Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the roller-coaster ride begins

So. The year has ended. The production flurry/frenzy is done for the year. It's been a FINE year! And VERY busy.

(one key to surviving this recession as a self-employed artist is low price point, in other words: work a LOT to just pay the bills. And truly, I'm glad to be surviving and paying my mortgage, health insurance, good food and liquor (!) and helpers!).

Now it's time to start fresh.

I am entering my creative retreat here at my home/studio/factory, but none of the usual activity. I don't allow myself to touch anything from past lines and I challenge myself to come up with at least one entirely new line. It needs to bridge something I am drawn to, like being drawn to a glimmer in the night, or a moment of "oh!". And it needs to be not just something like that, something that thrills and pleases me, but also something that will please many people AND that can be produced (and reproduced more or less) at a reasonable (time and materials) cost.

So now I start. I am thinking I will journal this process as I can never remember all the steps and stages I go through each year this time. And I'd like to have a reminder so that I can reassure myself that it's normal, what I'm going through!

Today, I've been trying to learn Photoshop, and have been thwarted at every turn by computer issues. I was very excited by a newish idea, all revved up to dig into it, but alas, I have to wait until Thursday to get my disks back from someone I lent them to. I have been very agitated at the disruption of my momentum but I will try to experiment instead with some new techniques and materials tomorrow--just to see what they might offer me.

It's the familiar blank canvas anxiety. It's wonderful and terrible both. I think mostly wonderful. But terrifying as well, because the pressure (and yes, my survival in this business depends on it) and time crunch (because The Big Show is coming up) is stalking me.

So I'm going to journal it. For myself. But I've always wanted to hear how others approach these challenges, so I'll write them out here in case there are some like me who have searched for descriptions of others experience in this process as well.

Stay tuned! It's as much a mystery to me as it may be to you...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

surprise!

Yes, this appears to be a post.

No good explanation for the lack of posting in the past 2 months. Mute? Busy? Not in the mood? Nothing new to write? Lazy?

Yeah, probably some of all.

But here I am.

I'm on VACATION (of sorts) and I brought lots of work to do while here. Alas, I've been more vacant than not, but let me tell you, it is pretty darn wonderful. (click to enlarge, it's worth it).

I'm on the Oregon coast, one of my very favorite places in the world. For a week. With windows looking out on the beach mere steps (like...20?) away from the glorious sand, waves, stretched out patterns of foam, drawings of black and brown and cream that the waves make moment to moment. It's seriously stormy here: enormous winds, torrential rains, hail, thunder, lightening, sun, and crashing, exploding waves. I couldn't ask for more.

I woke up early this morning, just before dawn, grabbed a blanket and came out to the couch to doze and be here as the light seeped in through the storm. I don't want to miss a moment.

My time is spent staring at the waves out the window for hours, holding a book in my lap. I can't seem to tear my eyes off the waves though. Several long walks each day, and a long run along the tide line. Back in to the fire, and... well, another nap, reading, staring. I HAVE done a little work, and intend to do more. But we'll see. I presented photos of my work to a gallery here and although interested, they do only consignment, and I can't do that. We'll see. A new owner is taking over this winter and it may work out. So you see? It is a work trip!

Besides production, I brought my new copy of Photoshop Elements, along with a "how to" book, intending to finally learn it after multiple people have insisted it would be very useful in my work. So far I've loaded it into the computer, and read the first few pages of how to proceed. TODAY! (She says with determination).

I'll let you know.

But now the tide is rising, and I am going to go out for my run, before I have the excuse not to. I'll tell more stories later!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

weekend!

I have needed a weekend like this for weeks. And weeks.

Quiet.

Run to yoga, yoga, run home.

Shower.

Eat.

1 1/2 hour nap with no alarm.

Work.

Cook a little.

Work.

Quiet.

Quiet.

Quiet.

I can feel myself recharging.

Finally.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

gulibility?

Once, when I was in middle school, some kids told me I was gullible. And I believed them.

No really, that's a true story. And I didn't get the joke until a number of years later. Perhaps when I learned what the word meant.

At any rate, today as a part of my post-show recovery efforts (I'll post stories about the show in the next day or two, I'm still recovering) I was doing stuff that had been set aside in the frenzy. Paying bills, ordering a replacement toilet (on AMAZON, of all things...) and trying to deal with my printer that quit printing a couple weeks ago. It is quite new, so I went onto the Canon website to log into technical support. The Canon support site offered a choice of what I'd be willing to pay for on-line tech.support. What? Well duh. $18 seems better than $36 or $56. Why would I choose to pay more for the same thing?

