Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Little Spring in my step

Well today felt a little bit more like winter, manageable but snowy. I can't really complain about the snow too much though it is the end of January and we usually have a heck of a lot more then this dusting so far. I thought a bird was a great piece to share on this cold, cold, day. So here you have my little goldfinch, she brings a little bit of heat, a little bit of cheery yellow and a little bit of bird love when there are far too few birds to be seen. I hope whereever you are you have a little spring in your step and I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Moody Blues

This piece is called Moody Blues. It currently resides at Valley Artisans Market in beautiful Cambridge, NY. I was fortunate enough to work there today. I really love being there, from the drive through the countryside, to the view of the mountains, to the beautiful energy of the other artists and Hubbard Hall, to all the beautiful work I get to look at and the lovely artistic patrons. And I toned down my enthusiasm a little.

Today was no exception. Being so soon after the holidays it was a little slow but I had several lovely customers and browsers. One of the people I met today was a lovely young painter who was thankfully killing some time and making my day a little less quiet. She was taking a painting class but arrived early so as not to be late so we had a lovely conversation about art. I told her we are always looking for artists but her husband is in construction and she moves around a lot. Her next destination is Ireland, which to be honest is a destination I have never been to but would love to see. We talked about her painting and about my embroidery and she made the time go so much faster. She also found the word love in Moody Blues, which I did not put there purposely but was rather excited to find. Sometimes the universe gives us surprises when we aren't looking for them. It was a lovely conversation and she happens to read this I want her to keep following her dream as a painter, find lots of beautiful places in Ireland to paint and then somehow shares them with me so I can imagine myself in the lush greenness.

I also had a wonderful time embroidering and Caroline came in to relieve me. I shared how much I loved a certain piece of hers(it really is beautiful) and she decided to keep it there after considering replacing it. I hope someone else sees the beauty and she still has to replace it. Cecily came in too with some beautiful new cards. She is a wonderful paper artist and will be having a show with Cheryl in May. Can't wait to go the opening and see all the splendor these talented ladies will show.

I hope you enjoy Moody Blues and will go visit Valley Artisans Market next time you are up that way. Gordon Ramsey will be filming a segment of his new show soon so perhaps that will be the time to see somebody famous gallivanting around the beautiful town of Cambridge. Or perhaps just visit the beautiful town of Cambridge, eat some cheesecake made by the monastery of New Skete nuns, listen to a concert at Hubbard hall and visit the Valley Artisans Market and see the beautiful work that resides there. And if you notice the wonderful energy that I feel in the place, please let me know. Keep stitchin.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

Well maybe not San Francisco, but I have been sooooo busy making hearts for all the wonderful shop owners I am fortunate enough to make them for. I have some brand new designs, some new color combinations, and some new outlets. It's been so much fun coming up with all this newness year round and of course visiting all the wonderful shop owners too.

But now I'm ready to hunker down and really get down to the business that makes my heart sing. My real heart not the little fabric ones. It has been a really artistic time and somewhere in the last year I finally made that shift to being a working artist, so now it is time to work. I love to work and I have set some goals for myself and for that work and so far so good.

I keep waiting for the moment that I wake up from this dream and so far it just is not happening. I am still embroidering more than I'm not. I am still listening to my mood changing Black Keys(really heartbreak is so much more attractive with a beat to it). I've tried to stop indoctrinating others with the Black Keys but I still love to embroider(and everything else) to them so I'm just going with the flow and the beat and the drums(I really do think I want to take drum lessons, and guitar lessons and voice lessons) or perhaps I will just continue to use them as my muse for embroidery since they make me happy.

I've finally made that connection that doing what you love, finding inspiration from whereever it may come, and once again just basically doing what you love is the answer. I've read that sentence in many, many books. Just follow your bliss and everything good will flow from it. But reading those words and living them are two different things. It requires a commitment to your vision and to your medium. It requires risk taking and a tough skin. It requires perseverance and most of all it requires marching to your own drummer. Walking out to the tip of your limb just before falling and living there for a while. So many self sabotaging habits happen trying to stay on that tip. Can I do the hard thing and wear my heart on my sleeve or on my hand embroidery or should I just stay here nice and warm and play on the computer or play solitaire or any other of the number of things that keep me in my safe place. I've had to walk out on that limb and I've started to make a little hand embroidered cocoon to keep me safe. For many years I played it safe. I hid my own light under the biggest bushel I could find and basically camped out there probably with a donut or a bag of chips. Unfortunately the bag of chips is still in there somewhere but it's a smaller bag.

