Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Creativity Challenge - Result #1

I've been accepted as a client in a supported employment program.  Supported employment programs are meant to help adults with disabilities find paid positions; work that they can do in spite of challenges, physical limitations, etc.

After more than two years of fruitless job search, I'm excited to be working with an advocate and job development coach!  It's been difficult getting to a point where I could admit and accept that I need the help, just as it's been hard getting to an acceptable comfort level within myself, moving past the "my body is a betrayer" and survival mentalities and finding ways to stabilize my health without the benefits of medical insurance or prescriptions. I've done an enormous amount of self-coaching, lol!

My advocate is taking a two pronged approach.  The first involves helping me find work.  Not just any job, but one that takes into account my interests, skills and passions.  The second involves supporting me in building an online income via my crafts and finding ways to begin utilizing the coaching certificate that I earned over a year ago.

She's given me a challenge - to come up with five ideas for products that I could make, using only what I have on hand.  I've decided on the products and have begun creating the 'prototypes' for each.  I hope to post each item on my blog as they're completed, and will be having a giveaway when all five are ready.

The very first creation is made using three vintage fabric hearts, hand appliqued on muslin and decorated with embroidery, beads or buttons and embellishments.  Each heart is unique and loving stitched. 

The first heart is in blue and white ticking, with embroidery stitches, tiny flowers and seed beads.

The second is a darker fabric with tiny white dots, embroidered with a running stitch, flowers and seed beads.

The third heart is a pink and white stripe, embroidered and decorated with colorful buttons.

I have a stack of the vintage hearts and plan on making each one unique.  I haven't decided whether to mount the hearts in wooden embroidery hoop frames or to mat and mount them in standard frames. 

What do you think - hoop or frame, and why?  I'd love to hear your opinion, so leave me a comment!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Element of Air

The element of air is the focus of the third week in The Elements of Art Journaling workshop at Wild.Precious.  I'm an air and water baby with very little fire or earth in my horoscope, so I really enjoyed working with the materials.  I associate a lot of positive things with air.  The following is a chart of associations that I quickly came up with.  Would you add anything to it?

I tossed a lot of different ideas around for my journal page, but kept returning to the words of a chant that I learned when my kids were small.  It's a beautiful chant, and one that I've used as a lullaby, as a balm during times of doubt, grief or pain, and as a prayer too.  I'll share the words here:

May we walk in beauty in a sacred way
May we walk in beauty each and every day
May the beauty of the fire
lift your spirit higher
May the beauty of the Earth
fill your heart with mirth
May the beauty of the rain
wash away your pain
May the beauty of the sky
teach your mind to fly
May we walk in beauty in a sacred way
May we walk in beauty each and every day

I chose words from the chant for my journaling page.  And dragonflies.  To me, dragonflies represent wonder, joy, gentle movement and lightness of being.  I used gesso, watercolors, alcohol inks, glitter, flower embellishments and a tiny crocheted butterfly. 

Each journaling page actually consists of two pages and it's necessary for me to scan each separately, so there are two images:

Next up will be the element of water and I'm looking forward to working with it, creating a new page and enjoying the beauty that everyone in the workshop is creating! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Leap Of Faith

I've just made an announcement on Facebook that I'm pretty excited about.  I've been playing games there - Farmville and especially Cityville.  The games started out being something that I could do on those days when pain or fibro fog prevented me from doing much else, but quickly developed into a daily habit. And I won't lie. I've had fun with them. But they really are time consuming and just a wee bit addictive.

My announcement was that I've decided to stop playing both games so that I could focus on planning the beginnings of my CreativeARTitudes and ARTbundance coaching business and on nurturing this blog and creating a fantastic freebie for all of you. To have the time and grace to make and learn art and nurture my connections within the creative community.  And to create a second blog focused on '99'ers and frugality ('99'ers is the term used for those of us whose unemployment benefit extensions have expired). 

Being ill with bronchitis lately has been really difficult in the sense that I haven't had the health or energy to focus on anything else.  But, starting the healing process has given me plenty of time for contemplation and the grace to truly appreciate the wisdom and support that exists within and around me.

My financial situation IS hard; my health is a huge challenge too.  But my current circumstances don't negate the fact that I have a lifetime of experience and wisdom to offer, or that I've finally found the things that truly speak to my heart and soul - life balance and creativity coaching and creating art.

With my background, I've always found trust to be an issue.  Trust in myself?  Trust in others?  Trust in the Universe and what it holds for me?  Ha!  And yet I've come to a place where that trust is not only necessary, but essential.  To my well-being, to my survival, to my ability to grow and thrive.

And so I am taking a leap of faith.  I'm wrapping courage and conviction around myself.  I'm embracing this year and this time that seems to be all about new directions and new adventures!  Woohoo!!  I hope that you'll travel along with me on this journey!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Elements of Art Journaling - Earth/Body

I can't believe that it's been almost a month since my last post - or that I've been ill for almost that long!  I've been trying to 'tough it out' since I don't currently have medical insurance, and it's definitely been tough dealing with whatever it is I have in addition to the fibromyalgia.

The focus for the second week of The Elements of Art Journaling is the element of earth and our bodies.  Being ill, the biggest concept I found in my mind for this was "My body is a betrayer!" followed by phrases such as bones, death, caverns, pain and mud.  Every inch of my body seemed to be hurting, so I definitely wasn't in a good place when thinking of my body and its multitude of relationships to the Earth element.

I decided to do a two part journal page.  One page to express my initial feelings, which I then covered over to make way for more positive perspectives.  This was a technique that I learned last year while taking a workshop on Willowing's site called "Art, Heart & Healing".

The image that kept coming to mind as I worked on the original page was a painting done by Frida Kahlo which showed a multitude of nails being driven into her body.   It just seemed a perfect representation of what I was experiencing!  After scanning that first page, I journaled about the negativity, the pain, the frustrations of being ill and of dealing with chronic illness and disabilities too. 

It took quite a bit of introspection, getting myself centered and grounded, before I could start work on the second half of my project.   I love that I felt so supported and encouraged to do that work - simply by watching the videos and following the suggestions given in the workshop materials and by popping into the group on better days to get my 'fix' of positivity, glitter and warm fuzzies!  I only had the energy to briefly lurk, but that didn't diminish any of the things that I've so come to love about Wild.Precious.