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Every once in awhile I have a craving to go deeper into the well of inner knowledge. Things like art, journaling, solitude, and highly engaging conversation with just the right person can take me there.  Recently I felt the call of the page. Paper bound with the purpose of helping me get found.

When the desire for writing in this way comes up, I go in search of a new blank book.  It has to feel just right.  I have been bored lately with off-the-shelf journals, so I decided to delve into the realm of handmade.  Now, I made a journal once.  It is pretty, but less than what I wanted for my inner-prize.  So I began perusing Etsy to see what I could see.

Etsy has some amazing book artists.  From tee-ninsie to gian-ormous!  Elegant, earthy, whimsical, or plain Jane.  With so many options, it could be overwhelming to choose. But, as is often the case in picking a world of pages for my musings, the perfect journal for me came forward and announced itself without a doubt!

 www.bindingbee.etsy.com

Binding Bee (www.bindingbee.etsy.com)  is a cute little shop with great books. Megan Winn, the book binder/artist, turned out to be as sweet as the work she does.  This journal is made with up-cycled leather and has pattern pieces incorporated into the pages. 

To understand the call of this particular journal, it is important to get a sense of what I want to explore with it.  In my last post, I talked about the metephoric knots I was presented with.  It is maybe a strange thing to describe “issues” this way, but that’s how it feels.  It is as if I have one big problem, but a closer look reveals interlocked, inter-related variables. I find it hard to determine what all is in the knot, but I know that it includes how I live with and in my body and the things that have influenced my relationship with my body.  So you see, the pattern pieces speak directly to the issues at hand.

 I think it is easy to start to feel uncomfortable when someone starts pointing to the things in life that don’t go quite right, but this knot is about something positive. It is about looking at the knot (every woman who has worn a necklace knows you have to put what’s tangled in front of you if you want to get it off your neck) so that I can loosen it up, throw out what is broken, fix what can be salvaged and supplement what is missing.  This is about opportunity and healing.  So if my vulnerability has you at all on edge, take a breath.  It’s all good. 

I hope you will enjoy hearing about my special little journal.  In the next week or two, you can expect my first artist interview. I had a great visit with the book-binder who whipped up this jewel, Megan Winn.  Her story inspires me to look at life with a new eye and to celebrate the gift of creative living in a more back-to-basics way. 

Until then…

I am creatively yours,

Rae

creatura1Yesterday, over coffee, my friend Elizabeth asked me if I meditate.  I didn’t know how to answer her because I wasn’t sure if she would agree that what I do is mediation.  I know there are lots of ways to meditate and sometimes I do these more traditional ways, but what I do most is not listed in meditation books. 

I dream on things. 

I might sit and consider possibilities or call a concern to my mind in the times between waking or sleeping.  I let go of my mind and watch it follow a thought from one place to another.  In this way I can pull together complicated ideas or expand on more simple concepts. 

I am able to get results from this which help me to be my personal best. For example, I will lay down and dream ona subject before Ibegin to write my term paper.  This practice feels very indulgent, but I find when I skip this process that I get stuck and frustrated.

I looked up the etimology of the word meditate on www.etymonline.com.  It is a dictionary which tells you the original use and meaning of words.  Some of the meanings I found relevant to the kind of meditation I have been describing come from med which is to think over or consider something. But my favorite derivitive of that root, mederi means to heal.

A more personal etymology for the term dreaming on comes from the movie The Missingwith Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones.  Jones plays the father of Blanchett.  He has spent a good portion of his adult life living with and as a Native American.  I believe the movie is set at the turn of the century.  The father sits with his granddaughter and appears to be sleeping or at least napping.  He is playing over in his mind the possibilities of the day to come. He explains to her that he is “dreaming on” what will happen.  Later, the little girl uses that  process to vision the life she and her family will have together. 

missing_ver3

I had discovered that tool for myself years ago but found Jones’ term gave a worthy name to it. 

Most recently, I have been dreaming on what feels like an intricate matrix of knots which are presenting themselves for untangling.  Every person has something that keeps them from living their fullest potential.  For me, I have a complicated series of inter-related events, beliefs, and responses having to do with my relationship to my body which keep me from being my best. 

In Gestalt therapy, there is a concept that talks about how an individual becomes mindful of disturbances which come to the forefront of their awareness.  The healthy individual has a dynamic interplay between the formation of these disturbances that come forward and the destruction of the disturbances.  My knots have come forward to be destroyed. I am hopeful that I have what it takes to heal that for myself.

As I contemplate what has come forward, I find images and metephors that are helping me make sense of how one thing is related to the other. I have been doing some art about this and talking about it a bit, but because of how complicated it all seems here in the beginning of the process, dreaming on the matrix is the least overwhelming thing to do.  It is a way of looking at the beast without touching it…so that I can discover its heart.

It has been years since I have done shrink art, but recently I fell in love with it all over again.  While perusing Etsy, I came across   www.LittleAngelsJewelry.etsy.com.  I was delighted to find such exciting images.  So I bought a few.  The little ring featuring a ribcage with a heart has become my token reminder to tend to the emotional, spiritual and physical health of my heart.

Ribcage Ring

Last night, I even had a dream in which a Wise Woman told me to relax and open my heart to the world.  It is amazing what effect a tiny work of art, done with love, by a stranger across the country from you can have on your life.  We just never know how we touch one another.

Shrinky Healing Art

 

So in celebration of  my renewed, growing love of shrink art, I decided I would offer a few tips for working with it.  I even have a few of my old pieces that I think will be fun to revisit.

Shrinky Fairy2

The tips for ONE of MANY ways to do Shrink Art:

  • I start out by using an artist grade of shrink art paper called PolyShrink.  It is available from www.LuckySquirrel.com.  The paper is treated by sanding it with a light sandpaper in a crosshatched pattern (horizontally and vertically). 
  • Color can be applied a number of ways.  I prefer Prisma Color Pencils and Sharpies. 
  • Once the piece is colored, it can be cut out.  I prefer to do it this way if I have shapes to cut out so that my pencil doesn’t accidentally catch the edge and goober up the piece.  (Is “goober up” a technical term?) This would also be the step in which you could use a hole punch for jump rings or dangly things.
  • Pieces are baked in an oven (300-350 degrees F or 148-175 C according to Lucky Squirrel) on a piece of cardboard, resting inside a cookie sheet.  For more cooking directions, check out Lucky Squirrels General Instructions. 
  • To glue on any backings, I used E6000.  I have since heard others use a 2 part epoxy, but I haven’t tried that.  I would love to hear from anyone who has.  The trick with E6000 is to apply a small amount to both parts, let it dry and then glue those parts together.  You also want a tiny bit to well up over the edge of the stud disk or pin back to help hold it on. 
  • As for sealing, I used acrylic spray.  The trick there is to keep your layer thin, especially with the matte or it will get cloudy. Without some kind of sealant, the pieces tended to scratch up a bit.

Shrinky Fish

Well, I would love to hear from those who are doing Shrink Art.  I am looking forward to playing with it again.  What a fun Summer-time project!

Sometime last year I discovered an on-line marketplace for handmade things called Etsy.  Being a creativity advocate, I immediately wanted to get involved.  I joined with the knowledge that someday I would have my own Etsy Shop.  Well, life kept getting in the way.  Not in a bad way, I have been working on my Masters in Counseling and that just had to come first.  But, I have had a break in my schedule and am devising a plan for the official opening of my shop due sometime towards the beginning of June. 

Sneak Peak:

About 7 years ago, I opened a massage studio in downtown Corpus Christi across from Yin Yang Fandango and the Tango Tea Room (http://www.tangofandango.com/).  It was very exciting to create the look of the shop and make decisions on what kind of life it would take on.  I covered the windows with brown paper while we hammered, scrapped, plastered, and painted.  Some people were so interested in what was going on that they were upset about the secrecy.  That surprised me.  I thought they would enjoy a big reveal.  But what I realized is that some folks are just as interested in the process as they are about the product, and for those people, my paper denied them a beautiful opportunity to witness the blooming of the flower. 

For that very reason, I am documenting the means to the end for this new shop of mine.  If you are a big reveal person, STOP!  Don’t go any further.  Your time will come.  Feel free to leave your email in the comments or drop me a line, and I will give you a special invitation to the grand opening.  BUT, if you are a process person, this is your chance.  Peal back the paper and have a peak inside.  Please excuse the mess, there is creativity in progress.  

www.laughinglane.etsy.com 

More about the process…..

Research:

I am doing everything  in phases, holding onto an attitude of keeping positive but not demanding perfection.  I have been doing some research by reading the hints and tips offered by Etsy and keeping up with their newsletter.  If nothing else, they are inspiring.  And the stories about people who are making it happen motivate me to do my best.

I have also ordered a few guides from Etsian how-to-ers. The first guide I got from www.TimothyAdamsDesigns.etsy.com.  It has inspired this blog and given me the tools to build a community to share it with.  I am eager to see how it goes.  Then I found a guide from www.TheBuzz.etsy.com. This is another little jewel with great ideas on how to make my shop work.  She takes the guess work out of where to start and where to put my energy.  I think these two guides are a great combination for someone starting out.  The first is blog-centered and the last shop-centered.  From what I understand, those two things help to create a formula for success.

 Product/Artwork:

But nothing will say success like having the right products.  When I say right, I mean many things by that.  I am only willing to create art that feels fulfilling.  With that in mind, I have been brainstorming about my favorite projects and have created a small grouping of printed photos of the projects I have most enjoyed doing.  I have them in a little stack on my desk and look thru them when I am ready to work on something.  Someday this wanna-be pile of pictures will be replaced with a an accomplishment pile, documenting the lives I have allowed my art to touch by sharing it with the world.

The other part of deciding about which artwork to sell is including items that others might like.  As it turns out, I often do projects that others request but for which I have had little time to do.  Luckily, these are usually the items I get the most fulfilment out of.  This is what will ultimatly end up in the shop.  It gives me a boost when others are enthusiastic about my work.

