2013 Enter Love

EnterLoveHappy 2013! I’m not going to list out the excuses why I haven’t blog since November. There would be too many, my hands would cramp up from all the typing and I would never get to the meat of this post. My last blog was about keeping things simple and simplifying life. So I will just say I didn’t blog and leave it at that. There – doesn’t get much more simple than that!

So 2013 is off and running. I feel very good about the start of this year. And I would go so far as to say that 2012 was fundamentally good. I do have a 13-year-old daughter in the emotional hurricane, but we are currently in the eye so all is well – for today. I did a couple small holiday shows at the end of the year that went extremely well. The house in the picture above was a last-minute creation I made for a show. I liked it so much that I made a couple more. A little village if you will.

WoodenHousesAlong with “Enter Love” I made “Hope” and “Joy”. They were so much fun to do! I have a true confession that I’m not even sure my son knows yet. The wood I used are left overs from his Tae Kwon Do board breaks he has to do during testing. He always wants to keep the broken wood after testing – a sign of his accomplishment and strength?? – and my garage shelf is now over flowing with broken boards. Well, with a little bit of sawing and reshaping they make great little house! The fact that they are not perfectly straight and even thrills my inner rule breaker.

I had a lot of positive feed back on them at the show and two of them did sell. Enter Love was the first to go. And then Joy. Nobody wanted to buy Hope. What’s the deal with that? Does Hope not sell these days? Please tell me it’s not so. Well, it will sell someday – somebody has to want a little Hope out there. Can’t we all use a little?

P.S. The cute paper flowers surrounding the houses are courtesy of my daughter. She got herself into a bit of trouble (I did mention she’s 13, right?) and was sentenced to help me out in my art room. She actually had a great time making them, did a fantastic job and a couple sold at the show – for which she got the earnings. And she certainly liked THAT!

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Simplify?

Alas, I am sorry to say this is the current scene of my working desk in my art room. Now I want to play a little game with you….kind of like where’s Waldo. There is a word (actually I guess there is more than one) that is black and made of wood standing on one of the shelves.  Can you see it? Can anyone?? O.K. to save your eyesight and to get to the point I will give you a visual hint.

If you guessed “Simplify” you are a winner!! Now, is it just me or does any one else see the irony of this photo?! Here I have this beautiful word “simplify” – meaning to make simple, to reduce complexity, to make easier to understand – and I have made it anything but simple. In fact, I have made my whole work space anything but simple! I have 2 owls, one owl button, one stone heart, one blue bird and one pink flamingo hanging on this word “simplify”. All that’s missing is a partridge in a pear tree and given enough time that may materialize as well!!

I had such good intentions when I bought this word. I wanted it to serve as a reminder to keep things simple. As you can see, I haven’t been very successful at keeping my work space very simple and I’m afraid the same goes for the rest of my life as well. I am feeling pulled in all different directions and I find it is making it difficult to focus on any one thing. I am feeling the need for a huge clean up – both physically and spiritually. It is time to purge the things that are no longer useful to me (again, both physically and spiritually). Perhaps by verbalizing this publicly it will hold me more accountable! Perhaps it will make me a better blogger! Ah, who am I kidding!

Preppy Skull

I’ve never mentioned that I lived in Hudson, Ohio circa 1982-1984. Think Normal Rockwell small town. Think village square with a clock tower. Think housing paint code of white with black shudders (not joking). Think pink and green every where you look. If you can possibly think all of that at once then you have a visual idea of Hudson, Ohio.

I had just moved back from Australia. To say I was a square peg trying to pound my way into a round hole would be an understatement. Not a stitch of pink and green to be found on me – nor any alligators. On our way to Ohio we had stopped in Berryville, Arkansas to visit family. My mother took me shopping for school clothes there. Now, just the name alone should alert one to the fact that Berryville may not have exactly been the fashion mecca of the America (it being a town of 300 or so). But, what did I know – I trusted my mother. Let’s just say that I’ve had a hard time trusting my mother ever since.

But somehow the color scheme of pink and green has been planted deep within this little skull of mine! This ‘preppy’ inspired skull gives a nod to my old home of Hudson, Ohio. I don’t think it would have gone over so well there at that time, but evidently it had at least one fan here in Vancouver. It was sold last week from Most Everything! So this little chica has found a new home. And after 2 1/2 years in preppy town, U.S.A., I too found a new home in northern California, just a few miles away from Berkeley. It was a refreshing change – not a paint code to be found. It was like opening the door to a rainbow of color.

Busy Bee

Beekeeper Victoria

Here is my amazingly brave and clever girl Victoria holding one of the frames from her hives. She has been insanely busy this summer as her ‘girls’ (i.e. the bees) have evidently out done themselves this year. I love that she has the courage to throw on this jumpsuit and go work among the bees – seriously, I think I’d need armor and a glass bubble. But she does this work without thinking twice about it….well, I have heard a little bit of grumbling but that is only because it’s been hotter than Hades in Missouri and wearing this jumpsuit must be like sitting on black tarmack in the sun.

