Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer!

Summer is here a day early. It usually waits until July 5th to show up.

Bonus!

(which is not to say we haven't broken all previous records for rainfall this year).

And I'm not going to write more than that just now, it's just that, well you know, I haven't checked in here for a while. And I wanted to say howdy, I'm alive, I have lots of stuff I want to write, I've been busy and I'm happy.

It's all good.

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

where's normal?

It's all a fog.

First, horrible 12-hour stint of what I thought was excruciating heartburn. Pacing, rocking all night and day...

Then my brother called and said "huh, sounds like when I had my gallbladder attack."

To doctor, to ultrasound, to confirmation, to making appt. with surgeon.

Then to Arizona to host a big party to celebrate mom's 80th birthday, everyone's invited! PARTAY!

Warning from doctor: "don't eat anything. If you get an attack while you are gone go to ER asap".

PARTAY!

Home, see surgeon, surgery the next morning. In and out he said. Easy-peasy.

Surgery. Amazing drugs, floating, floating, floating. OUCH! more floating, courtesy of the blue button gripped in my left hand...

"gotta keep you overnight"

huh.

blue button, blue button, blue button... the button of floatation. The blue button of blur.

"enzymes weird, duct blocked, gotta keep you overnight again, maybe another surgery in the morning, no food or drink again"

huh.

blue button float.

Ok eat. tests inconclusive. go home, come in a week for more tests.

what was that, 3 days on the blue button?

Surgeon comes by to talk before I leave, checks my blue button-bag. "huh, you've used a really minuscule amount"

I sigh and tell him I was sure I was about to be busted for blue-button-abuse.

Honestly, pain aside, the blue-button is the only way to survive the utter boredom of hospital.

Home again, riding waves of work, nap, walk, nap, work, nap, nap, sleep... pain, relief.

gradually getting better.

But I'm feeling rather at a loss. Between having been in Arizona and then being "gone" in other ways...

I'm trying to find my way back to my own rhythm. My personal normal.

My rhythm is out of whack. I can see the tracks, but can't quite hop on.


Through the weird fog of in-between, I am aware that T. is keeping my business rolling along those tracks.

Thank goodness for such a fab. assistant!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

They're HERE!!!!

I finally got the photos of the new work back from the photographer, my assistant T. and I got chills as we saw them for the first time this morning, and we both commented that "but the work is even SO much better now than when these photos were taken!" That's inevitable, as each piece is done individually and as these are the first pieces ever made in this line we (and they) continue to grow and develop in complexity and subtlty. Please do click on them to see them larger!

So without further ado:

This is one of the new "forest" vases


Hare here is a grouping of them:


and here is a rose vase (I tend to call them "grandma roses" as my grandma always loved roses and I have a painting she did of some in my kitchen)



and a grouping:



and this is what I call "canopy tree", because I remember taking the original photo looking up into the tree from the shade below:


Hhere is a collection of "grass" and "sumac":


and here are some "treeberry" and "anenomy":




and last, but certainly not least are the new "whisper" martini, wine, and tumblers:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

when I started this journey,

I had an exciting idea.

An adventure!

An interesting life!

A life that I crafted to fit my very own self, not a slot that I had to try to squeeze my unique shape into...

So I bought a little rowboat.

I didn't ask around much, I didn't learn about the weather, I didn't research different kinds of boats, I didn't even know how to row.

I just knew I wanted to paddle in the water.

Oh, I got into the water ok. I loved it. Every day, waking up with the whole day stretching in front of me, offering nothing but time for me to work on what I had set in front of me to do.

But the boat had leaks I hadn't known about, and rowing was much more work than I had thought.

I still tried, tried, tried.

Bailing, rowing, bailing, rowing, bailing, rowing...

While I was busy bailing and rowing several big storms were gathering themselves.

I survived the first three or four. Swamped, but I managed to get the boat upright and climb back in.

The last one sank my boat. I managed, after days and weeks of swimming, to get to shore.

It was weeks later that I was able to sit up, look around, and decide what to do.

I decided to get another boat.

Pretty nervous about it all, I set off. This time I had a little sailboat. I learned gradually to navigate some winds and waves. How to trim the sails in, how to batten hatches, how to steer into the wind and wait out the storms.

But still, the weather was too much for my little boat, and she suffererd some big dammage. I felt beaten down and discouraged, but I had already commited myself to a life on the sea. Just had to figure out how to make it work.

I got a new boat, a little bigger, and with a crew.

The boat is a modest sailboat. Strong enough to sail in the big ocean, but still very vulnerable to waves and weather. To keep her afloat it takes a great amount of skill, and many times I can't rest or the boat might be swamped again. But my crew and I are learning to work well together, and in spite of having no real survival suits, we continue to steer this little boat right into the wind. It is exhilerating, exhausting, and our survival has given a lot of confidence. Wheeeeeee!!!!!

It's good.

I envision a slightly bigger boat next, still modest, no monster cruiser; I still want to feel every nuance of the wind and waves. But more stable, more secure, and I want it to be fully outfitted with survival suits.

That's what I want now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

what deserves applause?

Yesterday a friend stopped buy, and our chat (which rambled around and about) somehow arrived at a comment he made stating that graduating college was a sign that one has learned discipline, and deserved respect based on that.

For me, that did not ring true at all.

College (all three degrees of it), was easy. Well, relatively speaking. Sure there were long sleepless nights of the drama of finishing a term paper, etc., but it was such an enormous buffet of courses (Ha! Like that metaphor?) during which I had only to be fed the opportunity to learn things that expanded my mind and made life more interesting.

Not including the (I'm sort of ashamed to admit) fact that I didn't have to surrender to the "real world" of boredom and hopelessness. Which, after graduating from my first degree is what I experienced in my first (and only!) "real job".

I never felt that I deserved applause or congratulations for college. It was relatively easy for me. Fun, interesting, exciting. Full of hope and plans to make a difference.

What I feel worthy of applause & recognition is when I do things, most often really little things that would be of no consequence to most people but are very difficult for me. Simple things that feel to me like I am slaying dragons... that the dragons are about to slay me.

I dealt with some old tax issues last week.

THAT was enormous!

I had cold sweats, anxiety, sleepless nights.

And I did it.

I did it.

I slayed that dragon.

THAT'S the kind of thing I feel I deserve applause for.

The hard stuff for one person is often, perhaps mostly, very small for many others.

It's the little things.

We fight our little battles inside ourselves but in reality they are the big ones.

Hooray for us!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

my relationship (s) with the weather

It's sunny today!

I actually love all kinds of weather.

I am often so relieved to have the rain.
Rain makes me feel so soft and safe, all wrapped up in a cozy nest. Soothed, comforted.

Big thunder and lightening are exhilarating for me. I want to be out IN it. When I was a kid on the island I would nestle myself between big driftwood logs on the beach and just watch & breathe it in.

Big wind makes me want to be out in the gusts, to feel the power of it push against my body. When I was at the ocean last fall there was a huge storm with around 90-100 mph wind. I went running on the beach. Into the wind, I was at (what seemed like) a 45 degree angle, and running WITH the wind I had to lean back like a drum major to not be blown onto my face.

I remember in college a particular storm during which I ran to the top of a big hill and danced in that wind. I came home to the dorm, opened the big window and hung leaves I had gathered from the woods from the ceiling with thread, and played Carmina Burana at top volume.

So FULL of it I wanted to burst forth from my body.

I loved it.

Today the sun is out, the air is warm, I went for a little walk to the store and was thinking about the differences I feel in the sun vs. in the rain.

In the rain my spirit is contracted, pulled way in, and curled up tight like a napping kitten. Cozy and safe.

In the sun my spirit expands, the molecules of my self seem to disperse forever, and I feel a lightness, an openness, and a sort of transparency.

The differences are so striking.

Today is a day full of light, lightness, and sweetness.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

heavy weather

This week, here in my home/studio/factory--often known as "studio hyjinx" we've had very heavy hearts.

