Artist's Way Blog
Budding Out Creatively
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on February 28, 2023 at 7:25 PM|
Budding is defined as “Becoming larger as the normal process of normal growth.”
And with Spring SO close, isn’t this JUST the time to experience that in the natural world around us.
I LOVE that they name it: “Budding out is NORMAL and part of our growth.”
I’ve been taking daily garden walks and mentally noting the growth progression: “Daphne – check, tulips – check, Blueberries – not quite yet …”
And it’s getting me thinking … thinking about how we creatively bud out or how we stay in hibernation mode. Oh it’s SO tempting to want to stay hunkered down under the leaves/bedcovers, to tuck inside our homes and not venture out on a promising Artist’s Date. I get it! It sounds so cozy, so comfortable, SO safe.
And yet, is it? Is it really? Because while cozy/comfort has its place and SO understandable considering the last few years, it can rob us of spreading our leaves/wings and seeing what might be in store for us when we do.
Lately I’ve been noticing how budding out opens my world. I’ve had a bush in front of my front window and while it has a lovely green color, it also blocks my view of my oak trees, my view into the street and into my neighborhood. As part of Reading Deprivation week (‘member that?), I got it into my head that part of MY budding OUT was taking DOWN my bush. Step by step, sawing one branch and then another, I was amazed at the new view in front of me and how I felt like the world had opened up bigger for me: I now have more light, can see into the distance and have a new perspective.
Budding out often happens when folks experience the power of Artist’s Dates. New ideas emerge, moments of joy burst forth, excitement around new sensations experienced. One of my other budding experiences was while on an Artist’s Date at a coffee shop writing. I realized that I really wanted was my bandmates and I to finalize our band name. We’ve been playing together for 6 years now sans name and after some gentle (or so I claim!) prodding from me, they agreed “Kate lead the way – find us a good one.” I went to Easy Street Records on a whim and started scrolling through the album names thinking “Maybe I’ll be inspired here.” We’d already agreed to the first part of the name “Marina” because we love to play by water. We wanted the second name to capture the feeling we have after playing – feeling jazzed, transformed, renewed. While going through albums, one name jumped out at me: “Redemption.” I mulled it over “Marina Redemption, Marina Redemption” Hmmmm … I like it! (Plus Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies).” I shared it with my bandmates and they were ALL in. If you want to see, like and follow (the beginning of) our Facebook Marina Redemption page, join us HERE.
Now on my daily garden walks and I see the buds emerging, I root for them. I also picture what needs budding out in my life – what small steps/bud could emerge that could turn into a wonderful gift/flower for myself and others to take joy in.
I’m rooting for you, too (no pun intended!) as you consider what wants to be blossoming in your life this spring. HAPPY ALMOST SPRING!
Kate Gavigan, Creativity Teacher and Speaker
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on February 28, 2023 at 7:20 PM|
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023
Leaning Into Creative Impulses
As 2023 is literally around the corner, I’ve taken to pondering again what the coming year might mean for me. Instead of having a fixed intentions/resolutions, this year, I’m pondering this phrase:
“Embracing the Silly.”
In Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” Julia talks about how silly can be GOOD and how some of her best Artist’s Dates have been silly. The word "silly" though has a pretty bad rap – defined as “exhibiting or indicative of a lack of common sense or sound judgment.” However the synonyms for silly include both negative and positive attributes: “Mindless, loopy, frivolous, soft in the head, dippy, dotty, laughable, and childish.” I have heard from our students that some of their creative pursuits have been given these less than positive descriptions and stopped their creations in their tracks before they were allowed to breathe ... to take flight.
But I'm fighting back and allowing for the SILLY!
What’s wrong with “mindless,” “loopy” or “frivolous” for that matter? What I hear underneath those descriptions is PLAYFUL! When I’m in my PLAY, it might appear mindless, maybe even loopy or frivolous for that matter. But what does it give me, when I give myself permission to play, to be silly? I feel lighter, am delighted, and often admire the sweet efforts. Allowing for the “silly,” I even see positive trickle down effects. When I give myself permission to mess around with something that might not have some merit, I often free myself to “mess around” with other things in my professional or personal life.