We joked a little that I'd get a second-grader for $18, a 15yo for $36 and maybe a high school guy for the big bucks...

And the following is a partial transcript of the exchange. Before the guy suddenly "went offline":
_______
Robert Preston says:
3:47 PM
Hello
3:47 PM

If the error is still there, then there's something in the machine still you aren't seeing.

Unplug it completely from all cables

Lift it up, turn it upside down and shake it a bit to see if anything comes loose.

Check the rear access and front access using a flashlight to look for any tiny paper scraps or anything else that could be hard to see.

Try forcing a very thick piece of paper into the rollers to see if it dislodges anything.

Finally try using a dampened lint free cloth to clean the rollers in the printer.

See if that works... if not, most likely you damaged the feed roller while removing the jam and it's either loose or would have to be replaced to fix the problem.

Melinda says:
3:51 PM
Well, I did as you suggested and several pieces of the printer fell out and I have no idea where they fit.
3:51 PM
We are laughing here.
Robert Preston says:
3:53 PM
Wow. They fell out?
3:53 PM
Is it a roller?
3:53 PM
If so, that would explain why the paper kept jamming...
Melinda says:
3:56 PM
Well, no. It's 3 pieces, at least one or two of them go with the back feed tray, but I can't tell exactly how it goes back, although given time I could probably make some headway...

_____
And then I got a message that Robert Preston was offline, and someone else would be with me promptly.
Yeah, right.
I couldn't figure out how to get my money back.

I decided it was cheaper to simply order a new printer.

And I am buying the same one again, simply because I have a drawer full of ink cartridges for that printer and they cost a gazzillion times more than the printer itself.

I'm wondering about that gullibility thing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

waiting for paint to dry..

..and then I can go to bed.

I am exhausted.

That's normal, before a show.

Especially when we kept shipping out the work we made for the show, because galleries were "desperate".

That's a good thing.

My amazing crew makes me feel and believe in the world as a place of love, kindness, community.. and many more warm and full things that I am too tired to articulate just now.

The truck is packed.

Set-up at 8 am.

I will tell stories of the past few amazing days after the show.

But for now: I'm calling the paint dry and going to bed.

After all, I AM the boss...

And I should be able to tell the paint when it should be dry, no?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

countdown

4 days until show opens.

Today and half of tomorrow to finish production.

I'm working like a machine, with the human frailty of exhaustion.

All helpers are working really hard and well.

Beautiful work is being made.

Come to the Bellevue Arts Festival this weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

6 days

I'm already tired.

6 days until we pack the truck, and so much to still get done.

It WILL happen.

We will just get done what we can get done.

And that will be good.

Monday, July 12, 2010

10 days

the countdown is ON!

The Bellevue show has to be set up in 11 days.

Available inventory is, shall we say, a bit sparse?

But we have 10 days.

Extra help is coming in, I am resigned to doing nothing else between now and then.

Well, a bit of exercise must be done for the sake of stress management.

And then I have a hair appt. for the first time in 7 months.

And I DO have to sleep.

But the only way to unwind the tightening knot in my gut is to "go dog go" and work.

It will be done, and it will be done well, and the work will be gorgeous.

We always pull it off.

It's just... thinking about it is a bit overwhelming.

So I'll quit thinking, and simply...

Go dog go!

Friday, July 9, 2010

today, in studio hijinx

What follows is a perfect plethora of profoundly poignant and private pictures of my peculiar and professional producers of pointillist products (presented and performed in positively no particular order, but perhaps they should have been) (And T. is personally to blame for the preponderance of P's in the previous proclamations):
Rachel and T, squaring off over who gets to tape the next box:

They packed for most of the 92 degree day, so some odd fashion sense should be excused, no?

I really think I deserve better drugs in order to actually live in such disarray. At least there is gin!

I've been bragging about my gaspacho for so long it was a little unnerving to finally present it, but everyone agreed it's the bomb:



It's hot for us these days here in Seattle. And we are all middle aged women. Do the math. I have 6 fans in my living room/factory. And my personal fan (that gets turned on and off at odd moments throughout days even when it is cold) was adorned (by Rachel, the minx) such that it sticks it's tongue out at me on a regular basis. Do you think that means something?

