30 September 2010

I am a Working Artist

{Print of an original acrylic and ink illustration by creativethrusday on Etsy
who embodies exactly where I want to go with my own art!}

"I am an artist… I am here to live out loud."
~ Emile Zola

You may remember my post here where I indicated that I was joining a group called the Working Artist Initiative (WAI). We are a pilot program from the International Arts Movement (IAM) out of New York City.

So what does New York City have to do with dinky ol' Stevens Point, WI (population 25,294)?

I think that the biggest commonality is that artists can be found in every conceivable place on earth. Just because a city has the highest concentration of people or the largest and best known art galleries doesn't mean that art doesn't exist elsewhere.

The premise behind this group is simple: artists of all disciplines can come together to offer support and direction and encourage each other to create a body of work for the simple sake of making art. There is no requirement to be shown in a gallery or make a heap of cash from selling your art at the end {although those things are nice perks to having a body of work}. We exist to share our struggles, celebrate our triumphs and push on through with a plan of our own making.

Our group will meet every other week for 32 weeks. We each had to develop a plan with REAL action steps {this is the hardest part for me} to show acheivable, accountable results {I have already been told that I need actual milestones that need to be reached. Ugh.}. To keep me honest, I have decided that I will be blogging once per week on my progress. That way you can all see what this process is like for my art. Maybe it will inspire you to set up a plan for your own creative expression or form a group like this of your own.

In our WAI we currently have the following participants:

Rainy - painting
Chuck - photography
Ryan - portrait drawing
Lois - painting
Karen - dream interpretation
Jay - songwriting
Kristin - pottery (she isn't officially in yet, but I am working on it! ;-)
and me - jewelry

We commit to a minimum of 5 hours per week to actually creating art. Each time we meet we will have a series of readings which we will discuss. Then one of our members will offer up their art for review and critique by the others. I volunteered to go first on Monday, October 11th {what was I thinking?}. And there will also be monthly outings or experiences curated by each member in turn that could be as simple as going to someone's house to sing songs to more elaborate excursions like driving to local art galleries or exhibits.

Here is my 32 week goal:
  • To develop a line of jewelry {or jewelry components} that are each unique and handmade but can be easily created. Packaging, pricing, marketing and selling this jewelry through multiple outlets will be part of this plan.

Here is my outcome:
  • Create and sell 50 pieces of this jewelry line by the end of the program.
Here are some initial action steps I am taking:
  • Determine what I do best that can be translated into this project

  • Research if there are similar offerings in the marketplace

  • Read any resources that might help me

  • Develop the prototypes in at least three different media

  • Market research the prototypes to see how they are received in the different media

  • Determine if additional tools, materials, training are required

Sorry to be so vague, but I don't want to give away all the information that I am using for this to be a road map. This is more of a suggestion of some of the things that are occurring in my plan. My action steps are supposed to have actual projected deadline dates. Let's just say that all of these things are slated to happen in the month of October-ish. There will be more concrete action steps/dates once I can get through these.

Truth be told, my action steps are lacking a bit. If you know me at all, then you know that goals and I are not friends. I am a shiftless soul who flits in and out of daily life. I don't carry around a planner {although I have calendars up in various places} and writing down goals is something I abhor. Still, when I have set goals for myself, I am surprised that I actually do them. But this is larger than anything I have every attempted, so maybe that is why I need to put it out there. So you can all help keep me on track ;-)

I think that a lot of the potential success of a group like WAI will be in the support network, the accountability and the envisioning of a goal that you want to achieve.

I thought that you might be interested in this short paragraph which was one of the readings that we discussed this week detailing how contemporary fantasy author Peter Brett wrote his first novel:

While you were busy checking out possible candidates for a Missed Connection post and listening to your podcasts, 36-year-old Brooklyn writer Peter Brett wrote a novel while commuting on the F train. Feeling like an underachiever yet? He wrote the novel, his first, entirely on his Smartphone. Now the "dark, demonic fantasy," titled The Warded Man, is sitting pretty in bookstores. The Daily News reports that Brett worked in medical publishing, and for the two years it took him to finish the 400-page novel, the F was his muse on his daily commute to and from the Fort Hamilton Parkway stop and Times Square. He told the paper, "I trained myself that at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day when I got on the train, that was my writing time. I had about 45 minutes each way, and everyone who takes the F knows that 45 minutes can turn into an hour and a half." Now a full-time writer, he combats writer's block by taking rides on the train.

