Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Delicate And Elegant

Sorry for the silence yesterday. On Sunday, I drove to Eugene to spend two days with my friend Sheri and her husband and on Monday morning when I opened up my computer, it would do everything but turn on the screen. All the "good morning" noises were happening in the background behind a field of black. Last night, my husband talked me through taking out the battery and making it work. YEAH

I finished the teal scarf and had Diane arrange it for me and take a picture. I'll be standing in front of the mirror trying to re-create that look. It's soft and pretty. Speaking of which...

... on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there was a sidewalk sale in downtown Ashland... including Websters, the yarn store... that sells soft and pretty yarn... and which I happened to visit... twice... and buy things... like yarn. I don't have the balls here to tell you the content. Above, I got five balls of a denim-ish blue and below...

... there are seven skeins of 100% cotton, hand dyed in Chili. The colors are ever so slightly different so I may need to play with that in terms of achieving something cohesive but it'll work.

AND... they had the same black yarn that I'd ordered earlier so I got eleven more balls for another project since I like black so much. I have one in mind that I'll post a picture asap. It's a poncho but not a kid-like ponch. It's delicate, sophisticated, and elegant.

Yarn shopping happened between my coffee with Anna above and dinner with Susan below. What a gift it is to meet with all these creative women and enjoy such fabulous conversations.

Susan and I are a bit washed out. We had to use the flash because I forget until it was too dark for the soft candelight image.

Elaine picked me up on Saturday and took me back to her house for a tour of her new - gorgeous - cutting table and sewing studio. Having a space of our own where we can spread out and be creative is SO SO SO important. I hope you have a space.

Elaine's husband drove me back to my car in this pretty car... which turned out to be a Jaguar. He did offer to let me drive but I declined to enjoy the ride instead. Such a lovely color.

Today, I'm driving up the coast of Oregon to a B & B in Astoria where I'm staying for two days. I have this image of me meandering along the beach, perhaps painting on some of my canvas scraps with a rock or a stick and throwing a little sand in here and there. Maybe. Or maybe I'll just curl up on the porch and read a book. Either will be good. More later.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - friends

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Small Change - A Big Difference

The perceived limitation is in the medium, but the actual limitation is in the artist. Everyone begins with the same material; it's what we do with the material that matters. It's what we do with the material that distinguishes the mundane from the unique. We aren't limited because we have limitations; we are limited because we haven't embraced them. The canvas is the context for all creativity. What makes you a chef is what you do with those five flavors; what makes you a musician is what you do with those twelve notes; what makes you a painter is what you do with those three colors; what makes you an architect is what you do with those three shapes; what makes you an artist is what you do with the material you have been given with which to create. - Erwin Raphael McManus, The Artisan Soul

Coaching is both exciting and emotional. It's about acknowledging that there is something holding you back from being all that you can be and about responding to that knowledge by finding someone who can both help you identify, be a believing mirror to your potential and a guide to your future, and provide a swift kick in the rear end to get you out of your safe box. This is - perhaps - another reason why creativity takes courage.

Diane and I met in the morning to discuss my answers to the questions she'd emailed me in greater detail along with my hopes and fears. When we're being held back, it's always by a fear and most often that fear comes down to our need for acceptance and our fear of rejection. That's certainly true for me. Not fitting in has been an issue my whole life which only naturally leads to the question of if I'm already marching to a different drummer, what will happen to me, how much will my world shift, what will I lose and will what I gain be worth the pain of fulfilling the potential within that is yearning for exposure? My goal is to thrive, not merely to survive, and that means finding the answer.

After we met, I sat on a park bench and knit for an hour to process my thoughts and deal with my emotions. I had a gentleman walking by take a picture and yet when I downloaded the images, it was not there. How strange. After an hour of pondering and processing, I started working on my homework - which I'm still working on - and spent the next four hours walking in and out of shops and around downtown. When I got back to the B & B, I could hardly wait to kick off my shoes, put on my pajamas, and sip tea on the porch. YES YES ! ! ! !

As part of my assignment, I walked down Second Street to A Street and then over to the "blue house" between Third and Fourth Street. On the way, I passed this door in the middle of an empty lot. The frame is metal. I'm not sure if the door is wood or metal. The handle is there but not the lock. Above is the street address. It struck me how often we only see the closed doors and not the open walls in our lives.

Further along was this lime green bicycle complete with bell. Lime is - as most of you know - my favourite colour. As a child, my bike was freedom. When I was riding my bike, I could be anything, anyone, I wanted to be. My bike took me to places both real and imagined. I loved my bike. I've been thinking a lot about getting another bicycle although I haven't ridden in over twenty-five years. Why not?

