A Need for Slowness

November 15, 2014 in Ginger Small, In the Garden, Inspiration, Oil Painting, picture books, sketchbook, sketches

azalea

It’s a gloriously frosty morning down here in this Springvalley of ours.

frost

The cold seems to have settled in for the season and it all feels a bit early, though I suppose it is November.  This week I dug out the heated waterer for the girls so they have access to unfrozen water, and we are back to our morning ‘oatmealworm’ breakfasts to keep them warm, fed and with enough salt in their little systems.  chicksThis time of year always puts me in a bit of a hibernatory place, in spite of  our culture’s Countdown to Christmas mentality.  I find myself drawn to slower pursuits and am inspired by others seeking the same in their worlds.  Since it has been a little while since I have checked in here at my online home, I figured I’d share a a few things I’ve come across which consider a slower world-view, as well as a couple of updates in studio news.  

Brew a cup of tea, or pour a wee dram of something else to warm you…..

The title for this particular post came from a quote from the above video.  “What we have is a need for slowness.”  I couldn’t agree more.  This couple and their enchanting caravan lifestyle came across my path via the interweb-wanderings and sharings from a couple of artist/writer/performer types upon whom I have recently been keeping a close watch.

Rima Staines and Tom Hirons have crafted a world full of magic and old-world style mystery with their art work, poetry, puppetry and beyond and they are fixin’ to take it on the road.  To live a simpler life in general and to share their artful wares and wonders with folks farther afield than their current home in Devon, England.

Tom and Rima created their crowdfunding video with the help of their uber-creative community of fellow artists.  Their project harkens to a world just outside of the reach of modernity, at the edges of our imagination and land of dreaming.  Hence, their new collaboration has the perfect title, Hedgespoken.  I have made it a point to share their project here and there on my own tendrils of social media because I really believe in what they are doing.  I grew up on the move myself (which is a story for another time and a longer burning fire) and have vivid and beautiful memories of time spent in my grans’ airstream trailer each summer.  Nothing fancy or romantic really, but for me, it was life shaping.

grans

People like Tom and Rima are quietly rebelling against the things that rush our world into the Land of Too Much (be it stuff, to-do lists, etc.) Their theater and home on wheels could possibly slow things down a bit for just a few people along their path, and remind us of the magic to be found in all things, if we but take the time to listen and look more closely.  Hedgespoken is in it’s home stretch of fundraising and I wish them a firm breeze at their backs as they sail on home to port with it.  If you believe in this particular brand of magic, head on over and toss a few coins into their hat.  You’ll be glad you did, as their blogs (here, here, and here) are chock full of fascinating and shadowy paths down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Another delightful bit of sweetness that has come across my path this last week is an interview of a quiet gardener in Ireland named Eimear Moran.  I found her thoughts on finding beauty and synchronicity and yes, the Divine in her own humble back yard to be truly inspiring.  She is another quiet rebel walking the path of slowing down and waking up to things that are in our reach in the day to day.  If, again, we but take the time to listen.

Eimear’s book is nearly available and I look forward to getting my hands on it.  In the meantime, you can keep up with her daily garden thoughts and meanderings at her page on the Book of Faces (I have Rima to thank for coining that lovely phrase.)

With all of these beauty-full beacons to light my own path, I am truly sinking into the season here myself.  My own small crowd-funding project to shore up my residency plans this January in Taos, NM is going well.  I too have a few more weeks to get to my goal and am so grateful for all the support thus far.  Ginger Small and her adventures have gotten the bulk of the attention lately as she is really the sparkly one of the bunch.  But there are also sheep and rabbits coming along with me on this trip.

Mona Lisa 1

Cards are being made of a number of these images, should you be interested in counting a few sheep….foggy sheep sun on foggy sheep

Or channeling your inner rabbit….bunnies

 

bunny 2

I am having great fun with all of them with thanks especially to my friend Vanessa Sorensen at Nessy Designs. She recently gave me a few pointers in photoshop which has helped me turn some of the mere sketches in my journal into things I can work with in print.  Vanessa and I get together occasionally to sketch and sometimes even to collaborate on a craft project.  The most recent of which is this little wonder of fashion…..

Piqn1t1cZVfv19z2_91kydonKVITYqG3KmTPpVslURc

Part of this notion of slowing down in my life includes activities like knitting, embroidery, printing my own clothes.  Vanessa’s cicada print, my years old skirt and a bit of embroidery to bug out the eyes makes for a wonderful one-of-a-kind fun thing to wear.  And to top it all off, it meant an afternoon spent with a fellow artist, sipping tea and sharing bits of things that had set our minds to wander and our hearts to sing lately.  That is the true gift.  Time Well Spent.