We discussed what this says about discipline for artists.

My thoughts are that there really should be no excuses and that you can find the time even if it is on the daily commute. As working artists it is essential to commit to a time and keep at it. And to make it a priority to make art every day. Sometimes that means just thinking about it and doodling. Or writing about it as I am doing now. It is really easy to fall into the trap that there are other things that take your focus away from your creative time. And if a best-selling novel can be written on a Smartphone on the F train, then there is no reason to believe that I can't create this line of jewelry in my spaces in-between.

So...What do you think?

  • Where in your daytime can you carve out time to be creative? Can you get creative with creating that time from the spaces in-between?

  • In what ways do you lack the discipline and focus needed to be creative?

  • What would help you acheive your goals?

  • Do you cringe when it comes to setting goals? or are you the sort that never met a goal you couldn't make?

  • Do you have a far-out goal that you would like to make manifest?

  • What do you think I should do for my curated monthly event with this group?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

29 September 2010

Remembrance II

"We do not remember days; we remember moments."
~ Cesare Pavese

(Sorry if you have read this already. Blogger is frick-frackin' with me and was obliterating whole chunks of text, but just in the published post! I have rewritten this.)

I have had the good fortune to help people honor their memories with my jewelry. There is a joy in that like no other. And it is an honor and a privilege that I take very seriously.

For weddings: There was Amanda who asked me to take her late grandmother's wedding ring and make that the delicate toggle to a simple pearl bracelet that she wore on her own wedding day... (sorry, no picture of that one!)

For the bride (above) from Alaska to wear to her paradise wedding on a beach in Phuket, Thailand. I wanted to evoke the vision I had of her walking down the beach at sunset and stooping to scoop up the shells and trinkets from the beach as she walked toward her handsome beau...

And the surprise wedding shower gift for Hailey from her aunt using several of her grandmother's rhinestone earrings in a convertible necklace/bracelet I call 'oldnewborrowedblue.'

For favorite furry friends: I connected with a sorority sister named Nancy in Arkansas who lost her dear dog Riley and wanted his jeweled collar to be turned into a wearable work of memory art...

And for Beth who was devastated by the sudden loss of her dog JJ, the 'best lil pup ever' who lived to chase tennis balls.

For trips taken: To commemorate a wonderful trip to Galena, IL to visit Jess Lincoln and the ladies at Vintaj in July 2009, I created 'Going Places' using subway tokens, watch faces, stones, buttons, and map pieces under resin because Main Street in Galena is like walking back in time.

For grandparents: Ariel asked me to incorporate this pin that her grandfather made featuring what looked to be a large sugilite stone in a piece called 'Love is the Key.'

To remember my own lovely grandmother, I created this piece using a picture of her 15 year old self under resin in a piece I call 'She Walks in Beauty' further inspired by the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

For grandchildren: I am working on a piece right now for a good client who wants words on a paddle in resin. But in talking with her, I realized quickly that her new baby granddaughter and her lovely young grandsons mean the world to her, so instead of a random word, I will surprise her with resin paddles containing the names of all three grandbabies. She will be so excited! (Shhhh! I haven't created it yet to show you and I don't want her to know!)

Jewelry is a perfect way to commemorate an event, recall happy thoughts, honor those we have lost. Incorporating something that directly links to the memory or person creates a very powerful and meaningful talisman to carry with you... like a trinket from a trip, a photo of a loved one, a symbol of their passions, an every day object from that life. Memory jewelry can be a lasting impression of the feelings that you have for that time in your life or that important person. And that is something to treasure.

Do you own any pieces of memory jewelry?

Have you ever created any memory jewelry of your own?

If you were to have a piece of jewelry made that evoked a memory, what memory would you like to preserve in this way?

Would you incorporate meaningful objects? pictures? words?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

23 September 2010

Coming to My Senses::Nighttime Deluge

I see… the flickering light of the T.V. and wonder how my husband can sleep with that on… a pile of clothes on the bench and realize that this bench will never be free from piles… through the enveloping darkness a sliver of light from the nightlight in the hall… the paparazzi flash of lightning outside my window.

I smell… my comforter and think that I should get it washed because it is not that fresh anymore… something that makes my nose twitch and I sneeze from the dust blown free by the fan… the sleep-breath coming from my husband.

