2016 Tacoma Studio Tour Preview: Part 2

Hard to believe the Tacoma Arts Tour is just around the corner. Here is Part 2 of the Studio Tour Preview reblogged from the Tacoma Arts blog. Have a great weekend!

Tacoma Arts

This is part 2 in our series highlighting the artists participating in the Tacoma Studio Tour this October.

What: Tacoma Studio Tour
Where: 34 studio locations around Tacoma
When: October 15 & 16, 11 am – 5 pm
Cost: FREE!

You are invited inside the working studios of 57 local artists to learn about the artistic process, ask questions, and purchase one-of-a-kind creations. Plus, you can even win some fabulous items hand-crafted by a selection of artists on this tour just for getting your Studio Tour Passport stamped at each location you visit. All studios will feature demonstrations or will have hands-on activities for visitors. It’s family friendly and free!

Here are this week’s highlights:

Lucia Harrison
HarrisonGreenwood01 Harrison02 Harrison03
Lucia Harrison’s handmade paper, drawings, paintings, and artist books focus on an appreciation for the natural and human history of South Puget Sound. Most recently she has been collaborating with…

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2016 Tacoma Studio Tour Preview: Part 1

For the next few weeks I will be reblogging from the Tacoma Arts blog. Here is the first post regarding the Tacoma Studio Tour to take place Oct. 15th and 16th in various places around Tacoma. There is a link to the map in the article if you are in the area… Cheers!

Tacoma Arts

It may only be August but our minds are abuzz about Tacoma Arts Month. What is Tacoma Arts Month? It’s the entire month of October filled to the brim with hundreds of arts and culture events, exhibits, and workshops for you to participate in. There is something for everyone to enjoy: music, dance and theater performances; hands-on experiences; visual art exhibits; literary readings; lectures; workshops; film screenings; and cultural events. This is your chance to enjoy culture, explore Tacoma, and connect with your community.

One of the signature events is the Tacoma Studio Tour, a once-a-year opportunity when you are invited inside the working studios of 57 local artists to learn about the artistic process, ask questions, and purchase one-of-a-kind creations. Plus, you can even win some fabulous items hand-crafted by a selection of artists on this tour just for getting your Studio Tour Passport stamped at each location you visit. All…

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Life on the EDGE?

There have been many  blog worthy events in my life lately, but my poor time management skills have prohibited me from scheduling any serious writing time.

I guess I’ll start with the most recent happening in my life. Most likely that is also where I’ll end because lets face it, too much of a good thing can get boring. I’ll try to make it quick.

Two months ago I stepped (actually, I was pushed) way out of my comfort zone.  Now, I consider myself a very adaptable person and I’ve had my share of positive life experiences that were often the result of my being pushed out of my comfort zone, but for the most part, I prefer to stay in my comfy little zone and maybe extend an arm or leg into the uncomfortable world of unknowns from time to time. After all, what is life if you don’t live on the edge just a little?

What makes me uncomfortable?
Strangers
Writing
Large groups of strangers
Talking about myself
Talking about myself to a large group of strangers

Oddly enough though, I’ve been known to respond to online invitations to attend groups and meetings with people I’ve never met before and for the most part I have always had good experiences with doing that. I’ve also had to give presentations and even talk about myself just a little to rooms full of strangers. I can do it, I just don’t like to.  But nothing causes me greater discomfort than having to share my “art” and vision with people, strangers or not. That may come as surprise to the  faithful few who follow me  on Facebook, Instagram and here where all I do is write about my explorations in artistic discovery, but trust me, it is not something I feel entirely confident or comfortable doing. Which explains some of my long absences here. I  do it because I feel I have to if I expect to go anywhere with any of this. ANYWAY….

On one of those occasions where I  decided to drift into the unknown by attending a lecture on social media marketing for artists (with a friend who I also forced out of her comfort zone…) there was mention by the facilitator about applications being accepted for EDGE. EDGE is a one week professional development resident program that helps emerging artists develop their goals. It has helped many an artist set goals and launch successful careers.  The deadline to apply was June 31st. I found out about the program on June 29th – I’m a little foggy on the exact dates, but the point is I didn’t think about applying because well, that would have been way too uncomfortable. I would have had to show actual artists my work AND write about myself AND write about my work and I was not / am not  in any way ready to think about applying for anything like that.  I knew though, that my friend was more than ready and I encouraged her to apply, which she said she might consider while also making a million excuses as to why she shouldn’t. Oh, we are so good for each other.

