Friday, April 27, 2012

Page A Day

I've been trying to give myself a healthy dose of work-work and creative-work.  So, with that in mind, I thought it would be good to do a 'page-a-day' type journal.  Carrying this small book back and forth with me to the studio, I had to convince myself I can do this wherever I am:  If I'm at home I use only the materials available to me and if I'm at the studio, the same thing applies.

No self-judgements, no tearing myself down if I don't like it.  In fact, no 'i like it' or 'i don't like it' comments to myself.  Just putting something down, trying to come to an open creative space.
I never do this, I always have a purpose or a conclusion that I must get to.  But, these days, my head is in so many places, trying to keep up with so many thoughts and feelings, I'd like to just plain enjoy using my hands, dipping into old paper and cutting up old photos, using materials I might not otherwise use.

I read somewhere that if you do something like this, work for yourself, imagery of your own personal use, you shouldn't necessarily show it to the public because this is where judgement comes in.  Other people comment on what you've done and then that sinks in.

But I'm interested in that part of it, too.  I'm interested in the challenge of keeping others thoughts at bay while I reach for my own goals and realize that we're not necessarily in this together, but alone in our work and our needs, wants, reaches.  I'm happy to share in the idea that we're all working towards something, but it actually feels stronger to think that we're each doing it the way we know how.  You are your own being, you must do/make/believe in the way that works for your own sanity.  Especially when it comes to something you're doing just for fun.  Gotta remember what 'just for fun' means and where it can take you.

(and then I get to tap into the fact that I've got some amazing friends who know me inside out and send me links to things on topic, mind you, on the very same day:  listen, laugh and learn.  it's the practice we take on)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Reading Til It Hurts

I'm back in a big reading mode.  A week or so ago, I visited a neighborhood library not in my neighborhood (the wonders of public libraries:  I can take out a book at one branch and return it to any other branch in the city! Way to make my life easier! And, I get to check out other libraries while I'm at it), and I took out five random books.  While I do carry a little notebook with me that has the dozens and dozens of titles I'm looking to read, most times, I just wander the aisles and pull out a book who's spine looks interesting or who's title has titillated me.  I read the first few pages and if it moves me, I take it.  If it doesn't, it goes back on the shelf and I'm back to wandering. 

The first book I took out I'd never heard of but ended up loving (always a win win with a library book) called "The Earth Hums In B Flat".  It was written by a Welsh librarian.  
I used to live in Wales. 
So, with those two bits of knowledge, I knew this one was coming home with me (but yes, I read the first few pages, to be sure).
The second novel I read actually came from my list of books:  It was AWFUL.  I finished it of course, I had to find out who did the deed, but I groaned the whole way through it.
The third and fourth books I happened upon have both turned out to be really enjoyable, easy reads that I didn't want to put down.
And the fifth is a biography/memoir written by a man about his father, I'm leaving that one for last.
All this to say, I came across this project the other day and it thrilled me to no end!  New York's alternative library, indeed!  A lending library for the masses.  And snugly tucked into an almost obsolete existence in it's own right, the phone booth.  It's a two for one!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Before There Was An Audience

Appearances are an interesting thing.
It's what makes us lie or tell the truth.  Its what makes us reach out or shut down in a given situation.  We spend an awful lot of time doing what we think others might expect or need of us.  It colors most things people do.  It doesn't necessarily have to be a negative.  Appearances are our logo, our storytelling, our product of voiced opinions.  It seeps as deep as our beliefs about protecting the environment to our opinionated take on reading People Magazine.  It can even take on a life of it's own, some call that habit.  Even writing this now, I wonder about the appearance it gives off versus the one I've intended (and is it versus? perhaps i'm giving off just the appearance i intended?)
As we get older, as we get wiser, as we get more comfortable, many of us tend to let go of appearances and yet, an appearance is something you give off every time you leave the house.

When I was younger, I honestly believe no one talked about me when I wasn't around.  If someone would use the phrase, 'oh, we were just talking about you', I thought they were being polite.  It took me until my adult life to realize everyone has something to say about everyone.  And you can't do anything about that.  A difficult concept for me because I grew up thinking, for the most part, everyone liked everyone else.  I wanted everyone to be happy all the time.  And I thought if you were nice, kind, sweet, generous, giving, that would spread and surround and generally seep into everyone around you and so on and so on and so on.  Ah, the peacefulness of naiveté.

So, while you can't exactly control your appearance to others, you can do your best to live your life truthfully.  It's difficult, but when done to it's best intention, chances are you're doing a pretty good job of it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Power Of Imagination

A friend I love like a sister emailed me the other day with a link to this video and in the middle of bawling my eyes out, I paused the video, dialed her number and

We could all use a little influx of goodness in the world (or, as RK said: why don't they show THIS on the news?!).  If you've seen it, watch it again, it's good for you.  And, if you haven't, get your tissue box at the ready!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In the back of my mind

I was recommended this article the other day by one of the most interesting, fun people I've met recently.  The spark being, as she entered my studio and peered at the various shelves upon shelves of stuff, I may have mentioned my obsession with things and she shared obsessions of her own and was instantly reminded of the artist in the aforementioned New Yorker article that walked away from it all.  30 years of collecting stuff and he closed the door and walked away.  She and I debated the possibility of doing this as we scrolled through our memories of what it is we actually have.

