Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Moving + Consolidating

I've been blogging in two places for nearly two years now, but from now on I'll just be posting at amyhoodarts.com. When I began blogging here it felt very important to have a separate place to talk about my own creative pursuits, and I'm glad I created that for myself. But lately there is so much overlap in what inspires me and how I hope to inspire others that splitting focus is getting difficult. I also want the flexibility of a self-hosted site. So I took the plunge, and I hope you'll follow me there. This blog will remain here for now; I'm pretty sure trying to import two separate blogs into one site is more techy stuff than I can handle. However, I will slowly be moving over the tutorials.

I know not everybody who visits here, though, is interested in the creative interests I pursue with my kids, so I've set it up (in a hacked way, I'm sure, but the best I could do) so you can subscribe to just what interests you. If you only want to read about what I'm up to with my own artistic projects, type the following into your feed reader: http://amyhoodarts.com/tag/mamablog/feed

Either way, I do hope I see you over there. And thank you so much for visiting my space here over the past two years.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Making And Listening (And Thinking And Planning)

Dawn at Simple Things Notebook has started a new weekly post, Make & Listen Along. I made a note to myself that I wanted to join in, but somehow Thursday got here before I knew it. However, I snapped this photo today.

I carved the stamp one night this past week, while listening (more than watching) an episode of Merlin on Netflix. Definitely more listening than watching, because I take my glasses off to carve stamps because my close vision is much better that way. Today I stamped it on a piece of linen using screenprinting ink. I have plans for that linen--last week I also cut out several fabric pieces for some prototypes of ideas I have, using the materials I have on hand.

As for music, I usually have Pandora playing over the TV, often a mix of stations, but in the morning I keep it on the 80s alternative station. It helps get me moving, especially on days (like today) when I've been awake since 4:30--not by choice. Darn body and mind, they don't always cooperate with sleep. It's still (always) one thing after another here...small things, most of them, but cumulatively wearying. The latest is my 8yo's diagnosis of asthma, which truly isn't surprising, but is still a little overwhelming at this moment. (It'll get less so.) My 11yo is scheduled to get his adenoids out tomorrow. My husband leaves again in two weeks. No wonder I have trouble sleeping. And it always seems nearly impossible to get out from under all of it and make any sort of plans for myself. But I am. I've already made a tangible start. I'll tell you about it soon, I hope.

Also, I think I need to get a CD player for the studio area, or at least play Pandora over my phone. There's no music down there! And I do love to listen to music while I work.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Walking the Path

My husband left last Friday and doesn't return until Monday. He'll be home for less than three weeks, during which time my oldest is scheduled to get his adenoids out, unless he catches the germ his younger siblings have right now, in which case we'll have to reschedule, except having already taken him directly to the ER with younger siblings in tow after a so-called simple tooth extraction while my husband was away last summer, I don't want to have this surgery done unless both parents are actually in the country. This year is looking remarkably like last year in a lot of ways: kid surgery (which was, indeed, rescheduled last year because of illness), husband travel...I am working on walking the path with grace, however. And I really do mean working on it.

I have, shall we say, tangled feelings regarding all this travel. I would not choose to carry so much of the home-life responsibilities by myself, but I wasn't given a choice. I wasn't consulted at all; I may have elected to do things differently, way back when, had I known the travel would grow and grow and grow, no end in sight. It's not that I'm not capable; I'm extremely capable. And it's not that I shy away from difficult things; I have always been a hard worker, willing to do what needs to be done. It's that I feel powerless. I think that in any difficult circumstance, the difficulty is compounded when we feel helpless or powerless. I didn't choose this. I don't want this. It doesn't matter.

I'm working on it.

Meanwhile, I wrote myself a colorful list of things I want to make/do/research while he's away. I'm chipping away at that list slowly. Here is some of what I've accomplished--and all photos are dimly lit photos taken by my phone, so I can tweet them. But you get the idea, well-lit or not.

