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Monday
Sep192011

TCCE 2011

The Creative Connection Event held many surprises for me this year. I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend by a dear friend and mentor, Beckah Krahula. Due to the overlapping in events with the New York Maker Faire, I was only able to experience the BlogHer sponsored portion on Thursday.

As a person who not only teaches those who'd like to earn a living creating as well as making my own living via the various things I personally make myself, this event embodies so many things "done right."

1) Not only are people (not just women) encouraged to take risks and be bold in striving for those things they desire in their lives, they are shown real world examples of ordinary everyday folks who did, and continue to do, extraordinary things to enjoy atypical success.

2) The focus on networking and lifting others to achieve their dreams is something I think we forget in the corporate world. With an ever connected social media existence, we forget that it's not about us inasmuch as about the community in which we are all trying to populate and thrive in.

3) People blog for many reasons... some for personal edification, others for monetary gain, some for validation that they aren't just some human sucking air and giving off carbon, whilst others are just trying to prove that they aren't so alone perhaps. I loved the fact that many people at this event had no agenda, that is, they had no idea what to expect but, we ready, willing and wanting to receive it.

4) We all had a place at a round table. There were no name tags or pre-determined seating arrangements yet, there was a custom spot for each of those who attended. We were lavishly gifted many trinkets and sundries, served dessert first and given silverware with linen napkins. I think it is important to feel as if one is intended... that they matter and have purpose. It was wonderful knowing that the strangers we sat with not only became acquaintances by the end of the meal and presentation but that, even though we may not have known what it was we were to offer to our companions upon sitting down, we did upon leaving. The willingness to share and ask specifically, 'how may I serve you?', is powerful folks, it is powerful to build another up to their full potential by using the talents you were given.

For me personally, the reason I was supposed to go was to see faith in action and taste the richness of dreams poured out. 

 

Saturday
Sep102011

Walls

Along any country mile one is bound to see a wall or two dotting the landscape. Many of these walls mark a property line while others have another, less known, purpose for being built into existence, one we may never know. My Grandfather always said, never take down a wall until you can figure out why it was put there in the first place. Even as a child, I wondered why it was that the area trapped inside was always smaller than the everything beyond the enclosure.

The defintion of space, the territorial stance of "this is mine, not yours" happens the moment we exit the womb and take our breath sans the aquatic environment of our mothers. Independently, with our own lungs, we suck in the air claiming the oxygen it possesses as our own, belonging to us and no other. It is natural to set up boundaries and stake ownership. It is a matter of survival. The interesting thing one notices about country walls though, is their height. Somewhere along the history of things people realized that even though boundaries had to be set to maintain peace, they also had to be able to reach over the walls to trade, to barter, to share, to communicate and learn about eachother's existence. Civilization cannot advance and we as people cannot grow completely closed off from the everything beyond our enclosures   


 

Friday
Sep092011

Worker Bees

Watching the bees from a safe distance, I wondered if they were aware of the colony collapse epidemic wiping their kind off the face of the map. The architecture of their perfect honeycomb hexagon, the wax that has embalmed humanity since the beginning of history, the sweet honey that has been the sugar for both bread and beverage, all ceasing to to be manufactured one hive at a time? I have always admired the industry of bees and insects in general. Each moment is purposed, each moment filled with living and doing... always producing, they never waste a single span of precious time. All colonies collapse, all creatures expire at some point... may be the bees do know and it isn't colony collapse that they fear but rather, losing their lives by not living in the first place.


 

Thursday
Sep082011

Reflectors

Repurposing various things has been a passion of mine since the day I discovered I was tall enough to open my parents kitchen junk drawer and peer at the contents inside. The amazing thing about creativity is that it is seen when we repurpose what is on hand and use it in a new, unexpected and innovative way. Oftentimes, we discover something about ourselves when we are forced to use what we have instead of what we want. Our creation becomes a mirror of sorts, it not only shows us who we are but, it shines with that light from within and gives us little hints of what we are made of, what we are capable of reflecting in darker times.

