Thursday, April 30, 2015

Unfinished Projects > Creativity

Right at the moment, I have more unfinished projects going than ever before in my life.  And instead of feeling overwhelmed, incompetent, or lazy, I'm actually embracing the feeling of having so many lovely options when I sit down to work on something.

It's a rather interesting shift in perspective.  Perhaps retirement does that to you?  If there aren't any looming deadlines, it's very nice to have a variety of projects to choose from:  tatting, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, quilting, 3 different baskets, several beading items, and I'm sure there are a few more that don't come to mind at the moment.

Naturally I have a list (on WorkFlowy, of course) of the deadlines and progress markers.  But I'm letting the rest ebb and flow according to my whims of the day.  Amazing how more relaxing life is with this new mindset.  I'm just not sure when the shift happened.

And of course, there is always room for exploration if something catches my wood carving, working with resin, wood sculpture.....the word "dabbling" comes to mind. All of which, is just to say, this whole process makes me feel much more creative.  And I am definitely not bored.



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Garage Clean-Out Survivor

The family arrived at the mainland house on Sunday with vehicles and strong arms ready for the first major purge of the garage.  Two trips to the dump, three trips to the Goodwill, a full truck load of power tools heading to a good home, and 2 1/2 vehicles full of adopted priceless treasures finally made a dent in the garage storage.  Oh, there's more.  Quite surprising that we've been able to park a car in there, all these years.  It was definitely a lighter job with many hands, loving family and friends, and much laughter.

All of this to say, it's definitely a process to let go of things, with each of us at a different place in the process.  So many things carry memories with them, but that doesn't mean we have to haul them around with us and store them for decades.  It was my mother's, but does that mean I have to keep it?

I will say that it was with much relief to return to my tiny, island home and breathe a sigh of relief, out of the chaos.  The next mainland project will be to complete my studio clean-up.  

But that is for another day.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Letting Go

The following post by Courtney Carver is marvelously serendipitous for me personally, so I need to share it.  Even if you are right on top of your spring cleaning (please don't tell me if you are.), letting go of a bad self-image, resentment, or perfection may also be a part of our cleaning up.  I'm printing this article and keeping it handy by my bedside as a daily reminder.

Posted: 21 Apr 2015 09:33 AM PDT
If you want to be light, you have to let go.
Every thing you hold on to gets heavy after a while. Imagine what it would feel like to carry your stuff around all day. From the stuff you store just in case, and the clutter in your home to harsh words from a loved one, or a regret from the past. Your stuff is heavy and even though you might not actually be carrying around your clutter, in some ways you are.
We each carry our own heavy things like worry, fear, pain, and bad habits, but we all share the burden. It’s not just you who suffers from the weight you carry through the world. It impacts your work, relationships, health and everyone around you.
Even though letting go can feel scary, and uncertain, it also feels light. You can feel the lightness immediately and other people will recognize it too. They will sense that there is something different about you; something attractive and warm. It’s hard to ignore when someone is light.

Be light.

When you let go of physical objects, your home feels light.
Start with the easy stuff like duplicates, things you don’t use or enjoy and the stuff that has no purpose in your life or your home. Box it up, set it aside, and notice the light in your home.
When you let go of the just in case items, your suitcase feels light.
Packing lightly is a great practice for living lightly. On your next trip, pack for 1/2 the time you are traveling. Leave the just in case items at home and notice the light when you are walking through the airport, unpacking at the hotel, and exploring a new city.
When you let go of what you don’t like about yourself, your body feels light.
Maybe you aren’t at your ideal weight, or you don’t love the wrinkles, extra softness, or something else about your body. I think most of us carry some sort of that negative self talk around, and it’s heavy.
Look in the mirror and smile. Really see yourself and the body that has been through so much with you. Read about how one woman learned to live in her body for inspiration and figure out what works best for you. Let go and feel the light in your body.
When you let go of anger or resentment from the past, your heart feels light.
Letting go doesn’t require fixing things, or setting the record straight. You can just decide that you are going to stop punishing yourself. If you need a ceremony, write it down and burn or tear it up. Say goodbye to the hurt you cannot resolve and notice the light in your heart.
When you let go of fear of the future, your soul feels light.
The path ahead is uncertain and that’s never going to change. Release your fear of how things will unfold by getting rooted in the present. Do your best to show up today, and you will be better equipped to handle your tomorrows with grace and ease.
Take a deep breath, let go of fear about what might happen, and notice the light in your soul.
When you let go of items on your to-do list, your mind feels light.
Maybe you can do it all, but you can’t do it all today. Let go of the long lists and focus on a short one with a handful of items that you can accomplish in one day. You have to choose between crossing things off your list, or living with clarity about what’s most important to you. At the end of the day, once you’ve let go of all the things that need to be done, notice the light in your mind.
When you let go of perfection, everything feels light.
The opposite of perfection is freedom, so when you let it go, your work, health, and relationships rise from that freedom and lightness. Let there be typos and failures in your work. Let there be disagreements with people you love. Let there be lazy afternoons of movie marathons and potato chips. Give yourself permission to be a work in progress and feel the light in everything.
When you let go of the need to be right, your relationships feel light.
When did being right and fixing things replace true love in your relationship? Let go of being right and focus on what makes you smile. Give your friend/lover/partner a big hug, remember what you love about the two of you together and notice the light in your relationship.
Letting go of things for a clean countertop or closet might not be enough to sustain a life with less, but light is everything. As my friend KC says, “Give yourself permission to glow in the dark.” Let go to be light.
When you are overwhelmed, tired or stressed, the solution is almost always … less. Get rid of something. Lots of somethings. Let go.