My assistant T. left to come here Tuesday morning calling out to her husband: "see you tonight, I love you!"

And when she got home that evening her husband told her that the marriage wasn't working for him, he wants a divorce, he's seeing someone else and he has already spoken with a lawyer. Oh, and that she should move out that night.

No warnings, no process, no affect, no feelings shown. Nothing.

When she called me that evening I didn't believe her. When she convinced me it was no joke I couldn't close my mouth.

There were trips planned, she had just taken on and completed a modest remodel of their home, he was buying fish for dinner and we had discussed that day at the work table what she would make to go with it.

She is in shock. Grief. Despair.

And all of us here are as well.


And then a second wave:

R. (another of "us") got a phone call that an acquaintance/neighbor of hers had been brutally beaten (probably to death, as she was showing no brain activity at last report) while we were all here, working, that same day.

We are all in shock.

Absorbing the impact of cruelty, brutality.

Absorbing the fact that the earth is not as solidly stable under our feet as we want to believe it is.

Earthquakes, tsunamis, wars, lies, heartlessness, cruelty and violence. In the big world, and in the small.

We have no control.

We can only do our best.


And be kind.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I've noticed lately...

...that it's often hard for me to gain entrance to a new book.

I keep trying to begin, and each night fall asleep only a few pages into it.

Then, the next night I forget what I had read and start over.

And over.

And over.

I picture it like running to get up enough speed to jump aboard a moving freight train; once safely on it I can just hang on and enjoy the ride.

But sometimes it takes a number of tries.


This is just a polite way of saying:

"I'm going to bed early, 'cuz I'd really like to jump on that train."

Thursday, March 31, 2011

fragile and fierce

I was feeling quite fragile this afternoon, toward the end of "first shift".

Went to yoga, hoping for a soothing, meditative class.

Got instead a totally kick-ass, make me sweat and tremble in my entire body, holy cow how did I get here? kind of way.

Don't feel so fragile anymore.

I ROCKED half-moon, which I've never been able to do before.

On both sides, twice.

Fragile?

What's that?

It's all transient.

All of it.

Feelings are just waves.

They wax and wane.

And we just keep breathing through them.

I spent some time this evening watching the photos of my retreat to Cannon Beach as they faded in and out on my screen-saver.

Ahhhhh...

And now the feeling is sleepiness,

So: nighty night!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

layers and layers

I remember 9/11 in New York.

I was there.

Utter, enormous forces of ... well, there's no word I can think of to describe the enormity.

And at the very same time there were all the other layers:

the emotions, the fear, the chaos, the shock, the horror.

And the pragmatic:

"am I safe? can I help? what's going to happen?"

And yet other layers:

"what's for dinner? Are any restaurants open?"

And after a couple of days: "what shall we do? go for a walk? go to the Met?"

And then: "well, I may as well look at some shoes/try some New York Cheesecake/..."
____

Enormous things happening in the world just now. Barely imaginable, even with the help (?) of images and images.

Big things happen every day, somewhere.

The dramas of Life, living itself.

I'm not expressing myself well here, but I'm feeling aware of so many layers of existence, of experience.

And thinking that it sometimes seems wrong to go around fussing about our little daily fusses.

But it's not, it's not. It's just one of the layers we live on. It's the way it works.

It is an odd complexity of tones to continually embody with harmony and grace.

Macrocosm/microcosm.

To do the little, while living the big.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

a little peek:

this is the sort of thing that happens spontaneously here while we are laboring away:

(Click here)

A couple of days ago I happened across this wig from back in the days I had a temporary job doing all the displays for the Halloween Stores here in the Seattle area. I put it on and didn't say a word to T., who was here working away with me. I think I had it on for around an hour when she finally noticed. Talk about a girl focused on her work!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

time flies

It's back to production, in a big way.

And so it seems there is nothing of real interest to write about.

But I want to take the time to write about things beyond my daily activities, just not tonight.

We are making and shipping and making and shipping and making and shipping and making and shipping and making and shipping.... (and so on).

Shipped enough to pay my team today for February, which they patiently and generously waited for.

Shipped enough to pay my mortgage, which I had extended.

Shipped enough to pay my health insurance (benefits of which have been reduced by half... and the cost? Well. This post is not about that).

Now working on shipping enough to pay my team at the end of this month, AND make my March mortgage payment on time.

Then: get back onto a more routine schedule of bills, and repaying debt.

The good news?

I have tons of orders.

And it will happen.

And it's a blessing.

And let's all send our best thoughts, prayers, wishes and light to Japan.

Good night.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

juggling, playing ping-pong and

dancing on hot coals, all at the same time.

That doesn't describe it quite right, but it gets close to what it feels like inside my brain.

Back to production!

It's kind of overwhelming: trying to get orders out quickly to get money in quickly to pay bills to order more supplies so that we can make more things to ship out to get the money in to pay bills to order more supplies to...

But...

we keep hitting walls 'cuz we need more materials to get orders finished to get them shipped out to get money in to get materials to make the things to fill the orders to get the money in to...

So you see why I described the feeling inside my brain as I did?

And yeah, we really ARE digging deep to get some things shipping and the cash flowing in the right direction.

My assistant lent me her credit card again this year to order supplies.

I delayed my mortgage payment for 2 weeks.

All my helpers agreed to work for deferred payment.

They trust and believe in me, and in what we are doing here. Amazing. That feels enormous to me.

I can only shake my head when I think about what an incredibly successful show I had, and how broke I am starting the year out again.

Once the shipment gets back from Philly (which should be any day now) there will be work ready to ship. And within a week the materials I've ordered will be coming in daily.

And then we'll be back at it with efficiency and the satisfaction of having what's needed to fill the orders.

In the meantime, we're doing the best we can with what we've got.

And our best is pretty damn good!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

home

At least my body is.

I'm still waiting for the rest of me to arrive.

I'm soooooo happy to be able to store my body here in a safe, comfortable, familiar place while the rest of me finds it's way home too.

The 42 hours it took to get back took a bite out of me, but gave me some very surreal experiences some of which I chronicled on Facebook from my iPhone in situ (I've been posting from my phone lately too, so when words seemed kind of weird, that's what it was. Or at least that's what I'm saying). But it seems that I have no idea what I'm saying right now so let me just say:

My kitty and I are having a wonderful reunion.

I think he hasn't stopped purring the whole day.

I feel just as happy to see him.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The long road home

I had such a great time in New York.

Very short, but packed to just the right fullness. I loved being with my friend and her family, I loved the time we spent out on the streets together.

I loved being out on the streets alone!

And I was really inspired by my visits to MOMA and the Guggenheim. For some reason new little tickles of insight visited me. I found myself smiling a lot. I didn't see them as much as beautiful-famous paintings, but kind of was able to see the them a bit in the context of their time. To see through their fame a bit, to the crazy/incredible excitement of freeing up a new way of seeing, perceiving, expressing during that point in history.

Lot's to think about.

I also got to have my ritual treat at my favorite restaurant: Union Square Cafe, and I walked a gazzilion miles.

I said my goodbye's to my friends last night, as I would be out on the street hailing a taxi well before dawn.

Spent 4.5 hours at the airport waiting for a co-pilot, then a 6.5 hour flight to SF, of course having missed my connections. No space on any flight to Seattle today, so I am tucked into a Doubletree Hotel courtesy of United, with a nifty little toiletries bag (but no makeup, and no little airplane bottle of gin, what's up with that?)

So I'll be forced into getting caught up on my rest, and be ready to get to work on all those orders I wrote!

But now I just really want to see my kitty.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NYC!

I'm in The City!

I can't believe how happy I feel.

I got off the train yesterday, caught a cab, got to my friends home, and the moment I walked in I felt happy and "at home"!

Without further ado, Danielle and I hit the streets, and BANG! I was in New York.

Kind of a dizzying transition, I had barely opened my eyes from a long, long (metaphorical) sleep which was the past few... weeks? And to suddenly wake up without warning on the streets of New York...

