Sunday, October 19, 2014

Finding Beauty vs Mediating Conflict

Friday at our staff meeting one of my colleagues led our staff through a professional development exercise. She placed 2 statements at opposite ends of the room. The directions were to line-up and create a continuum as to how you felt about how each statement would answer: which statement do you believe makes our world a better place? She introduced statement number one:
                                 "Finding beauty through art"

And without even finding out what statement number 2 was- I immediately jumped up and said, "YES. I am making a stand-follow me people!" And stomped over to be first in line to lead for beauty/ART.

The second statement of course is just as important:

                                  "Mediating conflict peacefully"

The idea behind the exercise is to get people respectfully talking about ideas which they may not necessarily agree with. We unfortunately, only had about 10 minutes to complete the process ... and the gal I was paired up with had to go do door no real discussion way able to occur.

My belief is that without seeing the beauty in the world we CAN'T begin to be peaceful. That when 2 opposing groups can come together to admire, experience, talk about the beauty in our world-meaningful dialog can occur concerning our differences. I believe the creative process can help us ALL become more peaceful. That creative process is different for everyone. Some people cook, garden, paint, dance, play music, act, draw, sew...whatever the "doing" is it is part of the creative process. It is ALL beautiful...

Our daughter Virginia and her girlfriend Zoe show-0ff the peace bracelets which were created by my friend Kristin's almost 90 year old mother.
                                                         At this time of year nature creates AMAZING beauty...

                  An open road speaks to me of the quiet solitude which in itself is beautiful.
Walking with a friend and coming across a "little free library" is beauty.


 My husband in his Octoberfest Ladderhosen?! International beauty...
An amazing "quilted/painted" canvas from the art show, "Crossing the Line" at the Degenerate Art Gallery in Chicago. (just opened last night running through December- I think)
The artist painted individual canvases, cut them a part and sewed them back together....How amazing is that?!

My friend Kathryn Trumbull Firmreite's, who curated the show, boat.
 Created with picture frame parts and old negatives.
                                              Fall flowers and amazing leaves
AND a wonderfully creative Daughter-in-law who creates lasting memories

Makes me HEART sing....

                                 Go find some beauty...or at the very least mediate some conflict!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Always looking for inspiration

Last evening I had a wonderful chat with my daughter's girlfriend Zoe. Zoe is an amazing artist who is currently finishing-up a fashion design degree in Madison and plans to go to NYC next year. She took a couple of years off to help a friend launch a clay studio. Lucky for HeART*Felt, I have an expert in opening and sustaining a creative business! Zoe is always a wealth of information AND now I have added her on my "wise sage" list.

I was bemoaning the fact that I have worked hard to make the website work, figured out how people can register and pay on line, I have a display of classes at the yarn store, have started to figure out social media....BUT only Eileen has actually signed-up for a class! Zoe talked me through her experiences with classes and we brain stormed some possible solutions for getting the word out-and then she said 2 things which struck me:

1) It was her opinion that the reason classes worked for the clay studio was because they had a space. WHICH has always been my focus. Classes are just a part of my vision for HeART*Felt. The classes at String Theory are just a stepping stone. The HeART*Felt space is really the goal.
2) BUT Zoe's words of wisdom which made me stop and think were, "Really everything that you are doing is good. You are putting ART out into the world and that is always positive." That was an Hallelujah moment for me! (whenever a student says something interesting or unique in my 3rd grade classroom I sing "Hallelujah" in falsetto.)

So thank you Zoe for the words of wisdom and inspiration to keep plugging along!
I took a walk this week in the woods - nature is always a calming influence on  my life.
Martha. People seem to love her or hate in-between. I have always been inspired by what she has created.
 I asked a customer at the yarn shop if I could copy the sweater she created. I started designing this week with these colors:
Here are my notes and the yarn I will use to create my own sweater. 
I finished 2 projects this week:
1) a quilt for our son George's girlfriend and 
Prayer flags...hanging outside our kitchen window.
I created a recipe for "Monster Cookies" almost 30 years ago with my college friend Trish. We ditched class senior year of college and spent the afternoon creating these. They have been a staple of comfort in my world ever since!

Have an inspiring week. Be open to new and exciting thoughts through your eyes and ears...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Privileged Problem

As my fifty-first year continues to bless me with all sorts of people, new adventures and interesting situations I am humbled at moments to be reminded that I am part of a small percent of humans who have VERY privileged problems. I don't work hard to "someday get a bed"-as one of our daughter Virginia's 5th graders in Humboldt Park told her this past week. I don't EVER worry about having enough food- another student hid her "free and reduced" breakfast in her back pack so she could have something to eat at home. I don't worry about being safe in my neighborhood. I walk freely at all hours of the day and night...the list of discrepancies between the "have and have nots" continues to grow wider each day. I am not sure that my current obsession and worry about creating HeART*Felt could or ever would address these problems.
BUT I do believe that we all have a role in the world. And that we need to follow and act on our passions...Me trying to build a "SPACE" for individuals to "CREATE" is what I am exploring. I am hoping it will inspire and create good karma for my community. As I move along this journey of building a successful business I am also building an altruistic component of the business. I have always said that a percentage of HeART*Felt would be given to charity. Building it into the business plan is something which I am working on....Remembering that my HeART*Felt adventure is a privilege is an important reminder for me.
          Yesterday HeART*Felt had its first Trunk Show to kick-off the fall classes and introduce the space where the classes will be held: String Theory Yarn Company in Glen Ellyn, IL.
All of HeART*Felt's classes will be held on either Friday or Sunday evenings from 7-9:30. We will be creating with paper, paint and or fabric - surrounded by amazing color and yarn!
My ever supportive friends and family helped me set-up the class sample wall and visited the trunk show!
You can now sign-up for classes on line: 


More importantly, PLEASE remember to look carefully around you and be aware of the beauty....

