So here's the thing. If I'm to do a daily project, it could fall into a few different categories that would shut it down awfully quickly. A daily exercise, creative though it may be, would certainly improve whatever skill I am working on. Perhaps because that sounds too much like a job, I can see myself abandoning the discipline pretty soon. So I figure if I'm going to set myself a daily project, it ought to be something I LOVE. Therein lays the purpose. As someone once said, "doitforlove".
Well, that narrows it down a bit- Not!! The nemesis of my life is that I love too many things, and am easily distracted by so much beauty and wonder that I can barely focus on the job at hand. And what could I do that would be different than what I already do: a dabble here, a dabble there? The trick would be to incorporate that very part of my nature into this daily project.
All this came to me one week after I had read Cathy Cullis' challenge to do a daily project (see last post). I set myself the task of journalling on the subject of what to do but eventually came to an impasse. I put my pen down and closed my eyes. I find with closed eyes I can "hear" myself more. What I heard was "It has to be one thing that I am alway delighted by. If I can find that one thing, I can play with it, try anything I feel like with it as a take-off point." I opened my eyes and scanned the room and the pretty things I'd collected over the years, but nothing caught my imagination. And then it hit me.
I'd been awaiting the arrival of a rare vintage doll I had bought over a week earlier from a shop on etsy called Matties Menagerie. I don't remember what possessed me to go doll shopping. As I recall, a certain someone had encouraged me to focus on what I might want for Christmas, and probably one thing led to another as it does on the internet, let alone etsy. I made a point of not looking at the picture of this doll online after it was purchased; I think anticipating its arrival blew its beauty up in my mind. Once I decided it would, indeed, be my muse for my daily project even though I had yet to hold it in my hands, I was elated. But by the next day, I began to question myself. Was I being realistic thinking my enthusiasm could sustain itself for a whole year?
Then I realized that through over-analyzing, indeed analyzing at all, we kill our communion with the muse that existed before it occurred to us to put words and thought to it. Imagination is a sacred process that must be trusted. Leave the analysis to others.
And so on Christmas morning, I tore open the brown paper wrapping and opened this box...
Each of us has a muse, something that speaks to us more than anything else. For some it's music, or writing, or poetry or photography. For others it's a child, their beloved, Mother or Grandpa. It could be a soft breeze on a summer's day or the scent of lavender or wild roses or puppies. I hope this doll, that is more beautiful to me than I imagined, will be the vessel that carries me through a year of magic, mysteries unfolded, secrets undisclosed. I see a great adventure before me....
I wish you a magic carpet ride of your own,
even if it is as simple as curling up in a cozy chair with a good book.
Can you feel it? Yes there IS magic in the air on days like this.
Waking up to a morning like this... well, I have no words...
The canoe sits on sawhorses protected by this great fir.
Yes, it is cold; a dampness fills the air...
the garden huddles
the wheelbarrow set aside til spring
and a new doll is born.
Such a shy one she is too, taking over a month to make her debut. She is definitely a night doll.
A sensitive girl, a romantic, yet unto herself. I love it that she is softly stuffed yet can stand on her own. I am more pleased than I was at first, dismayed that she was so wonky. But it makes sense to me now, as so much does the next morning, ( having finished her last night) .
We are about to enter a new year. This journey I am on, exploring a creative world of possibilities that are born out of joy, that evolve as they would, not necessarily as I would have them, has been both exciting and difficult. As I slowly shed the shackles of obligation, I have found that, without some kind of container, my freedom goes splaying all about; I cannot seem to meet my personal deadlines, and rules, even my own, cause me a kind of anxiety. I find myself often at a loss for a raison d'etre.
Two weeks ago I readCathy Cullis' blog on a " daily project". It caught me by the toe and wouldn't let go. Within a few days I came up with an idea that excited me because it combined a myriad of ideas that I've had over the years into one. The trick for me was to find something that could hold my attention for a YEAR. A year can be a long time when one is doing something they dislike or awaiting something they desire. But that year comes up awfully short and fast when one is putting the building blocks together for a personal dream. I will reveal more to you tomorrow.
Ah, how this month chugs along like "the little engine that could"; we make our way closer to the top of the mountain: the holidays and the end of the year. There always seems like one more thing to do, but I'm learning as the years move on to require less of myself. No longer the "mighty multi-tasker", I find I am having a more pleasant time this time of year than in years past.
I love the serious snow fall that covers everything in a kind of fairy dust. The pond is almost covered here yet still not frozen.
Like the cyclamen, I am happy to do my blooming on the inside looking out.
I have spent a lot of time working on the little doll I showed you in the last post, more time than is viable for a reasonable price, so I will probably put her in my etsy shop at much lower price than the hours spent on her would suggest. I just can't help myself; I love working on her so much.
The copper thread for her hair is something I've be saving for a special project for at least a dozen years or more. This taupe ultrasuede seemed to just call out out for it. And even where the copper wears away, the main gold-coloured thread looks hair-like. I'm so pleased!
