Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Theme Thursday - Creativity

I have to thank my friend Quinn McDonald, Creativity Coach and more, for the idea of Theme Thursday she started at the Creativity Incubator to which I belong (see the link to it on Quinn's blog in the sidebar).

Creativity has been on my mind a lot this year, what it is, how it works, what it does for us, etc. So today I'm sharing links with you to some blog posts and websites I've discovered either thru Twitter or from blogs and references as I have found time to travel around the internet.

I'm going to reference Quinn's blog once again to show you another example of my creativity. I created a stole for her to wear when she does weddings - see some wedding pics here. Quinn is in the sunglasses and the stole is that long blue fabric with the colorful waves on it. It is all hand-dyed rayon and I had a blast creating this for her. Ok, enough about me and on to more stuff about creativity.

1. I found Ken on Twitter where he is known as @mildlycreative and I love visiting his blog, Mildly Creative, because he talks about some aspect of creativity on a regular basis. This link will take you to his post of July 28th titled 'Develop a Should-Free Lifestyle'. If you allow yourself to be creative, and especially if you don't, this is a highly recommended read. I think many of us get caught up in 'how art should be', how we 'should' do it, how it 'should' look. But I find that my most creative and free moments are when I let go of those 'shoulds' and simply do something, without worrying about how it 'should look', just letting it emerge. So in whatever way you choose to express your creativity, and acknowledge it, this post is worth your time.

2. I am one who 'knows' (this is that intuitive knowing) that the things I create, whether it is the poems I write, the quilts I create, or the jewelry I make, that those ideas come thru me in the still moments. This blog post on 'The Top Ten Reasons to Start Meditating Today' that I came across today as I was looking for more information on creativity, talks about the benefits of meditation - for our bodies, minds and creative selves (see #6 on the list). I know some people think it is some type of odd practice or have negative images about it, and that's too bad. I meditate sporadically and every time, I wonder, 'why don't I do this every day?'. It helps me sleep when I do it at night, I think because it quiets my mind, which seems to run constantly. So check this article out, and if so moved, find out some more about the many different ways there are to meditate. I think of creativity as a kind of 'moving meditation', much like my Tai Chi instructor describes that practice as a 'moving meditation' as you are focusing your energy and quieting your mind. Enjoy.

3. I've known for a while that creativity has healthy benefits, so when I stumbled upon this article by Kay Porterfield on 'How Creativity Heals' I thought it would be perfect to share with you.

4. Rick is another person I discovered on Twitter, he is known as @rickdibiasio and I now visit his blog, The Affluent Artist, regularly. I find his posts inspiring because they are very 'real life'. His post of July 29th titled 'True to Your Core Values' made me realize that I don't need to apologize to myself for having a 'day job'. Truly, I work for art supplies and classes I'm that enhance my skills and my technique base. His posts are encouraging, practical and invite you to examine the way that you think. Have fun there.

My belief: creativity is not something you 'get', it is something you become aware that you have and allow more of as you go thru your life. You can learn and practice many techniques that help you express it, but it is there, in you. Creativity is present every time you solve a problem, creativity is present in the the work you do, the way you choose your clothes. Creativity is present in many areas in your life and your expression of it does not have to 'measure up', the benefits are in the process.

Creative expression is helping manage the stress of a full time job, attending graduate school for a masters degree through Capella University (2 more classes to go after this quarter), as well as managing diabetes and the stress of it. Once I started grad school, I quickly discovered that I could choose to be the stressed out student who has no fun and higher blood pressure, or the smarter student who nurtures her soul through hands-on creative adventures. Even if I only spend 15 minutes on something, my soul is taken care of during that 15 minutes and my to-do lists are easier to get through on a daily basis.

That's it folks. Comments are welcome and appreciated. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of this. Thanks so much for visiting.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Artist Open House, July 19, 2009

Sunday afternoon, 113 degrees outside. The sign on the door says, Please Come In. As you step into the house and feel the cool air, you notice the tables draped in black cloth are arranged with pieces that delight the eyes. You are greeted by two or three ladies who invite you to make yourself at home, take advantage of the refreshments and snacks in the kitchen and feel free to ask any of them questions as you take in the variety of handmade items that are being presented by the six artists you will meet as you admire their wares.
(The Creative Six - L to R - Julia, Dawne, Cindy, Roz, Rendy & Debi)

Creatively hand painted silk scarves, handmade journals with unique fabric covers and beautifully wire-wrapped gemstone pendants are to your right, all created by Rosaland Hannibal.

The left side of the living room has a table of cleverly created mixed-media artwork on canvas and wood by Debi Siegert,

Next to Debi you see the creative variety of jewelry using seed beads, gemstones and more by Rendy Garello,

Completing the grouping in the living room are fascinating and beautiful pieces of dichroic pendants, earrings, and wine stoppers created by Cindy of DragonFly Arts.

