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1 : usu. cultivated land that is allowed to lie idle during the growing season
2 : the tilling of land without sowing it for a season
January is fallow season for me.
Fallow season is a traditional farming technique where crops are rotated on a regular basis. A field is left empty or sown with legumes (that add nitrogen from their growing). At the end of the year, the weeds are plowed under so that their nutrients can restore the richness of the soil. If a fallow period is not followed, the land is undernourished and overworked and it eventually gets exhausted, no longer able to produce healthy growth.
Rest periods are essential to all living things if you want future growth. If you think about it, we also go through life-cycles of planting, growth, tending, harvest, sharing and storage in our lives as well as our gardens.
What feels like a void or a nothingness after the busy-ness of the holidays at the end of the year is actually a time of replenishment to resurrect the fertility of our souls and spirits. I have found that this is the time that I might quietly plan (even planning without a plan) to shape or frame my whole year. It is when I pick a word to focus on (mine is GRATITUDE… what is yours?). A time to refresh and reboot the system. January is that blank piece of paper in an ongoing art journal that is my life and allows me to develop new styles, think new thoughts, experience new feelings and find new inspiration.
In September 2014, I left a random comment on the blog of an artist that I admire named Alisa Burke. She is a dynamite illustrator and artist and is one of the guest artists in the yearlong mixed media/art journal/soul searching class called LifeBook 2015. As such she was giving away a spot in the class for the price of a comment. My name was selected (woohoo!). What an incredible gift to start out the new year! (By the way… there is an amazing and encouraging online FB community with this class… think support from 3300+ souls around the world doing this together… not too late to sign up… join us! I know that I will be a LifeBook-er for life!)
I have always has a hard time swallowing the words “I am an artist” preferring to state that I just see the world through artistic lenses. But this class has opened my eyes to so many possibilities (not to mention art supplies that I apparently can’t live without!) and opened my heart to receive the gift of recognition: I am an artist. I am embracing that. And I have learned that if I don’t do art every day – polymer clay, jewelry, painting, artful wordsmithing (another class I am working on!), writing, teaching – then my life just doesn’t have meaning. So this year I have made a conscious effort to incorporate art into my life regularly and with wild abandon. To create art just for me. To discover my artistic voice. To see where this new artful experience takes me. Right now I am working on several pieces for a local art gallery exhibit as well as a fundraiser exhibit… and they are not even jewelry!
Here are a few of the pieces that I have created so far in the LifeBook 2015 class.
|My Beacon of Light
Mixed media: vintage maps, gesso, acrylic, ink, Neocolor crayons, glitter, beads
She is holding a sign stamped with my word of the year, a nest with two eggs (symbolizing my two children and my most requested Simple Truth ‘hope within’) and an acorn for amazing potential, and is wearing a necklace with a key, of course!
Would you believe that this was the first time I have ever drawn a face?! Tam LaPorte is an amazing teacher!
Creative – Inspiring – Meaning
Words that will follow me on a blog reboot this year.
|Courage, Dear Heart
Mixed media ballerina. Not excited about her form (looks like she has a hairy man chest), but a good lesson in letting go and this lead me to…….
The tight-rope ballerina that I plan to gift to my Tiny Dancer daughter for her 14th birthday this month.
Need to fix the word mess I made but a good quote to remember…
“If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.” ~ Geena Davis
|Art Feeds Your Soul
I love words, collect quotes, adore typography and have a deep love of color. How could I not love The Art of the Whimsical Lettering with Joanne Sharpe? Plus I discovered the power of the Tombow marker. What is not to love about high pigment markers that morph into watercolors?! My first attempt at making art from words rekindled a fire that I had as a teen with quotes and calligraphy. And now I am making these all the time! Squee!
So you might be wondering what all this art experimenting have to do with art beads?
Honestly, I was wondering that myself. 😉
Of course, you know that I love to incorporate words into my art beads. And color. But the mixed media part is what I am most excited about morphing into what I do. And letting these seeds that have fallen into my soul soil take root has been quite exciting. I don’t know where it will all lead, but I am giving it time and conditions to grow.
First, I played with making hollow beads, a la Orly. My first attempt was a fail (not the tutorial, which is great, just my sorry attempt). Just like the first stabs at making these mixed media experiments, I find that if I try to make a piece too much like the example that it doesn’t quite work. It feels, well, hollow (ha!). It lacks authenticity. I need to let the seeds of inspiration take hold and nurture my own growth on a technique, water it with my own magic potion. So I made the beads smaller than what she suggested. But what else? I wanted them to have layers of color, so I had to find a different way.
Next, I found the tutorial about the torn watercolor paper look in clay. Aha! I have been tearing paper as the underlayment for my mixed media for the past month so this really resonated with me. (You know what is the coolest paper for mixed media? The inside of security envelopes! Totally awesome textures and colors! Also old dress patterns for sheer vintage-y goodness. See if you can spot them in my work above.) My first attempts at this technique resulted in flat swaths of fractured color (and these are not on the hollow beads, so when I tried to make holes I ruined a whole bowl of them with cracks near one hole. Doh!). While I liked the look, they didn’t really captivate me. They lacked depth.
Finally, I opened up the Surface Embellished Bangles tutorial that I had purchased late last year from CraftArtEdu. I don’t often make bangles, so this was more an exercise in the creative process (and the bangle I made feels quite clunky to me… maybe if there were a tin foil core to keep the weight down? Hmmmm….might have to try again.) But the way in which the textures, colors, patterns and inclusions were created was revelatory to me and totally felt like a mixed media piece of art. Now THIS is something that resonated with me!
So taking all three of those tutorials, I let these three seeds take root in me and grow into something that felt more authentically me… and in letting them grow I came up with two new designs that I will have for sale in my shop…
First hollow round focal beads that I call Fissure Beads that are on their way to the Simple Truth Sampler Club members for January (albeit a tad bit late with all my experimenting…Hope it will be worth it!)
…and why not some hearts just in time for Valentine’s Day? Everyone’s heart has broken pieces and jagged edges. But one day there will be someone who will come along and hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick back together and be stronger. I call these Mended Hearts. They can be made in any variety of colors. And each one is completely unique. I have just as much fun making the fractured pieces as I do the finished product!
So. There you have it. I am sowing all sorts of colorful seeds in my studio ready to grow into big beautiful art and I hope you are doing the same!
One skinny Mended Heart pendant in your choice of colors and metal
One Artfully Worded quote of your choice.
You provide the quote, I will illustrate and send to you, suitable for framing.