looking back at my 2016 creative life…why does it feel like I never did enough?

The funny thing about being an artist—it just never feels like I’ve created enough. NEVER.  I needed to look back for some perspective if I’m going show some compassion toward myself and be my own best friend.  I went through my images month by month to remind myself that, although I can always create more—I’ve actually done a lot.

I think we all need to remind ourselves that we are enough…just as we are.

 

Here’s PART I: January to June 2016.

January: I painted this mural in the entryway of our home. It took me about 10 hours to paint it on New Year’s Day.  It brings me joy everyday as I walk into our home.  I’m eyeing other walls now and looking for some dates when no one is home for a long stretch.

February: These were a few of my favorite images from a trip to the Dominican Republic with my husband and daughters.  Oh, that blue…

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March: I shot this image of my husband with our cat, Karen.  It is one of my favorite images I’ve ever taken.  Our cozy family life wearing great socks surrounded by color.  I worked a lot layering my photos with images of my hometown and two-lane South Dakota roads.  I wrote about identity.  I worked on my positive psychology coursework.  I worked with artist, Elizabeth Bunsen ecodyeing textiles and learning about that process.  I made a handbag that referenced the South Dakota two-lane image I like to work with for a group show in April at SEABA.

April: I went with Elizabeth Bunsen to assist with an ecodyeing workshop in the magical encaustic castle—an art space in Lexington, Kentucky run by artist Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch.  What a remarkable group of women!  We made beautiful things.  We laughed.  We cried.  My great nephew, Liam was born in South Dakota while I was in Kentucky.  My new creative friends celebrated with me.  What an experience.

Here’s the link to her space to see what other workshops are available.

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

May: My friend, Maggie and I took four teenage girls to Quebec City to see Justin Bieber as a 16th Birthday present to my twin daughters.  What a beautiful city and the false eyelashes looked amazing as they headed out to catch their Uber to the Videotron Centre.

June: I shot this image of Vergennes, Vermont that I love.  My husband and I traveled to Ireland for a friend’s 50th birthday. This photograph was taken in Innishmore.  I sold this painting “She Often had a Plan B” in the new shop below my studio: DEEP 6.  I found a group of amazing photos at a second hand shop.  I cleaned my studio.

 Next up, whenever I get to it—July-December.

Happy 2017 and I wish you a wonderfully creative year—whatever that is for you!

STRUT—part II

 

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STRUT—part I

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Here are some images from last night’s STRUT fashion show in Burlington, Vermont.  These are the more candid shots of getting ready and going through rehearsal.  We had such a great day and hanging out together was really fun.  Thank you to all who helped make the show happen.  I won’t name you all, there are too many of you who supported Elizabeth and I produce our collection.  You know who you are.  Many thanks.

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This week in my studio…

I furiously got rid of stuff that was keeping my mind a complete mess.  I couldn’t even prioritize what I needed to work on first.  I spend one hour cleaning out and booked an appointment with GOT JUNK.  The minute they drove off I could breathe again.  The guys were great and both artists in their own right too.  Apparently GOT JUNK sites have a lot of materials, metal, wood and other things to scavenged.  I gave lots of things away and unearthed a few items I unfortunately would’ve purchased again because I didn’t know where they were.  The clean out felt awesome.  These are not very good before and after photos, but I think you’ll get the idea.

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Yesterday, I got to the studio ready to work on my designs for STRUT and all 4 of my sewing machines didn’t work—broken belts, jammed up and one vintage and one, a 1950s SINGER I acquired I couldn’t figure out how to get the bobbin to thread even after I read and reread the manual.  Reading manuals is not one of my strengths. It’s like reading Japanese or Greek or writing code to me.  I called my sister to tell her that I actually had to laugh at the absurdity of having all machines fail on me when I was busy sewing. I was grateful that I could find the humor in the problem.  What else could I do, really?  What was the universe trying to tell me.  I then headed out to one of the most loved repair shops in northern Vermont…Smitty’s in Essex Junction, Vermonthttp://www.smittysews.com/

I was so grateful for the service.  SMITTY and his wife are truly Vermont Treasures.

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In an hour and half I had two of the machines in beautiful working order. I’m sewing leather and my sewing machines are taking a beating.  If anyone ever wonders what to get me for a gift, it’s leather needles.  As a bonus, I got to have tacos with my daughter, Willa while I waited.  There’s always a bonus, if we’re paying attention to everyday hardships if we dig deep.

 By 2pm I finally was able to get to work and nearly finish one of my pieces for the show.  I love to work with the tension of tough and soft materials.  I think the leather with the softness of the ecodyed silk from Elizabeth Bunsen is an interesting contrast…just like life.

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Sometimes things are hard and sometimes things are delicate and sometimes we just have to laugh at it all. 

