Sunday, September 30, 2012

For the Birds

My office is between the bathrooms and the copy room.  As you can imagine I see a lot of people walking by throughout the day and the opportunity for chatting makes my office quite pleasant.  Unfortunately my desk looks upon a boring, white, cement brick wall.  I considered asking if I could paint the wall, but I thought I would be told no.  I also considered painting it without asking, but decided that was a bad idea. So I have been decorating the wall with bits of art that I created.

Right now the wall has a tree motif.
The tree on my office wall with the first 3 birds

Last winter I decided that the tree looked barren so I added the 3 birds.  Those were not enough birds to chase away the winter blues, so I recruited other people in my office to make birds at lunch one day.  I brought the supplies and the template (I wanted all the birds to have the same shape) and another 8 birds were hatched.  I made 5 more to represent all the people in my department - they know which bird belongs to whom.  The tree looked nice and full once all the birds were added and people dropped in to visit their birds occasionally.
Each bird represents a person in my department
After awhile, I tired of the birds (who frequently fell off the tree) and returned each to the person who made it.  The tree is going to come down soon as well, since I am working on another piece to hang in that spot.  My director can see the wall from his desk as well.  I hope he likes daisies.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mixed Media Bracelets

I was asked to donate some art to a fundraiser and I decided to make 2 bracelets.  These bracelets are made from fabric and buttons.  I use a hair tie as a closure.  It takes me many hours to make one, even though the pattern is quite simple. I enjoy the challenge of sewing tiny scraps of fabric together and then arranging the coordinating buttons.
Mixed media bracelets
I tried something new and added a zipper to another bracelet.  I am not very happy with the way it turned out. The zipper sticks out when the bracelet wraps around my wrist.  I think I will have to glue down the zipper to make it wearable so I will just keep this one rather than sell it.
I tried adding a zipper
Even though I am not thrilled with my zipper bracelet, I am glad I tried something new.  I often think about things I want to try, but I have difficulty executing my ideas.  Sometimes I think about the idea for so long that I talk myself out of actually trying it.  I have 2 black and white bracelets to make for friends in the next few weeks and I want to try adding some ribbons this time.  I hope they look good.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Last weekend I went to downtown Chicago for the Renegade Craft Show.  It is held in multiple cities across the country and even has a website (click here).  It took me about 4 1/2 hours to look at all the booths.  They were filled with fun and wonderful items from posters and cards to vintage clothing, soaps and silver jewelry.  Many of the crafters were from out of town - LA, Austin, and even Oregon.
A beautiful sunny day for a craft fair
A mural in Wicker Park where the Renegade Fair was held
Of course food was available at Renegade and one participant was a vegetarian restaurant named Mana.  It happens to be my daughter's favorite place to eat downtown.  I had an amazingly good slider made from brown rice and mushrooms.  Mushrooms have never been my favorite food - my mother made me eat them - but these sliders are worth the long drive downtown.

One thing I didn't expect to hear at a craft show was a loud scream followed by a person saying, "oh, it's just another zombie."  There was a group of people who were covered in fake blood enjoying a zombie apocalypse game.  Apparently there was a zombie hunter in the crowd and I believe he dispatched all of the zombies without loss of human life.  The zombies were last seen boarding Chicago public transit.

Craft fairs are a great place for people watching.  I saw some adorable outfits, all styles of boots, and lots of scarves.  I hope I was able to blend into the hip, urban crowd just a little.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


ICAD stands for Index Card A Day.  I discovered the idea when I was reading the Daisy Yellow Blog I mentioned in the last post.  The idea is that you make art on an index card every day for some period of time.  It can be any type of art on any size index card.  I really wanted to try this because I thought it would be a good challenge that would force me to be creative every day. Of course, I had to recruit some friends to do it with me so that the peer pressure would keep me going.  I was able to talk about 8 friends into joining my ICAD group and we agreed to a month long challenge.  The project would culminate with a final celebration at a local watering hole where we would share our results (yes, I was able to slip wine into my artistic challenge).
My meditating face
 I admit that I was not able to create 30 pieces of art in 30 days.  I completed 25 index cards.  I decided to make each piece different. Some participants kept a common theme, such as pictures of flowers. One person chose greeting cards as her art form.  Another friend drew the same tree in her backyard each day, using different tools and colors, while another decided to make 3D objects out of her cards.  It was an inspiring month and I really loved getting together to share all that the group had made.
Playing with graffiti
Golden fluid acrylics - such bright colors!
I hope my friends will join me in the future for another ICAD project.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Chapter 6: Abundance

This morning I am reading Chapter 6 of The Artist's Way entitled "Recovering a Sense of Abundance."  I am actually getting goosebumps as I read it, because the message is so timely.  I have been in the doldrums lately and these thoughts remind me that I need to treat myself better.

I am going to post quotes from the chapter that resonate with me.

"What we really want to do it what we are really meant to do.  When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open to us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us." (p.108)

"Making art begins with . . .getting into the now and enjoying your day.  It begins with giving yourself some small treats and breaks." (p.108)
"In order to thrive as artist's - and, one could argue, as people - we need to be available to the universal flow.  When we put a stopper on our capacity for joy by anoretically declining the small gifts, we turn aside the larger gifts as well." (p. 110)

Julia Cameron goes on to write that creativity requires the luxury of time (even if it's only 15 minutes) and space (even if it's only 1 bookshelf). "Creativity lives in paradox: serious art is born from serious play." (p.112)  She encourages treating yourself to all kinds of little luxuries that make you feel good, whether it is fresh raspberries, cut flowers or tickets to a play.

Finally she asks the very pointed question: what gives you true joy?  I have to pause and concentrate to come up with an answer.  Perhaps I don’t want to be too extravagant.  My list includes chocolate, time with my children, and a walk through a sunny tree lined park.  Boy, am I lucky – I can experience all of those things today if I plan well.

So I am off to fill myself with some joy and snap out of my little funk.  Think about the things that bring you joy and try to experience one today.