So many artists try and fail. They give up just when the breakthrough comes. It happened to me a few years ago. Luckily I have tremendous friends who support me through this journey. They wouldn't let me give up. And finally that light under the bushel is not at the end of the tunnel. It is kept safe and secure on a piece of fabric somewhere waiting to be beckoned.

Once again a reminder, find something you love that you do that gives you joy. Find something enjoyable that can be the background for your joy. Find the time in your life to do it. Find the right people to support your dreams and work really hard and then fly off that limb into wonderfulness. God has a dream for all of us and I think the most important thing in the world is for each and every one of us to find it. Look under the bushel for your light.

A little preachy, but when I was struggling at the beginning of this post, this is the way it came out. Blessings.

PS I Left My Heart in San Francisco is a wonderful song by the sublime Tony Bennett(as if you didn't know but just in case you don't give it a listen, I love Tony Bennett)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Taking a Risk

Sometimes in life an opportunity comes along that makes you look at what you want or what you need that requires a risk or maybe a leap of faith. As I'm sure anybody who has read my blog since the beginning knows that I had a couple of setbacks in my artistic life. I shared those setbacks until I stopped sharing them and then thankfully a few really great buds got me to thinking about what my hand embroidery means in a different way.

Emily who got me to realize that it's really about my love of the stitch not so much what happens after the stitchery. It's not about the price tag it's about the stitch. She knows me so well, I guess we're kind of sisters of Panerahood where we meet every Tuesday morning. Doing something because you love it not because you can make money at it really makes all the difference. The saying about doing what you love and the money will come is really kind of true.

Kathy who got me to look at everything I do, right down to the littlest piece, as a piece of art. She also was the person who told me when people looked at my hand embroidered work they wondered how the hell I did it? I myself love to look at art that makes me wonder about that too, like my friend Judy's photographed turtle which I swear she must have been laying in the sand to take and Chung Ah's beautiful gourd doll houses which once again I have no idea how she does it.

And then there is Cheryl, my artist and life guru. She has encouraged me to do so many wonderful things. I am so thankful that she has traveled with me all over upstate NY giving me the confidence I didn't have when we started traveling. She is also married to the wonderful Jules who is her partner in crime and art. They love to make glass together and I love to watch them do it. She is also a wiz at everything artist business related which I am not, so I'm hoping she rubs off on me.
It was Cheryl who convinced me to send in pieces to the Garden show last January at Valley Artisans Market and it was Cheryl who convinced me to try again to become a member there now that I had found my artistic focus(one of those earlier artistic setbacks). Through her and Valley Artisans Market I have met wonderful artists and accepted that I too am a working artist.

Which brings me to tonight. Full circle moment. Tonight was the Valley Artisans Market artist invitational opening and the piece up above is Serenity, my piece for the show called Reflection. Reflecting on the last year it has really changed my life. Serenity is an example of the serenity I find when I hand embroider. That quiet serious focused part that I don't let out into the light of day too often. The DebraAnn in Debbie. I was struck at how wonderful it was to see people acknowledged for their vision and for taking the risk to put their work out into the universe. It really does take a leap of faith to be an artist. It's an even longer leap to take that art and put it into a show. I hope that each and every one of them realizes this night for the important moment it is and that they use this wonderful night as inspiration to take a few more leaps and maybe even become a coop member.

So in closing, if you have an inner artist and you are just waiting till the time is right, take that leap, it could end up changing your life in so many fabulous ways. I think 2012 is the year of the artist so make it your year and share the visions you carry in your head. Blessings.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baby I'm a Want You

This beautiful little heart is available at Samantha's Cafe in Glens Falls. I went up there yesterday to bring some brand new Valentine Hearts for the Valentine season. This heart is a wreath with pretty bunches of various purple french knots. I love purple and love french knots so it was loads of fun and fancy to make.

