Heading to summer break

It has been a really crazy week, not only is it finals week, I have also been teaching a workshop at a local elementary school. Today I gave my final exam of the semester and my sculpture students presented their final portfolios. Most of them are graduating so we had a pizza celebration and talked about their future plans. I’m excited that it is almost time to disappear into my studio for the summer. I decided to take a bit of a break from marking this afternoon and play with some kozo scraps instead. 

Not exactly sure where I am going, but I have been thinking about the ghostly leaves of beech trees that hang on through the winter, the fine kozo I sew on reminds me of those leaves. 

Can’t wait to finish up my grades and dig in!

Where did January go?

dragon-tail-web

Over the holiday break from school I sat down with the checklist from Alyson Stanfield‘s Art Biz Blog and tried to analyze my studio practice from a business perspective. I was pretty happy with the results, except in the area of communication. I really have a hard time connecting with people – even people who obviously care about and support my work. I collect emails, and I think about creating a newsletter or something to connect with others, and every year I don’t follow through. I reach out to curators, which is terrifying for me, and then after the first contact or two, I loose momentum. I realized this is really holding me back, and I know over the years I have let opportunities slide through my hands. This year I am resolving again to try and work on this a little more.

Then I saw that SARK was giving away a week long seminar on succulent business practice. FREE – SARK. Yeah I was blown away. So I signed up for that too. On the second to last day there was a session on money. Like many artists not only do I struggle with connecting with people, I also have a love/hate relationship with money. I have to say that the week long seminar has really shifted my attention. I had a really powerful experience during that money seminar. I hope that I can keep building on the energy of that experience. And in what I am sure is really a coincidence but sure feels like divine manifestation, an unexpected series of checks showed up in my life this week. (Unexpected only in that I rarely check in with galleries who carry my work, and I had sold some work at several of them over the holidays – yeah those people skills again). I decided to invest a little of that money in one on one business counseling through the seminar. And yes, I am terrified!

As usual over the holidays I also got way less work accomplished than I thought I would. I really need to manage my time better this year as I have two solo shows and several group shows with new galleries or artist groups coming up. (Again, maintaining those relationships, those people skills need to be a focus) I also want to spend part of my summer back home in the UK, so I have taken on a lot of workshops and an extra course at the college where I teach to help offset all the costs of traveling and the lack of summer income. Just writing that is making me . queasy.

Okay. I really have to get back to work now! If you have any tips on connecting with the people who support your practice, send them my way. And as part of this “people” revolution this year – I pledge to actually post a little more often. Or at least to try.

still here in the trenches – AEDM week 3

I rounded out last week teaching a workshop at WNYBAC and making the travel arrangements for a workshop I am teaching in NYC this weekend – I love saying that – it still doesn’t quite feel real that I have been invited to teach there – or that people have signed up to actually take a class with me! Most of my creative time has been funneled into making samples and prepping materials – so really not much to share as far as pictures go. Instead I am going to leave you with this link to a great broadcast on BBC Radio 4 shared with me by Elena Thomas. And this- just so you have something to LOOK at!

plate 3 from my reduction lino print demo - don't judge!

plate 3 from my reduction lino print demo – don’t judge!

AEDM 2 & 3

OK , so only day 4 and I am already behind, but only with the posting – I have actually been trying to get into the studio for a bit, despite mountains of essays that need marking and life in general. On day 2 I finished getting the lists ready for the “women’s work” book, 77 signatures of lists  – it was beginning to feel like a chore and I have been dragging my feet over finishing them. But now they are finally done – today I am going to start the binding – hopefully while I am doing that my mind will unravel the secret of what the covers will look like!

phew!

phew!

Yesterday I did make a little art of my own (well I printed the next plate of my reduction lino print demo) and I also had a chance to meet Monica Haller at the opening for the Veteran’s Book Project now on display at the Week’s Gallery. We had a really interesting conversation about artistic responsibility and the intersection of art and anthropology which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s an interesting work, I hope some of you will follow the link and investigate the project. My eyes were also opened to the sad fact that a whole generation of American children have grown up in a country at war which I had never really considered. The experience gave me much to ponder – always the result of good art.