This is such an emotional time of the year for so many. Yesterday I read a passage from a new book interviewing the Dalai Lama where he reminds us that there is no compassion for others when we seek to satisfy ourselves. We must shelve self-interest in order to love others better. It is a hard lesson sometimes, but one worth learning.
I wish you all love in your lives. Sweet, kind, tender love. Starting with the self, we work our way outwards embracing in our hearts those in our lives who don't know how to give it back, seeking not for ourselves except to give that which is so necessary to truly being alive. Like forgiveness, it is the gift we give ourselves.
An early morning dusting of snow, the third in a series of first snows as the lovely snowfall we had last week was all but gone with rain and milder temperatures.
And even as I write this the sun has been veiled by a serious curtain of snow.
It has been a quiet week thus far as I take a slow learning curve starting a new doll. Originally it was going to be an elephant and then a bear but has become, of all things...
or rather, is becoming this young lady, taken from an original watercolour of mine. I'd practically sewn her all up inside out when I realized I wouldn't be able to sew her features without sewing right through to her back... so I open a side seam up so that I would have access. Even so, I have sewn the eye on the right 3 times and taken out many other stitches that didn't seem quite right. Ah, the indignity of being constantly redrawn. But therein lays yet another irony, the indignity of life that may only regain balance with grace, forgiveness and, bless us, a sense of humour!
A happy first day of December. I woke to our second day of snow, it being our second round as the snow of 2 weeks ago has since melted. This one may go too if the forecast of rain has anything to do with it.
An early morning shot casts a pink glow over the new snow.
Doesn't the tool shed look quaint and romantic in this winter wonderland.
I'm pleased to show you this latest effort with photo transfer and embroidery on the chocolately wool felt I made from a jacket that was meant to be used for a teddy bear- still to come... It's so rare to find such a charming photo to use, the baby so intense, and the little pig, too, with tail held high. You can find this piece that I've title "1+1=love" in my shop this evening.
The weekend is soon upon us and December will fly by I know. After my first internet sale last week(thanks to you-know-who-you-are), I am feeling more optimistic and eager to dive into new ideas. I hope to have something to show you next week. In the meantime, thank you to Lorraine Young Pottery for coming on board as my latest "follower".
Til next time, I wish you a peace in your heart that spreads out to the whole world.
A wonderful Monday morning to you as it is here. The sun is shining, for which I'm so grateful as I've been housebound for the last week - and through the weekend - putting finishing touches on the re-opening of my etsy shop. It is exciting to go public again as I've gained so many of my followers through etsy. Welcome to new follower Lori! I'm always thrilled by this medium and the way one can connect with people from all over the world. I suppose those of you who visit here are already well-steeped in the miraculousness of cyberspace, but for me it's almost as wild as ESP that I should be able to share my thoughts and pictures with you, and find you, in turn.
Today I put the finishing touches on this ornamental tag that I have put into my shop.
The photo transferred with some irregularities, which I feel added to the piece; perfectly imperfect.
let us all go through the day with compassion and forgiveness for we are all
Well here we are on a Sunday night in November. The 6 inches of snow from 2 days ago has melted and the sun even came out, but I was determined to meet my magical date commitment to myself to get my onlineetsy shop up and running again as I stitched the day away making little lavender stuffed pillow brooches.
Here is a detail of the 1.5 x 2 .25 inch Saw Whet Owl brooch I finished today.
It is irregular with its combination stuffing of lavender and polyfil, but I like it that way.
It has been a great joy of mine investing so much time in drawing again in this medium of black crochet cotton freehand embroidery. I love the rich black against the buff, richly textured natural linen. It makes such a strong graphic statement and yet the "strokes" of thread are oddly out of my control as each stitch slips into the weave of the linen with an idiosyncracy that I can barely control, making me more of a participant and less of a leader. I do get a kick out of this lack of control though I spent almost as much time today removing stitches as often as making them.
It is Tuesday morning, 4 weeks since my last entry and 9 weeks since I put my etsy shop into holiday mode. As the weeks have unfolded I have become more accepting of the fact that this electronic world that I have entered into has been somewhat other than I expected it to be. Most of my visitors to this blog come from Google Images where they almost all land on my entry from last year: " This Very World is Paradise". While I had hoped to create an audience for my creative work, I am resigned to the fact that it is not going to happen unless I make a more commercial product, something I cannot bring myself to do after over 30 years in business as a potter and all the pretzelling I did to support myself.
So my little voice must continue to speak to myself. As a friend once commented when I told her I was writing a short story, " Oh, you want to hear yourself." And isn't that what our creative efforts are ultimately about though we assert we are trying to reach others? Ultimately self-revelation, as my entry (linked above) illustrated, is what it's all about despite our best efforts to connect with others. Ultimately we are alone. But do not despair. While the scramble to be otherwise is illusion, we can and must learn from others. Still, these lessons must pass through the filter of our own minds. How often do we hear or see something new in what we have heard and seen many times before! This is the relationship I feel compelled to work on and use this blog to share with you. I hope you find merit in this and the few creative efforts that are worth recording here.
a frosty morning 4 days ago
a frosted begonia blossom
I took a teddy bear workshop on the last Saturday of October
and worked on my little bear through the week, finally finishing him the following Friday.
