a south dakota road trip in leather

I made this bag for a group show opening this Friday night at SEABA (South End Arts and Business Association) in Burlington, Vermont.  I like the idea of this piece being usable…although it has a few structural challenges for heavy use.  I’ll get it right next time…oh, how I love the process of trying to get it right.

IMG_5998_2_3_4_4I used the road image I love to work with for my muse.  You might be tired of all the ways I’ve played with this image…sorry, I’m not nearly done yet.  Too me this photo represents what I’ve always loved.  Independence.  Adventure.  Spaciousness.  Freedom.  As well as beef jerky, bad road coffee, Hostess® products, potato chips, loud music and infinite possibilities.

When I finished this bag I had a strange thought—I wished that Calamity Jane and/or Frida Kahlo had bequeathed it to me.  The road is always an inspiration to me and so are those two bad ass women.

I used a bit of ecodyed organza from Elizabeth Bunsen on the bottom to lend some contrast.  I love the lightness of the fabric with the leather and heavy stitching.

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image v. memory

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I remember this day well.  My twin daughters were three.  We’d been at the beach for the afternoon, they were hot, sandy, cranky and tired.  I was pretty sure putting them in a tub of water and giving them popsicles would buy me a few minutes to sit on the porch and collect my thoughts…or do I have it all wrong?  I must have it all wrong because of the look in their eyes.

What am I not remembering? 

I love the picture, but I only remember this moment through the image. It isn’t as hardwired as it would’ve been by simply being there with my girls.

I’m proud of my photos.  They certainly fill a creative craving for me…but I think I might need to be more judicious about when I pull out my camera or iphone.

Sometimes I want the buffer the camera allows me and sometimes I don’t want the burden of being the photographer.

The more I learn about neural pathways, they more I want to let experiences get hardwired into my brain and not always captured in pixels.  I might be more willing to explore this because my camera is now being repaired.  At first I felt like I was missing a limb when I dropped it off last week.  However, after being away for the weekend with my family it allowed me more time to be “in the moment”.

This morning my husband and I walked the beach and in the distance I noticed that there were seals on the rocks.  My phone had died and I didn’t have my camera.  We walked closer and got a better look.  We watched them slide on and off the rocks and Jeff made “seal sounds”.  We joked about how cool it would be if his calls were actually summoning them.  I’ve always wanted to touch a seal.  (I was told they feel very “oily”.)  This is now a memory to call upon.  I created the neural pathway of this moment on March 27th, 2016 of walking the beach with my husband in the sun and seeing a bunch of seals.

I found the story below on the RADIOLAB site about photographs and memories.

RADIOLAB (link & excerpt from article)

“A recent study out of Fairfield University suggests that taking digital photographs actually diminishes our memory. That’s right, makes it worse. What we have here is forgetfulness being enforced on two accounts.

First, and probably no surprise, the action of taking a photo distracts us from physically instilling the moment into the hardwiring of our brain. In the time normally spent capturing the moment in our neurons, we’re thinking, “I want to take a picture of this.” Whipping out our camera, setting up the shot, we become more focused on the act of capturing a copy of the moment with our camera rather than the event itself in our brain. The moment is recorded in pixels, but it’s not imprinted in our brain’s neuronal wiring.

Secondly, our future recollection of the moment (now haphazardly hard-wired in our brain) is lessened because of the medium we’re using — digital pixels as opposed to physical prints.”

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This makes a lot of sense, but it will be a tough habit for me to break.

I’m actually glad now that I don’t just have a grainy picture of the seals in my camera.

growth mindset vs. fixed mindset

brain changes carol dweck lisa lillibridge

When I read through these traits I was struck by a few things.

1. I’m so grateful to know that a fixed mindset doesn’t have to remain FIXED.  Think about it?  FIXED means unchangeable.  WHO POSSIBLY WANTS TO HAVE A BRAIN THAT IS UNCHANGEABLE?

2. I get really tired of people throwing up their hands and saying, “that’s just the way I am, the way I learn, talk and so on…so get used to it”.  No. I won’t, because it’s untrue.  However, this statement is—we have to believe that change is possible or real growth is way less likely to occur.

Neuroplasticity allows our brains to create new pathways by doing things differently.  It isn’t simple, I understand. However, the good news is that meaningful change in our lives is BOTH very difficult AND very possible.  One of the growth mindset traits: sees effort as necessary.

“Neuroplasticity refers to the potential that the brain has to reorganize by creating new neural pathways to adapt, as it needs.”    —http://www.whatisneuroplasticity.com/

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT NEUROPLASTICITY

“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile”

― Tal Ben-Shahar

(Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment)

It’s so necessary to feed our brains novel experiences, thoughts and ideas for growth and it sure makes life a helluva lot more interesting.  Don’t you think?

Try something new today.  Your brain will thank you.

Happy International Day of HAPPINESS!

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I’m studying positive psychology with Tal Ben-Shahar through Kripalu and the Wholebeing Institute.  If I hold one thought in my head to make my life better it’s Tal’s quote, “When we appreciate the good, the good appreciates”.

We are what we think and  we’re always capable of changing our thought patterns. We have to BELIEVE that change is possible though.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HAPPINESS “A profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognizing that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.

March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.”

http://www.dayofhappiness.net/#join

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why collaboration makes you think bigger.

Elizabeth Bunsen and I are collaborating.  We don’t even quite know what our project is because the ideas keep coming so fast and furious…often over burgers and beer.  These images are sketches of one of the ideas we want to explore.  I like leather, heavy stitching and raw edges.  Elizabeth’s work is such an interesting contrast and compliment to the fashion and accessory work I’ve created.

We’ve talked about printing the images I’ve created on the computer from our combined work…my prairie photos and Elizabeth’s textiles.  Alone they’re pretty cool.  Combined they  are an entirely different art form.  Here’s to computer sketches that can make an idea over beers and a burger seem much more plausible.  Cheers!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
― Helen Keller

bunsen lillibridge skirt prairie story

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bunsen lillibridge skirt with cornfield sketch

ancient memories

I shot these images at an ecodyeing workshop at Elizabeth Bunsen’s studio in Burlington, Vermont yesterday.  I have many more photos to share from the workshop however, I thought I would just post these 4 images today.  There is some magic alchemy in this process that has a unique ancient pull.

This process make me feel like a lot of other possibilities and options exist in many realms of my life not just in my creative work.

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LOVE or FEAR?

Fear limits our options & choices, constricts our breathing and makes us feel like crap.

Love makes us feel expansive, gives us options & choices and makes us feel great.

Every moment of every day we’re given a choice.

options and choices

love and fear graphic lillibridge dakota

“Love is what we are born with.

Fear is what we learn.”

—Marianne Williamson