If you want to be light, you have to let go.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Career Change & Being Authentic

My word for this year is AUTHENTIC  (see, and it's influencing some unexpected changes in my life.

After teaching basketry for 20 years, I've decided to "retire", meaning that after the two venues already booked in 2016 (plus the one coming up in two weeks), I will no longer propose, travel and teach.  I may teach a few classes here at home, but my conference days are done.  With this decision comes great relief and breathing room, so it certainly is the right decision.

Actually I came to this decision, and then remembered my word for the year, so I must have internalized it on some level.

I'm not quite ready to simply sit in the rocking chair and crochet (although I will probably still do that).  It's just time to spend my hours doing other things - a career change, if you will.

Career change statistics suggest that the average person will be making a career change approximately 5-7 times during their working life.

So I'm making a career change....I'm just not quite sure what to call this new phase in my life.




Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Perfect Day

Sunshine -
     A ferry ride-
            Beading with friends on San Juan-


Monday, April 13, 2015

Fiber Artists Retreat & Show

Four days spent with 7 other fiber artists in a lovely retreat setting near the Olympic Peninsula were just what the doctor ordered.  Quiet time to work on my own projects (re-learning to ply-split, tatting, and making progress on my large dragon piece), talking with friends, much laughter, learning new fiber techniques (working with ice resin, marbling with fingernail polish in water), and then going to the opening reception of our show in Pt. Orchard.  Perfect.

Sidney Art Museum, Port Orchard Upcoming Show in April 2015
Beyond Blue
April 1 - April 30, 2015
Artists' Reception Sunday, April 12, 1-4pm, 202 Sidney Ave, Port Orchard, WA 98366

Fiber 19, an eclectic group of mixed media fiber artists are the featured artists in April.  If you are in the area, stop by to see our show!
Among the members of the group are basket-makers, quilters, silk painters, tapestry weavers, fabric and fiber sculptors, and embroiderers. We hail from the greater Puget Sound area from Whidbey Island to Kent, plus now have members who have migrated to Portland, California, and Vienna, Austria. The artists in the show are Sally Anaya, Mary Auld, Debra Calkins, Nikki deRelle, Kaylin Frances, Joanna Graham, Barbara Matthews, Louise Roby, Deborah Taylor, Tre Taylor, and Rebecca Wachtman.
In 2008, a variety of forces brought our core members together into the Fiber Arts Certificate Program at the University of Washington. Regardless of our past life situations, which varied from contract negotiator to fashion designer to artist, we were all drawn to invest nine months of our lives to boost our art into another sphere--to making an intentional turn in our art and our lives. Little did we know then that the program would envelope us in an all-consuming venture that both taxed our resources and nurtured our creative energy.  Since the Certificate Program, the group has expanded to include other like-minded mixed media fiber artists. Their work includes 2 and 3-D wall art, 3-D standing art, and installations and the inspirations vary as do their personalities. 

Fiber 19 is differentiated from other groups by our desire to produce collaborative pieces that both interrelate in a visually cohesive way and demonstrate the varied mix of materials and methods that each artist uses.  Blue and Beyond -- our collaborative at the Sidney Art Museum shown here consists of a dozen 12x12” pieces each incorporating a piece of blue chambray cloth. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Cleaning the Work Space

Easter may now be in the past, but I'm still in the throes* of spring cleaning. Simply cleaning up one table in my small studio area gave me a burst of creative energy. Why is that?

From an article on
(Only one of many interesting topics in this article, by the way.)

A clean and organised environment affects your mood, productivity, and others perception of who you are.

How many times have you waken up without any motivation at all? How many times have you started working on something without being able to get focused and inspired? Next time this happens, take a look around you. Is your environment clean and well-organized? If not, take some minutes to clean it up and put everything into place. You will feel refreshed and reborn and productivity will spark immediately. But not only that, you will come across as caring and punctual, two highly esteemed traits. Why do think most of the big companies pay so much attention to creating the best working environment for their employees? They know what makes them happy and how it affects their productivity.
So I'm going to use this in the future....need a boost of productivity?  Clean a room, a shelf, a work area.   Nice! It also helps in finding things that were lost for ever so long.
*The plural noun throes means a great struggle or a condition of agonizing pain or trouble. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Gravity Glue

A friend sent me a link about Michael Grab - an artist skilled in rock balancing, meditation, and patience.  His work is awe-inspiring.  You may also want to check out his website:

He gives the word "balance" a whole new meaning.

Lisa Be
By Lisa Be
LifeBuzz StaffSecret Behind How This Guy Balances Rocks Is Very Unusual. Can You Guess It?
Michael Grab has mastered the art of stone balancing. He explains how he does it. “The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of “tripod” for the rock to stand on. Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another. In the finer point balances, these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters. Some point balances will give the illusion of weightlessness as the rocks look to be barely touching. Parallel to the physical element of finding tripods, the most fundamental non-physical element is harder to explain through words. In a nutshell, I am referring to meditation, or finding a zero point or silence within yourself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on your mind and your patience. The challenge is overcoming any doubt that may arise.”