We have to get a large piece ready for the auction at the Tacoma Glass Museum. After a full day of packing Rachel told T. to get it away from her as she couldn't be trusted not to throw it inadvertently to the floor. So T. complied:

After a full (hot) day of packing and shipping and painting and dotting and taping and polishing and being served GASPACHO and DRINKS by the BOSS we had a little toast of cukukuktinis. Hey, the job might not pay a lot, but I don't think anyone can complain about the perks!

On one of the liquor boxes we packed glass in for shipping today the following was printed. I'm thinking I should display it in my booth, eh?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

tick-tock

Probably an unconscious avoidance thing, but I had neglected to flip the wall calendar from June to July. Yesterday my assistant did the deed while I wasn't looking and informed me that there are only 2 weeks left before The Bellevue Show. My only public retail show of the year. Usually a big one, and very important for cash flow.

Well.

We are also getting re-orders almost daily. And they all come with plea's for immediate attention--"we are almost out of your work, we really need some more right away!"

It's awesome, and daunting. And wonderful, validating, and reassuring that I still have a job. And that I have work for my mischievous and magnificent helpers.

I tell myself that we've always pulled it off before, we'll do it again.

And there is no time to really figure out how, just time to do, and do, and do...

Production is going better than ever, no small credit to T., who is doing a magnificent job of managing all the production.

I'm cranking it a up few notches, at the expense of my time to exercise. But I refuse to let it all go, I need it. Just for now, it won't be every day. I figure if I get myself up and working a bit earlier I can fit it in. At least a bit.

And forget the idea of a social life for now. Rachel (our newest mischievous bad influence around here, who also does damn fine work) led me astray after work last Friday with martini(s) and a silly walk about the neighborhood. And I credit her with the resultant worthless next day. In other words, not only did I miss Friday night work but much of Saturday was, shall we say, inefficient? Why does a good martini (and fun giggles) beg for a second?.

So that was IT for the socializing for the next couple weeks.

It's me and the grindstone from here on out.
And my nose will be very well exfoliated.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finally!

I got the photos of my newest work uploaded onto my Flickr page.

Sheesh.

It didn't take THAT long to remember how to do it, and yet... I just kept putting it off.

So I wrote it on my to-do list for this weekend.

And I actually did it.

Sometimes I amaze myself.

Both because I did something on my list, AND because I procrastinated for so long.

Sigh.

Is it just me, or does procrastination work like gravity? Is ANYONE immune?

(click the link on the right sidebar to get to the page if you'd like to see).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

out with the old...

...and in with the new.

I've been purging my closets, digging deep, being ruthless, and packing up clothes I haven't worn for a while. I've lost a lot of weight, and my artist lifestyle just doesn't have a need for so many cool clothes. I work at home! I don't go out much, AND I just turned 57. That's getting damn close to 60 (yikes) and many of my clothes just seemed to..., well young and flamboyant for me these days. I'm feeling more subtle and quiet now for some reason, and decided to dive into the painful task of purging the old.

And it is painful. I'm a total clothes addict, and very attached to my clothes.

But I did it.

A woman who owns a high-end consignment store in downtown Seattle came by my house just now with her fiancee. I served them some wine, the fiancee brought me some fabulous Fran's sea salt caramels. So we indulged while we went through the boxes. I felt a pang with each piece, but

I was brave!

She took every piece that didn't have a tear or spot that couldn't be cleaned.

Now I will tackle my other stuff. I have two full sets of fine china. One from each grandmother. And a lot more things filling the cupboards in my kitchen. Some pieces of furniture I never use that just fill up space.

Stuff.

Most of it from grandparents who've passed from this world.

I keep it because of them.

But you know? I can remember them without needing their stuff. And my memories ore more beautiful than their treasures.

So the purge will continue.

I need space to re-invent the next phase of my life.

Once the stuff is gone, I look forward to the more internal transformations.

I don't know what they will be, but I feel the transformation stalking me.

It's exciting!

Friday, June 11, 2010

struttin' at 57

Well I went to sandblast this morning, but alas, the sandblaster I rent is still not working. Barely limping along. I think it's been nearly 2 weeks now. In spite of that we are getting orders shipped, but if it isn't fixed soon I won't likely feel quite so calm about it all.

Then I went to the liquor store. I needed to get a carload of liquor boxes (we use them as inner boxes in our shipments) and I went to the closest one. It happens to be probably the seediest one in the city. Before you even enter the store to buy your mood altering beverage, you can purchase, quite openly, just about any mind-altering substance you might want. Not long ago a woman across the busy street called over to the parking lot: "whatcha got?" A guy yelled back across the street: "oxy, perc, and black!" All very loud.

Huh.

One stop shopping.

Anyway, I was there this afternoon, walking through the parking lot toward the store when I heard someone call out behind me:

"Excuse me! Excuse me! Ma'am?" I turned around. Two middle-aged men sitting in a car. The one in the drivers seat calls out to me: "Ma'am, I don't mean you no disrespect, but I gotta say you WEARIN' them jeans!"

I grinned, gave him a thumbs up, and said "Thank you!"

And I strutted the rest of the day.

For some reason I didn't have as much trouble getting out the door for my run this evening.

Ah, vanity!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Birthday!

So, I came home from sandblasting and walked into the house where "you say it's your BIRTHDAY" was blasting, and T., Connie, and Rachel were all dancing and singing along to me. We danced the whole song (it's a long song, I'm pretending I burned all the calories I ate...) and had a magnificent cake (that I ate the most of...) and plum wine (well, I had a lot of that too) and kale salad and polenta (ditto and ditto) and presents and then I got to work the rest of the day surrounded by flowers. Here's the video that Rachel made, for proof. It was awesome!

And here are some stills:
Connie, T. and me

Birthday table:

And Rachel (doing all the filming during the dancing, but she was shakin' it too) and me:


What an awesome crew I get to hang out with every day, eh?
(but I must say, I'm a little nervous that T. might have "the real story" posted on her blog. There is a reason for that. The last time I posted photos of them THIS is what happened.

And yes, I know. I've been gone from here. I dunno why, I just didn't get around to writing. So much to do? Well, that's my excuse anyway. But I'll be better. I promise.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

picture my weekend...

No really, you can picture it! (click if you want to see larger).
My not-son and I went skiing/boarding at Mt. Hood. I am SOOOO glad I've been skiing and doing yoga the past 10 months. My legs actually out-lasted his!

Although I don't do any crazy stuff like jumping off ledges or skiing through trees...

But I do help him get ready for the prom when he can't quite figure out where cufflinks go:

and this is how a country boy gets to the prom (not):

the next morning he cut tons of rhubarb for me:

and then I sat in the sun and cut it up. I love sitting in the sun doing things like that. I made rhubarb sauce. Tons. Anyone want some? Really. I have tons.

and I collected eggs from Brenda. All the Brenda's. All the chickens are named Brenda. For some reason. One finished...

...and time for the next:

and I helped take care of the little duckings, being raised to eat the bugs in the garden. They get a nice swim in the sink every day too...

and there is a whole new crop of Brenda's coming along too!

Cooper is definitely a "go-see-do" dog:

and then I bounced on a trampoline. If I had a trampoline, I'd bounce all the time. It feels so good!

and then he and Cooper showed me how it should be done, with flips and all. I'll just stick with the bouncing, thank you very much!

And then, with more reluctance than I had anticipated, and some tears, I had to leave that lovely nest (well, I'd taken all the eggs anyway):

I had to come home.
I anticipated feeling frantic from not spending the weekend working, but I actually felt delightfully refreshed. Maybe a sign that I should start doing a few things besides working? Hmmmm....

Friday, May 7, 2010

and the week has FLOWN by!

I can't believe it is Friday already. Wasn't it just Friday yesterday?

I am unplugging a bit from work, believe it or not.

Last night I volunteered for the annual fundraiser for Arts Corps, and I am delighted to report they did very well. It is an incredible non-profit that supports arts education programs for under-served kids. Amazing and inspiring.

And today I am unplugging further: I am driving to Oregon to spend the weekend with my "not-son." I get the opportunity to get him all decked out in his tux for the prom, drive him and his date to dinner, then pick them up & drive them to the prom, then pick them up again after and drive the date home, and then drive the two of us home. Yes, it will be a bit tiring, but how fun!

I am packing toothpicks to prop my eyes open.

The tiring part will be primarily caused by the fact that he & I are planning to ski all day tomorrow before the prom. I haven't skied in at least 3 years, maybe 4? And it is one of those things I passionately love, love, love to do. I am so glad for all the yoga and running I've done in the past months, I have some confidence my body will be able to handle it.

But I still suspect I'll be asleep on the couch waiting for the call at the end of the prom to go pick them up.

And yes, I AM bringing some work with me. You didn't think I would actually NOT WORK for 3 days, did you?

Now: gotta pack, go for my run, and head on out.

