Making a Video!

November 11, 2014

I know I have been rather quiet of late… I am in the midst of my wonderful, new project: teaching online for Craftsy.com. I have been in the pre-production phase for many weeks now. What does that mean? It involves creating a 7 part video first. The video comes down to figuring out what is important to teach, how to say it and show it as well as creating the pieces that show the methods on the way to the end result in at least 3 steps plus the finished piece: so think 4 pieces for each 'chapter' or segment. Wow. That's busy!

We film the video next week! I'm so excited to do this! But here is what happens as an artist: cycles of pure confidence in what I know and can teach but then…a crises of confidence: consuming nervous anticipation that I'll be a total flub on camera. It's crazy. Where does this come from? I know what I know. I can only be me. They can edit, stop, start, reshoot, edit and did I mention EDIT? BREATHE! It'll be fun. REEEEALLLLY!

 
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Happy Sun Storm Seattle!

 

Bead Fest Texas

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?

 

 

Do you feel a rant coming on? You should. I don't get how iOS and iPad technology can be so sophisticated and yet still so stupid. Two things I find incredibly annoying: my 2 year old iPad is no longer supported by Apple and I can't print or email just one sheet of a multi-sheet database from Numbers on the iPad. Really? Has no one in all of the Apple company never needed to email a single sheet from a database? What the heck do they do over there? How can this be?

Every time I want to send just page 3 as a PDF it ends up being pages 1-12 in the PDF. I have to direct people to specifically look at page 3 – and oh, sorry you have to wade through all that other stuff… I find this unbelievably lacking the usual cleverness of the oh so prescient Apple overlords. I can see how this would create quite a few problems all around in business. Imagine having a product list and wanting to keep your wholesale and retails prices with the product lists – oh but wait, you can't do that if you ever wish to email just one of the price sheets.

We paid more for this iPad than I've spent on a computer and because of the glaring omissions I still have to have a computer? I often tell people how I do everything on my iPad – and I do. Yes, I have an 'old' iPad but I run an art center, do scheduling and bookings, finances, email, contracts, sign contracts, fix photos, create promotional pieces, shop, book travel, pay bills, read, and so much more but if I want to email one sheet of my database I have to either save it out as a PDF, then take that PDF into PDF handling program and delete the unwanted sheets OR email the spreadsheet as an Excel file, pick up the email on my PC, then send out the wanted page from my PC email program. It makes me think of the old joke: how many hippies does it take to change a lightbulb? So how many steps does it take to email a single sheet of a database?

 

Gluten Free Pancakes!

July 26, 2012

Well, being a wheat free person does have some advantages now thanks to all the new gluten free products – and thanks to THE gluten free pioneer for food: Betty Hagman. It never ceases to surprise me how much innovation begins in Seattle. Betty Hagman lived in the Seattle area…we're famous for our B's: Betty Hagman, Bill Gates, Boeing and then there's Amazon among other letters of the alphabet here.

Anyway, speaking of B's (oh please see how ingenious this segue is!), Bisquick has gotten on the gluten free bandwagon. Of course, always wishing for the days when I used to be at home and bake a lot as a Mom, I saw the recipes on the GF Bisquick and thought I would try it out. Bisquick always reminds me of the day I discovered dumplings. I had never had them, didn't even know what they were made of, until a friend brought us chicken and dumplings at a particularly difficult family time. Oh my! Such comfort food. When I learned what I had been missing I set out on a mission to make my own good dumplings. It was one of the few times I made a particularly gluey mess in my kitchen. But being determined, I eventually settled on using Bisquick to make dumplings. They weren't as tasty as my friend's lovely light dumplings but it was the best I could do considering what a mess I made on my own. I think the Bisquick had too much baking soda in it because it had that flavor. But nevertheless, I persevered and there were some good, hearty chicken and dumpling dinners at our table of a winter evening.

Since I had to stop eating wheat I haven't had any dumplings and the only pancakes I've had were the corn ones my Father used to make for me when I would stay the weekend. So there on a shelf was a box of promise in the guise of gluten free Bisquick. I quickly read the box to see what was really in it and if it would be as easy to employ as the regular Bisquick. It seemed to imply the same ease. I finally had the chance to try it this last week or so, first as a dredge for oven 'fried' chicken and today as pancakes. The dredge was good and made me hopeful… The pancakes were AWESOME! I made some blueberry pancakes and let me tell you: they were light, fluffy and wonderfully tasty topped with 100% maple syrup. Now I'm encouraged to make dumplings!

Artist’s are always saying ‘I just want to make stuff’. It’s not so easy sometimes. I’m sure we all know that I had my arm reconstructed. Things have been improving over this last year and a half until…this last month or so. I was beginning to think I undid my surgery somehow, (hauling luggage?). Then last week I get a hard painful lump right under some of the smaller incision scars that I have. By the next day the thing is standing up like a cartoon lump on Popeye’s head. Ahh, so that’s where this pain has been coming from. What to do? My Dr tells me it’s a ganglion cyst and to see my hand surgeon this week. Really? Again? And here I have all these trips going this year, hauling luggage and equipment. When will there be time to deal with this?

Of course I’ve backed off from using my hand but carrying everything on one side throws out my back. Sigh. I just want to make stuff.

Snow in March?

