Category Archives: My Journey

Word of the Year: Balance

Not napping this year!


Nap
Last year my word of the year was “Nap” and for good reason. I had been in transition. I needed time to rest, to play and to figure out the next stage of my life.


2016 will be the year that I hope to take off with confidence on a new journey. I have given myself the time to figure out what I want to work on creating, where and how much I want to contribute to the larger community and (hopefully) how maintain happy, healthy me!


The key to my success is my word of the year:
“BALANCE!

tightrope-_-web


A person with good “balance” can distribute their weight in such a way that they can walk a tightrope. This physical balance requires the circus performer to place themselves at high risk and requires complete mental and physical focus on a single task: to get from one side of the rope to the other without falling.

Finance balance

Finance balance

An account adds up the debits and credits to arrive at a value. When you pay your bills you have invoice and check to pay the invoice. You “balance” your books you bring these two sides into equilibrium.

In art “balance” is one of the principles of design. It refers to the distribution of visual weight. There are three types of balance. Symmetrical, radial and asymetrical.

flower Symmetrical balance is visual weight distributed equally along a single  axis like the wings of a butterfly on either side of it’s body. Radial balance is weight distributed evenly from a single center point like the petals of a flower.

Pieter Claesz (c.1597–1660), Still Life (1623)

Pieter Claesz (c.1597–1660), Still Life (1623)

In asymmetrical balance the visual weight is unequally distributed. It’s lack of even distribution makes it desirable in a composition because it provides increased visual interest. In art, balance is more desirable when it is not providing stability.

 


My life balance  feels right when my time is asymmetrical.

Some days are balanced with portions of creative activity, volunteer hours, reading, and a long walk. Other days are devoted to a single activity or nothing at all. Yesterday I watched football with my husband, meditated, did a little yoga and completed a book.

Today I am writing this blog  and giving myself time to sit back and look at a recently created composition. Tomorrow I might be in my studio creating all day without a break or taking a long hike. My balance is achieved by taking care of myself first. If I need to take a day off; I do it. If I am full of energy I take advantage of that too.

This year I want to balance my life with larger variety of artistic endeavors. I have to carve out time this year to make more sellable products. Items like scarfs using my own designs. These require short burst of work for an hour or two at a time. I am selling these at my local galleries gift shop where I work a couple of days a month.

My large art quilts are not priced for the average buyer and I cannot produce enough of these kind of items to sell and to enter in shows. This year I am going to be finding a cost effective vendor to create stretched canvas reproductions of my large quilts. These small items will be for sale at my show in April and maybe even an Etsy shop sometime this fall.

Other ways I am going to balance my artistic life is to take sometime in the fall to attend another week long workshop. This I am thinking of Jennifer Day in Santa Fe New Mexico. She is an outstanding thread painter. It’s a skill I need to work on.


 

path

So while other people talk about balance as working less and spending more time with family or taking more time to get healthy and less time on social media. My balance is all about taking full advantage of retired life. I am opening to many opportunities and I am going to listening to beat of my own drum.

Just following my bliss wherever it leads keeps me in balance.

Until next time……
Margaret

 

 

Not Easy Being Green

Do you remember the song  “It’s Not Easy Being Green”

(Sung by Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog / written by Joe Raposo.)

The other day as I was driving home, I was listening to an interview of an author on NPR.  The guest was sharing the challenges he had experienced in his life because of his eccentric beliefs and behaviors.  He said “It is hard to be different in this country.”  In that moment, I was struck with the feeling that I, too, had felt different and a little “outside” my entire life.  I wondered: “How many people are trying to fit in so that they are not judged for being outside of what is considered the norm”.
Quote from Cynthia James

Different

Many people would say “being different” is a key attribute to being an artist. In my experience being “different” is not as valued  as being in sync in the art marketplace and within the art’s community . Knowing what the market expects and understanding what your community values is essential to success.


I am currently a one of the regional representatives for an arts organization. It’s my artistic community; my peeps. Being on the inside of a formal organization which promotes the medium I work with (art quilts), helps me as an artist to better understand the expectations of the community, to connect with exceptional artists and understand the process for getting my artwork into the public eye. Every artist needs a network to grow artistically.

Recently I learned a valuable lesson about trying to be “different”. I attempted to launch a new project which was handily rejected. I failed to fully understand I am a volunteer for this organization. My role as a volunteer is not to improve what the organization  no matter how well intentioned or forward thinking my rational. My role is to support the existing system.

B-and-PW-Club-1950s-748x600 My reward as a volunteer is to enlarge my artist network. I am building a resource for my own growth. Putting energy into project not initiated by the larger organization is not in my self interest. I am better served by fitting into an existing plan. Being  “different” in this situation didn’t serve my goals as an artist and took time away from more valuable projects.


Currently the majority of my time is spent focusing my energy on creating a new body of work. This has been an ongoing goal which I wrote about on this blog in May of 2014. In May I met with a mentor provided by my arts organization to talk about my work.  During that conversation it was clear I needed to create a series of work that was more cohesive and would reflect a exploration of  well thought out visual problem sustained overtime.

Body of Work

In the review it was clear my body of work was all over the place.

I needed to focus.

(To say this in more compassionate terms:
I was ending a period a exploration and learning.)


It is obvious that being different, always exploring something new or constantly straying far from the visual norms of the medium is not the “different” an artist should embrace. Finding my voice (which will always be unique) has meant far less exploration and much more focus. I am building up level of skill using a similar process in multiple quilts. My goal is to present to the marketplace a less diverse  more cohesive body of work. 


		
		3 small studies
			
			
		
	 Above is an example of my work toward a cohesive portfolio. The three images on the bottom of 10" square studies which resulted in the final 35" x 35" art quilt.

