September 8, 2014
So I haven’t posted here in quite awhile. I was slammed at work and life for months. Then I went to teach at Bead Fest Philadelphia in August and on the way back to Seattle I stopped in Colorado to attend an invitational retreat that I have been trying to get to for years. Just before leaving I realized that I can’t work like this anymore. There isn’t any break from the demand, no time to create, everybody always wants my help with something. This isn’t the life I would choose for myself but here it is. So before I left I told one college that I wouldn’t be teaching for them anymore. I also decided that I will not be going out on the road so much anymore. As much as I love my adventures it is clear that it’s very disruptive. It takes a lot of time to organize everything, order materials for kits and classes, maintain inventory of the materials, count everything single thing for kits, pay for every single thing…I could go on and on. Let’s just say that I’m currently a couple thousand dollars out and impatiently waiting to get paid (they take 40 days for goodness sake – ridiculous!). So why would anyone want that job? I don’t.
Unbelievably, I got a phone call today for work (on SUNDAY morning, I was barely awake). It was business. No emergency. Just somebody wanting something and they have my cell phone number. Really? It couldn’t wait for a business day? If I were teaching this weekend I would be juggling this call and a class at the same time? Ugh.
Before I left I was awakened almost every day by a text message or a phone call. I was scrambling around trying to get everything together to all hours of the night and people were waking me up 5 hours after I went to bed.
It occurs to me to say: it’s my phone for MY needs. Please don’t call me before 9 AM.
So beyond the venting here there is a real life. The real life I am choosing includes working in my studio, seeing my husband, cleaning my kitchen and even painting downspouts for the house. Because I don’t work every minute. No one ever said on their death bed: gosh, I wish I had worked more…
July 21, 2014
July 2, 2014
“Identify the primary distraction that keeps you from your creative work and deal with it. If you have an issue, be it weight, lack of exercise or family worries, do your best to resolve that issue or reduce it's power of distraction on your time and energy.” – Julieanne Kost (of Adobe Systems)
As I dive into a renewed commitment to my own creative efforts this quote is my scale. It is especially appropriate since I am slowly moving into using Lightroom and yes, that which I have avoided for years: Photoshop. I have always maintained that a good photographer shouldn't need to do much in software if an image is shot properly. I still believe this. Yes, a crop or exposure tweak after the fact may be needed but all the bells and whistles of Photoshop are not required. I realize that Photoshop has become a standard tool and by avoiding it I am just being contrary. Sometimes that's just how I roll.
But now I have owned Lightroom for about six months. I have barely had time to really get to know it. I have found by using the cataloging feature that I have tens of thousands of photographs. It will probably take me years to troll through them much less learn how to use Lightroom. I know… it must be time for a class to shorten my learning curve. After setting Lightroom onto my photographs to catalog them, I had to own that I am a photographer. I should just stop being quiet about it (since it was staring me in the face) and own that since I actually have about 15,000 or more photographs I've taken just from the last 5 or 6 years. Click happy me.
So in an effort to reduce the power of distraction on my time and energy I am going to stop teaching. I already spend a lot of time mentoring artists every day at ArtWorks and through the EDGE Program each Winter. I have come to realize that one can only mentor so much and I need my own creative time.
I have a lot of jewelry to make and am excited about the prospect of digital collage as well as a lot of other projects I have in mind. Onward and upward!
June 20, 2014
April 18, 2014
Even though ArtWorks is pretty busy these days I always look forward to Art Spa Open Studio on Fridays. Artists drift in and out just to chat, knowing that other artists will be there working on something. It's a good touchstone day but I never get much done when people are there. Usually after they have all left is my time to get at least a few things made – usually components for jewelry or a specific project. Because it's so busy I don't bring anything super ambitious to work on. This way I'm happy if I can get three or four good results before I go home.
Today I got three pieces done and two of those I'm particularly happy with. They stretch my jewelry into new directions and expand into a new line for me in altered metals. I'm very excited about this work and hope others will find it appealing, too. Regardless, I'm having a great time finally bringing some ideas I've had for years into reality at last. I'm working on these new directions for the Garden Gallery show I am participating in next month and the Edmonds Art Studio Tour in Sept.
Check out http://www.edmondsartstudiotour.com for details when they're available.
April 2, 2014
Garson Kanin said it: Amateurs hope, professionals work.
So what does that mean? Think about the words 'art practice'. To have a practice infers consistency, regular hours, a schedule. It also implies that there is practice going on – a masterpiece isn't made every time one creates.
There is a great blog article on this here: http://jamesclear.com/schedule
March 31, 2014
It's been great fun teaching at Bead Fest Texas! Thanks to the students my classes were full of fun people with richly inquiring minds. I think we went in all directions at once! Two of the classes I taught were brand new ones and we had such a great time I can't wait to teach them again.