46i7xA_WxwohYaBa5ZDscc7huV-Tl0_JOlXySZ2yKf4SVou0iDfyeXQSWc62ztj8a8_y6upMnMC6tiTMJ1lRokV87f_TLRTTE5f7cHYXv-LzLDbVB7mL5YPiPAXHgtcnw

 

Speaking of bits of embroidery…..

Bogard_Leviathan_1Leviathan will be on display at the Kennedy Heights Art Center’s upcoming show Imagine, featuring members of the KHAC’s Artist’s Collective.  The show opens November 22.  If you are local here in the Ohio River Valley, do stop by and see us.  Some of my recent skull studies will also be up for grabs…..

unnamed skull study oil 1

What do you do to stem the flow of time?  How do you bring a desired slowness to your everyday?  I’d love your thoughts and links to others who might be in this same camp of Time outside of Time.

Related posts:

Ginger’s winter preparations… a new post card from Ginger Small

October 29, 2014 in character building, children's literature, felt animal, felted, Ginger Small, hamster, hamster adventure, kid books, picture books, sketchbook, storyline, whimsy

photo-1

It is autumn time and despite some sneaky warmth in the weather, Ginger and her friends know that winter cannot be far on the heels of fall.

And so, between jumping into leaf piles, gathering pumpkin seeds, and building winter-worthy nests, Ginger has made some new friends in the forest and they have swapped preparatory skills.  The field mice, experts in softening up a home with fresh mosses and mushrooms show Ginger around the darker sides of the forest.  Squirrels, the quintessential gatherers, share that putting up food for a winter pantry is as simple as gathering nuts and canning berries.  Simple things, when the work is shared among friends.

In return, Ginger teaches her woodland friends how to knit eensy sweaters to keep the drafts at bay and how to brew a proper pot of tea, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 1-1

photo 2-1

Ginger loves to make new friends, and to keep up with her old friends via the post.  She is excited to send postcards to all of her dear ones when she is traveling later this season, ready to get to work on her memoir.

If you are interested in hearing more from Ginger Small, just look here, here and here.  Til, then, do stay warm, and keep a proper cup of tea on hand.

 

Related posts:

Project Leviathan

October 20, 2014 in Fine Art/ Studio work

“If we want to create art, we have to stitch together the inner world and the outer world.” ~RobertBly

With all of the usual autumnal preparations in full swing, combined with fundraising and setting things in order for my residency, I haven’t had as much time to sit down and make art as I might like to.  There are paintings I’ve been meaning to make for an upcoming group show at the Kennedy Heights Art Center but I may not get to them in time.  Instead I managed to put the finishing stitches on the Leviathan project I have had going for some time now.  She turned out beautifully, as an embroidery project at least.  I am not quite sure where her future lies.  Will she eventually find her way onto a more finished quilt like my wolf did a few years back?  Or is she merely enough as she is in her moody blue  drapy-ness.  I do not know.  I suppose she will at least find her way into a proper display set up for the Kennedy show, and possibly for an online show as well, should they invite her…..

Bogard_Leviathan_1I love the art of embroidering.  It is much like painting and drawing, stitch by stitch by stitch, and in that way is meditative and lovely as an activity.  Yet it can also be a painstaking and excruciatingly slow process with which to make art.  That said, almost the minute I complete one embroidery project, I am instantly considering and conjuring the next.  And so eventually, I begin again.  With an idea of an image I may want to spend years with.1898189_10153780870350048_721167188_nI don’t know how the finished project will look when I begin.  I never do.  This is the same with paintings as well.  I just consider my materials…..1922105_10153780207655048_914064522_nand stitch……1795597_10154422136285048_5971372013822465434_nThis project was rather large in scope, the finished whale being about 4′ x 2′ in size.  Perhaps my next project will be a bit smaller…..484891_10153818732570048_1197715817_n

1618532_10153797970915048_1623107545_nIt is so nice to discover the landscape of a creature with my stitches.  And every session of stitching brings with it my own moods and feelings to it, and so there are a variety of marks made over time.Bogard_Leviathan_2While I am prepared to focus on my illustration work this winter to get my book ideas ready for the world, I will likely still spend my evenings under a lamp with some new shades of thread from the craft store, a few rightly sized needles and a nice piece of fabric.  These projects calm my spirit which often runs rampant, hither, thither and yon like a squirrel.  I am thankful for this calm work which sits with me over time.  We shall see which creature decides to come nestle into my embroidery basket in the coming months.  Hawks and Foxes have been loitering around… perhaps I can tame one of them to sit with me for spell…..Bogard_Leviathan_1

Related posts:

A Golden Opportunity and a Call to Action

October 14, 2014 in character building, children's literature, getting started, hamster, hamster adventure, kid books, picture books, storyline, TAOS, travel, whimsy

16377_411426352280055_1807123330_n

It is a blustery and quite rain-drenched day here in the Ohio Valley.  Indoors, Ginger Small and I are carefully weaving together our plan for the work that will be done in just a few month’s time back in our home-away-from home in Taos.

