is a LOT of unfinished creative projects, but I can certainly try my best, so let's see how many projects I complete by February 12!

Would you care to join me by completing your own unfinished projects?? Feel free to share what projects you hope to finish by February 12 and I'll be happy to encourage and cheer you on, so we can all begin to instill the habit of completion together!

I'll call this follow-along #ProjectCompletion - be sure to use the hashtag as we share the progress we make at completing our unfinished projects and here are places to follow-along with #ProjectCompletion:

Instagram - I recently opened this account!

PLEASE keep in mind that I am pretty new to this hashtag thing and how it all works, but I will try to find you all so I can cheer you on as you successfully complete those unfinished projects!

If you miss out on this round of #ProjectCompletion, there are two more Mercury Retrograde periods coming up in 2015:

May 20 through June 12

September 15 through October 10

I will be hosting #ProjectCompletion again at those times, so be on the lookout for those dates and be sure to stop by the blog to find out how the projects are being completed =)

Okay my little Creative Beasts - let's start completing those projects!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

TED Talk for Tuesday...

Okay, so I'm not actually sharing a TED Talk, but a specific interview bit from the TED Radio Hour, hosted by Guy Raz*...with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love...among other books she has written!

I heard this interview a few months ago and remembered it when commenting on a friends Facebook page when she received a response from Elizabeth Gilbert upon the upcoming release of a new book.

I remembered this interview and had to share it here because she speaks some amazing and VERY FUNNY truths about Creativity and how to work with it:

The parts you will want to pay special attention to are at 4:05 minutes, 8:38 minutes and at 9:37 minutes. Ms. Gilbert says some things about Creativity better than I could have ever said them myself!

Do yourself a favor and take a break with your favorite cuppa and listen in, won't you??

* - I was very excited to learn that my own dear friend and Wise Woman has crossed paths with the mother of Guy Raz a few times! I do love seeing 'six degrees of separation' in action =)