Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Monday Reflection: Open Up To Life

WHEN YOU OPEN UP TO LIFE AS IT IS

When you open yourself to the continually changing,
impermanent, dying nature of your own being and of reality,
you increase your capacity to love and care about other people
and your capacity to not be afraid.
You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.
And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression.
You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds,
from now until the day you die.
And you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities
to start doing things differently.

-Pema Chodron
excerpt from “The Pocket Pema Chodron”


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Artwork Published! Creative is a Verb

Creative Is a Verb Cover

I am honored to announce that one of my mixed media pieces was chosen for inclusion in Patti Digh’s newest book Creative is a Verb: If You’re Alive, You’re Creative In this book, Patti “leads you by both heart and head to acknowledge, reinforce, and use your own creative spirit by teaching six creative commitments.” Creative is a Verb is the follow-up to Patti’s successful 2008 book Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally.

Way back in January I received a request to submit two pieces of artwork for Creative is a Verb. Each participating artist was sent one, two, or three essays that would become chapters in the book. We were asked to read our assigned essays and create artwork inspired by the essay. As with previous art submission requests, we had about two weeks to create artwork inspired by the essay.

I received two essays. One was titled “Leave Your Base Camp” the other was “Blow Bubbles Everyday.” My submission for “Blow Bubbles Everyday” was chosen and is featured in Chapter 6: Get Present: Show Up Like Magic.

Blow Bubbles Everyday

The substrate for this piece is a painted and textured magazine page. The horns were inspired by the bubble wands we used as kids (and might still play with as adults…though I’m not saying which adult, ahem.) The little characters inside the bubbles are smiling, dancing, reading, hanging out, hanging on, and waving. I think I channeled a bit of Tim Burton for this piece.

Thanks again to Patti Digh for this wonderful opportunity. You can purchase a signed copy of Creative is a Verb on Patti’s website or on Amazon (unsigned copies).


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Took a Leap-Polymer Clay Class Scheduled

Over the weekend, I stared Mr. Fraidy Pants in the eyes and kicked him out. He was really putting up a fight and keeping me from moving forward with my plans to prepare class samples for a meeting at Ink About It.

Once I told him to bug off and wrote down my turn around phrases to counter his negative voice, it was like being set free. I spent over 14 hours between Monday and Tuesday finishing samples, writing class descriptions, and visualizing my meeting at Ink About It.

This morning I spent a few minutes meditating and visualizing, put the final touches on a couple samples and then packed everything to take to the store.

I’m happy to say that I took a leap today, the net appeared, and, after today’s meeting,  I’m on the schedule to teach the first polymer clay class at Ink About It!

And I didn’t even break out in a big, bad sweat.

My class at Ink About It, Liquid Polymer Clay Bookmarks and Tags, is Friday, October 1, 10am-2pm.

Full description, samples, and pictures will be available at Ink About It by the end of August. I’ll also keep you updated here on my blog and on my Facebook Fan Page: Amy A. Crawley Fine Art (HINT: Become a fan. I post almost daily updates on my fan page-new artwork, links, and all around creative goodness.)

Below is a picture of the pieces I took to Ink About It today. The bookmark samples are in the lower portion of the picture.

Class Samples

We also talked about a possible polymer clay ornament class for November or December. Stay tuned!

And Mr. Fraidy Pants? He’s looking for a new gig. Be careful though; he has a sister, Sally Scaredy Pants. Sometimes they like to work as a team.


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In The News

I’ve been so focused on several different areas that I forgot to share some “In the News” updates.

Earlier this month I was the feature interview in the Bolton Common’s “UnCommon Conversation.” You can read my interview with Julia Quinn-Szcesuil here

This month I also signed up for HARO: Help A Reporter. This is a great, free resource where reporters (newspapers, magazines, TV, bloggers, etc) post information on stories that they are writing and are looking for experts. This gives you the opportunity to share your expertise on any number of topics and the possibility of your lead being published.

I recently had two leads published on dealing with time management. My tip is #75 on The Entreprenette Gazette and #43 on The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur


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Creating a Business Self-Portrait

The Right Brain Business Plan (RBBP) e-course is rolling into its 6th week. That puts us 3/4 of the way through the class. Hard to believe it has gone by so quickly…and that I haven’t been very good about keeping you up-to-date on my progress.

Last I wrote about the RBBP, I shared my business vision and the Vision Accordion Book that I created. Since then, we’ve tackled our business self-portrait, our target market, working the numbers, and determining sources of support.

The Business Self-Portrait

Developing our business self-portrait and business landscape was fun and challenging at the same time. This is where we determine where our business fits in the larger business landscape. We approached this from two directions, those things under our control (our strengths, challenges, and opportunities) and those things NOT under our control such as customers, trends, competition and barriers.

The self-portrait provided another opportunity to creatively paint a picture of my strengths, challenges, and opportunities. It was also a bit intimidating because we are asking questions about ourselves. While this is a hard task for anyone, I think it may be a bigger challenge for women because most of us are told not to talk about the things that we’re good at, not to talk about our successes and achievements. That is the sign of a bragger, an arrogant person, and an egotistical person.

Well, fat on that.

One way we were given to approach this task was to ask friends, family, associates, co-workers, and colleagues a series of questions such as “What three words would you use to describe me?” “What would you say are my natural gifts, strengths, and passions?” and “What would you say sets me apart from the crowd?”

It was humbling and heartwarming to receive people’s answers to those questions. Holding a mirror up to yourself is not easy. Asking people their opinion isn’t always easy either. However, the way you are seen in another person’s eyes can be very affirming.

Following another RBBP classmate’s lead, I entered the words and phrases into Wordle to create a word cloud. Then, inspired by those black construction paper silhouettes we had as kids,  I asked Eric to trace my head onto a large sheet of paper. This profile would become the centerpiece of my business self-portrait.

Business Self-Portrait

The self-portrait features the word collage in the center of my silhouette. Other components include my background and experience, skills and talents, customer quotes, opportunities and challenges.

Biz Self-Portrait Top Half

Biz Self-Portrait Bottom Half

The Wordle collage puts in bold typeface those words that appear most often. From this one might summarize that the words most often used to describe me are: knowledgeable, caring, creative, understanding, organizer, listener, thorough, and courage. These words give me insight into my strengths and skills and themes that could influence my business.

The Business Landscape

The business landscape is an on-going process. Creating the landscape requires a bit more detective work. It is here that you look at trends (social and economic), think about how big your market is, map out your target market, consider direct and indirect competition, take into consideration what you do well and barriers that you might encounter.

The fun apart this assignment is we can create SWAGs (Silly Wild Ass Guesses)  for those areas where we don’t have a definite answer right now. It is better to put down a SWAG than to get stuck and not move forward. And through research an answer, hopefully, will be found.

To help with this part of the process, I set up a fabric covered tri-fold foam core display board that I used long ago in my first art shows. At the top of the middle section, I’ve posted the name for this entire venture “The Creative Well.” This section is also for tracking trends and market information, including a map of Massachusetts and New England, information on population, numbers of polymer clay teachers in the area, and my business self-portrait.

The left panel is for information on the competition and potential collaborators. The right panel holds information on resources, such as places where I might be able to teach polymer clay classes. As I come across and collect information, it is added to the designated section with push pins or notes written on Post-it notes.

Biz Landscape Detective Board

I like this format because it is portable and collapsible. I keep the board on a shelf right across from my work table so I see it every day. When I add information or want to analyze the entire picture, I can lay it on the floor to get a good overview.

Next: Target markets and numbers