Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Soar Feather

This feather is a demonstration of respect.
Respect for each one of us, wherever we are - in the world - in our own journey...wherever we are...things are as they should be.
This feather was also inspired by my love/need of sensory experiences
But mostly it was inspired by a young lady I knew when she was in the second grade many, many years ago.  This young gal was legally blind.  She had very limited peripheral vision, she could see some contrast between light and dark and maybe some shadow shapes, if I remember correctly.  What she lacked in literal sight, she made up for in amazing insight.  This second grader had a special way of seeing the world.
What I remember the most of all was her writing ability.   When working on creative writing assignments she easily pulled the reader in by her use of imaginative plots and thrilling descriptions of action, environments and characters!  To this day I remember the images she painted in my head as I crawled through the narrow opening and into the cave, brimming with multi-colored, glimmering jewels as the exciting culmination of her Leprechaun story.
So, in honor of her soaring creative spirit, I made this feather with a lot of texture and strong contrast of color.
The braille word, stitched with thread beads, below the feather reads: soar...
Yes...may we all soar...

As always, you can drop over to Jude's to check out her Magic Feather Project.  I urge you to let your creativity and generosity of the heart soar by contributing a feather of your own!

Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2011

10 Minute Drill #5 X 2

Quiet and gray
    Rain whispers to the ground
         Resting like diamonds on green velvet leaves

White swirly clouds in a rainbow's arch across the sky
     Man's machine contributes four lines of it's own
          Together they evoke beauty and wonder

Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Living a Creative Life

    (Part two is here)

I hope you enjoyed this video.  So, what do you think?  Why does man create?  
What is creativity?  How do we express that?  
I remember my mother talking about this video as she often showed it to to her 9th grade Honors or Creative Writing classes.  My mom was a Junior High English Teacher and the way she taught her classes was her way to express her creativity.  She often told me that she was not creative, primarily because she did not practice making art with paint, fiber, fabric etc.  However, she spent hours creating lesson plans that would teach, inspire and captivate her students, which they did.   This is a display of creativity.  I remember her coming into my room and asking to borrow my 45 record of In the Year 2525.  I have no idea how that worked into whatever lesson she was teaching.  I was a teenager myself and wasn't tuned in to what my mother was doing.   Years later when she no longer taught, but was a children's bookseller, former students would bring their own children in the store to purchase books or listen to the storytime the store provided.  They let her know how remembered & loved she was as their teacher.
One of her other talents (again language based) was to her ability to take a well-known song and change the lyrics to suit whatever holiday or occasion was at hand.  From faculty meetings or parties to camp songs, she was able to celebrate with song, her friends singing along!
As these two examples show, my mother was a used language to express her creativity.  She was a writer.  Her lengthy letters to old friends read like the hysterical well-honed routine of the finest comedian.  Her letters to her loved ones spoke from her heart in words and phrases that spoke of her deep feelings, thus expertly conveying how she felt to the lucky recipient.

 Many years ago, Mother's Day... I invited my mom over for a play date.  It was when I was fiddling around with multi-media experiments, around the time I made the faucet painting.  I thought it would be fun to make art together.  My theory was that she said she wasn't 'creative' because she had never freely explored these kind of materials.  I wanted to offer her a chance to try.  I had the studio ready.  I offered her a chair and my dad's old denim shirt to wear to protect her clothes.  Then...together...we finger painted!  She tentatively put a finger or two.  Soon she had all of her fingertips moving together in a circular dance.  I watched as the tension left her shoulders.  I watched as she settled in to her own rhythm.  My offer to allow our paints, fingers, techniques to co-mingle on the canvas was quietly declined.  So, we finished our painting, each using about half of the canvas.  Watching her try something out of her comfort zone, trying to find comfortable ways to collaborate...an invitation - not insisting.  In the end my mom admitted that she enjoyed herself, but that it was not her cup of tea.  We each made a set of hand prints on some vellum paper and called it a day.  This was a creative experience I will never forget.
My turn:  My own creative expression has come in spurts and stops over my lifetime.  As a child I was lucky enough to take an 'art class' in the home of a local woman.  I no longer remember her name or much of what we did.  I remember the magical entrance to the yard under a vine cover archway...into the front entrance of the house where there was a huge wall of shelves, drawers, nooks stocked with bits of this and that.  We were free to use anything we liked.  There was not much instruction as I recall, just total freedom.  I made a lot of turned wooden knob people with fake fur hair and yarn wrapped around them for clothing.  I was lucky indeed to have such an open-ended experience.  Then came the pottery classes, both privately and in junior high school.  Also in junior high was the semester of multi-media art experiences.  Most of my learning in the fiber arts has been through limited instruction and a lot of self-exploration.  I've enjoyed the freedom of expression that affords, but at times I've been frustrated by the stumbling over technique.  This has also been true of my explorations in creative writing and photography.  I just ramble along doing my thing.
Sometimes I do wish for more instruction, but then I don't want to be told what to create.  This is one small part of why Jude's teaching style works for me.  But, like I said, I just ramble along doing my thing!  Now, that thing includes writing posts for my blog!  I have come to see all of my technical interactions as another creative expression.  In years past, I may have displayed a low tolerance for figuring out the workings of technology, and there is still a little of that, but now my creative problem-solving skills outshine those feelings.  My computer...my blog...new avenues to creative expression.
This leads me to my latest feather...
Creativity Meets Technology
With all of these thoughts about creativity and what that looks like, this feather is to honor Steve Jobs and his creative advancement in the technological world.  Without my trusty MacBook (laptop) I would not have been able to enjoy so many connections and creative experiences over the last few years!  I certainly would not be making feathers for Jude! 
So, in celebration of creative expression...whatever it looks like...here is the Apple Feather!