This stamp was inspired by Egyptian faience, specifically this hippo. This second stamp is also thanks to the hippo:

I have a couple more stamps I want to carve, too. And I have some turquoise fabric. And I have some ideas of combining them...

And just as I painted rocks for the kids for Valentine's Day, I decided to paint wooden eggs for them for their Easter baskets. This is my daughter's, in progress.

I just...you know, some of the lines aren't perfect--I probably should have used a Sharpie rather than paint for the black outlines--but I just get a kick out of this every time I look at it. I plan to use the same shiny-making acrylic varnish on the eggs that I use on the rocks to seal it all up. I think she is going to LOVE it. I'm hoping to paint Yoda and Darth Vader for my boys' Easter baskets.

I also have "knit two sleeves" on that to-do list, and I haven't started them. I have six more days on this trip. Think I can do it??

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Green Postcards

Karen's latest monochromatic postcard swap is focusing on the color green. Last night, I carved a stamp inspired by the painted silk scarf at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. (I talk about the scarf in the last post.) I decided I wanted the print to be the outlines of the drawing, to most closely resemble the print on the scarf. This, or course, was the most laborious decision I could have made as far as carving the stamp goes. Whatever. That's what I wanted.

It took about two hours to carve the stamp, and towards the end I was getting a little lost...I just kept my eyes on the pencil lines on the carving block and trusted those to be my guide. I am utterly delighted with the finished stamp.

Here's a finished postcard--I made four in the series. (I even numbered them.)

On the back, I explained the inspiration for the print. These are, as my 8yo pointed out, much simpler than my previous postcards (blue and yellow). The background is green watercolor, left to dry with some plastic wrap on top to create some texture. The stamp is printed in dark green acrylic, and I painted the border.

It's not just the finished cards that please me, or the stamp, although I really do love it all. It's that this is a direct result of getting to visit an art museum on Monday. I was inspired, and that is such a good feeling.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Day in Boston

My husband is gone 25% of the time from February through mid-May. Shortly after he returned home from February's trip, I learned the Embroidery + Embellishment class I'd registered for at the RI School of Design was cancelled. I was feeling sort of...desperate is a good word, desperate for something of my own in the midst of all this hard work of keeping everything running smoothly with no help during all this travel of his, and I asked for a day before the next trip arrived. I wanted a day during which I was responsible for nobody's needs or wants save my own--no school work, no home work, no lunches or dinner. He checked his calendar and came up with some options and yesterday, I took the commuter train to Boston to visit the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, my objective being to sit somewhere beautiful for a while with no responsibilities.

Absolutely no photography is allowed within the confines of the museum, not even without flash, not even in the gift shop, so I have no pictures of the museum itself to share with you. It's an interesting place, though, because its items are from the collection of Mrs. Gardner; she also had the museum built and arranged her collections the way she saw fit, and then stipulated that nothing could ever be changed. It is a collection frozen in time--and this is why, after the shocking (still unsolved) theft in 1990 of several works, the empty frames remain hanging on the wall. The rooms can seem overwhelming; on the other hand, small delights are found everywhere. And in the center of it all is a courtyard, the place I remember most from my last visit to the Gardner, in my early 20s. It's warm, even in winter. Fountains trickle, green things grow, there are places to sit upon and just be somewhere beautiful, with no responsibilities at all.

I sat on a ledge and sketched. (I increased contrast on this photo since my pencil lines were so light; only pencils are allowed in the museum.)

I took my time wandering the rooms, looking at what I wanted to, not having to deal with anybody else's hunger or need for a bathroom or boredom. In the tapestry room I was drawn to this small silk scarf. The room is enormous, with huge tapestries everywhere, but I ended up kneeling before this small bit of silk, trying to sketch the tree motif.

(Even with increasing the contrast, that sketch is still hard to see.)

