Thursday, October 26, 2006

A New Season starts...for me. symphony season starts today at four o'clock with one of two rehearsals today, followed by another rehearsal and two concerts tomorrow and Saturday. I'm looking forward to it, getting back into the swing of regular practice and seeing the orchestra members again after the summer break. I have been practicing myself fairly regularly and it's always nice to have something toward which you can direct your practice......a goal as it were. The season goes until May, once a month. The music is good and challenging for the most part, forcing me to keep my practice level up to a reasonable standard

The other new start is that I have finally gone full circle and landed right back where I started, creatively, working with my nutfolk, full of new unique ideas. Having taken that break from them, I now have decided to take time and really CREATE them....not just throw them together. For those of you who don't know what I do or have done.....I have them on a site at picturetrail
They are combined with other work, but the main creations are under Nutfolkery.
The ones that are posted are done as non-hanging ornaments.....I now plan to go back to hanging ornaments....and therein lies of the story of their beginning.

Quite a few years ago, I was searching around for some "crafty" thing to do and found these two books on making Christmas ornaments out of nuts. So I started using the directions from the books. However, as time went on, I realized that there were much further directions I could go in. So I put the book aside and proceeded to create people, and animals in different situations ....all as hanging ornaments....except for the cows (which are entirely my own creation). As I became familiar with polymer clay, I thought that I would use it to make some of the accessories of my little nut people. It worked, but took more time....time that I didn't I reverted back to using felt and popsicle sticks and pre made accessories.

The last time I had them in a craft fair (one I had been in for years!)...I didn't sell a one...first time ever... so I decided that someone was trying to tell me something and I haven't been in a craft fair since. That was 4 years ago. In the meantime, I had been encouraged to write stories about my little people....for children. At the time I thought it was a marvellous idea....and I have copyrighted the name of my people and work.

When we retired to Kamloops, I decided that this would be a good opportunity to make good on the story I started trying to write stories of the varied little guys that inhabit my workroom. However, as some may know....stories don't just appear...they have to creep up on you and niggle your imagination and force you to sit down and put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard!) I managed to get a few stories done, but then life intervened and they have sat....despite enumerable efforts on my part to get motivated. I had intermittently been working with my little guys and managed to photograph them, put them on pedestals, take them from being hanging ornaments to just ornaments and then published them on Picturetrail. Finally, I decided to put everything aside and just let something happen....

So.... I started trying out different artistic pursuits...sketching, watercolours, getting interested in vintage fabric, textile art, sewing, and I even bought a tatting shuttle to try to learn that almost lost and delicate art. No nutfolk...and no polymer clay.

One night about two weeks ago, I got an epiphany and shot up out of bed and headed down stairs to my workroom. I hauled out all my half made ornaments and set them up on my work table, put on the "daylight" light and just stared at them. The ideas just came fast and furious....about everything.

So the upshot of all of this is.....I have applied for a craft fair and if it's available, I will be in it on Nov. 26. I have mentally decided what I'm going to do and I have started work on some new ideas for creating nutfolk. As to the writing...ideas always occur to me as I'm working, so I will jot them down and hopefully it will help to create stories. I will still use polymer clay, but organize it so that one day will be put aside for claywork (like penguin flippers, top hats, penguin feet and beaks, mouse tails...etc....) because claywork requires cooking and that takes best to heat my little convection oven all on one day (or maybe two) and get it all done at once. Then I can just put my little guys together and the fun begins...dressing them....the ladies in lace and velvet and the men in toques, top hats, skiis, scarves etc. I don't think that I will totally limit them to Christmas, but make them so that they can be used at Christmas or just hung from a lamp stand or something similar!!

You see.....I finally realized after all my whinging....that what I do is sounds somewhat odd...."nut ornaments"....but I make them special and I do it well...and I have never see anything like what I do. So I think here the old adage applies...albeit somewhat changed for my purposes...."if it ain't broke, don't fix it" ....and my addition is "just gently improve it!!"

So there you have mojo is BACK!!

......and while I work...I listen to RTE Lyric FM out of Ireland....and hear what life is like 8 hours ahead and over the pond!!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

.....Is that sunshine??

Things are coming to me.....ideas.....direction.....insight.....and occasionally joy!!

I feel that I have been in a somewhat bleak area of my mind in the past months and I think now the sun is starting to break through. The light is beginning to glimmer and my mind is beginning to work the way it was meant to.

Time and again, I am suddenly struck with a thought to which I respond by saying (in my head) "That's it...of course....that's it, now why didn't I think of that before?" I try not to get too enthusiastic because, of course, one doesn't want to "jinx" it :-).

However, there are times when I just smile and think YES!!!

I just wanted to blog that along!!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Special Lady.....

This is about a very special lady in my life. She is 95 years old, a free spirit, a mother, an artist in so many ways, a writer, and a musician . She is not my mother, but she is the closest thing to my mother. (My mom died in 2003). I love her to bits.

We talk on the phone regularly and we giggle, laugh uproariously, discuss and exchange ideas, news about the family and she is a sounding board for me and my life. I always feel so good after talking to her.

An example of part of our conversation....a somewhat trivial part, but nevertheless a funny, happy and delicious part....we were discussing the differences between Tickleberry's Ice Cream in Okanagan Falls (where we both have visited) and an ice cream stand in her area .......especially the double and triple cones. This conversation lasted for a good five to ten minutes filled with much laughter!! She enjoyed remembering Okanagan Falls and I enjoyed....well....I enjoyed talking about ice cream!!!

She also recounts stories of her life in Victoria in the early years of the 20th century, clear, descriptive and if you've any imagination at all, you live it as she tells it. She speaks with humour and compassion about her early life and it's a fascinating way to spend time....on the phone or in person.

She is in a wheelchair, but still keeps her own spacious apartment. She cooks and bakes, entertains, plays the piano, sends email on the computer (she has a laptop), writes children's stories and then illustrates them in her own unique way and her apartment is a gallery of her paintings and sculptures. She can talk about anything, she reads voraciously, keeping up with world events. She is bound and determined to live to be 100.....and I think she will do it.
She has an enthusiasm for life that I can only hope that I would have at that age.

She is my mentor, she is my role model, she is everything that I want to be when I grow up!!