I put EDGE out of my mind and on the morning of the 31st my friend sent me a hilarious text message. She had decided to apply for EDGE and she thought I should too.  I sent her back  an “LOL” she – of all people! – had decided to apply! I was shocked, amazed, impressed – she did it, good for her! But I had to laugh at her thinking for one moment I was at that level. And that is when she pushed me. But for some reason, I was ok with playing along and thought: what is the worst that could happen?

Well, I could have my soul crushed like a walnut under a wheel loader is what could happen! And frankly, I have had enough of that for the past two years. It’s not so much that I can’t handle rejection. Well, yes actually it is that. I suck at rejection, even though I’ve had plenty of practice with it over the years, it never gets easy.

At her urging and pushing I decided to arm myself with some duct tape for the soul and give it a try. After all, I had 9 hours to fill out the application. Plenty of time. I completed the process with about 10 minutes to spare.  Then I waited. I figured there would be no news until after the July Holiday, so it was pretty easy to forget about it, plus I was pretty sure there wasn’t a chance at all I would be accepted. Then still I wondered…

A couple of weeks went by and I received a very happy and nervous text message  from my pushy friend (yes that is how we communicate – rarely do we ever talk to each other, this way we can stay in our comfort zones and still be social) that she had been accepted! I was so super happy for her. And I patiently waited for my rejection letter to come.

It never came. I began to feel a little tremor in my soul. After a couple of weeks, my soul cracked.

Apparently my artist’s statement, statement of work, my “art”, my application was so horrible none of it was even worthy of a rejection letter. I laughed to and at myself. What was I thinking? If It was just a mail in application perhaps the rejection would not have caused me such distress. However, with social media and so many of us on-line everywhere, there was a very deep gut wrenching feeling that not only do I suck, but that I was being passed around on every type of  media device known to man. I could hear the laughter, the jokes and I convinced myself to be happy that I had brought so much joy to so many people for a day. But I seriously became quite embarrassed for a few days too, thinking that everyone from the program might have peaked at one or all of my social media sites in order to assure themselves that they really don’t suck so bad after all.

As my soul crumbled to dust over a couple more weeks, I did finally receive the rejection letter I thought I was so unworthy of. I felt better. I looked at the bright side, the application had forced me to look hard at my goals and think about what I really want to do, should be doing or NOT doing. I also wrote an artist’s statement, a bio and about my process. True, none of it was good enough to convince anyone of my potential, but what I had left was a really polished rough draft that could be tweaked for future use.

HA! Future USE? Like that is ever going to happen.

Yet, I keep at it. Why? I’m not sure. I  will say though, I think I have given up on the art aspect of what I am trying to do and  may just stick with making what sells. Or I may not. I guess I’m still riding that wave.

And Then

And so I continued to go to my studio on a fairly regular basis and just kept making anything that came to mind. Feeling pretty satisfied and generally happy with the process, but like a complete failure with the finished “work”. Yes, these are fun, people like them, but what do they say?

Then, leaving my studio yesterday I had a thought; “#@(K  this *(&T  I’m going to do ART. And it might be weird and strange and SUCK but at this point , I just don’t care.” But then, maybe it wont be weird. Maybe it will be pretty and nice and that is ok, right? And no one even needs to know it exists.

And Then (Again)

I came home yesterday and went through the routine of checking emails and OMG… what should I find in my in box?

These exact words:
Happy Wednesday to you! You were next on our alternate list in case someone from Visual EDGE had to unexpectedly drop, which just happened.

Well, how funny is this? I was pretty quick to want to say “YES!” but before hitting ‘send’ on that, I stopped to think… I was still super excited about my friend getting accepted and the thought of us going together was more exciting than my receiving the offer of acceptance (for a few seconds). I knew she was going, but I also know how she can sometimes talk herself out of things and I wondered if perhaps her anxiety might have gotten the best of her. How funny would it be if I accepted and SHE was the one who dropped out? Clearly this was beyond a text message and a phone call was absolutely in order. Plus, I was not entirely sure I really wanted to go, the thought of being there with all those strangers, talking, showing my “art” to judges and critics… not exactly healing balm for the soul.