I was able to take my time in the gift store, too. I was hoping to find some postcards with images of lace from the lace cases--yes, cases of lace collected by Mrs. Gardner. How I wish I could have taken some pictures. The lace was gorgeous. You can get just a glimpse of the cases at this link. But the store is only about a year old and they haven't added any lace images yet--although I hope they do. However, the store is one of those gift shops that feels curated itself, a collection of carefully chosen items. It was lovely to browse for as long as I wanted. I bought a few things, too.

The card shows one of the stolen paintings, Chez Tortoni by Manet. The book, oh my, the book. It's just filled with images like this:

And this:

I want to embroider them. To my eyes--my biology-loving, ocean-loving, art-loving eyes--this is a book of embroidery patterns. This book had to come home with me. Of course!

I had some time before the train home, so I sat in the museum cafe and ordered the only appetizing-sounding gluten-free item I could find, a shockingly expensive bowl of mixed baby greens. But they made up for that by having really good coffee and a flourless gluten-free chocolate cake, and I ate it all, every last bit, except for the raspberries, because I do not like raspberries, but I do like flourless chocolate cake with chocolate sauce and a bit of whipped cream, and I don't mind sitting by myself in a cafe, reading a book and drinking coffee.

When most of your time and head space is given over to thinking and doing for everybody but yourself, a day alone is so, so necessary. I have requested, if possible, a day to myself in between all his business trips. I'll start dreaming about where I'd like to go after he's back from Thailand and before he leaves for Belgium...

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I feel I've been neglecting this space! My ongoing crafty project, though, isn't too interesting to blog about. I'm still working on my sweater--I'm ready to begin the bottom ribbing.

Beyond that, I've been taking Diane's e-book class (highly recommended, if you're interested at all in that sort of thing), planning a map-making/sense of place class for ages 6-9 for our spring session of homeschool co-op, and working on a new series at my other blog, aimed at encouraging and mentoring adults to create a family art habit. It's called Art Together, and I'm pretty excited about it.

Actually, I'm excited about all of those things. I'm less than excited about all the international travel my husband has coming up; he's leaving for Thailand at the end of this week. I managed to schedule a day for myself before he leaves again though. I'll be back later this week to report on it.

Happy March, y'all.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Things Finished, Things Begun

Remember I said I had a Blizzard List? I really wanted to finish my son's sweater.

This is a case of not letting Perfection get in the way of Done. I'm not quite so happy with the center garter stitch at the neck opening. The last time I knit him this sweater, I did seed stitch there. The pattern calls for garter, but I like the seed stitch better. Too late now though, although at some point I am probably going to snag it back from him so I can try to neaten up the bottom of that panel, at least. Otherwise, this is a comfy sweater with room to grow. It's his second Wallaby, as the first was really getting too small. I used the same yarn, Spud and Chloe Sweater, and again, he picked the colors. As he said, the first one (which is two shades of blue) is a cool sweater, and this is a warm, fiery sweater. (This is the kid who identifies strongly with colors.) Details on Ravelry here.

I also wanted to finish my little embroidered trees for hanging. I knew I wanted to incorporate the selvedge, and I decided to stitch it to a backing, ready for hanging, rather than try to frame it somehow. This is what it looks like from the front.

The backing is red wool burel. I sewed on loops on the back for the dowel to slide through:

...and I'd hang it by balancing the dowel on a nail on each side. I'm running out of places to hang my stitching, though, which makes me think maybe it's time to try to start selling it? (I gave the birch trees, by the way, to my sister for her birthday. I'm a pretty awesome sister.)

Finishing my son's sweater means I could finally start mine. This is a dodgy photo I took this morning with my cell phone.

I'm making Tang, from Custom Knits, but without the turtleneck, because post-having-children, turtlenecks make me feel like I can't breathe, even though I used to wear them all the time and am still a very chilly person. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy, a total splurge, but it's so nice.

