Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hope



I thought Halloween was the perfect day for a black hole called hope. Hope is a piece that I designed for the Black and White gallery show at Strolling Village Artisans. Hope was hand embroidered using two strands of black thread and gold metallic thread for the hand and the threads emanating from the hand. It is one of my favorite pieces as in life, I think all of us have those black hole days when only our hand is sticking out looking for life and hope.

It's funny sometimes we have to look backwards just to see how far we've come. Hope kind of does that on a personal level and an artistic level. It was my first real piece that I thought was art. Others may beg to differ but it was truly my first attempt at self expression. Before Hope I stitched things that other people thought were art and they were symbolic and quite beautiful but not very self expressive. Hope truly explains me better then any other piece before and any other piece since.

Hope also expresses my inner feelings. If you've read my blog you know that my life has been filled with tragedy and death, but I've always had hope. Always just a little bit of optimism that life would be better if I just let it. And truthfully I'm glad I had hope because without it I wouldn't have the wonderful life I have now in a place that gives me peace, love and opportunities.

So while I share my hope with you on Halloween day I hope your inner monster becomes your inner princess and you find hope if you may need it.
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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Threads

I do not know much about science nor physics but I must say I've been very interested in the string theory. the string theory says that everything is connected by invisible threads. I've recently uncovered one of those invisible threads. My mother was a young girl when her father left. My grandmother remarried a wonderful man and for all intensive purposes, he was her father and my grandfather. My mother did keep in touch with an Aunt and she told me about this when I was a teen. She showed me a card that her aunt had written and that was the last time I heard of the aunt or the card. I vaguely remember seeing it after my mother's death in 1983 but that's where the story ends or at least so I thought. A couple of weeks ago as I was working in my craft room (or in artist words my studio) I happened to look on the floor and there was the card. My heart skipped a beat as I read the card, recently I have been thinking about the family I have that I don't know and low and behold a card I haven't seen in 20 years ends up on the floor in a house I moved into 5 years ago. I had tried looking up the last name previously to no avail because I had spelled it incorrectly. So I googled the name and found a blog which I will not mention here unless something more comes of it and found a remarkable man who is my second cousin. What a lovely man with so many characteristics my mother had, smart outspoken and nice. From reading his blog I could tell that he was related to my mother, I can't explain how I just knew it.

I was going to write him a letter and as you know if you've been reading my blog I've been a wee bit busy so I called him. He was my mother's cousin and he sounds like such a nice lovely man. We talked for a while and said we will speak again. I truly hope so but even it never happens I have found an invisible thread connecting me with someone who has proven the string theory. That even though we are not directly connected to someone the similarities of our lineage can never be broken. The invisible threads connect us.

It really doesn't have too much to do with my blog, but somehow I felt it necessary to share the story. As a fiber artist I spend a lot of time thinking about threads and stitches and how they connect two totally different things or combine them together. It was an interesting life lesson for a thread artist. Hopefully there will be more to the story but just knowing of the connection might be enough.

Blessings to you and yours, keep stitching.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wonderful day at the coop

Today was a wonderful day at the coop. We had lots of customers and I was able to hear wonderful comments about my embroidered pieces without people knowing who I was. I love the fly on the wall aspect of the coop. Eventually I told them who I was and they were still very complimentary but being able to hear comments about your work when people do not know you are the artist is fabulous.

One of the customers said they could not tell my work was embroidered until they got up close that it looked like a painting. Someone else told me my work was unique and that I should continue along those lines(she was looking at my tree which I have moved up to the first page). I love what I do and I used to hate to sell it, I am not very good at tooting my own horn so I used to get very nervous at craft shows. I am usually very at ease with people I don't know but the craft shows used to bring out the worst in me. Either I would talk too much or talk too little. Now I bring my embroidery projects with me and they keep me calm and keep the nonsense chatter to a minimum.

Also I am learning how to talk about the work I do and the process behind it. I am still trying to figure out the process but I can now explain it in a way that makes me comfortable discussing it. I have also learned how to respect my work which I'm sure many people can relate to. Sometimes we are uncertain of our talents especially if we've had them since we were young. Well let me say I was uncertain of my talent since I have been embroidering and knitting since I was about 6 years old and I'm considerably older then that now. It is only in the last year and a half that I have started using my work as self expression. I have always designed my own work but it used to be just something I did. Now it is an opportunity for the threads and the yarn to move me and speak through me. It amazes me when the people who look at it can see that movement and my thread voice.

