Saturday, February 13, 2016

Iviva Olenick at Old Stone House in Brooklyn...

A few years ago, my friend and fellow artist, Iviva Olenick was working on a project called the Brooklyn Love Exchange.  If you're not familiar with her artwork, she uses embroidery to create a lot of her bittersweet and poignant pieces.  Using fibers and thread, she captures the essence of modern dating and the complications of relationships.  The concept of the 2011 show was that she was creating a map of her embroideries, featuring love stories from around the borough.  She put a call out for stories and created many from the stories she collected.  I think she even had a live event where people would tell her stories and she'd stitch in real time.  I sent her a few.

Recently, she was asked by a curator to show some of the works from that project, but she didn't have enough that were still available.  So she revisited those emails and texts and created a few more!  Here's one of new pieces she made based on one of those stories I sent.  Isn't it delightful?

This piece (along with several others by her) at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn now through June 20th as part of the Partners, Parents, Pets: Contemporary Portraiture exhibit.  The show was curated by Katherine Gressel and features work by Sophia Dawson, Jamie Diamond, Natalie Gruppuso, Meghan Keane, Bayeté Ross Smith, Mónika Sziládi, and of course, Iviva Olenick.  If you're in Brooklyn, check it out!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Sentiment...

Old lace, dirty panes, and unremembered heart pangs.
Forgotten kisses, crumbling roses, and sun-bleached stains.
The dust dances lazily.
It does not ask what came before, only hugs what remains.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 4...

Only two necklaces for Day Four!  It might seem like my creativity and production ability has steadily been on the decline and is drying up, but I've been working in the background on a lot of different pieces.  William has said that I've been working too much and that I'm overdoing it.  I might have to scale back my ambition a bit, because it's only the fourth day of this creative challenge and I'm already starting to feel a little threadbare.  The ideas are there, the energy to do it all... not so much.

Some of the projects that I'm working on in background are new materials and I want to experiment a little more before I start listing things.  I like to troubleshoot and see how things will wear and if I can do something better.  Once I feel confident in them, I'll showcase them.  Also... some of the work I'm doing just takes a long time.  Layers of medium have to dry completely before I can go back on top of them.  These things can't be rushed without ill effect.  With the paintings, I've fallen into this weird bashful protectiveness.  I guess they're so new and raw to me that I am not ready to share them yet nor am I really ready to do process pictures.  The way that I work, I build in secret layers.  Sometimes people see glimpses or catch snippets, but sometimes the viewer can't – but those layers and secrets are still there, just like people.  I'll be posting some small paintings and some larger ones!  Maybe next week!

If you're curious what I've made so far and have listed, CLICK HERE.

I'm on this kick of raiding my stash and utilizing some of my prized beads.  Some of them I've had for a long time and haven't seen the likes of again.  Now, whenever I go shopping for beads and I see something that I love, I snap it up.  I've learned that sometimes if you wait, thinking that you'll go back and it'll be there later, the opportunity will pass you by and you'll kick yourself for years that you didn't get it.  At least that's my experience.  I have a couple of strands floating around in my subconscious, haunting me that I didn't get them when I saw them!

This necklace features a blend of faceted garnets and tourmaline.  There's something about simple-cut that makes my heart go pitter-patter!  I think it's one of the most elegant of cuts, because it allows the gemstone to sing!  Also, with some other cuts, a lot of lovely material gets removed.  This isn't to say that I don't like or won't use other cuts... because I will.  I just happen to love the facets and organic elegance of simple-cut stones!

When I use super nice materials and have fancy clasps, I like to make them as versatile as possible.  With these necklaces, the clasp can be worn in back like regular, or it can be rotated to the side.  This way the wearer gets the maximum usage out of the piece!
These lozenge rubies have long been a prize in my collection!  I was at a show and had just sold a bunch of my work and had a little extra spending money.  I saw them at a friends booth and with the lights shining on them and the facets sparkling, it was like the money in my back pocket burnt a hole straight through!  At the time my face was all flush and I felt slightly feverish and I think I was so happy to acquire them that I felt a little high.  They still make my heart race!  But I'm just a sucker for rubies anyway.  In this piece, I paired the lozenges with faceted ruby rondelles, and faceted ruby rounds!  So juicy!

Keep checking back to see all the things that I've been working on!  And thank you so much for joining me on this creative journey.  It makes my heart light to know that so many people are following along and showing their support!

Fall 2016 Pantone Fashion Color Report...


