Archive for the ‘making meaning’ Category

Random Thoughts

It’s a relatively early Saturday morning, and we are marbling. I’ve learned to leave the color and pattern decisions to hubby, as his skill with those far exceeds mine. We have begun working on a new major fiber piece, after a huge amount of deliberation for design and what-not. I’m documenting the process, but it will be months before I can really show the finished piece and talk about it. I am excited about it, ordered lots of new threads, and hopefully I can get some more pieces of lava before the gem show for embellishment. All in all, a  great way to start the Saturday.

Then last night we attended a wedding of a co-worker and amazing math teacher. What a joyful life! Met up with some teachers I hadn’t seen in a while, and experienced my first orthodox Jewish wedding, The rabbi was amazing, and the ceremony was just beautiful. I was so happy for them. Actually had a chance to dance with hubby and we both realized that the spring that used to be in our steps was extremely rusty. We used to spend hours on the weekends out dancing – last night I couldn’t seem to get the feet to want to follow him. Getting old sucks!

But it was such a wonderful five hours! There was such joy all around. We just had an amazing time, and we kept reminiscing about our 35 years together.

But I need to temper that with news that an internet friend is facing ovarian cancer. Now, I’m the kind of person who has always had a hard time making friends, and so I love the internet because it has allowed me to reach out in an easy manner. We have exchanged art work, commiserated on the political scene, and worked on Art from the Heart together. This shouldn’t be happening to someone in the prime of life. I am really working at sending positive thoughts to her whenever I think of her each day. Positivity is working for me, so I want to see if I can put it out there into the universe and extend its reach. Many blessings, much healing light my friend. You will be back to share your humor and photos and warped sense of humor! You are too precious to leave us too soon.

 

Right Out of the Marbling Tray

Work in progress Wednesday was marbling, so it makes sense to show pictures of the process….I never seem to get my camera ready to capture the creativity! Hubby sets up the day before, alums all the fabric, and covers the studio (AKA the second room) with sheets to protect all the sewing projects), and then all the fun happens the next day. He also has cut, serged, and pretreated the fabric, in addition to all of the above. So there’s a lot that goes into the process before we can have any “fun.”

Here’s our new metal tray, which allows us to do fat quarters a whole lot easier than having to set up the big plexiglass tray. Who knew we just needed to visit a feed store and could get what we wanted? There for the longest time I was trying restaurant supply stores, looking for the largest cookie tray I could find…….We’ve already marbled two pieces, and hubby is just starting to lay the paint for the next piece. The paint you see is on the bottom of th e tray and won’t affect the new pieces.

More paint – you can see the initial concentration of the drops and then how it spreads.

The green is going on either side of the yellow and copper – hubby is experimenting with some new ideas.

More layers of color. Notice how the new colors are making the initial paint “condense” as it spreads and moves closer together. Hubby has what I call an “innate color sense.” He just picks colors and goes ahead. I’m the “planner,” and my stuff always comes out looking “muddy.”

A few more drops of new colors.

Starting the combing. This is the first “comb through” with the popsicle rake we use. You can see how the pattern is beginning to take shape over the next few process pictures.

Notice the pattern moving from “chevron” to a “nonpareil,” one of the most traditional patterns in marbling.

Sorry for the fuzzies….movement got in the way.

And now….some of the new creations drying in the wind before heat-setting and packaging….expect to see some of these babies up on eBay this week! This time’s session was just Kaufman cotton – silk and chiffon and broadcloth coming in the next session early next week.

I SO LOVE this art form! It’s a lot of “what you see isn’t necessarily what you get,” but the results are always gorgeous! Who among you has tried this, and what have you noticed?

Work in Progress Wednesday

I am making a serious effort to finish any new piece I start – and that includes backing, signature, binding, hanging system, and anything else – oh, pictures. I started three smaller pieces since retiring the end of May, and I am happy to report that as of yesterday each one is complete. Absolutely positively complete. I still have a huge cubby filled with UFOs, but I am certainly making progress. In fact, I spent last night working on the start of thread painting for the newest piece for my Quilt University class. More pics on that later – it’s looking pretty cool….but I need to buy more thread…oh the problems we have….