March 5, 2012

Okay, I’m sure no one is looking for my blog posts anymore after all the lag time between posts. Life is busy and there’s just so much to do: teaching, mentoring artists, travel teaching which has a lot of details that go with it, and I’m running the EDGE program right now. I just got back from Tucson two weeks ago and I leave soon for Santa Fe to teach at Bead Fest. Then my EDGE students graduate. Beyond that I’ll be off to Wild at Heart Studios on San Juan Island, WA, Bead Fest Spring in Philadelphia, Clay Fandango in the Orlando area, and I can’t even think where else right now. I just put one foot in front of the other, looking at the next thing and not all the rest. I don’t get overwhelmed that way.

So yeah, it snowed at my house today. More snow in Seattle? Really? So I made a little Snow Door Guardian to greet my guy when he got home. It was a silly moment of creativity. It was fun, cold and reminded me of being a kid in the snow. It also reminded me of how every moment was not planned but my time was still full. As a kid I didn’t have to work, of course, but it reminded me to remember to stop once in awhile, to take the time to just play. So remember to do just that. Take some time to play every day.

 

   With the way that I am I’ve found that usually wherever I am is where I want to be.  It’s the ‘getting there’ part that’s hard.  It may be because I have a lot of disruption in my life due to traveling to teach or I have an issue with transitions that I haven’t really looked at, I’m not sure.  However once I get to where I’m going I’m fine.  It could be I just hate to leave home…=)

  I’ve been working on just being glad I am here wherever that might be instead of looking at all the things I wish I were doing or could be.  In other words, there is a point to be made for just really looking at where you are and making the most of that.  Does this make sense?  It’s okay that your work isn’t earth shattering Monet level or on the lips of every person on the planet.

    The American culture has a preoccupation with being famous.  It’s obvious to me now that this comes back to seeing oneself as special.  If others see you as special then there’s the proof that you are.  But guess what?  You should know this without that external validation.  If you love your art then that’s enough.  So if you find yourself envying others that ‘seem’ more visible, become more visible to yourself.  The rest will follow.  I can tell you from experience that having people know your name in a random elevator is not a comfortable position to be in.  Think about it: you don’t know them but they ‘know’ you.  It’s actually disconcerting especially at night when away from home.  And what is it that these people ‘know’ about you anyway?  I mean really.  So understand that being known shouldn’t ever be a goal.  It’s so much better for your work to be what’s known, isn’t it?

I work with artists just about every day of every week.  I see where and why people are either successful artists or not.  I can tell you that it really comes back to some simple fundamentals.  I know the advice I offer may seem overly simplistic but I can’t tell you how many times in a day I see what I’m talking about.  And really, if you can’t get the fundamental basics under your belt how far can you really get to where you want to go?  It’s like sitting in a perfectly good car but not stepping on the gas pedal.  If you don’t step on that gas pedal you’re not going to get very far, are you?  You’re just going to sit in this fine car thinking: wouldn’t it be great if this went somewhere? 
 So what do I see almost every day across the board that would be considered a fumble rather than a successful play?  Artists missing a deadline and still wanting consideration in spite of the fact that there are those that took that extra effort to be on time and meet that deadline.  Artists having everything but a critical piece of information, paperwork, a date, or a business card. When someone is interested in your work and you don’t have something to give them to remember you by or to contact you for follow up, how will that contact turn into a successful scenario for you?  Anyone ever read The Grasshopper and the Ants? 
Your success requires your commitment to work for it.  It’s that simple.  Once the commitment is made, everything else follows because it becomes a no brainer to have a business card, supply all requested information, meet that deadline you’re really interested in.  But commitment requires constant investment.  So what are you investing in today, this minute?  Tomorrow?  Next year?  If you aren’t investing in your success, who will?

Shark Infested Holidays

December 17, 2011

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve actually been using my time to create art! Yup. Oh! And funny thing: remember Sharky Shark’s Christmas List right before Thanksgiving? First on his list was was an Air Swimmer remote controlled shark balloon. Well, we went to Thanksgiving at my brother’s house and after a really fine meal, lo and behold, my niece pops out from elsewhere walking behind an actual Air Swimmer Shark! It was hilarious. We imagined talking it onto the ferry and having it swim out of the elevator. Oh that would be funny! So the Monday after T Day I was telling two friends about the Air Shark and showing them pix from my phone. They liked the idea so much that we ended up at Toys R Us and buying two of them. J.T. shark, as my Air Swimmer is known, is living down at ArtWorks, the little art center I run. There are really high ceilings there unlike my house. That’s a good thing and also a bad thing. I was introducing JT to my Monday morning printmakers. I have a bit of a tether on JT because I’m afraid that there might be something up in the rafters that could puncture JT. I was also a little worried that if he got up that high I might not be able to bring him down… Well, the goof got away from me when I was showing the printmakers how he swims and stuff. Then our ancient but steadfast Reznor heater came on and blew JT up above one of the lights! I have a little note on his tether stating: Meredith’s Pet Shark Do Not Tamper:He Bites! Which was very worthy when I have him corralled in the office but out in our Great Room, NOT. The not caught in the chain that the light hangs from. I had quite a time trying to maneuver JT out of that position and once out, trying to being him low enough so someone could grab the tether. She was jumping trying to catch the darn thing and JT was moving along. Good thing the heater wasn’t on at the moment or capture would have been very elusive, indeed. So JT is gently bobbing in my office until his next outing. We’ve found the funniest thing is to have him swim back and forth in front of the windows at ArtWorks. From the outside it looks we’re underwater inside! It’s hilarious. Pictures are coming when I can get my Blogsy app to work…