Using fabric crayons, I made a rubbing of the Mac Apple on my MacBook.
I made my apple feather free-hand.

UPDATE: You may be interested in reading the beautiful eulogy given by Steve Jobs sister.  It is as amazing as he was.
You can read it here.  For some reason I was particularly touched when she says: 
"Yet, what amazed me, and what I learned from his illness, was how much was still left after so much had been taken away."
"We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories." 

This article made me wish to have personally known Steve Jobs.  What a man.

This article made me, of course, think of my mother.  Because even 3 years later, her passing is raw and painful...and I reflect on the 'shoulds' of a grieving process and try to relax my expectations as to when this becomes easier.  It is a loss, a very big loss...plain and simple.

This article was found in AKR's Thursday Thingy post.
I love the version of the Apple there.
 Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

10 Minute Drill # 4

two subjects, many thoughts
visions of stitches float in on the
images nature provides

lines and rings fan out from the center
shading and fine lines define space
deep crevasse invites reflection
oak tree pruned

line with prongs
one strong stripe
small hook waving in the wind
mosaic wings, leaf-like legs
three inches of inspiration

 Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2011

Laughing Man Monday


I hope you've had this kind of day!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ojai Day & Ojai Night

 This weekend was Ojai Day and Ojai Night.  An annual street fair celebrating the rich artistic, agricultural and cultural heritage of the Ojai Valley.
Beautiful weather, a wonderful location and great sights...it doesn't get any better than this!
Oh wait, it does get better...it was free!

 While there were probably more people in attendance at the Ojai street fair, it did not feel anywhere as crowded as the Avocado Festival!  
Let me share some of the sites (both physical sites, captured with my camera and websites, I discovered while roaming about!)

Driving into town we see this thought provoking sculpture at The Amestoy House, which is a former cooking school, now facility for rent for retreats or... ?
 Once in town, there are courtyard sculptures:
In a courtyard between stores, "It's Been a Hard Day's Night"

Mosaic chair in the "Secret Reading Room" a quiet courtyard at the local library
"Woman- A Work in Progress" by Oatley Kidder

 (lignum vitae)
Sculpture at the local museum.
 There was so much to see!  Lots of arts...so much variety at this fair.
 These are the arts/artists that caught my eye:
Martha Moran and her cairns - rock sculptures of beauty and balance
 Dan Shattuck where I purchased one handmade gift,
 but I won't tell what...Shhh...it's a secret!
Julie Lovejoy's little houses filled with fairy stories.
 You can purchase them here.
Aya Papaya's feather earings and 'warrior headbands' reminded me of my online friends!
Then, there was the BoriDolls table filled with needle felted treasures!
One was more precious than the next!  I can safely say if my daughter was still in her girlhood days or I had a grandaughter...I'd have been in self-control trouble!  She's on FaceBook and be sure to follow the link to her shop.
 There were gourd artists, celebrating this traditional fall decoration in unique ways!
Can you find the magic gourd?!  Ha! There were many booths that  supported our natural environment...drought tolerant plants...bicycles, there were California Condors, owls hawks, and others... the Turtle Conservancy Behler Chelonian Center ...all on display for educational purposes.  There was information shared about the Chumash Indians as well as a variety of spiritual and wellness experiences.  Massage anyone?
Along with all of the shopping and learning one could do, there was music to listen to and food to gobble up!
Isn't this charming?