These drink coasters were created using bicycle reflectors rubberstamped with an image from Judikins using Tsukineko's Staz On Ink.

Wednesday
Sep072011

Ruffles Attached

As I get older, I realize the truth and wisdom tucked away in that adage, "there is nothing new under the sun." Styles, trends, and daresay, ideas, all have their seasons and all in turn, come back into favor at somepoint. Today it was about ruffles.

I remember wanting a ruffled skirt in the 3rd grade. I wanted this skirt so badly that I had decided to go on a hunger strike until I was given one. The idea of a ruffled skirt permeated my every thought, it was an invasive species that had attached itself to practically every sentence that left my lips. I had become dead wood and this ruffled desire, was fungus eating away at my shell. My great-grandmother, being the amazingly astute person she was, sat me down and taught me how to sew a ruffle and add it to anything my heart desired. She taught me a valuable lesson that day. We have the power to change the things we'd like by learning a skill and having the initiative to do-it-yourself.

This afternoon my daughter came running into the kitchen wanting ruffles on her skirt... and history repeated itself right there before my eyes.   

Tuesday
Sep062011

Luck

Luck doesn't keep a horseshoe to a hoof; nails, a honed skill, and hard work do. There are some who believe that luck follows certain people around, smiles on them a bit more, clears the way and sweeps the stones from their path so they do not trip... they believe undeniably that luck chooses some people over others and that it is just the way of the universe.

If luck were a game of horseshoes, the one getting closer to the stake taking it all, I suppose I'd rather be the person who knows how to make their own horseshoes. There will always be someone with better aim, more favorable conditions, and more experience pitching a toss than I but, if I can make my own well, that just changes everything doesn't it? 

Monday
Sep052011

Slow and Steady

 On my adventures over the summer, we came across this meditative area in the woods. I saw this bronze statue from a distance and instantly felt kinship to it... she was an Indian Princess from a Michigan tribe represented by the turtle but, I saw her as the patron saint of slow and steady. As an artist, so many things in my studio are in various stages of not done... works in progress. My natural instinct is to hurry them through, complete them and cast out the clutter rather than have to look at the mediocre waiting to find a stroke of genius and be deemed well, better than mediocre I suppose. In this statue I saw an act of charity extended to all those who create in their shells, in the sanctuary of their own hearts. It is in the knowing that one isn't alone in the woods, that there are others there meditating upon that same patron saint of the slow and steady and that we are all perhaps, works in progress.

Saturday
Sep032011

School

Our second born child pouts... often. He'll hate me later on, years from now, for writing this but, it's true. His internal sense of efficiency is oftentimes tested by the irrational (according to him) way one must be 'forced" to use time, time that belongs to a person and should not be aribitrarily usurped by someone else. School would be one of these things. "We gotta learn by doing things, not by sitting and listening to stories about what other people did. You know, all those people who did amazing stuff, built rockets and discovered other planets, well, they didn't do it sitting at a desk doing worksheets in some school. You can't dig space rocks from a piece of paper." 

He makes me laugh. Now that the kids go to a virtual academy, learning isn't "school", it's self-initiated. They have their assignments that they are indentured to but, the rest of their time belongs to them and they are free to chase after all the rockets that didn't manage to leave the backyard to prepare them for their next mission. School is starting for so many kids this week... may the education they received playing and discovering all summer give them the incentive to finish what they must, so in that, they can go make their mark, be the people the kids of the future will read about, and be free to learn simply because they can.

To learn more about this scrapbook lay-out and how it was made, visit Bic Mark-it

 

Friday
Sep022011

Smiling

"We all live in cages really, even animals in the wild still got boundaries, they still don't go where they're not supposed to go. They just smile and live where they are," my 9 year old said. 

I am constantly having my paradigm shifted by the little things my children say off the cuff. On the surface these things are mere observations, quips in passing, and random thoughts as they go on about their day. On a deeper level, what children say exposes so much more about who we are as humans, what our place in this world is, and perhaps how we should see the world... and smile.

