Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finding a Voice

Recently I find myself continually simplifying.  I have been learning qigong where we are encouraged not to think, and to listen to the body.  As a long time yoga and meditation practioner, this is not something new, but it has somehow opened a new understanding.  It has seemed to me that spending too much time looking out distracts from finding my own inner voice.  Looking out is so easy, what with internet availability...and often easier than taking time to look in or to do my artwork.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate how wonderful it is to have the world so easily connected and open in so many ways.  We are social beings and connection is important.  I am saying there needs to be a balance, and that is different for each of us.  I am monitoring how I spend my time and reviewing my priorities. 

A related subject on Virginia Spiegel's blog during an interview with Jane Dunnewold.  I found her advice to artists who looking for their creative voice or artistic direction particularly challenging.  Check it out.  You may not agree with what was said, but it is food for thought and reflection.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


"Acceptance is simply the positive acknowledgment of things as they are,
and our willingness to let them be."
-Armand Eisen & Lin Sexton
In 2005 I created the Bhavana Project, based on prayer flags.  I chose "Acceptance" as my inspiration for my first flag in the original set.  Acceptance is not weakness, as it may sometimes seem, nor is it easy to do.  It has the power to bring tranquility as we face ourselves and life with openness.  That is why I wanted share Acceptance with others through this project.  It was, and continues to be, one of my lessons to learn in this life.  There have been so many amazing ideas and images brought in by others since the project's inception.  Do you have something to contribute?

The current set of flags is due to return to me in the next month, ready for another participant.  This set, organized a bit different from the first two, has an overall theme of Peace.  Are you ready to join in?  Or know someone who might like to?  No art background or sewing skills needed.  To learn more, click on the Flag Project page link at the top of this blog. Please let me know of your interest, I would love to have you join in!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A New Quilt Trunk Show...

I had been undecided about creating a piece for the upcoming SAQA 2011 Travelling Trunk Show "This is a Quilt!".  With the deadline looming, I got to sewing.  It proved to be just the right re-entry project for this new year.  Hello, sewing machine!  Nice to be back.

This piece is hand dyed and appliqued.  Once machine quilted, I washed and dried it in the dryer to get textural effects from the shrinkage of fabric and batting (this technique is my current area of exploration).  Hand embroidery and couching finished off the 8" square quiltlet.
The trunk show is designed to showcase SAQA artists, and to help educate the public about the art quilt form.  Selections from the previous trunk show, which I was also a part of, could be requested by guilds and groups for presentation to their members.  I assume this will be the same for the 2011 - 2012 version.  It is a wonderful educational tool, keeping in line with the SAQA mission.  Keep it in mind for your group.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sketchbook Completed

"Wonder"- teabag collage
My book is done and ready to ship back for the Sketchbook Project.  I have some reluctance in letting it go, but that was part of the deal from the start.  My sketchbooks are not usually for the public eye, but are rather personal idea playgrounds.  This is a good lesson in letting go and sharing.  The book will be a part of the national tour, then housed at the Brooklyn Art Library for people to check out and peruse.  I find that a terrific concept.  We had the option to be given a theme, or to choose our own from a list.  I opted for "In 5 Minutes".  Shown here are my painted & printed cover, along with a selection of some favorite pages.  There are more on my Flickr page.
I have to agree with Joanell Connolly, that I would change the paper if I were to do it again, as it did not hold up well to watercolor or mediums.  It was a push to finish up.  Check out Joanell's fun pages!

"Delicate" - teabag collage

With that project done (whew!), I can begin to clean up, clean out and prepare for this new year.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

So 2011 begins...  A friend asked what resolutions I was making for this year.  I don't really set NY's resolutions anymore, it seems too arbitrary to me.  Change is an evolving process that begins slowly, step by step and day by day.  Being clear in the moment is the first step.  Roz Stendahl wrote about it beautifully in her blog.  Looking inward and trusting yourself is good ground to begin on.  I am moving forward in my own way.  Not taking on too many new projects as I have enough on my plate, like SAQA's Visioning Project with ongoing work in progress.  The Sketchbook Project book needs to be completed by the 15th...the opening sketch is shown below.  I am redoing the cover now.  Later in the month I planning on taking Jane LaFazio's online location sketch class through Joggles.
For those of you who are looking for something new, there are many free options out there in the virtual world.  Try the Sketchbook Challenge and work alongside artists Jane LaFazio, Melanie Testa, Jamie Fingal and many more.  There is also Strathmore's online visual journal class.  Many artists have tutorials on their blogs, as well as sketching challenges.  Check out Rose Hughes's blog. 
However you begin this year, may it be with clarity, health and energy!


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