Well I guess I have been tooting my own horn a bit too much this evening but it was such an extraordinary day as an artist in the coop that I could not let it pass without mentioning it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Howdy Folks!

I've made a couple of changes to my blog and added some pictures to my start up page. I had previously shared my funky purse and transformation elsewhere in the blog but as the blog changes daily they fell into the atmosphere.

I'm still working on the Christmas project and a knit bag. I dropped my work off yesterday at the Albany Shaker museum so if you are in the neighborhood drop on by. They really have a wonderful selection of artists and gifts for the holidays. The Christmas fair is open from Saturday, October 27, to Thursday December 20th. There is also a wonderful feeling to the meeting house. I guess that is because they used to have church meetings in there. The Shaker philosophy is an interesting one too and I feel a kinship with the shakers of old whenever I am there. Hands and hearts working together. Isn't that what we do now?

I've also had something very exciting happen but really don't want to discuss it until I'm sure where it's going. It has something to do with my beginnings. I'll leave it at that. I hope everyone is happy and stitching.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Men

How can one describe men on a blog about needlework? Infuriating. It seems men have a real problem seeing needlework as a job or being an artist as a job. I may not make any money at it but it doesn't mean I don't work. I work very hard trying to express myself in thread but sometimes I think it's necessary to express myself in words too. I am getting just a wee bit sick of the idea that one can just turn creativity off and on like a lightbulb or that one can schedule their work like a normal part time or full time job. Or that one can do all those housewifely duties all day long and then fit their life's work into a ten minute relaxation period after Oprah.

It ain't easy being a woman, unless of course you are a woman who is alone(and not too sure if that would be any fun when I'm not pissed off). Men have such stereotypical ideas about what their wives should be, whether they work in the home or out of it, we just don't get no respect.

I have been busy working on a christmas embroidery project for the coop, some crocheted ornaments instead of cross stitch ones, 2 different purses. The list is long. Not to mention the dinner, the lunches, the breakfasts, and the bathroom. So what is a woman's work? How do we balance our lives and our spouses our children our houses and most of all the work we love? How do we make enough money doing the work we love,expressing ourselves through our work and not really make enough money to say compete with a job as a cashier in Walmart? I haven't quite figured it out yet(obviously) and I also haven't quite figured my husband out(obviously) but I do know I've come to far to turn back now.

So off I go the stitchatorium and I'll be back soon. I think I'm going to change the first page of my blog so if you read this come back and tell me what you think. Thanks for reading Happy Stitchin

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Enjoying Myself

Well after going bananas for weeks making ornaments and eyeglass cases and a cross stitch pillow(gasp how I hate the cross stitch pillow but it helps me on the road to my millions) I have been completely enjoying simple garter stitch knitting which doesn't really look very simple and embroidering a Christmas project that doesn't really say Jingle Bells I am in a much better mood. It'll be a little while before pictures.

I probably wrote this a long time ago but the new me is much different then the old me but I'm kinda having a hard time letting the old gal go. This entire year has been a year of change for me. I am about a month away from the first time I entered the artist coop I belong to. When I showed up there I had my closet work. By closet work I mean the most interesting things I made that were in various levels of unfinished in my closet. I was stuck in embroidered ornament land probably permanently had I not taken a leap of utter madness.

Well I don't know how but they accepted my work and me into the coop. I spent the first 3 or 4 months there trying to convince myself I belonged and that I was an artist. Now I can look at all of my work in the coop and say it is art and some of my work at my craft shows and say they are art but I'm still hanging out with that little crafty gal that makes a bunch of knick-nacky cheapity things. I can't seem to let her go. As I mentioned the other day I think she gave me a gentle shove the other day saying I can go on without her and succeed where ever I sell my artistic work but I kind of have to let the crafty girl go.

So the last couple of days I've been working on my Christmas piece for the coop and my knit bag of many colors. I think I am finally finding my style. A friend from the coop told me that it is important to find your own style. And frankly that was some of the best advice for me. So sooner or later I will frame the unframed and take pictures of everything else and I'll really start sharing my work. And you can at least be visually interested reading my perplexing journey from craft girl to fiber artist. Keep stitchin.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose

That seems to be the theme of my life these days. Winning and losing but what is really winning and what is really loss? My craft show went kaput. All my craft shows this year have been a little slower then I would like it. On the winning side, I didn't sell any of my ornaments so now I don't have to make them anymore this year(and probably still will have to somewhere down the line but a girl can dream can't she). On the winning side I sold a knit purse. I love to knit but now that I have become an artist and want to have a body of my work. I haven't really been allowing myself to knit very much because embroidery well it's my gift from God. I'm a really good knitter but I am an artist when it comes to my embroidery. The embroidery comes from the soul but I have to be truthful I love to knit bags. I probably could make millions of them if I just let myself go.

