My World

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There was a secret ingredient for creating my world. I had moved to a city where nobody knew my name. This gave me freedom. I could be anyone I wanted. I never had to explain myself to someone from my past. That little voice from my childhood that asked, "who do you think you are?" Was replaced with, "I know who I am." 

I embraced the concept, I own this place. Not as in I own the whole city. I owned my identity that inhabited this place. Take me as I dress. 

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Wrap

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Wrap

It's a stance, a posture, the way you walk, the way you set your eyes on the road ahead, your gaze, accompanied by a smile. A confident smile that says, "Hi." A tender smile that says, "underneath I know we're the same. Our hearts beat. Our heart peeks out."

It was a posture that took me downtown for celebratory parades, or on strolls through the park with toddlers and then without when they became teens and wandered on their own. When our car was stolen we rode bikes, a baby seat on the back. In winter I rode my bike wearing a L.L. Bean down coat that covered my artsy haircutting fashion. During the summer I rode my bike to the farmers market wearing a flowing white gauze dress. I dressed for the day. Form followed function. Once after work I went to a Halloween party. Someone said you're supposed to come in costume. I said I am in costume.

I am at home. I defined my borders and they were safe. Take me as I dress. 

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Poncho

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Poncho

Scenic Gaze

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The decision has been made. The shed has been ordered. It will be delivered in two weeks. It's not an original design, built from scratch. It is affordable. We will embellish it later. And it's only two feet less wide than the one I have in the country. Just the right size for my inventory and current wearable art collection. I will be able to keep my colors organized and if you stop by, I can show you my latest designs, my newest color combinations. It's all about color. A way to add a little beauty for others to look at when you walk down the street. When things have gone dark, there can be a tendency to go gray.

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The decision has also been made where to put the shed. In the side yard, instead of the back, where it would interrupt our scenic vision through the glass sliding doors when we sit in the overstuffed chair and gaze, sip coffee or tea, and stay warm by the fake-fire space heater with its red glow on late evenings or before dawn. This is where my ideas simmer preparing my ship for sail. Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, "When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for." Make color your sail.

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You Will Love This

It may sound trite when I say I make my art for you. I don't know you personally. I do know about you. I know about your desire for passion and wisdom. To express your long earned authority. And for intimacy, those close connections you find in family and friends where you can just be you and express yourself freely with no concern for being judged or criticized or need to defend your beliefs 

In these ways we are the same. We have lived long. We have courted danger. We have loved life.

What makes us unique is our failures have not brought us down. We stand tall and walk forward knowing we have something to pass on. We have a legacy

So it is not trite when I guide my vibrant shibori silk under the needle, watch it ripple and gather graciously, marvel at its beauty, ponder how ravishing it is and know that you are going to love wearing the art I create. 

I am not praising me. I am praising the inner workings of my soul that has brought all the pieces of creating together to make this masterpiece. Yes, in that moment, when exquisite colors have found their way into my silk. I am thrilled and can't wait to share it with you.

A form of my inner life is embodied in the fabrics I take into my hands and shapes each piece. and I say, “you will love this.”

It is not trite 

You will love this!

You will love this!

You Have To Have Vision

“You have to have vision,” I heard my mentor, Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, say from across the room.  He wasn’t talking to me.  He was talking to one of his students.  I was fortunate to be working on the FeltLOOM in his classroom and could listen.  

You have to have vision.  

How true, I now realize.  And vision is different than a plan.  A plan comes second.  A plan comes after the vision has been defined and chosen. We can have many visions and focus is where determination comes in. 

What vision do I want to focus on?

In the past there was the vision for the move back to Kentucky.  The transition was smooth and provided us with the amazing cabin we now live in.  Today, there is the vision from my art, each piece of shibori dyed silk using carefully chosen colors creates many versions of wearable art.  

Today, in order to keep from getting bored and to keep from repeating myself, I begin a new vision quest asking myself, “what do I want?” This becomes the quintessential question, the question most necessary to keep in the forefront of my mind everyday.

Today, I say to myself, I want each piece of art I make to become part of an intentional ensemble from the beginning of the vision.  

Since I discovered the power of gathering around me only what I like, life is easier.  While I realize it can become cluttered, I leave room for those moments when “opportunity knocks.”  These are the moments when my questions are being answered, ever so subtly. 

What do I want to explore? 

Energy.

Everything contains energy. My vision. My art. My cabin in the woods.  It’s why I surround myself with art.  Wearable art.  Art on the wall.  Art on the floor.  Art in the garden.  Art I serve my delicious food in. The art in my home, the handmade items I look at, use, wear, are closer to the maker, and the energy is more intense.  It is stronger, hence more transferable to me.

You have to have vision.

Even my Garden Girls remind me of this fact when they talk about writing.   In my creative writing I invented the Garden Girls to accompany me on my quest to take risks and live the layered life of an artist.  

“How do you find the words?” Rose asked.

“Look at your hands,” Clove said.

“I think you mean that’s really all I have to do.” Rose said.

“Of course I mean it,” Clove said. “Look at your hands, Rose it’s all in your body, in the way you walk, the way you smile, the way you think. Look at your hands and take a deep breath and you’ll find the words.”

The thought was exciting, physically. Rose felt her body move. Mentally she felt her mind churn. “Let’s write together again,” she said, “the next time we can claim a moment to own.”

In writing, Rose was seeking passion, the passion that gets you excited and keeps you awake at night. Rose was always passionate; there was no getting around it. She wasn’t ever going to give it up. To be able to create passion, that’s what freedom is, that’s what life is; just keep on writing because what else is there? Sometimes preachy thoughts showed up, talking to Rose, but she listened only when she had to. Mostly there were other sounds to consider— the voices and the quiet. When the voice was soft and the message was sweet love was all around it. Mostly when Rose heard the voice it meant listen.