Well, I felt almost giddy!

I kept telling D. how happy I felt; to be walking around with her (we haven't spent any time together in, why, it must be 2 years?

I felt immediately at home, we made dinner together as if we did it every day.

I went to sleep happy and woke up with a smile, little bubbles of excitement in my belly.

So.

No more for now, Danielle is hard at work under a tight deadline and I am hitting the streets on my own today. My favorite thing to do in New York. I will likely get my boots fixed, do some "product research", maybe I'll get uptown to Moma or the Met.

I'll stop someplace along the way for lunch, and no doubt indulge my ritual of a cocktail and appetizer at my favorite restaurant: Union Square Cafe. Last year when I was here, so sick, I didn't do ANY of those things, and didn't even really get to spend time with my friends. I just slept the whole time. This time I intend to make up for it, even in just a couple days.

Gotta go, there's a city to see!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Writers cramp

from rewriting so many illegible order forms. Well, illegible to anyone but me.

And then I had to look up all the prices (no, I certainly do not have them memorized. I just worked them out before the show!)

And then split large orders into three separate orders as requested in some cases.

And then re-count to be sure the number of pieces added up correctly.

And the double-check prices and total all the categories.

And then run downstairs to get dinner at happy-hour prices.

And then come back to the room to do a final tally.

Yep.

Looks like job security for another year!!!

How is it possible to be so broke I wonder how I'll get through the month, and yet confident of the year ahead?

Well, it seems I am learning the definition of cash flow.

And for those of you betting types: I did WAY more paperwork than napping today (I lost that bet too),

and...

I wonder what the odds are in the race between me finally getting a handle on managing my finances so that I'm NOT broke and in debt next year at this time... Or will it be the same? I suppose an odds-maker type person would say, based on history, that history will simply continue repeating itself.

But I have been getting better at it, little by little, so I'm going to wager my two bits on the side of coming back from the shows solvent and able to order materials and pay my mortgage and helpers.

It will require that I continue working very diligently, but I've certainly proven I can do that.

And I DID raise my prices a smidge. It had become clear that it's not just about working harder, not just about making better decisions, not just about to be working all (yes, ALL) the time, not just about making really lovely things that actally do sell in the marketplace...

But the price has to encompass the cost.

I have some old programming to overcome. Something that keeps me from believing I can have...

whatever...

I'll be working on that this year!

I'm betting I can do it.

Tomorrow morning i'll pack up and catch the train to New York, to visit my friends there!

Good night.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Done.

All done.

Packed up, three pallets, shrink-wrapped, labeled, bill of lading filled out.

Thank GOODNESS for my awesome Philly crew. Really. What a gift to my heart, soul, spirit... not to mention my mental health and body! I CAN NOT believe I used to do it all myself. Wow. I was a very strong, persistent, and determined FOOL!

But now, all done. Finished with this Big Show.

Show good. All the other artists reported that too.

That's GREAT!

I don't know the numbers yet, as I've been too sick to do anything but get through the days and survive the nights; thrashing about, checking the time, trying to sleep and breathe and not cough. I really hate being sick. Can you tell?

I am feeling better now though, it finally broke. I am coming alive again.

I have the whole day tomorrow to:

sleep. As late as I want. And then even later.

Do paperwork.

Sleep.

Go to museum.

Sleep.

Do more paperwork.

Sleep some more...

We'll see what gets checked off on THIS list.

If I were you, I'd bet bunches of money on the sleep thing...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Doin' it

Well, I'm very busy at the show, which makes me very glad.

The new work I struggled so laboriously is a success!

But I have this yucky cold and feel really crappy.

So.

It's disappointing to not be able to enjoy, but I'm getting the job done!

Tonight, after a stop at the drugstore and Kinkos, I came back to the hotel, got into my jammies, ordered room service, and settled in to watch stupid TV.

Prone.

Just what I've bee longing for since I got upright this morning.

Being a good little trooper...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Great day,

Line out of the booth until 1:30,

Great response to my newborn line.

But I'm sick.

Came on through the day, in spite of hands full of vitamins and every immune concoction I know.

Damn airplanes. Damn convention centers.

It gets me every year.

But the show is proving to be a success, even though I haven't done any totals at all

I know,

But I'm a real baby when I'm sick.

And the next few days will not be a whole lot of fun.

Boo hoo, sniff sniff.

But the show? For me?

It's going great.

And for that I'm incredibly grateful!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

long day

but nearly ready.

Philly crew warmed my heart and we got the skeleton up in 4 hours or so.

Then I spent the next 7 hours alone "fluffing", staging, arranging, displaying, putting out price cards, etc., etc.

I'm always astonished at how long that takes.

And still, after all that,

I need to go in early tomorrow morning to clean up all the glass (fingerprints! smudges! T. would shriek!), and arrange some fresh flowers, and make some of the price cards more clear.

But it's up. The booth. The work. The lights.

And: It's good.

I've been writing with such hesitation about my new line. Wondering, doubting, wondering.

When I saw it unpacked today, then arranged under lights, I think it's the best ever.

Some of the things I thought might be ho-hum actually look amazing!

I'm so pleased.

My Philly-crew was already putting their names on stuff they want to buy at the end of the show, and were most taken with the new.

Cool. They are the first to see it, outside of "us", so that gives me confidence too.

And now, some photos! (as always, click on photo to see larger...)

Last night the bar was full. What was I doing? Working, of course!



Sweet/sad: one man talked with me a bit, wistfully commenting that I am "living the dream". He told me he was a ceramic artist, but now works in the pharmaceutical industry. Wife, and kids. Wistful. I reminded him he has financial security and benefits. Cost and benefit to every choice.

But he still looked wistful and sad.

This morning, I walked into the booth space to this. SO much potential! SOOOOO many hours to fruition!


And then, after cutting away the layers of shrink wrap, I was reminded of the thoughtful and careful little things my crew does to make sure everything is ok:

Rachel and Connie clumped bubble wrap over some little pokey-uppy points, to make sure they were well protected in the shipment. That may not seem like much, but it is..., it is...
And then there is that incorrigible T., who can't leave words well enough alone. Nope. Not even when she's doing something so mundane as labeling boxes to be included in the shipment to Philly:



and then there is this:

After a very, very long day.

Yes, I'll probably take some shots of the booth in it's dressed-up-for-the-ball costume tomorrow. I was too tired and dirty and all my fingernails were too broken for such fancy stuff today....

But tomorrow:

IT'S SHOWTIME!

Goodnight.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Still workin' the list:

Actually managed to get up at 3am? Check.

Cab came on time and delivered me (dozing) to SeaTac on time? Check.

Got 3 quarts of water for plane & first night in hotel? Check.

Drank Bloody Mary on plane and dozed while listening to mbira? Check.

Survive flight and change planes in Denver (although nearly missed connecting flight because of severe space-out)? CheckE

Get to Philly? Check.

Arrange for lost luggage to be delivered to hotel? Check.

Check in at hotel?

Check.

Martini, tuna tartare, mussels all for $5 each in hotel bar? Check.

Sleep a gazzilion hours? Check.

Sleep a few more hours? Check.

Workout on the treadmill 40 minutes this morning? Check!

Make 100 copies of catalog? Check.

Make up price cards? Check.

Go to exhibitor Services to buy badges for crew? Check.

Make sure my big shipment has arrived? CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually FIND liquor store and buy wine for booth to serve buyers and artist-neighbors, and gin for hotel room? Check.

Find the cool Reading Market (yeah, right across from the Convention Center, but still...) and buy snacks for set-up? Check.

Find 7-11 and buy a gazzilion bottles of S.Pellegrino for me to drink in my booth? Check. (last year I drank 3 liters water a day and never peed a single time during the show. Convention Center Air).

NOT get lost a single time today? Check! (and for those who know me, that's significant!).

