There were about 100 creative women at the Michaels Makers Summit and I wanted to get to know everyone. It was a whirlwind and that didn't happen. But there were many I did connect with. They made an impression even if the visit was short.
I thought about how that works. How and why does one connect with someone else you just met? One reason stood out to me - people shared their story. Sometimes I didn't even remember someone's name but I could describe them by the adventure, drama or funny experience they shared. It didn't have to be a big story it just had to be their story, something that happened in their life circle.
Our stories help shape others stories. We remember them. Like these stories I heard this week...
@phyllisadventures - who's works for whole foods and teaches kids to create (and inspired a young boy excitedly venture into cooking) and is taking her first solo trip down (or up) the coast after Michaels Makers Summit
@gentrygygi - Her family watercolor business where they're all creative and she once traveled through my state and spontaneously stopped off at Missouri Star Quilt Company (near my town) and even though it was closed on Sunday just had to get out to walk around
@ucreateblog - hearing her tell of her fave movies/shows and how when each one came up her eyes would light up and she'd say *that* was her very fave, so fun
@melissmia - who loves her life and job of creating, traveling, having experiences all over and feels blessed that all of her loves (or at least heavy likes) came together
@amyrobisondesign telling of her getting a new Shilouette and becoming a design contributor but seeing her amazing gift to be able to strike up a conversation with anyone, ask all kinds of questions and jumping right in with the sharing
@kim_geiser_studios and her ready laugh, wanting to create poolside, her colorful bracelet and her awesome jewelry necklace stamped with "passion" that she seems to live by
@idknowhowshedoesit - being so lovely, talking about her family, her name (Gloribell) being a combination of her mother and grandmother's names and sharing how certain brands send certain products (and @kim_geiser_studios getting them shipped to her house) that you'd never want to blog about
@damasklove who shared her hiring story with HSN & American Crafts, how she works in the middle of the night, and seeing how she's a natural in front of the tv camera
@hissyfit_inc - giving out "makers gonna make" felt patches and @blendingbybetty giving out pins, mine says "dreams", both making their little gifts themselves
@crizza03 - how she encouraged Martha Forbes in class and helped set up her Instagram account (@theplaidlama)
@prettyprovidenceblog - shared a story of someone she knows (she might not want me to say who) accidentally left their gun (conceal carry permit holder) in their bag as they went through airport security and ended up in jail
@theartandsoulshop - being an admitted extrovert that was coming down with something and had to lay back (a hard thing for an extrovert) near the end
and @idknowhowshedoesit, @thedesignconfidential, and my artist/christian friend for listening that first night to my story (the one I didn't intend to share and ended up sharing a few times) about Leila dying and learning what creativity means to me.
So many more - @smiley_carolyn, @KsCraftShack etc etc etc but I must stop! All lovely women.
See. Stories stick. They touch people. We remember them. So, share vulnerable. Share bold. Share funny. Share hard. Just SHARE YOUR STORY.
Someday I'd like to be an artist. Those aren't my words, they are ones from my niece, Desea. She wants to be an artist like me. Funny I didn't even know she knew I was an artist.
When I was young I don't recall ever thinking or saying that I wanted to be an artist. I was crafty and somewhat creative but it was never something that I thought I could be. I thought about being a psychologist and my grandfather wanted me to be a secretary but artist, no. That was definitely not on the radar. So I think it's super that at this young age Desea has already decided she wants to learn certain things. Judging from her picture above she's got a good start. She's a cutie for sure.
Have any of you wanted to be an artist when you were young?
As I mentioned on the home page, changes are happening. I'll be honest, after Leila died I realized I didn't get really excited about anything. You know? That spark inside that just makes it so you can't wait to get to it. I still felt happy and blessed for so much but excitement was gone.
About 5 months after, one of our rental houses became available. Allen asked if I wanted to use it for my studio because I'd outgrown the one pictured below. The moment he asked, something surged right through me. Something I thought was gone, just like Leila was gone. It startled me at first because the feeling had been so absent. But I felt excited! Giddy almost. That deep, happy spark inside me was still there. I was so happy. And relieved. It was still there.
Well, I could go on about creating and what it does for the soul but I will leave that for a later date.
What I want to talk about is my studio.
