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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I am getting closer

Wow- what happened to April?! I did have a lovely vacation in Sante Fe with my husband. AND we did get to visit our son and daughter-in-law over Easter weekend to celebrate our grandbaby's first birthday...BUT the rest of the time I have been busy working on?!!! Birds, I did make a quilt for charity, I have almost finished a bird tree house for another charity event AND maybe, just maybe I have found a place to rent for heARTfelt! I don't want to go into too much detail-wouldn't want to jinks anything...To be Continued...

                                    Sante Fe was a lovely breath of spring and sunshine
Still making and sending "Create Peace" Birds out into the world. I am on #53bird. I plan on launching 100 birds in 2015! I have also committed to creating a piece for a "Chair Affair" fundraiser for Bridge Communities. Here is the start of the Bird house...

This past weekend my friend Laura commissioned me to teach a class for a group of her city friends.

I am starting to look at consignment shops and estate sales for possible furniture for my Studio and Gallery. This is a nice sturdy table for art making!!!
Everything does seem to be a bit brighter now that spring is bringing flowers and sunshine and bits of warmer weather...Hope your world is wonderful today.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

signs of spring

Unfortunately, Chicago got hit with a snow storm on Monday, March these pictures are from a week prior to the snow! BUT hopefully that was it and we are now on our way to a real SPRING!

 Before my school/workday there was a Cardinal at our bird feeder. Thank you Billy, my wonderful husband, for keeping the bird feeders stocked!
 When I walked to school that same morning, this flower was captured in a bed of ice...
That same day on my walk home, the ice had melted and the flower and leaves were in a mucky puddle of old water!
On nice days over my lunch hour (which isn't really an hour) I like to take a walk to clear my head. Those are BUDS on the trees!
Kids riding bikes in spring jackets...definite sign of SPRING!

BUT the real signs of spring for me are the flowers that are peaking through...

                                Enjoy what spring you have....

Monday, March 2, 2015

what's with the BIRDS?!

I am planning on having a page on my web site which goes into much detail about my latest project...BUT creating the page is more complicated than I would like so for now I will just do my latest post on the project...

Right before Christmas my friend Laura and I were poking around Anthroplogie and I saw their wonderful window display which featured really cool stuffed birds. I did not have my phone with me so I made Laura take pictures and send them to me. I did not know what I would do with this bit of inspiration, BUT I thought something would develop.

On our car ride down to spend Christmas with our eldest son and his family I was reading the book, Show your Work and for whatever reason the project "Create Peace Birds" popped into me head. I knew I wanted to have art objects out in the world that could be touched and moved. Sort of like Flat Stanley- remember that book? I wanted the pieces to have a message attached and for the pieces to be moved from place to place. Those Anthropolgie inspired birds had never left my mind. Theirs were about the size of a real bird. I knew I wanted mine to be much larger and more whimsical. Thus I worked on a template and created my first bird.

I make the birds out of the paper/fabric I created this past year. I hand dye and paint muslin, then treat it with a mixture of glue, water and iridescent medium to create a canvas like fabric. I created my own stamps and stencil the word Create on one side of the bird and Peace on the other. Each bird has sewn on buttons for eyes and its feathers are pages of my old journals. They are quite wacky.

I write a tag for each bird and attach it around its neck; "Please move to another public space..." with the #-bird, #createpeacebirds, #heartfeltcreate on the back of each tag. I sign the bottom of each bird with the same hashtags and the date. Then send them off into the world. I have been giving them to friends to launch into the public spaces. Funny though, not many birds have made their way out of my friend's homes yet?!

I would like to make 100 birds this year and see where they fly to...I have created an etsy Shop and am planning on selling the birds there as well. We shall see where this takes me next...

                                       Buttons being sewn on the heads of each bird.

                             Each bird comes in a box if I mail it a shopping bag if it is local.
 We have had a few "cold/snow days" which gave me extra time to make these girls!

                           I enclose handwritten directions for releasing each of the birds

                                          These are the original inspiration birds.

I would really like to send a couple of birds to the ISIS groups around the world. Would art make them think a little bit about "Creating Peace?!"


Sunday, February 15, 2015

heARTfelt update

The purpose of me taking over the blog from Eileen was for me to document my journey in exploring my dream of opening a studio/gallery space. Last January I worked with a small business consultant and book keeper and explored the money side of my venture. I created product for a booth I set-up and classes I taught last fall. I held an artist open house in December...all bits of my grand vision.  I worked pretty diligently to make those pieces the best that they could be. I learned A LOT...

What I discovered was that I became OBSESSED with heARTfelt...It was literally all I thought about! Obsessions are NEVER a good thing. So back in December I decided to let go of some of the obsession. To do this I took on the opportunity to become part of a local non-profit organization whose mission is to help under served children and their families navigate our schools. I also went back to creating just for me. (I am now obsessed with my "moving art instillation" #createpeacebirds- BUT that is for a future Blog post!)  I am taking the steps I need to ensure that my obsessions work for me and my family.

The next step for heARTfelt is to find a space to rent. What I need to do is decide if I can open a smaller version of my vision. Do I have enough energy to have a small studio/gallery which would be open limited hours and still teach full time? Does a space exist which I could rent for a reasonable amount which would allow me to explore this option and not be a financial burden on my family? The space issue requires a bit more energy which I don't feel I can give the project right now. I am NOT giving up on the vision, but I am letting the vision just sit for a bit...I am finding mid winter in Chicago to be a time of just GETTING through!

