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By eleven on Thursday morning, the workshop was over and I was on my way home. Other than a stop for gas, I basically drove straight through to the hotel and even so I didn't get there until almost eight that night.
The first part of the drive from Sisters to Salem was great. At the gas station in Salem, some guy tried to pull a huge RV through a small station and around a tight turn and drove over the pump causing a BIG problem and a major safety concern. Since I was next in line, I left and went to another station.
Salem to Tacoma was crowded but doable. The drive between Tacoma and Everett - a distance of 98.3 kilometers - which should have taken about a hour - took an excruciating three hours, in the rain, with the windshield wipers running non stop.
Windshield wipers can drive me crazy at the best of times but when they are wagging away in my face like an angry finger - for three hours - while crawling along in bumper car traffic - it is all I can do not to mangle them up and throw them off the car. It was exhausting and it gave me plenty of time to think about Diane's final question of the closing circle - What do you want?
We're more used to thinking in the negative about what we don't want as opposed to thinking in the positive about what we do want. They are two sides of the same surface. If we turn over what we don't want, we'll discover what we do and then the question becomes how? How can I have more of what I want?
If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. - Anthony Robbins
Even before leaving for the Design Outside The Lines workshop, I'd been considering what I wanted going forward and what would need to change in my routine and studio structures to have the new adventures in creativity that I've been craving. Each of us has a creative well that is deep and wide and extravagant. To bring forth our own riches requires permission, time and space to play, a commitment and desire to possibility, and a willingness to change. Without change, there can be no change - no transition from the old to the new.
Life is full of transitions some of which we choose, some of which are unplanned but welcomed joyfully, and some of which arrive unannounced accompanied by great pain. There's not much you can do but work your way through whatever transition appears before you and even so, we don't always greet them with acceptance. Three of my key relationships are currently going through transition and that seemed like enough relational change without adding a fourth so I've been resisting. And now I'm not.
Some artists complete three paintings and start exhibiting right away. I think this is a mistake. You need time to develop your craft. You need time to find your voice. These things should occur in the privacy of your studio, not in the public forum. It is easy to ruin a promising body of work by exposing it to public scrutiny; you will either gain so much praise you won't need to finish the work, or so much criticism you won't feel you can.
- page xviii, Taking The Leap, by Cay Lang
- page xviii, Taking The Leap, by Cay Lang
Some people look at me strangely when I say this but I think of the blog as one of my best friends, a friend that I talk to almost every day. Over the time that I've been blogging, this creative outlet has improved my writing skills, connected me with people who love to do what I do, made me more aware of details, and allowed me to share, teach, support, and encourage. It's good - and I don't want it to change - but it does need to evolve so I can evolve. I hope that you - the blog - as one of my best friends - will do what best friends do and support and encourage me in what I want to do.
Almost ten years ago, I took what I called The Year of Play. Over a one year period of focusing on my creative growth, my work evolved from traditional, pattern based quilting to independent, pattern free textile art built around the elements and principles of design. At the same time, my teaching evolved from technically based work to coaching others in the exploration of their own creativity.
There was an energy about that time period that I have long been wanting to get back to and one that I've touched on through the Design Outside The Lines workshop. When I think about the question what do I want? the answer is more "not knowing" creativity, more series work, more thematic studies, more interactive creativity, and more teaching opportunities. In a nutshell, I want more of the parts of me that I thoroughly enjoy.
I agree with the quote above that work of the unknowing nature is best developed away from public scrutiny. During The Year of Play, I didn't allow anyone - as in not one single person - to comment on my work. I wanted to listen to my own voice and to trust my own artist. It was a period of hugely powerful growth that I want to explore again only this time I have a better idea of the benefits and the outcome and of ways to share the process without feeling completely exposed and vulnerable.
SO... I'm making some changes to facilitate that growth.
Monday With Myrna - Starting today, I'll be blogging once a week on Mondays. If I find that's not enough, I'll add Thursdays and if I find I'm more productive with a daily routine, I'll re-instate it but for now blogging will simply be Mondays. Exactly how and what I share will become more clear with time. Right now, I see the postings including thoughts that occurred over the week, a piece I'm particularly pleased with, a new technical discovery, an ah ha moment, creative encouragement, and so on. I am confident enough with my creative abilities that I no longer feel the need for complete isolation so please know that I welcome your feedback and interaction. In fact...
