Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness-Awareness of Smells

Well, here we are at the end of July. Time is moving quicker it seems. I’m already seeing sweaters and boots in stores and school supplies as well. One benefit of practicing mindfulness is cherishing time as it is now. Not rushing headlong into an unknown future. Not pining for time long past. Just focusing on what is happening in the present moment.

Last week we were asked to become aware of those times when we define and defend our selves. I mentioned the relevance of this practice because I’ve been working on branding in my business. It also brought to mind the question we’re often asked at gatherings: “What do you do?”

How do you typically answer that question?

The best response I heard to that question was “Do about what?”

This Week’s Practice:

This week we’re asked to become aware of the smells around us. Sounds interesting doesn’t it? If you work or live in the city, you might be quite aware of certain smells like diesel fuel or trash. But what about more subtle smells?

In rural areas it is quite common, especially in the spring, to catch a whiff of manure being laid on fields. But do you notice the scent of wet grass?

And how about emotions that are triggered by certain smells? Does a particular perfume remind you of your aunt and the big hug she’d give you? Or perhaps the smell of oatmeal cookies brings back fond memories of your grandmother.

Odors can have a powerful effect on our mental-emotional state and our behavior. Smells can effect how we react to someone or some thing. In an instant, an odor reaches our nose, a perception is formed, and a reaction is triggered.

This week become aware of smells. The good and the not so pleasant. Breathe deep the odors around you, from the freshly fallen rain to the clean laundry.

Reflection: As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round. –Ben Hogan

Bonus: I was thrilled last week to hear from Wendy, one of my readers and a mindfulness practitioner. Wendy shared a project she started to help remind her of each week’s mindfulness practice. For each practice, Wendy makes a small polymer clay tile. Each tile has an image on it that reminds Wendy of each weekly practice. When Wendy finishes Dr. Bays book (on which each weekly practice here is based), she intends to gather all the tiles together and create a mosaic wall piece. How cool is that? You can see Wendy’s tiles on her Flickr page

And be sure to check out her website & blog, After the Monsoon

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Come to ArtSpace Maynard’s Holiday Art & Craft Show This Weekend

This weekend I’m participating in ArtSpace Maynard’s 11th Annual Holiday Art & Craft Show. This my last holiday art & craft show for 2011.

I’ll have new Ornimals (Animal Sculpted Ornaments), Pyramid Fortune Vessels, Soulful Sprites and Heart in Hand Talisman. The Sprites & Talisman make great stocking stuffer gifts! I’ll also have a selection of wine bottle stoppers, perfume pens, and business card cases if you’re looking for a more traditional holiday gift. And if you’re looking for wall art, I’ll have a small selection of artwork from my Languedoc-Roussillon series.

Here are three new Ornimals that are coming with me:

Clown Fish Ornimal

"Gwynnie" Dachshund Ornimal

Great Horned Owl Ornimal

Hope to see you this weekend at ArtSpace!

Happy Holidays.


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The Apprenticeship Project on Kickstarter

Friend and fellow artist, Susan Lomuto, has created a project on Kickstarter. Her project is the aptly titled “The Apprenticeship Project.”

The goal of this project is to raise $1,500.00 by November 28, 2011. The funds raised for this project will help Susan document what it means to be a working artist today by working as an apprentice to artists across the country.

Susan is no stranger to working as an artist apprentice. She did just that last fall when she traveled to Connecticut and Washington, D.C to work as an apprentice to a jewelry artist, a ceramic artist and a glass artist.

This time, however, Susan needs your assistance to make the Apprenticeship Project even bigger. Her initial apprenticeship experiences appeared as posts on her blog The Daily Art Muse. Now Susan’s goal is to capture this documentation in three books: one book on the life of an artist, one photo essay book, and one book on her life and what brought her to this project.

To hear about The Apprenticeship Project, you can listen to Susan describe it in her own words:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2038555215/the-apprenticeship-project/widget/video.html

Now isn’t this something you might consider supporting?

Still not sure?

Click on this link to read more about The Apprenticeship Project.  You can even ask questions. If you decide to make a donation, your credit card won’t be charged unless Susan reaches her goal of $1,500.00 by November 28, 2011. How cool is that?

You can donate as little as $5.00 or as much as $5,000.00. And you can choose a gift to receive based on the amount of your donation.

I wouldn’t blog about this if I didn’t believe in the project.

Full disclosure: I’m a backer of this project.


