Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


4 Comments

New Body of Work: Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1 is the first in a series that I am creating as part of a larger body of work. This first part is called Glimmer (of Hope.) The Glimmer series developed out of a series of  health issues that I have been dealing with since last November. Specifically, these health issues revolve around that change of life known as perimenopause.

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1 embodies a time of contemplation, reflection and hope. Below are a series of pictures documenting her creation.

Glimmer #1 starts out with a solemn, contemplative face.

Glimmer #1 Cured Head

I have chosen to paint all the heads gold in this series.

Glimmer #1 Gold

Echoes of the song “Goldfinger” bounce around in my head as I paint. Each head receives two thin washes of gold paint and then a final thicker layer. A wash of burnt sienna acrylic paint completes each head. And then I realized I had a bit of a problem.

Each piece in this series will have an elongated neck representing my struggle to keep my head above it all. But it didn’t dawn on me to add more clay to create the elongated neck until after I had already painted the head. And matching the raw clay to the now painted cured clay could present a minor challenge.

After some measuring and finagling, I constructed the wire core and aluminum foil body and blended the raw clay to the painted gold clay as best as possible.

Glimmer #1 Body Core

Glimmer #1 Clay Core

Another issue I often face in body construction is dealing with balance. My Spirit Messengers seem to either lean forward or tilt backward which usually requires some readjustment of the base. In this series, the elongated necks also present an interesting challenge. I often have to bend and adjust the wire support to the right angle before securing the head to the body. However, I am letting these pieces develop naturally. By that I mean, if the head positions itself at a particular angle, I’m quite likely to go with it.

Glimmer #1 Head

All of the Spirit Messengers in this series will have black bodies. I decided to go with black because the “Glimmer of Hope” appeared at what felt like a very dark time for me. It was like a tiny ray of light poking through dark clouds. Each body will have different embellishments. The gold heads and black bodies will connect all of the pieces.

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1

Glimmer #1’s body is embellished with peach colored size 8 seed beads, kernels of gold polymer clay and embossing metal. She has a lightly textured surface.

Spirit Messenger Glimmer #1

The word “Hope” is stamped into the embossing metal. The metal was tinted with a blend of alcohol inks.

Glimmer of Hope

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1 is 9″ tall and 3.5″ wide at the base.

Next: Glimmer #2.


3 Comments

A New Body of Work: The Glimmer Series

When I was confronted with my health issues late last year, I made a conscious decision to slow down. I also decided to use my artwork as a form of healing. More specifically, I am using my health situation as a muse for my artwork.

I introduced this challenge last week in this video.

Recent events have caused me to relocate my studio and my creative muse has laid quietly while I deal with more doctor’s visits and tests. However, before all this happened, I started documenting my process in the creation of the Glimmer Series.

The Glimmer Series is inspired by this particular picture:

This image is a self portrait that I created in early December in response to receiving the first bit of news that potentially explained what was happening to my body. It was ” A Glimmer of Hope.”

I began this series by sketching some ideas for Spirit Messengers, including faces and bodies. I envisioned different shapes. Some Spirit Messengers are free standing; others want to hang on the wall. Then I sculpted three heads:

Glimmer Heads Pre-Oven

I prefer to use Super Sculpey over aluminum foil. I’ve learned that this keeps the heads from cracking which is especially important when you work on a larger scale. I knew at least one Glimmer Spirit Messenger would have a solemn face. Instead of searching for faces online for inspiration, I decided to take pictures of myself with different facial expressions. Afterall, this series comes from my emotions, so why not use myself, my expressions, as a model?

I was pleasantly surprised how my very first solemn face sculpture turned out.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to recreate another face like this again. But that is also why these are one of a kind pieces.

Another face has puckered lips. A face of concentration or frustration or relief. I’m not quite sure which one.

The last face has a wry smile (and a bit of a bulbous head; oh dear.)

Along with the Spirit Messengers, I plan to create mixed media wall art as part of this series. I’d also like to use fabric and perhaps boxes or other forms for the bodies. My goal is to create 6-8 pieces. I’ve completed two Spirit Messengers so far and will introduce them to you in the next few days.


9 Comments

When Life Tells You To Slow Down

Note: This post has been through several iterations since I started writing it last month. I alluded to my health issues in an earlier post reflecting on my 2010 word of the year. This post goes a little more in depth on how those weeks of uncertainty called me to slow down and think about the direction I want to take in life. Be forewarned that this post may contain too much information.

__________________________________________________________________________________

It all started in November and got crazier the weekend of Thanksgiving.

Let me preface that by saying I’m a 47 year old female. I know changes lurk around the corner. You know, that time our mother’s referred to as “the change” or “the change of life.” Growing up, that phrase was sometimes followed by stories of women growing facial hair, going “nuts” and essentially turning into something that resembled Fiona Ogre in the “Shrek” movies.