And finishing the hanging method/backing for the little trees means I can start on the next embroidery project, but all I've done thus far is transfer my drawing to the fabric. Oftentimes the first stitch of an embroidery piece is the absolute hardest for me, because, I think, embroidery is so very important to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ready For Valentine's

I lost all momentum for Christmas stuff, but I'm down with Valentine's Day. I hung the banner we made last year:

All the snow out there with sunlight bouncing off it made for a very bright background.

I also made painted rocks for the kids. A couple of years ago I gave them each a rock with a heart mod-podged onto it, and my youngest peeled hers off. This year she informed me that she needed a rock with a permanent, painted heart on it. Our supply of good painting rocks is running low, especially since she went through a heavy period of rock-painting earlier this autumn. But I managed to find three.

So sweet!

We also have a tradition, in this family, of giving the kids books for Valentine's Day. I accidentally started it, and one year when I didn't give the boys books--I knit them treasure pouches with a knit heart inside--my oldest looked stricken. "But we always get books for Valentine's!" Books it is.

My four-year-old loves all the Ladybug Girl books, so when I saw Bumblebee Boy (which we've had out of the library) on sale locally for half off, I picked it up for her. My eight-year-old likes origami and Star Wars and all those Star Wars origami books, and my oldest has had my little laminated tracking guide outside while we wait for the bus in the mornings so he can try to figure out who visited the snowy yard overnight. I figured a more complete guide would be welcome.

And finally, I didn't forget myself, either. My husband is away this week--we're starting a heavy travel period with one trip each of the next four months, this one being the only one that's not international (and thus the shortest of the four). I'm sort of head down about the travel, looking no farther than the week I'm in, because stacking trips like this--oh, they are hard, and it just gets harder as they pile up. But this week's trip is over Valentine's, and I'm by myself, and truth be told even if he were here I'd probably only get a card anyway, and I wanted something else, something special, and realized the only way that would happen is if I got it myself.

So I did. Two pairs of earrings, because I couldn't decide between the two, and yes, I had them wrapped, because I'm worth the pretty packaging.

How about you? Are you ready for Valentine's Day?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yellow Postcards

When I realized on Thursday that we'd be spending the next several days at home, I made a list of Things To Get Done During This Storm. I've been using the sticky note program on my laptop, and that sticky note is gone--I did everything on my list. That means I have some things to blog this week, starting with these sunny yellow postcards for Karen's Yellow Postcard Swap. What better color to work with as the howling winds covered everything with snow?

I call these first two my lemon ladies.

I thought about adding some text but then decided to let the recipient--and you all--fill in your own ideas. Are these women making lemonade from lemons? Are they making some snide sarcastic remark about the idea of turning lemons into lemonade? I couldn't make up my mind. What do you think?

These next two have a print of my sunny compass rose.

I made these the same way I made the blue ones--I gathered a pile of papers in the chosen color, made a larger collage/paint background, and then made the final compositions once I'd cut the larger sheet into four pieces.

Here's to sunny days ahead!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


The last big blizzard around here was in 1978; I was the same age my daughter is now. I wonder what she'll remember of this? I remember my mother didn't want to let me outside because the drifts against the house were much taller than I was. I remember she put milk in the snow on the deck to keep it cold; we'd lost power, but we still had heat and the stove, which were powered by gas, and plumbing, which was hooked up to the town system. In my current house, losing power means losing heat (oil with an electric starter), water (well with an electric pump), and the septic system (a fancy-schmancy required-by-law system that uses electric pumps). I also remember that my father, who'd been traveling on business, was stranded in Canada. My husband is scheduled to fly out on business on Monday. I'm grateful that trip wasn't this week, or this storm didn't come next week.

How much snow? I took this photo first thing this morning.

22 inches. All at once, that is quite a bit of snow. I only managed a narrow path on the walk and up the stairs.

And this...under here somewhere is my husband's car.

It took a ridiculously long time to first, get to it, and second, unbury it.

