Tag Archives: art

On Impermanence

Are we having the time of our lives?

Are we coming across clear?

Are we part of the plan here?

It’s about the last day of school for most kids around here, give or take some final exams (which are nothing compared to the AP’s of a few weeks ago!)  My Madeleine is now officially a senior in high school.  We head to Montreal next week to finish up a slew of college visits with her that have given us an idea of what she might be interested in pursuing for university studies.  All of this, combined with my travel plans for the summer are providing an orbital feel to life in general.  It is not lost on my that time is flying.  It isn’t lost on me that these times are precious either.  Part of me is so ready to get to teaching in Taos, and the other part of me pines to capture the beauty we have outside right now in the form of the late spring garden.  So I do capture it, as best I can.

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A dear friend of mine has been down the rabbit hole of various meditation retreats of late and I am fascinated by her journey.  We have talked at length about what makes up a meditation practice, and what we hope to get out of meditating.   And I think it’s just the sense of being fully present in our lives.  Making sure that we aren’t so busy looking forward to the future, or pondering the past, that we forget to really be here now.  Occasionally I will let myself see the seemingly flawless practices of my more centered acquaintances and begin to compare my own messy monkey mind to them and see it in an unkind light.  But in chatting with my friend on her journey, she was quick to remind me that not all practices look the same.  That what we do in our sketchbooks is a form of meditation.  She’s so right.  (and, that said, so is running a few miles every day!)

In this book, on most days, I ponder the beautiful, cast out mental lists that might be driving me crazy, get them down on paper and off of my mind.  I note what’s important.  Noteworthy.  Quotable.  But mostly I just draw.  And for a little bit each day, that act of drawing removes me from the pool of time and I am outside of it.  It’s just me and that peony, which will never again be the peony it was this afternoon.  I note that my 17 year old kid will be a day older tomorrow.  We will put our visit to McGill in Montreal in the sketchbook.  Maybe she will even grace the pages of my book with a drawing of her own like she did when she was little.  We will mark a small moment in time.  Bottle it in a sense.

Somehow, we are part of the plan here.   I’m not sure exactly what that plan is, or what part I play in it.  But marking the here and the now, day to day, is one way to pin down the impermanent.  At least for the time being.

 

 

Harmony

Outside, the sky is falling.  Pieces of it, in the form of ice crystals, go pitter patter on the roof and windows.  We are weary of winter here in Ohio, in a way we haven’t been for many years.  Spring will be a welcome phenomenon, once it arrives.  I have faith that it will.  In the meantime, indoor activities beckon, as well as Life in Our Imagination, which is not at all a bad place to spend time.

*special thanks to Astrid and Doug Mast, dear friends and fab musicians who were inspired to write Ginger her very own original waltz. I find it to be very catchy and a lovely little tune to accompany any day’s adventures. Enjoy!*

When not pursuing the adventures of Ginger Small, my mind and hands and eyes have been thinking a great deal about life under the sea.  One of my favorite books of all time is Sensitive Chaos by Theodor Schwenk.   It is a lovely tome visually showcasing how the design of all things natural may be observed to be similar, connected, all part of one system of harmonic beauty be it air, water, human tissue, sea creatures, tree bark, land, etc.  This harmony can be heard and observed mathematically in music and movement as well.  Now I am no mathematician, and I can barely call myself a musician, but I find these connections not only fascinating, but heartwarming.  The patterns of these Mysteries relate to one another to create what we know of as earthly beauty.

I am fortunate to spend much of my time around Irish musicians, whom I believe are some of the smartest people around.  I am not sure whether smart people are attracted to the music, or if the music might make one smarter in some way (or perhaps it’s a combination of both things) but suffice it to say, there is usually a critical mass of PhD types around the table at the weekly session.  Recently at one of these musical gatherings, my exploration into Spirographs as related to patterning in doilies came up in conversation.  Our friend Peter, who plays a mean concertina, mentioned that he had a handmade (by himself!) harmonograph at his place and that I was welcome to pay a visit any time to see it work.  Related to spirograph imagery, harmonograph drawings are more three dimensional due to the entropic nature of their production.  As the pendulum slows, the lines move inward toward center and a sort of topographic quality emerges.  I had to go see this for myself.

