Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tai Chi

Today was the first time in a month that I went to my tai chi class and I realized just how much I have learned about Tai Chi and myself in the past year. I am completely unblocked. I think the madness of the past few weeks has made me deal with issues from my childhood and now I am free. I went out of my comfort zone and felt pretty much uncomfortable for the last year, but now I can look at it and say I did something I never would have dreamed possible, so now anything is possible.

I like me, the forty something, chubby lady with the newly cut short hair I lived with till I tried to change it. The woman who loves embroidery and thinks it speaks to her soul. The friend who talks to much about herself and owes her friends an eternal debt of gratitude. An artist, not an accidental one but a real one. And a person who has been to hell in my life and back. A survivor.

I am really grateful for all the lessons of the last year that made the preceding paragraph easy to write. It's been a challenge and I think the fact that I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin when I was at the coop taught me that I can handle it. But do I want to? I think I figured out the answer to that question too. I think the answer is no. I cannot hide my truth any longer, I cannot pretend I am happy when I feel uncomfortable nor do I deserve to. It's a self worth lesson with a real life example. We are our own worst enemies. We stay in situations that don't really work for us because we are afraid to be vulnerable and say I failed or I don't fit in. But now I can look back and say I'm glad I didn't fit in. It was more of a lesson. Now don't get me wrong I fit in as an artist, I just didn't fit in as a person. Not strong enough, too malleable, too unsure of myself. I guess in looking back over the past year that is the lesson I needed to learn. That when something doesn't fit who you are move on. Or change. I did both and the relationships with the people who really matter are so much richer, I changed to make them better. And when changing wasn't enough I moved on. Just that simple sentence explains most of my life. I moved before I learned the lesson, before I got the nugget of experience I was there to receive, but the coop was something I wanted so badly I wouldn't move on until I learned the lesson. That it was killing me while I tried to be something I wasn't. In the last month I gave up Tai chi, which is definitely something that works for me(although if you saw me do it you probably wouldn't say so). I fell apart and then I picked myself up I said what I had to say and I moved on.

Now I'm back on the road again hoping to find other outlets and other ways to express myself thankful for the opportunity to express myself as an artist and thankful for dealing with my insecurity issues. My life is too short, I must live my truth and move on. No explanations, no excuses.

Move on, be happy. Keep stitchin.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blogs

Ok what happens when a 40 something decides she wants to get her work out to the new world. She starts a blog and gets to it? Nah, she surfs the net all afternoon checking out all the clever artsy blogs she can find. Although I did manage to get some well deserved work out of the way and did a little cleaning most of my time has been spent going from blog to blog (using those fantastic links on blogs) seeing how many people can inspire me. It seems many people can inspire me(now if I can just ignore them and get back to work). I've never realized just how wonderful the blogosphere can be. It gives us a way to share our souls and our work and our ambitions. What we are grateful for, how many people are sick in our household, the latest piece we've been working on.

Being an artist is a very solitary life. I kidded with my friend Emily that I am becoming a recluse(ok so maybe only partially kidding)and pretty soon I would start wearing pajamas all day(ok, so no pajamas but the next best thing a used up pair of sweats). I've always been a very good people person when I'm comfortable but now that I'm an artist I'm not so good at people anymore. They make me nervous. So I work on my art and read about others who have their art too. And marvel at how there is a great big community to learn about. Wonderful artists, wonderful cooks, wonderful people and me. I'm having a great time reading everyone's blogs.

I don't have any pictures to share today but soon I will have lots to take pictures of and share when the coop chapter closes. Most of my best work was there and I am here so pretty soon you will be able to see it here(until I find somewhere else to hang it there). Oh well. I'm looking into Etsy too but not quite yet. I have to get down to business and work for a change! Blessings to all of you, especially you bloggers!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gratitude

I am just filled with gratitude today. I am eternally grateful for the variety and color of my favorite embroidery thread. I am eternally grateful for my son who I love more then life itself. I am eternally gratefull that he does not have mono, it was just a virus. I am eternally grateful that I am free of my obligations to the place where I learned so much. I really am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have been there for to realize that one is truly an artist is the best gift in life. The ability to self express is wonderful even when it is painful. I realize how much of a gift this ability is because for so much of my life my self expression was closed off even to myself. Now I can look at the most ordinary piece of work and see all the little details which I love so much. Even all the messy little details of my life and the past year.

