One of my grandmothers taught me how to crochet when I was about nine years old. I made lots and lots of square and round shaped things. The other grandmother taught me how to sew. I created teeny, tiny clothing for my Troll (doll) figures out of her discarded scraps of fabric, sewed with a needle and thread, or wrapped the figures in yarn. (I learned how to knit, weave, and spin my own yarn on a spinning wheel much later.)
BOTH of them encouraged an appreciation of things handmade, as well as a love of reading, planting/watching things grow in the garden, and of making music.
So I wasn’t too surprised that when it came time to select a career path, that it would’ve been in making things by hand…and to encourage children to do the same. Maybe my parents were (surprised) and might’ve thought I’d do something other than become an Art Teacher, but then again…maybe they knew it on another level. For three decades (yes!) I could say that I got PAID to draw and color pictures with kids, and worked with clay, paint, as well as a variety of other art materials.
I was naturally drawn to the area of fiber arts, and pulled toward learning a great deal about Traditional Appalachian handcrafts and music-making. Here are a couple of “selfies.” (My hands at work/play.)
And I can’t say that I’m through learning new things, either. I have a six foot table in my work/studio space for current writing/research projects which is covered in–books! A recent find is a publication about earth pigment paints and yes, you can make paint out of clay, dirt and natural materials. Another book is a “how to” book on a Scandinavian fiber technique called nalbinding, which is a forerunner to knitting. When I found out that a very substantial part of my ancestry profile included regions well known for their fiber related, handmade handcrafts…well, I was all over that!
I hope you find activities you enjoy doing and that you make time to do those things as often as you can. Enjoy the journey, learn something new, and Happy Creating!
The year 2019 was “one for the books,” as I’ve heard on more than one occasion. It certainly was one for me, too. I can’t think of a lot of specific instances that I could bring out for discussion because those experiences are related to me and mine.
I think I’d prefer to assimilate all of that information in my memory, distill it into something worth mentioning, and share what I think I learned from all of that with you. Here’s hoping it makes some kind of Creative Sense.
This tree was harvested from our property and used in holiday decorations, after a lovely walk through the woods with the littles.
Here we have a view of the sawmill. A storm came through in 2018 which provided us with lots of downed trees, and from THAT, we cut wood.
And more wood.
And even MORE wood.
But notice that within all that wood which was not used, there was good wood which WAS. Working every day(weather permitting), deciding what to use or not to use, and using other days for surprises that Life sent our way…eventually we will have this:
I can’t help but find a correlation between building a cabin–that of course, we didn’t know how to do–with almost any other Creative Endeavor.
AND it seems to me that if I show up every day and get just a little bit done, eventually I’ll have a Something, whether it’s a fiber art, or a writing or a drawing, too.
Happy Creating to you. Today, and every day.
All I think I want to say about 2019 is that I learned a lot about myself as well as Other People.
I am like a perennial in E(xperimental) garden. That means, I might’ve looked dormant for a time with no apparent growth, especially since I went through 2019 without posting anything on this page.
Look for me just to one side of where I was planted in the garden before, because sometimes, we Perennials shift ever so slightly and become more than what we were. I’m not in the same place I was this time last year either, creatively speaking.
I learned and I grew.
Let’s get busy making stuff, shall we?
The countdown for Christmas has begun. With less than two weeks to go, if you’re(I’m) not diligent, you(I) might find yourself(myself) Way Over Spending.
Money can mean different things to many different people and it IS important, I know, but it has taken me a long time to figure out how to spend the money and balance that with what I think a loved one wants or needs with what they actually DO want or need. Therein is my dilemma. What DO they want for Christmas?
I have no sure remedy for how to answer that for others and while my answers have come to work for me, they might not work for anyone else.
Here are two of our Christmas Stockings (crocheted by me) and hanging by our fireplace this year. While they will be functional and I hope decorative, they represent memories of time spent with Grandmothers who instilled in me the love of craftsmanship and appreciation of things handmade as a young child.
And here is a photo of a decoration I placed in EGarden for the birds. Egarden may look like it is resting for the winter, but the memories of enjoying time spent there remains and I know the garden waits for me to return.
Making and sharing memories or experiences with people you love so that when they do those things they think of you and are happy? That’s it! That’s what I want.
And I hope you find whatever it might be that you want for this holiday season, too.
You could call me on the House Phone and you’d have a slim chance that I’d actually pick up. Oh, it would be me on the answering machine all right, but I’d say something like, “Please call me on the cell or leave a message. Thanks.”
I’m not trying to be a smarty-pants.
I’m @ Work.