I've gotten a jumpstart getting on the silly train as my latest endeavors have been playing with making little people out of acorns after watching a youtuber do the same thing. (mine are in the photo to the right). I had a blast, glue gun in hand deciding what head attire they needed and what their names were (they spoke up and declared their French names – think Pierre, Jacques and one American outlier name: Rudy). Are they mindless? Loopy? Childish? Maybe and yet they delight me (and many others who’ve seen them). Then a few days later, I had the impulse to make a tree out of buttons and a branch (Thank you Pinterest for the inspiration!) and voila (see my button tree to the left) and even stars out of yard sticks (above!). You could probably make an argument my button tree was due to my desire for color and spring buds (and you probably would not be wrong). However, I’m giving myself permission to go with what speaks to me as silly, just because it calls to ME.
Our students have been such an inspiration to me along these lines. I hear them allowing themselves to play with any number of new adventures: Crazy quilting, studying architecture, deep dive into knitting, writing, and any other number of adventures. I hear them often say “I have NO idea where this is going to go, but I’m giving myself permission to explore it.” And I say “hear hear.” And boy, do I hear them!
Now it may be a coincidence that very soon after my silly play, I had an inspiration to create a NEW ONLINE Artist’s Way DROP-IN Monthly class for Seattle Artist’s Way Alums starting at the end of January 2023 (More on that below). Whether something tangible came out of my mindless play or not, I’m so grateful for The Artist’s Way giving me permission to be silly – to lean into my creative impulses and see where it leads me – whether it’s a smile or a new class.
What is something silly YOU could lean into in 2023?
Wishing you DELIGHTFUL creative impulses this coming year of 2023 and much much JOY.
(And hope to see some of you in our weekly Artist's Way Class for Alums OR our monthly Drop-In Artist’s Way Class on the last Thursday of the month).
Kate Gavigan, Creativity Teacher and Speaker
This Holiday Season: Give the Light
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on December 14, 2021 at 5:30 PM|
I get delighted by lights this time of year.
Dec. 1 hits and I start rummaging around my bins for my classic small white lights and up they go, strewn around anything that will hold them up (knitting needles – “sure, why not!?” Lights around lamps?, “yup, sounds good!”;).
Maybe it’s just the darkness of the season in the Pacific Northwest, the desire for coziness and maybe even to conjure up the warmth that I picture is deep cell encoded of recollection of fires in the homestead my grandparents and great grandparents experienced.
Maybe it’s more than that?
At the end of our 12 week Artist’s Way classes, we have a little fun with a classic song “This Little Light of Mine” (I’m going to let it shine.) That song seems to encapsulate in 12 words what we are trying to get in touch with over 12 weeks. Can I allow myself to explore what calls to me, tickles me, intrigues me? And once I explore it, can I allow myself to let myself mess around, goof around, noodle around with it and allow for whatever comes out of it to shine?
Recently, I was curious about the origins of the song This Little Light of Mine so did a little research. It’s still a little unsure who was the original author of the song but there can be no doubt that it has captured the imagination and musical passion of many amazing musicians including Odetta singing with the Harlem Boys Choir on Letterman - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yrB7ePz5CM ; or Bruce Springsteen singing it live in Dublin - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0qAYq1GVec, Sister Rosetta Tharpe - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj3fpujjFis. Watching each of these amazing performances, I get so excited watching them shine THEIR light that it makes me want to follow along in the conga line of light sharing.
As I head into holiday gift giving, I can feel overwhelmed with the “What would SHE/HE want?!”
This year is different.
I thought “Wait a minute, what if I think about what is in THEM that shines a light and find something that would foster their gifts and talents so they can SHINE some more!”
It freed me up. Big time.
So what might be that for those in your life?
How do they shine their light?
What do you see in them that SHINES … maybe it’s something they don’t even see in themselves?
