Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Something Different



This piece is called Date Night and it currently resides at Valley Artisans Market.It is hand embroidery on watercolored muslin. It came to me one day on my drive home from VAM and it was one of those pieces I just had to make. I love when inspiration comes when I wasn't really looking for it. Don't you?

A few of my favorite pieces came to me that way. Hope, the piece with the black hole and the hand coming out if it was another. The barn was inspired by the barns I would see on my trip up to VAM. But luckily the black hole wasn't really inspired by a black hole, although those creative droughts can seem like one. Have you had pieces that popped into your mind at the oddest of moments?

It's a really busy time at the moment, I'm embroidering ornaments and I don't really need inspiration for them this time of year. It's kind of nice just making small portable pieces that you can finish in a few hours. I've made lots of new designs which mirror my bigger pieces. I feel that if someone likes my work and can't afford a big price tag something small and portable to hang on their tree or on a doorknob is a great way to spread some creativity. I'll be sharing some of them too.

Thank you for the comments regarding the bear! Especially the comments about perfection. I think looking for perfection and the feeling of inadequacy that comes with it is a trap that I try very hard not to throw myself into. It isn't always easy and for years it was impossible but thankfully I've learned to at least try to put perfection on the back burner and just be myself for a change. I can't say I'm any less imperfect but I am a bit happier! Keep stitching!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The bear & his mouse



Hi All! This is a piece I made especially for my friend for her wedding shower. She calls him bear he calls her mouse. I call them wonderful. It's very rare for people to find exactly the right bear or mouse to spend their lives with and it deserved a special gift. I think they loved it. I loved making it and I think it looks like a bear. Was quite nervous as I'm sure you know I haven't met any real bears and I am never quite sure I can capture something real. Perfection is only for the gods. A little abstract is easier perhaps but a real live bear instead of yogi was a stretch.

The last few months have shown me I am a much more capable realist then I thought I was. Abstract and quirky was my claim to fame(as my personality can attest to also). So real things like birds, motorcycles, houses and bears are a real challenge for me. I've tried to get beyond the challenge and try different things. But until it leaves my home and hopefully graces the walls of someone else's, it's kind of a crap shoot.

It is very hard to open yourself to the comparisons of the perfect. The perfect sunset, the perfect bird, the perfect bear. Especially if you want it to be the perfect gift for the perfect couple. But hopefully I pulled it off and it's funny that I had to remind myself that there are millions of perfect bears in the forest who all look a little different. Only god can make both perfection and imperfection, we can just put our own unique spin in the world and hope that it makes us joyful in the process, which this did.

So I guess in ending, I hope my friends bear and mouse find perfection in their imperfections and live in joy and happiness, happily everafter!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Simplicity



The name of this piece is Simplicity. It is hand embroidery on muslin. It is just the simplicity of color and hand embroidery. Very simple yet somewhat complicated. Beginnings and endings of each line and thread combined.

A few weeks ago I happened upon a PBS special about Simon and Garfunkel. I enjoyed the music so much I decided to buy a greatest hits CD(it was on sale too). Their songs are so simple and yet their relationship and lyrics are so complicated. The combination of the two is both beautiful and sad at the same time. I am a lyrics person so much more then an instrument person. I love the sad and complicated songs which touch my soul when I listen to them. I smile to Cecelia and I feel the loss of Old Friend/Photograph. It so beautifully portrays the pain of only having photographs of people who are so important to who we are and where we came from.

Funny thing is I forgot I enjoyed them so much in my youth. It took listening to them as a woman with more time gone then left to really hear their messages. One of simplicity and complication. I sometimes feel that calling to me from my embroidery hoop. The simpleness of stitch by stitch but the complication of detail. Perhaps others don't see that when they look at my work but I guess embroidery is a metaphor for my life. Simple yet complicated. Some people look and only see the simplicity and others look and see the complications but sometimes they consider the total package and that is wonderful. A thread of joy and a winding thread of unhappiness that runs through.

I guess that is the best I can ask for. A little joy and a little sadness. The joy of the moment and the sadness for what has become complicated or ended. Simplicity and complications. Keep stitching and take a Simon and Garfunkel cd out of the library and listen to the simplicity and realize the complicated.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Unconventional



This piece is called Unconventional. It is hand embroidery on watercolored fabric. It is sort of a metaphor for my journey the last few years. The gentle balance between being a conformist and being myself. Taking a leap of faith and hoping that the universe will let me know which road to follow and realizing that as long as I am doing the best I can at everything, I can be both at the same time.

If you've read my blog for the past few years you probably know that I was struggling with the jack of all trades master at none metaphor. I wanted to be all things to all people in both my life and my work. In the end trying to be that way means you aren't really doing your best at anything. Yes there were moments of inspiration and brilliance but there were also a lack of detail and a scatteredness that wasn't serving me very well.

That started to change early last year when I stopped talking and started listening. Kathy my wonderful friend from the Katbird Shop talked about my little hand embroidered ornaments and said they were little pieces of walkable art. That made a profound difference in the way I looked at those little pieces of walkable art, I started to look at them in much the same way people who purchase them do. They are little pieces of beautiful embroidered art. When I watch instead of speak I can see people gently putting their fingers on the texture, or commenting on the amount of detail in them or trying to decide which one speaks to them the most. I learned a valuable lesson, that care and detail do matter even in the littlest things.

Kathy also told me that when people look at my embroidery they often say how does she do that, when they looked at my purses, they admired them but often wondered out loud whether it was something they can do themselves(and for the most part they probably could). That was a very instrumental statement in my decision to limit myself and focus on just what I did best.

So onward I went and got the same warm feeling from the ornaments that I did from my hands. Just embroidery. It's easy to just sit and embroider and the health and mental benefits from just focusing and meditating on stitch after stitch made it such an easy decision. I can escape from just about anything and put myself in a peaceful open piece of mind.

Of course I love variety so I again took a leap and started making pieces I was not sure I could make. I thought making a bird had to be beautifully accurate, the only problem with that is only god can make birds beautifully accurate and even then there are millions of beautifully accurate birds to choose from. Mastery is a wonderful goal, perfection is a journey that most people can never make.

And then we come to the reason for this post today, the Albany Shaker craft show this weekend. So many of my questions were answered, not necessarily by money, but by listening to the comments, watching the way they treat the small ornaments, and being overwhelmed by the comments that answered all my questions. And I know that I am on the right road, perhaps the road less traveled. The gentle balance between crafter and artist. I don't need to be all things to all people in my work. I can just do what I love and hope it brings something wonderful to whomever sees it. Whether reminding them of their grandmother, being able to bring home something a little special or marveling at just how many stitches are in the world as I see it(I will share that very soon).

And then alas after every question was answered about my direction, Patty a wonderful lady I know at Albany Shaker told me my blog was inspirational. I didn't really think of it that way and I've always thought perhaps I go a little overboard when I share how I really feel. But there it was once again from the universe, be who you are no matter what. Live, laugh, love and embroider. Be happy, be peaceful and share that in any way you can. Blessings to you all(sorry for writing a magazine article). Keep stitching.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Albany Shaker Craft Show





Hi! I'm in the middle of getting ready for the Albany Shaker craft show this weekend so this will be short and sweet. The fair runs both Saturday and Sunday and the hours are from 10 to 4. The museum is located near Albany International Airport at 25 Meeting House Road so if you are in the neighborhood please drop in.

I've got a few new framed pieces to share with you and I've come up with many new designs for the ornaments. A few bluebirds, some cardinals, horses, houses and many more.

I hope to see you all there. There are many wonderful crafters and artists , good food, a pie tent(with many different delicious varieties of pie) and entertainment for the children. The fee is $4.00 or $3.00 with a coupon or free if you are under 18. So come on down! Be back soon when I can breath or until my studio doesn't look like an episode of hoards. Blessings to all!