Lesson learned: be a little less “green” and a little more savvy.

Until next time……

Margaret

 

Word of the year: NAP

From 1939 Life Magazine

From 1939 Life Magazine

Like many people who read blogs, I have been reading a slew of posts about the “New Years Resolution” . Many are a list of predictable goals healthy, stay active, lose 10 lbs, exercise, etc….

My favorite post is from Retire in Style

” How to completely change nothing”.

The writer in this post says  “I like my life so much that I am not going to mess with anything.”

Jimmy   I am not so settled into my new life that I can announce with confidence that; I am not in need of little change.

(My dog Jim is the only one I can say has reached this stage of development.)

Several blogs I follow have announced their

word of the year

 

The Blue Twig Studio word of the year is “Connect”.  I like the idea of focusing on a word the describes a an area of your life (or the life of your business) that you want to focus on in the coming year.

So I chose a word of the year that fits my current year of transition from work to retirement:

Nap!

 

 

sleep The definition of nap is to sleep during the day.

 

 

It has been many years (maybe since before I went to school) when I could chose to take a break during the day: to take time to sit and do nothing. Believe or not this is a big challenge for me.  I am not used to just taking a break.; in fact I feel guilty not doing something!

 

 

So this year I am going to nap. I am going to not do something. I am going to give my mind and my body a chance to rest during “working hours”. My goal is to reset my ingrained work clock and allow myself to embrace the art of not doing something.

photocredit: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/sun-worshipping-high-res-stock-photography/JL9654-001
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaedri/5773340067/

Reporting winter in the desert

I am writing this on New Years Eve after watching the local news from Las Vegas.

A view from my front door. December 31

A view from my front door. December 31

Here in our little town of Mesquite Nevada it is winter.

The weather report included a snow warning of “trace” amounts, while the traffic report showed street cameras with a few flakes in the air.  The TV anchors interviewed medical personnel about  hypothermia!

So how cold is it going to be? : A Low of 27 degrees.

To put this in perspective, my husband and I have just driven back from a Christmas week trip to Colorado. As we drove into Denver along I-70 we  hit a winter storm.

Heading home on I-70

Heading home on I-70

Luckily my husband is retired from Federal Express and has some serious skills when it comes to driving in poor weather conditions.  We made it, but it was not fun.

 Most of the week the temperatures during the day were below 20. Yesterday in Colorado it was 22 degrees BELOW zero!

The lesson in this experience  for me is:    Be aware of the larger world and grateful for every blessing.

Photo taken by Rachel Greiman

Photo taken by Rachel Greiman

I may be feeling cold here in the desert but I am not a homeless person in a Denver park and  I am not a single mother with young children in a drafty mobile home near the Wyoming border. I am not a person living off Social Security wondering if they will be able to pay the heating bill.

I have a warm and wonderful home that I share with the man I love. My children have grown into responsible and loving adults.

I am so lucky!

As a way to count my blessings I have donated to the Denver Rescue Mission this season.

How I became the Metaphysical Quilter

When I first started the Metaphysical Quilter I was trying very hard to be taken seriously. Take a look at my first post:

By definition, Metaphysics it the study of the first principles of being and knowing. Quilting is a process of creating a whole by assembling pieces.In combining the two I am describing the process I use to both create my art quilts and to explore my own true nature on my journey to being and knowing I am spiritually whole

Homeless Yoga (L)12 x (W) 8 My first real art quilt

As a newbie in the competitive art quilting community I wanted to create a unique brand. and started using the name Metaphysical Quilter in 2010. I came up with name to reflect two life changing areas of study that I was  immersed in at that time: fiber art and spirituality.

I became aware of art quilting after a trip to the gynecologist’s office. On the coffee table in the waiting room was a copy of “Quilting Arts” magazine. On the wall was a sewn mixed media art piece enclosed in plexiglass. I noticed the that it was made by my Doctor and when I got into see her I asked about her artwork. My Doctor wrote down the name of a Colorado quilt group called Front Range Contemporary Quilters (FRCQ).

Quilting Arts Magazine

Quilting Arts Magazine

Over the next two years I purchased a  serious sewing machine, took many traditional quilt classes ( to learn the craft) and ended up finding my way to a meeting of FRCQ where I was exposed to some of the most important art quilters in the world. It was life changing.

Rumis Two Step_1

Rumis Two Step, in the Dare to Dance Book

FRCQ was where I grew into a art quilter. Some of my quilts have hung in local and national shows. I even have a quilt in a book called “Dare to Dance” by Mary Kerr. I am currently the regional representative for SAQA.

My study of metaphysics happen about the same time as my exploration of art quilting. I was raised a Catholic, but was not satisfied with following simple process of going to Sunday Mass and getting communion as my spiritual practice. I wanted to find a more engaging community.

http://www.milehichurch.org/the-online-ministry A group of friends were  looking to find a church and asked me if I wanted to join their Sunday search. So for several months we would go to different churches. After the service we would head out to breakfast and have lively discussions about what we thought.

Along the way we went to a a service at a Religious Science community called Mile High Church in Lakewood Colorado. I loved the service and was even more interested in the large number of classes, lectures and learning opportunities they provided. One of the members of my group called the it the “feel good” church.

Symbol for Religious Science

Symbol for Religious Science

While some of those friends chose to join a mainline church; I decided to further explore Religious Science.

I attended services and took classes at Mile High for many years.  During that period of study, my understanding of the bible and of God’s presence in the  world deepened. While I now attend Catholic Mass in my little town of Mesquite Nevada, I have a much different view of the nature of formal religion in my life.

Since that time  much of my life has taken a completely different direction.

What remains is my commitment to living full and rich creative life.

Until the next time!

Margaret

ps. Happy New Year!