Off I go!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

my hard-working crew

I took photos yesterday of my crew, hard at work.
(click to see photos larger)

Here are Rachel (new addition to the team) and T. hard at work at the table:


And Rachel down in the studio dremeling off stubborn bits of enamel left after sandblasting:

She brought me lily of the valley from her yard:

and Leslie, my wonderful, brand new, super organized and responsible bookkeeper, getting the chaos of piles of paper properly corralled and digitized in the office:

And then.
I was surfing some blogs last night before bed and came across The Truth about my team on Premium T.'s blog.
Click HERE to see the Truth about my crew.
When the cat's away...
Oh yeah, some heads will be rolling.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Woke up this morning to a golden light creeping through the dark clouds.

Birdsong twinkling in trees all around me.

The air gentle and kind.

Colors soft and scents gentle.

I am grateful for this day.

Yoga this morning, slow with many deep breaths.

And I will roll around luxuriously in the rest of a gentle slow Sunday.

Work, yes, but slowly! Run, yes, but gently! Nap, yes--slowly, deliciously, while weighted down by a 15 pound warm purring kitten on my belly.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, life is just fine.

I'm grateful.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

.........

Exactly.

There is no title, no content, no pithy anything.

Is that ok?

Has to be.

'Cuz see, that's how it is.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

music

I am quite certain that music is the highest art.

Really.

Maybe it's just me, but music has the power from the first moment it bursts into my brain to pick me up and throw me around.

Sometimes it grabs me by my sex.

Sometimes my heart wants to burst.

Sometimes it takes my muscles for it's own.

And sometimes it crawls it's little tentacles into the deep reaches of my brain and massages places I hadn't known existed.

Often I feel it grow so big in me that I would happily burst my skin open if it wanted to get even bigger.


With extended immersion (having played a particular and fairly obscure african music for many years) it changed, utterly, the way my brain works.

It continues to be an absolute mystery how a string of sounds can have such powerful and various effects.

I don't know if others experience music like this, or if perhaps music is simply a pleasant sound for many.

I wonder.

Probably it is something different for every set of ears.

I'm grateful for it's power on me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

musings on passion

I have been pondering a post in response to a comment made to me by one of my yoga teachers a week or so ago. As I was leaving the studio she asked me what I was planning to do for the weekend. I said "work, but it's just fine. I work all the time and I don't mind". She asked what I do, and I told her I am a self-employed artist. She sighed and said I was so lucky to be able to live my passion.

Yes.

And that is so, so very different than what most people think about it. I believe WHAT I do is important for me in that it is what feels most resonant with my spirit at this time. It has brought me enormous challenges and suffering. It has brought me so much joy.

And everything in-between.

But is that living my passion?

I don't know.

I have now, and in the past, many things I love to do. Many things I feel passionate about.

I take great risks with my life to follow a commitment to live according to the resonance of my spirit, my soul, my being.

That comes at a great price. It's not luck.

And it has nothing (nothing!) to do with simply "doing what feels good!"

In my experience, living according to resonance with my "higher self" (or whatever one might call it) means working much harder for less "worldly" reward than if I were working in a more mainstream realm.

I pay a high price. I have chosen it my very own self. I have no retirement, no paid sick leave or vacations. No security whatsoever. I have to practice staying "in the flow" in order to make things that people want to buy. I don't convince them, I don't "market", I just make things and put them into the world. If people want them, they buy them. My "security" (such that it is) hangs on a thread every moment.

And I have no one to blame if I don't like my job. I cannot claim to be the victim of a bad boss, the victim of not being paid enough, the victim of not being valued.

Something about that feels very clean. There are no smoke or mirrors. No marketing illusions. No manipulation of other people's desires whatsoever.

Clean.

And precarious.

I have NO idea if I have set myself up to be an old, broke and homeless woman.

I wish that weren't a fear.

But I keep choosing and learning to follow the little glimmers of resonance. I keep working on doing it better, with deeper integrity and more skill.

Passion? Yes, I guess it is. But it's also so much more than a word and the simple meaning usually associated with it.

I love it. But I don't necessarily love the "stuff" of it: hours sandblasting, days and days of repetitive work, stress of cash flow (flowing the Wrong Way), having my home be a factory, exhaustion, never completing the list of tasks...

So it's not about "getting to be an artist" in the sense of the daily tasks.

I think it's a mindset. An attitude. A commitment. And a choice to love the moments. To feel grateful.

I think perhaps I've chosen this life because I don't want to be asleep through my life--and this life I've chosen definitely compels me to be awake and deeply alive, or I won't survive in it.

These are all just musings.... I think I need to go for my run and clear all the words out of my head!

