Friday, November 03, 2017

My tree - A photographic journey

So, I have to drive down to Olive Branch a few times a year to service some printers down there and at some point in 2015, I noticed this tree in a field off Riverdale. I stopped and took pictures of it. It spoke to me- in the middle of this suburban mess, there was a small field on a corner that had been saved from another failed convenience store and on it was this majestic oak tree.

This tree was a bright spot in what was more often than not, a bad day. So, I started making it a point to stop by the tree each time I had to go to OB for a service call. I missed a few- sometimes it was raining too hard for me to get a good shot. Once it was supposed to snow, so I was hurrying to get home before the storm hit. But, I've been pretty consistent- I have 8 images that show how the changes of the seasons dress my lovely. What's interesting is how I'm taking the shot from almost the exact same spot each time... I am not sure how I manage that.

I am so enamored by this tree, I actually looked to see if I could buy the land. It's just north of the state line- so in Shelby County. I would buy it just to protect the tree from being torn down and to make it ok for me to go and lay a blanket under her branches without being charged with trespassing.

Here's the journey from the first shot on December 29th, 2015 to the latest on October 24th, 2017.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Woot!! I can post again!

I have finally found the work around that will let me post photos on my blog. I've been very quiet this year and it's not entirely because I haven't had anything to say or share. I have been to some really cool places this year and I've done and seen some neat stuff.
But I've been in a funk mentally. Energy levels are still low- blood work is fine, but I still feel like I did when I had Mono. I haven't been as busy as I was last year, and while I know that's for the best, I feel like I'm slacking. It makes it hard to make new and meaningful work.
I have mostly filled up my moleskine, so I picked up a few new ones (a watercolor one!! A soft cover turquoise one And my normal black hardcover) I'm trying to get back into writing, sketching and making daily. It's harder than it should be, but I'm working on my self talk and my self care and hoping things will return to something close to normal.

I was lamenting the lack of toad visitors this year and was greeted by this handsome treefrog the same night, my large, garden toad momma this morning before work and tonight, when I came home, momma and a small, bright male were hanging out at the door. The universe answers sometimes. :)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How is it almost June?!?!

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
It's been a very fast paced year. It's been going by so quickly, I'm not sure how I got to be where I am at times. And while I think I might at least be close to where I need to be, I can see a vast stretch between me and where I *want* to be. 

My birthday is quickly approaching and that's always a trying time for me. It's my New Year. I try to incorporate all the things I learned, about myself and others, during the time of turmoil (also known as Spring) and make some plans for the next 12 months of my life. It's a pseudo-tradition I began when I was 19 and I've more or less kept up with it. The plans have gotten more open-ended and much less 'strict' as I've gotten older, and hopefully, wiser. And my priorities have certainly shifted since I was a naive teen feeling like anything in the world was possible with little effort. 

I've been focusing more on my art- learning new skills, and trying to work out my visual vocabulary. It's hard creating a 'signature look'- I think it's something I'm just going to have to keep working at. Keep creating all the work I can create and see what repeats. I know what I want to say... it's just hard to figure out how to say that sometimes without being too overt. Maybe I need to be overt for a while.. see how that goes. lol. 

I'm going to have a change of scenery for the next week or so and I'll have an opportunity to dip my toes in the ocean. I'm hoping it will be the recharge I need to face the coming year. 

And here are pictures of some of the stuff I've been working on :)
the finished pieces from my workshop with Joanna Gollberg! i *love* the techniques i learned!

Always making leaves- these are all from the Memphis Botanic Gardens except the tiny oak at the bottom- that one came from Flagstaff AZ. :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Breaking the silence- 2017

On this last day of January, I have finally settled into the new normal for 2017. We are living in a world of #alternativefacts, where fear and/or greed seems to drive most of the decisions made. I feel like I have fallen into a dystopian novel- admittedly one written by a junior writer, where the dialogue is often weak and stereotypical and the plot is muddy.

I've asked myself many times over the last month- why should I bother making art in a world that exploits common people, polarizes people rather than bring them together, and is so strongly opposed to anything that does not show an immediate profit for shareholders.

Then I remember my classes- how I bring people together and share my knowledge with them to help them learn their artistic voice, or find something that just brings them joy. I think of the postcards that a wonderful student sends me after class, telling me how much she enjoyed it. They make me giddy when I receive them- mail that is handwritten, not a bill and brings a smile to my face. When I feel lost in the dark, I've pulled them out and re-read them. They're a good reminder that there is a reason for what I do.

I make jewelry infused with positive energy - I make rings of power- that are such not only because of what they represent with their bold stones and confident air but because of the actual stones I use and the intention I put into them.