I had to make sure I waded through the snow to refill the bird feeder, too. It's back behind that cage of snowy branches--branches that were, until yesterday, much higher up. The snow is heavy and wet and weighing down the trees.

Speaking of trees, we have four juniper bushes that go across the edge of the yard. They're under here somewhere.

You can sort of see one all the way to the right. But not really. Just trust me, they're there.

I wanted to share some pictures because I know for some people, this sort of snow is unimaginable! We've had snow-filled winters before, but getting it all at once like this is certainly not the usual--although clearly, it's not a once-in-a-lifetime event, either. I hope the power stays on (after Sandy they shut it off while making repairs elsewhere) and they restore it quickly to the thousands of people who have no heat--a situation that could quickly become dangerous. If you are in the northeast, I hope you're warm, safe, and home with your family.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Some Links For You

'Tis almost heart season
Things have been a bit sludgy around here, so in lieu of showing anything I've been doing (with the exception of those Valentines-in-progress over there), I'm sharing some links.

I love love love National Poetry Month, and the form is now up to request this year's poster. It is absolutely gorgeous, too, and includes a line from Letters to a Young Poet. The Poets.org site is always worth a browse. So much good stuff there. So much poetry. Ahhhh.

I'm been teaching a class to 5-8-year-olds on animal classification, and I've been sharing my plans on my other blog. Mammals and Fish are in one post here, and Birds will be up sometime this weekend (hopefully). We covered birds today, and it went really well.

Karen has posted several new mail art swaps recently. You can see them all at the Mail Me Some Art blog. I am going to aim for participating in the yellow postcard swap, but I have to paint some heart rocks before I do anything else, because I was informed a while ago (by the 4yo) that painted heart rocks were expected on Valentine's Day, so.

Lastly, here are a couple of cute Valentine's projects from last year: the patterned paper bag heart banner my kids and I made, and the lickety-split heart napkins (using freezer paper stencils on cloth napkins) that brightened their lunchbox lunches.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grown-Up Projects

I'm guessing if you don't have kids you may never have visited Lori Pickert's Camp Creek Blog. Or maybe you have kids but you're not homeschooling, so you've never landed there. But no--you need to visit. I'm biased, sure. I like Lori a lot, and I like her book, and I'm using her guidelines and practices with my own children. But now she's begun a series of posts for adults, and I think it's such important reading. Lori feels we all deserve to have the sort of life that some of us are trying to create for our children--one where time is spent pursuing interests and passions--a whole life, I would say. And--and I appreciate this very much--she is not writing lovely-sounding things and leaving the reader to send wishes up to the universe. She's got some concrete steps we can all take. I look forward to Monday mornings because that's when she posts her project posts for grown-ups. And she is saying things I already believe in.

How can you learn to use the time you have? (And you do have time.)

What does your space say about you? Do you need to change it so it reflects the kind of work you want to do?

What kind of negative self-talk do you  have going on? Stop it, already.

These things resonate with me. When I'm on my game, I can get quite a lot of my own work accomplished in the nooks and crannies of my day--because otherwise, it won't get done. I don't care if you stay home with kids or have a full-time job out of the house, it takes mountain-moving to get a hour or two chunk of time in which to focus on your own projects. So you squeeze it in. You learn to work in small increments. Every time I see the advice to leave a first draft (writing, or painting, anything, really) and come back to it with fresh eyes I just laugh, because I am always walking away from a work in progress to attend to somebody's needs. I always have fresh eyes. Lucky me, right?

And my house? My house is...cluttered would be a nice way of describing it. This is a picture of my chair, the one that is so clearly marked as my territory that guests rarely try to sit in it.

