Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Dream of a Lifetime

The blog will be quiet for a while as I embark on a dream of a lifetime experience: a workshop at La Cascade in Durfort, France.  I’m nervous and excited about this adventure. I will be computer-free for most of the time as I want to immerse myself in the experience. In the meantime, you can check the links below to read about La Cascade and Durfort.

To read about Durfort, visit this page and this page.

To read about La Cascade, visit this page, this page and this page

And to see more pictures and information from this area, visit Dayle’s blog here.

A bientot mes amis!


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20 Hour Challenge: Goals and Guilt

The Goals

This past week (ending 6/27/09) I spent 19 hours in the studio; 8.25 hours spent making art, 10.75 hours spent on the business of art.

I completed the final three canvases for the Canvas Project 2.

CanvasProjectPassage1

CanvasProjectPassage2

CanvasProjectSnide

CanvasProjectInstigate

The business portion of my week included:

  • studio clean up
  • bookkeeping
  • blogging
  • phone calls
  • answering emails
  • starting a Flickr page
  • working on my daily schedule
  • a coaching call
  • a visit to the post office
  • delivering inventory

A Little Guilt

In my mind, my discipline and focus fell apart toward the end of the week. I believe this happened for several reasons: I finished all of the 3″x 3″ canvases for the Canvas Project, I completed some production items needed for a local consignment store, and I started preparing for vacation and my workshop in France. I think my muse said “Enough; kick back and relax. You can either dive into some new project or just take it easy.”

Of course, the other muse, the more critical one said “You’re not keeping your end of the deal. You’re supposed to keep working, not get all loosey-goosey.”

My reality is that I did not put any tasks into my daily calendar for Thursday or Friday, other than reading my affirmations. I set no specific goals. I ended the week on a very open ended schedule.

I tell myself that this is okay; that giving oneself a break is important.  I mean, I am getting ready to take part in an awesome workshop in France…a dream of a lifetime. The hard part is convincing myself that this is okay without feeling some small amount of guilt for not scheduling tasks for every minute of the day. I know part of that is ingrained in me; that happens when your father is a workaholic.

I know I should celebrate my accomplishments: completing the canvases for the Canvas Project exhibit, setting up my Flickr page, and getting new inventory delivered. And I am happy I got those things done. But sometimes the critical perfectionist muse wants to win by making me feel guilty in the process.


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Consignment Store Finds

So I walk into Silent Partners Consignment in Leominster determined to find an old book for my workshop with Dayle at La Cascade. We need to bring an old book, sans binding and interior pages, in order to recreate our own new book. The idea of destroying any book sends shivers up my spine. Not because I enjoy tearing apart old books but because I cringe at the idea of taking apart an old book.  Somewhere in my past is a librarian, glasses perched at the end of her nose, looking me in the eyes and telling me that books are sacred; that we don’t deface or maim books.

I’m going to some form of book defacing hell for this.

Of course no visit to any antique or consignment store would be complete without walking through the entire store, right?

The search for a book ended just inside the store where I found a fine specimen. And then the real fun began.

This particular store specializes in liquidations and they had stuff all over the place; furniture, old pictures, candlesticks, jewelry. And the items pictured below that came home with me:

Wood Shoe Forms

Wood Shoe Forms

I’ve been looking for wood shoe forms for a while. I was inspired by Susan Valyi who creates awesome sculptures from wood and resin. I wanted something a little smaller than standard adult shoe forms. Here I found a box full of shoe forms in several sizes. I liked this pair because of the heavy string loop used to pull the form out of the shoe. The loop is completely intact and still sturdy. I also like the center hole in the shoe where I imagine inserting copper tubing or a dowel to imitate legs. This piece will take some time to manifest.  The markings on the shoe forms are: E, 11 1/2, (or 11 1/2 E) and 044 on the sides.

Iron Lifters

Iron Lifters

We believe these two pieces are oven burner cover lifters (isn’t that a mouthful!) In other words, these handle-looking pieces were used to lift the burner covers off old stoves so you could light the burner. Of course I looked at them at thought “bodies”!!!! I think some apoxy sculpt is in my future.

And that book I picked up when I walked into the store was replaced by another book I found at the back of the store. I liked the way this one felt in my hands. And it was a little less expensive. At least if I’m going to book defacing hell, I might as well do it over a book that feels good in my hands.


