when wanderlust whispers…

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the necessity of play.

Over the weekend, my husband and I dressed up as Mexican artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera for a Halloween party.  We weren’t necessarily in the mood and it would’ve been easy to stay home.  A few hours before the party I thought about the opportunity to walk three houses down, see costumes, have a few beers, eat some chocolate and talk to a bunch of interesting people. When I thought about it, well, it would’ve been really stupid to stay home.  Culturally, I think we sometimes consider PLAY as frivolous or unnecessary.  NOPE.  It’s really necessary. I know that play makes me feel more creative, relaxed and better able to handle setbacks.

I’m pretty sure I’ll remember dressing up like Frida & Diego for a Halloween party more than another night on the couch watching a movie. GO FORTH & PLAY, YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.

I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Frida Kahlo’s home in Coyoacán, Mexico, but I can pretend I have with Photoshop.  Don’t you love my cigarette spoke.  I think Frida probably could do things like that with smoke.lisa-lillibridge-fridaFrida is worth knowing more about.  She had a remarkably interesting life. Her paintings, clothes and attitude really speak to me and provide inspiration. http://www.biography.com/people/frida-kahlo-9359496

PLAYverb (Merriam Webster)

1. engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.  YUP, and frequently.

I just spend a day and a half alone…

and a little quiet, introspection and organization did wonders for my mind, body and spirit.  Last night I ran out to Barnes and Noble for a book and grabbed a magazine next to the checkout called FLOW.  It spoke to me.  I woke early this morning and decided a habit I want to create is reading something inspiring in the morning instead of news—aaarrgggh NEWS.  I fed my cat, Karen, blended lemon, parsley and ice (after a summer of beer, potato chips and ice cream a correction is necessary), made coffee and sat down to dive into FLOW.

“Celebrating creativity, imperfection and life’s little pleasures.”  REALLY?

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WOW. I was right.  FLOW was utterly inspiring and if I was disciplined and organized enough to publish a magazine this is what it would be. Astrid and Irene are clearly my long lost sisters (and new heros) from the Netherlands. I’m reading the English edition, unfortunately I don’t speak Dutch.  I bet I missed out on some amazing Dutch words that were lost in the translation.   This is the quote below the title.  I need every back issue now.

“No need to hurry.  No need to sparkle.

No need to be anybody but oneself.” —Virginia Woolfe (1882-1941)

contents FLOW magazine LillibridgeThe first article was about positive psychology (which I’m studying) and how small changes in our lives (kaizen, I’ve written about this before) can net big shifts in our lives. The article talked about thinking in terms of solutions, not problems and looking for small ways to bring forth more joy in our lives. LITTLE STEPS, BIG CHANGES.

“It is easier to see things in black and white than to pay attention to all the grey tint in between.” —Dutch philosopher and psychologist, Gijs Deckers

Big, bigger and biggest often doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s the small things that make people happy.”  page 17.

Next was this picture of my hero, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Kahlo’s studio at Casa Azul.  Now, I can’t stop smiling by this point and I’m only on page 18…

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then this quote.  Oh, my sister.  I will write about my sister.  We have a story to tell.

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Then there were interviews with a jewelry artist from Poland, a family living off the grid in British Columbia and an illustrator living in London.  That’s as far as time allowed this morning.  If I had the whole day, I would throw a blanket in my yard and devour every word. I can’t wait until I get back into FLOW.

On page 33 is an article by journalist Catelijne Elzes in celebration of rainy days…my favorite and most inspiring kind of days, throw in fog and I’ll swoon all day.  I can’t wait to read that article.  Really, Irene and Astrid, lets do lunch…

I have to get to get to work on my designs for STRUT…I have only 11 days.  Picking something up that spoke to me randomly got me thinking about connections.  I believe when we’re looking for meaning and connections (threads) in our lives they keep revealing themselves.  We just have to be on our toes or we can miss them.  I often miss them. IMG_6612_3

I know a lot of people don’t believe in coincidences, magic or spirits…however, I choose to.  I will be searching for little signs of magic all day and I have hunch that I just might be able to find some more.

I hope you have a great day and experience a little magic today too.  We all are deserving of some.

Thank you Irene and Astrid. Are you hiring?

Can you imagine a world without contrast?

I wholeheartedly think true beauty exists in contrast.  Without light we’re unable to appreciate darkness?  Without weight, something delicate would be more difficult appreciate.  Without hunger, how do understand being satisfied?

Without sorrow how do we truly understand joy?

