Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Imbolc and Feast of St. Brigid

Imbolc, also known as Candlemas, begins at sundown on February 1 and ends at sundown on February 2. It also runs concurrently with the feast of St. Brigid.

There is much to read about Imbolc and the feast of St. Brigid, so I won’t add more to that. Except to point you to one of my favorite descriptions about this holiday by Waverly Fitzgerald on her School of the Seasons website. And a post I wrote on Imbolc back in 2008.

I also came across this lovely song about St. Brigid by Celia, which prompted me to put together this post.

I listened to this song a couple of times and danced around the studio while it played. Moving the body is a great way to invite the creative muse to come and play. It also seemed appropriate because Brigid is also associated with creativity and creative ideas.

After dancing around the studio, I created this watercolor painting of St. Brigid in honor of her feast day.

St. Brigid Keeper of the Flame

St. Brigid
Keeper of the Flame

Working intuitively, this painting came together in less than 2 hours. I love when I can dive in and let the creative flow happen. Sketching comes easily. Choosing colors of paint is less stressful. The negative voice becomes quieter when it knows I’m not listening to it.

If you enjoyed Brigid’s song above and want to sing along, the version below includes the words.

Brigid so beautiful. Brigid so powerful.

Goddess Brigid, peace weaver, healer, poet, queen. Melt the snow and bring the spring.


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My Blog’s 4 Year Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway

I can’t believe that it has been four years since I started my blog. That’s a lot of bloggy goodness!

To celebrate my blog’s 4th anniversary, I’ve decided to hold a weekly giveaway during the month of August.

What will be included in the giveaways?

Books, jewelry, and possibly some other artwork.

How will it work?

I’ll post the weekly giveaway on each Friday in August. That’s four Fridays, 8/5, 8/12, 8/19, and 8/26.

You’ll have until Tuesday of the following week to post a comment on the giveaway blog post. That’s four Tuesdays, 8/9, 8/16, 8/23, and 8/30. Comments must be posted by midnight eastern standard time.

One winner will be chosen each week.

Shipping

Giveaway items will be shipped via USPS and limited to residents of the United States. I apologize for the restriction on shipping.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating my blog’s 4th anniversary in August!


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Insecurity Wears a Black Shroud

One of the pieces I entered into the Cloth, Paper Scissors Artisan Search 2011 was Insecurity Wears a Black Shroud. This piece was 3 years and 15 days in the making; from conception to completion.

Insecurity was inspired by a conversation about why, as humans, we engage in certain activities and what shadow effects keep us from engaging in other activities. In particular, my friend Karen and I were talking about things we did as kids, like going to summer camps or other activities away from home.

Later, as I thought more about this conversation, an image for this piece emerged so strongly that I had to stop what I was doing at that moment and sketch out my vision. What I realized is that I did not participate in many activities as a kid due to insecurity. I was afraid to be away from home. I was afraid of failing. I lacked confidence in many areas. And I didn’t always have the encouragement from those around me to try new things.

Sadly those feelings carried over into my adult life in other ways.

Eventually I learned to try new things and not to worry if I wasn’t great at it or if I made a fool of myself. But the emotions that rose to the surface after that conversation still felt raw and very real. I don’t often create art inspired by such emotions. Heck, I don’t often have a vision for a piece appear so strongly and vividly. It had to be captured on paper and brought to life.

Insecurity’s face is slightly distorted, hiding the pain and anguish she feels. Her body is hollow, formed over a tube. On the exterior are long black wings, representing the shroud we wear to hide our insecurities. Below her wings are the faces and words that tie us to our feelings of insecurity.

However, all is not lost, for under the feathers around Insecurity’s neck, is the word Hope. And in the center of her body rests a ruby charm embedded in words of loving kindness.

Insecurity Wears a Black Shroud

Insecurity Wears a Black Shroud

Materials: Polymer clay, gold leaf, ruby charm, rubber stamps, feathers, beads, acrylic paint, wood, molding paste. Dimensions: 16.5″h; 4″x4″ (base)
Amy A. Crawley, 2010

Insecurity Wears a Black Shroud Head

Insecurity Close Up of Head

Insecurity Wears a Black Shroud Midsection

Insecurity Close Up of Midsection

Insecurity Wears a Black Shroud Base

Insecurity Close up of Base

Insecurity Wears a Black Shroud Back View

Insecurity Back View

Insecurity Wears a Black Shroud is one of my favorite pieces. She is very personal to me and represents a true sense of accomplishment. She reminds me to never give up. To take a leap knowing that the net will appear.


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Back in the Saddle

I haven’t felt like blogging since returning from NJ earlier this week.  Almost two weeks ago we left to be with Eric’s mom and family prior to my MIL’s surgery. Her surgery went well but her recovery has been tenuous at times. Blogging and creating art seemed trival.

It took a few days to get back in the groove. It started with focusing on the business task list and returning to yoga, then getting a hair cut, going grocery shopping, and finally putting my hands on the clay. Where I really felt the stress of the past week release was when I put together several bald, faceless “heads” for my art guild’s polymer clay sculpting demo. Creating these “heads” even gave me an idea for a future moderately priced art item.

Another thing that has helped me return to a routine was taking my goals for the month, breaking them down into smaller steps, and putting those steps into my task and to-do list in Entourage. I can attribute this wonderful suggestion to Leslie Shreve’s teleseminar The Road to Peak Productivity (I’ll blog more about the teleseminar in a future Tuesday’s Business post.)

Today was an art day which included a visit to the Danforth Museum to see their mixed media fiber art exhibit featuring Lisa Call and Faith Ringgold’s Story Quilts, lunch at Bruegger’s Bagels (a gloriously gooey 4-cheese and tomato panini and butternut squash soup), and a visit to Barnes and Nobles. The sunshine and clear blue sky also contributed to the great day.

Oh yes, we had new carpeting installed this week on the second floor. I love the carpet, the color and the pattern. It feels real good underfoot. So it was really disappointing to learn the carpet has a defect which wasn’t detected until the installers started to vacuum it. The owner of Century Carpet, where we purchased the carpet, even came to the house on request of the installers while they were still here to confirm the defect. How often does that happen? Century Carpet will file the claim with the manufacturer. Unfortunately it means that the carpet will have to be pulled up and reinstalled in a few weeks. Century Carpet gets high marks in my book for the way they’re handling this situation. Kudos to them.

Finally I replaced a couple white switchplate covers with switchplate covers I made several years ago. They fit in well with the new wall color.

Silkscreened Dragonfly Switchplate

Silkscreened Dragonfly Switchplate


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Friday Folly

No silly pictures this time. Just some silly words that I came across in an old Signals catalog I found while I cleaning in the studio.

Scintillate, scintillate asteroid manikin
(A multi-syllabic version of Twinkie Twinkle Little Star.)

Missiles of ligneous or petrous consistency
have the potential of fracturing my gaseous structure,
but appellations will eternal remain innocuous.
(The erudite way to say “Sticks and Stones may break my bones.”)

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobic
(The fear of really long words.)


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Finding Who You Truly Are: A New Earth Webcast Chapter 7

Periodically while reading A New Earth I found myself pausing and asking “what does he mean?”  Usually I would have to read and re-read the particular sentence or passage before the words sunk in.  I found this happening with more frequency when reading the last few chapters of A New Earth.

Eckhart begins with the phrase Gnothi Seauton which means “Know Thyself.”  These words are posted at the entrance of the temple of Apollo at Delphi, site of the sacred Oracle.  History tells us that people would visit the Oracle to learn what destiny had in store for them.  However, before asking what destiny has in store for us, Eckhart reminds us that we must first ask “Who am I?”

As has been discussed in previous chapters, we often identify ourselves by our names, jobs, positions, physical attributes, and so forth.  These are external attributes and roles and attachment to our roles can impede our ability to live in the present moment.  In other words, it is okay to identify ourselves by our roles but we shouldn’t become so attached to the role that when that role ends (e.g. such as leaving a long term job position) we don’t know who we are or what else to do.

According to Eckhart, when you realize who you are NOT, then who you ARE will be revealed.

Hmm, okay; big pause here. 

This realization may occur when something we identified with is gone.  This loss could be through death, disaster, or even loss of social position.  When this happens we have two choices: resist or accept.  When we resist, we fight the present situation; we are reactive and confrontational.  When we accept the situation, we go through the suffering and increase our awareness.  We accept the present moment.

Another way to understand who you truly are is through abundance or acknowledging the good that is already in your life.  Too often we think that WHO we are is how we see ourselves treated by others.  We aren’t respected.  We don’t receive recognition.  We aren’t loved.  Our needs are not being met.  We believe we have nothing to give or that people are withholding what we need.  “Poor me.”  Instead of acknowledging the good already in our lives all we see is lack.  And acknowledging the good in our life is the basis of abundance.

This is where gratitude comes into play.  This was an “a ha” moment for me because “gratitude” was the word I chose for myself this year.  And these words in A New Earth really hit home:

Whatever you think the world is withholding from you,
you are withholding from the world. 
You are withholding it because deep down you think you are small
and that you have nothing to give.

In other words, if you don’t let flow whatever it is that you think the world is withholding, you won’t know that you have it already within you.  Outflow determines Inflow.  Or “what you give, you get.” Tell people you appreciate them.  Praise someone for a job well done.  Say thank you more often.  Smile at a stranger.

When you acknowledge abundance, when you express gratitude, when you see the fullness in life, you send out positive energy, you begin to live in the present moment and in that moment you may find who you truly are.


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Thank You

Though I’ve replied to comments posted about my new bottle stoppers, I wanted to thank everyone for helping refill the creative well with your thoughts and ideas.

The face BS were a step out of the box for me with the bright colors and the limited use of polymer clay.  I’ve been so wedded to using clay for my bottle stoppers that the thought of painting the wood cores had never crossed my mind earlier.

With your thoughts and suggestions I feel revitalized in making new bottle stopper designs.  I don’t know if it will all work out (experiment, experiment) yet I see many possibilities here to pursue (like a light at the end of the tunnel.)

Ironically the passage today in Shakti Gawain’s Awakening dealt with communication and constructive criticism.  Whenever we put forth an idea or a new piece of art, whether on our blogs, web sites, or at an art show, we make ourselves vulnerable and open ourselves to public comment and criticism (both constructive and destructive.)

It is in knowing this that I am able to present new work that may or may not appeal to everyone.  And that is ok.  To me, every comment (online or in person) is an exchange of ideas.


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The Power of Intent

Before each show I tend to set a goal regarding sales revenue.  I know this can lead to disappointment; I’ve been disappointed on many an occasion.  Depending on the show I may set low expectations, high expectations, or no expectation (why stress out even more, right?)

When I exhibited at Paradise City this past May, I went in with no expectations.  My goal was to gain exposure, get my name and my work out there, introduce my art dolls to a new audience, and hopefully make a few sales.  I did not expect to cover expenses.  In today’s art world economy that doesn’t always happen.

With this fall show, however, I took a different approach.

You may be familiar with the Law of Attraction or the power of intent or vibrational energy.  There is also a movie, The Secret, that explains this belief.  Essentially the belief is that if you want or desire something and if you focus your energy on that want or desire, you can achieve it.

I was not familiar with any of this until sometime after I experienced my aura/chakra reading.  As I increased my awareness of my surroundings, I began to read more about the Law of Attraction.

Anyways, in the weeks leading up to this past weekend’s show, I set an intention; a revenue goal.  I also set an intention to attract people into my booth who would enjoy my art; understand and appreciate my art.  I visualized people in my booth.  I visualized people buying my work.  And then I went to the show with all this positive energy in my head.

I have to tell you that it worked.  Here are some of the more significant things that happened.

  • One woman purchased a Chakra energy angel for her spiritual teacher.
  • One woman bought my Shaman spirit messenger for her son, a medical doctor, who studied Shamanism with the Navajo.
  • One person bought a pyramid vessel to use as an urn for her deceased brother’s ashes.  This happened on the same day that another artist friend and I talked about using my vessels for just this purpose.
  • Another person returned on the last day to purchase two friendship bowls.  We had talked extensively the day before about Ireland, the Scots, and Scotland, which was the inspiration for the friendship bowls.
  • A man I greeted as he entered my booth proceeded to tell me that it didn’t matter what I said (as I gave him my little sales pitch, describing my work) that if someone wants to buy, they’ll buy.  He didn’t feel that giving information about our art work had any impact on someone making a purchase.  He had this really negative energy about him and it left me feeling lousy.  After he left I closed my eyes and tried to cleanse, in my mind, my booth of his negative energy.  Shortly after that two ladies walked into my booth who were breaths of fresh air and who were very complimentary about my art.  The energy was much better after that.

It was pointed out to me by another person in the last hour or two of the show that I was still energized.  We were talking about the chakras and energy and doing what you love.  It struck me that she was right.  I wasn’t tired like I usually am on the last day of a show.  I felt quite energetic right through the time I broke down my booth at the end of the day and headed home. 

It had to be the positive energy.  It had to be the power of intent.  It had to be the law of attraction.

What do you think?

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