                                                  Have a wonderful week....Lucy

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Both of my parents are psychologists. So I am sure throughout my "growing-up" life they had many conversations about my "wacky ideas." I have always had one thing or another which I had been working on which would lead me to something else...Some people call it creativity, some people think it is interesting, others may think it is just plan "weird." BUT I have lived my very privileged life exploring my many "wacky ideas!" (I have been blessed to be born into a family and economic circumstances where I  never felt hunger, I got a college education and instilled in me a pretty strong moral compas-thanks Mom and Dad!)

So my obsession of the past 8 years has been "my shop." It started out as, "The Creativity Shop" and has morphed into "HeART*Felt." It has been in my head for a long time and for the past 3 years I have been dabbling in portions of my idea. In the past 9 months I have created 2 different business plans which are about 85% complete. This fall I am taking a step by renting space at my local yarn shop to hold my classes 3 times a month (one paper, one paint, one fabric.) I have created a web site - with the help of a very talented tech guy- and am ALMOST ready to accept payment and registration on line!

I am not sure where this obsession will lead me....I am hoping "my shop" makes it from my head to an actual spot. BUT I am reminding myself to, ENJOY all of the steps and remain, "Calm and Patient," and be open to possibilities!

 Food ALWAYS seems to be an obsession:

This is a wonderful book which I found. Gorgeous pictures and the recipes are very simple and delicious! My friend Michelle hosted friends and made a number of the recipes...

My Men are obsessed with sporting events:

                           Here they are getting ready for a platform tennis tournament.
I asked them to smile...."We did, while you were taking our backs!"
Books and Yoga have been a life long obsession! These were used in a workshop I taught with my yoga teacher friend Reeny.
Reeny led the yoga class on the first 3 chakras, AND
                                                                        I led the art.
                                                                   Looks like I am on my way....doesn't it?!

                                                      Have a wonderful obsessed filled week!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Time to "LEAP"...

Lucy and I have many discussions on our LONG bike riding adventures.  It was only a mere 14 month's ago when I blurted, "Let's start a blog for our 50th year".  I would have never imagined that we would have wrote 87 posts and had followers from far away as Germany,Turkey and France. Amazing to me.

This blog experience has been a positive one.  As a person who does not even have a face book page it was outside my comfort zone to share as much as I did.  I found I really did like the reflective nature and creative writing of blogging.  It kept me on track with my creative process. I must now find something else to keep me going, perhaps a class or 2 at Heart*Felt???

Lucy will be taking over the blog full time as she continues to leap toward her dream of creating a space to create for all called Heart*Felt.  I may jump on as a "guest blogger" every so often if she will have me.

Thank you for reading and all of your support.  Keep creating, valuing friendship and seeing the Art in the everyday!

I will leave you with the latest chair project.  I made this for Lucy for her birthday.

Before: Ornate French Notre Dame scene I found in the basement of a antique store in Brookfield.  Loved the amount of canvas and the price point.

The chair:  Found at an antiques store in LaGrange.  

After:  I tried not to let it look like a Parisian scene but it was not easy.

After I dropped it off I realized the last thing Lucy needed was a chair.  I may be doing an alternative project and bringing this to my house. I will have to start thinking about that... It is always comforting to know that she treasures everything that has been given to her.  She has true appreciation for all creative pursuits. Let's hope that many would like to take that leap with her at Heart*Felt. 

 I for one cannot wait.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Eileen's fabulous art exhibit

This past Friday evening I gladly attended Eileen's art opening at The Clay Space in Lisle, IL. It is a wonderful ceramic artists' co-op which has a lovely gallery, a large working studio and everything you could need to create using clay. The experience was 2 fold for me: First and foremost my friend and her fellow ceramists fabulous art and second, an example of what my venture, HeART*Felt, could be.

HeART*Felt is NOT going to be clay focused. Rather a "Space to Create." with its focus mediums being paper, paint and fabric.  But the idea of resident artists and students working along side each other is an intriguing one. One of my missions with HeART*Felt is to promote the idea that all humans are built to create. Finding opportunities to create with "our hands' in our technology driven world seems to be a slowly growing movement. The Clay Space has built on this idea and is a wonderful working example of success! Take a look at the art:
Beautiful wood floors and white stands ALWAYS make for a wonderful  display.
Some interesting pieces from a woman I knew as a contemporary quilt maker. She moved to clay just 2 years ago. It was so fun to see her Friday night.

                                              Eileen's teacher John created 50 different pigs!
Eileen's fairy house has so much to it!

                                           Such a wonderful display for her ceramic pieces!

                                               Our friend Laura joined us for the evening.
I love the whimsical nature of these cows....
So lucky to have an Eileen original on my plant bench at home!
It was a wonderful evening and so inspiring....
Have a great week-

Here is my work in progress: