Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Two

Last night ended Week Two in following The Artist's Way Workbook. I've been getting up a half hour earlier to write my morning pages (I actually skipped last week, because I was away.) I focused on "Recovering a sense of identity." Some of the things I did was look for those people who are supportive, and listed the things I enjoy and would like to do. I've been so busy, doing things for work and for my community, so this was perfect timing to focus on myself. Funny, that it happened that way...

Another exercise included selecting one small item from my "would like to do" list, and do it! Well, I picked planting flowers in the front yard, but I've been so busy that I didn't get the chance. I might buy some flowers this weekend, but I have a lot of commitments. We'll see - maybe early in the morning...

One thing I did, that I probably wouldn't have done a month ago, was to sign up for a free art class. Don't know what I'm getting myself into, but it can't hurt, and I really would like to try some watercoloring and collage work. Keep you informed {:-D

Above is from artrussellonline; above on the right is by clcphotos (both from Etsy)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Clara Barton: Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross

Just got home from under the big tent, the Chautauqua. I mentioned that the nightly performances started Tuesday, and it's been real fun. Tonight was Karen Vuranch's turn.

Karen's a great storyteller and scholar. She reenacted for us Clara Barton, Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross. After Karen's performance, she told us what is was like, to put together a character and story. Need to read a biography about Clara Barton. What a fascinating woman! Karen portrayed the character of Julia Child, two years ago, and it was excellent. She got me interested in Julia too!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

almost wordless wednesday - Champa Street, Denver

This was a sculpture I really enjoyed, down the street from our hotel entrance. Can't decide if it's a gigantic magnet... or a cowboy with his pistols pulled! What do you think?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Oklahoma Chautauqua 2010

It's going to be another whirlwind of a week, with the Oklahoma Chautuaqua starting on Tuesday in Lawton. This year's theme: "The Wounds of War : A Tale of Two Americas." The opening reception is on Monday at the new City Hall (old Lawton High School building). Then the morning workshops (Tuesday - Saturday) are at Cameron University and the afternoon workshops will be in the Museum's auditorium. Evening performances can be seen under the big tent, in the Lawton Public Library south parking lot. Performances and workshops are open to the public.

Our actors this year are Doug Mishler as General Stonewall Jackson, Joseph Bundy as Major Martin Delany, Karen Vuranch as Clara Barton, Bill Worley as William Henry Seward, and A. Theodore Kachel as Robert E. Lee.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Etsybloggers Carnival - June 18, 2010

Rainy Day Art poses some thoughtful questions for this week's Etsybloggers Carnival:

1) It's graduation time, tell us about a recent accomplishment of yours. Did you graduate? Have a business success? Climb a mountain?

2) What are you goals? Short term, long term? It's up to you.

When it comes to goal setting, I try to come up with things that I would just love to do. Goals to me are not something I must do, but things I would enjoy doing. They can also be something that challenges me and builds on previous experiences. At one point I wanted to learn how to weld my own jewelry. DH and I bought all the necessary equipment, and he taught me the basics. But after about a year, I decided to return the tanks. It became a chore, and I was afraid I'd blow up the house.

Usually, I look at goals and make sure they are reasonable. Welding, I realized, was a "pipe" dream.

I have only one long term goal: to retire with money in the bank. And short term goals are usually items from my To Do list. So I guess I look at goals that are medium term in length, where I can give myself time enough to mull over an idea. Maybe six months. And gather up finances and materials.

Some of my medium term goals I see for the remainder of this year are:

1. organize my living room into a better studio
2. make some wind chimes out of beads and found objects
3. look for other venues to put my jewelry and books into
4. buy some polymer clay and learn what to do with it
5. make a book using recycled cigar boxes
6. put together a book of haiku
7. get my watercolor paints out and play with them
8. try doing some collage work with paper and photographs
9. put together a giveaway on Stroll Through Storyland
10. make a book with a leather cover

That should keep me busy for awhile!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week One

Week One of The Artist's Way has come and gone.

The first chapter called "Recovering a Sense of Safety" felt more like looking into my past than recovering safety. I would guess the author of this book has a background in psychology. Which isn't bad, but some people I know would think this is a bunch of "whooie." I was real good in completing the 10 Workbook Tasks set in front of me and I continue to write my Morning Papers.

My "Artist Date" for the week was taking myself to the antique mall and looking around. I've been wanting to make another wind chime, and thought maybe antique silverware, such as spoons, would be a cute find. All the prices have increased since to last time I was there - spoons were running $3-6 each, and I wasn't particularly taken by any!

I found some beaded napkin rings - they were actually more than I wanted to spend, but they sounded so nice when I picked them up. So I plan to take the rings apart and look for other beads to match them. Here's what they look like now.

I'll show you all a pic, when I'm done with the wind chime.

I decided to put off Week Two's Tasks and just continue with my Morning Papers. Some of the tasks involve looking at my daily life, and my life isn't going to be normal this week, being away from home. So, it's writing for me. I'm thinking that I'll see I should move away from art, and spend more time writing, since I enjoy it so much. But then again, maybe I should try a drawing class...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

3rd Annual Bicycle Festival - blessed with clouds

The 3rd annual bicycle festival at the Museum of the Great Plains took place after the cyclists for the Tour of the Wichitas left. There were about 300 cyclists who rode five different distances: 11.6, 18.5, 33, 43.5 and 59 miles. The shortest ride looked really neat, and was called the Fort Sill Historical Ride. The tour went north on Ft. Sill Blvd. and onto base, passing historic sites, such as the Post Cemetery, Old Post Quadrangle, Geronimo's Guardhouse, and the Patriot's Club. Since the ride is a tour and not a race, people were invited to visit the museums on base. I'll have to keep this map handy, for when I get a bicycle again.

The people who took longer tour rode through Fort Sill and onto the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Hope the got a chance to see the bison and elk out there. We were blessed with clouds out all day, and a good breeze from the south. For the cyclists, it must have been a chore riding back towards Lawton!

I was too busy at theFree Helmet Booth to take any good photos. The Museum also bought three new bicycles to give away in a drawing. Some other outside activities were face painting, timed trials, rides on the segway, getting your bicycle adjusted for free, and a doctor who was kind enough to come out and give people medical advice.

In addition to the bicycle theme, there was a very talented juggler inside, giving shows. And the "Science Matters" truck arrived in town about 8:00 from OKC, and set up their exhibits too. All in all it was a fun day, but a bit tiring for the staff, being outside all day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

June Featured Etsyblogger - Beaded Tail

Sadly, I don't have anybody to interview today. But I DO have a fabulous artisan and online friend, who just happens to be the
June Featured Etsyblogger of the Month.

And that is Sharla, owner and operated of Beaded Tail. She is appreciated by so many sellers on Etsy, whether we're Bloggers, Angels or Artists Helping Animals. You can tell where her preference lies, by just one glance at her Etsy shop.

Sharla always finds the neatest beads to use in her jewelry. And a portion of all her sales go to benefit animal awareness causes. Some of the organizations she supports are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , Dogs for the Deaf and Alley Cat Allies .

I love to go by and visit Sharla's blog. She has a handy Entrecard box "just below the fold." And you can find out what the "kids" are up to, or see some Friday Features, usually with animal themes.

My favorite day to visit is Sadieday, when I usually accompany Sadie and Sharla on a walk. I also like when the three of us just hang out at Sharla's house with Angel and Isabella. If you love animals like I do, I'm sure you'll have fun visiting there.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

almost wordless wednesday - Bird & Nest Stickers

I bought this tin of stickers at the Huntington Library and Gardens,
in Los Angeles. Isn't it cute?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Diary 2011 Project

Want to get your artwork published? Getting one drawing, photo, etc. in a datebook is a start. It' also a great way to network with other artists. So let me tell you about the Diary 2011 Project:

While dropping EC cards last week, I came across a post on GalleriaLinda's Indie CEO blog. She introduced me to Fantazya's Diary Project 2011. Fantazya is putting together a datebook, and looking for artists to fill the pages. This is going to be their third anniversary, so something must be going right! Here's what she has to say, in part:

"New for this year
The book will be bigger, but thinner. Artists will have the same space to do their design, in another proportion, and there will be 2 designs (2 dates) each date page. All the other pages: months, notes, address, calendar pages will use be full page."
I decided to reserve January 18th for my artwork, my birthday. I used a photograph of one of my books, and we're going to lighten the image, so people can write on top. I used Photoshop to set up my design, and Fantazya was very helpful. Just make sure that you start with a 3" x 8" block to work with - it will make everything much easier. Here's what I sent her:

The diaries are tri-lingual, but have no fear; Fantazya sends you word lists in three languages to use. The book will be 7" x 8½" when finished, and you can even get a CD version with pdf files.

Pop on over to her blog now, and reserve a date for yourself. Hope to see you on the printed page!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Artist's Way - a new experience

I haven't felt very inspired lately - I've lost my groove. This has happened before, and when it does, I never push myself. This past Friday, I picked up a book, called The Artist Way, by Julia Cameron, that I bought some months ago. Its purpose is to be a spiritual path to high creativity. Something I could use right now.

One thing that kept me away from the book previously was the contract you're suppose to sign, committing yourself to a 12-week regimen. Can I really do this? I've given myself other tasks to complete, and I think it's the right time to commit to this. So I started reading, to see what was required.

Something really struck me that Cameron writes in her intro:
"It does not matter whether you are a declared artist with a chosen art form, or simply someone who yearns for a more creative life."
Does that sound familiar? I think a lot of online artisans hold down "first" jobs, whether they're professionals, caregivers, or just working to pay the bills. But I really like Cameron's attitude, and think we'll get along just fine.

OK, so what's the plan? This post is the start of a blog series, telling about my experiences with the book. I'm real excited to be able to share this with my creative readers, and hope it will help them as it will, hopefully, help me. We'll see where this leads us. Please note,
"Do not look for dramatic - or traumatic - change. The shift that you will experience will be substantial, but it will come to you in many tiny increments."
In the first chapter, "The Basic Tools" tell me what I'll be using along with the workbook: morning pages and the artist's date. Morning pages are three mandatory pages of handwritten stream of conscious, done first thing every morning. It's like a cleaning of the soul, and can be anything - moaning, reminders, thoughts about yesterday or today, etc. to clear your mind.
"Morning pages leave no corner of our life unexamined. Our dreams, our hopes, our disappointments, our pains..."
The artist's dates are done once a week (or more if you want), where you venture out alone, treating yourself to things you would probably not have done otherwise. That sounds doable!

The rest of the book is divided into weeks, with 8-10 projects every week, that I will write about in my workbook. So next week, I'll tell you what happened. The first week is titled "Recovering a Sense of Safety."

To learn more about Julia Cameron, you can go to her blog. And if you want, get her workbook for yourself. I got my book from The Book Exchange, but I've seen it over at Amazon too.

UPDATE: here is the path I took
week 1    week 2      week 3     week 4     week 5    week 6    
week 7    week 8     week 9    week 10     week 11  week 12 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Internet Artisan Interview - EyePopArt

I first saw Christine's work in the shape of a pinwheel, and popped over to her etsy shop to see what other fun items she might have. I was amazed at all the various things she making. And talk about color! If you looking for a cheerful gift or just love the idea of recycled art, then Eye Pop Art is a place you need to visit.
  • What's the name of your business/shop?
Eye Pop Art. I got the name from my son. Each year at his elementary school, which has an awesome parent-led art program, the children have to choose and title their favorite pieces to hang in the school art show When he was in first grade, Julius chose his Picasso-inspired painting and called it "Eye Pop." At the time, I was just starting my business and thinking about business names and had been toying with "Eye Candy" because that's how a lot of people described my work. Eye Pop sounded even better!

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog ?
Website -
Blog -
Facebook -

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
Mandala art, home & garden decor, and accessories made from recycled vinyl records and other repurposed materials. My lines include Mandala Record Clocks, Mandala Record Bowls, Mandala Pinwheels, Feng Shui Mirrors, Mandala Suncatchers, and Roman Record Cuffs.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
My newest items include the Men's Vinyl Record Cuffs made from vintage colored 45's like these blue ones. I've also recently designed a Mandala Room Divider made from 35 individual hand painted mandala records, linked together. You can see it in this flickr set.

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
I've been making some new Album Jacket Drink Coasters but am in the process of redesigning them to give them a protective coating which will improve their longevity. You can check them out on my blog.
  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
I don't actually do any outside paid advertising and don't have anyone else's ads on my sites either.

[here's Christine's facebook icon:]

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I have to say my favorite widget is the Etsy Mini! I enjoy being able to show both items from my shop as well as items from my favorites. I love my favorites!

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
I sell on Etsy which I love because I get sales and wholesale orders and press and networking opportunities and friends and business help and oh so much more! Etsy rules. I also recently started listing my items on Makers Market and you can check out my new store here. I like this site because it is really small and really cool. And it has a built-in blogging platform, which is pretty nifty. I have an Artfire studio as well which you can check out here. I like Artfire because it is free!
For my day job, I work as the program coordinator for the nonprofit organization Trillium Artisans, and I spend a lot of time at work listing our items in our Etsy team shop as well as on World of Good by eBay, which is a great site for fair trade, eco-friendly, and ethically sourced products. Because we are certified members of Green America, we have the "trust provider" status necessary to sell on World of Good, and it has been really good for us. We are now eBay power sellers!

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
But of course! I have a blog, a flickr photostream, a twitter channel, a facebook profile, and a facebook business page. My favorite is facebook. I love it for being quick and easy and user friendly. I love how it integrates everything that I need all in one place with such ease - events, photos, videos, links, and engaging conversations with my friends and fans! By the way, if you haven't checked out Sister Diane's awesome article on the Etsy blog about social media marketing, you should - it's really good!

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
My tip is that it's important to have multiple streams of income. As they say, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Etsy is a fabulous site but I can't rely solely on online sales to make my living. I also have to get out there and sell face-to-face to the public at craft shows. I sell on consignment, I wholesale my work, I teach classes, I do contract work, I drop-ship for web stores, and I also have a part-time job (which I am happy to say is an awesome job that allows me to work with local artisans and keep my finger on the pulse of the creative community).

Some day I would love to be able to just focus on online and wholesale but for now it is necessary for me to be working all of these different angles. For someone who is just starting out on Etsy, I would advise them to look at other streams of income as well and not try to rely on just one venue.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
At Trillium Artisans we require that all artisans price their work so that they are earning a living wage for their time of at least $12.50 per hour. Most of my pricing is based around that standard. Luckily my materials cost is very low since I get all of my vinyl records for free and paints are relatively cheap - they last a long time.

We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
Okay! You can check out some studio shots in this flickr set. You can also watch this video of me and my studio on the HGTV show "Look What I Did!" -

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
Well I'm pretty excited because my work is on the cover of the June issue of the Crafts Report magazine, and there's a feature article about Eye Pop Art. I am really hoping this will lead to some more wholesale business around the country.

My Mandala Pinwheels are currently being carried by Uncommon Goods, and I'd love to continue my relationship with them and get other catalog orders as well.

I also am planning to launch a line of mandala jewelry before the end of 2010!

  • OK, it the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!
All mandalas are so beautiful - the colors and intricacies of the drawings. And I love anything out in the open that uses the wind to move... maybe it's my sailing background. .. So it makes sense that the pinwheels are my favorite items. But which one? Here's a pic of all three on sale when I looked - they look great together.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

book review - The Bonesetter's Daughter

I was so thrilled to hear Amy Tan speak, on the last day of my AAM conference. She is quite the storyteller, as I knew she would be, and very comical. Tan told us about how she moved with her mother and two siblings all over the world, satisfying her mother's superstitious notions of what was best. I wanted Amy to sign one of her books for me, so I bought The Bonesetter's Daughter before I left. Even though it was a hardbound book, it was worth carrying on the plane to read.

The story is basically divided into three parts. In Part One, we meet a first generation Chinese author and her mother LuLing, who's full of mystery and highly superstitious. When Ruth sees LuLing showing signs of dementia, she decides to pay closer attention to her mother's behavior. After the two go to see LuLing's regular doctor, he says to her, "I'm sure you must have felt you were on the witness stand." "Like OJ." replies LuLing. Then she starts chatting about how she saw OJ kill his wife. Here's part of it:
"I follow that man, oh he sneaky. O.J. hide in bush. Later, I go his house too. Watch him take glove, stick in garden, go back inside change clothes." LuLing caught herself, embarrassed. "Well, he change clothes, course I don't look, turn my eyes. Later he run to airport, almost late, jump on plane. I see whole thing."
This section reminded me of working women my age, facing the trials of aging parents. At the end of the Part One, Ruth is cleaning her mother’s house and discovers pages LuLing has written, "These are things I should not forget." Did her mother realized she was loosing her memory? The pages are titled Heart, Change, Ghost, Destiny, Effortless, Character, and Fragrance; they are the chapter titles for Part Two. In them, LuLing describes her life in China, and the hardships she had growing up. I wonder if Tan is repeating stories she heard from her own mother...
Tan's writing is very descriptive and visual. Many of the characters are easy to identify with, even if you haven't experience war firsthand or gone through hardships in your own family. I saw LuLing gain strength in helping others and using her common sense to outwit her adversaries. During World War II, she devises a plan to make her way to Peking unharmed:
“I took some of the leftovers of the rice porridge we had eaten that morning, and drained off the watery portion and smeared this liquid onto my skin, my checks, forehead, neck, and hands, so that when it dried I had the leathery, cracked appearance of an old country woman. I put some more of the sticky rice water into a thermos and to that I added chicken blood....”
She must have looked like a wreck! I’ll let you read what she did with the chicken blood, but I’ll tell you now, nobody bothered her. It took LuLing many years to get out of China, and I was so relieved when she finally got her visa. The last section of the book brings the story full circle, just like a symphony. It was a great book, and I highly recommend it. And yes, I got my book signed. {:-D
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