I have been enjoying the book, the Artist’s Rule by Christine Valters Painter. It really touches with the contemplative part of my spirit. I am finding myself approaching all of life with a sacredness and gratitude that was only sometimes there in the past.
One thing I am discovering is a stripping away of the subtle legalistic approach to spirituality that I learned from the church we left over a year ago. The stripping away feels so good and I am able to be my true self with applying ridiculous rules to my life in fear of offending God or approaching sin.
In Week 3 of the Artist’s Rule, the suggestion of an altar space made me identify, dig up and remove another rule. I had the belief that anything labeled altar where we place symbols of our faith or our selves or of God was entering into a form of idol worship. Altars = bad. After some self reflection, I realized that I have always, since a young child, created altar spaces full of symbology. I wish I had photos of the way I would arrange rocks and figures on my dresser as a little girl. I guess I haven’t changed.
My art supply chest of drawers.
Random objects to you, but deeply meaningful objects to me.
My childhood treasure box still full of treasures old and some new. My name stuck to the top in the 70s. This box represents my view of things as sacred when just a child.
Dirt encased in wax, dried moss, a funky shaped rock, all represent the deep tie my spirit feels to the earth.
Pigments from my great-grandmother’s china painting, costume pearls of my grandmother’s that I wore all through college, remind me of the story of my life and the generations before me. The bells in the dish make the most beautiful tinkling and take my mind to the Holy Spirit.
This is just one of the many sacred spaces I have created in my home. I can now freely approach any of these sacred spaces with gratefulness and thanksgiving for who God is and who He has created me to be. Liberty feels oh-so-good.
AEDM Day 15
More soldering. I’m so torn. I love wax, but lately the soldering has won the call.
I’m sure nobody noticed that I missed AEDM Day 14. I noticed, because when I slipped into my cozy nest of a bed, I was a bit sad about the end of the day coming before I was done with it. I have not created art every day in November for any of the years that I have participated in the AEDM challenge, but have rather learned to be gentle with myself about expectations.
Tomorrow I need to go on a glass run.
AEDM Day 4
I have no photos. I have no canvas.
My art today is building loving relationships. Art of life that will last eternally. Laughter, family together, friends sharing truly from the deep places in life. I could never draw or paint this day. Yet the joy it has given me I will not forget.
The Skinnies and Baubles class went wonderfully yesterday. I am always so inspired by the unique stories that each person’s jewelry tells. Now if I only would learn the art of photography, I might one day be able to show some good pictures of the class and their finished work.
I am also very pleased to announce that one of my encaustic pieces, Public School Series #5, was juried into the River Market Regional Exhibition. Thrilling for me.
So many good things are happening here at Hidden Art Studio, but I must share that these past couple weeks have been one of frank reflection. Since I was confronted with copying another artist’s class, I have had difficulty doing anything in my studio. This whole interchange really shut me down for a bit. I am so thankful to have learned the skills needed to process through difficult emotions, so that I did not just bury these powerful feelings.
- fear that I would forever be labeled a fraud in the creative community
- fear that others would believe that I would really intend to copy someone else’s class
- fear that I didn’t really belong in the creative community at all
- fear that none of my work was original, that I really was an all-encompassing fraud
- fear that no matter how careful I was, this would happen again
- fear that I would not regain a sense of belonging
- fear that I if did put myself out there again, I would be rejected
- I can’t do anything original.
- I’m a copycat and don’t even know it. Loser.
- How could I be so stupid
- Everything I create is crap anyway.
- I should just quit pretending I’m an artist.
- If being creative makes me feel this way, it’s not worth it.
The thought that someone else would believe I would copy a class really affected my sense of belonging in a creative tribe that was supposed to be safe. (I want to be clear that the artist that confronted me held to the highest of integrity and professionalism. She did not make me feel the way I did, but rather I was reacting to my own insecurities, fears created from other experiences throughout my life.) To add to the pain, a ripple in the blogosphere dealing with the copyright issues occurred in the following weeks after my apology, my apology which received more hits from new viewers in one day than in my whole years of blogging. I understand that I am not the sole focus for the copyright posts that spattered the creative community. I am hopeful that it was not me alone that prompted the Artists for Respect pledge, but each time I would run into another blog post about copying in the creative community, I felt like I got punched in the gut.
Thankfully I have a gracious God who allowed me to face the fears and weed out the lies as I was feeling them. One by one I would give them to Him and in return He would give me truth.
- I cannot control how others feel or what they believe about me. I can only be my true self, truly.
- My tribe is much smaller and more personal than I had imagined.
- Not all artists think the same way. They do not all operate on the same plane of creativity that I do, therefore I will never fit with everyone.
- My creative moments are a time of worship for me. My worship is not a fraud. My work is not a copy.
- I always have a place where I belong, where others are glad to be with me.
- I can handle rejection when God is with me for I will never truly be alone.
- I have no guarantees that something like this will not happen again. I can either live cautiously or live care-free. My choice.
- I am a creative being. God put a desire in me to create. If I squelch that, I will not be honoring my true self.
- I will most likely be hurt again. I can endure painful feelings and allow God to put them into perspective.
- My heart of hearts is to share what I learn with others, to inspire others, to spark the creative within.
This whole experience has been one of growth for me. I am strangely glad that it happened. This year I have been very focused on my business plan, making goals, looking at the long term. In doing so, my true goals got a little off track. I was just beginning to head in the wrong direction. Now I am reminded about who I am, why I do what I do, and how I can share with others. My goals need to be in total alignment with this. Although outwardly the classes I teach and the art I create may not appear any different, inwardly I have been redirected.