My horoscope for this week was inspiring (see below)- not because I believe my course in life is set by the stars in the sky, but because I believe that Rob uses astrology as a guise to create easily digestible truths that we all need to hear. I love words. I think words have power- they have the ability to invoke so many things, so his gift of 5 words of power for me for this week is thrilling. And the reminder that these 5 words bring is also very needed right now- when things feel SO heavy in the 'real world'... I needed to be reminded that I don't have to take it personally- I don't have to wear the weight of everything that's going wrong in the world. I also needed to be reminded that nothing is gained by my playing small- I *do* have the ability to make a difference and that starts with making things make sense at home. So, I'm working through what it means to be an artist during 'hard' times- when the things I need to protect are not popular, when the things that need saving might not be able to be saved by the few, and when the very ideas that I hold dear are threatened. (For those curious, I'm not R or D- I'm a tree hugging hippie, that believes in taking care of people, educating them, feeding them, giving them the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I believe in protecting our resources, making our footprint smaller, taking care of indigenous peoples, our elderly, our veterans, and not pursuing profit above all else.)

So, you may see my work become a bit more narrative in the coming months. I may raise money for charities and causes, using my jewelry and my shop as a jumping off point. I'll probably start painting, drawing, and writing publicly again. And if I talk to you about something that I am passionate about, and you don't agree with me, please, give me the opportunity to learn and have a REAL conversation with me- don't tell me I'm a 'stupid libtard' and write me off- let's find our common ground and see if we can direct our energies towards making something better.

Rob Brezsny's horoscope for GEMINI: Here are your five words of power for the next two weeks, Gemini. 1. *Unscramble.* Invoke this verb with regal confidence as you banish chaos and restore order. 2. *Purify.* Be inspired to cleanse your motivations and clarify your intentions. 3. *Reach.* Act as if you have a mandate to stretch out, expand, and extend yourself to arrive in the right place. 4. *Rollick.* Chant this magic word as you activate your drive to be lively, carefree, and frolicsome. 5. *Blithe.* Don't take anything too personally, too seriously, or too literally.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Creative file- Album from San Antonio

For those that don't follow me on Google+ or Facebook, I've published a selection of images from my trip to The Makery in Bulverde and my adventures in San Antonio and Austin.

The album is public here. :)

Creative Life 2016- Hard Truth and Good bye 2016

Ok.. so there's something that's been weighing on me for a while now.. not just a few months, but like.. a few years.. and i finally got the courage to put my finger on it.. (or maybe i finally stopped back braining it and let it come to the forefront)

On Thanksgiving this year, we all got together at the Studio to eat- big tables, no animals, plenty of room and no one has to deep clean their house for the event. When Nanny came in, she was surprised at the space and kept talking about how she'd never been there before (she had). She was even more surprised when i told her this was my studio and shop.. she said she didn't know i made jewelry. She has a literal drawer full of my jewelry from over the years- she was a huge supporter of me as a child maker *and* an adult maker. She had absolutely no memory of any of this.

It absolutely broke my heart.

Alzheimer's has taken my grandmother from me. She may still live in the house around the corner, she even looks and sounds like my Nanny, but the woman that encouraged me to try a new art after seeing it on PBS, and took me to the All American Crafts store or Leewards to buy beads, miniatures, plastic canvas supplies, rug hooking, fabric, etc... that woman is no longer with us. And in some ways, many ways, it's harder on me than i think it would be if she had passed away. She was such a force in my life, especially when i was younger. I spent weekends at her and grandaddy's house, exploring the remnants of them having raised three kids in dressers, closets, and trunks, the garden, the greenhouse, the shop, weird stuff buried in the flower beds from where the aquariums had been dumped in the yard between themes. There were always plants, both of the real and artificial variety, in her house. Arrangements, wreaths, a Christmas tree that was inspired by the regalia of Goldsmith's downtown finery at the height of their influence.

And all this appears to be gone thanks to some fu*king disease that no one seems to know how to prevent or cure.

So long 2016- you're been real... you've been difficult...and i pray to the goddess that i'll be able to shake free of some of the negativity in 2017.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Creative life 2016- post weekend workshop

I have spent this weekend immersed in creativity. From friday morning, when the workshop began, until it ended today at 5ish, I've been surrounded by a charming place, interesting, creative people, local, artisan food and an environment of inspiration. (except for the times I've been in my Hampton inn up in the belly of the consumerist beast-in strip mall, big box store, chain food mecca)

It was a much needed reset. I'll share photos of my adventure when I have access to something that will allow me to post images without crashing (which my phone hasn't been able to do.since early 2015, sadly)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Creative life 2016

The last few weeks have been emotionally draining. So much negativity in the world right now, not just with the election, but with all sorts of other things that are happening. Earthquakes killing folks in Italy and New Zealand, oil lines crossing vital water supplies, gas leaks and wild fires in the southeast... It's more than an empath can bear sometimes. It's hard to be creative when I have to shut out all that. I have to clamp down on emotions so the despair doesn't take over. And as such, I kind of wander through life numb. Which creates a whole other crisis within.

I wish I was able to create art to get the emotion out. I think I've finally figured out *that* is what makes the difference between an "artist" and an "artisan"- the raw emotional content of the work. I can point to when I stopped being able to use my visual art and my writing as a conduit for emotional release, but I can't seem to fix it, even after all these years.

Creative life isn't always About making pretty things.  In times like these, it seems to be about finding creative ways to survive and be present.