Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Artwork Published! Creative is a Verb

Creative Is a Verb Cover

I am honored to announce that one of my mixed media pieces was chosen for inclusion in Patti Digh’s newest book Creative is a Verb: If You’re Alive, You’re Creative In this book, Patti “leads you by both heart and head to acknowledge, reinforce, and use your own creative spirit by teaching six creative commitments.” Creative is a Verb is the follow-up to Patti’s successful 2008 book Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally.

Way back in January I received a request to submit two pieces of artwork for Creative is a Verb. Each participating artist was sent one, two, or three essays that would become chapters in the book. We were asked to read our assigned essays and create artwork inspired by the essay. As with previous art submission requests, we had about two weeks to create artwork inspired by the essay.

I received two essays. One was titled “Leave Your Base Camp” the other was “Blow Bubbles Everyday.” My submission for “Blow Bubbles Everyday” was chosen and is featured in Chapter 6: Get Present: Show Up Like Magic.

Blow Bubbles Everyday

The substrate for this piece is a painted and textured magazine page. The horns were inspired by the bubble wands we used as kids (and might still play with as adults…though I’m not saying which adult, ahem.) The little characters inside the bubbles are smiling, dancing, reading, hanging out, hanging on, and waving. I think I channeled a bit of Tim Burton for this piece.

Thanks again to Patti Digh for this wonderful opportunity. You can purchase a signed copy of Creative is a Verb on Patti’s website or on Amazon (unsigned copies).


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When The Get Up and Go Has Gotten Up and Gone

Have you ever had one of those weeks? One where you feel like your ‘get up and go’ has gotten up and left the building? That is definitely how I’m feeling right now.

Expectations

I’ve had so many ideas and inspiration the past couple of weeks, starting with the trip we took to Italy last month. After returning I focused on preparing to teach my class at Ink About It. Once that was done, there was an art guild demo at the library, preparing for my first series of classes in my studio, a birthday celebration, trying to edit over 300 pictures taken in Italy, and working on a wholesale order.

I put myself on a more structured schedule by blocking out designated time on my calendar to work on all these tasks. I was motivated. I was focused. I was making forward progress.

And then there was the vet appointment.

Woody

Mr. Woody

Woody is our eldest cat. He is 11 years old. Because he is considered a ‘senior cat,’ I weigh him once a month. Because cats are good at hiding pain and illness and we usually don’t see it until they show obvious weight loss, this monthly weigh-in is part of his care program.

When I weighed him at the beginning of September he was 11.8lbs. At the beginning of October he weighed 10.6lbs. My heart sank. I knew he felt lighter when I picked him up when we came home after vacation. But a whole pound? Not convinced this weight was legit, I kept weighing him at different times and different days and on different scales.

10.6lbs. 10.8lbs. 11.0lbs.

Nope. It was true. He had lost weight. I called the vet and made an appointment. His annual physical would be in November anyways, so pushing it up a month was okay.

The Walk

The morning of Woody’s vet appointment he was curled up on the ottoman in our living room. I talked with him and went upstairs. Later I heard a thud. And then I saw Woody walking down the hallway toward our bedroom. He wasn’t walking right. He was limping, favoring his right side, and his gait was off.

What the heck happened? Did he have a stroke? Did he fall off the ottoman? Did he roll off the ottoman?

I felt a bit of panic set in. This was a definite change in status. At breakfast he was fine. Now this.

I called the vet but couldn’t bring him in any earlier because Dr. B’s schedule was full. I carried Woody down to the main floor. He went down and up the basement stairs on his own, hopped into the dining room chair, and later into his favorite chair in the living room. But any time he walked, he looked pretty bad and in pain.

I decided to work in the dining room so I could keep an eye on him for the morning. He curled up and slept. I worked with one eye on him. At lunch time he hopped off his chair. His gait was 95% better. He wanted to eat. I was so relieved.

The Vet

After examining Mr. Woody, Dr. B told me that Woody may have early arthritis. Woody denied this as he skillfully jumped off the examining table to the floor without any difficulty. It is probable that Woody jumped or fell or rolled off the ottoman, landed hard, and that resulted in the limpy-gimpy walk. A couple hours rest resolved it.