Baby I'm a Want You is a song from my childhood by the band Bread. Now I know you are asking yourself what the heck does this have to do with Valentine hearts. Well it was a song about love and it is a great segway for the most sublime bread pudding I have ever tasted. Now mind you I had never eaten bread pudding before going up to Samanthas, but that is irrelevant when it comes to sublime bread pudding. And they make their own bread which goes into this deliciousness.

Lately, I find myself saying that I love what I do and I love where I do it, but it really seems to all come together in this wonderful little cafe. Make art, sell art, eat delicious food and see wonderful creative artist chefs cook their work. It's a wonderful place with wonderful food and wonderful people so if you are ever up in Glens Falls, please go visit! And I also enjoy the ride listening to Bread(nah, it was the Black Keys, the saga continues). Keep stitchin and eating and loving what you do!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Land of Hopes and Dreams

Hope by DebraAnn813
Hope, a photo by DebraAnn813 on Flickr.

Where exactly is the land of Hopes and Dreams? New Jersey. Really, New Jersey. This is the title of a song by Bruce Springsteen one of our more famous residents. But he's not really alone. The list is endless including Frank Sinatra, Tom Cruise, Sharon Stone, Bon Jovi, and Samuel Alito, a current supreme court judge. It is amazing just how many famous people call the Garden State home(and as far as those current Jersey residents I think only one or two of them actually grew up there). Maybe it's the gardens, maybe it's the stick to itness or perhaps it's just that we have to try so much harder to rise above all the stereotypes. Being so close to NY it was really a wonderful place to grow up, I mean how many people can hop in a car and within 45 minutes be looking down on the world from the Empire State Building. There are beautiful beaches, lots of sports venues, zillions of restaurants and really good pizza. That being said I grew up a half a block away from a toxic waste dump although to be fair, when I lived there it was a functioning factory spewing chemicals in the air.

Hope and Dreams seem like such a faraway concept some time. The name of this hand embroidered piece is called Hope. It signifies a black hole with a hand coming out of it. It was the first art piece that I made. It came from a place of healing and it is one of my favorite pieces. I think you can survive anything if you remain hopeful.

When I was a kid in New Jersey I never in my wildest dreams could consider that I would be an artist and that people would be moved to actually buy my work. I loved to needlecraft as a hobby, but I never would have thought I'd end up here. But then again, look at the company I kept. I'm sure some of the people I mentioned earlier, did not believe their dreams would come true either. Dreams kind of happen to other people. The only thing that keeps you striving toward a dream is hope and persistence and hard work. I think New Jersey was fertile ground for that kind of thinking. Perhaps something was in the water or perhaps we became used to the concept of hard work.

I could really go on and on about the Land of Hope and Dreams, but in closing I will not answer the question with what exit, because to me New Jersey is an entrance not an exit. And if so inclined the song The Land of Hopes and Dreams is a really beautiful song. Give it a listen.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Looking Backwards and Forwards

Oscar Night is a perfect example of my life at the present moment. I would have never made a piece like this a couple of years ago. I was kind of mired primitive or totally experimental. Nothing in the middle because even though I had hand embroidery artist on my business cards, I really didn't think I was an artist at heart. To be honest I really felt insecure about making real things. Motorcycles, birds, gowns are all things you can find looking right out your door and I was afraid the comparison would not end up favorably. But I have been lucky to have many wonderful friends, family, fellow artists and store owners who obviously saw something I wasn't ready to see myself. I became an artist last year, fully and completely. Everything about me is an artist now. I look at life so much differently. We are an interesting bunch because for the most part we march to a different drummer, a unique drummer.

OK enough psycho babble, lets talk about Oscar Night. She was residing in Valley Artisans market since late summer, early fall. And some wonderful person took her home during the Christmas holidays. I so enjoyed making her and along with the birds, the motorcycles, and the crazy colorful pieces,my work shifted in a more whimsical and fun direction. Out of all the successes of the past year, this piece was my favorite success. It was a departure. A good departure from my old work, something in between abstract and primitive(although I still love me some holly and berries). So as I look forward I am more ready to embrace art and take more risks. And I'm finally at the point where I can look at myself and say I'm just fine the way I am, dancing to my own inner drummer.

