Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Fiber Artist: Sharon Wheat

Sharon Wheat is a San Francisco based fiber artist with more than 30 years experience in the field of fine art.  She has received numerous honors including the One Woman Show Award (San Francisco Art Festival), the Best of Show Award (Mill Valley Art Festival), and a Best in Fiber Award (Sausalito Art Festival).

I discovered Sharon’s work on a postcard for the American Art Festival.  Her latest work, Sculptural Totems, are simply wonderful.

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The Stoic Ones

Sharon says her Universal Totems physically capture creative energy inspired by aspects of tribal cultures, their rituals, and symbolic imagery.

The totems are formed from wood and incorporate African mud cloth, Indonesian fabrics, Indian silks, South American and Turkish carpets, and othe textile remnants from around the world.

More of Sharon’s art can be found on her site.

 


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Doodling

Do you doodle?

I don’t doodle very often; even in school I wasn’t much of a “doodler.”  I’m prone to sketching which can sometimes be too demanding on my brain because a little voice in my head likes to speak up and talk about “perfection.”

However; yesterday I found myself doodling and drawing for a time while listening to David Sylvian.  It is curious what we create when listening to music.  I’m sure I’ll do this again.  Doodling seems to be a good way to clear the mind.

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Call for Entry: Postcards for Sustaining Our Environment Exhibit

I was checking out the Women’s Art Caucus site today when I came across this call for entry:

Art for Change Around the World
Women’s Caucus for Art/United Nations Millenium Goals
Postcard call for entry: Sustaining Our Environment

Submit 4×6 or Size 6 postcards made from recycled materials on the theme of “Sustaining our Environment.”  Full submission details can be found here

This call for entry appears to be open to all artists around the world.

You can view some of the postcards on the blog WCA ArtWaves International


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Let The Confusion In

Somewhere during October and November I begin to grow tired of my production art work.  I start to ask myself why I’m making these pieces.  I want to stop what I’m making and do something completely different.  New ideas flood my head that I can’t act upon until after orders are filled.

Waverly Fitzgerald, in her Living In Season, October Newsletter, explains that this feeling in the autumn may be due to boredom.  That makes sense.  Production work can be a mindless activity.  You make similar items multiple times, over and over again until you don’t want to do it anymore.  When this happens, you might question the direction of your work, your motivation, and decide it is time to rethink what your doing.

It also creates confusion.

Shakti Gawain has some timely words regarding this period of confusion.

When you’re going through a period of confusion, hang in there.  Let yourself feel somewhat confused or disoriented or stuck.  Sometimes you need to sit with these feelings for a while.  It’s okay to do that.  Go inside and ask for guidance.  Ask for what you’re meant to be learning.  Let yourself be guided to people or situations that can help you.  Gradually, you’ll move through it.  It’s always worth it.  Once you look back on a confusing period, you’ll be able to see what you gained from it.

O.K; I’ll let these thoughts and feelings float around for a while.  I know I can finish these last orders and have them shipped out by the end of the month.  And then I can consider these other ideas in my head; the art dolls I want to make; this thought that keeps popping up in my head to buy a sewing machine; the soldering class I’m going to take; rearranging my studio; the metal art I want to play with; maybe sketching each day or sketching or painting to music; and, and, and.

Bruce Baker calls it MAD; multiple artist disorder.  As artists we often want to make many different things in different mediums.  I can hear him saying on his customer service techniques CD “On Monday I make jewlery, On Tuesday I blow glass, On Wednesday I make paper…”

Shakti follows-up with these words:

When you are in confusion, it’s not easy to stay with your process.  Part of you wants one thing and part of you wants another.  You want to decide once and for all, to come to a conclusion.  But if you can hold all these different feelings in yourself and be aware of them–be in conflict, be in confusion, be in uncertainty–then the certainty will come from someplace deep within you.  Your own inner truth will guide you.  But if you try to cut this process short, you will deprive yourself of the opportunity to reach that place of certainty.