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Darwin Receives An Honorable Mention

It was quiet a surprise and an honor to return home from France and learn that my Spirit Messenger “Darwin Explores” had received an honorable mention. The honorable mention was awarded by the jury for the Fitchburg Art Museum’s 76th Regional Exhibition of Art and Craft. Darwin Explores and The Green Man Spirit Messenger are both on display in this exhibit.

Darwin Explores

Thank you to the jury and staff at the Fitchburg Art Museum. The 76th Regional Exhibit runs through September 4, 2011


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From Inspiration to Creation: Taking an Idea & Making It My Own with a Little Help from My Friends

I’m always on the lookout for sources of inspiration as I work on my new line of work with polymer clay focal disks. A recent source of inspiration came from Ford and Forlano’s O’Keefe pin.

O'Keeffe Pin: Steven Ford and David Forlano: Silver & Clay Pin - The...

O’Keeffe Pin: Steven Ford and David Forlano: Silver & Clay Pin – The… (clipped to polyvore.com)

I love the shape and construction of their pin. I thought to myself “Self, that would make a very cool focal disk.” And then I thought “How the heck did they do that?”

My intent was not to replicate Ford & Forlano’s O’Keefe pin. There is no way I could do that anyways. Rather, I wanted to figure out how to create a similar shape with my own style.

The shape and design reminded me of a ribbon. So using that as my starting point I rolled a thin strip of clay and wrapped it into a rose-like shape resulting in experiment #1.

Experiment #1 "Toothy"

Ribbon Disk Experiment #2

Uhm, well, those are interesting but not exactly what I had in mind.

Scratch head, look at picture of pin again, and give it another go.

Rose Disk #1

Rose Disk with Striped Tentacles

Okay, this is a slight improvement but the walls are still too high and I think the clay strips still too thin.

Time to call in the posse, er, my friends. Another set of eyes (or two or three) can be helpful. Maybe they’ll see something I’m not. I ping the folks on Polymer Clay Central. I talk to Dayle and Paula, Karen, and Judy. Everyone has different interpretations but also some similarities in the construction. This is good because I’m getting insight from folks who work in polymer clay, pottery, fiber and mixed media.

Out comes the clay again to experiment. We experiment together with the clay, commenting and making suggestions on how to manipulate the clay. Ah ha, I think we’re on to something here.

Purple Focal Disks

Oh yes, this is much closer to what I had in mind. Thank you dear friends for your input and suggestions.

Since those little purple disks were created, I’ve been experimenting even more, adding my own spin on things, letting the clay lead me and including texture, protuberances, and, of course, faces.

Untitled Striped Disk

Amoeba

Birth

Solitude

I can’t wait to pair some of these disks with encaustic backgrounds. It will give them a completely different look. Stay tuned!


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My ArtFire Studio Featured This Weekend

I’m thrilled to announce that my ArtFire Studio is the featured studio collection this weekend on ArtFire.

You can see 12 items from my ArtFire studio in this collection here.

What’s really cool is this video montage of my collection featured on YouTube.

Many thanks to AndreaDesigns and the ArtFire Crazy Train Guild for this honor.

To view my entire ArtFire Studio, click here.


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Blog Hopping: Interesting Words from the Blogosphere

Here are some fun and thought provoking blog posts and news headlines that I’ve come across in recent weeks.

Reframing Questions about Technology and Our Humanity: This is a great interview with MIT professor Sherry Turkle and Krista Tippet from OnBeing. How do you relate to technology? Are you addicted to social media? What about your kids? You’ll find a link to the broadcast in this blog post.

And be sure to read Krista’s follow-up post on The Path to Integrating Technology into a Meaningful Life

Snoop Dogg as the Opening Act for Jesus: Now this was not in Dan Brown’s book “The DaVinci Code.”

The World’s Strangest Museum? This is NOT why I want to visit Iceland. Makes me wonder if people there have a little too much time on their hands. I also wondered if Lorena Bobbitt has visited. (Remember her?)

Kevin Spacey speaks out for the Arts:  Tuesday, April 5 was Arts Advocacy Day in Washington DC. Mr. Spacey visited Capitol Hill and gave a well received speech at the Kennedy Center in support of arts funding. Also check out his interview with Chris Matthews on Hardball.

Sarah Marie Lacy: Sarah is an online friend. In fact, we’re accountability partners. We send each other our weekly goals and check in at the end of the week to talk about how we’re doing. Sarah is a wonderful painter and this year she’s going to France to study at Studio Escalier. But traveling, studying and staying in France doesn’t come cheap. Check out Sarah’s story, her artwork and her fundraising efforts to cover the costs of this once in a lifetime experience.

Have an awesome weekend!