My knitting is sitting right there waiting for me. If I have a few minutes, I can knit a bit. If I have an embroidery project going, it's usually on the footstool. The binders on the bins to the left are full of printed-out knitting and sewing patterns. Most of my pattern and reference books are downstairs, but the ones I'm using for the current project are piled up next to the chair. My sketchbook is there, too, along with a zippered pouch of sketching pencils. So if I want to sit down in the evening and work out some ideas, I don't have to go far. The basic supplies are right there. It looks pretty messy. But it works for me. (When company comes I've been known to pick up all the piles and just dump them behind a closed bedroom door for a few hours.)

Projects or fabric-in-waiting is often sitting out on the ironing board. Goodness knows I don't use it for anything else when I'm not sewing. (My husband moves my piles when he irons his shirts.)

These two embroidery pieces are waiting for their respective display solutions. I need to get on that.

Downstairs is also where our art area is. Everything I need is within reach. If I--or the kids--wants to start a project, materials are gathered within minutes. We are so well stocked--I feel so fortunate there.

Ahem. That's just some of the storage down there. It's not very...tidy. It's so accessible though!

In the comments of the third post (which is about getting out of your own way) I admitted my personal big negative self-talk hurdle: "If my passion/interest/project isn't earning any income, it's not worth the investment of money or time taken from the family." This is something I deal with as the at-home non-wage-earning parent. It's completely self-generated. I don't hear it from anyone but myself. But always, in the back of my mind, is the constant circular mumble: Is there a way to make money from this but I don't want to figure out an at-home business it would kill my joy I don't have time for that I'm working quite a bit as it is but why take a class just for fun it doesn't benefit anyone but me that's so selfish is there a way to make money from this?

I could probably benefit from the extra brain space I'd free up if I could silence that inner voice completely.

So. No big words of wisdom here. I'm still working this out. I show up on Mondays and read the posts and get reminded that I don't have to have it worked out, that having my own interests, passions, and joys is necessary for a well-lived life, not to mention it sets a good example for my kids. This is how I've always tried to be. I've always had interests and creative pursuits; I've never stopped learning. But there are periods when I don't work at it as hard, often when life is feeling its hardest--which, of course, is when I need these things that feed my soul the most. So this series of posts is serving as an excellent reminder to continue to value what I need, all the time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stitched: Little Trees

The year's second embroidery--a trio of small colorful trees.

We have a storybook that illustrates trees in almost a childlike way, with round circles at the end of stick-like branches. It's so unlike the way I draw trees, and they look awkward at first glance (and second and third, really), but they kept catching my eye. So I drew some in a similar style and transferred them to the fabric.

I'm not exactly sure how I'll finish these for display, but I know it will involve showing that selvedge edge somehow.

I'm quite fond of that selvedge edge, with its red stripe. I'm thinking the fabric needs to be sewn onto something sturdy and acid-free--heavier than cardstock, but not so heavy I can't sew through it. As for the year's first embroidery, my 8yo feels it would be best displayed in a hoop. I think he's right, so I need to get a wooden hoop and finish it off.

Embroidery makes me happy, and it's really all about the doing of it. If I don't force myself to figure out the display bit right away, I'll end up with piles of stitched images lying around, abandoned. I like what I stitch, very much; don't misunderstand. But once I'm done stitching it, it doesn't interest me quite as much anymore. I just want to get back to pulling floss through fabric, stitch after soothing stitch. However, I'm supposed to be knitting my son a sweater. If there's embroidery about, I tend to ignore the knitting. So.

But you can bet I'm planning the next embroidery piece in my head, while I'm working those knitting needles...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Blue in the Mail

These are finally on their way to Karen for the Mail Me Some Art Blue Postcard Swap. I've been meaning to join one of her swaps since she began them. It took me a while...on the plus side, I am so pleased with these four cards. They were fun to make, and I think I've improved quite a bit since my first postcard swap. The "rule" for this swap, as you might have guessed, was to use blue. A bit of contrast is okay, but mainly, we're looking at blue. Why blue? Karen also lives in New England. Have you visited New England in January? It can lend itself to the blues, if you catch my meaning. So.