In the meantime, here’s the finished version of my rhythm piece. This started as a piece of hand-marbled green silk that I attempted to quilt about eight years ago. It wasn’t working. But my skills are improving tremendously, and as a result of one earlier class, I wanted to see if I could accept the movement in the piece with the wave design. Here’s “Rhythm of the Wave,” complete with a few added seed beads.

Here’s a closeup:

Overall I accomplished what I wanted to with this piece. It will go up in the Etsy shop in the next few days.

Also completed is my “Explosion” piece, based on a new marbling pattern we tried. My goal here was to accent the movement from the center of the piece outward, which I did with lots of diagonal stitching. Again, I’m pleased with the results. This wil also go up in my Etsy store.

And finally, a piece I completed for a show coming up in Tucson – there will be more details on the show once it opens. This piece is a look at the devastation of oil spills. What starts as a beautiful garden is stlowly destroyed by the effects of oil – called “Insidious Oil.”

Here’s the statement:

As a trained historian, I always see the past and the future in environmental events. As a fiber artist, I feel challenged to take an ancient medium and create a piece that speaks to the environment.

Oil is an insidious liquid. We need it for so much of our daily lives, and yet it can be so destructive. The discovery of oil in our past has enabled us to have the current future. But an oil spill destroys for decades, from wildlife to the water table. This piece of fabric has been marbled, using a centuries-old process of floating paint on water. The beauty of the design reflects the joy we find in a garden, a flower bed, a landscape, or the wildlife that calls a piece of land home. But oil can run away and destroy that which is so beautiful. In a spill the oil creeps through the cracks, crevices, the waterways, looking for a new resting place. It works into the land or water and remains for decades, fouling the life around it, destroying the very fabric or life, much as the black threads do to this marbled garden.

As always, I am interested in your comments. I’ll post more on the art show once it opens and I have pictures from the reception.

Top Ten Tuesday

I’m getting caught up from a few days off, so I’m overwhelmed with all that I’m reading and seeing on line this week. The first article from Dumb Little Man has some great thoughts on productivity, perfect for me now as I try to be productive and at the same time not flit from one thing to another.  “Is Your Passion for Productivity Hurting Your Creativity?”

Also from Dumb Little Man, and in line with the last post, comes finding time for meditation. “Three Ways to Bring Meditation into the Chaos of Daily Life.” Sounds like my life on a regular basis…although not as much now that I’m not teaching. (Have I mentioned at all that I’m retired?!?!)

I enjoyed the one or two times I have dyed fabric. I played everything by ear, bot really sure what I would end up with. I discovered one very important lesson – I have a LONG way to go to get good at this. One person who already is there is Vicky Welsh of Field Trips in Fiber. Read about her process just in creating a monthly color palette, in this case reds. And many of us know just how difficult it is to achieve the right red.

Since I am actively marketing my Etsy store, I discovered a blog related to all things Etsy, called Handmadeology. Lots to explore and read about – I’ve already picked up an idea for promoting my holiday sales.

And…for those of us getting older….remember Wayne Newton as a young sensation? Check out Mad Magazine‘s send-up of a new album…..you have to go and look – won’t spoil the surprise here…..

And also from Mad – Dick Cheney’s resignation letter….you’ll laugh and cry at the same time for poor Dickey…..

I am really taken with the flash mob concept, and this one is pretty cool – Ravel’s Bolero at the Copenhagen Central Station. Imagine a full orchestra just appearing….loved the bassoon, and wondering about transporting the percussion section….

Anyone using Pinterest? I’m having trouble getting it to work – maybe it’s because I don’t understand it totally, or maybe…it’s because the IMac is over 5 years old and not happy these days….Anyway, I’m a sucker for post-it art. I’d like your feedback on using Pinterest.

In memory of September 11, here’s an update from The Best Article Every Day about the World Trade Center.

Finally, to end with a tie-in to the beginning: 20 Ways to Be Better at Life Today, fropm the folks at Nerd Fitness (how can you not love that?)

