Monday, July 22, 2013

Hand-Tatted Teal Daisy Necklace

I'm beginning to make more necklaces to match the earrings I have been making now for over a year. So this is the newest necklace. I like the way it lays in an asymmetrical pattern. Then also, I am playing with different colors ways for the daisies. It's exciting to try something new and different. I never in a million years would have thought my love of lace making would lead to this. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Walk into the Mist

Things are changing for Fibers Studio! So many plans and starting a brick and mortar shop hopefully this year is at the forefront of this journey. I'm very excited, but at the same time all this change makes me a little nervous. Like the unknown of cost and having to estimate everything out for the business plan. I am literally walking into the mist!

I came up with this little phase while having coffee with my dear and talented friend. I was waiting on her and there was a wall where I could play with words. Interesting how I picked these words isn't it?

Seriously though, a light hearted seriously, I am ready for this change. Like I have written so many times before, this journey has been taking time because I couldn't just jump and change all the sudden everything in my career and home life. I had to take small steps to get there making slower transitions and really thinking everything through. I've mostly been a quick transition gal. This is a new pace for me! I've made loads of mistakes also, but that's good because I need to and I don't mind them. It's how things are and I can't make everything perfect. Plus, I don't want to. I am accepting of mistakes.

I do though want to bring my love of art and why I do what I do to my community. I want people to come together to create for a cause that needs it or simply create for themselves. I want to teach and run a shop that reaches different age levels and interests. I've been coming up with several ideas and concepts the last few years. I need to do more research on loans, ask friends that have or have had shops what they recommend, and talk to the small business organizations out there that provide assistance for such adventures. That's the next step of my five year plan. I am on the 4th year and this is the year for the big jump. Wish me luck and if you have any advice please comment! What would you do? Really!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Refresh, Rethink and Renew

Oh winter. It's still here although it feels like spring today. I've been reorganizing my life lately. Slimming down responsibilities, focusing and honestly trying to get past bumps along the way that have trailed with me for too long.

I tend to take on too much. It's one of my flaws. I have often wondered why and thought I was just an overachiever. Well, that part is true to some extent, but I have tried before to slim down the load and focus just on one thing always to come back to too many pans in the fire yet again. This just leads to me not doing as good a job as I want, then I beat myself up and fall back into old routines that do not nurture me well. So, this time it took me a year to slim down to just me. I dumped volunteer jobs, board positions and a career path that had become undesirable after twenty years.

Looking around I found a lot of the things I love left behind, unfinished and basically untouched for years. At first I was really sad and it got me down a bit. I became overwhelmed by what wasn't done, what I left for something I didn't even like and then realized it's time to start over.

What is different this time is I am dealing with those things I never wanted to face. Things deep down, tucked away out of site for no one to see or me to think about any longer. Just like an alcoholic, drug addict, or anything of similarity I ignored some things in my life by putting it away. I took on so many things that I wouldn't have to think about it. Does that solve those things unfinished, unwanted, buried for you to ignore? No, it doesn't solve a thing. In fact, it just makes things harder in the long run. In my own way I just kept ignoring those things that I really needed to deal with.

I decided recently that it was really time to take a good look at me. I have been seeking help for over a year now and digging through my past. The reason I finally realized I needed to tackle this old news was because it never truly went away. Something would happen and my emotional reaction was so over the top it didn't make sense. I didn't realize I was reacting the way I was until I stepped back and really looked at what I was doing. I couldn't find by myself what was the cause of such a disproportional response. Logically, I could understand what I was doing and it made perfect sense, but emotionally I was no where near where I needed to be. Little things would spur this reaction on. I couldn't let things go, I couldn't stop thinking about what happened or I couldn't leave it at the office at the end of the day basically.

Sometimes we as people just get through our days. We do what we must so we can make it to the next day. We set aside hurtful events and just go on never really dealing with what has happened. Not taking time to really deal with trauma, hurt, loss, etc. will only prolong the hurt. I have been going back in my mind trying to connect those things that hurt. It has been a long, long road and I am no where close to the end, but I do know the more I am willing to work on this the more I remember. I have blocked years out. Not months, but years. I have gone on thinking I just need to get through, but somewhere along the way I just didn't do what I needed to. I didn't deal with the situation. I didn't ask for help.

Finally, after decades of just getting on with life, I am honestly dealing with the loss, the hurt, the trauma and trying to find that key to not let those things get me down. I am facing the fear. I am letting the emotions come forward. I am crying. I am forgiving. I am going forward so I can be the mother I dream of being and the artist I know I am. I am getting my emotional response to equal my logical response slowly over time. That's really it.  I now know how to ask for help.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why I Don't Race


A few years ago I started riding a bike again. No big deal except I hadn't ridden since 1992. I know because I use to ride to the park where my university was with a bunch of friends. 1992 was it! It wasn't a race. It was just for fun.

So when I started biking again I was trying to lose some weight and would post times and distance. I guess to prove I was getting better because when I started I was SLOW! For a while I toyed with the idea of racing. In fact, I was asked if I was going to do exactly that. Once I really thought about it I honestly didn't want to. I didn't want to take the pure joy I have simply riding my bike away from me. I wanted to feel the wind through my hair (now with a helmet) and against my skin enjoying the moment of it all. Some things about riding a bike brings back those memories of freedom as a child and that makes me smile. 