Focus:

As I prepare for the opening, I find myself nesting as a way of getting focused.  My art supplies become the twigs and leaves with which I am creating my warm, cozy spot.  It is exactly what I need as I take a break from the hustle and bustle of University life.  I think Laughing Lane Studios could ultimately provide a needed bit of balance in my life. 

I hope you have enjoyed this peak at my process.  Feel free to share with me the projects you are working on and what your progress is looking like.

Creatively yours,

Rae

The last year, I have been focusing on how what it means to show myself love and care.  This is especially true when it comes to treating my body in loving ways.  This might sound easy, but I have found that my life was set up in a way that was based on fear and judgement a good portion of the time.  When I made the decision to practice self-love, I looked for ways to improve on some of the good things I was already doing and to find new ways to do some of the not so loving ways I treated myself or thought about myself.  The journey has been rich.

disney 677

To flesh this idea out a bit more, let me talk about skin.  This past month, I turned 40.  Looking in the mirror, I am starting to see little changes.  The skin under my eyes is less taut.  My lipstick blurs at the edges, and my neck has a new, unfamiliar texture.  The changes are a bit scary, which tells me that I am afraid to grow old.  Funny, I am also fearful that I won’t have the chance to grow old.  Ironic.  I have taken this as an opportunity for creative living. 

How do I want to feel about my skin?  Do I need to stay constant and unchanging?  Does this change how I fit into the world? 

I know that when I look at women who are covered with the marks of a life lived, I see tremendous beauty in them.  My practice of self love encourages me to begin to cultivate that same love for my wisdom marks. 

So for Mother’s Day, I indulged in a variety of soaps and skin creams.  And decided to do the same for my two mother-in-laws. 

First, I headed over to the local farmer’s market where my friend Nancy sells soaps made from the seaweed that washes up on the beach at Port Aransas, Texas. 

Corpus Christi's Farmers Market

Corpus Christi's Farmers Market

 Port A is a little community on the water, not far from where I live.  I bought a vetiver bar soap from her and have been using it in our downstairs bathroom.  When I was a kid, I hated washing up, but nowadays, I can not wait to smell the essential oils from Nancy’s soap on my hands.  I even take extra trips to the soap bowl to smell it when I am feeling stressed.

Nancy also had body butter  at the market from Farm Fresh Soaps.  My morning routine has become a ritual of self-care as I adorn my neck and arms with the bitter almond richness of this product.  It is thick and creamy and feels almost sinful to use it on myself.  I have had to fight my tendency to hoard it.  But once I have scooped out my daily allowance, I never regret it.  It is candy for my 40 year old senses.

http://www.ffsoaps.com/baby.htm

For my husband’s moms, I decided to turn to Etsy for inspiration.  They both live out of town and by dealing with an Etsy shop, I could have it mailed and support the creative efforts of another at the same time.  I found one shop to take care of both gifts.  Lynette Gooch of Tuscan Heights has beautiful soaps and oils.  She had the perfect gift baskets for the Moms.  Iris, who is a master gardener got the Master Gardener gift pack, and Donna, who enjoys playing tourist get The Weary Traveler.  Both called to say how nice the packages were.  This is the way to shop!

Tuscan Heights Lavendar Farm

www.lynettegooch2002.etsy.com

In searching for the gift soaps, I came across a shop with soap formed into rocks.  One of our bathrooms has a nature theme.  We had to do some repairs to it when we first moved in.  Our carpenters where more like artisans, so we let our imagination run wild.  We have carve away part of the slate tile to create a dry river bed that runs from our mesquite stump bathroom sink across the floor and into the shower.  The rock soap was a must-have.  The picture below shows the edge of the tree pedestal for our sink basin and the iron sculpture beside it along with the new soap.

mermaidwithsoap

www.amethystsoap.etsy.com  I got the turquoise soap and the amethyst.  They rock!

I think I am going to continue this love of natural soaps.  My skin feels happier, and I like knowing that I am putting things from the earth on my skin rather than chemicals and fake fragrances.  Isn’t it amazing that chosing natural products should feel indulgent?  Perhaps someday that will be natural for me. Until then, I will enjoy the feeling of this new form of self care.

Creatively yours,

Rae

Welcome to my guide for living a more creative life. You will find craft ideas, inspiration and motivation from people who embrace the spirit of creativity everyday. Follow my journey and discover your  own path to becoming a crafter of the living arts.

For a peak-see at my shop, hop on over to www.laughinglane.etsy.com

grieffairy

My Etsy Shop

http://laughinglane.etsy.com Photobucket

Robert Alan

The creative spirit is one of the most powerful driving forces in human history. Creativity in the arts can inspire new insights and understanding for generations. Inventive creativity has helped transform our society time and time again, helping to make life better for countless lives. Creativity helps bring meaning to one's life through unique self-expression. When focused on uplifting humanity, creativity can help to create a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. How will you use your creativity to help create a better world?

Henry David Thoreau

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

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