 

It All Started with the Yucca…..Wednesday Work in Progress

Albuquerque Outdoors - http://outdoors.itsatrip.org/

This new piece has had an interesting origin…..we were in Cornville , AZ visiting friends, and our driver wanted to stop in the high desert and see about getting some yucca stalks for walking sticks. If you look at the picture, the stalks are what’s left after the gorgeous blooms are done. They are evidently extremely strong and hold a lot of weight. So we have two collected stalks in the car, and I’m thinking, hmmmmm – these could make interesting wall hanging “hangers.” Turns out we got as a gift two really strong, perfect-height-for-hiking sticks from another friend we were off to visit, so I decided to keep these two, one as a walking stick for me (I just need it for balance) and one for a potential hanger for a wall piece.

I was looking at it today, as I was kicking around another weaving piece. It would make a good “topper” for a new piece. I had in mind a set of seasons pieces, and then suddenly I got the thought to create the fabric and weave them all together for a year of seasons.

Here are two samples of some of the weavings I have done with marbled fabrics. The first is my very beginning one, Gaia 1: Interdependence. The second is  Gaia 3: Autumn.

All of a sudden the design was in my head, and I sketched it out, something I don’t normally do. Here it is:

Creating the fabric will take some time, and I know with other projects in the pipeline, I won’t get to this until mid-September. Hubby is the main marbler, so he will have his work cut out for him. I will need to also watch the proportions in this piece – ever mindful of Michael Kors and Nina Garcia from Project Runway…..

Stay tuned for progress. In the meantime, here’s a few stories for past weavings in the Gaia series.

Sunday Stories: Autumn

Sunday Stories: Gaia 2

Sunday Stories: Gaia 1

100 Day Challenge – Season 1

Monday was the 100th day of Season 1 in the Cocreating Our Reality Challenge to practice the Law of Attraction and Abundance and bring more into your life. It has been a pretty amazing 100 days. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have been more than converted to positive thinking and goal-setting for what we would like to attract into our lives.

I started by setting some goals. I really gave some thought to these, as I tend to blow off this part of an exercise. What I have realized as these 100 days went by is that I dreamed too small. I am now thinking about a new set of goals for these next 100 days and Season 2, and I want to think bigger – I WILL think bigger.

The goals for the first season:

Order storage and redesign the apartment for better creativity and “flowing” work space; well, I redesigned the studio and spent money to buy better storage. The difference is amazing – more productivity, better sense of energy flow through the space, everything has its place, and I am more productive. In fact, I have an organized marketing notebook that seems to be working to guide me through what I want to accomplish.

Break 200 pounds by August 8; hasn’t happened. I have spent more time working on being positive about my body image and what I really want to accomplish with this goal. I am trying to be positive. I have spent over half my life overweight, and I am not expecting miracles, but I know healthwise this has to happen. So I need to get rid of the negativity in that last sentence and expect miracles. I KNOW I can do this.

Dream/think regularly about money coming to me; this took a while for me to work on. I am not used to thinking about money coming to me all the time. Usually it’s about how I need to have enough money to pay the bills. This is a major mental change. And there is money in the bank, the bills are paid, and two trips are planned. That Law of Abundance check only took one month for me to see how it works. I am hooked on those checks. I also am learning to recognize when my thinking is somewhat pessimistic about money, and I am trying to change that vibration.

Set up tutoring goals; I updated my Linked In profile to reflect the tutoring, and I have had business cards made, as well as asked for some recommendations for my skills from Linked In. I have been putting off a brochure, primarily because school is just now starting. I have realized that I am not at all enthused about either substitute teaching or even tutoring because it would take away from my time on my other pursuits. Definitely no subbing in the future for me, but I need to rethink the tutoring.

Plan my life after teaching (retirement); this is working very well. I have had to change my sleep schedule since I don’t need so much sleep, which has been challenging. I am marketing, sewing, designed, taking art classes, reading – all the things I said I wanted to do.

Get back to blogging on a regular basis;  I’m doing this pretty successfully on this blog, not so much with the art blog and the weight loss blog. But the focus for all of this is to build the art business to help support retirement (which seems to be happening), so I am focusing on this blog. The numbers have grown from just over 500 in June to over 800 for the last 30 days. Definite progress.

Make conscious plans and activities to work for peace. This has to become a priority for the next 100 days. I haven’t done anything this season, but I have been thinking about what I want to do. Now I have to implement the plans.

