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following one’s own advice?

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Today, September 10, has been spent clearing out boxes of papers, stored since my move 2+ years ago.  The good news: there’s very little “trash”. The good news? much of what had been stored may now be obsolete. The better news: this draft blog post is still relevant, if not quite so much. Written at the end of May, it was a reflection on being at Crossroads. I no longer feel quite like that. Several exhibitions have come and gone since then – there’s been a lot of new work made over the past two years. There are two invitationals to deliver work for in the next month.

memory-mont    meditation-map   moon-1_02

***

draft post

For nearly three decades (yikes!), in one format or another, I taught, coached, facilitated – whatever you choose to name it- I worked with creative people, individually, in classes and in small groups. Whether in a formal setting such as a University classroom or professional symposiums or more casual retreat environments, my basic task was to help folks make the next move or next jump in their creative process.  Along the way a lot of processes, techniques and possibilities were shared but the underlying focus was always on each individual’s journey.

Every person is unique and each set of circumstances is very particular. Still, the basics of creative work are consistent from my point of view: learn the required skills and language, master your tools, improve constantly and most important, show up! Make one decision and then the next. Then the next. Be true to your initial creative vision, each subsequent decision should match that.

Life: Circumstances change. We find ourselves, every so often, just moving with the currents, perhaps adrift. It can be difficult (and is certainly time/energy consuming) to re-orient. Having just come through one of those multi-year situations, here were major challenges: My studio discipline was shot. The daily work habit needed to be rebuilt. I went from a decades long consistent daily practice to not being in studio at all. Part of this had to do with all that accompanies a major loss, from coping to surviving to putting myself back together, and then to building a new life. What did/do I want that life to look like? what is an appropriate life/work balance, now? I used to know the answers to these questions, has that changed? Actually, lots has changed and I am adjusting and choosing and celebrating!

Confidence, well, where did it go, if it ever existed? (Is the work any good? what happens next? how should it look? why am I doing this?  In short, all the questions we ask ourselves as we build what is generally, a very solitary work life.)

Identity: Marge Piercy said: “every artist lacks a “license”. This is true. We can self describe, self identify as artists, with or without degrees, with or without an exhibition record, sales, awards and external acclaim, but many of us face a certain sense that the outside world places little or no value on what we do. A friend once told me that what people like me do is non-essential, therefore without value. Is this true? For that friend it was. I’ve almost always had a strong sense of self, of who I am in the world, but at times the self-doubts can be challenging. There’s no shortage of reinforcement for insecurity, is there.

***Now, on the other side of this reflection from late May, I am still not in studio daily, but am creating new gardens, new pollinator habitat, new community relationships. This matters. My little cottage in Billings is on the market and has required major work in the aftermath of a renter. sigh. There’s been a lot of work at the treehouse – hooray- and here at the StarHouse. This has been the season of paint on my shoes <G>.

Some decisions have been made in light of personal changes as well as the change in the “market”.

  • Travel for teaching is no longer in the template of my life. I will miss all of you whose relationships have been so important over the years. thank you for the gifts of your friendship and for how you allowed me to see through your eyes.
  • A greater focus on putting the work into the world is important. Perhaps (if there is something to say <G>) I will begin writing again.
  • Primarily, it has to be about what happens in the studio. Without that, there is nothing to share, nothing to say.

As we approach the Equinox, colors are shifting; the habits of birds and wild critters are changing, there’s a welcome chill in the dark hours and lovely warmth in the afternoons. The higher peaks behind the house have snow. The light is wonderful.

wishing you well.

Four Moons

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

 

moon-1_02

Sunday, September 27, brings us a whopping 4 moons at one time–the Blood Moon, the Harvest Moon, a Super Moon, and a Total Lunar Eclipse!  Of course, they all refer to the same moon but each has a special meaning.

The Blood Mood refers to the last total lunar eclipse in a tetrad of 4 total lunar eclipses.  This tetrad started on April 15, 2014 and includes the eclipses on October 8, 2014 and April 4, 2015. The next tetrad won’t begin until April, 2032.

The Harvest Moon refers to the full moon in September.  Folklore says that this is the Harvest Moon because farmers can work late into the night bringing in the harvest by the bright light of the full moon. Nowadays I’m pretty sure that headlights have taken over that duty!

A Super Moon occurs when the full moon also happens when the moon is at its closest point to the Earth in its slightly elliptical orbit.  This Super Moon will be about 225,000 miles from the Earth won’t be this close again until November of 2016.  The difference is noticeable in both size and brightness but shouldn’t be confused with the “Moon Illusion” that makes a full moon near the horizon look massively huge.  The Moon Illusion really is an illusion–just bracket that huge full moon with two fingers–it will shrink right back to normal size.

