Saturday, February 18, 2017

ARTFUL GATHERING ONLINE ART RETREAT BLOG HOP...


Today kicks off the 7th annual Blog Hop for the Artful Gathering Online Art Retreat.  This hop not only introduces the line up of instructors and classes but a chance to win some wonderful package prizes from sponsor Jerry's Artorama:


1st Prize:  $250 e-gift card
2nd Prize:  $150.00 e-gift card
3rd Prize:  $100.00 e-gift card

Think of all the fun and creative supplies you could purchase from Jerry's with any of these prizes!

To find out how to join in the fun just visit the Blog Hop Post HERE.

Blessings,
Sandy

Monday, January 16, 2017

DEFINING SUCCESS: COOKIE CUTTER STYLE...


(Studio 2017...while its clean, which is not often but I have to tape a class intro in there and I thought it needed it.  Lots of ready to use collage background substrates)

“I so admire artists who have one sole focus or medium they work in, it takes far less supplies and space than my mixed media method of madness.”  This was my thought after the latest round of trying to fit what amounts to a square peg (my supplies) into a round hole (small space).  But, I DID IT! , success!  My defining success was paring down to not a lot of anything but a little bit of everything for my mixed media needs and (the hard part) having a home for it all.
(Bead and Embellishment Storage)

Last spring I was in touch with a very successful well known artist who is also mentors other artists.  After emails, phone conversations, and a visit to my social media sites and blog the advice was that in order to be a success I would have to dial it back and focus on one thing.
(Rubber Stamps, Hand Dyed Ribbons, Paints,Paper, Buttons, Tools, Jewelry Embellishments, Etc.  My "sink" is a new addition to the studio, love it!)

 I could not have a messy mixed media blog that had posts of writing, art, tutorials, nature photography, travel, and bits of randomness.   I needed not one but two Facebook accounts, one personal and one professional, and for heaven’s sakes quit posting all those quirky bits of travel logs with tons of photos no one has time to look at much less read.  Why am I not tweeting on Twitter?  Step it up on Instagram!   More selfies less nature!  What about Vimeo and YouTube, where are my channels?  My Pinterest  page is weak and my blog needed a modernized design.  Why did I not have an official artist website?  My bio is not sophisticated enough. It’s been too long since I had listed art for sale on Etsy.   It all needs to be about the art but, I MUST pick ONE thing to focus on be it book arts, art journaling, jewelry, stitch, collage, or painting, just pick ONE and focus, then I would be on the road to success.
(My desk where I make jewelry, sketch, art journal, or layout designs)

To say I was a little taken aback is an understatement.  At first I was downright offended.  Then I was overwhelmed and feeling really insecure.  Should I delete everything and start all over?  Did I want to?  So I decided to break down the advice I was given. I am not much into social media, I guess it’s because it was not a part of my generation growing up, it’s something I have had to learn and adapt to but on my terms.
(My metalsmithing and glass work table just behind the bead and embellishment storage shelf)

I don’t want to be behind a computer or phone screen all the time.  I don’t feel the need for constant communication.  I like my quite moments in nature where I can hear myself think while focusing my camera lens on the majesty of beauty that nature has to offer.  That is art to me, the art of silence and presence of savoring a moment.   I don’t need constant contact with people; I like silence and maybe that comes from being an only child who spent a lot of time alone.
(Sewing Storage, (my daughter gifted me all those amazing boxes and the bakers rack was just purchased this weekend, still getting that area set up) The Tower of Terror paper hoard, lots of Ephemera and goodies!)

 Soooo, one blog, one Facebook account, Pinterest pins are for me and my inspiration or ideas, I am doing better at Instagram, I am still not tweeting, taking selfies, or doing video so I can be “discovered”.  I don’t yet have an official artist website but someday I will.  So I give away more art than I sell, that’s my choice.  My bio is me to a sweet-T, no need to change it.  Nature is my main inspiration in art and my travels are a part of that process, those posts and pics will stay.  As for focus on one medium or type of art, well I am just not a cookie cutter kind of girl.
(This is my main work space where I glue and goo and mess and gob and paint.  Its also where I set up to film, you can see the backdrop on the table and extra lighting and peek of the tripod.)

Cookie cutter neighborhoods are sad to me (no offense intended if you happen to live in one please, I grew up in one) that just does not fit me.  I love quirky old neighborhoods, run down old houses, even better something that was never intended to be a home but has been converted into one; they all have individuality and personality.  I saw the advice I was given for just what it was, success cookie cutter style, not intended to harm or alarm but a blueprint of the steps of success this particular artist took to get where they are today.  It’s that square peg in a round hole thing again; it just does not fit me.
(Book storage under the table in vintage colorful crates)

I can’t be me and not create a variety of art just as much as I can’t be a vanilla flavored cookie cut out over and over and over again with the same round shape cookie cutter producing the same type of thing repeatedly.  I am more of spice cookie, a variety of flavors to my mixed media.  I would be cut out as a Gingerbread man who is holding a heart shaped cookie(still going to share my heart and art) and chasing a star shaped cookie (while chasing my artful dreams), running as fast as I can, delighting in my adventures along the way.  Maybe my way is reckless and foolish as the Gingerbread man in the storybook and I will get gobbled up and lost in the fray but at least I will have stayed true to myself.