But we need your help in turning this plan into a successful reality.

As I have mentioned before, I have the honor and opportunity to spend a couple of weeks in Taos as the Writer-in-Residence at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.  I go there this upcoming January with a number of ideas and characters adrift in the watery depths of my imagination, two of which are almost firm enough to touch.  I have Ginger Small’s adventures in pictures, collected over the years, which could use some corralling into story.  And there is a nearly finished picture-book manuscript which needs it’s pictures to come to life.  This is a sleepy-time book about counting sheep, and the shepherdess is a young rabbit named Edith.  I won’t give away much more, as I am sure Edith’s story will change and grow, much like Ginger’s has.

Edith and Ginger need my undivided attention and care to come to life in this world; to take shape enough that they may knock on the doors of publishers and printers. This residency offers me this chance to tighten up these stories and get them out into the world.

How can you help? 

I am aiming to raise $2500 between now and mid December which will assist with the following costs:

~airline ticket

~car rental for part of my time in Taos

~food and sundries

~$ to cover my time off of my day job

 

In exchange for your donation to this project, I will be offering some rewards:

$15 level – hand-printed, single color, lino-style thank you card sent to you in the mail

$25 level – A copy of the Eco-Chic Retreat DVD set (I am proud to be a part of this amazing film project. This reward was kindly donated by film-maker Jody McNicholas of Walk-in Productions.  Only 1 available!) (Update – this reward has been claimed and is no longer available!  Thanks!!)

$40 level – set of 3 Ginger Small note cards featuring a variety of images from Ginger’s best known adventures. OR sheep/rabbit images, your choice!

$75 level – A postcard from Taos! New Taos Themed Ginger Small images will be happening for this trip. We will have them professionally reproduced and then send you a handwritten greeting from our little cottage at Mabel’s.  (approx. 5″x7″, these will be sent as a post card, through the USPS and so will have the look and feel of the original postcards that started us on this adventure in the first place.)

$150 level – All of the above!!!!

$500 level –  Your choice of a one of a kind felted Edith (similar to 3dG and approximately the same size, about 4″ tall) OR an original sheep-themed watercolor, 8″x10″

Most of these rewards will be received by you, with my gratitude, during the month of January 2015.  The Taos postcards will be posted from Taos- to you while I’m at my residency Jan 5-19.  Felted Edith and original watercolors will be slightly longer in coming as they will be made to order.

Many thanks to you in advance for any support you have to lend.  Financial support is of course wonderful, but do not discount how meaningful it is to receive comments on the blog here and over on my facebook page as well.  I picture all of you in the stands waving colorful flags, and tossing handfuls of glitter and confetti into the breeze to keep things whimsical.  The world needs whimsy, and imaginary animals who go on the adventures we dream up.  Thanks so much for your help and encouragement!

~AHB  (and GS & EE, too!!)

(Click this image or the one just like it over in the sidebar to the right to get started!  Thanks!!!!)

paypal

 

bunny 5 bunny 4 bunny 3 bunny 2 bunny 1

 

*A note on crowd~funding: As this is, in the grand scheme, a small scale fund raising project, I opted to keep it grassroots.  It is small enough for me to manage here and I decided not to engage Kickstarter or Indiegogo, as I might very well need to go that route to get these stories published into physical books one day soon.  But we shall cross that bridge when we come to it.  I plan to shop them around in old-school style a bit before opting to self-publish. Thanks again for your support!

 

Related posts:

“If only I hold very, very still”

October 13, 2014 in character building, Ginger Small, hamster, hamster adventure, picture books, whimsy

n9i_xwhrPXa7OOAXkyDsGtbtwxF9NpYyjsnlolkkqWM3dG and I went visiting last week.  We found ourselves at the home of our friend and fellow artist Vanessa Sorensen for a quick bite of lunch and eventually, some photographs of shy little felted Ginger.