It literally was a year abroad or it might as well have been with all the things I learned about the alien living in my body. Now the alien is me. I don't know if anyone from the past year will read this or not but if they do I hope they realize the wondrous gifts they have given me and the appreciation I feel for being set free to move on. Most of all I am eternally grateful for the gift of life and the turtle who is my own personal animal totem. He represents longevity and knowledge of self. Longevity is something I strive for and knowledge of self makes it possible. Thank you world.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Peace



This is a picture of one of my favorite crafty things to do. It's a twigs and berry Peace hanging pillow. Other people like it too as it is one of my best selling items of all times. For me nothing quite says peace like sitting with a one of kind Peace written on tea stained fabric with little green straight stitches and loads of beautiful red french knots. May not have said this previously but before I became an "artist" twigs and berries were my ultimate favorite thing to do. The meditation of all those tiny little detailed stitches brings peace to my soul. Also it is one of those things that you just can't do without paying attention.

Also I made a decision that I can be an artist after Christmas but for now I have to give the people(and myself) what the people want. Peace.

Peace is a word that is so overused at the moment between the war and Christmas(not a very good juxtaposition of thoughts there but it is what it is). But to be honest there is not very much that is peaceful in the world right now(except for me and my pillow at the moment). Wars and hunger and fires and my own personal nightmares. Not a happy nor peaceful time. But everytime I feel that way I have my own personal peace pick me up. Something that reminds me that it is the ultimate goal. It's the one true thing to strive for because a person at peace usually brings peace to those around them. Forget about the outside world and concentrate on the inside world for a while.

My son went to religion in a place where I had to take adult education classes on the bible and spiritual journaling, etc. We were told in bible study that the time before Christ was born was a very tumultous and tragic time. Then Christ was born and peace descended on the world. Now we probably can't place an order for Christ to come at this time in our history but we can try to find peace within ourselves. So that is what I am going to do for the moment. I'm gonna make my twigs and berry till I fall into some kind of peaceful way of existence and then I'm gonna go back to being an artist again. Happy Holidays and I hope you find your peace.

My one of a kind peace pillow will be available at the Albany Shaker Museum or you can email me for one if you are interested.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving

Sorry no pics today. We had a most interesting Thanksgiving, one that kind of reminds me why I love my new life so much. My son has had a sore throat for about a week and took a turn for the worse on Monday, we went to our local emergency doctor and they gave him some amoxicillin took a strep test and sent us on our way. By Wednesday my son was feeling much worse so we took off for his pediatrician who sent us to the lab for a mononucleosis test. I still haven't gotten the results because the normally not very patient mom waited too long to call the doctor's office and they were gone for the day. Perhaps they didn't get the results yet anyway. My son seems a little better today. But I digressed just a bit too much.

So quarantined on Wednesday I decided to make the three of us lasagna for Thanksgiving day. Sounded like a great idea but I forgot the ground meat needed for the recipe so yesterday morning I got in my car and went back to the supermarket. On the way there I realized that gosh darn it, it's Thanksgiving not Christopher Columbus day. So I found the most beautiful 12 pound thawed turkey at a bargain price of $8.00 and bought all the fixings and made a glorious Thanksgiving feast just for me and my men. It was so quiet and lovely. I love the idea of quiet and lovely holidays, for as much as I love our family, I love holidays with the two of them more. It was a bit tiring being the only female cooking a feast but it really turned out well. And it reminded me why I love living here so much.

I've also pretty much gotten over the disappointment mentioned in my previous blog entries and realized that although the ending(whether it comes sooner or later) wasn't so great the total experience was. I think I will consider it as beneficial as a year in a trade school for some trade I probably would not love as much as I love being an artist. I worked with very interesting people and met wonderful people who love art too. I made a couple of friends who I hope will be lifelong friends but most of all I found myself in the past year. That is the hugest gift I ever received. Now it is my turn to be an artist on my own two feet and use all of the wonderful experiences(and not so wonderful) to my advantage. If you are ever offered an opportunity like this take it, it will change your life!

Happy thanksgiving, remember your treasures and keep stitching.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oh what a tangled thread we weave

Today is another tangled day. My emotions are raw, my brain is fried and I am feeling such a loss. I'm not sure what kind of loss, probably one that will make me a better person for having it in the first place. But that is to be pondered about tomorrow. How does one express gratitude for a situation that causes so much pain but has given you many lessons about who you are and what you are? I guess what I've realized is that I am an artist. I am a very sensitive, thin skinned artist. I am sensitive enough to pick up on the subtleties of energy. It allows me to try to protect myself whenever I am around negative energy and it allows me to reach out to people who need to be reached out to. But unfortunately having this radar allows me to foretell my own future. I know when someone is an enemy and I know when someone is a friend.