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20 Hour Challenge

This week, as part of the 20 hour challenge, I spent 27.75 hours on art and business tasks. That breaks down as follows:

19.25 hours were spent on business specific items which included:

  • blogging (not including this post)
  • bookkeeping
  • submitting a seminar proposal to the International Polymer Clay Guild’s Synergy II conference
  • updating both of my websites
  • creating the content for and sending out my customer email newsletter
  • business related phone calls
  • updating my LinkedIn profile
  • packing and shipping wholesale orders
  • packing inventory for consignment stores
  • preparing for my artist demonstration at Five Crows (choosing art to take as well as materials and supplies)
  • preparing for my workshop with Dayle Doroshow
  • shopping for materials and supplies
  • drive time

8.5 hours were spent on art specific tasks which included

  • finishing up product for wholesale orders and consignment store inventory
  • creating finished canvases for the Canvas Project II exhibit
  • sculpting a head at the artist demo

The Canvas Project II exhibit is a non-juried exhibit of canvases, the content of which is inspired by select words sent to the artist by the exhibit organizers. Each participating artist receives 5 words and 5 3″x3″ canvases. Here are two of the canvases I completed this week:

CanvasProjectBlend

CanvasProjectFluctuate

When all 5 canvases are finished, I’ll post all of them along with the five words I was given to interpret.  To see the work of another artist participating in this exhibit, visit my friend Judy’s blog The Key to My Art.

Though not part of this challenge, I made a conscious decision to set my alarm for 6am three days a week which allows me a little more time in the studio in the morning. My goal is to start working in the studio (whether on art or business) by 9am. I also blocked off time for exercise this week and exercised 3 days in a row. That is 3 more days than I exercised the previous week, so I consider that progress!

How are you doing in your studio?


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Artist Demo & The Green Man

Please join me on Thursday, June 18 at Five Crows Hand Crafts & Gifts, Natick, MA, from 5:30 to 8:00PM where I will be demonstrating my techniques for sculpting heads, mokume gane, and circle in square extrusions as part of ART WALK.

ART WALK takes place on the third Thursday of each month. During ART WALK, the stores & shops in Natick center stay open late for customers to visit and meet various artists demonstrating their art & craft. Light refreshments are served.

The Green Man

The Green Man was started in July 2007 when his head was created at Klay Karma. I knew he would eventually become a Spirit Messenger. The main question was what his body would look like. In March 2008, I took a workshop with Laurie Mika. After that workshop, I began construction on The Green Man. I wanted to incorporate the mosaic techniques Laurie taught us into Green Man’s body.

Originally, I thought I’d try to do this on my traditional cylindrical bodies. That idea was quickly tossed when I began to think about how the tiles would need to be curved in order to fit the cylindrical shape. The next natural choice was a flat, box like shape.

Green Man progressed in stages over several months in 2008 until he looked like this:

Green Man 2008

Green Man 2008

Not too bad but not great. Something seemed to be missing from this piece.

As often happens when working on larger pieces, Green Man was put aside while I focused on filling and shipping wholesale orders, and participating in holiday shows. Green Man sat on my table, waiting.

I got advice and input from friends about Green Man; beneficial critiques. I made some improvements to Green Man during this time. However, he still was not ready for his formal debut.

Then, as I was preparing work for the Paradise City Arts Festival, the final improvement hit me. I was almost giddy when the solution struck. Have you ever had those moments like that when you’re so psyched with a solution to a problem that you can’t focus on anything else?

And here he is, after many months of construction, delays, abandoned ideas, and finally light at the end of tunnel:

Green Man & His Sprites

Green Man & His Sprites

GreenManWSpritesClose

On his front breast plate, above the central mosaic work, glass tiles were added along with a cross embedded in gold polymer clay. Below the mosaic work I added an antique button. This helped fill in empty space. And then the two sprites were added on either side of his head for balance.

Green Man has mosaic work on all four sides. The mosaic work includes glass and polymer clay tiles, glass beads, and hole-less beads. Small branches, natural and polymer clay, are also incorporated into this piece.

Right Side

Right Side

Back

Back

Left Side

Left Side

The Green Man is 13″ tall.


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Monday Reflection

Today’s guest artist quote is provided by Dayle Doroshow:

Look fear in the face until he backs into the corner and applauds you.