I picked the correct theme word for this year, Unsafe. Combine that with my church‘s theme word, Grow, and stir the pot. Although I’ve been relatively silent in the cyber world, my life has been moving and shaking.
Here’s the 2010 checklist for my theme word, Unsafe:
- be bold
- put my heart on the table
- make art that speaks LOUDLY
- risk rejection
- give myself wholly as God commands
- surely offend someone
- get hurt
- heal and grow
- live a life focused on helping others
Not that I’ll stop doing what has been crossed out, but now I turn my focus to making art that speaks LOUDLY, and at the rate I’ve been Growing this year, my mind is full to bursting with creative thought and worship for my King. Now to bring the art to fruition.
And about the bad hair drama in my life, a dear friend of mine turned me on to her hairdresser who worked a miracle on my awfully-colored, poorly-cut hair. After 2 months of wearing my skull cap, it felt so good to like my haircut. The grey is still growing out which I can usually deal with, but get that occasional twinge of “oh, but I’ll look so old!” Reality is, I’ll look my age and 41 is not a bad age to be.
This summer I am doing a great deal of growing and planning. My business is unfocused. As many of you know, my heart is really aimed towards creatively worshiping my God, and sharing the creative process with others to facilitate growth and healing, introspection and thoughtfulness. The small income I do receive from my Etsy shop and from the classes I teach go to fund supplies used in teaching monthly classes at Veronica’s Voice. If I were to make a larger income, it would go towards furthering my own artistic education, so I could continue to expand what I share with others. As I refine my business plan this summer, the classes I’ll be teaching outside of Veronica’s Voice will be minimal. Besides the soldering class below, I will also be scheduling one art journaling class (date will be announced early next week). That said, my dream is one of growth, and of sculpting and refining many new and fun classes to come.
Introduction to Soldering: Making Jewelry
Date: Sat, July 17, 2010
Place: 2926 Campbell St, Kansas City MO 64109
*Examples: your pieces will be unique.
Learn the funky art of soldering, and make your own one of a kind jewelry. After receiving instruction, you will be constructing and soldering your own ring and pendant. We will be using images from vintage books, music, and papers, or if you have a special image in mind, please bring it to class. The glass sizes available to make pendants include 1×1, 1×2 and 1×3. The diameter of the ring will be approximately the size of a dime. All supplies are included in the cost of the class, including choker or ball chain for your pendant. If time allows, you may make a marble charm as well.
Class size: 8 students max.
- Prepayment is required to register for class.
- A 48 hour notice is required to cancel your spot in class, so that I may contact others who may be on a waiting list. If you do not notify me of cancellation, your class fee will not be refunded.
The featured speaker at the Summit this year was Morgan Jackson from Faith Comes By Hearing. He was an incredible story teller, sharing stories of the Word of God impacting illiterate people through the audio Bible.
A great reminder received from Morgan Jackson is that God’s Word can be shared in stories. I do not have to recite Scripture referring to book, chapter and verse to share the Bible. Memorizing is difficult for me, but I can remember the idea or story, and the Bible is full of great stories. Perhaps I will be less likely to alienate others with recitation, and instead will engage them in dialogue on thoughts that emerge from stories.
I was also reminded of people I so easily forget. They seem so far removed from me, the poor, illiterate. Rather than keeping up on the latest cell phone, they communicate orally because they cannot read and do not have the means to purchase the latest technology. Our church is a fervent supporter of translating God’s Word into native people’s heart languages. How exciting to go even deeper and reach those who cannot read by sharing the spoken Word.
The Summit was so inspiring. Lately I have found myself in a rut. The lessons learned at the Summit allowed me to re-examine my priorities and my focus. I never want to become complacent or comfortable or a grumbler. To me that is death, but I was heading down that path. I can only thank God for redirecting me.
The first day of the Summit I immediately had to run to the studio and produce these pendants:
Both are Scripture cut from my ancient, dilapidated Bible. The horizontal one features the Scripture:
Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
And the pendant with the cross says:
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
This last piece for the Summit is entitled Harvest. The face is of a child, so I added imagery from children’s books and encyclopedias. The clock was stamped by my mother-in-law when she was a child. The verses featured were:
John 4:35-36 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. (36) And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
The wheat is from my grandfather’s field the year that he died, and the dirt is from my back yard. Our basset-lab was kind enough to dig a fresh hole for me. The sides are cut from an old farm journal.
While I was gluing everything down with gel medium, I was reminded of the 4th grade. Being bored in class, I had spread glue on the palms of my hands and was peeling off the dried glue when the teacher noticed. She thought that was the strangest thing I could be doing. I thought it was cool how the glue came off in sheets and I could still see the lines and wrinkles from my hands. And here I was again peeling glue off my fingers after having such a wonderful time spreading it all over this final piece. Maybe I am strange, but glue makes me happy.
The focus verse that was used for this year’s Summit is Esther 4:14b.
Esther 4:14b and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
In the last couple months, our pastor taught through the book of Esther. Wow. I loved learning and applying what was being taught. In Esther, God’s name is never mentioned. God is represented by Providence. Esther was created to be queen to save the children of Israel from annihilation.
During the teaching on Esther, the topic of providence and purpose in each of our lives was heavily implied. This can be a difficult topic for me when I am in the throws of depression from Seasonal Affective Disorder, but knowing the truth, that God has a purpose even for me while I am dealing with depression, helps me to find joy within my winter days.
And here is step by step, Providence: