Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness: True Compliments

Last week’s mindfulness practice was to eat without distractions. No newspaper, book, internet, iPad, or TV.

How did you do with this practice?

I found it to be a nice change of pace. Since I work by myself,  I typically eat while either checking email and news on my iPad or while sitting in front of the TV.  Sometimes I do this because I want to catch up on events. Other times I simply need the noise in the background. I can’t say that either activity enhances my dining experience.

When I first tried this practice, I think I ate a little faster. Then, as I slowed down, I noticed how quiet my environment was. I could listen to the rhythm of the clock ticking. Or I could enjoy the birds singing. I noticed the taste and texture of my food; sweet, juicy, cold, crunchy.

Without the distraction of my iPad or the TV, I ate my meal and got into the studio a bit sooner. At lunch time, I’d go for a walk after my meal. All good things to do instead of lingering over the news or flipping through the TV channels.

This week’s practice: Give true compliments

This week’s practice is to give a genuine compliment once a day to someone close to you. The more specific the compliment, the better.

Giving compliments is a good practice in gratitude. With this practice you must really pay attention to both the big and small things that people do. If this practice is difficult for you, step back and observe if you tend to only notice problems and are critical of people.

As Jan Chozen Bays stated in her book, “When someone becomes part of the furniture of our life, we forget to notice what they do and it doesn’t occur to us to give them compliments. In fact, we may only comment on the negative, the things we think need to be changed.”

With this practice, also pay attention to how it feels to receive a compliment. Depending on how we were raised, giving a compliment may be easier than receiving a compliment.

Reflection: You should know that kind speech arises from kind mind, and kind mind from the seed of compassionate mind. You should ponder the fact that kind speech is not just praising the merit of others; it has the power to turn the destiny of a nation. -Zen Master Dogen


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Something Old Made New: Adding Text to Artwork

A few years ago I made a bunch of simple heart pins. The heart was made from textured copper polymer and accented with a gently accordion-folded strip of gold polymer.

Copper Heart Pin

I sold several of these hearts and had a few left in my inventory. I didn’t want to dispose of the last remaining hearts, so I started thinking about how I could give these hearts an updated look.

The other day inspiration finally struck when I decided to add a small banner of text to the surface of the heart. I’ve been working with a mix of white and translucent polymer, so that seemed like a natural choice to use for the text banner.

Not sure how this would look, I took one heart to be the demo piece. I rolled out the clay, cut a strip to fit on the surface of the heart, and stamped words into the clay with my metal letter stamps. I used tiny amount of liquid clay to “glue” the raw clay to the surface of the heart. After the banner of text was cured, I used a thin wash of acrylic paint to highlight the letters.

And here is the result:

I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The ivory polymer provides a nice contrast to the copper clay. And by adding text to some older artwork, I’ve updated the look and given the pieces new life.

Love Heart

Mine Heart

Sweet-heart

These hearts are currently for sale in my ArtFire Studio in the Pins section. Locally, you’ll find them at the Nashoba Valley Winery.

A New Heart Project

In keeping with this heart inspired mood, I started playing around with a completely new heart design. I have an idea of where I may go with these hearts. Until then, I’ll just share these two pictures.

Luv Heart Front

Luv Heart Back

What do you think? I’d love to read your thoughts on this new design.