For once in my life I tried to cherish an opportunity and to try and ignore the negative energy attached to it. And I almost pulled it off, but alas I could not ignore it anymore and I've ended up saying and doing things that put the onus on myself instead of furthering discussions about the negative aspects. I stood up for myself and made a fool out of myself while doing it. Some day I will forgive myself and those who rendered such negative feelings because in a way I think they did me a favor. I have never been able to stand up to the popular people who make their own lives happy making other people miserable but I did it. The alienated little mouse roared(albeit a bit too loudly and definitely a bit too bitter). But at the moment none of that matters. All that matters is the hurt and the loss.

But when all is said I done I found my own voice, my own art, my own vulnerabilities and my own optimism for when this all is over and soon it will be whenever it ends I will have gained so much more from this experience then the way I feel in this moment. I have found myself the person I tried to keep tucked away from view. The smart, overly sensitive, artistic one with the big mouth(ok, maybe not so smart).

I am going to go back to embroidering my turtle purse or doing crossword puzzles, my favorite drug of choice when I am troubled. Soon I will be able to be reflective and artistic. But for now I just needed to get this off my chest and maybe possibly help someone else who thinks they just trashed their life(I'm an artist and therefore I am allowed to be overly dramatic). If you've read this god bless you for listening to my pain and hopefully you'll be around for my next triumph.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Turtle, part two

A turtle on a black wool purse. It's for me. I'm going to make it extraordinary so that people will be able to see I am a fiber artist coming and going. I'll make it so lovely they'll stop me on the streets(well I hope so anyway).

I've been learning a lot in the school of hard knocks this past month and it's got me tangled up like one of those embroidery thread bunches I am so fond of. But I'm optimistic if nothing else and when one door closes(or slams as it may be) another one opens. This time I will be in control of the door and who I let in and who I keep out.

I lost control, I trusted the wrong people with my work, with my life, with my secrets. That's not an easy realization to have, to feel, to have to deal with. But it's the truth. So whether the rest of my journey is a walk, is a jog, is a sprint, I will be the one who chooses the path and the speed and those along for the ride.

Sorry for the momentary detour off my happy so called blog(it will get better, I'm very optimistic). I'm gonna go stitch my turtle and remember that I have to put myself first and learn from this experience. Keep stitching and thanks for reading this.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blue Mystic



This is a piece I've called Blue Mystic. It is hand embroidered. It is reminiscent of a flower which is used as a description but to me as an artist it was more important as a symbol which comes from the center. Blue is the color of peace and lately I have not been very peaceful. There has been much going on in my center and my exterior which is troubling. But that is for another blog entry. The piece has green leaves emanating from the center. To me green is a color of rebirth and transformation.

I think this piece represents how far I have come in the last year and how much more work I have to do to bring this peace in my heart to fruition. Needless to say I am going to have to find the path of least resistance to find my blue mystic.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Infinite Love



This is a piece I've made for the Albany Shaker Museum. As I was driving home from replenishing my table at the Albany Shaker Museum I decided to dip into my more artistic mode and lo and behold Infinite Love came to me. I created 2 hearts in red symbolizing love and the infinity symbol in green which symbolizes life, with little yellow infinity symbols which symbolize light. I matted it with maroon to highlight the hearts. I love to hand embroider and am thinking very seriously of committing myself more to the medium of hand embroidery then to knitting and crocheting. It fills me with such peace to work on each stitch and let the piece talk to me. If you are interested in this piece you will be able to find it at the Albany Shaker Museum starting next Tuesday.

Thank you for your time. Keep stitchin and I hope the thread speaks to your heart too.

Monday, November 12, 2007

More Ornaments




These are my latest ornament. I've decided to be bright and cheery and different. I've made about a dozen over the last week different every one a different shape, a fabulous bright color and different design. I've had oodles of fun making them. Hopefully other people will enjoy them in their home as much as I enjoyed them in.

I've also been working on another framed piece. It is a tangled, whirly mystery in blue. Soon it will have green accent pieces. I'll share it when it's a little further along. Hope you are all having a great day. Keep stitchin.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A lovely link

I have added a lovely link for a lovely lady. Her name is Judy Olson and she takes the most beautiful photography. Very unique and different. She takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. She has many beautiful photographs. My favorite was a turtle from straight on, I asked her how she did it and she told me but I'm not telling. You'll have to figure it out on your own or she's nice enough to tell you too. She also takes beautiful Adirondack photos too. She's a treasure, if you go to her website you won't be disappointed. Prepare to be in awe.

