Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Art vs Craft

The other night I was at a local women’s business dinner when the subject of conversation turned to artists and a possible informal meeting of people interested in art in the community. The conversation was piquing my interest and curiosity and had grabbed the attention of a woman seating at my table who happens to be an artist specializing in carving and sculpture. The Artist mentioned that she would really like to see some sort of art guild formed in the area. Up to this point in the evening I had been enjoying my conversation with The Artist, but this is where I left my comfort zone and naively inquired “would you consider amateur artists part of the guild?” (Me thinking amateur as in not exhibited, not formally trained, etc.). So began a discussion on “art” vs. “crafts” and “artist” vs “artisan” and how one had to be careful in distinguishing the two. This is when my inner critic chose to show up, sit comfortably on my shoulder and begin the process of deflating my energy balloon by insidiously whispering “you are not an artist” and “you are not in the same league as the Big Kids” followed by hissing in a Gollum like voice “you do Crraaaffftttsss………”. Mr. Inner Critic carries a heavy weight and while he whispered, I nodded politely and began detaching myself from the conversation.

I carried Mr. Inner Critic’s weight home with me, my balloon now completely deflated and dragging along behind me as I pondered the evening. And then I gave Mr. Inner Critic the slap upside the head he deserved.

You see, I might not be a Big Kid artist, but then I’m not trying to be one either. The argument about what makes a “real artist” is the same argument in the writing circles about what makes you a “real writer”. Is it training? Is it how much you sell? Are you a writer if you self-publish? What about if your writing is only published online and you haven’t been paid for it? Professional vs amateur? These arguments, I suppose, have validity for those trying to make a living from their art. And don’t get me wrong, I love and admire the Big Kid artists and writers. Nothing moves me more than a well written novel or inspires me like a beautiful painting. I am in awe and envy of some of the work I see out there, and I try to support and learn from these artists as much as I can. I am not judging The Artist for her views on what constitutes art and an art guild is an awesome way to get the work of the many talented artists in the area out there for people to see. I just happen to believe that there’s a place in this world for all the artists, writers, artisans, crafters, journalers, bloggers, etc. It’s all good.

No, my dialogue with Mr. Inner Critic, my own personal art monster, gave me a chance to define what it is that I’m really passionate about and what art means to me. When I grow up, I want to be an “Inner Child midwife”. I want people to get back in touch with that child that loved to play with paints and crayons and got lost in the act of creating and not in competition or trying to impress. I love doing journal and art journal workshops and watching people transform themselves from “I can’t write, I’m not really any good at this” to total excitement about what they can do with their creativity. I love squishing people’s art monsters and Inner Critics. When I go out into my little cottage studio to create, whether it’s collage or clay or paint or write, I’m getting in touch with the creative essence of the Divine. It’s my form of prayer. Art is a sacred tool, an inner healer. There are days when the act of creating is more important than the finished product, and whether or not it constitutes art is not important. This is a process of self-transformation, not a competition with another artist. I think no matter what you are, it’s important to know what gives you joy and to stand firm in that no matter what the outside world thinks.

Call me a crafter, an artisan, an amateur, whatever. They’re just labels. But, if your inner child is longing to get out and play, call me. We’ll have some fun in the cottage – no art monsters allowed.

- photo, art journal page "Believe" @2008 * o

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Inner Sanctuary

The inside of the cottage - where I go to restore, to create, to get away. My little sanctuary. * o

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life in a Northern Town

One of the things I enjoy about living in a Very Small Town, is we can do things you can't in a big city. Like last night, which just happened to be one of the nicest evenings we've had yet this spring (finally!). We lit our first fire of the season in our outdoor pit, and sat around with CollegeBoy who is home for the summer, and just generally enjoyed the warm sunshine, the evening birds singing and the conversation. High School Boy even graced us with his presence for a little bit. Then, as the evening light turned dusky and the coals were just right, we roasted wienies for a late snack and went inside to enjoy a movie. Life doesn't get much better than that. * o

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm not bitchy...I'm just releasing

At the end of the yoga session last night, my awesome yoga instructor tells us "you've released a lot here tonight, notice that over the next couple days - how your body has released. You may even feel bitchy, but you're not really, you're just releasing".

I want a t-shirt that says "I'm not bitchy, I'm just releasing"............ * o

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who the Heck Stole Spring?

Woke this morning to a cold, windy, wet and flurry-ing type of day - bleck! When is it going to warm up and be spring???

At least I had a creative and relaxing weekend. Spent some time working on my art course, and also playing with polymer clay and doing some collages. Worked part of the time at the kitchen table and the rest of the time in the cottage. It is so wonderful to be out there again, in my own space. Restores my sanity.

There are a lot of artists blogs and books that are fueling my creativity these days. Thought I'd share a few of them here:

  • Mixed Media Mosiacs - Laurie Mika - I'm not only a fan of Laurie's work, showcased throughout, but I love how well the techniques are photographed and how clear the instructions are, something a beginner like myself can truly appreciate.
  • Making Connections - Susan Lenart Kazmer - I didn't even know what a "cold join" was until I got this book. Beautifully photographed and one of those books you pick up just to flip through the pictures and admire the work.
Magazines I Must Have
  • Art and Life - www.teeshamoore.com
  • Cloth, Paper, Scissors
  • Somerset Studio
Artists Who Inspire, Challenge and just generally Make Me Envious
Great websites for art and supplies
Books ordered and soon to be drooled over
  • Secrets of Rusty Things - Michael de Meng
  • Taking Flight - Kelly Rae Roberts

* o

Friday, May 09, 2008

I Heart The Weepies

Stumbled upon a reference to The Weepies while surfing blogs today.

Currently listening to the new album, Hideaway, available on iTunes.

LOVE IT! * o

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


The snail reminding me to slow down, and stay close to center.

The tree, reminding me to stay grounded. * o

Standing.....ready to go in

Despite an onslaught of wet weather I managed to walk the labyrinth three times over the weekend. Each time, it took until I reached center to unwind my mind. The twists, the turns, getting closer to center and then further away were physical metaphors of my life's journey and my spiritual one. Sometimes, I felt like I'd never get to the center. Once, I got to center quickly and then walking out it seemed to take forever.

At center, I felt grounded and peaceful. I wanted to spend a long time in the center, but there was always a time issue or a weather issue and I felt like I needed to leave. Again, much like my life - I want to spend more time centered by there is always something else needing to be done, someplace else I need to go to.

Around me the birds sang, the squirrels squawked and the trees rustled. I found the most beautiful snails along the path - beige/brown shells that spiraled and wound themselves tight to center. They were probably out enjoying the damp bark of the path and the wet weather because on the last morning, when it was drier, I didn't see any.

Grounded and strengthened. God is good. * o

The Labyrinth

* o