CQ_Or83RK5Wrf8htbtPAXdxtIatoQcudAtBLImwFtY4

There has been a great deal of origami going on over at their household lately as they prepare for an event to honor Martha, the last passenger pigeon who died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.  There will be a flock of thousands on the lawn of Xavier University eventually.  Ginger was intrigued by their stoic silence and felt like she might be able to make a friend or two…. if she held very still and to hear the story of their downfall.

j3c9qDtgMqi8wqeCUSLaZRiu9URY2HK7pOpaDlfID54

It was quite cold and rainy on this particular day and so Ginger donned her magical cozy shawl to keep warm and dry.  We both love this time of year.

 

W12WHp5BnNiJr6RBKJuy5b9x-WLx_5dLv7VpVAA_B_E

 

Ginger enjoyed pretending she had on a long and autumnal ball gown.  Though she worried about getting tripped up in all of the crinoline.

0MYKjEiATLMTEm8Uz3z6IHbGbbox1zF75DBW8OY1Rmg

Many thanks to Vanessa for these wonderful snapshots.  It was fun to see what friends Ginger might make if she ventured outside…

 

 

Related posts:

The woman and the saint

September 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

Years upon years ago I spent a fair amount of time training for and running in marathons.  These races and my relationships with those with whom I trained kept me quasi-sane through the early years of motherhood, which like many, I often found challenging and quite lonely.  In the long run, so to speak, I ran 7 of these races which afforded me the opportunity to travel now and then, and fund raise a bit,  keep healthy and even do some soul searching along the way.  At that time, it was the right kind of slow therapy I needed.  Those miles led me to the more real version of me, they helped me find the courage to let my artist-self shine and eventually, I gave up the long distances to walk more in the woods, spend more time sketching, and somehow earn an art degree.

Recently, at the suggestion of a long-time and dear friend, I have dipped my toe back into the idea of running-to-race by committing to a local half-marathon.  This means that I needed to go beyond my jogs ’round the neighborhood and do some longer runs on the weekend.  These runs would train us up for the big day and give us a few hours every weekend to chat, laugh and catch up with each other, something we hadn’t found time to do in ages.  The extra miles have been taxing on my legs but by throwing into the mix some kayaking and cycling through the week to ‘cross-train’, somehow I’ve managed.  This past week we successfully ran 11 miles together and that is the last of the Big Long Runs before the race.  Hoorah for ‘tapering!’

It’s been lovely to run the streets of our fair Queen City and see the mornings come alive as we tick off the miles.  At the tail end of yesterday’s Big Run, we were passing a local church and this lovely scene caught my artist-eye and I nearly stopped in my tracks.

woman and a saint

Here was a statue of Saint Mary, nestled into the side wall of the building in a wee niche (my mom would call her Mary on the Half-Shell), and seated at her feet was a lovely woman in a crisp white sari, trimmed in blue.  Something about this scene captured my imagination.  But as we were running, we couldn’t very well stop for an artful photograph, let alone a sketch!  And so, this drawing is one from my mind’s eye, the details perhaps not quite right.

detail

 

The woman in the sari was readying to answer her mobile phone which was ringing out a lovely Indian sounding ring-tone.  She may have been waiting for Mass to begin, or perhaps she was resting in the niche with Mary for a spell while she waited for the metro-bus.  Regardless of her story, just the glimpse of the two of them there in that brief moment was a lovely sight to see.  And so this morning, I visited that space again, in the land of my imaginings, and made a little drawing.  This is a small painting, only 5″x7″.  It is indeed for sale if it speaks to you.

detail 2

 

 

Speaking of selling little drawings, check back here in the next week or so.  I’ll be offering some things for sale to help fund my writer-in-residence post in Taos this upcoming winter.  These will be sketches and Ginger post-card options, and maybe even an ethereal bunny or two…. I’ll keep you posted!

In the mean time, while we all seem to be running through our lives be it to Fit It All In, or to train for the Next Big Race, let’s take the time to note and perhaps record the sacred in the mundane should we be fortunate enough to come across it.  I’d love to see what you come up with!

Related posts:

Watery and Windswept – some days on an island in an inland sea

September 15, 2014 in sketchbook, sketches, travel, Uncategorized

ki 4

 

I have written before of our past journeys to a magical little spot of land in the middle of a not-too-very-far-away inland sea…. Kelley’s Island is a few hours’ drive and a brief ferry trek across the waves and we enjoy a different side of it every time we visit.  (For past inland island tales, click here and here.)