Do they have a snazzy way of dressing?
Do they love to sculpt, draw, sing, dance?
Does their heart sing when they garden?
I enjoy looking at Christmas’ long ago and some stand out more than others. Our family had the traditional “stand in front of the tree” family photos and most of them look like we are being held photo hostage just waiting for the “click” to happen so we can get back to the fun.
Except for one photo.
It’s my cowboy brother staging a stick-up with me in the role of the stick-up-ee.
I love that photo. It was one of the first times I remember thinking “I love whatever this is (acting).”
That love of acting stayed buried for many years but eventually popped back up at age 40 (it’s NEVER too late to explore your creativity!).
I’ve had a blast exploring it ever since then.
I’m so grateful my mom took on the role of director and said “Hey, what if you guys …”
Indeed, “What if?”
What if we saw each other’s lights and honored and fostered them.
In doing just that, I see a very MERRY Christmas ahead of us.
P.S. We think our Winter 2022 Artist's Way Classes via Zoom make a GREAT Christmas gift! If you're not able to gift a class, consider giving Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way book to a loved one. It can foster their creativity in amazing ways!
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on November 11, 2020 at 6:25 PM|
"My isn't she yar!?"
I've been itching for a sailboat ride - BIG time. I'm not sure why exactly. Some of it makes sense. I love the water, always have. Adventure, pirate movies were a childhood favorite. But it feels like something else, too. I've had a number of close people in my life move out of Seattle lately so maybe it's about wanting to actually ride the metaphor of folks sailing away? Whatever it is, I'm ready to scratch it.
Hmmm but where to begin? I listened to Christopher Cross' Sailing, I watched sailing vlogs, I made it part of my Artist's Date to ask around for boat charters. As synchronicity would have it, I was directed at Shilshole to a sandwich board for Sound Experience. I checked out the website and there was HER picture and her name, "The Adventuress".
JUST want I had in mind - part pirate and part explorer vibe with a name I'd willingly have as MY nickname. I was ready to SIGN UP but ... hold up ... yup, Covid strikes AGAIN. They're having to hold off on their public charters for the immediate future.
So what's a gal to do? (tapping fingers, tapping fingers, tapping fingers ... snaps fingers!)
"OK, if I can't go out on the Adventuress right now, I can at least BE the Adventuress!"
Covid Critic: "Is that still allowed?"
Adventuress Me: "Ummmm, YES!!"
That sailing seeking baby step got my adventure seeker ears and eyes open. It also helped to remember Julia Cameron's encouragement that when you are wanting to expand your creative output to continue to "fill your well with images." So, if my Adventuress sailing adventure would have to wait, then what's next?
As synchronicity would have it (again!), I had a family member inquire about some genealogy research I had done on the Irish side of my family. It got me going on a long set aside project to finish the Irish Gavigan Family Tree (almost done!) AND led me to reminisce on the Irish friends I'd met when I did trainings in Ireland. I realized it'd been many many years since I got to chat with this one Irish friend in Derry and in no time we were scheduled for a Zoom call.
We had a delightful chat with images abounding including hearing my friend's great laugh, seeing a glimpse of his sweet pup and being given encouragement for the impending rains.
Me: "So how are you dealing with the impending Irish Rain?"
Friend (Insert Irish accent): "Awwww Kate, you know there's no bad weather, just bad gear."
It also got me to to to REI and buy those REI rain pants I've put off getting for years and now I'm OUT walking/adventurizing (ESPECIALLY in the rain).
I haven't abandoned the sailboat ride plan or finished metabolizing my feelings of loss around friends' departures (thank YOU morning/mourning pages!), but all of it is USE-ful. I may wait for the Adventuress or perhaps will look into options down at the pier. But here's the amazing thing about those baby steps, instead of taking me out to Shilshole Bay, I got to go to IRELAND (in several ways) ... apples instead of oranges.
Where are YOUR baby steps taking you?