That in large part explains my long absence from this blog.  I lost myself in thinking I needed to adapt to a cookie cutter way set by someone else and it completely threw me off track.   I am back to mixing my media, varying my projects, and making happy spicy messes as more than one shaped cookie and my recipe for success suits me just fine! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I MAKE PRETTY THINGS...


(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

"You were made by God's masterful hands - wisely designed, uniquely formed, caringly crafted.
You were made for God's glorious purpose - to know His love, to be His own, to express His heart."

~Roy Lessin~
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

My heart swells with joy every time I read this quote to think that I was blessed with one pinch of an attribute of the Creator, to work with my hands designing, crafting, and forming things that are my heart expressions of appreciation and love for Him.
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

Having the gift of creativity is sometimes a struggle for me.  While I try to use this gift to best of my often limited ability, its hard not to fall into the comparison game.  I have a friend who is gifted with teaching and a passion for bringing God's Word to life through story telling in her children's ministry.  She travels on missions sharing her heart and it is making such a difference in the world of faith.....and I make pretty things.
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

I know people who have started food banks to feed the homeless, those who work with college students training for missions, those write books and speak sharing hope and faith, those who have youth ministries, those who serve in homeless shelters, those who hold clothing drives, food drives, and are Christmas Angels, and the list could go on and on.....and I make pretty things.
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

These are all big responsible works that seem so much greater and make so much more impact and reach so many more people than making pretty things.  It is so easy to fall into the great than/less than trap and compare what you do to what someone else does.  I often have to remind myself of Exodus 31:1-5 where creativity is indeed a valid gift, "...given in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, in all manner of workmanship to design artistic works..."
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

This was really brought home to me this week when I received an email from someone who had purchased a piece of my jewelry.  She expressed such exuberant joy over having something one of kind that was unique to her with its hidden meaningful message in the text on the piece, known only between she and I.  She said this was a hopeful piece to her that she could wear and be reminded of God's love.  
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

I had no idea when I was designing, forming, and crafting this simple piece of jewelry that it could be used for His glorious purpose, a reminder to the wearer of His love for her and a blessing of the gift of delight and joy.   Wow!...and I make pretty things...lucky me!
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

The next time you are tempted to fall into the greater than/less than comparison trap just remember, YOU ARE one of the prettiest things ever made, wisely designed, uniquely formed, caringly crafted, by His masterful hands.  YOU ARE valuable and what you do matters whether it is big or small, loud or quiet, you are a most precious pretty person.....lucky you!
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

Blessings,
Sandy

I MAKE PRETTY THINGS...


(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

"You were made by God's masterful hands - wisely designed, uniquely formed, caringly crafted.
You were made for God's glorious purpose - to know His love, to be His own, to express His heart."

~Roy Lessin~
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

My heart swells with joy every time I read this quote to think that I was blessed with one pinch of an attribute of the Creator, to work with my hands designing, crafting, and forming things that are my heart expressions of appreciation and love for Him.
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

Having the gift of creativity is sometimes a struggle for me.  While I try to use this gift to best of my often limited ability, its hard not to fall into the comparison game.  I have a friend who is gifted with teaching and a passion for bringing God's Word to life through story telling in her children's ministry.  She travels on missions sharing her heart and it is making such a difference in the world faith.....and I make pretty things.
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

I know people who have started food banks to feed the homeless, those who work with college students training for missions, those write books and speak sharing hope and faith, those who have youth ministries, those who serve in homeless shelters, those who hold clothing drives, food drives, and are Christmas Angels, and the list could go on and on.....and I make pretty things.
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

These are all big responsible works that seem so much greater and make so much more impact and reach so many more people than making pretty things.  It is so easy to fall into the great than/less than trap and compare what you do to what someone else does.  I often have to remind myself of Exodus 31:1-5 where creativity is indeed a valid gift, "...given in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, in all manner of workmanship to design artistic works..."
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

This was really brought home to me this week when I received an email from someone who had purchased a piece of my jewelry.  She expressed such exuberant joy over having something one of kind that was unique to her with its hidden meaningful message in the text on the piece, known only between she and I.  She said this was a hopeful piece to her that she could wear and be reminded of God's love.  
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

I had no idea when I was designing, forming, and crafting this simple piece of jewelry that it could be used for His glorious purpose, a reminder to the wearer of His love for her and a blessing of the gift of delight and joy.   Wow!...and I make pretty things...lucky me!
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

The next time you are tempted to fall into the greater than/less than comparison trap just remember, YOU ARE one of the prettiest things ever made, wisely designed, uniquely formed, caringly crafted, by His masterful hands.  YOU ARE valuable and what you do matters whether it is big or small, loud or quiet, you are a most precious pretty person.....lucky you!
(Photography by Tracy Hoggard)

Blessings,
Sandy

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

REFRESHED...