Jeweler/Jane Frank’s work for STRUT

Check out the work of German trained, Master Goldsmith, Jane (Yanna) Frank.  Elizabeth Bunsen and my models will be wearing her work on the runway.  My request was for Jane was for her to create something prairie chic, bohemian and earthy and then total freedom.  Yes, she nailed it.  I love the quality of these pieces and the way they reference prairie grasses, nature and the palette we are working with.

It will be a pleasure to showcase these pieces with our clothes and accessories.

Beautiful work, Jane. Thank you.

You can see how well they fit in with what we’re working on…leather, ecodyed textiles and a print made from Elizabeth’s rust work on paper.  Oh, it’s fun to work with such talented creatives.

If you’re interested in taking jewelry classes at Jane’s very welcoming backyard WERKSTATT (workshop) or are in need of custom work or repairs, here’s the link: https://janefrankwerkstatt.wordpress.com/class-schedules-optionsclass-schedules/

Here is the link for more information about Jane, her work and other pieces for sale.http://www.janefrank.net/about.html

jane frank art hop jewelry

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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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A Murder of Crows

This morning I woke up hearing crows out my window. I know they’re loud, but they are so much more than just their volume. I’ve been interested in crows ever since I saw this remarkable PBS documentary.

CLICK HERE: A Murder of Crows PBS video

Crows are highly intelligent, social and community oriented.

Really, they are way cooler than you think.

You just might see crows differently if you learn more about them.

I certainly did.

I remembered an old painting of mine tucked behind paint cans in my basement. Here’s the original painting that was the basis for the other images.

“A Murder of Crows” 3′ x 3′, acrylic, 2010

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Here’s what I created from the original painting:

black cloth murder of crows lisa lillibridge

a murder of crows lillibridge

Live Science CROW FACTS LINK

“Crows are extremely intelligent birds. They are known for their problem-solving skills and amazing communication skills. For example, when a crow encounters a mean human, it will teach other crows how to identify the human. In fact, research shows that crows don’t forget a face.

Many types of crows are solitary, but they will often forage in groups. Others stay in large groups. A group of crows is called a murder. Murders of crows will ban together and chase predators in a behavior called mobbing. With some crow species, the yearlings and non-mating adults live in a group called a roosting community.”

crows land sections lillibridge

“It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.”   —Jean-Luc Godard   

Below are the other images I worked with. I took the photograph of Elizabeth Bunsen’s ecodyeing work. The painting was inspired by seeing sections of land when I fly home to South Dakota.

I love to layer and play with my photographs to create different worlds. I’m finding myself thinking/seeing in a very different way while I’m creating this digital collage work.

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give us land, lots of land/part 2

grandpa hs graduation lillibridge bunsen

cafe photo lillibridge bunsenold farmhouse gloaming lillibridge bunsensewing prairie stories lillibridge bunsen  cowboy shot lillibridge bunsen prairie stories

give us land, lots of land

When Elizabeth Bunsen and I were hanging her latest work we wondered what it would be like to project different images onto her eco-dyed scarves.  I couldn’t wait to work on this idea and began making collages with her textiles and my photographs in Adobe Illustrator.

Our “prairie stories” collaboration is starting to take shape as Elizabeth and I continue to discuss memories, identity and the geography that has most shaped who we are as adults.  It’s no wonder we have a short hand about our childhoods.  Elizabeth grew up in Lodgepole, Nebraska (population 319 as of 2013) and I grew up in Burke, South Dakota (population 601 as of 2013). Also both of our grandfathers were bankers.  We both have twenty year old sons. And our art and process can provide deep sorry and remarkable joy at the same time.

We’re artists and our storytelling is in the visual realm.  Our conversations have been wonderfully insightful, however, if we were only sharing our ideas in a written form, I believe it would feel like we’re only telling you half of the story…or perhaps even less than half.

To me these layered memories feel like I’m looking through the curtains of one of the many farmhouses of relatives and friends I visited as a kid.  These memories are readily accessible but also a little hazy like the yellow tint of an old faded Polaroid photo.

elizabeth bunsen and lisa lillibridge abandoned farmhouse

lillibridge bunsen prairie stories layered images curtains

The words will come as our ideas evolve, right now the images are coming first.  We’d love to hear your ideas about how the interior geography of your youth has shaped who you are today, your choices and what direction you would like move into.

Elizabeth and I are gaining some understanding of how big of a role it’s played in our own identities…give us land lots of land.

sunflowers elizabeth bunsen and lisa lillibridge    lisa lillibridge and elizabeth bunsen cornfield behind the curtain  elizabeth bunsen lisa lillibridge behind the curtain field

elizabeth bunsen and lisa lillibridge rodeo in south dakota

elizabeth bunsen and lisa lillibridge memories of childhood