Lost (and fortunately good people had my back): wallet, credit card, room key. Check. (shame face, gratitude face)

Kept my head attached. Major Check. At least that.

Arrange for my pre-shipping (Amazon supplies) and late delivered luggage to be brought from hotel storage to my room? Check.

Back to hotel in time for happy hour? Check.

Crew notified about logistics for set-up tomorrow? Check.

"The usual" happy hour fare consumed? Check.

And now I'm folding the little tent-shaped price cards for my display, while sitting in the bar (free wi fi) and listening to live jazz.

And sipping my martini, which I ordered AFTER I ate plenty, as I kinda forgot to eat all day and I know enough to NOT drink a martini on an empty stomach...

Not bad, not bad at all.

OH! and a peculiar thing. Somehow all of us artists/craft persons have an uncanny ability to simply know each other, to recognize each other in a crowd. Weird. At the airport, in the elevator, on the street, in the stores.... with blunt confidence I've been asked, with NO prelude, "have you set up yet? what do you do? where's your booth?" So I started doing the same thing. We don't look that different from anyone else, at least I don't think so (well, there's my hair, but still... that doesn't explain the others). I think it's interesting. Kind of an artdar, versus a radar.

Alright, back to folding my little tent cards and my martini.

Oh! And did you know that actually DOING a show, the actual BEING here, is a billion times easier and less stressful than preparing for it? I just have ONE task. Do the show. That's it.

I love it.

I'm not stressed in the least.

Busy, but not stressed.

Ok. Now I think I'm done with you.

Bye now!

Monday, February 14, 2011

ready.

Hair cut & colored? Check.
Dishes done? Check.
Glass finished and packed? Check.
All the little forgotten things? Check.(hopefully)
Clothes packed? Check.
Philly crew confirmed? (mostly) check.
Electronics charged? Check.
Tigger-Lou love planned? Check.
Some cash in wallet? Check.
A book? Check.
My All. Important. Folder? Check.
Plane ticket ready to grab when I'm too tired to see? Check.
Taxi number ready for 4 am in the morning when I'm am VERY unhappy to be up? Check.
Laundry, house and dishes? Check.
Catalog? Check.
Price cards? Check.
Martini? Check.
Bed by 9pm? Well, not quite, but close.

I think I'm ready to go.

Next post? Philly!
Good night.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The List

is looking more manageable by the day.

Which is good, as the days are ticking by and there are only 2 left until I leave!

Today I'm working on my catalog, figuring out pricing, figuring out again how to format it in a program I haven't used since last year--as last year I saved it only in PDF, and, come to find out, I can't just update it but need to start from scratch.

It's just a small thing though.

It's just time, and I have (just barely) enough.

I've confirmed my set-up/take-down crew in Philly. I hope anyway so, it's weird hiring people sight unseen from Craig's List, mostly by instinct. I'm never totally sure until they show up--although since 3 of the 5 are returning for yet another year I have confidence. I've been very, very fortunate to meet terrific people, one of whom is my same photographer who will pick up my work at night, photograph it, and get it back to me before the show opens the next morning. Not only a great photographer, but a great guy.

My house is clean, my laundry is done, I've written out a sort-of packing list.

I still need to finish some work and finish the catalog and make price cards.

And arrange for some Tigger-Lou lovin'.

But that feels do-able.

I can't slack, but it's do-able!

OH! And Wendy Rosen (the founder of The Show) wrote on her Facebook page that pre-registration of buyers is up 30% this year.

That certainly bodes well.

That, and the fact that there are no blizzards in the forecast for either Philly or Denver (where I change planes). If you don't know why that's on my mind, go back in this blog and read the entries from a year ago...

Lookin' good!

And folks, that all the news I've got.

Good night!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

learning stuff,

and the stuff is important.

As you (the few of you who read this little journal) have noticed, the past couple months have been, shall we say, a little bit miserable for me?

I hadn't really, really taken it in until I gave myself the challenge to see just how much better I could feel in a week of conscious attention to doing so, and started taking action in the service of that intent.

I'm discovering (yet again) how very important exercise is. Well duh. How well do I know that? In my marrow. But do I always act on that knowledge? Well apparently not.

But not JUST that. I'm becoming aware again of how I can lose myself in a habit of rush! rush! rush! and allow myself to succumb to the belief that internal clenching and stressing and rushing is somehow going to make things go faster.

I'm beginning to have my doubts about that. Well, I never would have said I believed that, I DO know better. But I have to admit that even as better as I know, there are times and situations that trigger a big dive into unconsciousness and that (fearful?) layer in my brain takes control and clenches down.

Exercise is important for me because it burns off (to some degree) that manic rush! rush! rush! feeling inside. And it slams me back into my body and out of my rush! rush! rush! mind.

So it's very important, but not enough.

There is something else, a different way of orienting myself relative to how hard I (and I really do) have to work. There is a grace and softness I intend to incorporate more habitually than I currently do.

I think it's possible, but not easy. Simple, but not easy.

Good grief, isn't it weird that at 57, with all of my experience, with all of my (extensive) training, with all of my (actually very deep) knowing... that I'd still have to keep learning these things?

Isn't Life interesting? Crazy? Challenging? And really, when one is awake to any degree, amazing?

I mean really, if one quits learning stuff (even the same stuff over and over) it would be pretty damn boring.

And miserable.

And maybe that's the thing; being overwhelmed (for whatever reason) made me so overwhelmed I had to shut down, and shutting down made me unable to learn. And being unable to learn and being shut down made me miserable.

Boy-oh-boy am I ever happy to be un-shutting-down.

Life is returning little by little, day by day, and I welcome it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

little by little...

my consciousness and sanity are returning.

I woke several times last night in a started panic: "what? where? who? when? what time is it?"

I calmed myself down: "only a reasonable list. right here. no one is coming. no time pressure. you can sleep as long as you want, so don't worry about the time."

Ahhhh.

Over and over.

Somehow this year's prep. has been harder than previous years I think. Or maybe, like labor pains, I just forget.

I decided my primary goal this week is to do everything I can do to feel better by the time I get on that plane to Philly. It's a game: just how much better can I feel than I've been feeling in one week's time?

Well, today I ran/walked. I went to yoga. I crossed things off my list. I took a nap. I ate healthy food.

I am pretty naked here about my life. Sure, I do have my boundaries, but still.

I remember when I was in a difficult phase with this self-employed artist business I searched and searched for blogs that would give me some clue as to how others experienced it. For real, not just for show.

I couldn't find one.

So I decided to write one.

It's for myself really, but also in case there is someone out there who wants to read the day-to-day guts and glory of an ordinary/extraordinary life of one of those sorts of people who take such a crazy thing on.

So. In my nakedness I'll just tell you that tonight in yoga, in shavasina, when Dee (the instructor) came around and gave us a brief neck and shoulder massage I started crying.

The tears just rolled down my face as I grieved for the past weeks that I've been utterly out of body, stressed, pressured, and pushing myself insanely hard.

This year I allowed the time pressure and stress to be an excuse to not take time for myself.

To not run, to not go to yoga, to not take time to settle, to not eat mindfully, to drink more than is healthy for me.

Stress and time pressure triggers excuses to not exercise, and not exercising triggers stress.

Damn vicious cycle!

But I need to remember, well, I don't really forget but I need to force myself to Take. The. Time.

And do it, no matter what.

Even in one day I am coming home to myself.

What a relief!

Monday, February 7, 2011

HUGE relief!


and the first hurdle cleared!

3 pallets were loaded, packed, shrink-wrapped, labeled, and labeled again, and again--you see, I have bad memories of an entire show shipment having been forgotten by the shipping company on a loading dock only halfway to the show a few years ago... "sorry ma'am, it's not OUR responsibility" (?!?! then whose responsibility is it? You're the ones I paid over $5000 plus a "time sensitive" rider to...????!)

Sigh. But that's a different story, and in the past, and all done now, thank you very much.

