Thursday, December 13, 2012

Saying NO to Make Room for YES

I recently saw an article on the Spirituality and Health website that was titled “Just Say Yes" by Jamie Stringfellow.

My first thought was, “Are you kidding me??  What I need to do is learn how to say no more often!  Saying yes all the time has gotten me into this mess!”

“This mess” is the state I’ve been in the last year – exhausted, anxious, over-committed, and dealing with stress-related health issues. 

But then I read the article.  And in reading the article, I realized what they meant by saying “yes.”  “Yes” is an attitude that is open to possibility.  “Yes” is an attitude of creativity.  An attitude of “yes” is also about turning your attention to the things that are most important to you.  It is about responding from a place of positivity and love, rather than a place of negativity and fear.

Often, when I say “yes” to another commitment, to another activity, to another event, I am acting out of fear.  I’m not really open to possibility. I’m thinking, “They’ll be mad if I don’t do this” or “I really need this on my resume because I need to prove myself” or even “No one else can do this the right way.”   I’m afraid of failing, of doing something imperfect, of letting someone down. 

What I’ve been saying “yes” to is my fear; what I’ve been saying “no” to is the idea that I am loveable, that I am enough, and that other people are incredibly capable. 

We do this all the time in our artmaking as well.  We say “yes” to subject matter that we think will make other people happy, color combinations that we’ve been told are good, a medium that we know we can control.  But by saying “yes” to those things, are we missing the opportunity to say “yes” to artmaking that feeds our soul, that speaks with our own authentic voice, that pushes us to grow?

What we practice in our art translates into habits that shape our day-to-day lives.  (In my case, it’s been slow, but it is happening!)  And that’s the gift.  If we try saying “yes” to what we most love in our artmaking, regardless of the risk, we also end up saying “no” to the fear.

Want to read the original article that inspired me?  Here it is.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Beauty in Single Use Plastics

One of the things I love most about working with reclaimed single-use plastic trash is that, in its own weird way, it’s beautiful.

That may sound nuts, but this stuff is all designed by someone to attract our attention. The bright colors, the fun patterns - all are intended to get our attention in a crowded store.

And I gotta say, they work.

I first started collecting plastic bottle caps because they couldn’t be recycled curbside, and they just looked like they ought to be good for something. And those bright dabs of color looked a lot like dots of paint . . . not surprising since modern acrylic paints are, well, plastic.

Next, I dove into plastic bags and food packaging – I had read an article about fusing plastics to make a kind of material, and I was excited to try it! Besides, there had to be something I could do with all of those frozen burrito wrappers my boyfriend was producing . . .

A lot of the fun for me has been figuring out ways to use these materials in a way that really brings out their beauty!

Thanks to a RACC Project Grant and Cheryl over at Create Plenty, I'll be headed into Trillium Charter High School on February 27th to share the beauty (and the dangers) of single-use plastics with two classes of Earth Sciences students.

We're still in the last phases of fundraising for the project, and you can find the plastic quilt pictured above, "Bird on a Wire" for sale here, at the Create Plenty website.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Using images from the Portland Art Museum guide . . . Love the interaction of the two nude figures.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Paperquilts: A Practice of ArtMaking

I've been so busy working on my book the last year that I haven't spent a lot of time in the studio just making. I'm beginning to move back into it - spending time in the mornings and at least one full day a week. Fiddling with materials.

I've been sorting through old collage papers and these are bits and scraps that ended up in the recycling bin, too small for my student collage bins.

I took a tiny paper punch, less than one inch square, and began punching those bits of papers , making hundreds of tiny squares. It felt like going through old clothes and rags, cutting out the bits that might be salvageable for a quilt.

And so I began piecing the bits of paper together . . .

Building a paper quilt. Those little scraps and bits become something more than just recycling, something interesting. I have no idea where this will end up, but I've been keeping the recycling bin nearby.