NEXT SEASON’S CHALLENGE GOALS, starting Monday, August 15 and ending November 19:

Break 200 pounds.

Enjoy life through a couple of trips and dinners/other social engagements with friends: San Diego, Austin, Houston, New Orleans.

Finish “Artists Revisited” class, complete with the new quilt.

Help with Tikkun Olam show at the Jewish Community Center.

Plan for additional income each month through the business; the goal is to beat the previous month (August should beat July, and so on).

Take three tutoring clients in mathematics.

Update Art from the Heart website and make plans for entries for the first anniversary of the Tucson shootings.

Sewing projects: Tikkun Olam, Wayne Art Center, Betty’s commission, small rhythm piece, fish quilt redone, deer quilt finished, three additional quilt projects to be determined.

Complete the first three action plans in I’d Rather Be In the Studio by Alyson Stanfield.

Maintain goals through the Multiple Streams of Income class and set new 90-day goals.

Market the gift basket through Marble-T Design and sell at least four.

And so it goes……

 

 

 

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

  It’s usually about this time every summer that I become productive, knowing that my time is short before school starts. Not this year! I’ve been productive since the end of May, with a lot of projects in the works, and a whole bunch already completed. It feels very very good! The commission is done, I have two shows to create/finish pieces for, another commission to complete, a bunch of small studies to do, and about 6 unfinished quilts that have been around for a lot of years (some more than a decade). I do LOVE being productive, busy, and above all creative.

Now, I finished another small study on movement for the class I’m taking from Lyric Kinard and Quilt University. I realized as I finished quilting that I really do need to take a “before and after” photo of the fabric, because there really is a dramatic difference. For this piece, I tried a new marbling pattern – actually, I tried to create a pattern that would show movement. I really liked what I came up with – very festive, 4th-of-July feeling. The question was could I make it feel even more of an explosion with movement. I wanted to put this up for a challenge using the word “spark.” I thought of fire crackers, and then I wanted to combine it with the class assignment. Click so you could see the details.

One thing I have found as a result of the class – well, two things actually – I now feel I can create any type of line I want with my quilting, and I spend a lot more time thinking about how the quilting will accent the message of the piece. I started by doing a “loop” in free motion from the very center outward to the edge of the “center.” From there I quilted lines to accent  the “rays” from the center of the piece. I used a Superior metallic for the center, and three different threads for the outer rays – a Rainbow in purple, yellow, and green, and two shades of gold metallic.

Already I was seeing more movement in the piece – but I wanted more….So I took the multicolored thread and stitched from the center out in a zigzag motion to add more of an explosive effect. Better. Then I took one of the metallics and did the same thing outside of the circle, but less dense than the previous. I did an “envelope” backing, and I am going to experiment with mounting this on canvas to see how it works/looks.

Overall, very pleased. I just wish I had the “before” picture. With that in mind, here are the “befores” for two more small studies in the works:

I know, I could have ironed….

I will be curious to see how they work out and what they have to teach me.

An Important Call for Art Work

Since I updated my profile on Linked In, I have joined a couple of discussion groups through Linked In and have made some interesting contacts and done some very good networking.  As a result, here is a call for work that looks very intriguing, as well as meaningful. I’m planning to do a piece that looks at oil spills. Join in and become part of the group. Feel free to share this post – let’s see if we can get a lot of artists involved. Let’s get the fiber into this show.

TIKKUN OLAM: A Restoration Project
 Artists Respond to Earth’s Crises Past & Present

Presented by Alta Contemporary Art, Tubac AZ in alliance with Industria Studios in Tucson.
The Jewish Community Center Tucson, Arizona
September 15 thru October 25, 2011
Opening Reception: Sunday, September 18th 1-4 PM

In the wake of recent natural and human-made crises artists often feel compelled to respond in a tangible and productive way. Here’s your chance to be part of a group project raising money to replenish the earth. Alta Contemporary Art invites you to submit a 12 x 12 inch work of art for a collaborative grid presentation. All media welcome. Work must be exactly 12 x 12 inches, appropriate for the JCC venue and ready to hang on the wall.  Work must be received no later than September 10, 2011 (see art delivery details below). Participation is free, but artists must willingly donate 30% of sales to the non-profit charitable organization selected by the group as a whole.