But in the PRESENT time:

the shipment is on it's way to The Show in Philly.

Whew! I felt such a huge relief I had little bubbles of happy in my belly.

I packed the last of the new pieces this morning, still warm from the last minute speed-drying of the paint (yes, in the kitchen oven... the things we do...).

Once we finished (R. and C. came in early) I took us to lunch, and some good bloody mary's, and then home, where I took a nap, woke to sign the bill of lading papers when the truck got here, finished all my reservations for flight and train to NYC where I get to spend a couple days with my dear friend after the show, ordered some supplies I'll need to be delivered to the hotel, and then...

fell asleep on the couch for nap number 2.

And now I woke up just in time to go to bed. Yes, I know it's only 8, but the tiredness of the past days and days has taken over my entire being now that I'm letting go of the adrenalin that kept me going.

I still don't really have any idea of the new line. It went so fast I never got the opportunity to look at all the pieces in peace and quiet. But my gut tells me there are some really lovely pieces there.

It's weird to not even be able to visualize them, that's how much I'm in the dark about it.

This week I'll make some small versions of the new work, a few missing pieces from the other lines, tidy my ridiculously filthy home/factory, do laundry (well, yeah, it's been a while), actually cook something and sit down while eating (deli food, eaten over the sink right out of the container or while on the go lately, I'm sorry to admit), make my catalog for the year, schedule housecleaners to make home a place to look forward to coming home to, figure out the schedule for kitty-care, prep some work for T. to do while I'm gone (if she decides to come back from her vacation Hawaii, and that's a big if, based on the photos, texts, e-mails I've gotten. All on a theme of: "I don't miss Seattle"...). Pack. Get back to running and yoga....

oh yeah, and sanity.

That is a TOTALLY do-able list! I could do it in my sleep, but after my much sleeping today and tonight I suspect I'll be able to do it awake.

SO delicious to have a do-able list to look forward to this week.

yawn.

good night!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

tired, and...

utterly unable to see or even really feel if what I have been working to birth will actually be born, or... well, maybe a false pregnancy of sorts.

I really don't know.

I have confidence in my "old" work, confidence in some of the new pieces, and little nudges of what might still be in the gestation realm.

But I'm essentially sightless at this point.

Working on momentum, and with a sort of tiredness and over-stimulation that will lead either to a breakthrough, a disappointment, or simply "good enough".

Or maybe I'll be utterly surprised and it will thrill me when I get it all set up and lighted at The Show.

Thanks to my spectacularly talented assistants, some breakthrough HAS occurred in the past 24 hours.

But I'm really too tired to see clearly if it is ... well ... enough to sufficiently differentiate the new from the old.

I have some new ideas to work on this weekend.

And then it's shipping time.

And then in the next week I need to make my catalog, arrange my crew for Philly, book my flight, and...

maybe,

just maybe,

come up with something that will elevate the new attempts to the level of confidence and real pride of presentation.

And then pay the big bucks to bring it as excess baggage on the flight.

I wish I had blogged this process the past two years, so that I could be reminded that these are all normal and predictable feelings at this stage.

But I am blogging it now, and next year I'll re-read it and be reminded.

And hopefully soothed.

Although I had intended to be in bed by 10 tonight, making all the masks and applying them took longer than I had expected.

As everything always does.

But, I'll be asleep by 1:00, and that's something!

Goodnight.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

and now,

for a little respite from my trials and tribulations in this creative phase:

go read what my assistant Premium T. writes about a hilarious moment during a day here at work!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

a little breakdown

I've had a crying morning, disappointed. I have a few nice pieces, and something that crept around the corner of my vision that is simple and beautiful which I will expand upon. But no real new line. Not yet. Probably I'll be going with expansions of my other lines, and see how the "sneaker line" plays out. Odd, how sometimes the best things sneak up while I'm working on something else. Sometimes the best things. So we'll see.

My crew is cheering me on with confidence and fervent encouragement.

This is just one of those inevitable waves.

I've been working so hard; pushing, pushing, pushing.

Pushing too hard, under the pressure of having lost too much time at the beginning to allow the breathing room, silent room, empty room in which to let something grow more in it's own time.

So today I am culling.

There are some absolute "yes's", some absolute "no's" , some maybe's. The maybe's are the hardest.

So I'm going with the absolute yes's today, and the sneaker line (which I'm actually going to call the whisper line when it's done).

Then, I'll look into the maybe's.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The nether zone of

the in-between.

Ok. I'm in the final days of the new work.

I've had moments of excitement, many moments of frustration.

And now I simply don't know.

I suspect it's not alive.

No really, I think it didn't happen this year.

But I remember feeling the same thing last year.

But the things I thought were really good didn't sell, and the things I wasn't so confident in did.

So.

I really have no idea.

But if I'm honest, (and I really do my best to be so)

I can't help but feel it didn't happen.

But there is still some time.

So I'll keep at it.

I may have to pay The Big Bucks to take some things as extra baggage on the airlines...

if I'm so fortunate as to break through in the final moments, as The Shipping is scheduled at the last possible moment on Monday.

Which is now less than a week away.

Or maybe I have gotten there?

I don't think so.

Not quite.

So.

I'll sleep, look at it fresh in the morning, and T. will come and weigh in, and I will consider, and I will consider again, and again, and again...

and flail about, and sleep again, and then?

Maybe the key will emerge.

I keep thinking of something, something I originally wanted to do but didn't have time (given all the setbacks in the first two weeks of this process), but maybe I can manage to make the time.

We'll see.

Welcome to my world!

And good night.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

at it, but not in it yet

Not bad though. I woke happy.

Three, maybe four days ahead of me in delicious solitude!

Developing, refining, expanding, sizing and consolidating my new work.

In my own head, my own heart, my own space.

I dunno. I used to feel lonely a lot.

But then I filled in all the space with work.

It seemed like a much better plan than waiting, waiting, waiting for...

Some of it has become boring, granted.

In fact I am beginning to realize that a lot of my night work (second shift, as I call it) is getting pretty boring at this point. I realize I need to make some changes. Maybe a bit of a social life?

That's a radical thought.

But the creative phase, that's SOOOO not boring. It's delicious, like cracking through the sugar crust of a pot au creme and lifting the spoon to my lips as I salivate in anticipation.

Yep. It's that good.

Oh, I'm not saying it's not hard. Sometimes it's utter agony on every level: mental, emotional, spiritual. But sometimes it's absolute delight, on all those same levels.

But the luxury of the TIME. The time. The time...

Oh, that is the best. The very best.

And to have a purpose for that (this) time is a reason to be filled with gratitude.

And I am.

Good night!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I was so tired today,

that I felt cranky and all out of whack.

When I realized I was getting cranky with my wonderful helpers I went upstairs to rest and create a "melinda-free zone" in which they could work without the sharp little spikes that pierce through my own brain into others.

It felt better for me, and for them I'm sure.

Some days it's just like that.

And sometimes, even while I feel drowned by my own brain, others are gut punched by their own lives.

Kinda puts things into perspective, eh?

Life.

We've just gotta learn to surf, don't we?

Big waves, small ones.

It's all a dance.

May the music play well for you, for all of us, as often as possible.

Good night!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

working hard...

...and working very long hours, very diligently.

Trying to finish the representative samples of the regular lines so that I can have a few days to finish development of the new line(s).

And then call my great crew back to produce the samples to present at the show.

Arranged shipping today ($5000+), electricity for my booth ($300+), already got my hotel reservations ($1500=/-). Already paid the booth fee ($3800).

Need to buy my airline ticket, figure out where (for the next couple of months until the (hopefully!) massive number of orders start shipping and paying) the mortgage, insurance, and the money to pay my helpers (and all the other bills we all have) comes from. Thank goodness for a loan from my dear friend.

We are on track (barely, but with... tentative... confidence) to have it all done in the nick of time.

And I think the new work will be fabulous.

Or at least, the very least, good.