So maybe that is the lesson, letting myself go. Be happy. Knit the bags in beautiful colors, stuff the ornaments you don't really want to make but you sell(not all the time I suppose). My work has always been a battle with myself until the coop. I have finally dug deep inside me and realized I love what I do and the world is much too short to waste it doing things you don't really want to do. So if the universe doesn't mind I hope I can hold out on making ornaments so that the very last one is my very last one for this season anyway and I can continue to knit purses and embroider pieces that explain who I am in a way better then I can explain myself.

So in the end I guess you can say I lost the part of me that was profitable(at least the old me), but instead I found something much more important. Me. In the moment in the now. Now I'm going to go start knitting another purse. Happy stitching.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have been super busy getting ready for a craft show on Saturday. Embroidering, embroidering, embroidering. It's one of my favorites so I hope it is a beautiful day. It's supposed to be quite cool and for some reason cool weather brings the people out.

A couple of years ago it was so warm people were gardening in October and even into November so as crazy as the weather has been maybe we are due for a break.

In case you are in the neighborhood I will be at St. Clement's Church in Saratoga Springs New York. I'll post pictures of all my new work after the rush is over. See you soon!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ornaments



Hello All. I spent the weekend working on Christmas ornaments and here is a sampling. It was kind of hard to get in the Christmas spirit yesterday with the mercury way up high. It was in the 80's but I guess that is what it is like to be a fiber artist in Florida. Perhaps if I were a shell artist it would have been easier.

I like to make each ornament a seperate piece of art. When I started I used to make duplicates but I don't use patterns so even back then they were a one of a kind but now I delight in making one of each ornament. My only exception is the twigs and berry hearts, they are my favorite ornaments to make with the tiny little stitches and lots of french knots. They are also my most popular ornament. I love to do twigs and berries period because they are so delightful in their complicated but simple way. I used to tell ladies at my tables that I would spend my whole day just doing twigs and berries if I could. But now I found other ways to share my embroidery talents and keep the twigs and berries to a somewhat manageable but enjoyable minimum.

It's not a very interesting blog entry I suppose but the complicated but simple me wanted to share my complicated but simple work. Thanks for reading and keep stitching.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Coop

Today was a wonderful day in the coop. Quite a few interesting people and it was First Friday also. Someone actually asked me what my process was and I had to think fast but came up with an answer. Being a housewife, turned crafter, turned artist I still have to wonder sometimes.

The weather was awfully hot. Someone said it reached 95. That would be unbelievable since we all know what the calendar says and what the temperature is supposed to be. As lovely as a summer day in October can be it really worries me about the planet that we live on. Sounds like we are being baked from the inside out. Everything seems a little screwy. Maybe it was already but it seems the planet, the country and the world are much more unpredictable then they used to be.

More thread metaphors, lately my life has been one giant thread of thread metaphors. Interesting to the fiber artist in me. Spoke about the string theory yesterday with a pal. The string theory everything is connected. I'm not a physics major or even a minor but strings connecting these days seems to be an allright metaphor for how life should be. It seems though we are getting more tangled and split up daily in reality though. Sometimes I find the only peace I can find is when I am putting tiny little threads into a piece of blank muslin and making something out of it. I understand my threads and their connection to muslin but I have to be honest I wish I knew how to find peace in the world that we live in without the muslin. The strings that bind us together and how to get it back. God bless and keep stitchin.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Unblocked Part 2

The other day I mentioned how I have been trying to unblock myself and make myself happy to be me and in the moment. Today was Tai Chi day. I think the day I made the decision to sign up for Tai Chi was the day I started to get unblocked. It was a year and a half ago, last May to be exact. I did not have any idea how much our energy and our souls are blocked. In the beginning I thought I would never be able to follow the class never mind learn how to do it. It is such a beautiful flowing exercise that it is hard to imagine how many steps there are and how disciplined one has to be to understand it.

Finding my center back then was just about impossible. I was still in the smiling on the outside, crying on the inside part of my life. But little by little I started to learn it. Little by little I found my center. Little by little I unblocked my blockages and learned to breath. Breathing correctly is the most important thing to do for your health. Babying the parts of you that hurt with circular motions of massage unblocks your blockages a bit. Little by little the aches go away and you can eventually find peace. Once you find peace you find yourself stuck right there in the center. And once you find the center and the balance you so badly need you learn the tools that can bring you there. I am still not a Tai Chi master and can't even really do it on my own, but I've reached the point where I can watch and follow and breath even without anyone to follow. Life is beautiful most of the time.