TIKKUN OLAM Collaborative Grid Presentation
Entry Form
Name:
Address:
E-Mail:                                    Website:
Phone:
Title:                                       Price:
Media:

Artist’s reflection on their submission and earth’s crises past & present (250 words or less):
Nominate 1- 3 non-profit charitable organizations you would like TIKKUN OLAM to support.
E-mail completed entry form and a JPG of your work (1MB large) to mickeybond505@aol.com

Hand Deliver Your Work:
Tucson Artists: Deliver work to Marc Leviton at Industria Studios, Saturday, September 10, 2011 between 10 AM – 3 PM or contact Marc to make other arrangements 520- 235- 0797. INDUSTRIA STUDIOS, 1441 E. 17th Street Tucson, AZ 85719 industriastudios.org
Santa Fe Artists: Deliver work to Mickey Bond by Friday September 9, 2011.E-mail:
mickeybond505 or call 505-660-4085 to schedule delivery.
All Other Artists: Deliver  work to Rebecca O’Day at Alta Contemporary Art, Friday, September 9th between 3-8 PM  or contact Rebecca to make other arrangements 520-869-8626. Alta Contemporary Art, 8 Calle Inglesia (across from St. Anne’s Church), Tubac, AZ.
Mail Your Work:
Mail work to Rebecca O’Day, PO Box 252, Tumacacori, AZ 85640

Work must arrive no later than September 10, 2011 to be included in the show.
Artwork shipped via mail carrier must be accompanied with a pre-paid return.
Unsold work will be available for pick up on October 29th &  30th.  in the location it was hand- delivered from 10 AM – 3 PM.  Shipped artwork will be returned if accompanied by a pre-paid return label.

Agreement of Entry & Liability:
Great care and respect will be given to all artwork submitted. The Tucson JCC, Alta Contemporary Art & Industria Studios and its agents do not assume liability for any loss or damage of any artwork submitted while in its possession. Your entry constitutes acceptance of all conditions and terms in this prospectus. Artists desiring coverage can do so privately through their agent or one offering short-term “show”  coverage such as Artists, Craftsman and Tradesmen Insurance Program: http://www.actinspro.com.

Monday Marketing – Making Progress with the Goals

Marbled fabric Another good week for making progress with marketing. Again, though, the thought about what’s enough, what’s too much, and what is just a time-sucker. Last week’s goals are here.

* I finished the LinkedIn course from lynda.com, and I got my LinkedIn profile set up, as well as joining a couple of groups to network. It was interesting developing the profile to work for both tutoring clients and building an art business. I still need to set up the visual portfolio for the site, but I joined a round robin of new people looking at each other’s Facebook fan pages, and as a result received some more “Likes.” Took time, but it’s done, and now I think just some weekly maintenance.

* I am part-way through the course on Twitter and Facebook, again through lynda.com, and I learned some interesting things. I read the Terms of Agreement (interesting…), checked all my privacy settings, changed the Twitter background, made some lists to make it easier to let people know about happenings. I still need to figure out my strategies for both the Fan Page and Twitter, so that’s on the list for this week.

One thing that is interesting in the way I work is that I can’t seem to finish one complete thing at a time. Maybe it’s the nature of the marketing process that you flit around, fixing/doing what you can at the time. I’ve gotten lots done on a bunch of things, but nothing really “completed.” Maybe it’s also because of the not-so-static nature of internet marketing.

* Defining my marketing goals: well, I have made progress on this, actually. I am carrying around a small notebook with the idea of jotting down some of the marketing ideas as they occur to me. I have about eight different headings at this point, and a bunch of ideas under them. But in keeping with trying to define what will be productive for me, a couple have “Goals?” as the only thing under the heading. I find I really do need to think through what I want to do, if I truly want to do it, and the best way to do it – something I’ve not done before.

* Figured out how to add Google Adsense to the WP blog…managed that okay – and I still have some money coming to me from Google……Now I gotta figure out why an ad is appearing in the middle of this blog post……

* Marketing the Etsy store through circles and additional contacts. And…sold some things on Etsy this week!

* I got new pictures taken for some of the items on the website. I need to work some Photoshop magic on them and then get them in place (which I think I can do on my own).