In fact, I've had little flutters of excitement that the collection in my booth this year might be the best ever.

This is the nitty-gritty of being a self-employed-single-artist-type-with-a-mortgage.

In a very tough economy.

It's not so pretty, or even (contrary to what I sometimes jokingly claim) glamorous.

But it's my life, and dammit, and I love it.

Good Night!

Monday, January 24, 2011

nice day

I woke fairly early for me, after not staying up too late.

Got busy, my crew arrived, I went for a run (two days in a row. Damn, it's so hard to get back into the routine, once I've let it go...). I feel SOOOOO much better when I do, and it really pisses me off that I let the "other" me take charge sometimes, and then I feel so much worse. I know this stuff inside and out. Really. But knowing is not the same as doing. Not at all.

Got home, worked while laughing and being clever and silly with T. and Rachel all day.

Nice.

Got an e-mail from one member of my team that I found through Craig's List 2 years ago to help set up and tear down my booth in Philly. Wanted to know if I could use help again. Wow! they are the BEST crew, and I really hope they will all be available again. I can't believe how lucky I was to find such a good group. Good helpers, and amazing people! I am so touched and grateful for the connection.

Then went to dinner at my (wonderful) brother's (+) and had a lovely time.

Now home, started to work, and then decided: "hey, why not an early night again? I'll wake up all fresh and ready for another very busy day."

So that's what I will do.

Good night!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

nothing of note

Working very late to try to finish production of the "regular lines" fast so that I can get back to work on the new lines.

I'll be asleep by 1:45 I project.

My helpers come in the morning at 10. I'll likely still be in my jammies.

It's pretty intense, and then again, just the usual.

Thinking about "stuff" as I work.

Not just ideas for the new work, not just the swirling reminders to myself like: "order more velcro, don't forget to make price cards this year, order more customer cards, do I still have my order clipboard? Oh yeah, we need samples of (this and that) of the new shapes, oh year, there are still some new shapes that haven't arrived yet so I have to remember to fit them in the the collection when they get here, oh yeah, don't forget you still need to book your flight and make a reservation for an extra night at the hotel, and, oh, you'd better contact your Philly crew so you can post something on Craigs List once you know how many people you need, and how would it look to do a willow vine with tiny blossoms in the delicate line? (and and and...)..."

And then there are other things I think about:

Like: am I going to be working this many hours, this late into the night, for another year?

Not that I don't like doing my work.

But: this many hours, every day, every night, for another year?

I dunno.

But I'm opening my (inner) doors for ideas.

But now is not the time for existential ponderings.

Now is the time to work toward another year of relative job security, such that it is. With the gratefulness that comes with (relative) job security in times like these. In a job I love, in a work environment that I love and am proud to share with my helpers.

But RIGHT now, it's time for sleep.

Good night!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

back in production

All the crew were here today, back at full throttle.

A little overwhelming given my past weeks of mostly solitude, but also good. Good to know I have help, good help, and although my brain is so full of millions of strands of things I need to attend to in order to be ready for The Show, I have help, and it will be done.

The new line is temporarily on hold while we get the other work well on it's way. Then I'll return to it. It still needs quite a lot of attention. But if the production of the current lines get completed quickly I will have the attention to give it.

I'm tired tonight, so bed early.

Sleep well!

Yes!

Woke up this morning, dismayed.

Then looked.

Looked some more.

Thought... huh, maybe a different approach to the color?

Immediately (jammies still on, coffee only half finished) got out the pallet and dabbed fingers in and worked away at it.

Yes!

The new line is indeed born!

T. came in for work today and confirmed. It's been born. After so long in solitary process I lose perspective, and at this point am ready for, and need someone outside myself to see and respond to it.

Still lots of development to do, and certainly a bunch of refinement.

Then some consolidation of the line, clarifying it's distinction from the other lines in my work, but it's been born.

The rest will be mostly pleasure.

That was, once again, a long haul.

And one hell of a ride!

Now I'm stepping back for a couple of days to make samples of my previous lines for The Show. My whole crew (T., Connie, and Rachel) come back to work tomorrow morning and I need to have some actual production for them to work on.

The past 2-3 weeks have been all about me flailing about here by myself in my obsessed and anxiety-ridden creative retreat.

I'll still be needing more of that time, but I also need to have a representative collection of all of my lines for The Show.

If you have been reading this blog recently you will have gotten the impression it's quite a love/hate relationship. I really do love it, bun damn, It is sooooooo hard.

I think there is tons for me to learn about how to make it less anxiety-ridden, but for that, at least in my current stage of evolution, I need the luxury of time to explore and be able to attend to the process with a subtle eye, ear, and energetic sensibility. This time was weighed down with a panic of time pressure.

No matter. It's always a process from which I learn.

aaaahhhhhhh....., that's the Big Sigh of relief you are hearing.

Good night!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

progress,

maybe.

I'll have more of an idea in the morning, in the light.

I tried some stuff out on actual vessels today.

Some I like, some I don't, some have potential.

But the potential part is good. It can lead me somewhere.

And that's the thing, isn't it?

Potential.

A little peek through the curtain, a tiny animal path revealed in the woods, a little glimmer.

I think, now that I have at least 2 or three new strong contenders, that I can begin to relax and settle and pay attention to those subtle signs.

I've been a more than a little crazy-stressed here lately, and couldn't settle down enough into a quiet place to hear those little whispers, follow the subtle signs.

I think, maybe, just maybe, I can a little bit now.

That's a nice thought to go to sleep with, and so I shall.

Good night!

Monday, January 17, 2011

my new work...

still stinks.

But if, NO! WHEN! (she says confidently) I break through I will post some photos of the start to finish process.

I have taken photos of most every day's progress to send to my helpers.

They have been polite.

And I appreciate that.

There's something in there,

but it ain't out yet.

I have a love/hate relationship with time pressure.

Without it, I could stay in the pondering, thinking, imagining phase for... ever.

With too tight a time constraint I feel so pressured I can't give myself the time and space to go as deep and far as I want.

And I am living here, closer to the latter, but glad I'm not adrift in the former.

And so it is this day, the what? The 17th of January?

Aw shit.

Tic tock tick tock tick tock....

An interesting thing to me:

When I am exposing the photo-sensitive mask to the UV light for 25 seconds, those 25 seconds seem to go by so very slowly.

And yet, the days, months, years all pass so quickly.

Much more quickly than those 25 seconds it seems.

What's up with that?

Good night.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Never underestimate..

..the value of a good night's sleep.

I woke up this morning, drank my coffee, and assessed my messy, disappointing work.

And then came up with some ideas to improve it, to solve some of the things that weren't working for me.

And made progress!

I am getting closer, but have blown through 100 transparencies, ordered more last week when I realized what was happening but I will have to see what the estimated delivery time is in the morning, as if they aren't scheduled to be delivered by tomorrow I'll need to order some to be shipped next day, at more $$$$, because:

I'm under deadline!

I am happy to finally be in the thick of it.

It's miserable, exciting, scary, hopeful, and... very alive.

And I'm in labor apparently.

I hope I give birth to something wonderful, although this is where the metaphor ends, as actual children are all utterly lovable.

But what I'm doing, well, the fruits of my labor must be an expression of me, and a delight to others. And soon.

No pressure. Nope, none at all.

So I'm hoping a good night of sleep helps take the process another step further.

And I wish YOU ALL good night.

(Oh, and remind me to write about happiness and Bhutan and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I really, really want to write about this but I don't have the brain or focus for it right now.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

arrghhh

and that's all, really.

But since I've started, I may as well continue.

Nothing is as I had hoped. I think everything I was excited about stinks and I won't be able to break through and and and...

and I guess that's just the way it is at this stage.

It seems that I have always gone through this phase, but I have only a very few days left so this stage should please move quickly into the next stage, ok?

Yikes!

I'm going to sleep now to see if I have any muse visitations in dreamland.

Because being awake isn't helping.

Good night.

it's good!