KI 11

ki 3

This year, due to a traffic back up on the highway on our way northward, we arrived rather late to set up camp.  It was windy and threatening predicted rainfall.  No pictures were taken, no sketches were made. Tents were pitched against the bluster and the decision was made to stay off the water until the following morning when the annual Kelley’s Island Poker Paddle was slated to begin as darkness was upon us….

We slept fitfully in our tents, which while protecting us from the elements, still allow in the roar of the waves and the voice of wind; and awoke to angry skies and rumors of badly-tempered waves.

ki 2

KI 1

 

Alas we found that for this day at least, the poker paddle event was canceled.  So a few of us hopped into cars to drive the island roads and survey the moods of the waves battering the rest of the island.  Lake Erie is a shallow lake compared to its cousins and just an overnight’s wind can kick up some surf.

ki 8

Some spots seemed more dangerous than others.  And we contemplated this temperamental lake.

ki 14

I snapped pictures of not only the lake’s moodiness, but signs that autumn was already more into full gear just this far north of us.

ki 7 ki 10 Ki 9

KI 13

Eventually, there were signs that although a circumnavigation of the entire island might be in poor judgement, there might be enough sunshine out to warrant some play amongst the waves in the safety of the little harbor at our camping place…..  And some intrepid souls decided to head out to play.

ki 6

I debated.  On the one hand, I have this boat I like to spend time in.

KI 16

But I was a bit chilled, and was enjoying being beached.

ki 17

I had just brewed a pot of tea.

KI 14

 

But in the end, I opted for a little time in the rough water, more as practice time than anything else.

 

I was rewarded with a few seconds here and there of good surfing.  And while the wind was cold, the water was not, so we practiced getting in and out of the boats to stay up on emergency skills in case of a water-bourne mishap one day.  Hopefully we will not have to use these skills in real life, but it is good to keep up to date.  And to test my stomach.  I had been on the ginger for a number of days, and thankfully, had no sea sickness.

ki 51

I came into harbor sooner than most, but eventually we all caught up with each other to warm up and see what else the day had to bring us.

ki 52

While the more intrepid stayed out on the water for more surfing, I sat with my sketchbook and watercolors and watched the colors dance on the water and the sky.

ki 57ki 58ki 59ki 60

 

Eventually we decided an afternoon hike might be in order.

ki 22

Kelley’s has a rich history of industry and quarrying and so one is likely to wander across remnants of days gone by being recaptured by the forest.

Ki 23 KI 18ki 24ki 19KI 20KI 21

We continued on through the forest, following the voice of the lake….

ki 45

…aided by what felt at times like the spirit of the place. Most places have a spirit of sorts and the spirits of Kelley’s are alive and well and willing to show us the way.

ki 28 ki 29

This island is not a really big place and soon, we had once again reached the water’s edge….

ki 27

Kelley’s is renowned for a number of special things such as glacial grooves.  On this hike we visited the Alvar region of the island….

ki 26ki 30Ki 25Ki 35Ki 34

This side of the island does take a beating from the perpetuation of the waves.

 

KI 33ki 37

There are even fresh water ‘tide’ pools of sorts which shine like jewels.

ki 32ki 31

We walked along pebbly shores which were seemingly made up of all shades of beigey whiteness.

 

ki 48ki 42

Upon closer inspection, of course, we see that no two stones are alike.  Some speak of lives lived ages upon ages ago.

ki 40

While others remind us that to show our true colors in a sometimes seemingly-bland world may be the best gift we can give.

ki 41ki 38ki 46

I broadened my collection of heart-shaped stones, recognizing that to show the shape of a heart in a hardened world often means to have been a bit broken along the way.  And perhaps tossed about on the shoreline before being picked up and treasured.

ki 44

The light began to change and to call us back through the woods and back toward camp…

ki 47

We greeted the forested friends along the way.

ki 49

Finding our way back along the path toward a dinner of perch and a more restful night in the tent.

ki 56

Fortunately, the winds and waves of one day gave way to a calm and gentle beauty of the next.  We were greeted with a spectacular sunrise just outside our tent door, which I watched for awhile….

ki 55ki 53

…before finally deciding to step outside and brew some coffee.

ki 54

It was to be a perfect day of paddling, at least in my opinion.  Placid and calm.

ki 50

It was like four hours (11-ish miles) of a water-based moving meditation.  At the end I was deliriously high from it all.  I was thankful the Kelley’s Island Kayaking Club opted to wait a day for the official event and thankful that my more adventurous cohorts still got their play time on the waves the day prior.  We all got what we needed and wanted from the weekend. The rest of the pictures from our trip to Kelley’s are merely those in my mind’s eye. I didn’t have the camera out for the tail end of this tale which involved some sunshine, a few Lake Erie water snakes popping their heads out of the water to say hello (though I kept missing them by a hair’s breadth of a moment!), grilled snacks and a poker game and finally, some well deserved brews for our group at the end of it all.