And there is still this (see? I told you there were a lot of words!):

This morning my assistant T. posted something on her blog in response to a comment someone made about her job. My comments are related to what I just wrote about above, so I decided to combine them into one post.

If you would, go read her post HERE.

And then my response to her post:

It is strange isn't it? I'll have to write a blog post about it from my perspective as well sometime. But I think it has something to do with the pervasive and habitual belief that it is only if one suffers can it be really called "work."

So often talking about one's job or work becomes a contest to convince the other about how much one suffers. That certainly bleeds over into the perceived reality, and soon is practiced enough so that suffering becomes the very definition of work. If you have the audacity to express enjoyment of your work, you will likely not be taken seriously because "if you are not suffering you are not really working." If you described it all couched in misery you would get more credibility I think.

But then I'd have to fire you.

Not because of you, but because it would infect me. And I have to keep MY mind as clearly focused on the positive and on gratitude as I am able. Otherwise, this ship would sink. In a heartbreak. (I meant to write "in a heartbeat, but heartbreak is probably more apt).

EVERYTHING we do here could be seen as tedious, uncomfortable, physically exhausting, frustrating, etc.

In some ways we can feel lucky that it comes with a title of making "art" so that we have a larger door through which we can walk into the realm of appreciation of all the little parts of it that bring us pleasure, even joy.

We believe that all the little things really count toward the whole, the outcome.

We have daily evidence of that.

Even (or especially?) for me, the "artist", the boss, there is SOOOO much WORK. I have often tried hard to get people to understand that, as they discount my own struggles and exhaustion by saying "well, you are getting to be an artist, so it doesn't count". I could talk about how hard I work, how many hours I spend doing things that are physically harsh, emotionally taxing, and require incredible discipline to keep doing them over and over and over and over...

But if I spend my time thinking that way, I'll start to believe it, and it will steal my joy.

I actually believe that everyone can decide where to focus their attention. To appreciate, to practice gratitude (and yes, I know it's a cliche, but that doesn't make it less powerful).

I think it IS easier in an environment of my own creation, because I can't pretend I am the victim here. No one is making me do all this work. I have no boss, no corporation to blame.

I made the choice, I take all the risks myself, it's all my responsibility, I have no safety net, and I have no one to blame. I'd better make the best of it all, and enjoy every bit I can!

I think it can be easier when one approaches it with the kind of appreciation for the little joys and glimmers, as you do, T. And I KNOW that attitude is worth protecting. Even if it means others will think your work doesn't really count.

Because it's every moment of every day that matter. We can live them with a focus on the discomfort, or on the joy. And what we choose to focus on becomes the reality we experience in each moment.

Ok. I guess I just wrote my blog post.
Ha!
Longest comment you've ever gotten I bet!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

packing day bliss

Packing and shipping days are the very most fun and exciting days for my big kitten.
Sometimes we can't find him.

Ahhh... there he is! (he stayed in there until we needed the rest of the packing peanuts. I just opened the bag from time to time to make sure he had enough air).

He has some rather kinky predilections:

Whatever floats your boat, is what I say...

Packing day is bliss for a certain big kitten.

(as always, click on a photo to make it bigger... and you will be able to better see why my floor is always covered in packing peanuts...)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

today

kitten nips at my nose to wake me (he did let me sleep late though)

coffee

internet

yoga

paint

nap

cut and tape

run

stop for groceries on way home from run

prep food for week

cut and tape

and soon...

bed.

and then another day tomorrow.

it's all good!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

weekend!

and why, might you ask, is the weekend a treat for me?

(since I work every day anyway).

Because! I plan my weekend days around a delicious mid-day nap!

And because on weekends I don't have any of my (wonderful & important) helpers around, which allows me the luxury of more time to enjoy doing what I first loved about this work: feeling the delight of knowing, as I wake in the morning, that there is nothing I have to do except spend time quietly making things.

I don't have to play at being manager, traffic director, organizer, responsible business owner (I'm trying to learn that one). I don't have to have my brain constantly tuned into how to make sure everyone has productive work to do in their hours here, making sure everyone is ok (which although is not really my responsibility, it IS my nature to care about such things, and it is my home). I don't have to answer the phone if I don't want to, I don't have to try to figure out when I am going to manage to get my run in, make it to yoga, get the sandblasting done in time for their arrival.

And it's quiet.

Not that I don't enjoy the lively chatter, the gut-busting laughter, the thoughtful discussions.

I love those.