I didn't want to buy "the gear", "invest in a bike", "join a club", "sign up" for a 30 mile bike trek. It just didn't make sense to me because I didn't want to do that at all at the time. Maybe I will race someday and find a way to put that happiness into racing, but until then I am going to focus on build my muscles, gaining my strength back and losing the weight. The thing is for now I need to keep enjoying biking as I know it. Just like that happiness I had as a kid riding down Sunset Drive in Belleville, Illnois.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Teaching Maggie to Tat


In this short video above I am introducing my daughter to the movements of tatting. I think it's important to feel the movements and how relaxed one is when tatting. We are making double stitches which involves tatting two parts of the double stitch.


In the video above I am tatting a ring. You wont be able to see the actual tatting very well, but it shows you how I work & the motions. I describe it as I go.

It's been fun playing with video a bit. I may just do more and find a friend with a camera that could really zoom in and see the delicate lace I make. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Middle Bits - Studio Days to begin in September!

"Yes, you try strive for the final thing being good, but you're also very well aware of how beautiful the process is. People in a gallery or in the public they're missing 2/3s of what's special about what
that object was and how it got made."

Chris Palmer-material artist
From the documentary "Between the Folds"

The middles bits...that's what most people really do miss out on when creating a piece of art. As I was watching this amazing documentary, the words that material artists Chris Palmer said above just hit me. I talk often about process and loving the middle of the process of creating and I was thinking it's time to share that part with people who want to be a part of it.

I am going to be hosting "Studio Days" beginning in September where I open up my studio once a month for others to come visit, bring their own creations to work on if they like, and experience this wonderful part of being an artist.

Often I get the question, "How much time did that take?!" I do know how much time I take on projects because I track them with a program called Weave for my iPhone. But honestly sometimes people amaze me with their responses. Some are good, some are a little interesting, but most of the time if someone really asks me about this they are very appreciative of the time it takes.

So, the middle bits...I'm in love with this part. I lose myself in the repetition of what I do. I weave, knit and tat lace. And with every one of those I have a pattern I am following. Usually I have it in my head and when I move material between my fingers and hands I am my most happiest. Then the piece becomes an extension of me. I feel alive and I feel good. I love what I do and I think it shows.

I hope you will come create with me. I will post time and day very soon on this blog, twitter and facebook. I look forward to sharing the middle bits with all of you!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Three Years and So Much More...

Me and my Grandpa Johnson
Three years ago today my grandpa passed away. What I didn't know at the time is what an impact on my life this event would have. I adored and respected my grandpa very much. He was always there for me no matter what came along. He took time out of his day to talk to me or if I was there he would just bring me along to work with him. As a kid I would get to go visit in the summer and winter for a week or two and those were some of the most special times in my life spent with him and my grandma hands down.

My grandpa was a strong man in character plus a kind man with a huge heart. He would help anyone if he could and never expect anything in return. He worked hard and played harder. He had struggles just like we all do, but at the end of the day he was someone I really looked up to.

I remember riding in his dump truck and getting rock candy at the quarry. I remember helping him at his bait shop he owned for a while and going and restocking the fish. We went fishing about a zillion times catching crappie or catfish, running trot lines, etc. and always had fun. He taught me to shoot a shot gun and rifle. We played the heck out of crazy eights and one summer I swear we played Chinese checkers every waking moment. I would sit with him and listen to his stories from childhood growing up with his siblings and cousins on Bear Creek while we sat in his old bus he had that was converted into a camper with the Coleman lantern going. I listened to stories from the war he was in and was fascinated every single time I heard him tell them. Friends would drop by and bring stories to share. We'd drink coffee and enjoy life because that's just how it was. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows  over a fire and you would have thought we had died and gone to heaven. Life with him and my grandma was always the best.

I always believed my grandpa when he said I was beautiful because I knew he meant it. He was truly interested in my life, my children, my education, and even my choices. He would listen and that is where I miss him most probably...just talking and listening and cracking jokes.

So three years when he passed away something just changed in me. I didn't realize how much he was my rock in my life, my foundation that held a lot of my anxieties together. And I wept for him greatly for the first few months after his death. But in that time I realized a lot of what I was doing I didn't really like. I didn't want to do the things that did not fulfil me any longer. So I decided to start doing more of what I needed for me. I needed to take care of myself better. I needed sleep. I needed to exercise and eat correctly. Then I realized more of what I wanted. I wanted to change my career and become the woman I wanted to be. So then I could be a good example for my children to look up to just like my grandpa was for me. I started taking small steps toward all this. It was pivotal to say the least.

I've come a long way in these past three years, gotten past some huge issues, and settled some too. I've stopped doing the things that I didn't want to do any longer.  I've sought professional help to get me past some of my anxieties so I wont keep repeating the same mistakes over and over. I'm still seeking help at this stage, but the progress has been good. I've begun to deal with hurt and trauma that happened to me and find a way to put it in a place that is good and not negative. I'm learning and growing and dealing with those things that have held me up for eons. It's all good and I've set some new goals from my dreams. Life is getting a little easier for me. I think grandpa would be proud.

I can still hear his voice & laughter in my head and as long as I can hear that I know I will be okay. He would say things like, "Can you laugh for grandpa?" How could I forget that happiness I felt every time he asked that? Everything is good. I know he is looking over me and watching me through my struggles and happiness. Sometimes I even can feel his presence. Silly maybe, but there are just times where I feel like he's right there beside me and it's comforting to me regardless if it's real or not.

Grandpa went out each night at the end of the day to look at the moon and stars, say his prayers and then to bed. I often do the same thing and as I see that moon and stars each night I know everything will be okay and that my decisions are right for me. I know life will be so much more fulfilling if I keep going forward and following my dreams as I build my foundation to stand on yet again with my grandpa looking over me giving me strength.