Grateful Spirit

Ah, Spirit Dolls – they were the inspiration for my shard faces which solidified my return to earthenware in 2008 as my personal healing medium.

When winter days approach, there’s nothing more comforting than to settle down at my workbench and get my hands into some clay. After the clay has dried, I watch the earthenware pieces come out of the kiln, vitrified and transformed at 1900F, and marvel at the miracle of earth and fire. It never gets old.

Part of what keeps this exciting is connecting with the diverse world-wide circle of Spirit Doll makers and their creations. As you probably know, I have an Etsy shop called Earthshards, which is visited by doll makers, assemblage artists, fiber artists, and mixed media artists for the small Shard Faces that I make. Sometimes in their Etsy reviews they send photos of how they use the faces – what a delight!

Here are some inspiring pictures from the last eight month. I’ve credited them using just their buyer names for privacy, but I wanted you to see what I get to see as feedback!

Jan


Bada


Beloved Lake


Brita


Cristel


Cynthia


Elizabeth


Holle

Judie

Kelly


Metis


Rachel


Tess


Torpor


Viki


Wally


Wendy

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Thanks to all of these creative makers for sharing their work.

If you want to make your own spirit doll after seeing these and need a little inspiration, here is my free Spirit Doll instruction booklet.

Now go cultivate your grateful spirit!! Give a little spirit doll to a friend as a thank-you. It will warm your heart – and theirs – this winter!

It’s the little things . . .

This wasn’t the post I intended to write this week. Instead, it’s just a short “thank-you” note – to myself!!

Take a look at this photo. It won’t mean much to anybody but me.

This is the work table in my small studio area off the kitchen. Yesterday evening it looked like this . . . . . .

It had been a loooo-oong day. I finished filming two hours of workshop videos for Painting With Fire, editing and uploading them. I also did some assemblage work in the middle of this mess that was left over from Art Stroll projects.

I wanted to go to bed!! But the Good Angel in my tired old brain said, “clean it up – you won’t be sorry.”  Sigh.

It took about ten sleepy minutes to put stuff away – not a great job, but enough to make me smile when I walked in this morning, coffee in hand, ready to work on a big clay commission. I could actually see the surface of the table!

If there is any message to this, it’s be kind to yourself! Even if you are feeling tired and grumpy, straighten up your mess just as if you were working in somebody else’s studio so you can be ready for the morning.  Put things back where you will find them the next time you look for them. You will thank yourself later.

Oh, and speaking of Painting with Fire, next Wednesday my lesson called Myth and Mist airs. If you are a member of PWF, look for it. I talk about telling stories that are veiled in beeswax and other media using this layered collage encaustic painting as one of the examples. It recounts a myth about crows and dragonflies:

And if you’re not aware of Painting With Fire, it’s never to late to join this amazing year-long encaustic extravaganza! You will even learn how to master encaustic without messing up your studio.

Well. . . . .maybe not that last part . . .

 

 

Pleeeeeze buy my art??? (whimper)

When I was a Girl Scout, we were supposed to go door-to-door selling Girl Scout cookies as part of our merit badge activities.

I was painfully shy, and had to force myself to slink up someone’s front steps and ring the doorbell. When it was answered, I’d hang my head and mumble “You wouldn’t want to buy any Girl Scout cookies, would you?” People felt so sorry for me that I actually sold a few packages.

Fast forward about six decades to the Uptown Art Stroll which took place last weekend. It had been years since I had sold art in person at a large art fair like that, and I had forgotten how weird it can be.

First of all, when I got my art together the night before the Stroll to tag it and such, it looked like a whole lot of exciting stuff.

But by the time I got the table set up the next day at the sale, it looked pretty puny. Yikes!

You have to remember that there are about twenty square blocks of art tents in this event with eleventy-thousand artists packed on every corner, so there is a whole bunch of competition! Gulp. No wonder it looked puny.

And it’s called a “Stroll” because people walk around at the event, look at your stuff, pick it up, ask questions, and then stroll away. Actually, that’s a fib. They often purchase art, and I made a respectable number of sales. But it did bring back memories of Girl Scout cookie days.

When people came close to the booth, I tried to balance my expression somewhere between desperation (“pleeeeze by my art”)…..

. . . .and sophisticated coolness (“if you knew good art, you’d definitely buy one of these assemblages, dude”).

I want to give a high five to my fellow artists who do this kind of event with such ease and grace. And I want to thank the buyers who actually purchased my art – you will never know how much it meant to me! Want some cookies to go with that art??

And finally, thanks, Marta Stafford – you do a much better job selling my art than I do!

 

 

 

Five Easy Questions

Do you “journal”? To me, a “journal” is still a noun – I am just not disciplined enough to write down my thoughts everyday in a meaningful, artful journal-ese way. That doesn’t mean I don’t take notes and write out ideas and make outlines for classes and write/sketch constantly on scraps of paper or in my Lefty Date Book.

See? Look at these notes – clear, organized, legible. . . . not.

Seriously, though, since Michele Belto and I have started working with The Enso Circle group, I am learning the value of keeping track of my time just so I can see were it goes. I devised five questions for the group to fill out at the end every week for that very purpose.  I’ve started answering these questions for myself every Friday, and it’s helping me keep track of my projects and my processes.

Here are the five questions, below. They are specifically designed for our Enso art group, but anyone can use them by changing a couple of words. If you want to use them, feel free.

I suggest you print them out and put them somewhere, then answer them once a week on the same day. Don’t spend more than five minutes on this but do it every week. And save your answers in a file or folder so you can track them after a few weeks.

What took up most of your headspace this week?

What was your proudest art-related accomplishment this week?

What one specific step did you take toward your goals?

What was your biggest obstacle this week in moving toward your

goals?

If someone gave you a present to help motivate you next week,

what would it be?

_________________________________________________________________

So, one of the things that I have learned from answering these for the last couple of weeks is that “Life happens.” My headspace gets filled with unexpected family distractions, or appliance breakdowns, or an email that needs immediate attention, or an offer that is too good to pass up. We just have to balance our time in the best way we can.

The “biggest obstacle” question is related to this. Often the obstacle is something unexpected and un-preventable. I just got my flu shot today, and it may lay me low tomorrow just when I need to be working. Oh, well. It’s important to get the flu shot. Balance it.

It’s super-important to concentrate on the proud moments and those small accomplishments that nobody but you might understand. Today I taped the sides of six 24x24x2” cradle board panels with masking tape  – it was incredibly boring, but I did it! This kind of achievement is like prepping to paint a room – you gotta do it if you want the job done right, but it is spectacularly tedious.

The last question about a “present” is fun. It could be something silly, like having somebody show up at your door who loves to put masking tape on panels, or it could be something serious like a call from a gallery offering you a solo show. But by answering this question, you are allowed to wish (and therefore define) any short-term assistance that might move you forward. And by defining it, you might even figure out a way to get it, or something reasonably close.

If you are  journaler (and I admire your dedication) you can include these in your journal every week. If like me, you are more of a random note collector, you can answer these every Friday on your computer, or jot them down on a sticky note, or whatever you choose. But the point is to give yourself a consistent creative check-up. You’ll make better progress when you can reflect a bit on how far you’ve come that week. And no matter what your answers are, I’ll bet you’ll enjoy the process.