So it’s time for my goals for this week:

*Finish Twitter class and implement any changes and decide on a schedule.

* Start the HTML newsletter class.

*Check out Mail Chimp for newsletters. I’m very happy with my experience with Constant Contact – the company doesn’t have the money at this point to continue with their newsletters – but I LOVED the design they did.

* Set a plan and an update for the FB fan page, and start a schedule for it.

* Goals for the marketing plan in the following categories: newsletters, classes, and writing.

I also plan to finish the commission I wrote about on Saturday and do two table runners for my second mom – part of a larger commission I need to finish. I’ve got a list of projects to keep me busy through the summer!

The Start of a Commission…..

This past April I was asked to do a commission for a friend of a friend, based on three things: 1) she loves our marbled fabrics; 2) she wants a fiber piece for a small area in her bathroom; and 3) she would like it to draw on the colors from the new granite counter tops. So for 6 weeks I’ve been mulling over possible designs, knowing that the final one would be based on what happened with the marbling session.

We marbled yesterday, and I worked with the colors I thought would go with the granite – gray, black, brown, russet, copper. I tried a couple of different patterns, and what follows are the pieces I came up with. Warming – they’re pretty blah in the pictures….

Marbled patterns

Marbled patterns

I chose the stone pattern to begin, for two reasons. One, I like quilting that pattern, and two, I figured this would give me some ideas. Well…..it sure did. I started snapping pictures as I was quilting. I used a Rainbow thread from Superior (of course) in a rust shade to bring out the rusts in the painting on the opposite wall of the bathroom. It was just what it needed.

Quilted marbling pattern

The texture is incredible and no longer flat. The piece also now has a title, “Hiking,” as its future owner hikes the mountains and canyons of Arizona – and especially Sedona – often.

This is so totally different from what I had originally been thinking. I know that this will act as the center medallion of the piece, so I went looking for coordinating fabrics – in my newly organized studio, so selecting was a breeze.

Lots more ideas, as the white area is probably going to become a small bubbly stream, and I pretty much know what’s happening with the borders, but that’s for another post.

Ideas???

Work in Progress Wednesday

Sometime this past autumn, I posted a picture of a quilt completed at least 10 years ago, asking for suggestions on quilting it. I had used invisible thread (waaaayyyy before the improvements in threads) and did basic in-the-ditch quilting. Pretty darn blah. So I took ALL the quilting out, including taking the binding off, and washed it to hopefully remove the shadow lines.

Silly me, I was thinking of having it available for sale at the art show we did in November. Well, that didn’t happen, so it moved to my “to do” list for when I retired, and then to the top of the list as I saw the studio coming together. I thought of attempting some feathers, because most of what I have done for quilting has been stippling or stitch-in-the-ditch.

Before I could start, I discovered this video on stippling, and I was hooked. Sharon Schambler had an hour-long video (actually longer) with 9 free motion patterns she has used in one of her quilts. Easy to watch and very easy to do!


I chose the second pattern, used some variegated thread from Superior (of course – I am totally hooked!), and started. I wasn’t sure I could really do this. So voila –

I was thrilled at this point, because I realized 1) I could do this, and 2) the quilt was going to look SO much better!!

This is the completed center. I’m not going to quilt the marbled stars (unless someone has a really good idea for me?? Hint hint…). I ABSOLUTELY love it! I’m doing a variation of the pattern on some of the side strips, and it’s coming along well. Hopefully pictures this weekend…..

Top Ten Tuesday – Finally!

This is now on my desktop! I found it here at  on the Kate Harper blog. After all these years of teaching, life is definitely too short to mot make art!

Now I spent the last two weeks going through all the blogs I haven’t read in two months – and mined a WEALTH of great stuff!

Zen Habits had a great and timely article on Decluttering, as I was working through all the little bits of odds and ends that I was sorting. Two key points – we don’t want to let go of the past, and we’re afraid of the future. Definitely worth a read.

From ArtsyShark – Is there a future for trade shows and sales reps – adapting to changing commerce. Lots of great points, especially if you are thinking of doing the art licensing route.