-David Leveaux
Broadway Producer

Dayle explains why this is her favorite quote:

This quote has served me so well in situations where I was feeling underconfident or overwhelmed or without the necessary skills to handle a situation.  When I feel the anxiety, self doubt, or underconfidence rise, I whisper this quote to myself and it sends a surge of power to me and propels me forward in a positive way. I have used this quote before public speaking situations, or dealing with an uncomfortable situation that needed to be taken care of or even before going into the dentists office!  I hope it will give a sense of positive power to you too!

About Dayle: Dayle Doroshow is a mixed media/ polymer clay artist and owner of design studio Zingaro, stamp of distinction.   She trained in traditional ceramics at Riverside Bell Tower Pottery program and the Columbia University Extension program in New York City and sold her pottery in Greenwich Village shops.   Her jewelry, home decor, ethnic spirit dolls and handcrafted books can be seen at art shows on the West Coast.   Dayle enjoys teaching and sharing her techniques in workshops across the United States and in France.

Dayle’s website: Dayle Doroshow


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The 20 Hour Challenge

This week I joined the 20 hour challenge on Twitter. This challenge was created by Lori Woodward Simons and the idea behind it is to encourage artists to work in their studios for 20 hours a week. Lori explains that 20 hours may be hard for some people to attain and for others 20 hours in the studio may only be the tip of the iceberg toward creating. The time we spend in our studio may vary and we have to find what works for us.

In this first week I spent 14.5 hours in the studio. That time was evenly divided between making art and attending to the business of art. And when I looked at that division of time I felt a little depressed. I think that has to do with remembering how disciplined I was before the Paradise City show; how focused I was on making art for the show and how I spent less time online. And since finishing my spring shows the discipline has gone out the window.

It doesn’t help that in my mind I’m this highly productive artist who enters her studio and hits the ground running. Actually, that image and the feeling that image brings should help. But it just wasn’t working this past week. Sometimes, when you set expectations of yourself and you don’t meet those expectations, it really stinks!

In my head I know I shouldn’t get down on myself about the lack of discipline. We all fall off the cart sometimes and when that happens you just have to get back up and start again. I know my work week was shorter because we were on the road on Monday. And I had a couple of appointments during the week. Are those excuses for not making 20 hours in the studio? Perhaps and not really.

What did I accomplish:

  • adding/removing inventory from the winery’s retail store and assisting new artists in adding their work to the guild’s display
  • creating an email newsletter announcing my artist demonstration at Five Crows
  • buying supplies for Dayle’s workshop
  • creating polymer clay sheets for business card cases
  • curing business card cases
  • assembling and packing business card cases for shipping
  • updated my blog

What I created this week is production work (business card cases). I’m not posting pictures because this work isn’t really new. If you’d like to see my business card cases, you can visit this page on the Moonroom Crafts website.

Fiber artist Lisa Call (a fellow 20 hour challenge artist) has a nice post on her blog on how she is tracking her time and getting things done. You’ll find it here.

Finally, Lori Woodward Simons has created a blog dedicated to the 20 hour challenge. You can read various posts from Lori and other artists here.


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New Soulful Sprites and Hearts in Hands Talisman

Soulful Sprites

Two new Soulful Sprites, Joy and Luck, have been added to the collection.  Joy’s stone is in shades of pink and red. Luck’s stone is in shades of green and includes a small shamrock.

JoyLuckSprites

Each Soulful Sprite comes packaged in a clear box and sits on a nest of green shred. A story card is included.

Price: $25.00 each.

Hearts in Hands Talisman

New this spring are the Hearts in Hands Talisman. I made these small hearts months ago and had not decided on a good way to display them. Naturally a week or so before the Paradise City show the muse hit me to place the hearts into clasped hands. They were quite popular at the show and I plan to make them part of my line.

Each heart is made from polymer clay and stamped with inspiring words. Each heart is hand sanded, buffed, and finished with an acrylic wash. The Hearts in Hands Talismans have words on both sides and are removable from the clasped hands. Carry the heart with you, in your pocket, backpack, or handbag.

HeartsInHands

Current word pairs available: Heart/Soul, Heal/Hope

Each Heart in Hands Talisman comes packaged in a clear box nestled on a bed of green shred.

Height: 2.5″

Price: $30.00

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