Blog Participation - ... I am going to ask you to participate in my creativity. Responding to what is in front of you is a key element of creativity only we tend to pick creative ingredients with similarities. Having something to respond to that is not of your own choosing can take your creativity up another notch. I'm ready to notch it up. I need your help to do that.
As I decide on a theme to explore, I'll ask those of you who are willing to to send creative ingredients and to thank you I will periodically draw from the names of those who have donated for a give away. I can't say how often I'll have a giveaway or what I'll be giving away because I have no idea what I'm going to produce in what quantities but something will happen.
I'm about to post several themes in a side bar along with my address. I debated posting my address but there seemed little point in being secretive when it's on my business card which I give out freely and when it can be easily found with any basic Google search. Once I receive enough variety on a particular theme, I'll delete that theme from the request list and any excess materials will be donated to a local organization - such as a high school - to encourage further creativity.
Friday morning, I stopped at a second hand store to find the starts above. From top to bottom, these are a skirt, a cardigan, a sweater, and two more cardigans. I concentrated on choosing quality garments that intrigued me in some way. Two are far too small, one is way too big, one is completely the wrong color for me, and another is an unusual fabric. These are garments for refashioning that will lead me in unknown directions. The results may or may not fit me, may or may not be in my style, and may or may not be in my coloring which is why...
Items For Sale - ... I'll periodically be listing items for sale as a way of maintaining flow within the studio. Rather than worry about what am I going to do with all the things that I'm creating, I'll list them for sale. I want an un-congested studio and I want my creations to go to homes where they will be loved and appreciated and... to be completely honest... I want to generate some income to pay for future supplies and workshops. Prices will be moderate and selling low key.
Several people came to the workshop with things to give away. Marcy gave us all a piece of canvas. Paula brought a pile of feed sacks of which I brought home three. Several people gave away fabric scraps like this pink and white print and I'm not sure who brought the sample pack of upholstery pieces but it's a fabulous color mix. Like the pieces of used clothing, these are starts.
For many creative people, getting started is the hardest step. They worry about what to do, how to do it, and what if whatever decision they make is wrong. After The Year of Play, I began teaching creativity workshops around getting started, doing the work, and listening to your artist voice. Of the many shifts in my life over the past few years, the one aspect I miss the most is teaching so...
The Creative Start - ... in mid to late September, I'll be running a small on-line test class at a reduced rate and starting in 2014 will be teaching two or more on-line classes each year called The Creative Start. The class will focus on exercises to spark creativity and get started and on ways to help those who are interested to sew creative everyday wear. These will not be flashy classes that dance and entertain. They will be classes packed will solid information and encouragement designed to help you dance.
The format will be old school - something like a Yahoo Group - not Facebook - unless I discover another method that I prefer better. I've used Yahoo and it worked fabulously in the past for the way my classes are structured. There will be pdf files, assignments, conversation, positive critique, and artistic interaction all of which are at the soul of creative collaboration and inspiration.
I've been teaching in one format or another for almost thirty years and taught on-line workshops for ten years with an international student base of up to 1,200 students per year. I love teaching and I'm a great teacher on-line and in-person. If that sounds too much like bragging, so be it. I have the testimonials to back it up.
I'm really excited to have made the decision to teach again and even as I say that, I'm being careful to set parameters that work for me. I strongly believe that the care and keeping of the artist - me - is of primary importance. I'm not willing to burn out or to sell my soul in any way so we'll see how it goes and - if it goes well - there is the possibility of a face-to-face retreat in the fall of 2014.
This Week In The Studio - The number one task this week will be to get back in the flow of the studio and to evolve my studio structures to better achieve my goals. When I arrived home, there was a skirt sitting on the counter that I'd decided not to take with me. It's too long. Before, I was thinking of raising the waistband or cutting off the hem. Now, I'm going to use the inspiration from the garment I bought from Diane to take my skirt in a completely different direction and shorten it by creating tucks. Personalized copying is one way to get started and to move in new directions.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - a pile of starts and the excitement to start