Elizabeth Barton  has a fabulous blog  with lots of food for thought. As I contemplate becoming more active with my work, this post of entering shows was extremely valuable.  Don’t you just love the colors in this quilt?

Alyson Stanfield had a guest post on Photoshop (How to Make the Best of Your Art Photos with Photoshop) by Chris Mills. If you’re not reading the ArtBizCoach blog, you should be. – http://artlicensingblog.com/2011/05/16/how-to-make-the-best-of-your-art-photos-with-photoshop-by-chris-mills/

A friend of mine turned me on to online pattern sales. I haven’t sewn for myself in years, and I never thought about the pattern lines being on line. Marcy Tilton has some really nice wearable patterns – I could get hooked! Patterns on line

The Textile Blog has an interesting article on the future of hand production, starting with a video about hand-made lace production. Here’s a quote: The video deals with the seemingly age-old problem of machine versus hand production. The video itself deals with the situation in Cyprus where traditional lace embroidery is inevitably being led towards extinction by the importation of cheap machine produced lace, mainly from China. Cyprus is by no means the only area of conflict between machine and hand production and China is not the only culprit in flooding the market with cheap products.

Sites on greeting cards – I had no idea there was so much available on line. This article is also from Kate Harper and gives 6 articles on card design tips.

Also from Kate Harper’s blog (a HUGE wealth of information), much more about art licensing…..walking the floor at the Surtex licensing show.

This week’s eye candy from The Best Article Every Day – great ads  for AT&T – forget the company, just look at the art work! This is a long graphic – go to the article and take a closer look – and then spend some time with all the rest – these articles are just the best!

10 Things I WILL Miss About Teaching

While retiring is going to be a joy, there are definitely some things I am going to miss about teaching. So here goes:

1. The Kids. Even the class from H*** this year had its good moments. The kids keep me young, they keep me laughing, and they’ll believe just about anything you tell them. Case in point: Nicole a year ago asking me where zombies go when they die. Despite my trying to get across to her that zombies don’t exist, she kept asking, saying “Hypothetically.” So I finally answered “They go to algebra heaven.” And she was fine with that answer.

2. The challenge of teaching so many different subjects and learning so many new things. Over the years it’s been high school American History, AP US History, psychology, literature and writing, grammar, earth science, basic math, middle school social studies, elementary gifted programs, middle school math, and finally high school math. I’m a walking Jeopardy board.

3. Mathematics, particularly algebra and geometry. After some dismal experiences in high school, I have relished understanding the ins and outs of algebra and geometry, and I will miss the opportunity to continue to improve my explanations of how algebra really works.

4. The Kids. I am in touch through Facebook with so many former students, and I just love watching them grow and have families.

5. Student theater. I did this for 15 years, thanks to one of my first mentors, Sue Ann Loudon. From Carousel to Oliver to Music Man to Peter Pan and numerous small plays in between, I loved every moment, and I have the pictures and tapes to prove it. But that’s a job for someone much younger.

6. Conferences, especially when paid for by the school districts. I loved my time with the art partnership with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A great time at the ASCD conference both in Baltimore and Anaheim – and if the principal had approved our plan for taking kids to the Getty, so many more would have benefited. To think it all started with the National Association of Gifted and Talented in Portland, and included being in DC the night of – and day after – the 2000 election for the International Dyslexia Conference.

7. The creativity of planning a successful lesson. When it goes right, there’s nothing better.

8. Being “on stage” and having a good time with the kids during lessons. There’s all the voices and chants and little dance moves, the quadratic formula to the tune of Jingle Bells, and all the videos.

9. The “Big Projects.” All the plays, World Peace Day in April 1972, Model UN in 1973, the Shakespeare Festivals with 150 kids, the Learning Lab, and many more.

10. The Kids and making a difference in their lives. It took me a long time to realize that this is what I was meant to do.

A Life-Changing Few Months

To say that it has been a while is an understatement. My last posts dealt with the Tucson shootings, and the aftermath for the community has been ongoing. Many in the community have been dealing with personal issues surrounding the events, from getting updates on Gabby Giffords and coping with the weird Arizona legislature to trying to understand our roles as humans working together.