The blue house is the space of Clear Light Optical. Diane sent me there to see all the different frames that Christopher has. He is not only an optician but he supplies frames for theater and most of the movie industry. I was to try on different frames as a way of seeing differently. And I did. Some made me laugh. Some were boring. This pair was a tweaking of who I am. The shape played up my eyes, mimicked my jaw line, and enhanced my face shape and the colour made my eyes sparkle. They opened up my face and the shape gave me a wider image. It's like hemming your skirt at just the right length. A small change; a big difference. I bought them.

Another part of my assignment was to try on some different styles I might normally avoid in a clothing store. I do that fairly often so I had to find something that was REALLY different. This skirt is soft and flowing and black which are all aspects I'm typically drawn to. It's also knit and figure hugging and yet, it looked great on me. I wouldn't have know that; I wouldn't have tried it on. Several of the other women shopping in the store stopped what they were doing to tell me how fabulous it looked. Isn't it wonderful when people connect like that? Perhaps we don't so much climb out of our box as push our box ever bigger - have open walls ? ? ?

These pants were far too big for me but I loved, Loved, LOVED the buttoned pleats along the side. I'm sure if they'd fit I would have bought them so perhaps this is good. What fun those would be to recreate although I'm not sure recreating is the direction Diane's guiding me in. It's more about risk and about listening to the fabric more than the piece. It's a unfamiliar and strange land; I don't even know how to describe it yet but I am excited to be moving there.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a believing mirror

In demonstrating prosperity you should praise and bless even minor evidences of financial improvement.
- Charles Filmore

... and perhaps praise and bless even minor evidences of creative improvement. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Creative Friendships - Creative Conversations

My room was so quiet and my bed so cushy that I actually slept until eight o'clock yesterday morning and since my first meet-up was at eleven, I sat and had breakfast on the porch and enjoyed a slow beginning. This morning, I have to be somewhere on time so I set the alarm so I'd a bit extra and not need to rush. I prefer mornings like that.

Outside one of the stores along main street is this beautiful display of flower pots. Very pretty. There's an aged and comfortable feel to the town and lots of benches where you can sit, rest, and contemplate.

Claire and I went for lunch at one of the Italian restaurants and had a fabulous time getting to know each other before heading to the drop in at Diane's studio - So fabulous that I forgot to get a picture of the two of us until later.

The drop-in is a mix of working on your own piece, getting help from Diane, and discussing with the group what you're trying to achieve. It's filled with a creative energy. Exactly what I came for. That and...

... a real life meeting with members of my tribe. Marta - above left - is also taking the surface design workshop on Friday/Saturday and Ute - above right- and I met when I was down for the retreat in June and we've kept in touch ever since. I'm so thankful for this creative connection with other women. It's a gift.

Marta just took a workshop on natural dyeing and shared several of her projects with us. She over-dyed existing pieces. The one above needed a little tweaking fit-wise. The fit afterward was superb and I learned a way to work with the side seam and underarm that is quite flattering and not at all complicated. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to show it in a future project.

Judy and I first met at the DOL retreat in 2012 and then again in 2013. Last year, she was in the process of moving to Ashland and missed the retreat and we missed her. It was wonderful to touch bases again. We went for dinner and a walk around downtown. When we asked a woman to take our photograph, it turned out that she actually knew something about photography beyond point and shoot so it took a bit longer than we thought even though she couldn't correct whatever it was she wanted to correct. We are - apparently - a bit over exposed. LOL - life will do that to you. What I noticed is that Judy and I have similar cheekbone and mouth structures. They - the great omnipotent all knowing they - say there are only a few face shapes in the world. Perhaps this is true.

Today is my 1-1 coaching session with Diane. I'm excited and nervous. We'll see how it goes.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - creative friendships, creative conversations

The prosperous heart has reciprocal relationships. The give and take comes out even. The prosperous heart is generous and its friends are generous in return. The prosperous heart neither over gives nor under gives. It believes in fair play. It offers reciprocity. It is always willing to meet a new friend. 
- Julia Cameron

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Hundred Miles From Medford

Medford is the last city before you turn off the I5 and head toward Ashland. The strangest thing happened when a hundred miles from Medford. The last time I drove down here, I didn't see even one Canadian license plate. This time, I was driving both behind and beside a vehicle from British Columbia, and then I saw another, and then a BC courier. So weird. I wanted to honk and wave my hands and blow kisses to share our stranger in a foreign land affiliation but I was pretty sure they would think I was crazy and probably not even notice my license plate.

My B & B is thirteen minutes outside of Ashland which is about the distance from my house to the fabric store at home so not a problem for me. Jenny (left) and Hercules (right) greeted me when I arrived although they are camera shy as you can see.

My space is surrounded by a garden complete with a white picket fence and Adirondack chairs. Just off to the right is a vegetable and berry garden and a little further along the path is the hen house. The fridge contains fresh eggs, artisan bread, local butter, and jam and my host - Cindy - brought over...