I’d say that is pretty accurate. I don’t want to keep making BS and card cases, and perfume pens.  But then I’m afraid if I don’t have these things to make, what will I do with myself?  Maybe, somewhere deep down, I’m also afraid to make art dolls a full-time venture.

When I’m doing production work, I want to do something different.  However, when I have the time to do something different, will I freeze and not know which direction to take or where to start first?

I don’t like feeling confused yet it is a part of our life.  Confusion is something to be embraced knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Confusion is not helplessness; it is a time of transition.


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Book Review: 500 Handmade Dolls

I recently received the newest book in Lark Books 500 series: 500 Handmade Dolls: Modern Explorations of the Human Form

The book starts with an introduction by Akira Blount, who provides a brief history on the evolution of dolls as an art form.

The book is then divided into five sections: Non-Traditional Dolls, Fantasy Dolls, Found Objects, Assemblages, and Toys, Traditional Dolls, and Cloth Dolls.  The featured artists come from all over the world.

Non-Traditonal Dolls is the largest section and features artists such as Laura Balombini, Debra Dembowski, Lesley-Anne Green, Akira Blount, Dima, Reina Mia Brill, and Mona Adisa Brooks.

Fantasy focuses on art dolls that are projected into the future, fairies, nymphs, and those beings that appear in our imagination.  Featured artists here include Nuala Creed, Tine Kamerbeek, Kim H. Goldfarb, Marilyn K. Radzat, and Tatiana Baeva.

Found Objects, Assemblages, and Toys features art dolls created with an assortment of non-traditional materials.  These are not your mother’s or grandmother’s dolls.  Artist work featured in this section includes Linda and Opie O’Brien, Pamela Hastings, Chomick+Meder and Melody Ellis.

The Traditional art doll section features more stunning dolls that are reminescent of those dolls we remember seeing (and not being allowed to touch) when we were kids.  Several depict dolls in different cultures such as those by artists Kyoko Nakanishi, Sylvia Natterer, Vladimir Gvozdev, Dan Fletcher, Mary Ellen Frank, and Bets van Boxel.

Cloth art dolls, the final section, features dolls created entirely (or almost entirely) from cloth from head to toe.  Artists in this section include Amanda Gary, Georgette Benisty, Dee Dee Triplett, and Mar Gorman.

500 Handmade Dolls is a wonderful and inspiring book!  A definite must have for anyone who makes art dolls or collects art dolls.


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Random New Work

There is light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train ready to knock me over.  I deliver work to the Brookline Arts Center tomorrow for their annual Crafts Showcase.  Then I have a few small items to deliver to a local gallery and two remaining wholesale orders to ship.

Here are a few new pieces of work that were the result of wholesale orders and show preparations.

New Business Card Cases

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New Pyramid Vessels

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And a new BS (because there is always room for more BS.)

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Something to Crow About

Do you ever have images or shapes or colors that present themselves to you over and over again?  Perhaps in dreams, in books or magazines, or in your day-to-day activities?

Does it make you think someone is trying to send you a message?  Does it make you wonder if you should incorporate it into your art through painting, collage, sculpture or whatever your chosen medium is?

This has been happening to me recently.  Most of my dreams take place in buildings; a home, an apartment, a hotel, a dorm room.  Structures that, for the most part, represent the self.  I’m starting to wonder if I should consider making homes or structures for my art dolls.  Or perhaps shrines?

A couple weeks ago, while meditating, a crow flew into my mind.  I was thinking about my current lines of art and what I really want to focus on and in flew this crow.

Crows symbolize change and prophecy.  They are also known as tricksters and shape shifters; protectors of ancient records and keepers of sacred laws.

And I keep coming across images of them in catalogs and magazines.

So I decided to sculpt a small crow of my own.  He tells me his name is Charlie.  Charlie currently resides on top of my computer monitor where he is keeping watch.

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Now some may say it is just “that time of year” when you see more crow images.  But had this crow not flown into my mind during a quiet meditation would I even be paying attention to all the crows I see now?

And paying attention is what I’m learning about this year.  Paying attention to what is presented to me, enjoying it and perhaps finding meaning in it.

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