Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Summer’s Coming-Another New Totem

My totems have gone through a few iterations since I started playing around with this idea. First they were small and flattish.

Janus Face 1

Then I gave them a solid base and a hollow body.

Then I decided to add movement to the totems.

Bobble Janus Totem Front Side

Along the way I learned about the need for balance (not just in life but in artwork), sturdier wire, proportion, and overall design and construction.

Now I’ve come to this in my totem creations. A little smaller, still bobbles, better balance and design. This piece was created intuitively. That is, I chose a face mold, 3 colors of ink, a few textures, and let my hands create. I tried to approach this with as little internal criticism as possible (that inner critic doesn’t like having its mouth stuffed, believe me.)

Summer’s Coming

Summer's Coming (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Summer's Coming (Front-Close)

Summer's Coming (Back)

Summer's Coming (Back-Close)

The timing of this post is great. We’re expecting a snowstorm here. Summer won’t be too far behind.


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A Year of Mindfulness: Listen

We end the month with two lessons on mindfulness.

Last week we practiced gratitude. As I said last week, this is a wonderful practice that should be carried out each day. At one time I had a gratitude journal and I faithfully wrote an entry each day. Over time I became lax in this practice and eventually I dropped it all together.

Sometimes I would lie in bed and think of what I was grateful for that day as I fell asleep. But that approach, while fine, doesn’t feel quite as complete as putting pen to paper and writing out the words, “I am grateful for…..” Writing seems to make things feel more permanent, more “official,” more thought out.

So it was nice to return to this practice last week. How about you?

This Week’s Practice: Listen to Sounds

This is another favorite practice. The intent with this practice is to open your ears and listen to all sounds…to really listen. We are bombarded with sound each day, from the TV to the radio, our iPods, traffic, and chatter.  We learn to block out many of the sounds in our daily life. The low rumble of the refrigerator. The barking of the neighbor’s dog.

But what if you listened to these sounds as if they were something new? Something you didn’t label or comment on. Simply just listened.

Can you hear the uniqueness in the sound?

Listening to sounds can also help quiet the overactive, yapping mind. That might be a good place to start. When your inner voice is going into overdrive, stop, tell it to quiet down, and just listen to the sounds around you.

Reflection: Even in what is called silence there is sound. To hear such subtle sound, the mind must be very quiet. -Jan Chozen Bays


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Janus Bobble Totem

I’m continuing work on the design & construction of my bobble totems. On my first attempt, the body seemed to be a good size, but the gauge of wire and size of the base were not ideal.

With this next piece I figured out a better way to attach the head to the body. However, I am still struggling with appropriate size bases for the size of the totem’s body and overall balance of the piece.

I’m already working on my third trial piece and my approach to design & construction is getting better. I’m making notes in my sketch book on what steps I take on each piece; what worked, what didn’t work. Soon I hope to say “by jove, I think she’s got it!”

For now, please enjoy this second Janus Bobble Totem. Coloring was created with black acrylic wash and decorative chalks. Click on the first image to view the slideshow.


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A Year of Mindfulness: Gratitude

Last week in our mindfulness practice we were tasked with becoming more aware of our posture. How did you do?

Proper posture has been an issue for me since I was a little girl. I remember my mom putting a hardcover book on my head to get me to stand up straight. I was an introverted kid with low self-esteem. I’m sure that was evident in my posture.

As I got older and my self-esteem improved, my posture issues were compromised by other bad habits. Slinging a bag full of books over one shoulder (using backpacks in school wasn’t very common then), weight bearing more on one leg than the other, a couple car accidents, desk jobs, and lugging around therapy materials.

Eventually I learned that my back issues & hence my poor posture could be traced back to weak abs and a tendency to weight bear on the outer aspect of my joints versus the center. It only took 40+ years, sciatica & SI joint pain to figure out that one.  So let’s just say that postural awareness is a daily factor in my mindfulness practice. If I don’t pay attention to my posture, my body will eventually remind me in sometimes uncomfortable ways.

When I keep my body in alignment, I feel better.

This Week’s Practice: Gratitude

Gratitude is a great practice and should not be limited to this one week. A few years ago, Gratitude was my word of the year.

For this week, the practice is fairly simple. At the end of each day write a list of 5 (or more) things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. If you’re concerned you might forget, carry a small notebook with you and write down the event immediately after it happens.

Practicing gratitude is an antidote to the negative mind or voice. It helps us see the upside of many events in our lives.

Reflection: Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you. -Eileen Caddy


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A New Ornimal Revealed: The Graduate Owl Ornimal

Over the last couple of days, I shared with you two pictures of a new Ornimal that I created this week. I asked you to guess what you thought the critter would become.