I had a really nice home studio, even HGTV's Rate My Space thought so and came out to film it. But as wonderful as it was I was outgrowing it. (I feel spoiled just saying that.) If I just painted then it would have been fine. But I don't. I end up doing ALL. SORTS. OF. THINGS.
So enter the StudioHouse.
Well, it's just a regular house in this shot and it's likely to get painted on the outside last but here it is. She's about 100 years old and still looks good. Though she had a Christmas morning fire a few years ago, she's still got a great personality on the inside. We got her after the fire and there's plenty of work to be done but every reason to do it and keep her.
We've been remodeling so you'll see lots of that in coming posts. But for now I just wanted to introduce her.
Independence day has been filled with parades for a very long time for me. The marching bands are what the Boyfriend likes best but my favs are the floats. I'm delighted and it's almost like being a kid again.
I had another chance to do a parade float this year. Part of me really enjoys it and another part doesn't. It's a great creative DIY outlet that's a lot of fun but the uncertainty of how to do it and if it will turn out is a challenge. Some people think it will come together automatically because you're a creative and that it's no big deal, whlie others think it isn't going to work out at all. In the process, you'll swing back and forth like a pendulum.
There's a lot of people web searching this time of year for DIY float building info. Last year's 5 Parade Float Quick Tips (found here) has been viewed and reused. So, I thought I'd share 7 ideas about parade float designing.
Parade Float Designing • 7 Quick Tips
Since the float this year had a fish theme I thought I'd play that up with the tips.
#1 Fish for the Big Picture
You're likely doing this for an organization of some type. Think of their purposes for wanting the float. What do they hope for an outcome? Are they interested in the process and having a lot of people involved? Or is it an outreach in the community? Or is it a tradition of fun? Or is it to show a strong brand? Whatever the reason, you should understand it. This float was about involving people in the process, name recognition in the community, and a Christian message.
People: We had about 40 people work on the float
Recognition: Passing out info cards & candy during the parade
Message: Free to be Fishers of Men - Bible verse used as the message
#2 Fish for an Original Idea
It all comes down to having an idea. Sometimes that can be hard to do. One tip is to look for inspiration to borrow and then make it your own. Here are 2 inspiration images that I found.
I liked the idea of dots and stripes. I thought that would be easy for our group of varying ages to do. I also borrowed the color scheme of the group of Nassos' fish. Here's how our fish turned out. We made them out of paper plates, poster board, & paper mache.
Another idea I borrowed was from Helen Friel's paper work of an underwater scene that displays jewelry. I took her small version and went up in scale by a lot.
You can see that ours doesn't look like Helens but that you can see the similarity of the borrow. I used foam core (instead of plywood) so that we could have many young people involved in the cutting and painting.
#3 Fish for the Love
You're going to be with this idea awhile. Make sure you love it so that you can hang in there with it. Nothing says failure like hating an idea.
#4 Fish for Solutions
Things just aren't going to go 100% your way. Have that in your head at the start so when it comes up you already knew it would. Listen to others ideas during the process.
#5 Fish till the End
Don't give up. Sometimes things don't look like they're going to work out, only to be proved wrong. Stick with it. Creativity is often messy in the middle.
#6 Fish for Harmony
With a big group, you're likely to have a wide range of interest and skill levels. To make it look good and like everyone worked together keep a 1) limited color palette, 2) repetitive shapes, and 3) easy to accomplish tasks.
#7 Fish for the Wow!
Wow them in some way. Surprise them with something a little different. Make it stand out - in a good way. For this float I had the whale shoot water out of its spout. The crowd loved it especially since it was hot. I left an opening in the top of the whale and had one of my kids sit inside with buckets of water and a pool water shooter. You can see him trying it out on a passing friend. During the parade he was hidden from view. The water shot up about 15 feet in the air. It worked perfectly.
Hope these tips help you in your parade float madness. I don't know if I'll be asked to do a float next year but if I do I'll read through my own notes as a reminder but until then we'll say good-bye to float building.
This is a Frame Art that I have printed and put in my studio. I really feel that yearning. It's 5.75" x 5.75"
It's also linked on WhipperBerry on their Friday Flair Link Party.
Maybe being an artist doesn't lend itself to writing a Bucket List. It's kind of depressing and it's limiting. Doesn't leave room to recognize the moment and seize it. But, as I was lusting over some artistic type tools this morning, figuring out how I can manage to get them (oh, and I will get them) I realized that my Bucket List (a wish list of things to do before I die) came in an entirely different form. Mine is a Studio Wish List - a wish list of things to try before I die. So, I have started to create my wish list. I'm dreaming already.