These four began as one 9x12" sheet of Bristol board, collaged and painted. Then I sliced it into four pieces and added more collage pieces individually. Here's the first:

 I added the circles of text and the ghostly image on the right-hand side. It's a cut-out ghost sunprint of a skate egg case, but it kind of reminds me of someone with their hands over their head.

To this second one, I just added some washi tape, a strip of text painted blue, and a blue circle sticker. One of my kids was given a game for Christmas that had stickers that needed to be applied, and there was lots of leftover background sticker on the sheet, so I saved it to cut shapes out of.

I really like this third one. Those are more sunprints, cut out and glued on.

And the final one has this little girl in a blue-checked dress, cut out from a vintage sewing pattern envelope.

I really like beginning with something larger and then cutting it down, because I enjoy the found compositions in the smaller pieces. They each become their own little world that I can work into in various ways.

The swap is open for another week, if you're interested in joining in--the postmark day is January 21.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

List-It Tuesday: What's New?

I've been absent from List-It Tuesday for a while! This week the topic meshes so well with my wanting to share the exciting things coming up for me in this new year.

Just a quickly written list...here are the details.

Learning: I signed up for a one-day professional development workshop at the Eric Carle Museum, and I really hope it runs, as they haven't met minimum enrollment yet. It's called Beyond Books: Art Inspired by Eric Carle, and we'll be painting lots of stuff, which sounds good to me. I also signed up for a six-week continuing ed class at the Rhode Island School of Design--Embroidery + Embellishment. I haven't even attempted a night class since having kids. Providence is a 45-minute drive, the class itself is three hours long...but the draw of being in a class where embroidery is considered a valid fine art medium is just too good to pass up. And finally, I'm in Diane's e-book course. It's just a thing I've been thinking about for so long I decided it's time to find out a little more.

Teaching: I'm leading two classes at our winter session of co-op, which is slightly shorter than fall and spring. My printmaking workshop is full (full!) with a dozen kids, and I'm excited and also a little wary, truth be told. I've planned a possibly ambitious schedule of process-based exploration. I hope we can fit it all in without destroying the room. I'm also teaching a class on vertebrate classification--early elementary, so pretty basic, but I've gathered some good stuff together. (I don't use curriculum, generally. I'm a gather-and-be-flexible kind of instructor.)

Sharing: I began the new year at my other blog with a three-part series (one, two, three) on the importance of process over product art for kids, but it's just as relevant to adults, too. I'm pretty passionate on this topic, actually. I also hope to share the details of the five-part printmaking workshop as well as the adorable little animal classification booklet I put together for the co-op class, once I figure out how wordpress hosts documents.

More lists can be found over at Artsyville here! What's new with you?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stitched: Labyrinth

Hello again! It's only been a couple weeks since solstice but already the lengthening day light is noticeable. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but I also feel the return of energy, ideas, enthusiasm. I have much going on to start the year, but I will get to that in another post. First I want to share my first embroidery of 2013. When I looked back on last year, I realized that energy spent on planning and stitching in thread was a good use of energy, indeed. I want to place more focus there. Since it's been a while, I decided to start with something small.

A labyrinth is not a maze; it contains no decision points. One path in, one path out. 2012 was hard, and I didn't have a choice about most of it. There was no, "Shall I take this path, or that one?" Most of the year was just the one path, and at times it felt rather thickety and brambly. Many days, I walked that path with grace. And many days, I did not.

So I stitched myself a labyrinth, this first week of a new year, to remind myself that even when I don't have a choice of which path to walk, to walk the path with grace and mindfulness nonetheless. And I share it with you. As our planet continues on its annual path--bringing those of us in the northern hemisphere incrementally more sunlight as it goes--we have another year to traverse. Our own path to follow, and while we don't always get to choose which path, we always get to choose how we walk it.

Welcome. Welcome to 2013. Step in, and step mindfully.