You were on the right track when you guessed something in the bird family: a chicken, a duck, a goose, or an ostrich.

Today, I reveal the finished piece.

Here are the two earlier pictures that helped you with your guesses:

And here is the finished piece, the Graduate Owl Ornimal

Graduate Owl Ornimal 2012

I had fun creating this new Ornimal, especially adding his graduation cap and feet. The addition of the feet make him mult-functional; you can display him on a shelf or table or you can hang him from a hook. I’m contemplating the addition of a small tassel, perhaps making them individual to the graduate’s school colors.

The Graduate Owl Ornimal is available for purchase for $28.00. Orders happily accepted for delivery in time for May or June graduations. The Graduate Owl Ornimal is approximately 3″ tall.

Thanks to everyone who sent in their guesses and congratulations to Jean W who correctly guessed that this was an owl based on the part 2 image post.


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A New Ornimal In The Works: Part 2

You guys did a great job with your guesses about this new Ornimal. Some of your guesses included

  • a chicken
  • a duck
  • a goose

You’re in the right category, guessing that it is some type of bird.

The little guy has been cured, cooled, and given a wash of acrylic paint. Here is another picture of this new Ornimal.

Any more thoughts on what this critter is?

Full reveal happens on Friday.


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More Heart Art

I was completely surprised and honored to learn that my LUV heart was featured on Polymer Clay Daily this week.

I’ve been working on more hearts and since it’s Valentine’s Day, it seemed like a good time to share more heart art.

BE Heart Front

BE Heart Back

HOPE Heart Front

HOPE Heart Back

LOVE Heart

LOVE Heart Back

All of these hearts are made with polymer and alcohol inks. I’ve been experimenting with different techniques for applying the alcohol inks. Still learning which one I prefer to use. Have also tried mica powders as a base layer but am not sure if I like that approach.

Either way, it is all fun. Isn’t that what play and practice is all about?

The hearts measure 2″ long by 1″ at their widest point. I love the way they fit into the palm of your hand.


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A Year of Mindfulness: Become Aware of Your Posture

We are well into our second month of mindfulness, following along with Jan Chozen Bays’ book How to Train a Wild Elephant. To read more about mindfulness, please return to the first post in this series: A Year of Mindfulness: Use Your Non-Dominant Hand.

Last week, we practiced giving true, genuine compliments. This is a great practice for two reasons: it causes us to become aware of the positive things people do on a daily basis and breaks our habit of focusing on ourselves and it causes us to get out of a negative mindset. After all, isn’t it easier to complain than compliment?

And did you notice how the recipient of your compliment reacted? Possibly surprised and hopefully happy. By giving a compliment you probably made that person’s day.

This Week’s Practice: Become Aware of Your Posture

In this week’s practice, we are asked to be mindful of our posture. First, become aware of what posture you’re in and how it feels within your body. Then, as you notice your posture, adjust it.

Some good times to become mindful of your posture is at meals, when standing in line, while driving, or when in meetings or classes. Really pay attention to your posture from the front and the side. While your posture may look fine from the front, if you get a side view you may see slumping, rounded shoulders, hips jutting forward, booty sticking out, belly sagging…well, you get the picture.

Becoming mindful of your posture is important because your posture projects your demeanor. Think about your first impression of someone when you see them slouching.

Posture and mood are also related. Become mindful of how you hold your body when sad, angry, or anxious. How does changing your posture affect your mood?

Reflection: There is so much to gain from improving your posture. Everybody’s interested in the way they look, and then they’re astounded to find the other benefits. -Janice Novak


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Totem Experiments: Variations on a Theme

A couple weeks ago, I introduced you to some new work. You can read about those first pieces here.

Last week I continued playing with the totem idea and created some new variations on this theme.

This first Janus totem is colored with alcohol inks and has a square base.

Janus Totem Back

Sideview

I was a bit disappointed with the next Janus Totem. The colors aren’t great and one of the faces didn’t turn out as I hoped. However, the palette of decorative chalks that I used to color both faces gave me a new idea.

Janus Totem Front

Janus Totem Back (sad) Face

Side view

Since I wasn’t pleased with my second attempt, I decided to try something completely different in the body construction of the third Janus totem.

Instead of tube beads, I made a pillow bead for the body. I colored the entire piece with assorted decorative chalks. And then I used wire to pull all the pieces together.

Drum roll please….

The Bobbling Janus Totem:

Bobble Janus Totem Front Side

Bobble Janus Totem Front Face Detail

Bobble Janus Totem Back Side

Bobble Janus Back Face Detail

The Bobble Janus Totem stands 7.5″ tall (base to wire.)

And since it is hard to capture the movement of this totem in still pictures, watch this short video where the Bobble Janus Totem gives a little demo of his moves.

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