A Bucket List? No. A Studio Wish List? Yes! Yes! Yes! (Can I use anymore Yeses or exclamation points?) This is the way people must feel about their Bucket Lists, the way I feel about my Studio Wish List. I would give up food for some of these things. Is that sick and wrong? Wait, don't answer that.
Since I am just starting it today, what would you suggest goes on a Studio Wish List? I am so giddy I can't think of them but if you mention one I've probably thought about it before :)
Hope Series • Allegory of Healing
This is a piece that was a long time in the making really. When I saw the photos I had taken it reminded me of the hopelessness people can feel. Specifically, this is one of my daughters and it brought back memories of her life. And while painting it I had lots of time to reflect on our relationship and her life.
She was born with a congenital anomaly that required surgeries and left her with some difficulties. They were the hardest to deal with during her childhood. And her care required physical pain. At one point, the strain became too much for her little 7 year old soul and she cried, "I wish I could die!" At that moment, I would have given anything to take her pain away. I yearned to do something. But couldn't. It was impossible.
Searching for something, past her pain and mine, the thing that came to me was comfort and hope. I could give her the power of hope. A perspective past that moment. A view of the source from which strength comes. A balm for her wounded heart.
I've thought of my own times of hopelessness and what it has been that has given me comfort and hope. Time and again, my greatest help and hope has come from the powers of heaven. This painting is about those critical junctures of life where we choose - hope or hopelessness.
My daughter isn't 7 anymore. But, whether 7, 17, or 70, at those defining periods, I hope she will look to the windows of heavens, reach out to what is being offered, and have faith in the healing power of hope.
Some of the symbolism I see -
• When hopeless the foundation beneath you can feel as though it's deteriorating. Crumbling or melting away
• We all have vessels that need to be filled
• Personal revelation flows from heaven to us but we have to be willing and ready to receive it
• There is no certain time frame to healing and hope will be need time and again
• There is a healing balm within our reach
What do you see?
These are paintings in progress and aren't finished. I started them a while ago.
Sometimes I get stuck. It's hard not to judge a painting before it's finished. I shouldn't, but I do. When something's in the making it's usually not pretty, but it's all you see. (Kinda like kids, but that's another story.) So, I judged, and got very discouraged. I put the bottom one aside and started the top one. I'm 'feeling it' better with this one.
It's not the models. They are both beautiful! They also happen to be my sisters.
I think now I've halted because of my paintings skills, or lack thereof. I know some of you are going to go, "oh right, she can't paint, not. I can't draw a stick figure". But from my point of view, I'm still a beginner and don't have everything down, so I hesitate. Paintings are reflective by nature and take time. But, not that reflective. And shouldn't take that much time.
So, I'm posting - just to get them on my mind again and to maybe see anything or have something come to me.
I'm very excited about the progress of this painting. Except. Except, white takes FOREVER to dry. And I have to wait for it to dry to go on to the next layers. I hate waiting. (Bonus if you know which movie that line comes from.) But, wait I must. And because misery loves company, you have to wait with me. *crickets*
Creativity is about thinking. And I've been thinking about creativity, or the lack thereof, for awhile. I decided to take from my notes THINGS WE CAN DO TO DEVELOP CREATIVITY (from an article, The Creativity Crisis by Po Bronson Ashley Merryman) and put ideas into action with Creative Kickstarts. These are things that can be done, if they are done, to help on the road to being more creative, imaginative, and excited about life.
Energy, engagement and enlightenment are products of creativity.
Here's a website, TheyDrawAndCook.com, that I found (and talked about it in this post). So that the adults don't have all the fun, they have a KIDS DRAW AND COOK section. Your kids, and you, can draw a recipe and use their forum to display the work.
This is an ideal activity to kickstart some of these creative engines -
• Create problem/solution exercises
• Emphasize idea generation
• Fact-finding is a stage in the creative process
• Practice creative activities to recruit the brains' creative networks and gradually change neurological patterns
• Apply approach as an everyday process of work or school
• Recognize and nurture creativity
The thing about becoming a creative thinker is that it requires action. Actually doing something. This might be a little uncomfortable at first. Realize you are maybe working new parts of your brain - strengthening your creativity intelligence.