Love what you do

•December 6, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I love days like this. I am focused. I am drawing and making art. I am listening to a good podcast. It are days like this that make me love my life and job as an artist. 

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No Re-Touching Please!!!!

•November 6, 2015 • 1 Comment

(How does one write about self awareness without offending or shaming the other person? I don’t know!!!  So I will just write from my heart and my own experience and preface that shaming is never my intention and we all have our own journey.  My journey does not include photo editing but if yours does, more power to you.  We all have our battles with body image and I definitely do not want to add to the struggle.)

“No man tells me what to do with my body. Only women’s magazines can do that.”-Mindy Kaling Instagram post 11/4/2015

Recently I had my photo taken.  After he took the picture he showed me the camera screen.  I thought “WOW, he is good!”  The lighting was beautiful and I thought I made a good shirt choice.  So I was shocked when I received the image in my email.  It had been run through a photo editing program.  The person in the image was a shinier version of myself.  My husband commented that it looked like me 10 years ago.  Say WHAT!  Why would I want to erase 10 years of my life?  Maybe I am being dramatic with that statement but that is how I look at my body.  Yes my face and body shows age….because I am older. I do not want to look like I am 30 because I am not 30.  I am 43.  These last ten years have been the toughest and the most joyous of my life.  I got married.  I had my amazing son and light of my life.  I lost my father and 3 grandparents. Received my son’s autism diagnosis. Friends and family diagnosed with cancer, some survived and some didn’t. I traveled.  I made art. I made friends. I gained weight.  I lost weight. I gained weight back and lost some more.  Do I wish I looked differently?  Sure I do, but right now I look like this.  And I have to love this person in this skin right now.  There is a lot of self-loathing in the world.  I see it in myself and I see it in my 18 year old students.  So I know youth does not hold all of the answers.  I don’t have it figured out.  I am working on it!!!!! So my choice this week is to love the unedited image: the blemishes and pimples and wrinkles.  Tomorrow I may feel differently so I will treasure this moment today.

 

Yarn

•November 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This yarn arrived in the mail today. The large cone is huge!!!!!  It is 8lbs of beautiful bamboo. Dyes should arrive tomorrow so I can dye the bamboo for a new weaving. I am so excited. Bamboo is so silky, soft and fine. The fabric should drape beautifully.  The small cone is Harrisonville Shetland wool. Just enough to finish my overshot weaving. 

Warping

•November 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Measuring warp for my next weaving. This is my least favorite task in the weaving process.  I try to relax and enjoy every step. But this step is trying for me.   

Overshot patterns

•September 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I am figuring out a new weaving pattern. So excited by the possibilities!!!!  Hand and naturally dyed wool. I love sabbatical!!!!

 

 

Homemade Coconut Milk – OMG why haven’t I tried this before

•September 10, 2015 • 1 Comment

Tonight I tried a new recipe.  I have wanted to make my own milk for over a year.  I thought it would be a ton of work.  I thought it would be a big mess.  I thought it wouldn’t taste as good as the stuff in the box.  Boy was I wrong.  I just needed the right recipe and the push to do it.  Have you heard of Periscope.  It is a new social media application.  It is fun!  It is live videos where you can interact with the presenter in real time.  Oh and yes it is a time suck!  So anyway I follow a woman/nutritionist Erin Woodbury.  She does very quick videos creating healthy recipes.  Today she made coconut milk.  

Here is the recipe: http://livingleanwitherin.com/homemade-coconut-milk-whole-30-approved/ 

So I headed to the store after supper and bought 3 ingredients: unsweetened coconut flakes, dates and vanilla extract.  Blend, drain and waaalaaa!  So I made myself a cup of tea to try it out.  Soooo yummy!  I may never buy coffee creamer or milk again.  No sugar, no additives, no preservatives.  I will buy organic ingredients for the next batch.  Our local store didn’t carry organic.  I could use a fresh coconut too……but that seems like too much work.  Anyone want to come over tomorrow for coffee?

Reflecting wool

•September 8, 2015 • 2 Comments

 

I am have been writing all week.  Half of being an artist is making art, the other half is writing.  Writing grants, writing proposals for shows, journaling, responding to emails and updating websites.  And if you teach art we are writing syllabi, course projects, evaluations and assessments. I will note most people do not realize how much writing artists actually have to do.  Okay maybe some artists do not write regularly, but I do.  If you were to open my sketchbook it is mostly words.

Last week I attended an exhibition opening of my work in St. Louis.  This past week I spent hours and hours at the computer typing up my reflections and applying for grants and exhibitions.  I actually enjoy slowing down and looking at the work I just created.  I like dreaming about future projects and partnerships.  Taking a week for reflection is a luxury that doesn’t happen all the time.  I like this word “reflection”.  In academia the word assessment is used for this same process.  Assessment seems so clinical and cold.  Assessment always conjures up numbers and statistics that my mind does not process efficiently.  So I want to make a new movement or change.  I think from here on out we should call assessment, REFLECTION.

In reflection, we can think about the work created, we can think about the comments others have shared, we can think about what was successful and what we could do differently next time, we can make a plan for the future, we can look for collaborators and we can relax and enjoy our accomplishments.  Assessments are cold.  Reflections are warm.  YES from now on I will allow time for reflections after each assignment.

In The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he suggests identifying your routine.  By identifying the routine, one can become more aware of triggers and rewards.  (I finished listening to this audiobook on one of my many drives to St. Louis this past month.)  As soon as I heard this idea, I carefully and blindly jotted a note in my sketchbook while I was driving and knew this needed to happen when I got home. My reflection this week was a type of identifying my routine.  Identifying my routine documents my work habits, my thoughts while making the work and my life. Reflecting on my life through the process of making and exhibiting this latest work is cathartic.  My life seems more balanced when I am in making art mode.  I exercise every morning, I make art and I make healthy meals.  I leave the safe haven of my home and my life turns chaotic and completely out of balance.  How do people maintain this healthy balance when they leave the house?  Sometimes my life is thrown out of balance when I drive my son to school in the morning.  Maybe everyone struggles with this? Maybe I am being too hard on myself?

So maybe I should always stay at home and never leave?!?!?!  This wouldn’t be such a bad idea, except that our air conditioning just went out and it’s flippin HOT in the house with 100 degree+ weather.  Have you ever touched itchy wool in 100 degree heat?  It’s not pretty.  So yesterday I left to watch a movie in the ice-cold movie theater.  Lucas chose the movie “Shaun the Sheep” and it is sooo relevant to my life right now.  Speaking of itchy wool, Shaun the Sheep was a wonderful claymation movie about a sheep that is tired of the daily habits of the farm.  Shaun tries to take a day off and in an attempt to change his mundane schedule creates havoc and chaos.  All of the sheep and the family dog work hard and are extremely creative to get their schedule back on track at the farm. 

I don’t live on a farm but I am more peaceful and productive when I am at home in my routine.  I have more reflection to do.  I have more bad habits to change.  I will do more reflecting and try to identify routines.  But now I need to leave this HOT house, maybe tomorrow the air conditioning will be fixed, maybe tomorrow I will get back to my healthy routine.