In fact although I energetically resisted the notion of having helpers here in my home/factory for a long time (predicting that I would miss my quiet solitude) I really love the energy and company of my lovely helpers.

They contribute an enormous positive quality to my life (not to mention the essential help).

But my quiet solitude is still the place where my truest self resides and refreshes.

Quiet solitude always feels like home.

And I breathe out on weekends.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

finally, the new photos!

In no particular order, and without further adieu:
(as always, click on photo to view larger image).


One example of the new "Sunset Line." I love how the shadows read through the front to the back.


Another example of the sunset line.



These are not glued on, or painted on, or decals. They are actually transfered onto the glass. Intentionally rustic!



How could I not do crows and nests?


I'm in love with this series. Photo transfer technique again. I think was worth the struggle.



Some examples of the floral in the new "Rustic" Line. Photo transfer. One example of what I was struggling with so hard early this year.


Mysterious, foggy tree from the Delicate Line.


Some of the Damask in the Delicate Line

It's great to finally have photos of my newest work to show. I'm proud of it, and proud of myself for pushing through the very thick wall to get to some new work for the year. And very, very grateful that it was well received at the shows.

PS. the photos are all taken as I walked around my neighborhood, the photos were done by Karl Seifert in Philadelphia, who did my photos last year too!

Yippee!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

practice

It has floated up to my attention (in yet a new way) that there is something to learn from and about my struggles around transitions.

Primarily transitions from one energetic state to another.

I've noticed that I constantly struggling against a desire to "go unconscious", to go deep into habit, pattern... just somehow "away". And transitioning from that inward, quiet, still state to a more active state is a big struggle for me.

Big.

Even though I really enjoy (for the most part) the other state once I'm there.

There is nothing in my life (currently) that I need to escape from (well, bill collectors as I am working to get the coffers built back up after the expensive east coast shows not withstanding...). It's habitual. From somewhere in my past.

I like my life now. Love it, actually.

But I've become aware that that desire to "go unconscious" is a strong, seductive and habitual mode of being.

It has the power of gravity.

I've been pondering, extending my intent to understand it more deeply (since fighting it is only somewhat effective and has begun to feel very harsh).

An image came to me of a large barbed lure, kind of like a fishing lure on a line. My struggle to move gracefully into transitions feels metaphorically like I am trying to pull it out against the barbs and it gets stuck. With my formidable and well-honed will-power (often a necessary and useful strength) I pull harder and harder until it comes out, ripping flesh and tissue. I force myself to ignore the discomfort, to push through out of shear force of will.

I think there may be another way.

One that doesn't rely solely on force.

Maybe just save that formidable willpower for real crises?

During the meditation in yoga today it occurred to me that I might be able to tug on it gently from the other direction, and perhaps it could slide out more easily without the barbs digging in and ripping me as I pull so very hard.

Presence in the moment is one of the keys I think. Really noticing that today there is nothing to fear in a more conscious experience of all the various states. Assess in current time the actual experience compared with the anticipated...

I can handle it. I'm a grown up woman.

Unconsciousness might not be the only safe, centered, or pleasant state available to me.

I've decided that is my current practice.

(but don't think for a moment I'm giving up my weekend mid-day naps!)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

was it really over a week ago?



So last week (or sometime in what feels like the distant past) I got my shipment back from the east coast. I paid one of T.'s sons to help schlep the work into the house, while putting the show gear into the shed.

Well, as you can see we had a tower of boxes filling the living room, and by the end the tower nearly reached the ceiling.

An old friend I haven't seen for at least 8 years called and wanted to come visit that evening.

I suggested a restaurant instead.

He suggested meeting me here at the house, as the restaurant is in the neighborhood and we could walk together.

It seemed very odd for me to tell him I didn't want him to come to the house, as he had spent much time here in the past.

So I warned him.

Even so, when he walked in he kind of gulped and said "I really like seeing people's work spaces."

Oh dear. Reputation ruined forever.

During the process of unpacking my kitty was in absolute bliss. There is NOTHING he loves more than plastic bags full of packing peanuts. Actually anything resembling a plastic bag. Apparently kitties can have their kinks as well.He likes boxes too, but they fall short of absolute over-the-top love.

He climbs inside them and just sits.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

curve balls

Have you ever noticed that balls don't always land where you throw them?
I'm just sayin'.



And on another note, work is progressing. SO many orders to fill I am anxious to get my shipment back from Baltimore so that we can fill some orders with the surplus inventory shipped there. It will feel like we're rolling again! (and most important, that the money is rolling in THIS direction again... bills to pay!)