Refreshed:  to give new strength and energy to; reinvigorate; revise; update

AUGUST JOURNAL ENTRY:
This morning a soft rain is gently pattering on the ground outside my open windows.  Open windows in August are a rarity in my little corner of the world.  Usually, I am hermetically sealed inside my Tupperware like existence to stay refreshed in the wilting southern summer heat and humidity.  This rain is a gift, a refreshment to the parched earth.  I know what that kind of thirst feels like, dried out from the heat...only I am thinking more of the parchment of the soul.

It has been a long hot nearly unbearable season of heat this summer but it has been made bearable by knowing that summer will end and autumn will arrive with its cooler temperatures and riot of color.  Life seasons don't work like that.   While there is a surety that change will inevitably come, its the timing that's the hitch, its totally unpredictable.  When it finally arrives and the heat and pressures of life are lifted it is the sweetest refreshment a soul can savor.

I am drinking deeply from this open window on my life timeline, gulping greedily really, savoring this gentle patter of refreshment.  Peace fills my thirsty soul.  Gratitude overflows knowing that the lid that sealed me into a life event or circumstance can and will be lifted and there is freshness to be found.

I guess life is kind of like a Tupperware bowl, there is preparation for what is going to be stored in the bowl.  This is like the life process of being made ready for things to come.  Storage is the next stage, retention or a holding pattern, preparing us for future use.  Then there is the containment stage, which to me is often the most frustrating and painful, This keeps us within limits.  The final stage is the serving stage.  What comes out of the Tupperware bowl is fresh and palatable.  Once we have weathered the preparation, storage, containment stages we emerge refreshed and ready to serve....

ENTRY END...  
This is the best way I can describe that last weeks and months of my life, my absence here.  I needed time to refresh, gain new strength and energy, to be reinvigorated, revised, and updated.  I needed time to heal.  Time to sort through some messy life stuff.  I also needed time to stop a moment from being a human doing and embrace a time of human being.  

Life here has settled into a new rhythm and I love this quite slower peaceful pace.
My hope is to ease back into blogging and reconnect with my blog friends.
I hope you are all doing well.

Many Blessings,
Sandy


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

CHANGES...

"Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, 
letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights."

~Pauline R. Kezer~
Change is not something I adapt to very easily.  I like steady continuity.  I like order.  I like predictability.  However, life is just not like that, continuity is broken by bumps and jostles, left and right turns, and sometimes it just plain ole turns completely upside down.  I am thankful for the things I can count on to be continuous that keep me rooted and grounded but I am coming to realize that I need to embrace change if I want to branch out and grow.  

A huge part of this process for me over the last several months has been letting go.  Letting go of trying to control.  Letting go of physical space.  Letting go of material clutter.  Letting go of the past and embracing the present.  For the first time in a very long time I don't dread what change may bring.  I am ready to grow beyond the sapling stage of my journey and sprout out new branches that allow me to stretch and grow and reach new heights. 
A lot of things have changed since I last posted here:

 My studio has been downsized and moved.
I now inhabit the writing cottage by the garden pond where there is fantastic natural lighting and inspirational views where I have been working on learning some new things, brushing up on old favorites, and settling into the new space.
(Pics coming soon!)

The previous studio space inside my home has been turned into a haven for the grandchildren who love having their own special hang out here.

The man gave up his office and is using the entry for his office.  
His previous space is being turned into a comfy wee guest room.

The farmhouse has been sold.
This was such a bittersweet process for me but by the time it was done I had embraced and accepted this major change as a part of life.
A lingering problem has been solved by the relocation of someone who kept the pot stirred so to speak,

I have accepted that I can't change the condition of my mother's illness and am better coping with it, not to say that some days are not harder than others.

I am getting to know my earthly father and realizing how precious he is to me.
He and my mother divorced when I was very young so I did not grow up with him in my life as much as I would have liked to, plus his job had him traveling a lot when I was young.  There was never anything bad between us, we just somehow never got to really know one another.
I am leaning heavier on my Heavenly Father to help me embrace what I can change and to accept and be peaceful with what I cannot.

I am embracing new opportunities that are sure to stretch me beyond my comfort zone.  I want the courage to allow myself to be scared but do it anyway.  Like filming my very first online class for ARTFUL GATHERING 2017!

I realized one day how much negativity was surrounding me and dragging me down with my own attitude and with some outside influences.  Something inside me snapped and I decided it had to be different.  I cut the ties that were binding me to the past and sticking me in place in the present, and I have to say that freedom feels wonderful!  It's not just that a lot of my circumstances have changed, I have changed and I think that is the hardest change to embrace, changing ones self.
As I gear up for more even bigger changes in my future I am ever so grateful for all these "roots" that show me where I came from and for the new growth that shows me what I can become.

A huge part of my journey to change has brought me back to my love and passion for art and writing which brings me back to this blog and all you precious friends I have so missed over these last months.  I am looking forward to reconnecting!

What is on your journey to change?

Blessings,
Sandy
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