I hear…. the pitter-patter of liquid feet as the raindrops converge and shimmy down the shingles where they run to play in the musical gutter slides… the low rumbling of thunder in the distance… my daughter standing in the dark next to my bed with a tiny voice that says she’s scared.

I taste…. the ice cold glass of water that I have every night before bed… the smooth translucent blue capsules as they slide down my throat to ease my ache… sourness and realize that I neglected to brush my teeth tonight and also that I am too comfortable to motivate myself to do anything about it.

I touch… the softness of the sheets as they settle around me… my pillow as I scrunch it up just so… the light breeze from the ceiling fan cooling my face while my toes stay warm.

I feel… tired… relief that sleep will come easy to me tonight… secure that I am protected from the elements outside… grateful for my bed.

What is coming to your senses today?

Enjoy the day!

P.S. Thank you Kristen for reminding me that I haven't done this in awhile.

21 September 2010

Hop on the Bus

{Digital art from PaperBleu on Etsy}

“If I had it all to do over again, I would do most all things differently. However, how would I know that if I had not had the opportunity to do them the first time.”
~Janice Markowitz

Do you ever want to have a do-over?

Darren over at ProBlogger put out a challenge to share your 7 Links as a sort of retrospective blog do-over awhile ago. I don't normally participate in these sort of things, but this one sounded intriguing to me.
Looking back on all that I have written was fun. It was like revisiting some favorite vacation spots and reliving the memories. I liked the chance to find some words that I had forgotten about that I wrote and loved re-reading words from others that inspired me as well, and also to see if my message has remained consistent or if the ride has been a bumpy one. These past posts are like a map of all the places I have traveled since I began this blog nearly 2 years ago. And since you know I couldn't actually be held to just 7 links or stops on this bloggy tour, I found one or more that I liked for each. Have fun revisiting these posts (if you care or dare) and if you are of a mind, you can do this yourself! I would love to read the map of your blog!

So here are my 7+ Links:

  • Posts I enjoyed writing the most:
    Starring in the Movie of My Life This was inspired lunacy... inspired by my friend Jenners and lunacy because it is simply ridiculous!
    Like Alice I really loved the movie Alice in Wonderland and identified greatly with the character.

  • Posts which had a great discussion:
    Artistic Influence This recent post highlights the issue of inspiration and influence versus copying from the aspect of trusting your creative force. It is something that I believe passionately in and it is something that needs to keep being talked about (in my opinion).
    Inadequate I hate going to the dentist. Apparently, the rest of you hate it, too. Enough said.

  • Posts on someone else’s blog that I wish I’d written:
    The ABCs of Loving Yourself by Dani on Positively Present - Love the way she writes all her posts, but this one is particularly lovely and positive and the message I need to instill in Tiny Dancer. Okay, in myself, too.
    Blog Your Art Out by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things - Such a timely and well written article, I will come back again and again to read.
    The Beader's 12 Step Program by Kelly Morgan of Silver Parrot - Hilarity at its finest! She is like Bombeck on beads!
    10 Myths About Artists by Luann Udell - Actually this is a series of posts and she is up to 14 myths I think, but this whole series is a really worthwhile read, as is everything she writes.

  • A post that I wish more people had read:
    Choose to Be Creative Okay, so it was my second post and I had like 2 followers at the time, but I was actually defining my beliefs and my blog. And it is still true today.

So, that is it for my bloggy do-over. I really don't know if I would do anything differently (at least in my blog) except have better pictures (early on I didn't have any).

{Photography by BunchesPhotography on Etsy}

I look at this blog like a bus.

People hop on and off the bus when it takes them where they need to go.

Some are here for a real purpose, others just to enjoy the ride.

There are so many windows to look out and see things from other perspectives, other views, so be open to all of them.

No one will ever charge you a thing to be here or try to sell you something you don't need, and you can bring all the baggage you like on this trip, there is room for it all.

You can sit back and just soak it all up or you can take a stand and be actively directing the driver.

You can get off whenever, wherever you like, but know that there will always be a spot for you and your spirit will leave a mark, like so much positive grafitti.

There is no map to follow.

And there may be a destination, but the journey is the most fun.

Is there a post that you have read (on this blog, another blog, or your own) that you like to go back and read again?

Has a blog post from someone (not just me) ever made you stop and think and possibly change your mind/attitude/outlook/direction? Do share!

Is there a subject that is just overdone in the blogging world?
Is there a subject that needs more discussion?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

15 September 2010

I can't count that high

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” ~Eric Hoffer

I interrupt this blog to publicly flog myself for a moment.