Today I am really hoping to get stuck into the binding for “women’s work”. Stay tuned for an update.

a REAL studio

I am sure many of you read THOSE magazines – you know the ones I mean, where you get to look inside an artist’s studio, well most of us know – they tidied up a bit before the photographer came! I do the same if a curator or customer is coming to my studio – but the dirty secret is out thanks to Seth Apter at The Altered Page! Today artists of all stripes, from all over are posting pictures of what their studios look like RIGHT NOW, today as we are working!

So here goes nothing I guess!

I am very lucky – I have a whole floor of my house as a studio, which you would think means the mess would be contained – sadly this is NOT true. So the chaos actually begins outside my office door on the second floor

the floor outside my office, filled with boxes of studio supplies

And continues on up the staircase to the studio

boxes on staircase

And finally having navigated all that stuff you arrive upstairs in my ACTUAL studio

view of an attic studio

This is the view from the top of the stairs – you may notice things are precariously balanced across the staircase

stamps, ink, grapevine, book art

The first area you enter is my sewing space, which is tucked into a dormer space

sewing 1

sewing 2

and the one relatively clear space so far – my sewing chair – complete with childhood friends

sewing chair

In the largest open space are my tables and storage areas – lots of shelves and dressers full of paper

shelves

and here is my main work table

table 1

which look pretty tidy – but that is because most of the mess has been swept off onto the floor to make way for the last book I was binding!

studio floor

see! And if I swivel around in my chair this is the view

view from work space

Yep! When I am working I make a lot of mess – this is what creativity looks like for me! Don’t judge me too harshly – it is not a glamorous magazine spread – but wonderful things happen here – like this guest book I recently finished for an upcoming wedding.

just learned this french stitch - so pretty!

just learned this french stitch – so pretty!

IMAG1510

Still finding my roots.

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It has been a slow art week. In addition to gearing up for classes, I am also away from home taking care of one of my children who had surgery earlier this week. I have been working in a tiny portable project and falling behind with my journaling. Here are some new images.

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Hopefully I will have something new to share soon!! Thanks for stopping by all the same.

coming or going?

simple abundance july 25

I was driving my youngest daughter back to camp earlier this week when we passed a truck just like the one we were riding in – “watch out” she said, “we just passed ourselves going – we’re in a time paradox!” Too much Dr. Who in this house maybe?

But honestly that is pretty much how I have been feeling all year. Somehow I cannot seem to get grounded at all, and although some incredible and splendid things have happened, I feel they have all slipped by half-appreciated in a blur. I have been far too busy living to have a life. All of my good intentions seem rather tattered and I am feeling glad that a new school year is just around the corner (and a little freaked out about how much work I HAVEN’T done on my new lectures) and with it a fresh mental start.

I am trying to be gentle with myself – but I am frustrated by the fact that so many of the projects I had hoped to complete this year are still unfinished in the studio.I have made incremental progress on a few – the signatures for women’s work are almost completed – but I didn’t finish it in time to enter it in the Rochester Art of the Book show as I had hoped. I know it WILL get finished – and probably pretty soon, but I feel as if I have let myself down yet again. I know the only way forward is to pick myself up and renew my efforts, but I honestly just feel a bit tired. I’d like to just take a nap – in the woods away from everything.

never done....

never done….

I have signed up for the August round of the root 30 day journal project – just to see if anything comes to the surface. Obviously something is holding me back from following through with my commitment to myself, to make more time for my own art, maybe by going back to my journals I can figure it out. While I am waiting for August – I have decided to reread Simple Abundance and journal about whatever that brings up – maybe by staying in the pages of my journal where it is safe to make mistakes I can rekindle my energies and get back to work.

Now back to my coffee and preparations for the upcoming Bookfest at WNYBAC