SO- my heARTfelt adventure continues...just maybe not on the grand scale I had imagined. At LEAST not right NOW...

While visiting my mother-in-law in Grand Rapids, I happened upon a version of "heARTfelt." I was lucky enough to drop in when the owner was there and was able to pick her brain. She did give me one piece of advice that I had not thought of; that if you DON'T have an on-line presence your "Bricks and Mortar" space will not succeed in today's business environment. YES, I knew having a website and online registration....was important, BUT she has an ETSY site which she pulls from for her studio. She is not the first person to tell me to look into setting-up an ETSY shop.

Here is a sample of the #CreatePeaceBirds Project. I will devote an entire Blog Post to the process and my motivations soon...

Our Artist Way group held our annual gift exchange recently, which resulted in everyone creating AMAZING pieces of ART.

I received this amazing piece of jewelry from my friend and fellow Artist Laura. She fashioned it after pieces she found in the Sundance catalog-I think it is WAY BETTER than anything in the catalog!

That is it for me this week....Hope you all have a wonderfully creative and blessed week.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

I LOVE teaching workshops, but HATE schlepping

Yesterday my friend Reeny and I  presented a second class in our series, Yoga/Art and the Chakras. We offered it at 2 different local yoga studios. In the fall we focused on the lower Chakras, focusing on grounding and intention. Yesterday we worked with the heart and intuition Chakras.  It was a fun afternoon of yoga and art.

The workshop was well received. Participants commented on their hesitation before the art portion, but after they started playing with materials it became fun and they achieved more than they believed they were capable of...YAHOO! Just what I want to hear...

The hard part for me right now is the work involved in moving all of my art supplies to different locations to be able to teach workshops. Part of my reason for having a Bricks and Mortar home for HeARTfelt is to be able to hold classes and workshops in one place where I WOULDN'T have to schlep! My friend Mary, who was with us for the series, pointed out to me when I was lamenting this fact-"Maybe it is just part of your process." UGH- I HATE it when friends are right...(not really!) Maybe all of this schlepping helps me become more organized and streamlined in my presenting?! OR maybe I just need to work harder at figuring out a space to rent for my gallery/studio idea?

Either way I have to keep plugging along in my quest to bring the creative process to people who think they are NOT creative...

 Here are some of our supplies before we started. Thankfully, Reeny is super helpful and was willing to help me cover all of the tables and lay tarps!
 We had to bring in buckets of clean water and empty buckets to be able to take the dirty water out with us. HeARTfelt MUST have a large industrial sink!

Fun to have Buddha watching over us while we did yoga and created... 
 This yogi-artist went from sketch to wonderful representation of the upper Chakras.
 We started with rice paper and Sumi-E inks and brushes. Then added color using watercolor paints.
                                                     This is Mary and her finished piece.

                        Have a wonderful week! Here is to schlepping....

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I get by with a LITTLE help form my friends

This past weekend was my annual "MLK girl's weekend." I have been going with my friend Michelle for the past 4 years to different Wisconsin cities. This year we were in Madison. Every year we have a new iteration of friends join us. It is about getting away from our everyday life, eating good food, drinking wine, knitting, walking, talking and laughing A LOT!

Our families are of course our main focus. BUT getting away for a bit with my girl friends is just as important. We discuss our families, our jobs...we counsel and comfort each other in all of our life adventures. We are VERY lucky to have each others company and friendship.

Food both brought from home and out to eat is ALWAYS important to us.
                                                             LOTS and lots of wine....
                                                                      Searching out art.

                                       Finding the natural beauty in the places we visit

And then there is the laughter factor....we laugh A LOT!
There is a fantastic picture of one of my friends with a facial mask on BUT it shall NEVER be shared-because friends ALWAYS look out for one another!

                      Go visit with a friend....Have a great week.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

finding beauty and calm in WINTER

Last winter, which was a pretty brutal, LONG winter, I remember saying to myself that I should, "concentrate on hibernating and resting like the rest of nature does..." during January and February. I didn't. I got all caught up in how terrible the weather was and how I couldn't be outside and that the snow would never go away...This winter I am determined to NOT repeat that behavior and try my best to find the beauty and calm in these next 6-8 weeks.

I have found as my sister Michele has often said, "There is no BAD weather, just BAD clothing choices." (I think it maybe a bastardized REI commercial.) IF I can get outside for a walk and a bit of fresh air, no matter the weather, I feel more alive and definitely calmer. I know with subzero weather it is near impossible to do that- on those days I need to relish the time to be able to read a book with a cup of tea INSTEAD of trying to get a walk outside in...

Yesterday I was able to fit a walk in. I noticed the lovely shadows that a sunny winter day creates. I tried to capture them...
 I love the feathery quality of the shadow from these leaves on weeds which I never got to pulling this fall!
 The geometric shapes of some of our garden structures...
 I LOVE the shadow of this tree! So stark, so majestic, so STRONG!
 The little branches off of a big branch I tend to overlook when looking at the actual tree. BUT in the shadow they are clearer than the real thing!

 This shadow is from a glider which I inherited from my parents when they moved from my childhood home.
                                              Love the lone dark shadow of leaves on a stalk.
Then, of course, there is our Buddha. Watching over our home in ALL weather...

                              Try to find the calm and beauty in your winter.
                                              Have a wonderful week-