Besides being a wonderful photographer she is a wonderful friend too. One I just met over the summer. She was a Strolling Village Artisan before I joined the coop and she gave me the most wonderful advice about my future as an artist. I should have listened to her and ditched those darn pillows. Well that is really all I have to say. If you read this go take a look, her work is beautiful.

Keep stitchin.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Unraveled


My trusty threads and myself are feeling very unraveled tonight. After a not so terrific craft show trying to practically give away my old work, alas I returned with most of it. I've come to the conclusion I'm just not a craft show gal anymore. Not that I ever was very good at it. For a long time I did very ordinary things, extraordinarily. I am a stickler for details and spending hour upon hour putting every last embroidery stitch in a twigs and berry heart pillow. Hundreds of little green straight stitches and maroon french knots, over and over again. I can't say I didn't love the sheer meditative power to those french knots and perfecting them but now I don't think they represent me anymore.(Just in case you are overcome by the beauty, this pillow has been sold but it's sister is at the Albany Shaker Museum)

So what is a girl to do? I guess I will keep journeying on the road of life and hope that there are many street signs to point me in the right direction. In case you are wondering I am putting this thought out to the universe and the internet is a good place to start. Happy Stitching.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Stella



Stella is a hand embroidered goddess that looks like nobody in particular. I started with her outline, interspersed some beautiful accent colors and some pinks, blues for her eyes, red for her lips and just about finished she screamed out to me Stella. So here she is for your viewing pleasure.

Stella will be leaving me tomorrow for a spot in the member's gallery show at Strolling Village Artisans. She will be showing there until the end of January but deep down I hope when she leaves she will be with somebody who adores owning her as much as I adored making her.

Ta,ta for now happy stitching.

Monday, November 5, 2007

For the Love of Fiber

I was thinking about my love for fiber and where it came from. My artist statement says that I learned about fiber at a very early age sitting next to my grandmother who taught me how to knit, crochet, embroider. When I was young instead of running outside playing in the dirt you could find me with a set of knitting needles or a crochet hook and a colorful ball of yarn in my hand.

My mother used to work in a department store kind of like Kmart is today. Sometimes she wouldn't be able to find child care for my brother and I, so she would set us up at the snack bar and give us a few dollars to buy whatever we wanted. I always bought yarn and embroidery kits. If I have a few extra dollars in my pocket you can still see me in the embroidery thread aisle. It is a pick me up that completely makes my day especially since I have become enamored of how one shade can go up just one little number and be a completely different color. You embroiderers will probably appreciate that, if you don't embroider you have no idea what I am speaking of.

I think the love of fiber is a strong one. It connects us with the past, when everything hand made for us was made with love. To this day I can remember afghans made by my grandmother and the beautiful hand embroidered pillowcases, alas I was not aware of my love for the medium and I did not appreciate them as I should have and I don't have very much to remind me of my grandmother's handiwork, but every time I put a stitch on an embroidery project or knit up a purse or scarf I think of my grandmother.

When I was a bit older my friend Robin's mother used to knit the most beautiful fair isle sweaters. Robin had hundreds of them in many different color combinations. It was so much fun to watch her knit and see how beautiful Robin looked in her sweaters. I was a little intimidated at that point and did not ever think I would ever be able to make such beautiful garments. Now I make purses. I use my embroidery and knitting and beading to create one of a kind pieces.

Nothing rocks my boat better then the feel of the fiber, the color, the texture, and the wonderful feeling of taking pieces of string and yarn and embroidery thread and making them something special.

That explains the love affair I have with fiber. I hope you find your love affair with something that gives you as much joy as I get from my fibers.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Hope, The Second Chapter

I know this is an art blog (or that is my intention anyway) but I am going to wax philosophically today anyway. Hope is a very important word, not just when you are in the black whole but even when you are climbing out of it.

This past year has been such a year of hope and transformation. I have gone from a woman completely unaware of my talents(at least some of them anyway)to a woman who can look back and say I like who I am and I really don't care who likes me this way or not. I have a wonderful, wonderful friend Emily who is the best friend I have probably ever had in my life. She has been one of those unconditional friends who you feel you can trust with your secrets who loves you in spite of all your warts. I feel the same way about her.

In the past year I have belonged to Strolling Village Artisans in Ballston Spa. I have learned so much from being around and working with such interesting talented people. Not only have I figured out that I am an artist but I have unearthed parts of my survivor and parts of my strength from being around so many strong independent women. I have also discovered that my one true love in the needlecrafting world is my love of hand embroidery and how it brings me right down to my center. Along with my love of hand embroidery I have learned the love of color and texture and complexity which I bring to the hand knitted handbags or crochet cotton handbags. As an artist I feel my growth has been tremendous but alas I realize that I may still have a bit to go.