If that is not enough, there was a huge variety of activities for children, including tie-dyeing, getting tattoos (fake of course!!) and art experiences. 

There were slot cars and camel rides, a bucking bull machine, a skateboard park, and a ride that could only be described as a big hamster ball...with a child inside!!!! 


This went really slow while the little kids sat astride, waving one arm!

 The kids rolled and kicked and tried to stand up and run!  They fell and laughed hysterically!  The helper in the water gave 'em a push if they got stuck and helped guide them to their fellow helper outside of the pool when a turn had ended.  Up, up and over the edge...down the ramp and out you go little hamster-child!  Oh how I wished my grandson was with us to enjoy a rolling good time!
In my opinion, much better than those bounce-house things!
A skate park welcome!

Lots of rust!
Car show
Hay rides in the back of an old truck
Lion caught in a tree!

Goodbye Ojai...Thanks for a great afternoon!

Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10 Minute Drill #3

The little bug is long gone...
 Here is the new bug.  Could little bug have morphed into the new bug?
 We did find that exoskeleton.
They look so different though.  Mmmmm...
As of very early this morning: the new bug is gone too...
And late this afternoon: 3 sunflowers are chomped off their stems!
1 sunflower head is in the soil.  And two have vanished completely!

I wonder... what took the sunflowers?

Overnight, the tomato went from green but healthy looking...to this:
So what happened to the tomato?

* Note:  This 10 Minute Drill took place a couple of minutes here and a couple of minutes there...but writing the post only took about 10 minutesI'm trying to speed up my posting skills!  :)
Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two New Feathers

Peace, Love, Music & Feathers

Two more feathers for The Magic Feather Project that  
Jude Hill has been creating and organizing.   Everyone is invited to join in!  She has posted all of the information along with tutorials.  
Give it a try...invite a friend!

These two feathers are to honor the importance of music in our lives...and ideas of peaceful coexistence...and all of the good feelings we get from these things.
Oh, and to honor my guy too!

The white backing fabric is from a project that did not work out 
for a group of children I used to work with.
I am happy to be able to use it here.
The tie-dye fabric is a heavy cotton and once belonged to my guy in the form of a pair of pants.  He liked to wear these when recording music in his home studio.  
That was until I took the pants over about 11 years ago!  
I wore them until there was almost nothing left!

On the back you can see the spiral which I added due to the lumps that arose within the peace sign.  I think because I seem to stitch so tightly and still use knots (I can't help myself!) - the surface got very pulled in and bumpy.
But then I had these thoughts:
  1. It is really OK.  Perfection is not the best way.
  2. It is still pretty and stitched with loving thoughts.  This is where the importance stands!
  3. It is not done as it will be added to others in Jude's cloth (If it works for her project).
  4. Jude will be adding stitches and she is a Magician!!!  She can make it work!
  5. Children won't mind, they may even like these bumps.
  6. It really is OK just the way it is! 

Then I tried looking at it through a child's eyes and feeling it with their small hands.  I imagined a worried child pressing his or her fingers into the fabric...pushing down on a bump only to have it pop up somewhere else...doing this again and again.  Maybe lost in thought or maybe having feelings pop up as well.  Small fingers tracing the magic thread peace sign...knowing what that symbol means (it's such a universal symbol)...maybe inviting conversation or reflection or both.
The combination of brighter colors and subdued colors a celebration of the bold and less secure in all of us.  
The textures and symbols inviting us to touch it and think our thoughts.
In the end, I am really glad this feather block holds 
the imperfections it does.

 I've yet to learn how to do Jude's style of fringe, so I added my own style of braids and knots.  I have used this technique on projects in the past, mostly the 'power sticks' I have made for friends and family.  I stitched down the ends to help it remain child friendly for a long time.  I had thought of adding music notes on the right side, under the fringe, but decided to leave it more open for Jude to decide how it will best be used.
Additionally, this one ended up a bit bigger, so I do hope it works out for Jude's needs.

The last step is to let it wait for mailing out in the studio, where there are good vibes and almost always incense burning!

Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2011