Finally, this full moon with be a Total Lunar Eclipse.  For us, the eclipse will have already have started at moonrise but totality–when the moon enters the darkest central part of the Earth’s shadow–will begin with the moon nicely above the horizon and will last for an amazing 72 minutes!

To find the time of moonrise for your location, go to http://www.timeanddate.com/moon/ and enter your location.

Moon rise is always a magical moment, and watching one with intent makes it even better!

With clear skies, of course.

guest writer, Jeff Ross

Mare-Serenitatis

Mare Serenitatis

as we begin a new month

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

“Three Things to Remember”, Mary Oliver (from A Thousand Mornings)

As long as you’re dancing, you can

break the rules.

Sometimes breaking the rules is just

extending the rules.

 

Sometimes there are no rules.

***

sunfleur
It’s a new season in my  life. “Rules” in all variations of the term, are being considered and reconsidered.

At the beginning of August we are into full Summer. The garden is producing, the bees are happy and busy of course, birds come to the feeders. Decisions are being made in the studios – both the physical space and the more important “studio between the ears”.

My sabbatical is officially over.

 

 

dawn window

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

FFAC

“dawn window: begin again”: My donation for “The 100″, the fundraiser for American Cancer Society.

5w x 7″h, mounted to 8×10”

Mixed media: photo on fabric, lutradur and other surfaces, hand beaded, embroidered, machine stitch.

A Summer dream, made in honor of a sister.
How can you participate? All the details are here:
http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/FFACThe100Fundraiser.html

and now it is October?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

again? and already?
It’s been a busy year with a lot of changes and reassessments.

sunday-tea  newmooonsky

Studio work was on hiatus while we moved house, now it is back! Hooray

.tracks  fault-line-a  moon-dance

Teaching had been on hold for a long while but I will be traveling again in 2015.

Not frequently, but still: traveling to teach from time to time. (the schedule will be updated as contracts are formalized).

The web site, long neglected, will be refurbished in the coming weeks (if the elves show up <G>)

***

In other news,  our dear, funny, and much loved, ms. Gracie passed away  in late September from complications following surgery. She is missed more than I can say.

She was a confident and happy puppy girl (despite being bounced around so many times before OBeau adopted her) and reminded us always, as dogs do, that the moment that counts is the now.

so-bright  Here she is, prepping for a laser treatment in late August, happy, smiling. her future’s so bright, she’s gotta wear shades. We honestly thought she’d make it through.

As GK says: “Be well, do good work and keep in touch.”

already?

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

7-1     blanket

It is July and this amazes me. Suddenly temperatures are scorching. It is incredibly dry. Keeping the gardens watered enough for survival is a challenge. The bonuses are vibrant color and daily treats from the veggie beds.

My days begin very early. Channeling my grandmother <G> (minus her cigarettes), I start the morning with a cup of coffee and whatever correspondence awaits. Then it’s out to weed a veggie bed and then to the river with the dogs. When we get back it is time to deal with the chores of watering, household stuff, whatever needs doing. By late morning or early afternoon I am, finally! at long last! in the studio.

This is a radical shift from my habits of 30+ years. My peak time for thinking and making was always in the morning. I’d work until late afternoon then shift gears. With the changes in my life the last years,  it has been necessary to alter my routines. The difficulty was identifying the issue and figuring out how to approach the requirements of my new life.  But here we are, working again and moving forward.

Now it’s time to dig out the tripod in order to get better photos, then I can update the website. There is a relearning curve after the sabbatical of the last long while – for example, I wrote this blog entry and promptly lost it! sigh.

Little things have been a good way to get my hands and eyes working together again.

in-process     strata

Waiting in the wings: a series dealing with my river walks. This piece is ready to be worked on. [altered photo on silk organza, layered on monoprint]. It wants marks, thread, perhaps sticks and stones, we’ll see.

layers

If you are in the US, have a safe celebration of the 4th!

September ending

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Although the hollyhocks continue to be wonderful, It seems so early for the leaves to be changing colors, for the mornings to be crisp and the afternoons warm, for the exuberance from the High School football stadium 3 blocks North, to be providing the sound track for Friday evenings.

Here it is, Fall, and moving quickly toward October first (is that Monday?). Looking back it would be very easy to say “where did it go?”. Even though I have spent most of the past 16 months in a fog, I know exactly where the time went. The year was spent dealing with unfinished business, clearing out a tool shed,  de-cluttering the house (and there is so much left to put into the loop!) and getting much needed repairs handled.

 

 

Can anyone tell me why, when we get rid of a lot of STUFF, the remaining things expand to fill the available space? It’s a mystery to me. <G>.

Autumn has always been the beginning of the most productive time of year for me: gardens done for the season, school begun, time opening up, cooler weather making it easier to stay indoors, and so forth. This year, my rhythms seem reversed. It’s uncomfortable. My intention for the next week is to reverse that, to get myself back into studio mode and a daily routine that supports the creative work. Tomorrow the computer leaves the studio space, I will begin the patching of walls from water damage (now that the roof is replaced, there is no more leaking in the studio, Hooray!) and look at all my spaces with new eyes.

