Monday, October 24, 2011

Are you a cluttered creative?

Enjoy this mirror of my Tuesday post for the Love My Art Jewelry blog, and have yourself a wonderful, harmonious day.

My name is Patty and I am a cluttered creative.  It's gotten to the point where I need to have a few grown up words with this demon.  My creative space, my office, my bedroom closet, my garage - where to start?  There are so many targets of opportunity.  Don't get me wrong - you won't be seeing me on an episode of "Hoarders" any time soon (probably never), but the ratio of stuff to space has just become a little overwhelming in our small space.  My ability to create is hampered by my inability to find things on my crowded workbench, and there is no free space to start new projects.  I have purchased special storage containers, and have even started using some of them, but I fall down in the regular upkeep.  I am weighed down by a feeling of overwhelm.

The key, I'm told, is that once you purge your life of clutter, you make room for new things, new joy, and new experiences.  Since my mantra for this year is "Release", I plan to interpret it literally and make some hard decisions.  Release materials I know deep inside that I'll never use.  Release clothing I should have never bought, or no longer wear.  Release my mind from old ways of thinking to embrace the new.  Right.  Easier said than done.

And then I found Jennifer Hofmann over at the blog, and I am hopeful.  Her site is aimed at creative people, and she has a ton of great, gentle advice.  I clicked on the cloud tag "clutter", and found this great set of posts.  I was hooked the minute I read this "Manifesto for Cluttered Creatives", and it starts like this...
I have the right to express myself 
(c) Jennifer Hofmann, Inspired Home

to live my life as I see fit
to say no and mean it
to say yes with my whole being to what I love

I have the right to my own creative space
to draw a real or imaginary line around my domain and claim it for myself
to a door that closes
to absolute silence when I need it

I have the right to spread out
to interact with my ideas
to see them
to touch them
and doodle in the margins
until the ideas seep into my bones and become mine

I have a right to a sacred space
that is free from intrusions
that is free from guilt
that completely supports my spirit
that is truly sacred space
powerful as an ancient circle of standing stones...

for the rest of this wonderfully inspiring manifesto visit the inspiredhomeoffice website.

Invigorated by what I read, I attacked my closet last weekend, and I won.  A small closet, and as such, a small victory, but a monumental boost for my morale.  Does anyone need any hangers?  Not the wire ones from the dry cleaners - those are all bundled up ready to return.  I actually have free plastic, metal, and wooden hangars, and free cubby space in the closet.  And floor space.  And room to move hangers about on the rod.  Hot damn.  I've got a carload of items for Goodwill and a small pile of decent things that can actually go to the wonderful Career Closet.  Yay.  Baby steps, right?

My attention next turned to the guest room I use as a temporary office, and I made some headway.  Two bags of shredded paper, and dwindling piles. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now I need to go face the hydra in my studio...

and this is only one fraction of the space...

Are you like me, or have you already found the secret to avoiding this kind of disaster?  Do tell...I'm with you either way in this never ending quest for simplicity, harmony, and opportunity. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Idyllic Fall Weekend

I have finally assimilated into Northern California Living.  On Saturday I helped a friend to harvest her wine grapes, and it was an awesome way to fill an afternoon.  My only regret is that I was too camera shy to capture more images of the people and sights when we celebrated afterwards...the lovely late autumn light in the hilltop barn among the vines, the spiny lobster sizzling on the grill, children playing among the wine making equipment, face after satisfied face around the long table we dined on.  My very first ever glimpse of a monkeytail (honestly, I had no idea this was going on.  I am the last person on earth to notice facial hair trends.  Truly.).  But I did get a few shots of our work time.

 Not a great year for Santa Cruz Mountain grapes, but the vineyard yielded an occasional pocket of goodness.

 I learned the 2 bucket trick quickly - one to sit on, one to fill.  My back thanked me hours later.  Most of the grapes were below waist level on the vine.

 Bob and the gang sorted, de-stemmed, and generally did all of the hard winemaking work.

 The destemming machine was amazing.

 Stems be gone!

Soon this will be delicious pinot noir.

Ken and his son came in this awesome amphicar, and it looks just like this one - can you believe it?  He apparently built it from a kit. In addition to the license plate required for terrestrial use it bore CF registration numbers required for aquatic use.  How cool is that?

