Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How do I start????

Starting is always hard for me. I love to dream of starting new projects, but the actual beginning is really difficult for me. Yesterday as I began to think about making June's Artist Trading Cards (ATC), I realized one of the reasons it is difficult is because I have soooooo many options. Aside from deciding what subject matter or theme I want to create for the month's cards, I also need to discern what materials to use. Do I use magazine images, rubber stamps or draw freehand? Do I use ribbons, stickers, or brads for accents? Do I use watercolors, acrylic glaze, or chalks to high light areas? Gawdz! Too much stinkin' thinking!

To begin is to get into the process, I reminded myself yesterday. Just begin. I cannot make any or all those decisions until I begin; until I am in the process of creating.

I have been collecting small images of birds and miscellany for probably one year with the thought of making ATCs. It was a LOT of stuff - magazine images, stickers, rub-ons, postcards, postage stamps, greeting cards, chipboard, origami paper, and more - all with birds on them. The feeling of OVERWHELM came over me as I put out all the candidates for the ATC backgrounds on about 5 feet of my studio's counter... or reframed, as I urge others to do, I was feeling blessed with many options!

Similar to last month, I remember that feeling when I cut out x 3 ½  inch backgrounds from one of those cute little books with 17th century illustrated calligraphy. They were all beautiful as they were - how do I create a more interesting ATC? Then I began; I immersed myself into the creative process. I let go of thinking I knew how they were going to be made and how they were going to be when finished. Once I trusted the process and began to have fun, the decisions were much easier. In fact, it felt like I knew what the cards needed versus trying to figure out what they needed.

Ahhh - just begin. As I did yesterday and after several hours (where did the time go?), there are about 20 new ATCs with birds in the making. Once started, my priorities and attitude seems to shift - I cannot wait to get back to them.

Here are  few of the ATCs which I made last month. Go figure!?!?! I had no idea how they were going to be like when finished - and I sure enjoyed creating them.

If you could touch them, you would feel 5-8 different layers, images and things on each card. The 2½ inch mini scissors worked really well, as did Tim Holtz's masking tape, Studio112button stickers and borders, and the myriad of other little odds and ends. For the finishing touch, I sewed matching embroidery thread in the buttons holes before I glued them down. Gosh - they were fun to make once I stopped thinking about how to make them!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother & Me - a Thursday Night Circle

Soul Expression has hosted a circle of women who have met almost every other week for eight years. It started at the request for another journaling workshop to complement our monthly gathering; one time a month to journal and share was not enough. So -  the Thursday Night Circle was created back in April of 2003.

We come together to be and I always have a topic which helps directs our attention and is "another way in" to access one’s true self.  Typically we get our tea or coffee, a little snack, and settle into our seats arranged in a circle. My favorite expression about this group, as we witness and share with each other, is that it is "accelerated learning" since we learn so much from each other. I've been told that we cannot stop having the circle as it is one of the few times in their busy lives where they can stop and be who they truly are.

Last week's topic, Mother & Me, was based around the observance of  Mother's Day. We spent the evening journaling, reflecting, and sharing about our mothers. It was a very meaningful time and reminds me why we do this; to go deeper into who we are and are meant to be. Each of us had a different story to share and we learned so much about ourselves.

One of the exercises was to fill in the blanks of incomplete sentences. This "fill in the blank" method helps get the writing juices and memories flowing. After all the blanks were filled in and read aloud to the circle, this exercise revealed interesting stories about our mothers and our relationship to them. We also felt like each question could be a prompt for journaling in greater detail. Perhaps we will continue this topic into another circle...

Below are some of the incomplete sentences which the Thursday Night Circle worked with last week. I hope you find them interesting and insightful as we did.

Read and fill in the blanks fairly quickly. Allow your gut to respond instead of letting the thinking-the-right-answer-head fill in the response. Don't let the length of the blank limit your answer.

1.    My mother’s name is ________________________________________________.
2.    My father called her ________________________________________________.
3.    I call her ___________________________________________________.
4.    My mother was born into a ____________________________________ family.
5.    She had ____________________ siblings.
6.    As a child, my mother ________________________________________________.
7.    I’ve been told that when she was a baby __________________________________.
8.    My favorite photograph or image of my mother as a child _____________________. 
9.    In her twenties, my mother’s dream or desire______________________________. 
10.  She met my father ___________________________________________________.
11.  They were married ___________________________________________________.
12.  She describes those “honeymoon” years _________________________________.
13.  My mother was ______________ years old when I was born.
14.  She was _________________________________________ during her pregnancy.
15.  I was born ______________________ with _____________________________ in attendance.
16.  She was ______________________________________________ upon my birth.
17.  As a young child, I remember my mother as _____________________________.
18.  My fondest memory of her ___________________________________________. 
19.  As a child, if I could change anything about my mother it would _______________.
20.  As a teenager, my mother and I would ________________________________.
21.  As a young adult, my mother and I _____________________________________.
22.  In my thirties, ____________________________________________________.
23. My mother had a talent for _________________________________________.
24. My mother values/ed _______________________, _______________________, 
       and _________________________________. 
25.  Her values appear/ed in her attitude and actions, such as the time when ________
26. People who know/knew both my mother and I say that ______________________.
27. My mother was the most proud of me ___________________________________.
28. She was most disappointed _________________________________________.
29. The motherly advice she has given me which is most relevant today is ___________
30. The least helpful advice she has ever given me _____________________________.
31. The “gifts” I received from my mother include ______________________________.
32. I learned to ____________________________________________ from my mother.
33. Whenever I _________________________________________, I think of my mother.