But your journey through this creative and cool oasis in the desert is not quite finished. As you move away from Cindy’s table and enter the dining room area, your eyes are treated to more beautiful glass creations. Dawne Hennessey has arranged a wonderful assortment of fused, slumped and kiln-worked glass bowls, free standing sculptures and other items. Her work can be viewed at .
And of course your eyes are also treated by the cleverly arranged and presented work of our incredible hostess, Julia. You notice that Julia’s jewelry incorporates dichroic glass, etched metal and wire in very creative ways. Her card tells you that more of her work can be found at .

Wow, time for a glass of ice cold tea or maybe a glass of wine as you chat with the artists and other guests and try to decide which items will go home with you . . .

This was such a fun, relaxed and comfortable event for the six of us and, it seems, our guests. It is always exciting when people find just the thing(s) they want and/or need for themselves or as a gift. There is nothing like knowing your artwork, in whatever form, is in the hands of those who appreciate and cherish it. What a blast!

As always, comments are welcomed and very much appreciated.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fabric Painting & Dyeing

Painting on fabric is an adventure that requires a bit of courage, a willingness to risk making a mess of the thing. A willingness to keep going until you really know you are finished. I started painting on fabric about a year, or so, ago. And I still have to let go of, or better yet, push aside the ‘but, what if I mess it up’ thoughts that are always at the ready.

A few weeks ago I took a class on ‘baggie dyeing’. No, not dyeing the baggies but using them to hold the fabric dyes and pieces of fabric. I promise I’ll get back to the painting in a moment. I already know how to dye fabric but this instructor, Adrienne Buffington has been dyeing fabric for years and I have her book, ‘Hand-Dyed Fabric Made Easy’, published in 1996 by That Patchwork Place. I believe it is out of print but may be available again soon. The class interested me because Adrienne is fun to be around and because I was interested in the stuff that never makes it into the books, the stuff she has discovered from her experiments and mistakes (yes, everyone makes them, that is where the learning is) that good instructors are always willing share with their students. The class was fun and I learned a lot.

Thankfully, I have developed the ability to separate the ‘shoulds’ that show up in my head (these are sometimes known as expectations) from the results of the dyeing (and other pieces of art). I forgot to mention that this type of dyeing also requires patience, or at least the ability to distract yourself with other things while you wait anywhere from 2 to 24 hours, or longer, before you take your fabric from the baggies, rinse it, wash it and see how it turned out. Please believe me when I say, you really don’t know the result until you’ve run it through a couple of cycles in the washer. My fabrics turned out wonderfully. Mind you they were not necessarily the colors I was expecting them to be and they had excellent texture – see photos below of a sampling.

I said all of that about dyeing fabrics to get to the fact that I decided to use some of my pieces for painting. When I hesitated about using this piece of fabric, I had to remind myself that I can always make more. And since hand-dyes come out differently each time, each piece is always a surprise, like a Christmas gift; you get what you get and can choose to be thankful and happy with what you get, or not. Need I say that choosing thankful and happy makes life much easier? However, it is easy to forget this option.

I tend to make up what I paint as I go, in terms of what colors to use, in which order and with which ‘texture’ tools – I’ve gotten really good at just going with the feeling and letting it flow (also a much easier life choice at times). So I took the piece I preferred the least, and started painting. Here is the result:

See, it was worth the risk, I didn't mess it up at all. I will admit to wandering around my apartment looking at various household items and stuff in my stash of tools to see what might ‘work’ for a particular project. I made good use of a stencil, a hair pick, a mask (which is a sticky version of a stencil), and sequin waste. I try to keep these ‘tools’ in their own clear plastic container labeled ‘tools’ and most times I am successful in keeping them there.

The paints were a happy surprise as I decided I would finally open the jars of Stewart Gill Paints that I bought last year at Art Unraveled. I also used some Lumiere paints. The Stewart Gill paints are marvelous and they have the added advantage of being rather transparent (the Alchemy line) so that whatever you paint over still shows thru – helps create a nice ‘layered’ effect, in my opinion. Their Alchemy line of paints are also ‘interference’ colors so you get a different look depending on your angle of view. I love them and now will save up to get some more. They are expensive but very much worth it. They worked beautifully on this piece of fabric.

I’m actually quite happy with this piece and part of it is now on the cover of a composition journal that I am donating to Art For the Homeless, which is an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the homeless in America. I discovered this group on Twitter.

Here is another composition journal I am also donating. This one is covered in a piece of commercial batik fabric with paper & wire embellishments.

Links in order of mention in this post:
Stewart Gill Paints – read about them here
Note: A Google search will bring up some vendors that sell these in the U.S.

Art Unraveled – a yearly ‘creative’ conference/gathering held yearly here in Arizona

Lumiere Paints – a line of Jacquard paints -

Art4TheHomeless –

As always, thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment if you have time or are so inclined. I never worried about leaving comments until I started this blog, now I realize it is part of the connection that people who blog seek with the world. So I thank you in advance :-).


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