Sorry no music titles today, although I am still loving the Black Keys. The great thing about finding out about an artist 10 years after they formed is that you have 7 CDs that you can rotate and never get bored of. And every single one of them is great. The range of voices from a 20 year old who can sing the blues better, faster and gruffer then the old men to a more mature polished falsetto on El Camino. Just incredible from both sides of the spectrum. I'm really glad I found them at this later date as they sort of embody my embroidery life,willing to do the older blues from the Big Come Up, to writing all the songs on Magic Potion to the pure fun and whimsy of El Camino. They are also my favorite band to listen to while embroidery so lets just leave it at that.

Have a great day and a great weekend and I'd love to hear the wonderful things that happened to you last year and how you will build on them this year.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just a Little Heat

It's cold and dreary on this day and I can't really think of anything insightful to say, so I will leave you with this happy little colorful bird. It is called Whackadoodle and it is in Valley Artisans Market if you would like to visit him or perhaps bring him to a nice warm home.

Just a Little Heat is a song by the Black Keys. It's on Magic Potion. It's a great song and it brings just a little heat on this cold,cold day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sunny Afternoon

The name of this piece is Sunshine Heart! I picked the title from the Kinks song aptly named Sunny Afternoon. The video for this song features the Kinks singing from a snow filled whatever about a sunny afternoon in the summer. It is morning, it is winter, it is darn cold and it is kind of bleakish at the moment. I felt a strange kinship with the Kinks about this particular song this morning.

I love the Kinks. Have since I'm a little girl. My favorite song of all time is You Really Got Me. I love all the remakes, including Van Halen, who I don't really like to be honest. I used to love to dance to this song . But there are dozens of songs made by them that I adore. Lola(but of course), All Day and All Night, Celluloid Heroes, Come Dancing, well I won't bore you with my Kinks musical favorites, you can go to Youtube and listen for yourself or come up with one of your own. Although I'm sure many people have heard of the Kinks so it's easier to remind you to go and give then a listen then it is to introduce you to them .

Since I'm kinda boring this morning I'll leave you with just this one little tidbit. Go listen to music, let it be a gift you give yourself, you deserve it and there is not enough music in the world today to take away the pains of everyday living, as we can see everyday our nightly newscasts.

What song will you listen to today? I'm fishing for blog titles here so don't be shy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Have Love Will Travel

Have Love Will Travel!! And boy have my little love hearts traveled all over upstate NY and beyond! I mentioned yesterday that my hearts have become an "overnight" success. Not really so overnight, but whatever. Now they are carried at Katbird Shop in Schenectady, Desolation Road in Altamont, Valley Artisans Market in Cambridge, Samantha's Cafe in Glens Falls and Seven Sisters Gift Shop in North Creek. Maybe you are unfamiliar with the beautiful capital region and Adirondacks up here in upstate NY but the closest location to my house is Schenectady and that is a half hour away. I usually go with my artistic friend Cheryl so don't feel too sorry for me. We travel, chat, eat and make art. Life is good. I also forgot to mention Albany Shaker which has closed after the Christmas season. I sold so many hearts there that I'm sure some of them traveled to places more exotic but not necessarily more beautiful then upstate NY. If you happened to get one and you happen to read my blog please tell me where my love has traveled to. Thanks in advance!

There is another purpose for this particular blog post. Have Love Will Travel is on Thickfreakness(and yes I get a lot of joy from liking a CD named Thickfreakness) by the Black Keys. It's a cover so if you don't like them you can look for a different version. I have and I still like the Black Keys version. In the song there is a line that says I find me a girl who can satisfy me. Now I'm sure if you are a singer in a rock and roll band that is probably true, but for the rest of us maybe not. There is a particular lovely lady in my universe who seems to think she has no life unless there is a man in it. My advice for her is find your own satisfaction and then the man will come. This works in finding a lady, finding a job, finding a hobby,etc. Coming from a background of unexpressed grief, it's easy to understand the idea that anything external, which can get you out of your pain, is the answer. My husband of 24 years can probably tell you not quite. He's been a steady,stable influence most of my adult life. I can honestly say that it wasn't until I dealt with my grief issues, and all of the issues that come from being a traumatized child with a dazzling smile and the ability to make people laugh, that things changed for me. I could make anyone comfortable talking about anything, because to be honest almost anything you can think of good and bad has happened in my own life.