When ideas were overwhelming, she’d take long hot baths, one right after another. The writing challenged her not to divert her eyes, keeping them on her vision which is to keep on moving, not stopping, except to meditate, watch her breath, while looking at her hands to find the words waiting, and believing they will come, because they’re right there in the table, the light, and window.

First I’ll make a list, a quick one, Rose decided. “Do I write it all down? Do I make notes?” She asked Clove.

“You can,” Clove said, “or you can just look at your hands. It’s in your body, Rose it’s all in there.” 

“Do you realize that you are saying there are no right answers. You are saying that whatever I say is okay, to just be me and say it. Take the risk.”

What does it take to become a Garden Girl? A desire made manifest, to discuss intimacy, passion, wisdom, and authority. And take risks.  

Today, I take a deep breathe.  What I want is in my body.  I begin a new exploration of layering fabric, color and textures creating statement wearable art ensembles. 

You Can Wear Any Color

Blue green, crepe tuniic with devore shawl

Blue green, crepe tuniic with devore shawl

Walking in the woods yesterday, I saw the same brown I am dyeing for a mother of the bride statement kimono and tank dress.  It was in the leaves left over from last fall; deep, rich, rusty, copper, with a touch of dark forest green.

Even though the leaves came from last fall, now aged into late spring, they held their vibrancy.  Who would think that the colors of spring would include the age of fall? Clearly, every color can be found any season.

How did I get on my color path, my artful path, my path of self expression?  

I let go.

One day when I was on my lunch hour from my first office job, I was drawn into a store that sold a more expensive line of clothing than I was inclined to buy.  I was 20.  I was a Sears or JC Penney girl. It was a risky step.  I decided that I would try on pants and blouses that were bright and brilliant. The pants were orange and fuchsia.  They were each paired with a floral blouse. They were not the bright and brilliant colors of summer.  They were subtly toned, as the leaves are when they slowly change. Not my usual choice.  I gazed in the mirror and said to myself,  “I hate this. This is not me.”  I have strong opinions.  I bought it, anyway.  I was tired of buying the same styles and colors over and over.  I wanted to feel what it was like to wear something different.  A relatively safe risk.  

My dad loved it.  I never thought of him as a stylish person, in his USAF uniform or week end overalls. In hindsight, as I peer into his old black and white photographs, I discover he had a very strong since of composition. His was not the only compliment I received.  This began my journey, not only of exploring colors, also in taking risks with self expression.

You can wear any color, dare I be so bold to say.  It’s not about what looks good on you, it’s about what makes you feel wonderful.  You are part of nature.  All colors are part of nature.  Find yourself in the rainbow, it is very large, full and forgiving, as you are. It’s not that you can’t wear part of the rainbow at anytime, its that some parts have blended and rearranged so the derivative is no longer recognizable.  

In order to determine your place in the rainbow, remember your favorite season.  Find it by listening to your body.  To which season are you most drawn? Listen to your friends and their compliments. Write it all down.  Are you spring where the colors are soft, or summer, where the colors are bright, bold, and brilliant? Are you sometimes a little of both?  Getting to know your self through color is an exciting journey you are now ready to embark upon.  

Are you most present in the toned leaves of fall and their bright counterpart, jewels against the sky?  Are you in your element in the deep rich and luscious shades of winter, the spruce, and burgundy?  All these seasons come and go as you do. You know what you like.  What feels good.  

Let’s begin with your favorite season, where memories have lived the fullest. Coffee, chocolate, semi sweet, bitter or milky?  It’s the season you are drawn to that will determine your palette. How to choose your palette?  Ask, what do I like?  Then break it down.  

Let me start with brown.  Deep dark, aged, fall leave brown.  Browns emerge from all color.  The brown I am seeking now emerges from yellow and purple, her compliment.  Purple and yellow are buried in my new found brown.  They create copper and rust.  As the exploration continues, many colors will appear.  And they will be your colors, ready to mix and match and enjoy.  They will tell a story.  They will tell your story.

You can wear any color. It’s easy.  Nature has already begun to cleanse your canvas when she added grey to your hair.  If you choose color to you hair, are you more drawn to yellow or blue? If you have highlights, are they gold or ash.

Shall we collaborate?  Just tell me what you feel.  This is how you will tell me who you are.  What do you like?  How tall are you?  How full are your hips?  What are the colors of your skin, your eyes, your hair, (is it dyed or natural)? The answer to these questions are the beginning of designing your personal, art to wear, composition.

 

 

First things First

As springs has arrived, new colors appear daily.  The quest for formulas has begun for my shibori silk dyeing and designing of slow fashion wearable art.  Yesterday's fashion taught me the value of art to wear.  As the models walked the runway, they truly did manifest an energy not seen in fast fashion.

Optimizing Systems

Yesterday, when I read the following quote, I was discouraged for most of the day: "Your task is to optimize one system after another, not careen through the day randomly taking care of whatever problems erupt. Your job is not to be a fire killer. Your job is to prevent fires."  ~ SAM CARPENTER

I thought that is exactly what I do, careen randomly and every attempt at optimizing systems has been unsuccessful.

Today, while applying dye to a shibori pole wrapped with needle punched and wet felted merino, I realized why wearable art is so important in my life.  It provides an arena for optimizing systems.  I do not careen randomly.  Art is the arena where I know where I am going, what I am doing.  I "prevent fires whenever possible." And when one occurs, I respond and make art out of it.  In the rest of my life, I apply that same philosophy as often as possible.