Actively looking for another helper, starting with word of mouth, but if that doesn't result in the right person very soon I will leap into the Craig's List storm. Every time I've posted a gig on Craig's List I've had at least 50-65 responses. It is rather overwhelming for me, although I've been quite fortunate each time.

And then there is that sad feeling that there are SO many people looking so hard for minimum-pay work, at least as a starting/training wage.

I feel full of gratefulness to have job security for the next year.

Very, very grateful.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

snippets and bits

I'm HOME.

Yes, I am still relishing that fact.

I have stories I've been wanting to tell, they are fading fast.

So I will post a few random photos from the end of the trip(s) and see if I can remember what I wanted to tell about them.

I'd have more photos and more stories if, on the last day of the last show my camera had not acted all princess-y and told me it's poor little barely used battery was "exhausted".

I was more than a little derisive about it's complaint and refusal to keep on trucking, to metaphorically hold the back of it's hand against it's forehead and faint away--when I'D BEEN ACTUALLY WORKING BEYOND ANY REALISTIC LIMIT OF EXHAUSTION and IT had been riding along in my bag snapping a quick shot a couple times here or there.

Taking things a little personally? Projecting a bit onto an inanimate object? Hell no!

But now, in no particular order:

This was my booth neighbor at the Baltimore show. His name is Dale Rogers, he is a sculptor, and one of the very nicest, most adorable, most fun guys a girl could have as her booth neighbor. During shows our booth-neighbors become like family. A quick intimacy of shared days, hopes, struggles, hard work. When we see each other again someplace "down the road" we will hug and greet each other like long lost friends. That's just how it is in this life.



What is the deal with the housecleaning staff always pointing the toilet paper in my hotel rooms every day? When rooming with others, it always seems a bit like winning a prize when I get to be the one to "use the point". I must admit the points sort of delight me, but still... what's the deal? (or the point, more to the point...).


I called these two the goofy girls. My cousin from Idaho and her friend Beverly (who lives in Baltimore). They both came to help tear down on the last day. We went to my hotel lounge for drinks and a bite after. They are a pair of total goofs when they are together, and I think proximity increases it exponentially. What a pair, they never stopped laughing! It all seems like a memory of a dream or a movie, I was seeing and hearing them from the blur of exhaustion.


Cousins. Exhausted me and Miss Rebecca.


Exhausted me. showing off that I can do a sort of tree pose AFTER a martini, holding another in my hand.
HA! Take THAT, oh poor "exhausted" phone battery. Hrrumpf.

And last:

The next morning I took a train from Baltimore to Philly to catch my flight home (HOME!) and this is a shot from the taxi ride from train station to airport. This guy was a hoot. He never, not once, quit talking. About the details (details, I tell you!) of his last vacation with his wife.

"..and we stayed in the condo, it had wood floors and a balcony, and you had to walk down 3 steps, they were wooden steps you know? and then we could take our umbrellas, they had a place we could leave them, oh and a shower to rinse off, right at those steps, the 3 wooden ones, and we always eat at buffets, there is nothing better, we tried Applebees one time but they told me I couldn't have any bread or rolls because they didn't have any but then my wife got some garlic bread with her dinner and you know for that money I could have had anything I wanted at a buffet, I mean they've got ham and chicken (fixed you know, either roasted or fried, and lots of anything you could ever want and even prime rib or fish if you eat it and you can always have your rolls with your dinner and you can have everything you want and I don't see why anyone would want to eat anywhere else, so when we would leave our condo and go down those 3 wooden steps we only had to walk to the right about 5 minutes to get to one buffet and then if we wanted a different one, we just walked about 10 minutes, well actually it was more like 7 minutes further and they had even better choices..."

When I got to the Philly airport I had a lot of time to wait so I walked up and down all the different terminals checking it all out, scoping out where I wanted to eat before my flight. I ended up getting my nails done and painted a deep red (Ha! the polish has lasted all of 3 days, but it was fun) and eating sushi. Love that. Then got crammed into a full plane, plugged in my tunes, and managed to doze a bit until arriving HOME!

Since then it's been a full day of naps (each and every activity required a nap to recover..), a total love-fest with my kitty, and going through re-entry transition. I now have to figure out how in the world we are going to fill all the gallery orders I wrote while at the shows. This week I will have to brave my trepidation and post an ad on Craig's List for an additional assistant.

NOT a bad problem to have!

So here I am again, back to the daily life of making a living as an artist sort of person.

And did I mention I'm glad to be home?