It's that time of year again!  Pantone has just launched their Fashion Color Report for Fall 2016!  I'm pretty excited!  I love their thoughtful approach to developing their report.  The colors for 2016 have all been about duality, finding a balance between strength and grace.  Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, said, "The desire for tranquility, strength, and optimism have inspired a Fall 2016 color palette that is led by the Blue family. Along with anchoring earth tones, exuberant pops of vibrant colors also appear throughout the collections. Transcending gender, these unexpectedly vivacious colors in our Fall 2016 palette act as playful but structured departures from your more typical fall shades. Blue skies represent constancy as they are always above us. Grays give a feeling of stability, Red tones invite confidence and warmth, while the hot Pinkish Purples and Spicy Mustard Yellows suggest a touch of the exotic."

Personally, I found the spring palette a little challenging.  The spring report included several very saturated, primary colors.  While I can appreciate the strong POPS of color, my color sensibilities tend toward more muted tones.  The fall report features similar hues as the spring one, but in my opinion, delivers more rich and earthy offerings.

To see the full report and to check out their awesome color boards, CLICK HERE.

Dauntless...

Shadow of the sun, voice of the Wild, a memory of strength and light as air grace.
Crowned with branches and a halo of starlight flowers,
standing proud and fearless.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 3...

Today's offerings include five necklaces.  I'm really happy with the way they have been turning out.  Right now, there's something very satisfying about stringing.  CLICK HERE to visit the online shop.  (You'll have to scroll down and go past the necklaces I made for Day One to see the newer necklaces.)

Judging from this yield, it might not look like I've been terribly busy, but I have been working hard on this creative challenge.  The preparations for the paintings that I am in the process of making are somewhat grueling.  While it can be enjoyable work, it is very time consuming, monotonous, and somewhat fickle.  I'm building up layers of collage and am getting them ready to be worked on top of.  While things are drying, I keep my hands busy making new necklaces.

I love lotuses.  I guess I've always been fascinated with how they come up from swampy, muddy puddles and emerge into this thing of beauty.  From humble beginnings, they transform into something otherworldly.

I heard a rumor that there's a guy who grows lotuses and he has some really amazing ones that are super rare and were grown from 2,000 year old seeds.  I'll have to track him down and see them when they're all blooming and splendid!

The designs sometimes appear to be deceptively simple, but don't be fooled!  It takes a lot of moving things around to get the combination just right.  When I lay things out, I usually have an idea of how I want it to look, but how it turns out in the end, well... that can be completely different.  I just play around and swap things out, adjusting proportions, colors, and shapes until they're just right.

While I'm pretty happy with everything that I made during this session, I think this is one of my favorites!  I love how the rock crystal picks up the light and glows. The pearl shimmers with a deep luster.  It is supposed to represent the moon, as the motif on the bronze pendant represents the phases of the moon.

I had to really dig to find the components that went into this piece.  Since the focal has "bubbles" and a grouping of rounds, I thought it might be nice to incorporate coin-shaped beads.  I had to go through box after box to find just the right beads.  I ended up mixing a blend of aquamarine, apatite and freshwater pearls.  I couldn't find any mini coins that would be suitable for this necklace, so I used matte amazonite rounds.  The silhouettes are the same, and give it a nice dimensional shift (without sticking out too much, literally and figuratively)!

This is another one of my favorite pieces from Day Three!  I've been hoarding these aquamarine for years and they are simply perfect for this project.  I love how the stones seem so light and airy, like big open sky.  They compliment the flying bird pendant nicely!

Don't forget, you can see all the things that I make for the Creative heART Challenge by CLICKING HERE.  All of the proceeds made will help us reach our fundraising goal and each sale will take us one step closer.

This project is really kicking my butt, but in a nice way.  To be perfectly honest, I thought it'd be easier.  You'd think after having done 30 day challenges in the past, that I'd be used to the pacing, and know what to expect, but I'm really throwing myself into this and it has been tiring and a true challenge.  Even so, things are starting to fall into place.  The more I create, the more ideas I have and the more creative I feel.  I might be an exhausted wreck by the end, but at least I'll be super creative (and hopefully we'll reach our goal in the process)!

Promise...

Written in the language of the wind by feathered friends,
A snowy script tapped out by toe and beak.
It speaks of winter's end and of flowers yet to bloom.

William's New Blog...

