Sunday, July 29, 2012

Art as a way of healing your soul and spirit

I am going to be straight up honest with you right now.  June and July were not the best months for me in terms of health.  For some reason, my stomach has been acting up and the nefarious pink eye incident turned into the plural form.  In fact, looking at my eyes today, I can safely say that the whites surrounding the pupils are actually white for the first time in way over a month.  Maybe we are making some progress.  As for the stomach problems, stress and too many Vitamin C tablets may be to blame.  When you think about it, Vitamin C is ascorbic acid and too much acid or a combination of acids such as a vitamin with cups of coffee, tea, cola drinks and such probably overloaded my system.  So, I am cutting back on the Vitamin C and trying to limit my coffee consumption.  That is contradicted somewhat by my ordering coffee for my specialty coffeemaker, but I will try to behave and limit my consumption.

So, what has art got to do with all this nonsense?  Good question and I will try to answer it.  Sometimes when I am feeling really rough, I will grab a book to try and lose myself in it and work past the nausea or whatever is ailing me.  One night a week or so ago, I grabbed one of my recipe card booklets and started drawing what I was feeling, writing in words, colouring different areas of the card and so on.  It actually took me a couple of hours to finish the piece.  A small 3 inch by 5 inch piece of card stock.  Unbelievable, right?  When I look over this minute piece of art now, I am surprised by the words I wrote on it and they made me take stock of what is important in my life.

For some reason, I have been having a difficult time in terms of inspiration and motivation.  Add to that the physical problems and you have a pretty good idea why there has not been a blog for the past few weeks.  I think I am moving past this stage right now and if I can go another week without the colour pink surrounding my pupils, I just might get myself back on track.  My sleep patterns need adjusting as I slept a lot over the past few weeks.  That was probably to combat the weeks before when sleep was a scarce commodity.  Let us just say, I think the worst is over and maybe I can get back to the business of living and that means making art in all forms.

I did keep up doodling on index cards during this time as well as doing a fair amount of braiding.  Reading kind of went by the wayside for obvious reasons.  It really is difficult to read when your eye is dripping fluid.  But, this did not keep me from quick bursts of colour and patterns on the index cards. Another plus, I finished a braid last night that has taken over 8 hours of braiding.  What I have learned from that braid, measure your embroidery floss to the size you really need for an actual piece.  I thought making an extra long cord that would turn into 2 or 3 bracelets was being time efficient.  The reality of this is that I am goal oriented and I like to see results.  Consequently, I just threaded the bobbins for my kumihimo loom with shorter, bracelet length pieces of a dark blue ribbon.  I have a story about the ribbon too.

I did manage a trip to the supply shoppe to pick up some items that were on sale.  One of my downfalls is that I love ribbon and when I find it on sale and know how I can use it, I stock up.  Really stock up!
So, I was walking around the store looking at all the eye candy and a young man came up to me.  He had obviously been watching me tear through the ribbon department and was extremely curious.  He stopped me and pointed to my stash of colourful ribbons and had one question, "Why?"  I had to laugh at his face, he was obviously floored at the number of rolls of ribbon.  I explained to him that I made bracelets out of ribbon and all this would soon be wearable art.  I am not so sure he believed me about the "wearable art" aspect, but he sure had a new appreciation for how much damage one woman could do in the ribbon department.  By damage, I refer to my pocket book.  I am a responsible shopper and am known to tidy up store shelves as I shop.  Weird, I know, but I just have to do it.  Maybe deep down, I do not want anyone to think that I caused the chaos.

Anyway, I am back and starting to feel more like myself.  Or what passes for myself, some days I am not so sure.  I seem to be constantly changing in reaction to what I see, hear and feel.  I try to get those feelings down as colours, designs, and/or words on small pieces of card stock.  Hopefully, I am going to move forward enough to keep the momentum going.  I have a few ideas in mind, but I will share those with you in another post.

Have a great week!  Drop me a comment if you would like to start some dialogue on art as a way of healing.  How has it helped you or would you be willing to give it a try?

