Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Found Poetry Artist Trading Cards

Last week I took a short break from sculpting Ornimals and created some artist trading cards (ATCs) for my art guild. We were challenged a few months ago to create artist trading cards for a guild swap. With the deadline drawing near, I needed to get my act together. Of course I drew a blank on what I wanted to create. I didn’t want to make traditional polymer clay artist trading cards. Then it dawned on me one night that I could use liquid polymer clay to create “paper.” I could use that as the base for my ATCs.

But I didn’t want to simply color and stamp layers of liquid polymer clay. Another light bulb went off. I would create Found Poetry Artist Trading Cards and embed the words in the liquid clay.

I’m not sure where I first heard the phrase “found poetry.” It could’ve been Quinn McDonald. Or maybe it was Dayle Doroshow. Either way I’m sure I didn’t just coin the phrase.

Not being quite sure of the process, I made up my own. I pulled out a few magazines, found some pages with lots of text, and circled every few words, usually every 5th to 7th word. Then I cut out the circled words and put them in a pile on my table. This is where the fun began.

Looking at all these words, including nouns, verbs, adjectives, and articles, I began to sort them into phrases and sentences. This is a rather intuitive process. Sometimes the phrases made sense. Other times they didn’t make sense but the words sounded interesting together. And that was the whole point. To create phrases and sentences that were sometimes silly and sometimes rather profound. If they made sense, great. If not, all the better.

Using a simple process of layering liquid polymer clay on glass, the words were embedded into one layer of clay. Additional layers were stamped and colored. Then the liquid “paper” was removed from the glass and attached to painted playing cards.

Here are the final results:

Found Poetry ATCs Set 1

Found Poetry ATCs Set 2

Give What You Allow

Uniquely Sheepish

In the next post I’ll share some of the ATCs I received in the guild’s swap.


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Sketches from France

Before I left for France, I bought a small sketchbook. My intent was to draw in the sketchbook each day during my trip. I covered the sketchbook with a photo of a modern look French woman, packed my micron pens, and packed the sketchbook in my back pack.

We arrived in France, I move my sketchbook from the backpack to my purse, and there it remained, untouched, for 3 days. (I recall an art teacher telling me that she didn’t encourage students to take a bunch of drawing supplies on vacation because you put pressure on yourself to draw, which usually doesn’t happen, and then you feel guilty.)

As the end of our field trip to Albi drew to a close, we met Dayle at the appointed location. Dayle was sketching in her sketchbook. I promptly announced that I had also brought my sketchbook. Dayle asked, “Have you sketched anything?”

“Um, no. I haven’t used it.” I said.

Half jokingly, Dayle tasked me with sketching the facade of the St. Cecile Cathedral that stood a short distance from us.

Settling into my chair while we waited for the rest of our group to gather, I deferred Dayle’s challenge and opted instead for a set of shutters on a building directly across from us.

Shutters in Albi

And thus began my journey to sketch on an almost daily basis. Doing the first sketch reminded me, once again, that I do like to draw. In my senior year of high school, I was told during a critique with my art teacher that I couldn’t draw. Once I graduated high school, I avoided doing anything artistic.

Eventually, I came back to the arts and I’ve since forgiven that teacher for her cruel, nonconstructive words. I’ve tried the daily sketch task in the past, but it never stuck. After all, how many sketches can one make of their teacup, their breakfast, or the cats that never hold a pose.

But in France, it worked. And I’ve continued this practice now that I’m home. Though now that I’m home, I told myself that I’d like to do a sketch at least three times a week. That keeps my intention from feeling like a burden. I also received a little bit of advice from Dayle (paraphrased) that makes sketching a bit more fun: “Don’t worry about your sketch looking like reality.”

Below are more sketches that I did during our time in France. I’ll also share some of my sketches from home in future posts.

La Cascade Dinner Bell

Dining Room Chair

This sketch taught me that I’d completely forgotten how to draw perspective. An a-ha moment. Be a better observer.

Wicker Basket on Stool

This one is my favorite. Maybe I should sketch at night instead of first thing in the morning?

La Cascade Door Knocker

Hotel Night Table Lamp

Buddha Head

Until my next post,

A bientot


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The Magic of Soreze, France

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share with you some of my favorite pictures taken during our trip to France. Today, we start with images of Soreze.

Soreze

Soreze is a magical village located in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, in the Tarn department. The village forms part of a triangle that extends from Albi to Toulouse to Carcassone. Soreze can trace its origins and development all the way back to 754 when Pepin of Aquitaine founded the Benedictine Abby Notre-Dame of Sagne in the fortified town of Verdinius.

Today, Soreze remains a source of history and culture. It has a long history of being home to artists and craftsmen.

The Images

On this trip I was focused on capturing images that would inspire my new series of artwork, Snapshots and Memories from Languedoc-Rousillion. Soreze is an excellent source of inspiration for this new series. Lots of colors, textures, doors, shutters, and statuary.

Festival Greeters

Soreze Side Street

Flower Pots

French Tabbys

Textures

Doors, Windows & Door Knockers

Statuary

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of Soreze and its magical surroundings.

Until my next post,

A bientot


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Tuesday’s Business: If You Can’t Fix It…

One of the most liberating pieces of advice I’ve received came during a workshop with Dayle Doroshow.  As Dayle was demonstrating a process she said “And if you can’t fix it…feature it.”

How is that for a freeing motto?

How often have you made a mistake somewhere during the process of your creating?  You look at what just happened and, perhaps after an expletive or two, you might claim defeat and toss the piece into the trash or add it to the pile of “I’ll fix it later” pieces.

Depending on the extent of the goof-up, you might be able to squish the clay and start over.  Works on canvas can be repainted or get another layer of gesso.

But sometimes the goof up isn’t evident until the piece is finished.  This happens to me periodically when making my wine bottle stoppers.  The wood core is covered and all the edges sealed.  Into the oven it goes and after it is cured and removed from the oven, then I see it…the dreaded air bubble.

Crap!

Air bubbles on the stoppers typically result when the clay did not make adequate (that is, secure) contact with the wood core.  When they appear, it is usually near a seam making the bottle stopper look like it has a wart.

Sigh.

Sometimes the air bubble can be removed and possibly repaired.  More often than not, that isn’t the case and the stopper gets tossed into a pile for some reuse project.  However, the other day the muse practically knocked me over with an idea.

gold-wave-froggy-bs

Froggies or other creatures as embellishments to hide the offending stopper wart, er bubble.  The structural integrity of the bottle stopper remains intact and now the stopper has even more personality.

Froggie creature pair

Froggie creature pair

Froggie Creature

Froggie Creature

Another instance where I’ve had to apply the “If you can’t fix it…feature it” motto happened to some pyramid shaped Santas.  Originally flat on the bottom, I decided to give Santa a lift and added a pair of boots.  Most of the updated Santas were fine but a few were a little tipsy.  This is often part of the challenge when working with a triangular shape that is balanced on two feet instead of three.  (Yes, creating a three-legged Santa did cross my mind.)

My first idea was to give Santa a devil tail or perhaps attach a bag of goodies that had spilled its contents.  Instead, I came up with this:

Santa on Skis

Santa on Skis

Santa needed a quicker way to get around the North Pole.  So he slapped on some skinny boards and started cruising around.  Wouldn’t you know it, he got distracted by some elves building a snowman and found himself entangled in a set of Christmas lights.  But he stayed upright the entire time!

Santa Front

Santa Front

santa-pyramid-side

So if you can’t fix it…feature it, work with it, adapt it, hide it, manipulate it; try not to toss it.  See if you can re-invent it.

If you have a piece of art that you’ve reworked from its original design, send me the link and I’ll be happy to share it here.

And thank you Dayle for this great piece of advice.


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Tuesday’s Business-Diminish the Fear

Well isn’t this just ducky.  We had a potential melt down in the financial markets almost two weeks ago, then a marathon session to create a bail-out or rescue plan.  And what happened?  The plan failed in the House.

Certainly this is something that is of concern to anybody whether you own a business or not.  I did let out an audible gasp when I saw the headline on the failed bill.

But isn’t it ironic how in a moment of fear, the universe can show you that fear can be overcome…or at least put into perspective.

In my last Tuesday’s Business post, I discussed fear; the internal fear that keeps us from moving forward. I mentioned that YTD sales are down and that I am not participating in the fall Paradise City Arts Festival.  Certainly that is enough to make me feel a little depressed and fearful.  And yes, I did gasp when I read the headlines online.

But I also felt a sense of calm and here is why.

In the midst of all this craziness, I read a post by Christine Kane on how to stop the recession in its tracks.  In her post Christine reminds us that we can consciously choose to participate in the bad news or not.  In other words, we can get wrapped up in the drama or we can take a deep breath and not fixate on it.

Okay, I get that.  So I limit my reading of online news coverage and watch any news programs with a neutral attitude.  I call it information gathering.  And then I keep doing what I’ve been doing in the studio.

I remembered a comment SARK made on a recent Craftcast interview with Alison Lee.  She reminded us that we cannot deny our emotions.  Because when we work through our emotions, a shift can happen on the other side.

Okay, I’ll let myself feel scared for a while, understanding that in the big picture there isn’t much I can do.  What I can do, however, is think about what I can do to move my business along.

I was moved by recommendations of Molly Gordon whose presentation I just listened to on the SmARTist Telesummit.  Molly’s presentation was on the money dramas we find ourselves involved in and how to work through these situations to get back to the present.  The basis of Molly’s recommendations come from Byron Katie’s “The Work.”

The Work consists of identifying a stressful thought, asking four questions and turning the thought around.  The four questions are:

  • Is it true?
  • Can you absolutely know it is true?
  • How do you react when you think that thought?
  • Who would you be without that thought?

The turnarounds are reversals or opposite answers of the one you gave to the original thought.  For more information on Byron Katie’s The Work, visit The Work.

Ironically, the example provided in Molly’s presentation on how to apply The Work dealt with how businesses fare in a recession.  The stressful thought was “it is going to be harder to make a living.”  I’m going to take this same thought and apply it to my own situation and Byron Katie’s four questions.

Finally, I had a motivating conversation with Dayle Doroshow.  We were talking about how these slow periods are a great time to experiment, to work in a different medium, or to create work in a format other than what we typically create (jewelry, sculpture, miniatures, large format.)  You never know what ideas may emerge during this period of experimenting.

And what has happened during these two weeks while working through the fear?  Two small local art show opportunities have been presented to me and I received a significant wholesale order.  For each one I am grateful.

I hope some of the ideas and recommendations I’ve shared will help you diminish any fear you may be feeling during these fragile times.  I expect that I/we will still have fears, but not ones that will stop me/us.