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 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.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Creative Life 2016- week 43

October has been a wonderful month in many ways. I've had several weekends now where I've been able to demonstrate metalsmithing and share my knowledge with the public. This weekend, I'll be teaching a class on chain maille at the garden (which I had the experience of promoting on Live at 9 this past Monday! - Click here for the video)

I've become kind of resolved to the fact that I am a living creature with biology that doesn't always match up to what I (think I) want- for a long time, I truly believed that 'humans' were evolved past things like circadian rhythms and seasonal cycles- oh how wrong I was! I am such a slave to my body's sleep and active cycles, and mine are off from what the world expects. Attempts to adhere to this arbitrary and incompatible schedule reflect in my health and mental status on the regular.
I tried the whole waking up with the sun thing, and it was glorious... I was so much more alert, even on less sleep, than when I wake with an alarm. My true lament comes from the realization that no matter what I try, my most creative hours are between 8pm and 2am. I was trying to figure out where my mojo went in the evenings after work when i would go to the studio and try to make. I stayed late one night, and discovered I was leaving the party before the mojo kicked in! I tested it a few more times and confirmed, I can create new pieces with wild abandon, crank out my pseudo-production work and get my Units per Hour to an actual range where I can make a profit selling my art when I work between 8pm and 2 am! However, the schedule for the rest of my life is very incongruent to this block of creative time.

See how productive i can be during the right time of the night?!? And i really need a few more nights like this to be ready for Crafts & Drafts on the 12th of November. (It's a great show- lots of great work and a wonderful, festive environment. I highly recommend attending it)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Creative life 2016 - busy season

So, this time of year is my busy season, both as an artist and just as a person. Most of the shows i do all year are in October and November, and this year I also took on demonstrating for Tn Craft week, which was actually a lot of fun, but it was also rough on my shoulder.. I enjoyed meeting people and hearing stories about their journeys- both the specific trip they were on and their larger, life journey. Individuals are usually pretty awesome, and it's fascinating to me how people's experiences vary so wildly.

As a person, fall is *my* time. My personal magic is strongest now and it will continue to grow until I wear myself out some where between Thanksgiving and the Winter Solstice. I'll hermit a little until the new year, where I force myself to get out, otherwise I spiral downward into taking stock of what I didn't get to over the past year, even though my 'new year' isn't until later, I still find myself harshly judging by societal standards. My resolutions for this year are to be kinder, to myself and others, and to put more effort into eliminating overly processed things from my life, be that food, goods or experiences.

2016 has been a rough year. I'm discovering that it hasn't just affected me and my little circle. It's been wide reaching, especially amongst the empaths. It makes me wonder if all the negativity in the world is just overloading our circuits and we aren't able to keep the walls up to keep the bad stuff out while keeping the plates spinning to keep the good stuff happening.

I've watched my circle of friends shrink as people change and I moved one of my best friends to the other side of the country less than 2 months ago. It's been hard to fight the feeling of isolation and to stay engaged. I would say I've failed more than I've succeeded. The desire to buy some land somewhere secluded and build an earthship and a tree house is strong most days.

Hermiting is not good for me long-term, although i think I do need a few days alone in the woods or on the beach to recenter, recharge and clear some of the debris from my heart and soul of the last year or so. I have a lot of stuff in there trying to get out- visual arts, music, dance, words... But there's so much in the way that it just trickles out in frustrating spurts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Creative Life - Tennessee Craft Week

I had the pleasure of doing some metalsmithing demonstrations this past weekend at two of the TN welcome centers to raise awareness for TN Craft week and Tennessee Craft.

I was at the I-40 downtown Memphis center on Saturday and the I-155 Dyersburg center on Sunday. I met some really awesome people and heard some great stories about people following their dreams and seeing the world. It was quite inspiring.