Questions include: what do I want to work on, what set up would be supportive, and so forth. I am determined to rid myself of more excess, thereby creating clarity and more space.

If you are in my area and want to come by to adopt stuff that is going away, email me. We’ll make a date.

for information on Private Coaching, click here.]

putting on the lid -part one

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

The materials for the new roof were delivered this past week. Demolition begins Monday.The new roof will be completed in four days, they say (that is exactly how long they took on the house next door, I am optimistic.). Then the studio can be gutted and repaired! Hooray! It’s time to get back to work.

It will be great to have the major construction tasks completed. Noise, dirt, major messes and having to be aware of other people’s schedules can get wearing.

The process of off loading the materials was a lot of fun to watch. A few hours of entertainment on a hot July day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at these photos of the materials being delivered, I am struck by two things. First, that’s a big tree! It’s good it and the others were pruned out last Summer, we’ve had major wind storms this year. Second, my house looks dwarfed by that tree as well as the truck, [It is a small space, but that small?]

 

 

In other news, there’s no sign of a change in the weather here in South Central Montana. We are expecting the high 90’s and low triple digits through September. I’ve given up on the gardens for the year. Just keeping them alive is my current goal. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to dig them out and replant this Fall.  The clearing out has come to a halt as well, for now. I’m trying to organize the other spaces in the house and am working at the dining room table. The intention is to avoid creating too much clutter. Snicker if you want to, I am laughing as well. The operative word was “trying”. It’s a lost cause. Everything that might be used in any given creative endeavor must be out, where it can be located by scanning. That results in clutter on a good day, messes on other days. I need my studio space back! Soon, they say, soon. Meanwhile, the process of photographing and posting work for sale continues, and will for the next few days. Details are in the post “Putting a Lid on It”.

Do you have tips for staying cool to share? The only thing I’ve come up with, apart from judicious placement of fans, is putting a cold wrap on the back of my neck. What are your solutions, apart from AC?

putting a lid on it!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

After years of water damage (and inadequate repairs) to my studio ceiling I am finally getting a new roof! Actually the entire house is being re-roofed in the next two weeks, but my insurance does not cover the studio roof.

My challenge is to raise  the money to cover this major repair, in addition to my deductible so here’s the deal:

It’s yet another SALE!

There are new items on the store page, new small works on the gallery 4 page (and more coming this week, including works on paper and in wood).

Any order that totals $50 or more will get a bonus of a small embellishment potluck for mixed media/fiber artists.

Orders totaling $100 or more will get the above as well as a choice of one of my two .pdf workbooks.

$500 or more will get a bonus of the two above as well as a small artwork, ready to frame. (my choice on this one!)

This is my final sale of the season. I am looking forward to getting back in the studio this Fall following the re-roofing and remodel of the interior. It’s interesting how unearthing and clearing out  all sorts of stuff this Summer has helped renew my creative energy. Now to get the rest of the work done so I can explore my ideas in an adequate space. The dining room table is fine but gets cluttered so easily.

 

Summertime!

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Temperatures are projected for the high nineties all week. This means any out of doors work needs to be done in the morning and that the sun/shade patterns must be honored.  This is also the week the robins are fledging. There have been a many as 7 adult robins dive bombing my cats in the morning. The cats don’t like it, but they are confined to quarters for the next week or so. I prefer unhappy cats to dead or upset birds. Interestingly, Beau is curious but shows no sign of trying to retrieve the ones that get away. Mice on the other hand…

“Wafting in the Garden” <LOL>. Those of you who have had workshops with me know exactly what this means and does not mean. Suffice to say, the big floppy hat is in place but the long flowey skirt is not.And I am working HARD. Today I planted a twining honeysuckle to replace the dead grape vines, and a variegated dogwood in front of the South facing front windows. – behind day lilies and iris etc. I want year ’round visual interest. It seems to me another privacy screen plant would be a good idea,  but not today.

Next on my list is to procure chilled beverages and rebuild the side fence. Now that the steps are in (I did it! I got tired of waiting for other people’s schedules to clear and took matters into my own hands. I did it, all by myself.)  The steps  are level and to code but still require a railing. Designing the stone/brick foot path into the garden is an interesting process and will be fun – later.

Then the process of prepping for my “crazy woman clearing out the studio” sale begins. We’ll have an early bird reception Thursday, 3 p,m and the Public sale  Saturday. 8-3.

If you are in the Billings MT area, drop a note for the address and please, spread the word. All this stuff has to go so I can gut my studio, finally!

 

I hope you are having beach time but protecting your skin., that you are making stuff and doing well.

laura