 It's a car.  It's a boat.  It's an amphicar!

The lifejacket in the back seat was the finishing touch.

And we did get some shots with the girls, but unfortunately most of them make me look like the Crazy Chicken Lady, or the Crazy Bead Lady, or maybe just a Crazy Lady, but the chicken photo shoot mission was accomplished.  The shorter days have been mirrored in no uncertain ways with our girls - with the Princess has stopped laying altogether it seems, and eggs from Chica are becoming rare.  Lucille, our star layer, is still aiming for one a day, but misses every now and then.  I put a light inside the coop to perhaps coax a little more from them this winter, but we'll see how that is received.

 Princess Lay-A, who probably needs a new last name now that the days are shorter, as she's slacking off her duties.  Wait until she finds out about that "earning her keep" deal...I bet she comes around then.  If not, I guess we wheel the Weber down there, as some friends suggested (no!  just kidding Miss Princess!).

 Lucille has been the best layer ever, continuing to outshine her "sisters" into the early fall.  She was taken with the beads in my necklace, but not so much that she didn't enjoy a nice waddle fondling.  Who wouldn't?

Finally, I paid a visit to my friend Rachel during Santa Cruz Open Studios this weekend, and she was radiant in her new short haircut.  I loved her hair before, but I must admit that her new do keeps pace with her cutting edge artistic flair.  I just love visiting her studio, where inspiration is found in every glance.  Her space there among a number of talented artists there in the 17th Avenue Studios was animated, with lots of visitors.

The eye candy in Rachel's space is un. frigging.  believable.

 Sea Star Bangle, by Rachel Nelson-Smith.  If you want to see her amazing c.v., it's here.

Yes, I did get back into my own studio, but it was not terribly satisfying, as it was hard for me to pick up on some of my more challenging projects after my long hiatus.  I think I need to start with some of the more straightforward ones, instead of the experiments in progress I put on the shelf a while back. 

So, that's it in a rather large nutshell.  I hope the early fall is being uber-kind to you. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yeah, this one's for you.

Bursting heart necklace by Artesserae, on Etsy.  This San Francisco-based artist does some really cool work - check out her pomegranate pieces.

My heart is just bursting with love.  I have been in a cave of self-imposed exile for some time now, mostly disconnected from all of my normal social feeds, not writing like I normally do, just trying to figure out this crazy train ride called "life", and my space has been rather empty and echo-ey.  I had a birthday yesterday and much to my surprise it was just amazing, filled with all kinds of love that caught me by surprise, since it was a regular work day (a full one, at that) and my husband was out of town.  Four different people or groups sang happy birthday to me, and tons of wonderful peeps from all over the world sent greetings through Facebook (the birthday feature is amazingly one of the best things about that site), email, and the phone, and more than one card I received brought tears to my eyes.  Much to my delight, friends I had not heard from in years reached out, and ones I see more often left me small gifts on my doorstep.  It was unbelievably sweet from the moment I opened my eyes until they fell shut late last night.

Mother nature reached out too, by presenting me with the biggest, most perfect harvest moon ever, an owl silhouetted on a wire, spectacular morning fog blankets in the seaside farm fields, and a quick glimpse of a fleeing coyote or mountain lion just outside the range of my headlights as I drove on our road last night.  The moon caught me by surprise in a big way, and I actually heard myself say "Thank you, God" when I saw it.  Yes, this Pastafarian said that, and I was more surprised than anyone.  I wouldn't hold my breath on that one happening again, but I found it very interesting.

 So, thank you, friends, for the love that you show in so many wonderful ways. I am looking forward to some long overdue studio time this weekend, and to more birthday celebrations with my fellow Librans.  And possibly a photo shoot with chickens.  What could be better than that?  

Hugs and kisses ring from California artist SmilingSilverSmith, on Etsy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, October

It's amazing how many people I hold dear to my heart were born in this glorious month.  I can't think of a better month to enter this world, can you?  How can you beat warm hands held on cool nights, colorful leaves, and cider? Or the homecoming parade, football games, or soups and stews made to stock the freezer for the winter ahead?  Or the discovery of last year's most recently purchased sweaters, not worn enough to be tiresome, waiting to keep you toasty?  Or flannel sheets?

Happy Birthday my friends.  I hope your celebration is as special as you are.


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