But off she trudges to her bee house to check in the girls and make sure all is in order. This is what she is greeted with…..

“The Girls”

Yes, those are hundreds of bees covering the outside of one of Victoria’s hives. Thank goodness someone does this work to give such delicious honey to the world (or the locals and a few choosen friends such as myself)! I’m not even going to attempt to tell you what goes into getting the honey ready for consumption – perhaps Victoria will one day share all of that in her own words and with more photos. I can say it sounds like a heck of a lot of work and a rather sticky business. Not for those who have tactile issues – my husband would go screaming from her honey bottling room.

But when all is said and done we are graced with the delicious honey that only nature can produce. It’s like liquid gold. She has had a banner year in sales thanks to her busy girls. Thankfully our 30 plus year friendship scores me a prized bottled before she sells out!

Rain or Shine and Being Kind

Jen & Eve

This is me and my very talented and arty friend Eve (of Myriad Studios). We did our first little show together this past weekend called Rain or Shine. A small little church affair to help raise some money for a non-profit. This was my first time really getting my stuff (and Victoria’s) out there in a formal way. I really put a lot of energy into the table and having myself ready with actual business cards and of course work to show.

Here are some shots of our table.

Jen & Victoria’s table side

Eve’s table side

A close up of Victoria’s beautiful skulls with the exception of the one on the far left – that one I created. I suppose I could have gotten some better close ups…..sorry about that!

Victoria’s Beauties (except far left)

So I went to the event really trying to have no expectations. I knew I had done the best I could at this point and time so I wanted to let go of the results. Just go and have fun – and for Lord’s sake SMILE! Stay positive and upbeat no matter what the day had in store.

Overall I had a great time and met some really wonderful and encouraging people. BUT….yes, there always seems to be a but….there were two people who made remarks that hit a bit hard. The first was easy enough to blow off, but the second was delivered in such a back-door, underhanded, passive-aggressive way that it unfortunately stuck to me more than I’d like to admit. It was one of those comments that I had to pause, look at Eve, and confirm with her that I’d just been insulted.

Why is it that I forget all the positive comments and zero in on the one hurtful comment? Am I the only one that tends to do this? I wish I didn’t and I am working so hard on not. A good dose of gratitude usually does the trick. But I think what trips me up more than the actual comment is the need to be unkind in the first place. I just don’t understand why some people feel the need to be unkind. I certainly understand that not everyone is going to like my work – I get that – different strokes for different folks and all that. But why does someone feel the need to express unkindness to another? What’s that about??

I guess I better grow some thicker skin because I plan to keep putting myself out there and will hopefully be doing a couple more local shows this fall and winter. But if I could just make a suggestion to the human race it would be this: Be Kind-rewind. If you are of a certain age group as I am, you may remember that saying from the VHS rental stores. So I would just say if you have an unkind thought that goes through your head that you feel about to slip out your mouth – hit the pause button – and rewind. Pull it back in. Kindness DOES matter.

Flora….yes, another owl.

Flora

Yes, I’ve done it again….gone and made another owl. It seems to be all I can do lately. Well, I have been working on a bit of madness which I should be able to post soon – just putting finishing touches on a little something. So until then, you are stuck with owls. And as I am completely brain dead at this moment – lacking all verbal, written and basically any form of communication skills – I shall just post photos of little Miss Flora. I do adore her and her fluttery eyes. And yes, those are buttons – individually hand stitched. Seemed like a good idea when I started…..

Mavis

This is what I’ve been up to. Making owls. Kind of moving into a 3D meets 2D with a fabric 3D owl in a frame. Complimented with a painted branch from a tree (I promise I was as gentle to the tree as possible during the pruning process) and some stitched paper leaves. I think it all works rather nicely together. I tried to keep the color at a minimum so that it could tie in with most any decor. People seem to like them – I’ve gotten good feed back and even sold one at ‘Most Everything’.

Some more photos for your viewing pleasure.

Just a bit of silliness really. I seem to need that. Especially after working on a personal piece like “Maudie & Lucy” – just need a little down time. But I’ve got to keep my hands busy so out come my owls.

My husband and I just started working on a piece together…..this is a first (hopefully not a last!). Matt (hubby) used to do little clay figures when he was a little guy. Thank goodness his mom saved his pieces – dinosaurs, space ships and a variety of awesomeness. So I thought after almost 35 years of not making anything, it was time for him to get his hands dirty. Can’t decide if we’ll use Sculpey or paper clay. But we are just working on the armature – wire and tin foil. He is not trusting my process and thinks I’m steering him wrong. Don’t want to give away what we are creating, but he currently thinks it looks like Scarlett O’Hara – southern bell in a big hoop dress. I’m cutting him some slack as it has been a long while for him to get creative – but good lord man, have some vision!

Will post more on that later…….