Saturday, November 22, 2008

You've been Tagged

Six Random Things About Myself

1. I learned to sew when I was 6 years old using my mother's second-hand cast iron Singer Sewing Machine. She gave me a toy sewing machine for Christmas, but it didn't sew properly and I got very frustrated. That's when she taught me to use her grown-up machine.

2. I'm a Native Texan, never lived anywhere else. (That's not to say I wouldn't like to live elsewhere, like Scotland, maybe).

3. My husband is a minister, making me a clergy spouse. (Life's interesting during the holidays!)

4. I don't cook. (But I love to eat -- go figure!)

5. I'm a Medieval Stained Glass expert. I know just about everything anyone needs to know about Medieval Jesse Trees.

6. I used to be so shy that I would blush if anyone even looked my direction, but now I teach a college class of 300+ students. (I think that's more than random - it's a miracle!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Journey

A while back I was reading posts from a Pilgrimage Listserv for one of the famous pilgrimage journeys from France (well, all over the world really, but "beginning" in France) and traveling to the northwestern most corner of Spain to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella. I've been interested in this pilgrimage since I learned of this specific medieval pilgrimage journey. It got me to thinking about our separate journeys in life.

One of the "pilgrims" was describing this long and difficult journey that can take more than two months to make on foot crossing all sorts of terrain and encountering all sorts of people. He (or she, I don't recall) said that you start off in an almost euphoric state, because it is so beautiful, because you have prepared for it -- for many reasons, but it feels easy because it is new and different.

Then, after a few days or a week, the going gets a little tougher, the terrain changes, the land is flat and dry and not nearly so lushly beautiful. There are no shady trees to protect you from the elements. There is still a special beauty. But you start to doubt yourself.

And then it hits you, you have come so far, how can you possibly quit?

Then you get excited about the end of the journey, the scenery changes again and you enter a more populated region, you almost dread coming to your destination. Well, dread may be too strong a word. It's like a favorite song you don't want to end.

The journey is physically taxing, emotionally trying and spiritually altering. You are never the same again. The journey teaches you things you won't recognize immediately, but you are changed.

Where are you in your journey? Excited about the beginning? Bogged down by the "dry spells" and/or monotony? Euphoric because you're near your destination? Share where you are.

Enjoy your journey.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Talent and Risk

I was sitting in church on Sunday and listening intently to the readings, specifically the parable about the master who entrusted his servants with varying amounts of "talents" while he was away.

You probably know the story or have heard of it before. One gets five and invests it to make ten, another gets two and makes two more. But the last servant hides the one talent he is given and is punished for not taking a risk with it.

I sometimes get lost in these parables, but this one went right to my core. Of course "talent" in the reading is a monetary term, but it also works with this thing we associate with our creativity.

I've only been acknowledging myself as an artist for about four years, but I've always created, I've always had a knack for making beautiful things. Yes, I've always had talent, but I never risked it for anything.

I don't want to get in trouble for not taking a risk, so I better get busy!

If you're out there and I'm not talking to myself, tell me when you first recognized you had talent and what kind of risks you have taken for it. I look forward to reading your comments.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Beading Frenzy

Last week I went to San Antonio for a four day conference of Art Educators. My travelling companions were eager for some diversion and recreation on the trip down, so we stopped several places, including a charming Hill Country town -- with a FABULOUS bead shop.

These ladies, each with an incredible artistic sense, were novices to the bead scene. It was so exciting to see their choices and combinations of design, color, texture, and size of beads. I'm proud I have infected them with the bead bug. I'm certain they will produce beautiful results.

It's a sever virus, though. Nadine, has been so infected with it that we have visited shops and purchased beads three times in two weeks. Today we went to a bead show that shared the convention hall with a gun show. (Wrap your head around that one!) We've also exchanged beads and I've taught her tips and tricks in jewelry craft.

I've wanted this for quite a while now: beading companions, bead buddies, jewerly junkies. Alway expanding, learning, sharing.

My resolution this year has been "to walk more boldly into my artistic self." I've been enjoying the journey!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sky's the Limit

Last May, my husband and I took a cruise, our first. We thoroughly enjoyed just about everything about it, but I was especially taken with the early morning and late evening skies. The skies from the ship reminded me of the work of my friend Pam Burnley-Schol who paints the most intoxicating sky pieces -- they are prayers.

I thought of her when I photographed the gorgeous skies and as soon as we return home, I printed out several photos especially for her.

Sunday afternoon, she and her artist-husband, Don Schol, and my husband (also Don) and I met for dinner.

In walks Pam with a large shirt box wrapped in ribbon. And inside -- I was breathless when I opened it -- were three exquisite pieces, models for larger works -- just as I had imagined my photos would look interpreted through her gift. I cannot begin to put words to my deep appreciation for the gift of such beauty -- her talent and the product of it.

I'm speechless, humbled by my part in their creation.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Messes and Creativity

Lynn Davis has done it again, She's opened her studio and told us about her messy, creative studio over on the Blog and she was asking about our messes and messiest projects. I had to answer that. Here's what I posted:

I live in C.H.A.O.S. - Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome (thanks "Flylady"). My messes my own making and I think it has something to do with having two jobs and a very full volunteer schedule. I'm a fiber artist as well as a jewelry maker, but it's my sewing room/studio that's the worst. I'll get deep into a project and then have to abandon it to go off and do one of these things on my schedule.

But my biggest/worst mess was a few years ago when I was making some Ukrainian-style Easter Egg on our breakfast table. The weekend before I had stripped the round maple table because the varnish was sticky. I'm sure you can see what's coming. I tipped over the jar of green dye and made a permanent mess on the table.

Lemons to lemonade, I painted the table white and stenciled our china pattern on it. I loved that table!