First: my big kitten is better! He nipped me on the nose this morning to wake me up and has eaten and played and started attacking me again and being the adorable nuisance I love.

And then there's work: Progress! I sandblasted the first big trial run of new designs. I'm waiting until I'm fresh in the morning to start playing with the color. Then I'll actually know what the potential is.

So while waiting for morning, I've been making serious progress in photoshop.

Resizing, compressing, expanding, taking images apart and putting them back together with sizes and shapes of vessels in mind.

ooooo, I do love learning new things!

It's a brand new tool for me, and is already proving very useful.

Which begs the question:

How much of creativity is finding a tool to do what one envisions, versus finding a tool (or a material or technique) and considering what one could use it for?

I have to admit, materials inspire me a lot. I love thinking about what I could do with them.

But my work always has a certain quality, no matter what it is (and I've done many, many things, not just in the visual arena).

I'd love to ponder that and write more about it. But as I've been noticing, words are not where I am these days.

I have no doubt they will come back, as I really love to write stuff.

So:

I'd like to hear from you! For you, in your creativity, your art, where do you start? How do you experience the relative importance
of materials/tools versus a (perhaps) more "pure" creative impulse for which you then seek out the tools/materials?

Curious.

Good night.

I get to play with color in the morning!

Woo hoo!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

and still,

more of the same.

I'm working!

Who would have thought that working (while not boring) would be so boring when I try to talk about it?

It's full of details right now. Just details.

The boring stuff that doesn't matter, and yet matters ever so much to the end product.

There's the glance or a glimmer, an idea, the percolating, the considering, the more considering, the pondering, the letting go and letting it be, the wondering if there is something to be,

(and more of that sort of thing)

And then there are the experiments.

They are FULL of details.

Techniques, trial and error, ups and downs, yes's and no's, many, many maybe's,

second and third and sixty-fifth thoughts.

And of course the "technical difficulties" of a computer that is not up to the task, and losing 2 weeks of time in an attempt to avoid the unavoidable expense.

No to mention (although I will certainly mention it), I am burning through materials (ie. money) as if they cost nothing. Hanging back, not wanting to waste the precious, expensive stuff. But the experiments must happen, the tests, the re-tests. Cost be damned! It's really the only way...

Details.

But I like it.

I love it, actually.

It's not "fun" in the way one usually thinks of fun.

But it is engaging; like solving a puzzle or climbing in a cave or, well, digging a ditch.

But there's not much to talk about.

My kitty is sick, second visit to the vet. today, more antibiotics. He's young and sturdy and I think he'll be fine, but I'm sorry for him. He's doing nothing but sleeping and I'm actually missing him munching on my ankles and trying to take me down like a football player. I never thought I'd say that.

It's interesting.

I have more to say about the creative process when I'm not in the middle of it.

I wonder what that means?

So again, good night!

OH! and by the way, a wonderful writer & blogger featured my work on her blog today. If you read her blog I think you'll find her thoughtful, perceptive, and very articulate. She is a new discovery for me, go treat yourselves!

oh dear,

my posts are utterly repetitive these days, with nothing insightful or lovely.

It's because (at least I think it is!) I am deep in the trenches. I am working.

Sitting at the computer all day, which is something I've never done.

I'm working with a collection of photographs I've taken over the past year, with this project in mind.

And between learning Photoshop (no small feat for my impatient mind) and The Computer Issues of the past 2 weeks...

well, I'm waaayyyyy behind.

But! I think some good stuff is coming.

I'll do some testing on actual glass tomorrow, and know more.

But I sense it's gong to work.

I wish I had more time I wish I had more time I wish I had more time...

I'm grateful for all the time I have!

Good night, from my trench.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

good day today!

T. came in and got some stuff finished and shipped out (money to cover the overdraft!).

We are nearly done with the little in-between orders.

I will get back to (well, actually get started in) my creative retreat after tomorrow.

Lots to do, little time.

My new computer and printer and hard drive and keyboard and trackpad are working GREAT!

Photoshop actually works on this computer, and contrary to what the experts said, it really did not work on the other one. At all.

AND I'm gloating to say: it was not user-error.

I've started working in earnest.

And...

It's snowing in Seattle, and that makes me happy too.

And I'm more tired than usual and will be in bed before midnight for a change.

Not such exciting or interesting posts these days, but such is the glamorous life of an artist-type. I'm diving into the thick of it.

Finally!

Goodnight.

Monday, January 10, 2011

happy girl!

New computer, new printer, new back-up hard drive.

Broke (a little over-drawn unfortunately, but made a deposit today).

Haven't tested it on photoshop (have to buy a new copy as the license has been used up..luckily it's just elements and not the big one and costs only $99 instead of what, $800?) but I'll do that tomorrow. At this point $99 seems like small change. Weird how that works...

I am so excited to FINALLY get cookin' in earnest on the new line, I've been champing at the bit (and almost unbearably frustrated, as you know if you've been reading these posts for the last couple weeks).

But that's over! (knock wood).

Yippee!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Phone post!

Well I'm looking at it as a good thing that I don't have a computer tonight. I gave up and bought a new one today, so the two are in their honeymoon, merging. And should be ready to come home where we can live together in harmony.

I have GREAT hopes that I will be able to dive head first into my process on Tuesday, after my printer gets here. The muses need to move in with me for a while, not just visit.

Still regretting the loss of the past two weeks, but forward is the only place to go.

Can we hope my "technical issues" are past now?

In the meantime, I AM getting some productive work done, which will contribute to paying for the new computer. So.

Goodnight!

testing, testing...

is this on?

No, that's not really what I mean.

I tested a few things I'm working for my new line today that I had prepped before.

Some promising, some not so much. But that's the process. Process of elimination, process of following.

I'm going to be SO glad when I finally get my computer system working well.

In the meantime, I'm working on RED! It's a small line that we are doing at a great price for my wonderful galleries to offer their customers for Valentines Day.

So I'm breaking my cardinal rule that I don't touch a single thing that is part of my past work during this creative retreat.

But with all the computer nonsense of the past, what? week and a half? two weeks? I am setting the new work aside in order to finish this project. So that,

When I get my new computer, and my replacement printer gets here I can get back to the new stuff uninterrupted.

That's the plan.

I've pretty much decided I have to surrender to getting a new computer. I can't afford it. But I can't afford not to have new work for this next year either. And I did get an unexpected order today that will almost pay for it. And after a new hard drive, a new back-up drive, a new keyboard, dumping tons of stuff off my current computer (a 5 year old MacBook that was the smallest and cheapest at the time I bought it) to free up more memory, shutting down all other programs... Photoshop still won't work without hanging up, quitting without permission, and me losing whatever I'd been working on for the past 15 minutes or 5 hours.

I wanted to limp along with it until the proverbial cash flow was better, but it's not working.

I'm going to get a desktop. They are cheaper, and I have this little laptop for when I travel.

A nice story: the Fed Ex courier (who I gave my (new/old) printer to) checked out this blog and read that the printer he delivered to me was defective and I was stressed about my time crunch. He e-mailed me to tell me I could take the old one back if I needed. Wow. How thoughtful and considerate was that? People are good. And whenever people are good, and kind, and thoughtful it makes me happy, and feel more hope for this world. Thanks Curtis!

So. I guess that's all for now from me, the Very Glamorous Artist, living a Very Glamorous Life!

And so tomorrow is going to be: finishing most of the RED! collection and likely buying a new computer. And leaving this one there overnight so they can transfer all the data so I don't mess it up and need to make yet another trip to the store. Is it 11 trips now, or or is it my 12th?

Who cares. It's better to think forward, and just deal with the bumps in the road as they come up.

And now, once again, it's off to dreamland.

I'll share more of my glamorous life tomorrow I suspect.

In the meantime: ride those waves, baby!

Friday, January 7, 2011

setback..

yeah, again.