After confirming she was, indeed, still attending and convincing me of why it was super important for me to go and what an honor it was to have such a great opportunity, I went ahead and hit ‘send’ on that email reply.

And now, I must go sweep up the dusty crumbles of my crushed soul and return to my comfy place where I will take aim and get ready to toss every little bit haphazardly over the EDGE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Garden

Today I’m feeling like I need an escape; a peaceful place to gather my thoughts and tune out the world. I have it in my mind to create such a place in my own back yard, but for now I’ll just have to pretend.

Here is a simple paper cutting I finished last month. It was a good month for me. I think all the sunshine helped energize my mind and awaken a little creative beast with in me.

I did this tin because Japan during springtime is one of my favorite places to be.  I wanted to capture the serenity of a tranquil Japanese bamboo forest, the soothing sound of bamboo leaves rustling in the breeze and the trickling of a gentle stream.japanese garden papercut

I’ve started to use more of my own hand made embellishments and I like to keep it as true to handmade as possible, but I did use two texture plates for the sky and the grass. Also, I cheated a little and used a small circle punch for the cherry blossoms. I wasn’t feeling up to the challenge of cutting out 50 little tiny circles by hand.

bamboo garden

Japanese garden collage

As I said, this was a pretty productive month for me and I’m excited to be finishing up a few projects, which I hope to share with you next time. But now – I must go tend to the garden –

Cheers!

 

 

Riding the Wave

When I posted I was DONE, you didn’t take me seriously did you? Well, the fact is – I am done, my last post still applies. And no, I don’t have anything profound or truly blogworthy to share, but a funny thing happened – not funny ha ha, but funny interesting…

Lately I’ve had a wonderful amount of “free time” and used that time to NOT stress about making goals, meeting deadlines or planning anything other than using my time to put more thought and energy  into the activities I enjoy.  This is not only true for the business side of things but also for the home life side of things as well. In reality, the daily chores and tasks that NEED to be done are simple and take very little time; keeping the floors swept, the sink empty, fridge full, electricity on, internet connected and having clean clothes – all important and all can be accomplished in less than 5 hours a week. As for business, well a person could fill every hour of  the 24 doing business related stuff and that doesn’t include creating and making. Now I’m just riding the wave of life, going with the flow, enjoying the ride. And with that new philosophy I’ve managed to get some fun “work’ done.

I was, for some reason, compelled to do a paper cutting using Hiroshige’s Thirty six Views of  Mt. Fuji as my inspiration. I decided to use The Sea Off Satta in Suruga Province because it is such a widely recognized iconic piece of work and my reference would need  very little explanation.

The Wave

It took about a month to do this one. There was no deadline and I even took a couple of road trips during the month too, something I would have never done before. This time I just enjoyed the process and had fun with it.  I didn’t even stress out when most the layers had to be peeled off and reconfigured because the lid wouldn’t close properly. Now I know how better to plan out my layers so that doesn’t happen again.

Here is a little peek at the process, the quick sketch and a few of the cut layers with one side assembled.

wave assembly

Well, that’s all folks.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention… I took this piece and about 4 other older pieces with me to an event I had no intention of selling at and what do you know… SOLD. And see, I am so done, I didn’t even bother to fret over the lack of wave metaphors I could have been and should have been using throughout this whole post to make it more you know, “bolgworthy”.

Cheers!

 

 

Signs Everywhere

There comes a time when you must stop and listen to the universe. The universe is telling you something. It is telling me something.

I’m not sure exactly what it is saying, some of it is lost in translation, but I think  I can make out the gist of it: ‘Ridiculous’, ‘irrelevant’, ‘useless’, ‘pointless’ and ‘stupid’ (my favorite) are words that keep filtering through.

I spent the past two weeks attempting to write a simple post on, of all things, time management and making time to do the things you love; the things that are important to you. It should have been a simple post. A post an average fifth grader could tap out in a matter of an hour. However, I can only give my time to so many areas. Writing takes time and for me, quiet. Certainly, I have time. But my time should be spent on more important things. Writing for a few minutes here and there throughout the week is  not working. The time I give to other areas I also consider important is not working. I see that now.

So, yes, there comes a time when you must listen to the universe when it tells you to “STOP! For the love of God, STOP wasting your time!”