His weight loss wasn’t as bad as our scale revealed. During a May vet visit, Woody weighed 11.14lbs. On this visit he weighed 11.07lbs. A seven ounce loss was a bit better than a full pound drop.

We’ve also been monitoring Woody’s kidney values since January. So a blood test was ordered. A day later we learned that his kidney values have risen indicating early kidney disease. His potassium is low (which might explain the weight loss and muscle weakness) but other values (thyroid, liver, phosphorus are all good.) However, Dr. B also suspected that Woody might have a kidney infection.

Have you ever had to get a urine sample from a cat?

Oh seesh Mom!

Suffice to say we got the sample and it confirmed a kidney infection. Now we’re giving Woody a 14 day course of antibiotics and a potassium supplement. He also has a prescription for Benazepril (an anti-hypertensive) that we’ll start after the antibiotics.

So Where’s the Motivation?

When all this happened with Woody, my focus on work drifted away. I had set an intention to create a small sculpt study on a daily basis. I got three pieces done. I had started editing our pictures from Italy. I only got through a few favorites from our time in Rome. I muddled through a wholesale order.

A friend and mentor told me to take a step back. To give myself some time and set a date in November to start work on these nuggets of inspiration after my classes and holiday show are done. A great idea, though sometimes easier said than done.

Another person mentioned that in the fall, they are filled with a mix of go-go-go and a desire to simply sit, to contemplate the year, and to draw inward.

I can relate to that too.

I have a list of things I want to do, things I have to do, that I’ve let slip. The motivation isn’t here at the moment. It doesn’t feel like overwhelm and hitting the wall (which I wrote about here.) It just feels like my get up and go, got up and went.

I’m sure the events of the last few days with Woody have had some impact. On one hand, a voice tries to tell me “he’s just a cat.” But the louder voice tells me that Woody is my “baby”, my “kid”, my furry, four-legged companion and I am his steward and his caregiver.

So far, Woody is tolerating the antibiotics (though administering them is a bit of a challenge at times.) I have to get another urine sample after the meds are finished and make a follow-up appointment with the vet. He is back to his usual routine. I’m sure I’ll be back to mine soon too.

Whatever


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Polymer Clay Santa Claus Ornament Art Class

 

Polymer Clay Santa Claus Ornament

 

In 3 weeks, I return to Ink About It in Westford to teach my Polymer Clay Santa Claus Ornament class. This class is scheduled for Thursday, November 4, 10:00am to 2:00pm

In this class, you’ll learn how to use a burned out light bulb to create a polymer clay Santa Claus ornament. We’ll discuss how to prepare the light bulb for polymer clay, and then create the surface design for, and assemble, a signature Santa Claus ornament. You will also have the option to sand and buff your ornament to a natural sheen using wet/dry sandpaper and a muslin wheel. Fee: $45

Materials: All materials provided by instructor. However, if you have any of the following, please bring them with you: a hand crank pasta machine, pink or flesh tone blush, needle tool or thin knitting needle (1.25mm or 2mm), tiny star cutter (Kemper cutters with plunger).

To register for this class, call Ink About It at 978.392.0321 or stop by the store.

Hope to see you in class!


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Puppetry & Storytelling Exhibit

Earlier this year the New Art Center in Newtonville, MA had a wonderful little exhibit: Extraordinary: Puppetry, Storytelling, & Spirit. The exhibit featured puppets, marionettes and characters created from a variety of materials. It was an interactive exhibit that allowed visitors to manipulate several of the puppets and invited children (of all ages I assume) to create and play with hand puppets and put on your very own puppet show.

Here are some pictures from the exhibit.

First up: Puppets from Bread & Puppet in Vermont (did that sound redundant?)

 

Bread and Puppet

 

Next, paper dolls on rods in a slide theatre. These were fun because you could move the dolls and create your own story.

 

Slide Puppets

 

Jeff Sias’s “Victor Contained” is a puppet theatre contained in a vintage RCA television.