I certainly hope time and attitudes have changed.

As I said, I’m 47 and moving toward menopause. I believe I’ve been experiencing subtle symptoms of perimenopause for the past few years. Some sources report that a woman can begin experiencing these changes up to 10 years before the actual onset of menopause. No wonder many women hate their 40’s. Personally, I’ve loved being in my 40’s. It has felt like the right age for me. Unfortunately, on the health front, it is in our 40’s when our bodies pay us back for the abuse we may have given it in our 20’s and 30’s, whether you’re a woman or a man.

I have herniated discs, bouts with GERD, creaking knees, and tinnitus. All manageable issues that do their best, at times, to make me feel, ahem “middle aged.”

And then there is the perimenopause.

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with a fibroid. Fibroids are very common in women in our western culture. There is no definitive cause for fibroids. It could be estrogen overload, it could be hereditary. One statistic I read stated that up to 75% of women have fibroids. For many women, the fibroid(s) never act up or pose any problem.

And then there are the rest of us. We must be the special chosen-ones.

Everything has been manageable these last few years. My doctor and I have taken a conservative “watch and wait” approach. Then in November things got a little out of control.

There was the biopsy to rule out uterine cancer, the ultrasound to see what was going on inside, and the two sets of blood work. (Make that four blood tests throughout the month of December.)

One blood test indicated I was hypothyroid, a common diagnosis for women in perimenopause. The next blood test said my thyroid was normal but that I was anemic. By the end of the week I’d learned that the biopsy was negative (Yea!) and the ultrasound showed more fibroids.

Now the picture was getting clearer. My hormones had apparently kicked my butt, dragged me down, and shook me up.

Lucky me.

So, why would I share with you something that is rather personal? Because I believe when our bodies put us through the wringer, it is a signal that we need to slow down and regroup. You may not agree with me and I respect that. But for me, I know my body and it was definitely screaming at me.

I also share this because women often suffer in silence during this phase of life. Sure we joke with our girlfriends and cry on our sister’s shoulders. But inside many women are afraid, unsure of what is happening to their bodies. Society, and perhaps core beliefs learned when we were kids, has told us that women are to be svelte, in control, forever youthful with porcelain skin and nary a gray hair in sight. Just look at some of the “Women’s Health” magazines. We take care of others until we drop.

Menopause means we’re getting old. Things start sagging and bagging. The kids leave home. We find ourselves facing a change of roles in our life. Who are we? What do we want to do with our new self?

During these last few weeks, I found myself slowing down, not only because I felt like crap, but also because my body was telling me to do so. I returned to daily meditation and daily reading of personally uplifting passages. My dreams became more vivid and I started to analyze their personal meaning. I had my first Reiki treatment. I released myself from all structure in my schedule.

Instead of blocking out time to get this or that task done, I wrote a one page to-do list. Whatever got done, got done. If I was tired, I took a nap. If I wanted to read, I read. If I wanted to watch TV, I watched it. I wrote in my journal almost every day, sometimes three times a day. I started exercising again, even if for only 15 minutes.

And I spent a fair amount of time thinking about my business. What is important and what isn’t. What I can let go of in order to create that which is most meaningful for me.

All of this has left me feeling empowered. My health is improving, a solution has been found, and a new plan put in place for moving me forward. I feel a burden lifting and a new door opening.

This time has not been easy. I’ve had more anxiety and stress than normal. Sometimes it feels like two steps forward and 10 steps back. I keep reminding myself that I am well, that I will be well, and that all will be well.

Writing this is cathartic. I admit to having prided myself on my health; that I wasn’t experiencing this or that problem. The risk in that attitude is the shock and fear that comes when life deals you a bum card. Granted my situation is not as bad as what some other women go through. However, when you think all is “normal” and then trip on the rug, it does make you stop and re-evaluate. Writing this is also part of my process of acceptance. Acceptance of this situation. Acceptance of the challenge. Acceptance of a new road ahead.

I jokingly refer to these last few weeks as my “power surge.” You know, there seems to be a double meaning in that phrase now that I think about it. As a result of this situation, I have started to release myself from certain commitments. In turn, new opportunities are already presenting themselves to me. I am moving forward into the power that this change in life is bringing me. I slowed down and I listened.

_________________________________________________________________________________

During this time, I found the following resources to be of great value:

A GYN’s Second Opinion

Brigham & Women’s Hospital: Obstetrics & Gynecology

BWH: Center for Uterine Fibroids

Advanced Gynecological Solutions

As always, talk to your doctor. Write down your questions and write down what the doctor tells you. Don’t be afraid to get a second or third opinion. This is your body. You need to be at peace with any decision you make.