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Without contrast our world would be quite dull.  Imagine really trying to understand (or explain) cold without warmth, smooth without rough, delicious without disgusting or loss without discovery. It really can’t be done.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
       ―John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Social scientists (Sherif, Taub and Hovland 1958) studied how much we need contrast all the time to make decisions in or lives.  It’s so much a part of our everyday decision making we don’t really have to ever think about it.  Once I read more I became quite aware of how much contrast is used in retail shopping.

Here’s a link that explains Perceptual Contrast Effect further.

http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/perceptual_contrast.htm

con·trast noun

noun: contrast; plural noun: contrasts
ˈkänˌtrast/
  1. the state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association.
    “the day began cold and blustery, in contrast to almost two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine”

These images were shot in Lexington, Kentucky last week at PBS Artist Open Studio during an ecodyeing workshop with Elizabeth Bunsen.  While I was treating my photos I noticed that there was a lot of magnificent contrast. How could there not be when we’re working with rust, leaves and indigo?

Here’s the link to find out about future workshops.

http://www.pbsartist.com/pbsartistopenstudio/

 

My dreamlike experience in Lexington, Kentucky.

I just spent the better part of the week in Lexington, Kentucky helping Elizabeth Bunsen run an ecodyeing workshop with a remarkable group of women.  Our host most magnificent; Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, an encaustic artist has created a space for the magic of artist workshops to take place in an 1880s Victorian home being lovingly restored (encaustic castle).

Patricia (Trish) has remarkable vision for workshops and artists in residency programs of all creative stripes.  Sue Stover started a workshop the day I had to head back to Vermont.  My brood needed me or I would’ve loved to have stayed.  I’ll be back one day.

Here’s the link to Sue’s unique work. http://susanstover.com/

Magnificent sheets and comfortable beds were much welcomed after long days of creativity and laughter (and a few tears as well).  In the morning we gathered in the dining room and we were served homemade granola (ginger fetish), yogurt, fresh baked breads, coffee and spirited conversation.  Over breakfast one day we got to hear the low down from a couple who went to a Pearl Jam show the night before, they snuck in late and didn’t even wake any of us sleeping in the rooms next to theirs.

I can’t quite put into words yet what this experience entirely meant to me, so I thought I would layer some images that felt most “dreamlike” from my days in Kentucky.  There will be a lot more photographs to follow.

Here are the links to get on mailing lists and to check out the accommodations if you are ever planning a trip to Lexington (you really should, very cool city).

http://www.pbsartist.com/

https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/14472982 (login or create an airbnb profile to see more images)

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an experiment in leather

I have increasingly become inspired by usable art.  I have a lot of leather scrap at my studio and I’ve made bags, jewelry and clothes, but I’ve never experimented with housewares.  This was basically a sketch of what I would like to create.

A word of caution: if you are going to “bake or cure” your leather you want to do so when no one is around and the windows can be open.  It smelled pretty funky, however by baking it in the oven when it was damp it did somewhat achieve what I hoped it would do.  The piece held the shape I intended.  This leather was too floppy though.  I have to work with leather that has more structure.  I will be doing more of this in the near future. I’m always in favor of some experimentation.

“Learn to fail or fail to learn.” —Tal Ben-Shahar.

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Yesterday I painted a mural.

It’s been a long Christmas, New Year’s break and lots of togetherness with my brood—but enough is enough.  I haven’t been in my studio.  I haven’t made anything and I was going absolutely bonkers.  So, yesterday I looked at our back entryway (also stairwell to the basement) and I went to work on an idea I’ve had for a while. This project took me all day long and into the evening.

It’s a wall we look at more than any others in our home…coming and going all day long.  First of all, painting a mural and projects of a similar ilk need to happen when my lovely husband, Jeff is out of town.  No judgement honey, just the way projects like this have gone down for 25 years.  He was gone. I went to work.

I used all of the paint samples I had in the house and I tried Valspar Antique Glaze from Lowes.  (No paid endorsement here, but I will tag them in my post). The technique is very similar to my paintings on wood. My art always looks unfinished to me until I distress and give it an antique glaze. I distress everything, my jackets, shoes, boots and so on.  If I haven’t distressed it myself by years of use, I’ll happily take my power sander to it….speeding the process along.

I think it needs a hint of red orange someplace and that will show up this week.  For now, every time anyone walks into my home they be reminded of LOVE or as my son, Ellis said with a shrug as he saw the early stages of the mural, “whatever keeps your menopause at bay, Mom”. Indeed.

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