For me, it has meant two months of a pretty severe depression, trying to cope with understanding so many of the historical aspects of this country coming in to play, trying to manage what the economy is doing to individuals, and getting ready to retire from a career of 40 years in education. I had to remove myself from almost everything extra in my life beyond the day-to-day coping within the classroom. I did a lot of sleeping and a lot of being sad. I didn’t even do a Fish Follies entry this year.

At Christmas we decided to move the retirement date to June of 2012. Hubby had some major health issues in January that will eventually lead to major surgery, and all I could think about was not having time together. His next CT scan will be in August, right when school starts again. That was probably the tipping point to look at retirement this May. I made the final decision the end of February to retire after working all the numbers with the retirement folks, and then a month ago applied for SSI.

Gotta tell ya, when I made the decision, it was like a weight had lifted. I started packing my classroom the next day – and it took the three months to get it all finished. Most of my math manipulatives, books, and supplies went to an organization called Treasures4Teachers – will be a nice tax deduction, and they were very grateful for all the goodies and posters.

In April, during spring break, we spent time with our friends up north who now have a place in Cornville, AZ, just south of Sedona right along Oak Creek. It is a gorgeous, restful spot. I was admiring all of my friend’s storage, and the conversation turned to the fact that maybe one of the problems getting back into the studio was the need to reorganize. Which got me thinking, and over the next month I started cleaning and organizing, and looking for new storage that would work. We’re about half-way through at this point, and the place looks great – and even better – feels great. Two more sets of shelves and we should be just about done. But I don’t think I’ll be waiting to get in there to sew.

So I’m recovering slowly from the depression, starting the rest of my life on my terms, planning on a nice run of happiness. And I’ll be back to blogging and creating and marbling and reading and writing and Photoshop and traveling and being with people and working for peace….

Top Ten Tuesday

This project starts January 1, and you can read about it here. I’m trying this, as I don’t usually have a lot of luck with long-term on-line projects. But as luck would have it I bought a small sketchbook to practice my zentangle patterns, and as I was cleaning boxes and sorting for the studio, I discovered lots of different size sketchbooks tucked away. So I am ready….whatever that means for me……

The last time I did a Top Ten, the focus was on A Note from Your Mother. Their last three posts have been interesting. If you have nature lovers or collect nature-inspired art, you might be interested in their  Endangered Species Print Project. Plus, read the post on the decline of the glorious tiger…only 3200 left in the wild.

I read The Future Buzz on a regular basis, particularly his posts on viral images across the web. His collection for 2010 is amazing, and there are links to several other collections. There’s a great one on probability that will work for math class, humorous ones, and ones that make us think. The graphics are spectacular.

Bonnie Samuel’s Blog looks at TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles, a  fair trade, social enterprise to support  weavers and artisans in Thailand and Laos. These artisans are indigenous people who are carrying on the traditional arts of silk and cotton textile production creating beautiful fabrics and wearables.

For those of you who love sarcasm and the news, if you aren’t reading The Borowitz Report, you should. His latest column interviews the devil about the obscene bonuses paid Goldman Sachs executives this year. As the devil said, “best investment” he’s made.

From Cedar Canyon Textiles (The Paintstick Place) comes an interesting blog post on the importance of ritual, a reprint of a blog from the Harvard Business Review.  Just one of the gems:

“Each time we pause, notice, and offer respect for an activity, it reminds us to appreciate and focus on what we’re about to do. And by elevating each activity, we’ll take it more seriously. We’ll get more pleasure from it. The people with whom we work will feel more respected. And we’ll feel more self-respect.”

I discovered this blog like I find many others – just following interesting links. This has a tutorial for coasters, which just sparked an idea. This week I actually went through every piece of fabric, sorted and ironed, looking for inspiration for new projects. I rediscovered a few patches from a Quilt University class that I figured I should keep, as they were interesting alone, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d do with them. Now I know!

From Dumb Little Man (that’s the name of the blog….) comes Seven Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before the End of the Year. Excellent way to reflect on the past 12 months.

Alphabet Photography – really interesting concept, and lots of great images to browse. They are for sale, but the crative nudge from them is wonderful!

And finally, some eye candy – a great literate romantic spy novel, The Tourist….and Johnny Depp – ya can’t go wrong!

You might enjoy some other Top Ten Tuesdays……

November

October

September

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