The harmonograph is called such because the relationship between the pendulums which create the movement work best when related to one another in a harmonious way.  Too off kilter from one another and the image becomes cacophonous.   So Peter set the pendulums into a proper relationship to each other and we set it off to make its drawings.  Here are just a few of the enchanting images…

harmonograph 1 Harmonograph 2 harmonograph 3 harmonograph 4 Harmonograph 5

To me these images evoke sea creatures, turning inward on themselves like anemones, sea cucumbers, shelled animals and beyond.  Then again, that’s where my brain is these days.  They might also remind us of murmuration…

Murmuration from Islands & Rivers on Vimeo.

The weather being what it is outside, thoughts often turn this time of year to the embroidery basket.

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And other collected sundries I might have laying about.

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And I begin to think of what they might like to mimic as I work with them…

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upsidedown jellies

Soon, doilies (which remind me a good bit of spirograph drawings!) begin to think about becoming jelly fish, or barnacles who’ve maybe hitched a ride on a leviathan.

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Stitches find their way into patterns of light and how it plays so differently under the water.

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These works are still in progress and will be unveiled later this spring.  It is my hope they might have the honor of being a part of a local art show at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center called Splash, but we shall see.  It it not up to me to worry where the art will end up.  For now, my job is just to make it.

{The call to artists is out now and I encourage you to enter your interpretation of the concept of splash.}  

I continue to fill my well as best I can, even on icy days.  One place nice to spend time in on a bitter day is the Newport Aquarium.  This will also be a great place to escape heat and humidity come summer so I picked up a membership the other day, grabbed some fellow artists who enjoy sketching (Vanessa, Christina and Monica!), and paid a visit to the underwater world,  just across the river.

These little eels have a distinct muppet quality to them I believe….

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I struggled to make this drawing of an octopus.  It’s very dark where it lives so I did my best to get the pencilled in impression on location, then filled in with watercolors later once home in the studio.  Impressive creature, the octopus.  Along with whales and dolphins, I am not sure such a sentient being should be held in captivity.  But that is just my opinion…

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And so, as the sky continues to fall, I snuggle into my cozy work space to stitch and sketch, to ponder and marvel at things I barely understand, and to sludge through my first head cold of the season (I’d say I’ve been quite fortunate, wouldn’t you?)

How are you surviving this winter? Or perhaps you are Down Under, in the Land of Oz, dodging summer’s fiery wrath.  Wherever you are, I wish you creature comforts, real or imagined, such as they may be…. (I think I’ll go to the beach with Ginger)

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The mores and the lesses of things

Depth by bird in the attic

 

It is that time in the wheel of the year when many of us are called to be a bit pensive about things.  To consider the seasons that have passed and what they had to offer to us and what gifts we gave in return, as well as to gaze through the telescope of time, looking to what’s in store in the days, weeks and months to come.  I find it’s helpful to select a word which resonates for me in the deep pockets of my heart and to keep that word at hand through the year, almost as a keel to keep me on course as I sail on….. Last year’s word was FOCUS and I utilized it with great care and reverence. But I don’t believe we give up on a word once it has served us for a year, it merely acts as an addition to the tool box of life.  And so this year’s word, DEPTH will work with last year’s:  Depth of Focus.  I like the sound of it.

As a reminder of these chosen word talismans, those in my creative circle sometimes trade word laden gifts.  Above is one of these crafted by Michelle Blades of Bird in the Attic Studio.  Her world of whimsy and wordsmithery is simply enchanting and I am tickled with my murky depths ornament.  A reminder to go deep in all that I do in this New Year on the calendar.

Along with a word on which to focus, I like to make a little list of the mores and the lesses to consider.  Much like Ye Olde New Year’s Resolutions, but with less room to fail, the mores are all the things I’d like to add to my day to day while the lesses are things I could stand to curb.

 

 

More and lesses, a list of potentials

 

One of these ‘lesses’ is the time I spend monitoring and engaging in social media, for both work and play.   Much has been written by many about just this thing and two of my favorite blogosphere heroes, Rima Staines and Neil Gaiman have recently shared their thoughts on this dilemma.  As I consider what depth will look like in my life and work I know that the bite sized information available at the candy counters of Twitter and Facebook, Tumblr and other such temptations acts as both a driver of work and connectivity, and a swallower of precious time and productivity.  Simultaneously. Of course this can be endlessly frustrating and one could chase one’s own tail for days on end trying to come up with a solution to the quandary of it all.  But I don’t think there is a solution.  Like all complicated systems that come with good and evil, there must come a balance and we must simply ride the pendulum the best we can, attempting to know truthfully how much is enough for each of us.

Canary rides the pendulum of time

As December roared through town, swinging at my head with engagements and obligations, flurrying and hurrying, I began to think very concretely about how not to fall prey to the insanity of it all and I realized that time off from the virtual world, as much as I love so much of what it has to offer, was key to an even keel personally and professionally.  Along the same lines, I have opted to listen to music without ads to keep the screaming part of the world at bay, and this has already made the first few tentative steps down into the artistic rabbit hole easier and more successful.  I plan to keep these minor (yet major) changes in place as this new year gets underway.  As it has been for so many years now, it’s these micromovements, set to the course toward what feels to be our true north which really make for sustainable change and growth.

I wish you more mores in your lives, and fewer of the lesses which cling to your backs as well.  Happy New Year.  May your blessings be bright and bountiful.

 

 

Quick dose of inspiration

a drive into the countryside

Yesterday I made my way back out into the countryside, an irresistible thing to do this time of year, this time headed northwest of our Queen City to Oxford, where I once spent a few years as a student.  My dear friend, fellow musician, artist and 2013 Taos Sketch Trip participant Astrid invited me to see the remnants of a show brought to Miami University recently by artist and sketcher Prashant MIranda.

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Mr. Miranda “has been chronicling his life and travels through his watercolor journals for the last two decades. He balances his work between the need to document what he sees in front of him and the madness that comes out of his head.”  (quoted from the show’s postcard).  We were disappointed to be made aware of this show and his visit too late to meet the artist himself, but were able to see facsimiles of the pages of some of his books at one of the small galleries.  His approach of chronicling both the seen and the felt, as it were, is familiar to mine and it’s how I approach my own sketchbooks.

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The display offered views into a number of his books and I was pleased to see that he doesn’t seem to stick with just one kind of book, but rather mixes it up and jumps between varying kinds of books with different papers.

 

 

 

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I do love a creative approach to lettering and there was plenty to be seen in his lovely work.

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Real flowers meet drawn flowers in the pages of a journal.

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This page below seemed to be a from a repurposed book of some sort.  The effect was to make his drawing that much more time-less, which I believe journal drawings are to begin with.  They at once capture time and move beyond it.

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Astrid and I noticed that while some of Miranda’s drawings were quite involved and specific, others were simply doodled impressions of the moment, and were equally, if not more so, effective in capturing a glimpse of time and space.  The approach to his crowd of brightly dressed people below is an example.  Simple, yet, not so simple really.  I have found that that simplicity comes from years of distillation practice.

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If you are anywhere near the Oxford, Ohio area in the next couple of weeks, the show goes until Nov. 12.  And while it is composed of scanned/printed images of his sketchbooks and not the ‘real thing’, they are still lovely to lovely to explore.  I hope to run into Prashant Miranda on a sketch crawl someday on some far flung travels and tell him in person how much I enjoy his journaling work.

If you like the idea of keeping a travel journal and don’t know where to start, or need a jumpstart in your own practice, do consider joining me in Taos, New Mexico, USA, next summer for a week of diving into the Art of Keeping an Illuminated Journal.  Keeping a travel journal is a wonderful lens thru which to view the world, as the work of Mr. Miranda is a fine example!!

 

 

Discoveries at the wrack line

It began years ago.  A gravitational pull to the coast that some folks feel at times.  And an introduction to a creature-self whom has captured my imagination ever since.  Fortunate to have lived along the coast for a time, and further still, blessed to visit again each summer in spite of being land-locked the rest of the year, I have pursued knowledge of this being, though I did not know what it was I was after.  Perhaps I still don’t.  But evidence of her existence has built up.  And I am introducing the results of my research as part of an art show opening next week.

“My most recent body of work explores a duplicity of place through the lens of traditional narrative and meditation upon liminal frontiers found in natural places.  For this series, North Atlantic legends of “Selkie” creatures (part seal, part human) are the basis for a collection of images and artifacts depicting the life of a being that exists on both land and water, while not a true part of either world.  Many years of walking the wrack line on both sides of the North Atlantic have fed my obsession with imagery, material and lore of the coast.   These works form an exploratory self portrait of object and image that speak of an inner dialogue between myself and the world at large.”  

Among my sketchbooks are years of drawings that have led to the discoveries present in this body of work.  Some of these drawings will be on display, along with items found along the salted wrack line of the North Atlantic…

…permitted to grow salt crystals from the sea…

Other things were crafted by me, prior to gathering their crystals…. (The shells below were crafted from bronze.)

This creature, the legendary Selkie of the North Atlantic tends to take cover amongst a variety of seaweed species. Often these can be found washed upon the shores….

(Seaweeds; knitted, felted wool, found fish bones, salt crystals, 2013)

(more Seaweed, below.  Also knitted, felted wool, salt crystals, 2013)

Occasionally, messages would wash up onto the shore…. “When lightning strikes water, it purifies it.”

Sea faring vessels know of Selkie and her mysterious ways….

Sometimes sea captains communicate with her with a knotted language only those of the sea can interpret….

Selkie can be found in the shadows of the deep, at play among schools of colorful fishes flitting about….

At the center of her lies a tender heart, easily bruised.  As I have discovered more about her ways, I have learned to walk silently along the shores.  Only then might I learn more from her.

Selkie is filled with a depth that will garner more observation and of course paintings.  I do not think I have seen the last of her in my studio….

She has taught me much about paint and patience.  About Other-Worlds, both Inner and Outer.  And I timidly introduce her here for those of you out of town and unable to visit her in person….

If you are in town and can make it to the show, my work is only a small part of a larger show and I am in such great company with other artists who allow Nature to mushroom amidst their imaginations and in their studios.

Do join us if you can, and as always, your feedback is welcome and appreciated.  Peace.

do not disturb

We all know studio time is precious, as is studio space.  Last week I managed to hoover up most of the spiders that had taken up residence in here, along with the carcass-laden webs and buggy exoskeletal remains just under them.  The annual end-of-summer reclamation of my creative space.  It feels pretty good.  For a couple of months, the weather will be somewhat mild (once this heat breaks) and I will be able to spend quality time making some art in this light-filled, quiet place I have now dubbed Spiderville Studio.  There is much work in process, which for now, shall remain in the shadows where it belongs….

This “3-season room”, as it has been called by the real-estate folks, is one of the most pleasant places in our home.  Sometimes we eat meals in here.  This is where the sewing supplies are, and so the mending and clothing alterations happen here.  Homework has been known to go smoothly in here as well.  In so many ways, this room is a Family Room.  But what happens when I need to claim if for a few hours for my creative work?

A week or so ago, my poor hub, who also works at home, wandered into the studio as I was painting.  I was so annoyed I could have bitten his head off and I may have even snapped “I’m on a CALL!” (which is what he says when he’s working and needs us to be a little quieter.)  In his defense, the door was open.  This room is a magnet for anyone who wants some good vibes.  Especially on a pretty day.  I may have been painting, but it may have looked like I was just hanging out.  He may have just needed to get out of the office.  So we discussed how I could best communicate to my family that I’m at work for the time being, and unless it’s an emergency, I should be left alone.  I could make a sign to hang on the glass doors, but someone would invariably be on the other side of the glass trying to catch my eye for a quick question or some such.  Then Tony told me about a navy term, Dog-Zebra, which is when a ship or submarine closes up to everything and becomes self contained for a while.  The blinds are drawn, no messages in or out.  I like this idea.  So I went to the fabric store and got some zebra-ish fabric and crafted up some quick curtains to hang above the doors to the studio.  When the curtains are there, the studio is in Dog Zebra mode and I am not to be disturbed for awhile.  It’s a sign to everyone, including me, that work is being done in here.  Visually, it’s nice to have the space blocked off.

There are always tweaks to my working process after the summer’s travels.  Our annual trip back to Maine is like a reset button and I am able to come home and look freshly at what’s working and what’s not.  So along with the new work space plan, I’ve also made some changes to work time.  I’m working longer days at the shop for a couple of days each week which allows me longer studio days later in the week.  Ideally, these will be pretty much the same days each week so that everyone knows what to expect, but I shall remain flexible.  Time will tell if these tactics will enable me to get more Real Work done.  Less running around means more studio time.   At least on paper.

I’d love to hear how other folks structure time and space for creative work.  Do stay in touch!!

In The Garden… (home again and Thinning)

It’s finally August.  The garden is teeming (and I mean TEEMING!) with goodies to harvest…..

Tomatoes to nibble and process….

Piles and piles of basil that have now been frozen into pistou for the winter….

Peppers, cabbage, beans, a few teeny carrots (these make great dog treats, actually)… and the list goes on!!

It’s been really fun and I am learning loads and loads about how these plants can feed us if we know some simple rules.

Take the notion of thinning, for example.  When you plant certain seeds, they are so tiny, that just to get them into the ground, you have to plant way more than you might really need.   When the little plants start to take root and grow, the gardener has to make room for that growth by thinning them down.  This means actually pulling out perfectly good plants.  This idea used to horrify me.  I would either avoid doing it (and get weak plants) or I would obsessively move the new seedlings to a different place (creating way more work for myself and losing most of the little transplants in the process).  But I’ve learned that a little thinning is necessary.  And I have been thinking a lot about this idea as a life metaphor over the summer.

If you have followed my tweets or facebook posts this summer, you’ll know that I have been on the go more than ever.  It started with the Taos trip in June, followed by a couple of weeks of July devoted to a trip to Roswell, Georgia for a tour with the Frisch Marionettes.  The travels culminated with a fantastic journey back to our beloved soul-place in Maine for almost 2 weeks.  (Thankfully, that trip was for fun and family only!)  Although the work trips to Taos and Georgia were busy (and FUN!), being away from my normal duties at home allowed me quite a bit of time to think about the state of things in my life and work.  I was extremely homesick.  Especially in Georgia.  I am not cut out to live in a hermetically sealed hotel room, this much I know.  That said, I did get quite a bit of work done when not performing which I will share with you when it is ready…. but back to the garden metaphor….

If plants need thinning to grow, might we need the same?  I began to realize I had taken on a somewhat super-human list of Things I Am Working On in the past couple of years.  I have been lacking time and space to do deep work.  I have been runnin, runnin, runnin.  And it has been stressing me out.  So I’m making some changes.  Nothing huge really.  I have backed off on some teaching plans I had going, sticking with my work at the Art Academy (btw, my fall class on keeping a Sketch Journal is available for sign ups NOW!!)  I’ve decided to give up some of the volunteer work I do, in order to be fully present for the upcoming school year in which my oldest is a Senior in High School and will be navigating the college choice process.  With my kids getting their drivers licenses this fall and winter I will be able to work longer (but fewer) days at the concertina shop, allowing for fuller, juicier studio days here at home.  At least this is the plan.  More than anything, it’s a shift in perspective and paradigm.  It’s a moment’s thought before jumping into new projects.  It’s a commitment to some things that have long been on the back burner, awaiting their turn.

There needs to be more time to ponder the horizon…  More time to fabricate sails out of bedsheets.

And to watch the sun set over a body of water… whichever one might be currently available….

And to sleep out under the stars without setting an alarm clock….

I hope your summer has been productive and restful both, as mine has.  I will keep you posted as things progress here.  There are some exciting projects afoot that will see the light of day very soon.  In the meantime, stay in touch!  I’d love to hear about your gardens, be they vegetables or the gardens of your imagination.

 

 

 

 

Art supplies first…

…then clothing and all that other stuff. I am off to Taos NM this friday morning to prepare for the arrival of 13 amazing students for the first (annual!) Keeping a Travel Sketch-Journal trip. While there I am sure to take a million pictures and finally have the time to spend making a few more thoughtful drawings, instead of the tell tale scribbles of a too busy artist-mama.

Recent weeks have seen us doing what my friend Jeni calls the Urban Iditarod, running from play practice to concert rehearsals, late to dance classes and our weekly Riley School classes, finally attending some of the best performances my kids have had to offer in their young lives.

The above program was to Jack’s concert at SCPA.  It simply defies description but leads me to believe that the various majors will be collaborating again soon.  Congratulations to all who participated!!

Then there was Walnut High School’s Jr. High performance of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I told Maddie that I completely forgot about the rest of the world for the couple of hours that we watched this show.  She says this is known as “the suspension of disbelief”.  I am now a believer in these amazingly talented young actors.

On the home front, I seem to have entered into a new realm with the combined effects of a new job and my children’s spring performance schedules.  I am on the go much more than I am at home, and much more than I’d like, to be quite honest.  That said, I know these years of busy-ness are simply the culmination of childhood.  I know that the day of my kids flying the nest draws near.  My own mama knows the wildness that is this era of life and got me a present.  Under the guise of wanting to pay me for some sewing I did for her and also as an early birthday gift, she got me a sparkly new i-phone.  Bear with me here as I explore all that the hipstamatic camera app. has to offer…. Yes, I am an i-phone newbie but I am warming to it’s conveniences.

If you follow this blog, you will notice that when I travel, I don’t blog much.  Something about lugging around a dang lap-top takes away from the sheer spontaneity that I like to take with me on the road.  So what you as a reader get is more of a synopsis upon my return from Great and Lofty Travels.  But what of the day to day during my travels?  Perhaps you would like to share a bit of this with me.  If you are one of those “status-update” types, or someone who “Tweets”, consider keeping track of my wanderings in the ether-worlds of Facebook or Twitter.  I will be updating these pages periodically with photos, links to where we will be visiting, and general impressions of everything I see and do on the road.  These electronic diary entries, combined with the rich tapestry of my sketchbook and camera will be what I mine for the blog trip-synopsis.

for Twitter:    https://twitter.com/#!/micromovements

for Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Bogard/120930640047

In the coming months I hope to update my blog and website a bit to have these things available and clickable and all that to keep things updated and current.  But this takes time.  And I have a trip to prepare for…

When I am set to leave for a climate that is potentially very different from my own, I spend the days prior to departure memorizing everything that is my juicy river valley home.  Here are some snaps…. with the hipstamatic app thingey of course.  Yes, I am a bit of a nerd.  It’s part of my charm…..

I’ll be missing those who look at me like that here at home, and they will more than likely be missing me as well.  But the road calls….

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”

~Jack Kerouac

I’ll see y’all in Taos.


 

shelled

Today my boy Jack (who is a fabulous musician) and I (who am hack musician) are heading to Chicago for the annual fleadh cheoil.  This is a big competition for those of us who play traditional Irish Music.  Jack will compete solo in fiddle and mandolin and then later in the day, we will both compete in the group competition.  It is a wonder to watch Jack play in the solo competition.  Fiddle especially is a huge field of really great musicians and each one plays independently in front of the judge while everyone else looks on.  This gives me a nauseous and shaky feeling just writing about it.  He is simply grace under pressure.

I have been thinking a good bit about risk lately.  The things that we do in life to keep ourselves challenged, to get us out of our shells in order to grow.  For me, music ranks highly in this department because until a few years ago, I was not a musician.  Now I can play with my friends and we can sound pretty good.  The difficulty comes with the notion of being on stage.  You cannot imagine (well, perhaps you can) the level of terror on a truly gut level that I get when it comes time to play for the judges.  Intellectually I know its silly.  We are not really playing to win.  We just love to play.  We love the preparation and the creativity that goes into arranging some trad tunes into a playable/ listenable  7 or 8 minutes.  The first time I played at the fleadh I was literally so scared stiff that I don’t think I was able to play 3/4 of the notes required.  I have come a long way to where I no longer feel total faint but still have to struggle to keep my nerves under control.  It used to be a struggle for me to get the guts up to play at a session and now I play at least one a week with my fellow musicians.  I get such joy from this that I think sometimes ‘somebody just pinch me,  I can’t believe I am actually doing this!’.  I am so grateful for this gift of music and for what it has done for my over all self-confidence.

But why do I push to get over stage fright and my shyness around people I do not know?  Because this is what being alive feels like.  Because in the long run, I crave to be a part of things, even though it took me years – literally years – to get up the guts to even say so.  Pushing the boundaries of my own creativity also keeps me honest about what I expect from students.  In 6 weeks I will be shuffling 13 intrepid fellow travelers to Taos, New Mexico to learn the art of traveling with an active sketchbook.  I will be asking them to draw.  A lot.  This is terrifying for many people. Similar to my fear of playing music where anyone can hear me, putting an artful line on paper stimulates a fear of failure so strong that most people will not do it.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “I can’t draw” from someone who hears what I do for a living.  It is my belief that if you can write your name, then you can draw.  But unless I understand this fear, I cannot help students to overcome it.  And so I push and I risk in order to move beyond the pounding heart and adrenalin headache that comes with stage fright.

Writer Peter Levitt writes:

“We are not only born to create, we are also born to risk.  These are actually the same.  Taking a creative risk is not only essential and freeing, it is also the least risky  thing you can do.  Any attempt to stay safe will never get you where you want to go.”

Meanwhile….

you may have noticed a lull in my blog posts.  The reason is, I got a job!!!  I am now a proud member of the concertina making team at Carroll Concertinas.  I am slowly learning the many different steps involved in building one of these amazing instruments.  The tasks are endless and require lots of interesting materials, tools and processes.  It is the perfect job for me.  I am able to work with my hands on a variety of things.  There is no pressure to be in a hurry in any way because quality and safety are the top priorities.  Every day involves problem solving and design challenges and the utilization of multiple hand and power tools.  In a word, it’s bliss.  I have had many folks ask ‘what is a concertina?’.  Basically it is like an accordion, sometimes you see pirates playing them in movies.  Here is a pro jamming out some reels.  Her name is Edel Fox and we will be building a Carroll Concertina for her very soon….

And so that is the news from Chez Bogard.  As I come to balance with the new job hours, I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how the Mammoth Cave quilt is coming along and keep y’all up to date on Taos trip news as that draws ever closer.

a quickening

So the temperature outside is in the range of what I consider cold. And the gray bleakness still pervades most days.  And yes, snow is still falling a bit each day…. but there is something in the light.  A slant that despite the temps, speaks of spring time.  As human beans, we don’t have the luxury of sleeping the winter away in a hibernatory state and so we do things to keep us warm and active and hopeful through the dark months.  For me, playing music is one such thing.  Last night a few of us braved the chill and headed out to our current favorite sessioning spot at Newport, KY’s Claddagh Pub.  The folks there welcome the trad music we play each week with smiles and even applause.  The Co. Clare based manager told us last night that he felt like he was back at home with the music in the air.  As the near frozen Ohio river glided past outside the window, we played some tunes together to pass a few more winter hours.

In little over a week, Adam and I will be traveling to Kansas City to participate in the 2nd annual Arts Enterprise Summit where we will speak to participants about our work and research on creativity and Drawing Down the Vision via the illuminated journaling process.  I am thrilled to be a part of this exciting work.  The world of work, in both the arts as well as business, is a changing landscape.  Exploring the potential pitfalls and possibilities of both worlds, and discovering ways each can serve the other, are what this summit is all about.  One panel discussion I will be a part of explores the notion of a ‘portfolio career’ in which someone makes a working life out of a number of part time jobs.  This describes me to a tee.  When I started thinking about this, it occurred to me that my version of a portfolio career is more like a kaleidoscope career.  As it turns, it changes.  Each colorful bit feeding into the next and becoming part of a new pattern.  Each part of my working life winds up somehow nourishing all of the others.  I have occasionally been in the position of having to rethink certain job opportunities simply because they didn’t gel with my life pattern.  Through it all I am learning and re-patterning what works best for my life as a whole.

What feeds you?  How can your work life, your hobbies and creative passions feed the patterns that make up your ideal kaleidoscope life?