Then I found the beauty and peace and meditation of hand embroidery. It's my thing. It brings me to my center and I feel a certain peace in my happy tortured soul. For some insane reason the Black Keys do that for me too, but that is probably because now I can remember the happy go lucky tortured soul I was before my mother died. I love to dance and believe me, if you know me, you are going to see the pounds just melt off of me because I am dancing while washing the dishes, dancing while doing the laundry. It seems the only times the headphones come off is when I'm in the shower and I'm looking for a waterproof Zune. The only downside to this is that I often sing along and I am not a very good singer and my family really doesn't know what to do with a happy Debbie any more then the unhappy one, but we'll all adjust.

Now that being said, find your version of embroidery. A hobby or vocation that makes your heart complete. Go back to your childhood that is usually where it's found. Find a CD that rocks your world and then laugh at yourself because you realize every single word has resonance in your life. If those small changes don't rid you of despair, find a therapist. Find a twelve step program(thankfully I never needed one of those). Find a really good friend who will listen when you are sad and laugh with you when you are happy. Find reasons to wake up every day with a song in your heart. I don't know what song that is for you but for me it is Have Love Will Travel! Blessings and love and I hope the person this message was intended for hears it. Much love to my mom and dad. I miss you and love you and I'm ok!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Take a Little Piece of My Heart

Really, take a little piece of my heart. I haven't spoken about process lately so hear we go. I have been making hearts a long time, a really long time, but it took a spin at being an artist to really make them sing. I've tried making stars and squares and crosses but in the end I have sold or given away more hearts than anything else. One of my favorite verses in the bible is "for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also". Never has that bible verse been more relevant.

I get tremendous joy out of embroidering hearts. I try out new stitches, new designs, and am inspired to just keep making them one after another. I start out with a little cardboard heart shape. I trace the heart with pencil on the wrong side. I use a contrasting thread and make a basting stitch around the heart. I use the air erasable markers to draw every single one. I don't like templates and if there is a dud it is one dud and not twenty or thirty of them. Most of the time I start with a simple design but on more intricate ones and new designs I like to draw the whole heart first to get a basic idea of where things should go. I then do the "hard" work of embroidering(that's a joke so you can laugh if you want to). I love details, just adore them. So of course I add a lot of detail to them. Then I pin the ribbon on, put matching fabric on and stuff them. I usually give them names, at least for my own process, as I find I treat them more like art if they have a name. Every single one is different and even if I am doing multiples, they are each one of a kind.

I label them as one of a kind, but I found this year that even people who know me and my work didn't realize that I drew each one and made each, one of a kind. They are something small and wonderful and can be hung on your Christmas tree or on your doorknob or on your curtain pull. They are very versatile. They are textured or beautiful or both.

Spiritually I feel like I give away a little piece of my heart with each one that goes to live with someone else, I feel that they are my treasure. Joyfully they give me a reason to do thousands and thousands of french knots and keep my hands busy and my mind peaceful. I'm going to be making them all year and for every season so you will be seeing a lot of them as when I can't share an art piece I can share my heart.

Take a Little Piece of my Heart is a song by Janis Joplin. She's not a favorite artist of mine but that song and the way she sings it is one of my favorites. Give it a listen.Have a great day, spread your own heart around in any way that makes you feel good. Blessings.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Resolution

In my opinion resolutions are too specific as is my blog, but that is neither here nor there. My resolutions are:

1. Work more!
2. Work hard!
3. Work happy!
4. Love more!
5. Love hard!
6. Love happy!
7. See art more!
8. Listen to music hard(or soft depending on the mood)
9. Read more!
10. Share more art, mine and others!
11. Blog more than once a week!
12. Make art not war!
13. Have love will travel anywhere the universe wants me to go!
14.Be healthier and that should be easier with the first 13!

Don't worry, be happy and have a happy, prosperous, artistic new year!