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The days of summer

It is now summer and with the longer days of daylight upon us, one would hope that there would be equally more time in the studio.  Such is not the case.  I wrote previously about having a problem with my eyes, a case of pink eye to be exact.  Just when I thought it was gone after coming back to haunt me, it has returned yet again.  I am guessing that this will warrant a trip to the doctor or at the very least to the pharmacy to see what they have that will get rid of this problem.  The problem with most medications is that you can only use them for three days and have to stop.  I suspect if I had continued for another couple of days, I might have conquered this problem.  Oh well, not to worry!  It will take a lot more than three rounds of pink eye to keep me down.

I am still braiding using the kumihimo loom and I seem to be addicted to this form of weaving.  In fact, I keep two of the round looms threaded up and ready to use so that I can  always be doing something with my hands even when listening to a newscast or some music.  End caps seem to be an expense that I am not really willing to think about and so I have ordered some wire from a beading supply company.  Using the wire, I should be able to make my own end caps and then be ready to make up the many pieces of cord that I have made thus far.  I am quite excited by this and looking forward to moving on to the next stage in production using the braids.

Jewelry has always been something that interested me.  I never really wore any whilst working in florist shoppes.  Since I was usually plunging my hands into buckets to retrieve my knife or working to prep a mountain of roses for the display case, wearing jewelry just was not practical.  Even when I worked in an office, I still refrained from wearing anything decorative so that it was not in the way when I was typing, doing inventory, or any of the other duties my position entailed.  But, at this stage in my life, I find that I want to wear interesting pieces that stand out from the norm.  At this point, I have only made bracelets and have cords ready for necklaces.  But, I want to get further into the discovery of what might be possible and have been doing a lot of reading and viewing videos on YouTube.  Rings seem to be a logical next step as do earrings.  There are so many things to learn and it seems daunting on one hand, but on the other hand, I cannot wait to try new techniques.

Patience!  That has never been a virtue that I have had in any quantity.  I want to learn everything and try every technique as soon as possible.  Learning to do things properly is making me take my time and proceed with caution.  My budget is also making me take my time learning since I can only allow myself to spend a certain amount on beads, wire, books, and all the other items needed to proceed with the making of jewelry.  I want my jewelry to be fun, alive, but at the same time show that I know what I am doing.  I want to think that what I make will be something that someone might want to wear.  So, a certain amount of refinement will be necessary in the creation of all things bejeweled.

Refined, that word makes me smile.  No one would ever accuse me of being refined.  For the most part, my daily wardrobe consists of one of the few pairs of track pants I own, paired with t-shirts that I inherited from a friend.  The t-shirts all have stripes on them, for the most part shades of orange with a few with blue stripes just to add a little variety.  My friend loves stripes and that is okay with me.  She gets tired of her shirts and knows that there is a good home for them.  I wonder if the fact that the shirts are all striped might be the reason why she gets tired of her collection so quickly.  Just a thought that I am putting out there.

Back to the subject of jewelry!  I should be working on end cap tutorials later this week, once the wire arrives.  So, that will take me to the next stage in the process.  Once end caps are mastered, I am on to closures and that entails a lot of different styles.  Yes, you can purchase pre-made closures, but what is the fun in that?  I want to learn how to make my own just because it is something that I should know how to do.  Once I get past all the learning stages, I might take some short cuts and use closures that I purchase from a craft shoppe, but for now, I plan to take every chance that I can and learn by doing all these little bits of the craft.  I know that I will never work in a jewelry shoppe or be considered a jewelry artist, but at least I will have another skill to put down on my mental resume. 

For now, my artistic pursuits seem to be scattered all over the map, much like my thought process.  My mind flits from one subject to another much like the bees in the garden making their way from one flower to another.  I am just hoping that the ideas I pick up from so many places will gel and take on some formation or shape.  Whether it is on canvas, worn around someones neck or some doodles on an index card, it is all art.  I can be happy with that and satisfied that I am making progress.  Maybe a little slower than I would like, but as long as I am learning and having fun on the way, I am okay with the speed.

How are your artistic pursuits coming along?  Has summer inspired you or slowed you down due to the many social activities all taking place during this short span of time?  It is okay, take your time, but try to be true to yourself and find just a little bit of time to be creative.  Baking cakes, cookies and other goodies count as being art, edible art.  Just look through the many web sites showing amazing cakes decorated with flowers, borders, and other interesting ideas.  Anyone who can put a show piece together that looks like a master baker was in their kitchen is definitely artistic.

Have a wonderful week! 

Sincerely,   Rutheemac