In the past year, I think my relationship with my husband and my son has gotten better. My husband is my anchor, the practical one who always tries to watch out for the landmines I set for myself. I was not an easy person to live with for such a long time and yet we are still together and I think I would say we love each other more today then we did when we married 20 years ago. My son is just my sunshine. The reason I wake up every single morning. The beginning of my story and the end of my tragedies. I know that when I am gone he will know how much he is loved because I tell him every opportunity I get. Nothing will ever change that. He is my greatest treasure.

I guess the biggest change in the last year is that I have realized that I am an empathetic intuitive and I must protect myself from carrying baggage that isn't mine to carry. I've just recently discovered how much this has affected my life both positively and negatively. It has allowed me the opportunity to make every person I come in contact with feel like they are not alone, but it has also affected me in the reverse I tend to carry other people's baggage because I feel their pain through my senses. Part of me wishes that part of being an empathetic intuitive would leave me but then I probably wouldn't be able to make other people feel comfortable or wanted. IMO there aren't enough of us in the world.

Finally I have been able to learn how to express myself. At the moment I express myself much better through my art then I do through my mouth, but now that I am aware that being closed up has not served me well I must open my heart and my mouth and my embroidery needles and live the life I've imagined.

My favorite saying is For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. I have shared with you today where my hearts and treasures are. Please find your own hope and be happy and stitch! Life and time with the people we love are much too short enjoy them.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

First Friday

Last night was First Friday at Strolling Village Artisans. A fun time was had by all. It was the first anniversary for the town of Ballston Spa First Friday celebrations. So many people were walking through town, including a very enchanting group of teenagers from Ballston Spa High School in costume to advertise the play they are in next week. If you had a card and had it stamped(or in our case stars)5 times you were eligible for a raffle.

Most importantly it was our second Meet the Artist night. The wonderful potter Jim Best made some beautiful vases and a covered bowl to die for. Jim's work is very lovely and very spiritual. If you are ever in the neighborhood stop in and see it you won't be disappointed. Many of the artists in the coop were there to spur Jim on and give him our support.

Also Judy Olson a wonderful photographer who has a studio in our building had her wonderful photography on display and Heather Hollywood, who is also a member of the coop, had her beautiful beads and jewelry on display.

A good time was had by all. If you are ever in the area drop in and see all the beautiful work done by all of the Strolling Village Artisans. We are a group of very talented individuals if I say so myself.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Turtle



This is my hand embroidered turtle. He started as just a simple turtle and by the time he was done he was quite complicated. If you believe in animal totems the turtle symbolizes longevity. Turtles have amazing survival skills and strategies. They sense vibrations in the water through their skin and shell. Turtle totems hold the mystery of awakening the senses on both the physical and spiritual levels and can stimulate clairaudience.

When turtle shows up in your life, it is time to get connected to your most primal essence. Go within your shell and come out when your ideas are ready to be expressed. The turtle cannot separate itself from its shell and we cannot separate ourselves from what we do to the earth. The way to heaven is through the earth and both are interconnected.

I have to be honest when I started making turtles and this one in particular I was not very aware of animal totems. One of my friends in Tai Chi told me I should research them and their meaning. I found out the above information at this web site which teaches about animal totems and their meanings. I recommend that you go take a gander if some animal keeps showing up in your life as the turtle has showed up in mine. You can find this information here:http://www.sayahda.com/cyc5.html

I guess you can tell by my posts that longevity is a really big deal for me. It is why I moved to this beautiful place I call home and why I've made many of the decisions I have made since I came here. I am also very intuitive and believe strongly in metaphors and syncronicities. I believe it is time to allow myself to live my grief and liabilities out in the open without the mask. Since I have started self expressing I can't really live with the mask anymore, it no longer fits. It's time for me to use my inner turtle and come out of my shell. Very metaphorical and very literal. Besides my metaphoric turtle, I realize that wearing my mask has held me back from the beauty of my tragedies and the beauty of surviving them.

So if you are stuck in a very bad place, take a pottery class, learn how to knit, read all the books in the spirituality section of your library. Find whatever outlet you can find and figure out what gives you joy and that will give you the answers you need. For me it is my needlecrafts, they have been a constant in my life, they are my one true friend, my biggest joy. Whenever I have suffered loss a good book or a wonderful embroidery project or a wonderful afghan have helped me through. Now they are my life and my work. (btw I don't really make afghans anymore so don't ask me, go to your local craft fair and you will find many lovely ladies whose afghans give them ultimate joy). Keep stitchin.