My partner, both in life and in business, has started a new blog!  He said that he was inspired by my current creative challenge to start a blog and update it daily for 30 days.  I encourage you all to take a look and get to know him better!  CLICK HERE to visit (and make sure to root him on during his blogging challenge)!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 2...

One of the fun and slightly scary parts of this creative challenge is raiding my bead trays.  I have a few special trays filled with beads that I love, but rarely use.  They're the beads that I've collected over the years and are either hard to find or have a sentimental value.  Some come from seedy motel rooms along the highway in Tucson or were carefully carried in a backpack from the other side of world by friends who saw them and knew that I'd love them.  I ration them miserly and incorporate them in my designs sparingly... if at all.  Most of them have lived in these special trays for years!

I've really wanted to embrace this challenge as fully and completely as possible and one way that I've attempted to do this is by lessening the restrictions that I place on myself.  I have all these imaginary rules of what I can and cannot do.  Rumi has a great quote that says, "Respond to every call that excites your spirit..."
 
For my offerings for Day Two of the Creative heART Challenge, these beads called to me and I used them in some fun, flirty earrings.  They're super dangly and have a lot of movement.

To see them in the new online shop, CLICK HERE.

What I made today might look a little skimpy, but I promise that I've been working like crazy!  I have done month-long challenges before and know that it can get a little chaotic.  I've never done a challenge quite on this level or scope, but I know that the keys for a successful (and less stressful) experience can be found in doing plenty of prep work, cleaning and organizing along the way, and planning things out.  I have a tendency to spread out and working on five or six projects at once can seem a little overwhelming.  A lot of today's work included getting several projects set up and materials rounded up.

We've just started and I hope you'll keep up with my creative journey!  I have a lot of big plans and hope you'll have fun as I attempt to tackle them!

Guide...

Dark sky, missing moon.
Listen to the thrumming of your heart.
A star to guide, a path to take, a map to follow, a secret place.
Hidden from the hunter.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 1...

Today was the first day of my self-imposed Creative heART Challenge.  If you want to read more about why I started this challenge, CLICK HERE to find out more.

In approaching this challenge, I think one of the most important things that I need to be mindful of is time management.  I thought I had a good start to the project, creating eight new necklaces!  However, creating the pieces isn't enough.  I've got to photograph, edit, and list all the pieces I make.  We are also using this as an opportunity to shift our online store over to the Square Marketplace.  We dearly love our BigCartel shop and think they're a great company, however, we use our Square stand as our POS system and use it to track inventory.  So in an effort to streamline our process and integrate all the moving pieces, we're working – little by little – on moving things over to our Square Market.  This slowed things down as I am getting used to where everything is.  To check out our new online store, CLICK HERE.

But enough about the technical stuff... here's what I made:

This is the last necklace that I made during the session and it's probably one of my favorites.  I have a tendency to hunch over while I'm working, sometimes moving my projects to the floor and spreading out.  It kills my back!  (It didn't used to, but I guess that's another conversation for another day.)  Anyway, my back was killing me and my eyes were bleary and starting to cross from focusing on tiny beads for hours, but I couldn't stop.  I just love the eclectic vibe and how all the different pieces and parts came together.  I was also pleased as punch that I could work with some pretty saturated color, but still keep it on the earthy side.

This is another favorite of the evening!  Labradorite was probably one of my first "stone crushes".  Over the years, I've compiled quite the collection of it.  I'm loathe to use it, because I usually want to keep it, but I decided to cherrypick some of the most lovely stones for this necklace.  I tried to use ones that had lots of flash and glowing inner fire!  This is another piece, that because of the asymmetry and the decorative clasp, can be worn in any number of combinations.

When I started to design jewelry, I came at it from an arts background.  In the early times, I didn't necessarily have the firmest of technical training, but I knew color and texture.  Even in relatively simple designs, working with the elements of design can really elevate a piece.  This is a perfect example of how to work with color for maximum punch.  I used some lovely hessonite garnets and paired them with some lovely kyanite.  If you look at a color wheel, orange and blue are on opposite sides.  Since they are complementary colors, they can be used for a striking juxtaposition.  The blue of the kyanite helps move the eye around and makes the warmth of the garnets more juicy.

