Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Enjoying the Mundane

Sometimes moments of peace and tranquility can be found in the most unexpected of places.  Meet Tippy, the sweetest, most precarious dog I know.  She is owned by my dear friend and jewelry artist, Chrissy Gemmill.  Aside from making her beautiful jewelry, Chrissy has a fun blog that chronicles her business as well as her family adventures and life with Tippy.  Recently, Tippy happily destroyed Chrissy's favorite mushroom pillow!  She looks quite proud of herself doesn't she? 
I offered to repair her beloved pillow.  After pinning it back together I began stitching.  The repetition was relaxing and I enjoyed what might typically be considered a task.  The simple act of mending can be a meditative process if given the right mindset.  Folding the laundry, washing dishes, even sweeping the porch can be an opportunity to get yourself into your head and focus on the task at hand.  In a life filled with constant overstimulation and interruptions, the simple act of  vacuuming can be a pleasure in itself. Another part of the joy is the immediate satisfaction of a positive result from your productivity. Let's not underestimate the benefit of a clean and tidy house!

Visit Chrissy's blog at here, to read more about her and check out her jewelry!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Feeling Overwhelmed

This week has been a little extra stressful for me.  I'm a keeps me on track & it helps me feel like I can get what I need to get done within the time I need to do it.  On the alternate side of this- when I can't complete my to do list and things go off schedule I can start to feel overwhelmed.

There's nothing like planning a wedding and buying a house to throw a wrench into your already busy schedule of life and work!  This week we started arrangements on our wedding and have put in two offers on a house that we love.  As I write this, the anticipation of the answer is looming over me.

So this morning I woke up feeling completely overwhelmed and unwilling to get out of bed.  I forced myself up and started on my morning routine.

On a busy morning when you feel like there are a million things you should be doing and you already feel behind, that's when you need your meditative practice more than ever! Since I recently finished a project, I didn't have anything specific to stitch so I have been working on a scrap piece that I have been slowly adding to over the past year. 

Today I picked up a new color and didn't give it too much thought and just got right into it.  The pink design was what I added today- no plan, no stress...I just followed along intuitively.  It wasn't long until I got lost in the pattern and repetition.  Exactly what I needed. I know the day will bring chaos and I will forget to stop and breathe but I had my 15 minutes of  complete "me" time and that's what it's all about.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stitching through Loss

Growing up I always had dogs in my life.  When each one of them passed I was either away at college or already moved out and on my own.  Their absence was felt and it was hard to say goodbye. It was not until my own dog, Banyan's passing this past summer when I actually felt the true devastation and loss.

Banyan was my 15 year old miniature pinscher who I had with me through many stages of my young adult life. He was with me as I got my first adult job, slept on my many sewing projects, lived with me in various apartments, and finally accompanied me into my current stage- meeting my fiancĂ© and moving into his home. He was with me through it all.  In July he quickly became ill and I had to give him the gift of letting go. 

So many of my artist friends were so kind and offered to sculpt, paint or draw Banyan as a way to commemorate him. I appreciated their generosity but nothing seemed exactly right. I had to honor him in the best way I knew cloth.

I used the background as my morning meditation.  As I stitched each row, my mind wandered. Sometimes it put me at ease, sometimes it brought back memories.  The piece to honor my friend Banyan ended up being a piece to heal my loss. Now as I'm finishing up the piece I realize, I don't want to finish this piece.  It feels too final.  I'm not exactly sure how I will feel when the time comes to bind it and frame it up.

This kind of piece is not typical for me. I usually tend to be less obvious with my subject matter.  But I felt the need to use his picture and write the text. This was not a piece that I will enter in a show or use as a representation of my art.  This piece is for me. I created it for myself and for Banyan.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


According to artist Anahata Katkin, there are five stages to the creative process:
  1. Bloom- the early stages where everything comes together easily in a project
  2. Resistance- the point in which some people stop with frustration due to the inner critic causing self doubt
  3. Ping Pong- bouncing to a new perspective to work through the resistance stage
  4. Full expression- the moment you get through the struggle, when the project seems to come together
  5. Completion- knowing when it's finished
I recently remembered her stages during my current project. I was really enjoying the process until it came to the background.  I thought I had the perfect plan for it but after I started it, the idea no longer seemed to work.  I became frustrated, and stalled out. But instead of letting that overcome me, I pushed through by creating different patterns to audition for the background.  Finally it came to me, I went in a different direction- stenciling a repeat pattern of a tree to mimic the machine stitched trees that I already had done. I loved the way it turned out!  I found my solution and worked through my resistance to get there.  That alone felt like even more of an accomplishment! As I stitch the outline of the stenciled trees, I feel strong and excited to see what happens next knowing that I have the answers within me...I just have to keep creating and they will come!