... some fresh, just picked, tomatoes and a cob of corn that went perfect with the caramelized onion and Swiss cheese quiche that I'd picked up at the Co-op.

I ate... and knit... outside on the porch. You can just hear the highway noise from here but not at all like last night's hotel and the motor sounds are mixed in with the mooing of cows, the bleating of goats, and an energetic rooster. VERY peaceful.

This is the main area and kitchen of the B & B. A full bathroom and a small bedroom with a large closet are off to the left. The space is fully equipped and a lovely resting place. Once I finish writing this posting, I'm going to curl up on the couch with my journal and a cup-of-tea and journal "at home" for a change.

Before I left Portland, I had breakfast with Jean. Our waitress took several pictures all of which are slightly blurry. In this one, my glasses are "sparkling" and in the other best one, my eyes are closed. Either way, I have a great picture of Jean. This is the second time we've gotten together and what a wonderful experience, to meet someone you know on-line in a face-to-face situation and just start talking. It's fabulous. Today, I'm having lunch with Claire R., another blog reader. I'm looking forward to that and afterward we are both going to Diane's drop-in session where I'll meet up with a friend from DOL.

This is the journey of the craftsman, to recognize that art has in its universe words like creativity, inspiration, beauty, and imagination, but in that same universe are words like perseverance, resilience, tenacity and discipline. We want our lives to be works of art, but we don't want the work to take a lifetime. And really, how long does it take to make our lives works of art? 

This is the section from The Artisan Soul that I wanted to share with you yesterday. It's so easy to want to be there - wherever there may be - right way but the there where we want to be is usually a there with a high level of mastery over a particular skill and no matter how you approach it, mastery takes time. It's easy to compare our fledgling pieces to those of someone else's accomplished skills and in the process become discouraged. I have to remember not to do that because we are - I am - not going to achieve that enviable level of mastery in my area of choice without hard work, frustration, opportunities disguised as mistakes, and a lot of trial and error. I'm reminding myself of these facts as I spend the next few days focused on surface design with only paint and a brush and neither a sewing machine nor a piece of thread in sight. Paint and a brush are not my area of comfort. New directions bring new emotions and while they're necessary to get to the other side, not all of them are user-friendly. I'm remembering to interpret this experience in a way that works for me.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a fabulous, peaceful, B & B

When someone creates out of love, it is visible in the details. When something matters to us, the details matter. 
- Erwin Raphael McManus

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Hundred Steps From Starbucks

On Sunday, some of my hang-to-dry clothes weren't quite dry so I packed yesterday morning right before leaving. This is not the best approach for taking a minimum of clothing and accessories but I did manage to fit it all into my suitcase and overnight bag and this is good.

Add another bag and a pillow to the image above and that's it - ALL my luggage - substantially less than what I came down with last time. It'll be interesting to see how well I handle eleven days without my sewing machines. LOL - I miss them already.

The drive so far has been great. As usual, there was less traffic in Canada and a lot more in the US. Both the border and driving through Seattle took about fifteen minutes each which was great and there were no accidents. I just drove along and all went well. I listened to music. In Kamloops, we don't have a Christian radio station. Here, I listened to three different ones coming down the I5. When one got crackly, I found another and kept singing along. I'm sure the other drivers thought I was crazy and oh well.

The weather was sunny when I crossed the border and grew steadily grayer after that. The skies looked almost exactly like the one in the above - from the Internet - picture when I crossed from Vancouver, Washington into Portland, Oregon - via a bridge - which I find completely fascinating. One expanse of steel moves you from this city in that state to that city in this state. So easy now. So complicated years ago when these cities first began.

See what stands out in the rack above? OH the temptation. I deliberately left the driving instructions at home even though I knew that Fabric Depot was only thirteen minutes from the hotel and open until nine. I'm being very strict with myself this trip - both food and fiber wise. When you eat and shop your stress away, it eventually shows which is why...

... I asked the front desk clerk at the hotel for directions to Starbucks. She told me about the one where I'm standing to take this picture first but when I said I was walking, she directed me to another - closer - one. Because I wanted the longer walk, I came to this one  - 300 steps - I counted. The hotel is that brown rectangle above the white car. You can see it from Starbucks. Either she thought I was too old, too fat, or too out of shape, or no one walks around here. Too funny.

Since it was in an office area, the Starbucks closed at six o-clock so I did most but not all of my study and then I packed the book bag back into the car and this morning, I'm not going out there wearing my pajamas so - sorry - but I don't have the part I wanted to share with you or the quote. Sigh. Tomorrow.

One good thing about walking to the Starbucks was finding another hotel for next May when I'm down again. The last time I stayed at this hotel, my room was on the other side and quiet. This time, I'm between the highway, the door to the stairwell, and the ice-machine. It's MUCH nosier. Staying only a hundred steps from Starbucks sounds good to me.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - safe travels