 

Thursday
Sep012011

Thirsty

It's amazing to think of how many plants grow next to fountains and are yet parched and dying of thirst. So committed in their rooted existence, those plants are unable to move, to bend, to reach out and drink in that which is so close. I noticed this beautiful Dahlia and was struck by the fact that it required someone to physically water it each day for it's survival despite being within feet of a sparkling fountain. It left me wondering about how many people are like this beautiful flower... dependent on others to meet their thirst, unable to fetch a cool drink for themselves. The creative often creates in solitude yet, they must seek inspiration for themselves, they must find water lest they wither away.

 

Friday
Aug262011

End Of Summer

Summer is the childhood of our lives. It a series of carefree moments as unnumbered as the grains of sand are at the water's edge. The days are endless, the adventures are sun-kissed and the memories are vibrant and in full color after staring at the sun. We tend not to realize we are in Summer until the days start to shorten and a horizon of sunset colors reflect themselves in the trees lining the pathway home at day's end. 

 

To see this project and how it was made, please visit Bic Mark-It

 

Friday
Jul082011

Fresh

Strawberries taste better when you pick them yourself. There is something more in it's sweetness, that lingering aftertaste of self-initiative and accomplishment perceptible to the person who tilled the soil, cultivated the plants, had their work boots covered in mud, and bite into the fruit of their labor.

Everyday we are given the opportunity to grow something, be it an actual seed or an idea, a person or even a community. We are given a field, a canvas, a workbench, an outstretched hand and the amazing chance to taste something so sweet, so fresh, so incredibly good.

 

(For the complete project & stepped out instructions, please visit Bic Mark-it)

 

Thursday
Jul072011

Passion

The things we are most passionate about color our everything... our outlook, our speech, our disposition, and daresay, our surroundings. It's as if the moment we decide that we are not going to simply blend in with the rest of the landscape that we bloom as creatives.

 

Wednesday
Jul062011

Making Time

Wisdom knows that time is temporary in nature, fleeting, fragile, and precious. This is a clock I had constructed out of cardboard for a book that was never published. I had remembered a cross-stitched sampler with this old owl in those lovely shades of 1974 (orange, olive green, pink, and brown) in my grandmother's studio. Some of my fondest memories were of making things side by side with her in her artist's space. That time we spent together in a comfortable silence was sacred, the things we made were a testament to the minutes we had crafted into something tangible and lasting. The things we make have a way of trapping time, our creations are infused with the hours of ourselves we lovingly invest. By making the time to create, we are able to hold time in our hands and smile back at the clock's face.

 

Tuesday
Jul052011

Quacking

One of the most interesting qualities children have is their natural instinct to simply broadcast, unfiltered and unapologetically, to the world, exactly what it is they are thinking or feeling in that moment. As children age and mature into adulthood, they learn from their environment how to discern and exercise restraint, to extend courtesy by refraining from raw, unsolicited outbursts, and to be quiet.

While visiting a local park and picnic area, a group of baby ducks emerged from the water's edge to warm themselves in the sun. The first few people who had noticed the flock, all adults, said nothing in speech or action to acknowledge their presence. The ducks themselves were silent too. It was as if each duckling was in the process of earning their flight feathers in this training drill, as they dutifully stayed in line, and then found their place on the field to satisfy part A of their exam. Tired from their exercise, the warmth dared them to keep their eyes open.

The park benches were filled with silent observers, some wrinkled, some less wrinkled, some holding hands with another, some holding hope in their fingertips, some remembering, some wanting to forget... all extending courtesy and staying quiet in their thoughts. The little girl bounding down the sidewalk could not have been more than 4 years old, her freckles tacked down angelic on her face and held her smile permanent. Her riot of strawberry blond curls were contagious, springing with energy that transferred instantly to all those who witnessed them and her chatter snapped passerbys out of their reveries. She squealed with delight upon seeing the flock of ducklings and tip toed towards them with the grace of an elephant. She said "hello babies." The child could not contain her excitement when one single duckling, looking her straight in the eye, quacked. She burst into tears and laughter at the same time, awestruck that Nature would speak her language. In that moment, we all became children.