10603656_10204838540031184_2557868075552138570_n

With a somber ferry’s ride back to the mainland and more cornfields than we cared to witness, we were eventually back home where we have traded in the sound of waves crashing for the far off hum of the nearby highway.  Seagull’s cries have been replaced by the sound of sirens and car-horns in the nearby city streets.  But if I listen more closely, I can hear the cluk-cluk-clucking of my chickens out back, and the sighful snores of my dogs. Down the hall, I hear my hub back at his work-a-day.  Life is good.  I am thankful for little island side trips as a gentle reminder of this.

 

 

Related posts:

A Pavilion Wedding in the Swannanoa Valley

September 11, 2014 in Inspiration, Oil Painting, travel, Uncategorized

As promised awhile back here, I want to share with you the story of a fairy tale wedding which happened this summer amidst the magic and music of the Swannanoa Gathering.  My summer friends, Ellen and David, who hail all the way from Massachusetts, and whom I only see at summer camp, opted to tie the knot amongst friends of the musical variety with the mountains of North Carolina as a back drop.

the happy couple

It was, in true south mountain fashion, a rather unpredictable day from the weather gods.  All day it rained and rained and we began to steel ourselves for the wedding to be a drippy affair.  Though we knew, that there was a pavilion to keep heads dry during the ceremony, a large hall for the ceili reception, and multiple tents for evening sessions. We certainly would not melt.  And besides, we had work to do that day which had little to do with the wedding.  We had new tunes to practice!!!

Work before play

 

A strange thing happened while we were in our afternoon classes however…. the skies began to clear, just a bit, and hopes began to rise.  The bride and groom went off to have a bite to eat, and to get ready for their magical evening and the rest of us gathered at the pavilion to begin arranging things…..

quietude before the blessed event

There were chairs to make into rows, flowers and cakes to welcome…

the bouquet The cakes were AMAZING

Champagne to open, of course.

Shiteloads of Champagne

And favors to welcome guests to the wedding…

Sweet favors to bring this season into next

Soon it was time for the processional.  The ‘Flute Cousins’ all played a gorgeous Scottish march called The King’s House.  This is one of those tunes that can give you goose bumps for all it’s soulfulness and it was the perfect choice for the event.

procession

The wedding itself went as so many weddings have gone since time before history.  There were lovely words and thoughts, tears and laughter amidst the solemnity of it all.

The ceremony

I was honored to be asked to read a poem called How Falling In Love is Like Owning a Dog, by Taylor Mali.  This was a great choice for Ellen and David as they love all creatures great and small, especially dogs.

reading the poem

The newly married couple shared their first kiss after the ceremony….

You may now kiss the bride

…and were ushered out with a flute arch….

recessional

And a wedding reel!

recessional musicians

Within no time, solemnity had shifted into raucous celebration….

mad session ensues

champagne

Which lasted well into the evening, first with ceili dancing and later, more music – on into the wee hours…. For that is what we were there for.

Sessions go on and on and on

Upon returning home from my summer’s travels, I began to ponder what I might put together as a gift for Ellen and David in honor of their big day.  And so I began to build a little painting.  Not so much of the actual way of things, but rather the feel of that magical afternoon into evening in the liminal world…..

How to build a painting

painting 1

I loved how the skies looked that afternoon when the clouds miraculously parted and the rains left everything clean washed and ready for celebration.

early painting detail

I enjoyed the way the pavilion looked before everyone arrived, but more especially after celebrating ensued.

painting detail 1

Folks milled through the misty evening, filled to the brim with love, music, and a bit of drink perhaps as well.  And the session tents around the campus were all full that night.

finished painting detail - the musicians tent

Here is the little painting born of a wedding celebration.  It’s not a big thing, only 9×12, but I think it will be well received as a reminder of not only their wedding day, but also of the magic of the gathering in general, to which we all look forward to throughout the rest of the year.  Many congratulations Ellen and David!  May blessings abound.

Pavilion Wedding In The Swannanoa Valley

 

For Marriage

As spring unfolds the dream of the earth,
May you bring each other’s hearts to birth.

As the ocean finds calm in view of land,
May you love the gaze of each other’s mind.

As the wind arises free and wild,
May nothing negative control your lives.

As kindly as moonlight might search the dark,
So gentle may you be when light grows scarce.

As surprised as the silence that music opens,
May your words for each other be touched with reverence.

As warmly as the air draws in the light,
May you welcome each other’s every gift.

As elegant as dream absorbing the night,
May sleep find you clear of anger and hurt.

As twilight harvests all the day’s color,
May love bring you home to each other.

~John O’Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us)

 

(wedding pics by fellow ‘gatherers’, Kate Bradford McFadden and Natalie Wurz, concertina snapshot by Tim Smith, and art by me.)

Related posts:

Last golden days of August

August 29, 2014 in In the Garden, Inspiration, work

IMG_3363

There has been a string of very seasonable (for our neck of the woods at least) hot days lately.  The sort of days that make a gal cringe to even think about getting into the car after a day at the shop.  The sort of days that have me waking before dawn just to get some exercise in.  It’s brutal and my least favorite time of the year (including our more wintry friend, The Polar Vortex).  I suppose in my soul I am a true northerner, as I would prefer to add layers and sip tea through a cold spell versus grapple with inescapable heat and humidity. All that said, in spite of the temperature, there is a definite sense of the goldening of things. A shift in the way the light leans each day….

IMG_3362

 

IMG_3356

The gardens are beginning to dry out and fade, making way for autumnal splendor on the pallet of the season.

IMG_3354

After all, these are spring time creatures which must take their rest until next year….

IMG_3358

 

I have the gift of a whole day here at my home/studio today and can take time to notice this goldening.  The dogs enjoy flushing out the rabbits who live in our ferns, to give a quick chase which keeps the poor bunnies on their toes.  Of course if you ask, the pups deny all wrong-doing.

IMG_3364

I sit with my journal trying to capture thoughts, ideas, sketches and stories as they zoom past like so many streaking chickens.

IMG_3369

 

Meanwhile, in spite of a woeful lack of gardening on our part this year, I was surprised to see a pumpkin in our little patch.  Evidently the deer didn’t get to every single bloom after all.

 

IMG_3360

 

zoom!  There goes another chicken!

IMG_3350

 

The girls continue to be fairly productive in the egg-making department and I am so grateful for it.  They seem to love their little hut and the extended run which helps keep Mr. Fox at bay.  Even they seem to notice a change in the light of late.

IMG_3352

Yet still they lay, day to day…..

IMG_3371

 

As I begin a day holed up in my cozy (and thankfully air-conditioned!) nook of a work-room, I am glad of this shifting of things.  It brings a new energy to life, a nesting of sorts.  I bring some of the outdoors in, until I can invite the autumn breezes inside as well.

IMG_3370

 

 

And with the help of my muses, I dive into working…. on bunnies who herd sheep, world-traveling hamsters who are in desperate need of an apron or so, and oil paints perhaps.  As usual, I shall keep you posted on the goings on.

IMG_3372

ps. I posted the video below before in this post but I shall post it again here, as with the word Gold floating around in my mind, the song is as well.

Related posts:

3dG and Me

August 18, 2014 in Ginger Small, needle felting, Uncategorized

Perhaps you know of Ginger Small, the little hamster character I have been working to pin down for a good while now.  She is very, very shy, being a small creature in a big world. I have worked with a variety of incarnations of her wee physical self as a way of pursuing a sense of character for her, so that she might share her story with me in word-form, as she has been rather reluctant to do so. And I so very much would like to see little miss Ginger’s adventures become a picture book for children of all ages one day.

ginger 2

About a year and a half or so ago, I created a little felted version Ginger and played with her a bit in the studio.  Her facebook friends seemed to really love this little three-dimensional Ginger and sent cards and gifts her way.

ginger 10

But all the while, this rather quiet, awkward and somewhat adolescent version of Ginger didn’t seem to match the confident, fashion-savvy cheek of a hamster that can be found in the drawings I make of her….

steampunk ginger

This little Ginger was far more quiet and bookish and chose to mostly stay at home nestled in the embroidery basket practicing the art of divination with tiny Tarot cards.  It is not lost on me that this side of Ginger is really the tender side of myself…

Ginger 6

And so, as we must never push a shy creature too very far out of her comfort zone, I crafted a couple of rounds of paper doll versions of Ginger for the Halloween and Christmas holidays that year.  Her friends were thrilled!!

206813_10200470289503465_1648060686_n

This version of Ginger didn’t feel so shy with masks to hide behind.

ginger11

Felted Ginger, being a bit of an introvert, continued to make friends one by one, choosing a more intimate exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Ginger 7

This went on for a good while.  Whenever I had the chance, and an idea came to me, I would catalog Ginger’s adventures in illustrative format.  I love doing this best of all.  I know I have shared some of these adventures with you over time….