I have been so lucky of late to have so many blessings in my life. You - yes, YOU! - reading this are counted in those blessings. When I opened my little blog-front I had no idea that you would be stopping here. I remember seeing comments and feeling giddy about them. It was like inviting you in to sit on my front porch swing and have a glass of lemonade {add vodka if you like} and sit and chat awhile.

And then I realized after traveling around the blog-o-sphere that the sort of comments that were left on my blog were really quite remarkable. There is no 'Nice post!' or other suitably brief response left here. No. I can really tell when you are inspired to leave me what I like to think of as 'keep the ball rolling' sort of messages. That tells me that you are aren't scared off by my 'Deep Thoughts' by Jack Handy impressions or my waxing philosophical. That tells me that you like it. {And if you kindly allow your email to be part of your profile I will do my very best to reply to every comment just to 'keep the ball rolling'!}

And that makes me blush all sorts of pinks.

I do hope that this is a place that you can come to be inspired and enlightened and intrigued and moved. I hope you will stretch yourself, make goals, reach higher and realize that you are called to be creative. It is in you, it is in me. Someone told me the other day that when you recognize the call to be creative, no matter what that is, it is your responsibility to share that with the world. I want to continue to encourage you to keep that ball rollin' and the conversation going.

And if you haven't joined the fun, if you are just content to sit in the shadows or wave from across the street, consider coming for a visit. This is one amazingly awesome community but I think to truly be a part of it you have to have a voice. As I told someone recently I really believe the heart of a blog is the comments that you get. You can tell a lot about the company your blog keeps by the comments that you get. I think you all have a lot of heart and for being a part of my grand experiment and encouraging me to continue writing, I thank you.

This summer I had some delightful friends send me things that I have been remiss to thank them for. So I feel that I need to stop right here and give them a shout out.

To Carter Seibels-Singh... for being a bright shining star blazing across the sky and traveling across the country this summer. This newlywed was in the midst of moving her entire Bead Trust store and household from California back to North Carolina to be closer to her family when I caught up with her at the Bead & Button show. While there, I couldn't resist some of her goodies, including some of the best candy I have ever tasted! There was a jar filled strands of beads on the counter with a contest to guess how many were in the jar {213}. The winner got a gift certificate. Well, I came in second place {I think I guessed 216} and was gifted a very generous $100 with which to shop. And since Carter was in the throes of setting up the new massive square foot warehouse, not only was she my angel but she was my personal shopper too! Here is a picture of the loot that I chose....

{Green Girl, C-Koop, shibuichi, sterling butterfly and dragonfly clasps, glass, vintage, rough, shiny, frosted...a super awesome gift! Thanks Carter and the Bead Trust crew!}

To Lori Anderson... she of the Bead Soup fame {can't wait until January for the next soup!}. Lori is wickedly talented, always has interesting things to say and never fails to inspire me. I am so enjoying her Cup of Bead Soup challenge to herself to stay motivated and inspired. I only wish that I had thought of that myself! I am thinking that more bead artists should jump on this wagon that Lori is steering and see what she can create. And I think that bead artists should offer Cup of Bead Soup sets like that who want to follow their creativity where Lori is leading {encourage them to do that, Lori}. What I would do with the same set of ingredients is so different than what Lori is doing... and that is the beauty of trusting your creative soul. Lori had a giveaway on her blog of some really cool Lucite flowers and leaves and I won! I kept returning to a booth filled with these at the Bead & Button but there were too many and I couldn't choose, so this is such a great gift. And here is what I made with them...

To Heather Powers... the Art Bead Scene guru. She has opened up a whole new world to me through that blog. I have been inspired by the monthly challenges. I have been motivated by her business tips. I drool regularly on my computer when I see the lusciousness she creates. I have been fantasizing about going on a cruise with all my friends surrounded by beads and fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. But mostly she has really been a great cheerleader to me. She is the voice of reason when I am giving a million and one excuses why I can't. She doesn't just show me that I can, but she kicks my butt with her spot on advice. I love her so {and it helps that we share the same birthday... I am older than she is but sometimes I feel like the less experienced little sister.} Recently, she gave me a great gift. She invited me to be a regular writer at Art Bead Scene. Did you know that? I am writing monthly under the moniker "Opportunities Knocking." You can read my interview with bead artists Julie Nordine posted just the other day. Check it out! I am just thrilled to be able to combine my love of creating jewelry using art beads and my love of writing. Thank you, Heather for offering me this opportunity.

To Kelly Morgan... my favorite virtual street corner to hang out on for Bead Porn Fridays. Kelly has become a blessing to me in more ways than one. Kelly sent me a goodie package of some beads that may have even been included in a Friday love fest. She is really great at shopping and seeing potential. It will be a great day when we finally meet. We will bolster whatever local economy we are in with chocolates and shoes and beads, of course. Seeing these new treasures inspired me to make a gaggle of earrings for my upcoming show and also this really special bracelet with a beautiful glass flower and leaves that I call "Bloomin' Terrific". Because that is the sort of friend that Kelly is to me.

{'Bloomin' Terrific' bracelet with glass leaf and flower, matte gold flower ruffle chain, silk ribbon inspired by treasures from my friend Kelly}

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." -Albert Schweitzer

Thank you for lighting a flame within me that continues to burn brighter the more that you add to it, by your thoughts, words and deeds.

What is it about my blog that inspires you the most?
If you are someone who comments, why do you think that you can share so freely with me? (Tell me so that I can keep doing it!)
If you are someone who never comments, is there something that would encourage you to do so? (The comments are the heart of the blog and I would love to hear your thoughts!)
What is the most recent kindness that you bestowed on another? Was it something that you got recognized for or was it something anonymous?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

13 September 2010

It's About Time

{Recycled bike part clock by 1byLiz on Etsy}

"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted."
John Lennon

I have been thinking a lot about time lately.
One of the things that I never have enough of is time. How about you?

It slips through my fingers. I lose it on a daily basis. I am not a wasteful person, and yet I find ways to waste it all day long. And I am certain that I don't appreciate all of it I have.

There is no way to manufacture more, so it is a precious commodity.

The wisdom of the hours would be something different for each of us.

{Clock from MBArtStudios on Etsy}

I spend 1/3 of my daylight hours on work. I sit at a desk with a lovely picture window view of the Wisconsin River. There are tree tops swaying in the breeze turning colors as I type. There are flocks of ducks and geese bobbing in the water, gathering together to plot the best course south. There is the water that can at one moment be smooth and glass like and gray or choppy with frothy white caps. But although the view is lovely, I feel that it is wasted time because I don't feel as if what I do is valued, and that is a waste of time. But this waste is particularly painful since I can't do a thing about it.

I can spend only an average of 4 hours a night working on my business. That is time spent wisely, but it is not always my best time. I may be a night owl, but it is incredibly hard to spend all my night hours forcing creativity. Sometimes it just isn't going to happen. Maybe it is foolish to force it, and sometimes that forcing makes me feel crabby at the same time that I am energized to be creating. So maybe it is a good, if draining use of my time.

This weekend was a lovely weekend to have a fair. Our annual major fundraiser for the Catholic school system that my kids attend was this past weekend. hundreds of hours of volunteering, coupled with hundreds of volunteers amount to thousands of dollars raised through this good old fashioned fair. There were carnival rides and games (we welcomed home a whole menagerie of expensive plush pets!), we won a fish (that will live with my friend Lynna in her 50 gallon aquarium resort), we ate our fill of cheese curds and elephant ears and cotton candy and snow cones, we entered raffles for a shiny new cherry red Mustang convertible (which we didn't win, much to the chagrin of my 12 year old son who insists that he have a car like that in oh about 4 years! hahahaha!) and an iPad and a basket raffle by each of the homerooms in the system (we won nada. zip. zilch). But all that fun and all that money is going to a good cause. So it was a worthwhile way to spend all my time this past weekend.

Which leaves precious little time to work on that which I know I should be doing. Because creating and growing and expanding my little beady empire takes time. A lot of time. Time spent planning and organizing and assembling and inventing. Time spent on paperwork (not enough by the stack that I have) and innovating and doodling. Yes, today while I sit here looking out the window on the river, I am also doodling my ideas for a special project that will be due soon. And daydreaming of spending my time actually creating it.

Tonight I will be dividing my time. There is the Rocket's 7th grade football game where I plan to step in as the unofficial staff photographer, the kick off to Tiny Dancer's modern dance lessons for the year, and then I am choosing to spending the first of 2 hours every other week attending the Working Artists Initiative. I think that this idea is definitely worth spending some of my precious time committing to.