Even though my work space is out in the barn, or at the kitchen table, or on a trail, or in what will someday-be-the-garden-again, I try to set aside uninterrupted time to get creative work accomplished.
And I know how easily I can be distracted, and I know I like to do so many things. I still haven’t completed writing that resume, but made a postcard instead, because I’m attending a writing/illustrating conference soon. I need to have a promotional material. My bio and contact information are on the back.
And here are a few photos that didn’t make it to the final “cut” to be on the card. But I wanted to include them here, as part of an online portfolio.
Leave a message if you’d like. And I’ll get back to you.
For now though, I’m @ Work.
My family tells me that I’m a hard person to buy gifts for, because: 1) I like to do so many things, and 2) I end up ordering the book or getting supplies as needed when I need them, or 3) by the time a gift giving occasion has come along, I’ve moved along to a new idea or project.
I don’t MEAN to make things difficult. Really.
It’s just that one idea will give momentum to try this or that, and that leads here, and then I’m off to do something over there. Right after that. Oh wait, look over…yonder. That looks like fun, too.
Since it’s now the beginning of a New Year, a lot of people are making resolutions. My main problem with making a list of Things I Plan to Accomplish is that I know in my Heart Of Hearts that I’m gonna lose that list somewhere in my stash of art supplies or loose leaf notebook paper. Then I’ll feel bad about that and it makes my creative impulses slow down.
Not this time.
Because I’ve decided to focus on doing Creative Things EVERY DAY and leave myself a reminder of what I’ve done. Starting with these few books I bought for myself after receiving lovely gift cards from family members.
AND you can call it Research. Or you can call it Recreation.
But I’m getting a lot of new ideas for writing AND making art.
We have alpaca. Alpaca give fiber. LOTS AND LOTS of fiber.
Our animals get their haircuts, or are sheared, in the spring. Each animal provides almost four pounds of fleece and yes, I know what to do with it. Ill spin it into yarns and then make a variety of items.
Here are a couple of shawlettes that were handwoven on a triangular loom. The natural colors of alpaca are neutral colors–white, beige, light brown, dark brown, gray, black–these are how alpaca appear in nature. Anything else is the result of my playing around with dyes and blending other fibers in with the alpaca fiber. I love to play with colors! OR I might take a commercially spun yarn and ply it in with the natural alpaca yarn to achieve a unique yarn in that way. Sounds like work, but it’s the FUN kind of work!
Hats are fun to knit or crochet (these are knit) and here are a few samples. All of the colors are neutral/natural colors and the hats are VERY warm. Some of these are sold at market, given as gifts by me, or given by friends to friends.
Not to worry, though. The animals have plenty of hair left and they will stay warm in cold weather.
And now we will, too.
I’m happy creating!
The summer has come and gone. You know I look for ways in which to find more hours in every day and really, I didn’t mean to stay away from the blogging posts for THIS long. It’s been a while hasn’t it? I trust you’ve been creatively productive, too.
With Farmers’ Markets, farm chores, family happenings and a growing sense of ZEN I find myself trying to be in the here and now more often. It’s easy to think about putting something on a TO DO list, but lately, I’ve been misplacing the list. And when that happens, I re-evaluate what it was that I wanted to accomplish in the first place.
I’ve taken to turning off the television too, and hanging out with one of my Best Friends. Here is a photo:
Because when I spend time doing something I enjoy doing and I work at it Every. Single. Day. then the chances that I’ll get better at something increase greatly. Sometimes I think I sound pretty good, playing in the still, quiet time of the evening or early morning. I play what I want and at my own speed. I learn songs by ear, pick out tunes from You Tube and adapt them to my D A A tuning. The cat joins me on the couch and yes, I put her to sleep. Neither one of us sing.
November is the month for a Na-No-Wri-Mo challenge, and if you think you are up to creating that novel you’ve always wanted to write, it can be a great way to jump start yourself.
And as for me, I’ll take time every day to play a little song, read or write a little “story”, and if I’m lucky, speak (aloud) a few reasonable words.*
(*Attributed to influences of von Goethe)
The wandering creative gypsy in my soul needed a bit of inspiration. One place I found it was at Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden, and if you don’t know his work, please take time to do a bit of research. You won’t be disappointed.
This is the Folk Art Church at dusk. It was beautiful and we spent time walking through the garden and seeing a lot of interesting objects created from recycled “stuff” as well as paintings and words of wisdom.
And here is a photo of the barn at the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale PA. Again, please search for the information and attend a workshop or three. 🙂
These are two places where I feel I’ll be able to get in touch with my creative muse within, and when I needed a bit of a pick-me-up, they certainly did.
Creatively busy. I’ll call later……