So. I ordered a new printer from Amazon (prime! 2 day shipping for free!). I needed it because my new/old one wouldn't print the size transparencies I need and, well, Kinko's won't let me print transparencies anymore because someone caused a lot of damage doing that in the past.

It came today, I asked the Fed Ex guy if he wanted my old one for free. He said he'd think about it. One moment later he was back. "Really? Free?"

"Yeah, but I'd like it if you'd buy all the ink cartridges I have for it."

He had no cash, but said he'd bring it to me next time he was by. I trust him.

So.

I took my time, unpacked the new one, got it set up on my desk, read the instructions (yes, in spite of my history of not doing so...) did everything right.

But. (yeah, you know what's coming).

So I called tech. support. We went through everything. "Defective, she said."

Ok. So I need a new one, right away.

"We'll get it out to you right away, it will take 7-10 business days."

I don't HAVE 7-10 business days!

I called Amazon. They were great. But I won't get it until Tuesday afternoon.

(clenched belly)

The Amazon-India division guy said: "I'm e-mailing you a return authorization, just print it out and give it to the driver when he bring you the new one."

Me: "Uh. I don't have a printer."

Oh well. We worked that part out. But I still don't have a printer until Tuesday afternoon.

So. A stress relieving run, and I made another strategy to continue to be relatively productive until I get the printer on Tuesday afternoon.

You see, the new work I'm exploring really needs not only a functioning computer but a large format printer. I need to run a lot of tests to see if I'm even on a good track.

What's up with all this computer nonsense?

My assistant T. says it's poltergeists.

I'm inclined to believe her.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Well,

I know you've all been on pins and needles waiting to see if I honored my commitment to run today. (All one of you! ha!)

Yes! I did. And I felt MUCH better after.

It was a pretty successful day. I think I made real progress. I won't know until tomorrow. Who knows? It could be Walmart all over again.

But I KNOW I made progress in the learning of Photoshop. I managed to do things I had pretty much given up on learning. I didn't even think it could be done. Yippee!

I ordered a new printer. Anyone need an almost new one that is great but doesn't print the sizes I need?

At this point in my process I can't see how I'll possibly have developed and refined the techniques I'm working on in time to present them at The Show. Let alone have created some dazzling new work with them.

But I try to remember I always feel this way.

So I keep breathing and working away, and try to trust that everything is unfolding as it should.

And somehow, I always manage to pull it off.

I'm in the first third of the process I sense.

So I have to keep going, one step at a time.

Boy-oh-boy, I hope my history of always managing to pull it off repeats itself this year!

And now, in preparation for another day, I'm going to bed.

Not 2 am like last night.

But at midnight, or thereabout.

It's more civilized.

Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

For some reason,

I can't even remember today!

I know I spent time at Kinkos, finding out that they won't let me make transparencies anymore because some other customer caused expensive damage to one of their copiers doing that. And they won't even do it for me on their behind-the-counter machines.

Huh.

What I'm doing right now depends on good, dense black transparencies. And I need them to be at least 8.5x14 inches, which doesn't work on my current printer.

Researching printers. They aren't terribly expensive (certainly compared to the order I just placed with Dick Blick, which should earn me free shipping for life).

And then there's Photoshop. I'm actually getting better at it every day but there is SOOO much to learn, and why-oh-why did I not start learning this before I NEEDED it for this process??? (oh, right, because I was busy filling orders... never mind).

I felt all manic-racing-nothing-was-happening-fast-enough-for-me all day.

Oh yeah, I also placed orders for new materials, samples, and for stuff I'd run out of and need for The Show. That took quite a bit of time too. Not to mention money.

And still, didn't go running. My sprained ankle is becoming (if I'm being honest) a poor excuse.

Can I use you to be accountable here? For tomorrow? Either running or yoga, or both, if I want to feel a whole lot better.

Ok?

I'll report in tomorrow.

And the best thing of all, by far: a very dear friend agreed to lend me the money to do The Show. I tried so hard to have enough set aside this year to do it without being in debt when I get back but alas, not this year. That disappointment pales in comparison with the anxiety that was growing in my belly about affording everything though. The Show is VERY expensive for someone with a lot to ship from the west coast. It's expensive anyway, but add on $5500 shipping... Well, you get my point. I hadn't realized that I had stopped breathing a few days ago from my financial worries. I've been breathing again this evening! Thank you so much, and you know who you are. xoxoxo.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let... (oh, we won't talk about them as they seem to be gaining power in the world and I don't want them to think they are welcome here...)

So, just sleep tight!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

finally!

It's been frustrating.

I cried last night from the sadness of having lost a week of my precious retreat time to the nonsense of computer issues.

The sprained ankle was a mere inconvenience.

This time is so rare and precious (not to mention my business depends on it) that I felt real grief losing a chunk of it.

But things happen as they will. It's our job to surf the waves, eh?

But now, finally I'm on the (REAL, ha!) roller coaster!

It's a ride.

Excitement! What I'm doing is working! It's gorgeous! I'm so happy!

Oh. It isn't very good at all. It doesn't look anything like I imagined. It looks like Walmart.

Well, ok. Every year it's like this, and you always manage to journey through the tunnel into something new and good, so dig in, and keep going.

And that's where I am right now.

Assessing.

And the best way, now, at midnight, is to go to sleep and look with fresh eyes in the morning.

Good night!

Monday, January 3, 2011

progress!

(I think).

I'll know more later.

But I DO know this: I am LOVING my solitary retreat this year. Loving it. It reminds me of when I first started this whole thing: waking up every morning excited to face the unknown, the fact that I had The Whole Day to do nothing but work. No place to go, no place to be, no one to talk to...

Things have changed for the better in (nearly) every respect. I love the fact that things ARE really working these days, I adore my helpers (will you see me as a total loser if I tell you they constitute most of my social life?), I am SO grateful to not have to do everything myself, store every little thing in my brain myself, feel that I need to do seventeen different things all at the same time, and to have to endure the feeling (and the reality) of being out of control every single moment. To know that nothing was getting done well, as I couldn't attend to anything fully.

But this time, right now, brings back the best part of those days. It's the only part of "the olden days" that I miss. Although the very fact of it's scarcity is likely one reason it feels so precious.

And I'm relishing it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

small set-back

Well, small in the grand scheme of things but quite frustrating in present time. I had big computer problems throughout the past week. I started learning Photoshop Elements as a tool at the core of the new work I am wanting to explore. Things got tweaky and wouldn't behave properly even with loading the program so I knew it wasn't operator error. Suffice to say, after 7 trips to the Genius Bar at the Apple store (and yes, not only are they genius's but friendly, kind, patient and relentlessly helpful) I got a new hard drive installed. Then I couldn't retrieve any (any!) data from my external drive (which, after making the mistake of not backing up WAY too many times I now back up every week). Quite a lot of anxiety there, I must say. My entire mailing list (collected over years), all my financials (which I've been paying a bookkeeper to enter each week), all my photos; the professional ones I use to apply for shows, my catalog, etc., the photos I've collected all year for this new work AND of course personal photos. Music I was less concerned about as I have it on my iPod.

And then I sprained my ankle and it got really big and purple.

But it's all better now! I got my data back yesterday (one more trip to the genius bar in the next couple days as my back-up disk is not accepting more data), my ankle should be ready for running and yoga within a week if I keep up the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), and

I felt such relief yesterday that I was grinning at strangers!

I lost a week of my creative time, but what's gone is gone.

Now it's time to dig in.

I've made my first inroads with Photoshop Elements. And I've become aware of just How Many Options there are, and how many ways to use them, and how many ways to try to get to what I want. Yikes. So I have selected a few techniques I want to learn, and once I figure those out I am going to jot step-by-step notes as to how I did it, and, (note to self!) test my idea on some actual glass before I spend all my precious time lost in the virtual possibilities.

2010 kicked me in the ass here at the end, but I like thinking it just was mad it had to leave. I think fondly of the past year, and thank it for it's goodness.

And I welcome the blank slate of 2011 with open arms!