He's a wistful little fellow, and a good listener.
I'm exploring little bears in other materials that are more readily available to me.
Let's see what comes of this week.
I have a tentative announcement to make, tentative because I realize how rarely I can follow through on commitments that are calendar-oriented. But I have a special feeling for this date as it seems to be a magical number :
20 11 2011
On that day I will reopen my etsy shop for another experiment in selling.
There will be some new work there that I hope you will enjoy.
Till then, all best wishes for fulfillment of your hopes and dreams.
Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving, the Monday of a long weekend. It sounded like everyone went away. Except for the soft sound of leaves falling and a few bluejays calling, it was exquisitely quiet. I decided to set myself up outside on the deck with a box of papers to sort or chuck as there wasn't a breeze to disturb me.
The great maple tree to the south was casting its huge shadow to keep the warm sun from melting me.
As I watched the birds flit and the leaves softly tumble, I realized I had to share this with you.
Eventually I realized that I needed to stretch my legs to saunter and savour this fleeting time.
Here is some firewood that Wally cut from a fallen maple the day before.
Earlier that morning I heard a quote by Albert Camus :
"Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower."
There were bouquets everywhere.
Finally, I wandered around the back of the house which faces due south and the deck where I eventually continued my job of sorting, with more time-outs for contemplation and meditation.
These are the more spectacular pictures I was talking about in a previous post. Georgian Bay, the Canadian Shield (the Precambrian rock), the iconic land of the Group of Seven, one feels a sense of raw freedom. Last night I dreamed of bears and wolves.
How lovely to be on the top of the point and feel the primitive beauty in our bones.
Just cool enough for a jacket, we roamed the length of this rock like the back of a mammoth animal.
The rock is anything but barren. The lichen is everywhere and mosses too. And as you can see, even the trees grow right out of it, natural bonsai and, so, very old.
Looking back from whence we'd come.
And down to the lake below.
What a pleasure to be in a world that respects its wildlife.
Especially the lowly snake. They say you can judge a culture by how they treat their lowest members. While I don't come from a culture of snakes (well, not most of the time) I think it is a big mistake to not see the value of our fellow beings.
Swamps are also areas that are not valued enough for the teeming wildlife they support.
And there is great beauty too if one only stops to look.
Deer, of course, are everywhere, and like that beauty I showed you earlier,
can be so tame that you can find them grazing beside the road,
not to mention moose as well.
We loved the solitude we shared on this quiet Tuesday, the 6th of October.
Today we will do yardwork at home. It is the most exquisite Indian summer day here. The maples are vermilion, chartreuse, vibrant coral oranges, buttercup yellow and russet.
Immersed in nature, it is easy to be grateful and give thanks... every day.
Yesterday was supposed to be yardwork day. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold. But my Wally stole me away for one last chance to go to a favourite provincial park of his, about 40 minutes northwest of Parry Sound on Georgian Bay, before the park would be closed for the season. It was such a super day, I just had to share it with you.
This wonderful landmark is just west of Rosseau.
The drive took almost 2 hours, the same amount of time to go to Toronto, but a world of difference.
From the very beginning I could see the magic that Wally sees in this wonderful place.
On top of the point.
And on the other side of Harold's Point.
Wally in his glory.
I left Wally framing a shot with the camera with just enough time for me to hide in this shallow natural ditch, flat against the warm rock. How I laughed as he walked right past me wondering where I could have got to, how I could have fallen in the water without making a splash.
Bless his heart, it didn't take him long to forgive me.
The breeze was cool, but the rock emanated the warmth of the sun.
Fourteen shots later, this was the best picture I could get of one of 3 loons that called to each other as they swam by, fishing as they went.
We headed off to explore more of the park and find a nice spot for a picnic.
This lovely doe posed for me right beside the road. Her fawn just beyond had already lost its spots.
I have more images to show you, even more spectacular than these (if I do say so myself). Please join me tomorrow for the second lap of our daytrip.
I am a great believer in the transformative power of creativity. I am most delighted by the creative path my intuition takes me. I have an innate response to humble materials, natural and recycled, having been instilled since childhood with the ethos, "something from nothing", by my beloved grandmother; she, like so many women of her time, had an admirably creative resourcefulness........................
Mostly self-taught, I have an eclectic interest in Art. But my joy is in the deceptive simplicity of handcraft and its interpretation by modern "primitive" artists who seem to bring to their work a sense of serene melancholy and spiritual longing that the Japanese call wabi-sabi: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect.
With gratitude I thank you for your interest in this blog. If you should find that you would like to borrow some of this content, please contact me for permission. All images, artwork and writing, unless otherwise stated, are copyrighted by the owner and maker of this blog known as Enchanted Blue Planet.