Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Spirit Within

I did it! I backed off just a little. I gave myself permission to close my eyes and breath, and it had a wonderful effect. This week I am feeling so much lighter, so revived. I got caught up with the need for mental quiet and an incredible amount of energy poured in...and then the work poured out. It's been a great couple of weeks of completing things. Plus I have resumed reading blogs and searching around and joining again. I am pleased, and I say: there is a happy balance to be found.

Before I talk about the art that showed up I want to acknowledge all the people that do. My Baby Blog, born on October 28, 2010, will be six months old next week, just in time for Momma to turn, well, another decade older. But who's counting? Momma feels young as ever, Baby Blog is thriving, and it's all because of you, dear readers. You leave me wonderful affirmations, and return time and time again. I'm not always sure when I have something worth taking up a part of your precious day, but I guess if you didn't enjoy the visit you wouldn't keep returning. Just yesterday we reached 4,000 page views and 41 (Google) followers. Others of you may be returning by Networked Blogs on Facebook, or privately by email or RSS. There are so many ways to keep in touch, and I am grateful when you do. Please feel free to leave a comment, or if you are shy about the open page, contact me directly. So, thank you, new friends, and I hope you will continue to be entertained, or made thoughtful, or learn something new to enlarge your own creative world.

A selection of small accordion-fold watercolor journals, ready for action. They were an unfinished project from my sketching on location class, finally completed.

The covers were all made by me from recycled materials and parts and pieces left over from my mixed media class. The painted canvas box was made to store them.

As I mentioned at the start, lately the art is flowing freely. When I began this blog, I was just beginning to examine my need for a better level of creative adventure. Something deeper and more of myself than the rehashing of others' styles and designs. I began to be a student of creativity once again, through classes and mentors, through reading, and most importantly--daily practice. I was not sure how to proceed except one day at a time, and one image at a time, being open to materials, techniques and inspirations.

"Secret Garden," from a mixed media lesson in painting on fabric (the poppies are acrylic on muslin), the green is painted cotton batting, and the frame fabric (sunprinted with bleeding art tissue) was found in my stash.

I had been playing tentatively at this "student" business, but suddenly last week as I worked, I began to feel a vision of sorts. The art practice was truly building a framework inside me to hold and nurture the creativity. That is was jelling--becoming a real thing, something good and permanent and mine.

"Hippo Love--Purple Version"--a tiny mixed media book on Lutradur, with a torn, sewn and stencilled watercolor paper cover.

"Hippo Love--Pink Version"

Now I feel ideas are flowing more freely. I don't have to search for them so hard, they just come as I work. I have long been averse to totally planning an art piece. I work best in stages, leaving open the paths to go down as they beckon, as they seem the next logical way. The serendipitous find, the "Aha!" moments, they thrill me. I am studying this immersion process with Jude Hill in her "Whispering Hearts" class right now. She is there as an artist, creating for us in real time as we look in, and if we want to, participate. I am loving the insights.

"Crop Circles", a completed project in woven, embroidered and quilted fabric from Jude's "Cloth to Cloth" Workshop, also know as "The Husband Cloth" because it was requested by the same for his denim jacket.

The other revelation is just how much I live and breath this thing. I long to work on art. I wake up thinking about it. I constantly search for paper to jot down ideas. (Next comes the discipline of keeping an actual sketch journal for that purpose.) I run downstairs after retiring to bed to set aside fabric or other ingredients to add to the design mix for the next day. I have even dreamt designs that I was able to remember. The art sometimes seems as important as breathing. It is never a chore, unless I force it. When  I channel it, it is always joyful. I used to do "crafts" all the time, and by that I mean completing a copy of someone else's design. Whether knitting, beading, stained glass objects, I had to touch the materials, combine the colors, see something grow. Now I hope to see those well crafted items begin to express a deeper meaning, a more personal creativity. I am moving on. Will you be joining me?


  1. Quiet and the breath are powerful partners! I celebrate your finding of some balance and your wonderful work...

  2. Hi Cheryl. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such kind words :~) Finding that balance is quite tricky isn't it, but great when it is. I'm in a similar place to you....wanting to find my own expression and that is what Jude's whisperings are helping me develop. Your jacket looks awesome with your fantastic Crop Circles cloth. No wonder your husband wanted one great is that :~)
    Blessed be.

  3. Hi Cheryl I love your blog and the words you write really resonate with me. I've read a few of your previous posts about tea staining and such and it made me think about my habit of drinking coffee and once I got bit with the staining of paper/eco dyeing fabric I started saving my coffee grounds and used coffee filters.. makes me laugh thinking about that. I told an artist friend recently that there is no good excuse these days to not be able to create art. You don't NEED art supplies because your house is filled with them. You just learn a new way of looking at what you have. So .. love your blog and the work you've posted on sewin .. I'll be back to see your work again. :)

  4. hey that reminds me .. how do you post the labels at the bottom of your blog.. i haven't been able to figure that out ..thanks!

  5. wow! there is so much here to think about and explore. glad to see your finished husband cloth. so happy to find all of this inspiration here.

  6. Loved seeing the hippo book. Glad your sharing the journey.

  7. Your own personal creativity is evolving and it is lovely to visit your blog and be part of your journey.
    Love your little hippo books and your husbands circle cloth is wonderful!

    Jacky xox

  8. a very very nice feeling here in your "house"
    a thoughtfulness and soft focused determination.
    and as i said in SEW, that husband cloth is the so many ways for so many reasons.
    it's going to be a good year, yes?

  9. Happy birthday, and just look at what is pouring forth! So much of what you say resonates with me, thanks so much for sharing it.

  10. A belated happy birthday! I have been limiting my blog reading time and finally got caught up with your world. What an amazing amount of art you have created and I am so loving watching your progress through your classes. Your artwork is wonderful and I hope you go back frequently and see how far you have come. Wishing you continued success.

  11. I love that you made a "Husband Cloth"....I have been thinking of making something with bits of my late husbands clothes...I did make a wrist I am thinking about an altered journal or something....anyway, glad I found you and your work.....very inspiring!!

    Heart Hugs,

  12. Hi! I'm here through Jude's classes - kind of a great way to meet people. Just read your last few entries. Your journey is like mine - art, stitching, mixed media, a bit of doodling and travel all wrapped up together. Need to get back to my blog - something happened and no one could comment so I got disheartened and super busy. Plus I've been traveling. Love the work you've been doing in fabric, your jackets, your silly doodles and the journals you made - esp. the box they go in. Wow - isn't it great to have so many interests and so many ways to learn? Are you going to CREATE this summer in Chicago? I went last year and it was awesome. Also - I'm from the Portland area in Vancouver so it would be great to meet some time when you visit or move out here. There are a lot of us jude-o-philes out here. Thanks.