When I was growing up, my dad had a statue of Athena.  If you know my dad, you know he's more trucks and tools and less ancient Greek goddesses.  Our relationship is best described as a little strained.  We both march to different beats and while we don't always have a lot in common, we both share the rather unfortunate trait of being overly headstrong.  I think it was particularly hard for him when I was little, because he was raised to be a good ole country boy, and there I was, this rambunctious child always asking questions, showing him pretty rocks, and trying to tell him about a fairy tale I read.  I also think it was hard for him to be around me, because I looked so much like my brother and after my brother went missing, I was a constant reminder of what he considered to be one of his failures in life.  One of my happy memories of my dad was sitting on his lap and pointing to things on the bookshelf.  I'd say, "What's that?"  And he'd tell me stories.  On the shelf was this statue.  He had picked it up as a tourist gift when he was in the military.  It came from a time before me and I was fascinated with it.  Later, I had a ratty copy of Heroes & Monsters of Greek Myth and would pour over the pages, searching for references to Athena.  I discovered that one of the animals that was sacred to the goddess was the owl.  From an early age, I had a connection to owls and they would often times appear to me.  The necklace I made features a bronze pendant inspired by an ancient Greek owl coin.  I thought the rich gold of the bronze would look good with the red of garnets and rubies.  When I'm working, I also like to mix textures.  The owl necklace has natural matrix garnets accented with faceted rondelles and smooth rounds.
  
 I love the bright, impactful green of this necklace.  It reminds me of new leaves emerging from the bleak snow.  This necklace also features a sterling silver hamsa pendant.  If you're not familiar with the hamsa, it's a symbol used for protection and good luck and to ward off the evil eye.  Sometimes there's something deeply satisfying about creating these symmetrical designs.  They say, "Look at the beads."  I think this is a good example of that.  I think the hardest part of these types of necklaces is laying everything out and then stringing all the tiny beads.  Not all the beads fit on the beading wire, so it's sort of like a game of seek and find.  After a long string of beads with too small holes, I sometimes want to cheer when I find one that actually fits!

Do you ever have a piece in your collection that you love, but you just don't know how you'll use it?  I acquired this sterling silver ram's skull pendant and I didn't know quite how I'd use it.  I just finished listening to The Magicians for book club and was inspired to dig it out and use it in this design.  It represents the rams that act as guardian spirits in the world of Fillory.  The base of the necklace is composed of a mix of rubies and sapphires.  If the colors look like a natural match, there's a reason.  Did you know that they're related?  They're both corundum stones and I think the reds of the ruby and the blues of the sapphire compliment each other beautifully.

This necklace features a lot of lovely kyanite.  Kyanite is another of my stone crushes.  I love the chatoyance, or cat's eye effect of the stone.  It reminds me of the ocean, filled with glittering waves.  I created a pattern with the kyanite and tiny labradorite and vintage seed beads.  I like this technique of stringing.  It has a rosary quality to it and I like running my fingers over the mix of larger and smaller beads.  The focal is another hamsa.

The last piece that I'm sharing from the first night of creating for the Creative heART Challenge is this necklace.  It has a blend of kyanite, freshwater pearls and stabilized ruby in kyanite.  Ruby in kyanite is a rather new stone.  Because ruby is a corundum stone, it's much harder than the kyanite.  Working with this formation is tricky.  When the stones are drilled, they can crack and break apart.  When it is cut, sometimes the kyanite material gets removed at a quicker rate than the ruby.  The stabilization keeps it strong and the colors brilliant.

I'm pretty happy with my yield from the first day.  Of course, I'm knockdown tired, but it's a good, satisfying feeling.  Please stay tuned for 29 more days of creations made by me!  You can keep up with what I make here or you can go directly to our online shop and see the things as they are posted there.  CLICK HERE to go to the new online store.  I hope that folks will find pieces they love.  All the money we raise will go directly towards a great deal to acquire more merchandise for the store.  Thanks for joining me on this creative journey!

Protect...

Hold up your hand – from head, from heart.
Close your eyes to harm and hurt.
Turn your face cloudward, and speak your truth.
Go forward without fear, without doubt.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: A Fundraiser for Allegory Gallery...

We recently received an incredible offer to purchase merchandise for the store at an awesome discount.  The question then became... how do we finance this acquisition?  While the shop is doing well, this opportunity was rather unexpected and the expense was larger than we could absorb into our regular inventory budget.  Curious about how we could make it happen, we reached out to our network of friends.  We got a lot of positive feedback – some encouraging us to take out small business loans or do crowdsource funding or host events.  So many great ideas... but were they the right ones for us?  Each of the options had positives and negatives.  I sat down and really thought about it and searched my heart.

As an artist, whenever there has been an obstacle, I've always taken the approach of looking at it creatively.  Sometimes the answer to a problem can be right in front of you... you just have to change your perspective.  With this opportunity, it was no different.  After thinking about it for awhile, I decided that I wanted to use it as a creative challenge.  Recently, I've felt as though I've been in a bit of a slump and have found it hard to feel satisfied with my work.  The answer came in the form of a whisper in my heart and a longing in my spirit, "Embrace this as a creative challenge!  Use it as a catalyst to make this goal manifest!  Follow your muse!  Believe in your creative heart!"

And the idea was born.

Starting on Monday, February 8th, I'll be embarking on a 30-day creative journey and I hope you'll join me.  Each day, I'll post new things that I made.  I'll be making components, finished jewelry, and paintings among other things.  Maybe I'll make one thing a day or maybe many!  I'm not going to set too many restrictions on myself.  I'll use whatever materials strike my fancy and listen to my muses.  I hope that people will enjoy the trip with me and if they are moved by my work, will adopt my creations in the Creative heART Challenge.  We'll use these funds to make our goal a reality and with your support, we will make it happen!


Friday, February 05, 2016

Laying Low...

It has been a little over a month since I last updated my blog.  This is perhaps the longest stretch of time that I've taken away from adding new posts in the 18 years that I've been sharing my thoughts online.  I've missed it.  There's a magic in ordering your thoughts and finding the right words and documenting your process.  Since I haven't been blogging, I've revisited some of my old journals and sketchbooks.  In recent years, I've become an infrequent user of them, and that has been to my detriment.  I find that I am more mindful when I'm utilizing these tools.

I've enjoyed this time to lay low and take time for myself.  Much of my journey as a person and an artist has been very public.  Taking time to ground and get back to me has been extremely valuable.  While I have relished this private time, it hasn't necessarily been easy.  I pride myself on being a working artist, someone who is constantly creating.  While I've made things and kept relatively busy, there were days when I didn't want to get out of bed or do much of anything at all.

I also think that this period of laying low has been an adjustment phase.  Over the past few years, I've built up daily routines and patterns.  Now that some of my roles have changed, I'm sort of finding out where I fit into everything and how I can fully occupy this space I now find myself in.  I've been nesting mentally and physically.

Even though it may not look like much is happening on the surface while I've been dormant, the roots have been growing deep and I'm finally peeking up from snow.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Behind the Scenes at Beads Baubles and Jewels...

video

While I was scrolling through my blog recently, I realized that in the hubbub of moving, I didn't post about my experience of filming for Beads Baubles and Jewels.  I shared a few pictures on Facebook, but I didn't get an opportunity to do so here.  KS Productions, the team that puts together the show, just sent me the edited promo teaser and I thought that was a perfect excuse to write about my time in Cleveland.

Firstly, I have to thank Katie Hacker and the rest of the team that puts together this show.  There are a lot of moving parts and they do such a great job!  Katie is really patient and kind, which is super important for people like me who don't do a lot of filming.  She made me feel at ease and like I was sharing techniques with a friend in the comfort of my own home and not in a studio with a group of people watching me and cameras trained at my every move.

Even though the show is only half an hour long, we crammed a lot in!  I went over how to make your own silicone molds, work with fast-cast resin, finishing your resin pieces, and incorporating them into really cool bezels from TierraCast.

When you're filming a show, even if you've done something a thousand times, things can go awry.  It's not live TV, so there is some room for forgiveness, but just like with any business, time is money and the longer a shoot goes, the more expensive it gets.  So the goal is to keep the takes to a minimum.

I think things went well, but the hypercritical part of my brain sent up a half dozen red flags after I finished... thinking of where I could have phrased things differently or talked about something else or not said something.  Again, it comes with my inexperience with being on film.  Eventually you kind of just have to let go of that and just let it be what it is.  I imagine that the more one does it, the more leeway they give themselves and that preciousness subsides.

Here's a true behind the scenes look at the set.  When you see the show, it's easy to forget what goes on off camera.  There are cameras and (LOTS) of lights, and a bunch of cords and equipment that make the show possible.

All of the process that goes into making a TV show can be a little intimidating, but luckily I was in good hands and the topic I covered was something that I have a lot of experience with.  I've been working with resin for about twenty years now.  (Can it really be that long?)  I first encountered resin at a neighbor's garage sale.  During the 80's, she had made big cardboard earrings decorated with pearlescent puffy paint that were coated in resin.  She was getting rid of her supplies and I just so happened to stumble upon them.  I didn't have enough money for everything, so I got what I could and proceeded to knock on her door once a week with my crumbled up dollar bills and loose change. Eventually, I think she got tired of me and gave me the rest.  I'd like to think that she wanted to encourage my creativity, but more likely, it was to get rid of her pesky neighbor kid.

While my mom was encouraging of us doing crafts, she did not like the idea of anything that could make a mess, particularly anything that could make a sticky mess that would never get out of the carpet.  (There may or may not have been an incident with a bottle of Elmer's glue.)  So I had to work in secret and made a makeshift studio in my closet.  In hindsight, that was probably not the best idea, as it's important to have really good ventilation when working with resin.  Ever since then, I've been fascinated with the material and revisit it often.

Here I am in the green room with a pair of earrings that I made.  I'm a smitten kitten with the bezels from TierraCast.  They add such a nice finishing touch to the resin and the backs are decorated, which is great in pieces with a lot of movement where things have a habit of flipping.
  
It was the last day of filming, so most of the other guests had already filmed their segments.  I was lucky though and got to spend some time with Jill MacKay.  I adore her.  She was doing segments on her new line with Sizzix!  

I had a great time and I hope that they ask me to come back!  This experience has encouraged me to do some of my own videos.  I know that I said that last time I was on the show, but I wasn't really in the position to take on a big new project at the time.  Now that I have a little bit more freedom in my schedule, I think it's a perfect time to explore this medium.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pantone Color of the Year 2016...


I'm usually right on the ball to announce Pantone's newest color of the year, but I got sidetracked with the move and missed the mark.  At this point, it's old news... but I'll announce it again anyway:  The Pantone Color of the Year is... two colors!  Yes, that's right!  For the first time ever, there are two colors!  2016 will be represented by Rose Quartz and Serenity!

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, said, "Joined together Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose one and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace."

The Pantone report also goes on to say that the choice to pick two colors is actually commentary on shifting gender roles and how society is moving toward gender equality.  They are blending colors that are traditionally associated with feminine and masculine roles, showing the blur of modernity.

It is also stressed that the colors were chosen out of necessity.  In the midst of devastating current events, it is more important than ever to find a sanctuary in color to relax and sooth our battered spirits.

I'm quite pleased with the choices and the meaning behind their selections.

I scoured Pinterest and collaged together some images that represent the new Colors of the Year:




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Frost...

If you've read any of the interviews I've done about blogging, there's something that I bring up at least once each time and usually underline its importance: Consistency.  I'm not alone in this.  If you look up any others giving helpful tips on building readership and the like, creating a regular schedule of posting ranks pretty highly.

So... why have I broken this cardinal rule?

Part of that answer is simple.  I've been busy.  I've dove headfirst into nesting in our new home and setting up my studio.  So, whatever spare time I have is spent unpacking boxes and organizing things and rearranging things and repeating as necessary.

The less obvious and more esoteric reason is that I've needed a break.  I've actually needed a break for a long time, but I've felt the pressure of obligations to keep posting and phoning it in.  But that breaks another rule of mine concerning this little online journal of mine: always be genuine.

I don't want to say that I was being disingenuous.  But there was something missing and while there were kernels of good stuff, ultimately, it wasn't a true manifestation of my heart, head, and spirit.  Certainly there were glimmers of each aspect individually, but the trio was hard for me to tap into, because I simply wasn't feeling it.

At first this bothered me.  A LOT.  And then... I went for a walk.

It was still early in the morning and even with our unseasonably (and in my opinion, welcomed) warm weather, frost still glittered on the twigs and branches of last year's garden.  While it was a picture of starkness, I knew it was just sleeping.  It was resting after a profusion of abundance.  There's a price to be paid for an endless summer.  The farmer must let the fields lay fallow in order to allow the land to recharge and become fertile again.  While the frost looks cold and uninviting, it's necessary and it's okay.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

One Last Sunset...

As we packed the final box into the car, slightly cramming it between the cleaning products and the vacuum cleaner, the sun set behind the ridge.  We closed the door and drove away.  The deer we used to watch out the window while sipping our morning coffee, paraded past one last time.  William reached over to pat my knee.  He asked, "Are you happy in your heart?"

And I said, "I guess so."

While it is certainly time that we move on into our own home, it is bittersweet.  When we first moved to Pennsylvania, we were battered and wilted.  The hustle of the city had worn us both down, and we desperately needed to reset and recharge... and the place that we called home for six years did that.  We walked through the woods, ran through the tall grasses, and gingerly tiptoed across babbling streams.  When I was recovering from my cancer surgery, too tired and in pain to move around, I would sit in front of the window and stare for hours, counting bluebirds and watching dozens of purple martins comb the yard for worms.  I watched the drunken rise and fall of swallows feeding their families.  I would trace the serpent of mist hovering over creek, snaking through the landscape, a breathy beast.  In our postcard view, we experienced the ever-changing seasons.  The walls and roof sheltered us, our tears and our laughter.  Even though it was time to go, we called this piece of earth and sky our home.

So, while I'm truly happy to be in our own place and am so excited for all the things to come, part of me will miss all those sunrises and sunsets on the ridge.  A little bit of me will miss sitting on the deck at twilight, sipping blueberry wine and watching the bats flutter.  I will miss wrapping up in blankets, rushing out to stand in awe of the night sky, seeing stars fall and wishing for exactly what we have right now.

As we drove away, chasing the sunset down the driveway, I didn't look back.  Instead I looked ahead into the fading light of day, wondering what to make for dinner in the place we now call home.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Getting Back to Me...

I'm sitting at my desk in the room in the new house that will be my temporary studio.  I am surrounded by boxes and half assembled furniture.  It's a daunting task to go through everything, to find homes and places for all the little things.  I'm not deterred though.  It is a good feeling and one that I'm relishing.  I am a bird building a nest.

There is potential here.  I can feel it like the fast-beating pulse of blood behind skin.  I can almost see it, like shimmering rivers behind the walls. All I have to do is reach out and grab it, plucking it like a squirming, silvery fish.

The truth is... I've been blocked lately.  That river of energy has been just a bit out of reach.  While I could press myself up against it, trying to submerge myself in the quick moving currents, I simply couldn't.  I laid floating on the surface, on the verge of losing myself in act of creation.  This is not to say that I've been devoid of creativity or that I have been sitting stagnantly... I have been making things.  It's just not the same.  It's kind of like the difference of running through the pine grove of my youth, screaming and laughing, chasing after friends and friends chasing after you... and running in the rain, getting drenched, trying to drag your suitcase and flag down a fleet of unstopping taxi cabs to get to your next destination.  One is an act of joy and the other is an act of necessity.

As I unpack the boxes, I'm also unpacking our new life.  We've had some big changes recently.  We've found our new home and William has moved over to the store full-time.  And I am... I am getting back to me.

While I have loved being at the store and meeting so many great people, I think that after awhile I was losing touch with myself.  I got caught up in things like restocking bags, answering emails, and trying to build up the business as best I could.  And while I did it and did it for years, it wasn't the right fit.  My strengths lie in making things, finding things, and telling stories.  Until William could really devote all his attention to the store, I've sort of been trying to cover all the bases, running back and forth.

Before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion... I'll still be involved with the store.  It's my baby and I'll still be at the brick and mortar on a regular basis.  I'll just be focusing the majority of my energies on creating and acquiring new things and developing more online content and connection.   We'll also be working on separating the idea of me and the brand of the store.  Over the years, those things have gotten muddled and have become interchangeable.  As I scroll back through my blog, I've noticed that it has become less of a chronicle of my journey as a creative person and more about the things we do at the store.  While fun and still engaging, I've also noticed that my posts have become fewer and less frequent.  I guess somewhere in all the things I've had to do to make the store a success, part of my personal journey had to go into hibernation.  It has been a trade off that I've been happy to make, but I'm looking forward to refocusing a little on myself.

The changes ahead are a little frightening.  I've gotten so used to doing things a certain way and people have grown used to my haphazard methods.  I think it'll be a good change though and a needed one.  This will allow us to grow, not only as a business, but personally I'll be able to tap back into that potential and explore more of the things that make me happy and bring me joy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Anniversary...

Eight years ago something special happened.  In the grand scheme of things, of drifting continents and colliding stars, a date might not seem that important... but for me, it started a wonderful journey with someone I love and appreciate very much.   I could not have known then that it would profoundly and irrevocably alter my life.  It has been a good life and I am deeply grateful that the stars aligned and brought us together.  These eight years, filled with an abundance of experiences and brimming with memories, have flashed by in the blink of an eye.  Happy anniversary, William.  Here's to many more years and many more happy memories together!