 

Victor Contained: TV Puppet Theatre

 

Here are marionettes by Donald Saaf and Julia Zanes. The marionettes are part of the Bluebird Theatre.

 

Bluebird Theatre Marionettes

 

 

More Bluebird Theatre Marionettes

 

Next are amazing puppets made by Ashley Bryan. Bryan crafts his puppets from detritus he picks up on walks along the beach. These puppets are homely and magical at the same time.

 

"Odion" First of Twin

 

 

"Oinwokhu" Second of Twin

 

 

"Natambu" Man of Destiny

 

 

"Babutu" Peacemaker

 

And last, Tolu Bommalata shadow puppets from India

 

Shadow Puppets from India

 

 

Tolu Bommalata Shadow Puppet

 

This was a fun exhibit because it brought out the child in everyone.

Do you remember the first puppet you ever made? I think mine was either made from a sock or a brown paper bag.

What is your favorite shadow puppet to make with your hands?


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It Was A Successful Teaching Experience

On Friday, October 1, I taught the very first polymer clay class at Ink About It in Westford. The topic was Liquid Polymer Clay Bookmarks and Art Tags. It was a wonderful experience.

There were five students in class. Some had worked with polymer clay, others had not, and using liquid polymer clay was a brand new experience to almost everyone. The ladies rocked.

Class started with making art tags using Kato Clear Medium. Some students made art tags and others made bookmarks using this technique. This was followed by learning how to make polymer clay “paper” with translucent liquid sculpey (TLS). The polymer clay paper was then applied to card stock for creation of more unique bookmarks.

Thanks to Lori and Linda at Ink About It for this opportunity to teach at their lovely store. And thanks to Raine, Sandy, Irene, Carol, and Wendy for making class enjoyable.

 

Creative ladies in class

 

 

Raine and Sandy

 

 

Irene and Carol

 

 

Liquid Polymer Clay Bookmarks made in class

 

 

Bookmarks and Art Tags

 

 

More Bookmarks and Art Tags

 

My next class at Ink About It is Thursday, November 4, 10am to 2pm. In this class we’ll make a Santa Claus ornament with polymer clay. More details to come. Here is a sample of what we’ll make in class. Isn’t he a cutie?


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Happy Birthday…To Me

And to everyone else celebrating their birthday today!

When I was a kid, I loved celebrating my birthday. I think I still have an old home movie of one birthday party where we played “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.” I remember the dizzy feeling after being spun around and the annoyance at being way off on where I stuck the donkey’s tail. And presents. I loved getting presents. It reinforced my little kid ego. I was the center of attention and who doesn’t like that at that age?

My worst birthday was when I turned 25. I was in grad school. I was cranky and the day passed without much fanfare.

30 was great; a surprise party at a local restaurant. I was blindfolded on the drive to the restaurant. That was almost as dizzying as being spun in circles to play a birthday game. I still have my “Youth Fairy’s 30th Birthday Wand.”

And now in my 40′s, I find myself once again relishing birthdays like I did as a kid. I don’t care about getting presents (really, what more do I need?) I simply enjoy the day, whether spent with friends, family, or quietly on my own. In fact, I think I’ve enjoyed my 40th decade the most.

Apparently, October 7, 1963 was on a Monday. I was born mid-morning. I always use that as my excuse for not being an early-riser. I am reminded of this nursery rhyme:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is fair and wise and good in every way.

The number 7 has widespread significance. It is the number of days in a week and the number of traditional planets in astrology. In Christianity, it is the number of virtues. In Judaism, it represents creation, the planets and the seven heavens. In Buddhism it also represents seven heavens. For the Chinese it represents the seven stars of Ursa Major. And Native Americans associate the number seven with the Dream of Life.

I expect today to be pretty low-key. A visit with a friend. Maybe yoga class tonight. A phone call from my mom, who usually sings “Happy Birthday” to me over the phone. On Saturday we’ll celebrate with a visit to the ICA for the Charles Ledray exhibit and dinner in the North End.

 

 

Happy Birthday Everyone!

 

 

 


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