Open Studios weekend went down a couple weeks ago and, once again, I thoroughly enjoyed all the various people I met who walked on through 227.  It's a trippy thing, that little studio, you get enough visitors and friends in this little 10x10 space and it can start to feel like living/working in a keebler elf house.  It can tend toward other worldly in my studio, surrounded by the collections, as if you've gone back in time when you notice the girl scout sash or the hundreds of letters standing up in a cigar box, you start to get a little lost.
And I'm just talking about how I feel.

So, it's always fun to meet people who are also deeply affected by the stuff piling up around me.  The comment  I hear most often is that 'it's very organized.'  Which I think is strange and, while I don't like to get into it (it tends to sound like I'm just grumbling), I'm really not organized.  Really, truly.  Or, am I?, but to my own strange tune. 
So, I'm flattered, I'm thrilled, and it keeps me going another day, that people not only find my studio organized, but people find it interesting.
Because I'm interested,
right along with them.


When someone points out some the randomly sprawling collection of playing cards I've acquired,  I can't help but mirror (okay, sometimes 'out-do') their level of excitement for this unusual item , as if I'm finding it for the first time.  If they want to go through old photos books with me (where do i begin? depends on the curious looker: if they're sorta into it, I pull out the baby book from the dump.  if they're really into it, i pull out the leather bound one with the blue pages from the early 1900's) or on their own, I say take a seat and get into it.


I dearly love these things.  Yet, I find I can keep my passion for them and let them go.
And, yes, some of them, i'll keep forever.  I'm the first to admit it.


But, most things I think to myself, 'i'll get to you... it'll come to me'.  They're just things living with me for now.  I'm taking care of them until the next thing calls out.


I'll get to those 50 glass jars (for globes) and the 100 feathers, hand wrapped, from an old french hat maker, and those slats of different tempered wood (ah, yes, i let those go of their own free will finally) because the stuff speaks to me.

A friend recently gave me a stack of gorgeous navy, heavy-weight paper and an image for a project came to me pretty quickly.  I wouldn't have thought so when I took the paper from him(compulsively, this is what I'm admitting here:  i was being offered PAPER, beautiful, heavy lb paper, navy friggin blue, i could not, i would not, pass it up.  paper!  i rest my case) but I'm thrilled with the concept and so excited to get my hands on that paper now.

I guess I'm not walking away from my studio anytime soon....

all photos by my dear friend danica.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

smart as a dog

A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: 'Talking Dog For Sale 'He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.

'You talk?' he asks.

'Yep,' the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says 'So, what's your story?'

The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young..I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA. In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.'

'I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running... But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible  dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.' 'I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired.'

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

'Ten dollars,' the guy says.

'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?'

'Because he's a liar. He's never been out of the yard

(thankfully, my mother knows me too well... and she gets every forwarded email that's out there)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Applaud the Sunset

Recently our friends, C&T, went to Santorini for their honeymoon. They had lots of great stories on their return, but there was one that really struck me. 

Each day, in the early evening, the story goes, people would gather in the streets.  You could hear their laughter, see their beaming smiles.  The first evening it happened, our friends wondered if someone wasn't having a party that happened to spill onto the streets.  So many people, all facing the same direction.  As the hour passed and the sun began to lower itself into the horizon, our friends could hear soft 'ooohs' and 'ahhhs' rising from the crowds.  And just as the sun dipped below the horizon and the sky changed it's hue, a roar of applause rang throughout the Santorini hills, bouncing off the walls and rooftops of the homes. 
Every single evening, these people gather to applaud the sunset.
IMG_7906 With all the things we could keep our eyes on these days, all the junk that's offered up on a daily basis from tv, movies and the internet, it seems many of us may have forgotten the very basic place to put our attention and our thanks.

You could applaud the sunset, the sunrise, the opening of a flower, the emerging of a new leaf.  The universe is already giving you a daily show, the least we can do is show our appreciation.

photos from c&t's honeymoon

Sunday, April 1, 2012


song sparrow

There is evidence that some dinosaurs built primitive nests on the ground and even cared for their hatchlings there. Today many creatures besides birds—from wasps to mice to alligators—shelter their young or their eggs in nests that they construct themselves. But for variety of placement and material, and for sheer complexity of design, nothing can compare with birds’ nests. Especially among smaller birds, nests are often remarkable for their inventive use of local materials to provide support, shelter, and camouflage. The nests are tiny marvels of disposable architecture.

Swainson's Thrush The finest nests are crafted by smaller birds, however, and the majority are never reused, not even by their original builders. It seems all the more remarkable that birds should create these intricate structures for such ephemeral use. It seems ironic, too, that most of us are not legally allowed to possess these nests, even after they have been abandoned. But when we are lucky enough to find them in the wild, or see them revealed in works of photographic art like the ones reproduced here, we cannot avoid holding them and the birds that made them in absolute awe.

House Finch Text: Audubon Magazine Photos: Sharon Beals

(i have a nest obsession, myself)