artistic direction

Bloom: Reclaiming Creative Ground

One week has elapsed since four of my original pieces swept down the runway on my friend/muse/model, Aly Downs.

It was a huge night for me–I’d not done this before, even though I’d sold my work, costumed many productions and seen this in my mind for years.  At 49, ten years after I’d left a thriving art-to-wear practice cold-turkey, I took this on and it was so…much…fun.

At the present time, I don’t have clear direction on what is next.  The last time I was a fashion designer, I recall that I worked consistently designing and creating.  Passing years have given me skills in project management from my “day job” and I find I am much more event-oriented than in the past.  I like the push of a deadline; it keeps me on task and building toward a purpose.

I feel blessed and lucky to have this second blooming.  I certainly didn’t expect it, but I am going to grab onto the corners of this sail and let the wind take me!

artistic direction

So happy to share!

I spent a few moments yesterday sharing this website with my colleagues in a Career Advisor training.  It felt wonderful!  I am moving into a new phase of my own career development:  integration.  For the last 10 years, I have been an artist in one life and an administrative professional in another.  I am making moves to bring both together, despite the fact that it feels impossible at times.  Both paths live within me and I am one person, so this integration is very, very possible!

Two scary parts:

Wondering if my “day job” supervisors believe I am less of a good worker because I have another career in art.

My experience of exhaustion–at times–when both careers are running at full tilt!

I can honestly say that I rarely have down-time and I am rarely bored.  More often it is the case that I experience heightened stress and anxiety from trying to do by best at both!

My colleagues at the training were supportive and complimentary of my materials.  Sharing the integrated me felt WONDERFUL!

artistic direction

See my new work on Saturday, December 13!

Tomorrow I will be showing (and selling!) my new work at:

  • The Community Art Market–Holiday Edition
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • New Song Church, 3200 N. 11th Street, Bismarck, ND

There will be live music and wonderful vendor artists offering our original, one of a kind work for your pleasure!

Here is a sample of things I am bringing to the event! Click on any image to enlarge!

Want more information?  Fill out the contact form below!

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artistic direction

Inventory of scarves is done!

It was a big weekend for inventory and a new piece in the studio.  I have over 100 silk scarves and yardage for the Michigan Fest!

Here’s the start of the piece I will donate for the festival door prizes:

July 27 studio!

Really looking forward to the next week–I need to make my display, pack and create contact cards!

artistic direction

paper, paper, paper!

What have I been doing this week?  In addition to obsessively dyeing scarves, I used this machine to make abaca and cotton paper pulp!

Portable Hollander Beater
Portable Hollander Beater

Such an awesome tool!  However, once the pulp is made, the human work begins.  Pulling sheets, pressing them, drying them–hours of physical work and I am POOPED!  But I do have about 100 sheets of awesome paper to show for all of it!

artistic direction

In Process: Website Re-Vision

My website is in process!  I am retooling it so it reflects the bodies of work–and thought–I am building today.  Yes, I know that a website should be more than just a repository of images or ideas…but this is the way I have used mine until now.

In October 2013, I was blessed with an opportunity to take a position at Bismarck State College.  I left service at St. Alexius after 6 years and many good memories.  It was a tough transition, a necessary change, and my new job description includes…SUMMERS OFF!  WOW!

So, for the first time in a good number of years, my days are my own and I am making new work like crazy.  I also decided to apply for an artist’s booth at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, August 3-10.  I am concentrating on two areas of work right now:  hand-patterned silk and copper/brass inspiration medals.

In the days to come, you’ll see my website grow and change in the following ways:

  • the Blog section will be first and I’ll try to post (with pix) every couple of days on what I am doing;
  • there will be a tabs for the silks and for the inspiration medals, so these are easy to find;
  • work in other genres will have a home in a Gallery tab;
  • videos will continue to be separate;
  • there will be a new For Purchase tab, showing work that is currently for sale and how to reach me if you wish to buy; and,
  • the Contact Me! tab will have a form for you to use, should you wish to reach out.

Because I am an artist and NOT a web designer, I think it could take a few weeks to get all this accomplished, so thank you in advance for you patience!  It will be worth it–I am really proud of my new work and so ready for you to see it.


artistic direction

Making the choice to create

My artistic intent for 2012-2013 was to create light-hearted work.  I saw it as an opportunity to explore a variety of media and make some decisions on artistic direction.

Then my life happened: unresolved conflict with my daughter-in-law, painful separation from my son, a new position at work that’s rife with political difficulty, my father entering hospice, and on-going relationship work with my husband.

Since childhood, making stuff has been the way I released stress and helped myself feel better.  I create a tangible object over which I have control: I can mold it into something positive, beautiful.  It is a way that I prove—to myself—that I am still o.k.  The colors, the pattern, the materials speak to me in a calming way, connecting me to spirit, the creation and God.  When times get bad, I can submerse myself in my artwork and feel balance again.  I am so thankful for this gift.

To digress a bit…when my ex-husband died, I took a major artistic departure.  I’d been a costume designer for a number of years, while creating and selling original art-to-wear on the side.  After Jeevan’s death, this area of exploration was too painful to continue, so I stopped creating clothing in favor of other areas.  I took my work different directions—collage, mosaic, tiles, encaustic, and jewelry.  Each of these media allows me to indulge in rich varieties of materials, mixing them to suit my emotional state.

My jewelry work, though, serves another function.  During these difficult times, I’ve turned to art-jewelry-to-wear as emotional armor.  In the midst of a terrible time, I can sit down with mixed media supplies and create pieces to express my situation or affirm my person.  I can wear it as affirmation and protection.  This taps into a long human tradition of the worn talisman, interpreted for my needs today.

In June, I thought I would be featuring a different medium roughly every month, creating an online teaching module for each, perhaps attracting students to this online academy, and it would keep me on target.  I am, after all, a teacher and people-pleaser by nature!  I envisioned a highly interactive and creative time period.

Life had a different plan.  As I fell apart emotionally, I turned to creativity.  My good old friend was there for me as always!  I could retreat into color, texture, pattern, materials, form and beauty for a while.  I’d emerge with finished piece, a testimonial to my survival and a thread of hope for the future.  I dove in deeply and came up from the bottom of this ocean with treasures—some painfully jagged, others placid like calm seas after a storm.

The pieces I created are not balanced across the media I use, nor do they represent the total number of areas in which I work as an artist.  Most are jewelry,  talismans created to help me get through the very rough days.  Because most are 3-D, they are better viewed in person.  But as all contemporary artists know, our work will be seen first in digital media.  The twelve works are represented by a product and a detail shot, a brief description, and some are included in video as well.

Direction for the future?  I told my husband last night that I feel sewing is again in my future.  I’ve been feeling this for a while, but held off on talking about it or getting out my equipment till I felt more sure.  Sewing and art-to-wear are connections to the past, a source of grief and guilt, and hold potential for great joy and expression.  If I think about it too much, I become overwhelmed.  If I stick with the excitement of creating a new piece to wear, I might be able to get to the other side, the other trapeze I see swinging toward me…

…now if I can only let go.