1509235_565622893527066_680188322_n-1

556596_398155883607102_309636553_n

Then, just the other day, I was catching up on the blog writing and workly adventures of one of my favorite writer/illustrators, Jackie Morris.  Jackie’s work is such as I hold to be True North in what I like to find in books-with-pictures.  My kids have grown up with her imagery captivating their imaginations, as well as my own.  She has written and illustrated many gorgeous books and you can see them all here: http://www.solvawoollenmill.co.uk/jackie-morris-books.  Her latest book, Something About a Bear, is due out quite soon and I for one can’t wait to get my very own copy.  I may even treat myself to an actual signed copy from the site above, all the way from Wales!

While perusing Jackie’s lovely blog, I came across a sweet video of her reading her new book aloud to a small bear critter named Mary, who was, I came to find out, born in the pages of this book.  Jackie’s friends at Celestine and the Hare made a felted version of the little spectacled bear in Jackie’s book and I dare say this little felted version of the bear has taken on quite a personality!!  I love reading about her and hope she finds herself in the pages of a book all her very own at some point.  She is a delightful little bear and you can see her often these days in the recent posts by Jackie on her blog.

Sweet Mary, her friend a Snow Leopard and their collective adventures had me glancing across the studio to my own little felted critter, wondering if maybe, with a little more hand work from me, the felting needles and some extra wool, 3dGinger might decide to venture out into the world a little more for her own adventures.

And so I took her off the shelf and got back to working on her….

photo

I felted some more brightly colored wool onto her which plumped her up a bit.  After all, one of the nicest things about hamsters is their plumpness!  I updated her ears and added a proper tail – the tail being one way to tell a hamster creature versus say, a mouse, or a gerbil.

unnamed

ginger16

Soon, a more grown-up, less awkward Ginger emerged….

Ginger1

And while felting as an art form is not something I’d say I’m destined to do as my Life’s Work, I would say this updated version of herself has turned out rather sweetly.

Ginger 5

She still is the sort that likes to hang out amidst cups of tea, paints and quietude….

Ginger12

ginger 17

ginger 16

But she has also found there is much she likes to do.  Like going to the aquarium.

ginger22

Enjoying a climb in the garden.

ginger19

Or sitting by the brook where flowers lean in for a drink.  Don’t fall in, Ginger!!!

ginger20

Ginger, like my own self, very much likes to spend time amongst the faery folk.  She visits them at their hut where she drinks honeysuckle tea and discusses lofty and otherworldly ideas.

ginger18

I have heard tell that the faeries enjoy her company as much as she loves theirs.

ginger23

Like all of us small creatures, Ginger occasionally ponders Beings larger in scope and more powerful than her little self.

ginger 15

One day, she would very much like to go to Ireland.  But for now, she is content with nestling into shamrocks available to her closer to home and listening to the Irish music that so often graces this place in which she resides.

ginger14

This upcoming winter, Ginger and I are going back to Taos, New Mexico.   Most times when I go to Taos, Ginger is off finding her own adventures as I don’t have much time amidst teaching a workshop.  But she does manage to rest and have a little fun on her own.

576476_292665817489443_1418989035_n

In which Ginger Small cavorts with the other-worldly

On this next trip, however, I will not be tied up in teaching.  I have been given the great gift of time and space as a Writer-In-Residence at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House for a couple of weeks in January.  This will require a little financial finagling with time off work  at my Day Job and the coverage of some travel costs.  But Ginger and I will figure it out together.  I have a few ideas on how to make it all work and Mabel’s has graciously given me a place to stay, a small stipend and a solid meal each day I am there.  I am truly honored and humbled to have received this gift.

I’m so excited that I stumbled across Jackie’s little bear Mary, who in turn inspired me to revisit the three-dimensional version of Ginger whom I have now nicknamed 3dG. Thank you Jackie and Mary!  It’s such a miracle to be able to check in on the week to week processes of artists via the internet and to have the opportunity to build a character here myself, as well as share my day to day, week to week, month to month…. (year to year!) processes here too on this little blog-place.  I am thankful to all of the artists and writers out there who have kept their blogs as I have over the years.  They (we!) are a gift to the world at large I believe.

When visiting my son at his new grown up apartment at school yesterday evening, my newly invigorated and courageous Ginger climbed up onto a globe in the shape of the whole world.  She told me she rather feels “on top of the world” since getting through this most recent patch of growing pains.  We shall see where her adventures take us.

ginger 4

 

Related posts: