Can you believe we are at the end of Oprah's final season? I am so bummed to see it end. Three days left. She's been an afternoon companion for many many years. I will look forward to see what happens on her network, but for now, farewell girlfriend. Thanks for all you have done to teach us, entertain us, make us laugh and cry, and by example, show us how to live an authentic, giving, enthusiastic life.
I'm always on the lookout for unconventional tools to use in artmaking. Do you do that too? Keep an open eye and open mind with every visual that you encounter...wondering how to take an item and use it to make a texture or pattern. Like when you drive by a yard sale and you spy a cheesy-plastic-cut-lace tablecover, and you slam on the brakes because you see the potential of spending 25 cents for a new spray paint stencil!
I'm not hip to the latest products but when I pop into Michael's I will do a quick scout around to see if there is something new I might need. Yesterday I stumbled upon these embossing folders for Cuttlebug. I don't even know what that device is or does, but I was attracted to the pattern. If you could see the conversation bubble over my head it would have said "Squeee! Love this....could be used for rubbing, casting paper, pressing into clay, maybe even monoprinting....grab it!" And I did. *note to self - go back for more*
So I tried a few things with my new toy ($4.99). Since it is meant as an embossing tool I thought "a-ha! pull out the pasta machine!" Originally used to roll out polymer clay, it now doubles as an embosser when adjusted for the plastic folders.
I'm in full blown circle mode now. Grabbed some of my new stamps. Next, I will drag out my circle punches. I feel some circle art coming on.
Lots of rain only means lots of roses.....look at all those buds! I've already been cutting full roses off the bushes. Don't forget, the more you cut the more you will get. The bush below is the first one we planted in July 2008. It is a glorious monstrosity! It's crazy how big it is. I was worried about the six new ones from last year because I never covered them - but they are back, fuller and thicker, and oozing with enthusiasm. To think I might have missed the rewards of keeping a rose garden....
Reflecting today....this date, this birthday. For forty years Shannon and I shared this number, 5/17. This is my third one without her and it still feels so different. We are all learning to navigate a landscape that continues to change, aren't we? Of course we shared alot more than a calendar date. We shared a room, a wedding gown, a family....and very special connection that some sisters are lucky to have.
This art shows a partial peek at an assemblage box I made in her memory. The small deer is a gift from Laure because she knows it's one of my signs for Shannon. It's set inside a matchbox; that's how small it is. Raised above the trees, to symbolize heaven. Set over a paper wing. And there's the pink rose, of course. The red wire - did you spy it? An "x", a secret kiss from me. Another sign we have for Shannon is a snowflake, added in digitally because I couldn't resist.
In the last post Pat shared some wisdom, which I was so happy to learn. It was a perfect thing to focus on right now as I work in my sister journal today. Doesn't it amaze you when that happens? Something is dropped in your path just when you need it. Like this: "The Japanese have a concept "aware" that can't really be translated into English but means something like "the heartbreak of beauty of the moment"--the idea that something so beautiful just hits you in the heart when you realize it will be gone soon." That is new to me. I love that there is a word that captures the ephemeral beauty that is fleeting. Like a snowflake. Like a rose. Like a deer in the woods. Like a little sister who is dearly missed.
You may have seen the piece I submitted to the auction I mentioned earlier. I called it "Returning Friendship", inspired by the gift Japan gave us - 3000 cherry trees which were planted along the river in Washington D.C. It's an interesting story. Did you know the first plantings died and were later replaced? Read about it HERE.
This piece has been sold and is already in the home of it's new owner, a friend of mine.
When Jenny invited me to particpate in a fundraising effort for Japan I wanted to create a piece that reflected on the country or culture. The first thing that rose to the surface was cherry blossoms. It was while living in northern Michigan that I learned about Japan's cherry tree gift to our country. You are probably familiar with the National Cherry Blossom Festival held annually every April in Washington, D.C., but you may not know that Traverse City also hosts a National Cherry Festival each July. At the capitol it is all about the blossom, and in Michigan it's all about the full grown fruit. When you live in Traverse City you can't escape the ever present cherry, so I got curious about them and stumbled upon the connection between the U.S., Japan, and the glorious blossoms our nation enjoys.
Before we moved to New Jersey I entered the contest for the Cherry Festival poster. I dug it up to show you....circa 1998. Still working on craft paper...when I like something I stick with it ;)
On a different subject, raise your hand if you are disappointed (and annoyed) James did not make the top three on American Idol. I watched his curtain call interview...what a guy. He called his fans Durbinators. Oh yeah, I'm one. We'll be watching for you James. Like many other vote-offs, you will rise.
Look at these! There are dozens more....all reaching toward the sun, full of enthusiasm, full of beauty about to be born. Just days away.
So, the nineteenth letter....."S" is for Serendipity and Synchronicity. "S" is for Scholarship. September. Sister. Shannon. "S" is for Story.
A Story. As you know, my sister Shannon departed for Heaven in July 2008. With the sympathy cards came generous donations. The very large sum was submitted to the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in her memory, pinned with our hopes of advancing toward a cure. Looking back, I wish I would have thought about setting up a scholarship program, or some kind of foundation that would sponsor a program related to her interests. I spent so much mental energy trying to help her take of things while she was present, that I didn't give much thought to the stuff that happens after. But it is in those early hours of grief that one writes an obituary. It is a difficult thing for a family to do. It is at that time when consideration is given to where donations can be made in honor of the loved one - we make the best selection we can, given our state of mind.
Later, I told Graham that if I go first, please set up some kind of thing that would sponsor artists to be able to go to Valley Ridge.
Serendipity or Synchronicity? I sometimes fail to know which is the appropriate description...but either way, I found it amazing that just a short time ago Katherine established a scholarship program at Valley Ridge. How's that for alignment of energy? The program is growing thanks to generous donors. To get to make a difference to an artist before I'm dead? Oh yeah, I'm all for that so I was more than happy to donate a space in my workshop, joining fellow teachers Richard Salley and Jill Berry who have done the same.
So if you are interested in Raising the Bar with me, or want to participate in another workshop this season at Valley Ridge, APPLY HERE. The deadline for consideration of a VR scholarship is June 1st. Go for it, and good luck!
One last set of "S"s.....
My friend Jenny is hosting an Auction for Japan over at her site Crescendoh.com It's a reverse auction. Visit the site for more details and see all the art that has been donated. Good luck Jenny!
As I type this they are torturing us on American Idol....someone is going home. I hate this part. Crossing fingers James and Lauren sail through. (Edit: they made it!) We know that no matter who leaves tonight, being let go doesn't mean the door is closed. Like this guy....he didn't win A.I., but he did win many hearts, especially with this song. It is one that Shannon and I loved together....tender memories arise with just the first few notes.
The new crusade is up over on the Street Team blog....part of the Evidence Series. Documenting your home. I had it in the line-up for this year well before the revisiting of the house books. But HCIT to be synchronized in this way?
More house kits will be listed on Etsy next week. I'm busy sorting and cutting! Thanks for your continued interest. It's been really fun.
What a glorious day. I am feeling grateful for the sun. I am feeling grateful for the green grass, the growing roses, and the fresh blooms. With so much destruction due to storms in parts of our country I can't help but appreciate a simple walk across the lawn....and walking through the door to our home, and our family gathered around the table.
I am remembering childhood days making construction paper baskets and cones, filled with cut tulips or lilacs, or handfuls of candy, left on a front porch with a push of a doorbell and a dash into the shrubs to avoid getting caught on a sunny first day of May. Did you do that too?
Some of our roses are entering their second season, some their third, and a few their fourth. Every year they grow back fuller and more enthusiastic. Hundred of buds like the one below are about to show off. Mother's Day tends to be the grand unveiling....as if they hold a group secret and cannot contain themselves any longer, bursting open in full glory one week from now.
What a grand party we witnessed this weekend. England does it so well. At first the ringing of the bells and the gathered crowds reminded me of the Diana memorial. How wonderful to now associate that sound with a beautiful, young, handsome couple....couldn't have been more perfect, don't you think? Loved watching with my dear friends. Cheers, tears, and applause. Loved the RED uniform. Loved peeking into the day, the pagentry, the history.