I've been healing little by little and didn't really notice it until today. I had missed two Tai Chi classes, one was a mental health day(although probably would have been better to go to Tai Chi) and last one was because my son had a medical emergency and I didn't want to leave him(or maybe find my center). My son is ok but I guess for a few moments(or hours or days) I went back to the other shoe dropping point. Or so I thought. I found myself breathing a lot and embroidering a lot and somehow found my happiness somewhere in there. Today I realized just how much Tai Chi has given me. It has given me the gift of breath, the gift of my center, the gift and realization that I am an artist and most of all the ability to survive yet another scary occurance with hardly a blip on my radar(most would probably not say that but I noticed the difference).

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you are blocked by your past, or your plans for the future which frighten you, take a class in Tai Chi. Learn how to breath, learn how to center, learn how to live and be authentic because when one is in their center they can see themselves and their habits much more clearly. Stitch and be happy and unstuck. Tomorrow is a day at the shop and First Fridays which I love so next time I come I'll bring pictures of my journeys.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Unblocking

I must be honest with you all. I have lived a very blocked up life. Since I have discovered that I am an artist, my blockages are all becoming unblocked and my recent foray into complete self expression has gotten my emotions and my reality in a whirlwind. I have decided that I must put my biography out into the universe so I can deal with it once and for all and move on to authenticity.

I lost a brother when I was 6 and he was 4. My father was in a devastating car accident that put him out of work and in the hospital for most of a year shortly after my brother died. My reality when I was 6 was that my little life probably really was a nightmare. I was much too young to realize it but my mother was in a deep depression and I lived with that and the baggage that comes with severe depression. Let's just say it right now, I lived in hell. Back in the 60's people didn't believe in mental health counseling, not so much for adults and almost never for children. I learned at a very young age that smiling and laughing made my mother happy so I smiled and laughed my way through my life(on the outside anyway) but of course losing my brother and my father for a while made me a very sad person. So I guess you could say I lived most of my life in quiet desperation allowing no one inside enough to see it except me. It's a very dangerous way to live as smiling unhappy people are really very volatile on the emotional pendulum. It created many problems in my life and still at times does. My mother died when I was in my 20's and my dad died after being in a coma for 8 months 10 years ago. By the time I was 40 I had lost everyone I loved except my brother(my other brother's twin), my husband and my son. And I appreciate their time with me every single day.

I'd say the biggest impact it had on my life is that I didn't know who I was myself and I wanted to make everyone like me. I had no dreams of what I wanted to be in my grownup years. Death and sadness surrounded me. Dead animals, dead relatives, dead on the inside. I managed to look fine on the outside and probably nobody knew what kind of a life I had, I guess I didn't want to admit it to myself either. I had many escapades as a teen and I guess looking back although I had no bad habits(except eating)I was reckless. I put myself in situations which would make your hair curl but somehow God protects the foolhardy. I bumbled from job to job and boyfriend to boyfriend(happy girls have no problems finding boyfriends) until I met Peter. Although we've been together a long time and have definitely had our problems we are soulmates. We were both put on this earth to heal each other. We bring out the best and worst in each other and have the best teenager in the world who we both adore. My son is aware that life can be wonderful and horrible and I think that is a lesson every child should know. It is ok to be sad, ok to be happy, ok to be whatever your heart desires. I wish I had learned that lesson earlier, much earlier. It is much too difficult to figure out your potentials and what makes you happy when you are in your 40's. I am currently using my intuition and feelings to prune the good from the bad.

My only constant in my entire life is my love of needlecrafts. I love them, they are the gift that god gave me when he took all the things I loved away and gave me my husband and my son. I really have so many gifts but they are the only constant. I live in a wonderful peaceful place, I love music and art and books and my dog and pretty much life. But still being blocked since I was a child means I still have things that are holding me back. They say the truth will set you free, so I am free. Free to appreciate myself and my life, free to appreciate my gifts and my talents, free enough to say I am an artist and most of all, free to say it is ok to be happy, it is ok to be sad and ok to be whatever your heart desires. I have put it out into the universe and all I can say is stitch, love and be happy because none of us know how long we are on this earth and if we can't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of anyone else. Happy stitching.