My friend Rainy is involved with the International Arts Movement. According to their website, "IAM is a movement. A group of artists and creative catalysts united in wrestling with deep questions of art, faith and humanity. It is people who love art, who love others, and who love the world. This movement seeks to uphold and extol the work of all those who, by their craft, are rehumanizing our world."

The Working Artist Initiative is a pilot program of the IAM. I understand that there will be chapters in big cities like New York, but also here in the heartland where we are to prove it can be done. It is like a Mastermind group comprised solely of artists of various mediums all working on a 32 week goal-oriented program designed to not only help us stay on track with our individual goals, support each other through our various artistic mediums, but also expose us to opportunities in the arts.

I have to decide before this first meeting tonight where I want to focus my efforts, how I would like to spend my time. But I am not sure where to begin and I would love your input.

What do you think I would be a good way to focus my time during this process?

I need some sort of creative inspiration to make jewelry. I could focus on making one necklace or bracelet per week that is focused around a particular theme or color and chronicle the creative process through the blog.

I believe that I need to come up with something that could be a line of jewelry, something that I could call my own. I could focus on creating that line, making it the best I can make it and pursuing a market for it.

I would like to write a book and I am working toward that idea. I could focus on fleshing out that idea, outlining chapters, seeking other collaborators and making pieces that are worthy of being in print.

Or maybe you have some other ideas for me? I would be open to your suggestions.

"There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want."
~ Bill Watterson, 'Calvin & Hobbes'

How are you spending your time today?

Do you think you spend your time wisely?

Or is it foolish to think that you ever could?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

09 September 2010

30 Words :: Like a Duck

{Ducks Paddle by Art by Lia on Etsy}

Like a duck
I rarely get ruffled
troubles roll like water down my back
but underneath it all
I keep on paddling fiercely
just to keep afloat
Like a duck

{Optimistic Art by Oksancia on Etsy}

How are you 'like a duck'?

Do others see your paddling or is it hidden from view?

Can anything ruffle your feathers?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

03 September 2010

RAW::The Ease of Change

{She Flies with Her Own Wings from Cori Dantini on Etsy}

The ease of change, Erin, is directly proportional to one's willingness to reconsider what's best for themselves.

I say let it be easy -
The Universe

P.S. Because, Erin, when change comes it always means there's something better.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today's Random Act of Wisdom is brought to you by TUT - Totally Unique Thoughts.

Have you reconsidered what is best for yourself?
I am working on that right now...

Enjoy the day! And the holiday weekend!

02 September 2010

Fallow Season

I have been absent from my own blog {remember my no obligations rule? I won't be apologizing for it}. I have things that need to get done. I still have a house to sell {and we are in the process of doing all sorts of updates to it with a new realtor for fresh ideas. Sell, dammit!} and in terms of creating there is much to do on the horizon... More things need to replace those sold at the gallery exhibit in August {over $2000 worth!}, an upcoming art show called A.R.T.S. Night {A Reason To Shop, benefitting the local Women's Fund}, the launch of my Etsy site {I posted 4 things yesterday. Progress! But more on that another day...} and a creation of a special jewelry set to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the College of Natural Resources on our UWSP campus {using the specially made 2" tiles that adorn the entire south face of the massive building in a really amazing mosaic. I am honored that they would think of me.}

Close up of the tiles created by local artist and former UW-SP art professor R. Schneider over 40 years ago. And yes, that is a poison ivy leaf!

The full 3 story mural on the side wall of the College of Natural Resources at UW-SP. Isn't it cool?

I got sick of working in chaos, so I pulled every single thing out of my studio. Now I have to climb over it to get to where I want to work. But I am repurposing furniture and things in my home to help make me more focused and productive. I am not giving up on having a more permanent system of cabinets, but this is an economical first step. Just putting it all away will be a big thing for me. {Except now I have forgotten where I put everything so it takes me twice as long to do anything! More pictures of the studio re-do another time....}

I haven't really created anything in what feels like quite a long time. And I miss my creative mojo.

Back in early 2009 I had been reading The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. And about the time I hit secret #4 Surrendering to Creative Cycles, I somehow lost my steam or got creative again. I never did finish that book or continue participating in the book club that I was reading along with, so maybe I need to see if I can find that book again. I think my creative cycle might be warranting a closer look. Here is a little exerpt of what I wrote back then that is just as timely now...

"Surrendering to the cycles instead of fighting with them is a skill of the creative warrior." ~ from The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women

Surrender......interesting choice of words.

All I can think of is that famous scene in the Wizard of Oz - you know the one.

"Surrender Dorothy"

written in script from the tail end of the wicked witch's broomstick against a china blue sky.

Is it surrendering if I am jumping in with both feet? if I can hardly contain my enthusiasm? willing it to happen? like.......now?

But perhaps that is the lesson.

"There is no way to push the river; equally you cannot hasten the harvest."

{Laying Fallow, original oil painting by Erin Spencer of Painting in Dutch}

I like this imagery.

Am I, too, going with the flow?

Or am I trying to swim against the natural current of my life?

Am I planting the seeds and nurturing them to grow?

Or am trampling any hope of growth by my impatience?

This image also reminds me that creative cycles have swirling tide pools where the water flows slower, or not at all. Or times when my creativity lies fallow awaiting the rays of inspiration.

So when is my fallow season?

And more importantly, what am I doing during that fallow time to ensure that my growing time will produce abundance?

For me one fallow season would be right after Christmas. In the weeks leading up to the giftiest time of the year, I can be found most nights in my studio from 8p-2a creating on demand. Amazingly, I am able to do just that. {And for my Gallery Q exhibit, nine months in the making, I have had to pull all sorts of fancy, limited edition, one-of-a-kind rabbits out of my creative hat.}
But, as you can guess, that burns me out completely. I need a break. So I go fallow in January. {And I realized that I am fallow right about now.} In fact, there are weeks when I don't step foot in my studio after that mad dash to Christmas. It doesn't help that every single bead and tool I own is strewn about hindering my ability to think clearly when I go in there. {Hence, my need to completely rearrange my nest again. I will be done by this weekend, gosh darn it!}

But one day I decide that my beads need me. And I need them. So I take a deep breath and charge right in. It may take a few days to rein in the chaos, to control it at a manageable level, but I do. And the creative juices start flowing again.

During this downtime I am recharging my creative energy by reading books I have purchased but not found the time to read, perused magazines and online blogs that I have been missing out on, commenting on posts and connecting with other artists. My hands may be idle, but my imagination is not. And this helps me vastly when I am ready to dig into those beads and make something new.

For my fallow cycle this summer I...
....wrote for the Stringing Fall Blog Carnival and found that I have been accepted as a regular contributor to Art Bead Scene.
....made a few custom pieces and repairs for clients that had been waiting for the time to do it.
....launched my brand new website www.tesoritrovati.com. Check it out!
....pulled every single, gosh darn thing out of my studio...and now I am trying to put it all away and find a place for everything {still a work in progress...grrrr}.
....quit the business networking group that I had spent the last 3 years attending each week {it was really hard to say goodbye...I completely lost it during the announcement...these people are like family to me!} because I know that my reach is much farther than just my local community.
....planned to use that same amount of time on Wednesday mornings as my very first daylight hours to create {and I did just that on September 1st! Squee!}
....thought more about my ideas on what sort of resource book I would like to see....and started laying the groundwork for writing it myself
....finally, FINALLY listed my very first pieces in my Etsy shop...don't laugh okay? I have no idea what I am doing {and learned that it isn't as easy to do as I had thought it would be...how do you all do it? I have a LOT to learn! Including taking better pictures...how shipping works...}
....decided what I wanted to create for the upcoming A.R.T.S. Night show and the Gallery Q and Riverfront Art Gallery holiday exhibits
....found a vendor for something that I need to complete my pieces for these shows
....ordered a special treat from a friend just for me
....felt a bit more relaxed and refreshed. And maybe focused. Just a bit...
....found that I miss my creative time and am ready to get back in the studio and start doing some new-to-me things.

Wouldn't it be a better world if we were each encouraged to go "on sabbatical"? I have always liked that concept. I know that I would be happier if I were encouraged to find that which moves me to study and immerse myself in for the sake of my own betterment. Imagine how we would come back to our regular lives with that new knowledge! To explore that which piques our interest or brings our soul joy...to discover who we really are or are meant to be. That would be living!

My fallow moments are most fertile. They are places to dream big and project where I want my life to lead me. And maybe if I dream big enough and hope long enough {and add some fertilizer to the seeds of my ideas} these things will grow to an abundance such as I have never known before.

"Letting go and seeing what we're really drawn to fertilizes the creative process, and finally the next step appears."
What is the next step for you? Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


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