Of course there are commitments I must follow through with, but I must pursue the areas that are far more beneficial and important, not those grounded purely in my own self interest.  I mean, how many times must I go through this “I’M DONE” stage? Every month there is another sign thrown smack in front of my face, but I choose to ignore it. The one commitment I must follow through with is committing for once and for all to BE done. Stop saying it to myself and just be done and move on to which ever direction I am supposed to be going. And I am now thoroughly convinced the road I have been traveling for the past four years is not the right direction. I have simply been forcing something that is not there.

So, ok Universe! I quit! I’m waiting for you to take me where I am supposed to be.

I haven’t decided to cut myself off completely from all social media. I’m pretty sure I will not be continuing along with my same goals. But I just don’t have the energy  to bother thinking about all that right now.

Anyway – Cheers! Thank you to all of you who have stopped by over the years. It really did mean a lot to me and is what kept me going this long. If I think of anything truly profound or something I think you can’t live without knowing, I may post again.

IMG_0623

 

What’s up with the picture? Nothing, I just like it. I’ve been trying for a very long time to snap a great picture of a raven. Last week this one just flew up and landed right in front of me – how is that for a sign?

 

Changes…

After weeks of trying to find a witty, entertaining way to explain my absence and lack of motivation to write anything more than a laundry list- I give up. So here it is, my not so grand reentry into the blogosphere.

 

What Has Changed

Sadly, Elliot was growing more incoherent each day and developed a very annoying habit of beating her head against the wall for hours on end. I found it impossible to concentrate with all that racket so we had her shipped off to a very fine sanatarium  finishing school so she might be molded into a more polished version of her twisted little self. But this means our bricks and mortar shop, Twisted Elliot, has officially closed.

Once Elliot learns the art of proper parosol twirling and how to distinguish between a pitchfork and a dinner fork and especially how to control urges to stab someone with either, we will happily welcome her back and continue to love her unconditionally.

Yes, it was a little sad to close the door on Twisted Elliot, but all is well. We are in a new studio space, which is exciting (we have windows!) because I feel it will give me a place to work more and worry less about presenting that work in a retail setting.

Here is a peek at the new studio:

I call this the “Collectors Corner”, it’s a place for all those weird things I find on walks or have been given to me by friends… things like deer bones, dead bees, feathers. Not sure what the feng shui in all this is, but it might explain a few things.

collectors corner

storage and photobooth

A major dilemma I’ve faced for years now is having access to a convenient permanent “photo booth”, a designated zone where an item can be placed and photographed immediately upon completion. Since I make small items, this should be pretty easy… it isn’t. This area in a corner of my shelving units has potential, I’ve had  a little luck with some items, but there hasn’t been consistency in the photos and I’m doing a lot of editing, which can be very tedious and time consuming.  But, notice all the empty space on the shelves?  I always have to make sure I save room for the hoard to grow.

work zone Collage

This area by the window has proven to be a good option for a “photo booth” though not a permanent set up. But all I have to do is drape some white paper over my computer and VIOLÁ! Then dump photos int a photo editor and Voilá! again… the key would be to get the shots right from the beginning… oh well. Again, not perfect, but very little set up is required, and on a sunny day the lighting is pretty perfect. I’m enjoying having these two separate work areas, including my brainstorming area (you can tell not so much as a cloud in sight these days). Two work areas make it easy to move back and forth between tasks and projects when I need a break from one or the other…

comfy place

and the comfy spot is great when I need a beak from both. This also makes a nice cozy spot for the occasional visitor (hint, hint).

And then there is this:

packing station

                                                  The pack and wrap station for all those Etsy orders that are going to start pouring in and flying out. But for now it is a good spot to just hang my coat. Notice my fabulous  Blue Apron  boxes? They are great for transporting the dolls to and from shows.

And that’s all the changes that have been happening here. It’s a work in progress, and we are missing Elliot, but when she returns, there will be a place here for her in the newly padded cupboard.

 

What has Stayed the Same

Pretty much everything else has stayed the same.  Well, not really, but I won’t dare bore you with all the bland and boring details. Besides, most of it doesn’t involve me, and I’m not one to gossip… not online anyway.

So, until my next post, which hopefully will be soon, Cheers!

And I meant to ask… how is the New Year treating you so far? Have you also had some changes going on in your world? All for the better I hope.