I wish I'd had time in the classes to get pictures of what everyone did with their new knowledge but we covered so much ground it was just not possible. Imagine polymer clay jewelry creations galore, interesting molds, resin pendants and components plus collaged metal patterned by flame, colored pencils, abrasion, alcohol inks, patina paints, hammers and whatever else we could think of to try! A total classroom of experimentation with a variety of materials for two days. Who could ask for more? I love seeing the wheels turning as my students expand their world into these adventures and I hope to see what they end up doing with their new skills. Thanks ya'll!!
I also can't wait to get my CraftOptics scopes! I have to get in to update my glasses prescription and then I'll send that info to CraftOptics. I'll have my pair in a week or so! It will be so great to see and not fuss around with trying to see some of the small stuff I'm working with. Check them out: http://www.craftoptics.com. Mine are going to be purple: anyone surprised by that?
March 19, 2014
Okay, I admit it: I am in love with possibilities. Doesn't this seem like a good thing? Always? Well, not necessarily. I just caught myself looking very intently at a new craft storage box as if it were so all important to know everything about it. Yet here I am divesting of tons of stuff, digging out my studio and lusting for actual space. So what is it about that sudden keen interest in yet another storage box when I already have a *whole box of storage boxes* waiting to be used? Possibilities!
The possibility that maybe this one will cure all my storage ills. The possibility that THIS one will be just the thing I need to turn the magic nut and PRANG! ALL WILL BE WONDERFULLY STORED, put away, easy to find, easy to put away again and I will see the floor again. I will be able to walk straight ahead without turning this way and that to avoid collisions…
Conclusion: it is way more fun to think about all of the possibilities than it is to just clean up the space! So guess where I'm off to? Back to putting all that stuff away! There WILL be visible floor and I will have room to work again – all without some perceived magic wand.
March 5, 2014
The NW Polymer Clay Guild meets the first Tuesday of each month in Lake City (Seattle). We always have a great time! This month the program was presented by my friend Wendy Lee Lynds and it was definitely out of our usual comfort zone. Wendy had us paint backgrounds, make marks, cut out images, colors, phrases and words from various materials and collage the painted papers during timed rounds for each task.
The progression from painting the backgrounds to collecting images, phrases and colors and then on to specifically selecting phrases that caught our eye compartmentalized each task so future tripping was kept to a minimum. It was by design to keep us in the moment!
Next we bound our books, created 'sudden poetry' so to speak and collaged in the colors and images with the text laid in last. Everyone was happily showing and sharing their books with each other at the end of the evening. This was inspiring, rich fun!
The overall comment about my book was: it's so much about color! I'm not surprised, are you? As Wendy said at the beginning: if you're happy with your results you can thank me. If anything goes wrong blame it on Meredith!
Thank goodness everyone caught on to the process and gained from that even if they didn't like their book at the end. Not much to blame me for! =)
Wendy explained that this process would end up being about ourselves at this moment in time and magically things would center on something without our conscious meddling. This was certainly true. Mine ended up being something like a Valentine to me and reflects some things I learned this year after being home more than I have in the last 8 years. The biggest lesson I learned? How to live at home day in and day out, being here now and not constantly coordinating schedules, timelines, or the next class, the next trip, the next contract…
For more information about the NW Polymer Clay Guild please see their website: http://www.nwpcg.org
To see a video with Wendy produced by ArtsNow/Edmonds Community College, click this:
February 13, 2014
My friend Nan and I went to the Bellevue Arts Museum to see the amazing paper clothing creations by Isabelle de Borchgrave, a Belgian artist. She recreated the clothing designed by Mariano Fortuny totally in paper. Using trompe l'oeil and a variety of papers, wonderful dashes of pearlized/metallic acrylic paint and stencils each creation magnificently imitates fabric. I could've sworn that one coat was velvet but everything is paper right down to the beads on the dresses, hats, boots, shoes, pillows, backdrops, curtains and even the hand bags.<\p>We learned from a Museum docent that the clothing creations have chicken wire in between the lining and outer layers of papers to make them free standing. Then they can be shipped in whole without folding or handling too much. The crates must be huge! We also learned that the diaphanous kimono are made from eye glass lens cleaning paper, a spun bond material that is translucent. This is what is used in the picture for the robe over the under dress. The paper is stenciled with a gold pattern on this piece. Can you believe that this is completely made of paper? Isn't that wonderful?
This was a totally eye opening and awesome exhibit. One if my favorite things was the full size tent created from paper. It was like a Morroccan tent draped with opaque and translucent curtains stenciled with patterns. Gold, pierced 'metal' lanterns were hung inside – all made from paper.
Screens and backdrops were draped around the exhibit creating mystery at every turn. The privacy screens were stenciled with Moorish patterns in subtle colors and reminiscent of rugs. Then in the center rectangle the centers of the repeating pattern element were cut out. In some cases, the edges were gilded or painted a contrasting color. Simple and elegant atmosphere for a really wonderful body of work. As Nan said to me when the elevator doors began to open on the exhibit: Prepare to hyperventilate. She wasn't kidding!