Adventure Meditation from Julia Cameron’s Daily Reader:
“Humans are by nature adventurous. Watch a toddler expand her territory a wobbly step at a time. Watch a teenager test curfew. Watch an eighty-year-old grandmother sign up for an art tour of Russia. The soul thrives on adventure. Deprived of adventure, our optimism fails us. Adventure is a nutrient, not a frivolity. When we ignore our need for adventure, we ignore our very nature. Often we do exactly that, calling it “adulthood” or “discipline.” When we are too adult and too disciplined, our impish, childlike innovator years to rebel.”
Hope you stay healthy and INSPIRED and Adventuress as we head into Fall!
AND our WINTER 2021 Artist's Way Classes are NOW OPEN for Registration - ALL ONLINE/ZOOM - THREE (count 'em 3!) Classes!
We hope you can join us for one of our classes!
Shining a Light on Being Willing to Grow
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on June 29, 2020 at 7:00 PM|
I sometimes “hear” the title of my blog posts and I begin writing almost like I’m in a trance or as Julia says “like I’m taking dictation.” Those are my favorite writing moments. But THIS time another title popped up shouting “look at me!” doing its best to relegate the original title to a smaller role. It won.
My new title “Shining a Light on Being Willing to Grow” is on my mind for many reasons.
As I continue to work on my creative practice and see the practices developing in my students, I am more aware of the challenges and obstacles that can derail us from our growth. These blockers keep us from allowing ourselves to be the WONDERFUL people we are, USING our tremendous gifts and talents. These creative lessons have some parallels to my willingness to grow in other areas of my life such as educating myself more on what I can do personally and as a business owner to combat racism and to support the message that Black Lives Matter. I wasn’t alone. I heard my students making comparisons of their own.
For me, it started with a skirt.
I’d been working on this skirt for weeks. It started out with a desire to do something with some fabric I had. Challenges arose pretty quickly (i.e. not enough fabric, seams not matching up) and after much seam ripping and internal lamenting, I gave the skirt and myself a time out. And there it sat on the sewing machine. Waiting.
And I reflected, “What was it that was keeping me from moving forward?” I revisited several Artist’s Way chapters and I could see the blocks. Anger was surfacing (“Why can’t I do this?!”;), Shame, too (“You should have NEVER started this, you don’t know how to do this!).
But the desire to shine a light on my desire to grow was also there. Thank. Goodness.
Was I willing to listen? (“You can rip out seams as many times as you like!) Was I willing to try to move forward even if I didn’t do it perfectly (“Yes, you can try pairing satin with cotton!") Was I willing to take a risk (“Can I really add a piece to the pattern?!")?
At the same time, I was reading more and listening more on the topic of Black Lives Matter. I heard things like “listen” and “move forward” and “educate yourself and grow”. Also experiencing feelings of shame around “I should have been doing more sooner.” And again … thank goodness for growth … being reminded to respond kindly to myself AND ALSO take baby steps.
My baby step is to take time to listen and hear stories from black men and women sharing their day to day personal stories of encountering racism hearkening back from childhood to present adult life. Those stories bring up a myriad of emotions ... anger, shame and again a desire to grow, to listen more. (Here's some powerful stories and here.)
I was moved once again by the power of stories. The stories of others. Our stories. Stories give us the power to heal, the power to teach, the power to allow us to shine a light. To grow and change. I hear often how it can be tempting to want to put away those things that disturb us whether it’s skirts we can’t seem to complete or feelings that are hard to face. I’m reminded though that when we give ourselves permission to shine a light and to grow, amazing things can and do happen. Often far greater things than we could ever imagine.
I did finish the skirt. I took a risk. I allowed myself to continue. To listen to those critical voices and to gently talk back to them. I look forward to doing more of the same in all areas of my life.
Wishing you encouragement as you grow.
Our Fall Artist's Way Classes are Now Open for Registration! For more info, go to our Class Offerings page!
Taking Another Breath
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on June 1, 2020 at 3:20 PM|
When we were asked to shelter in place two weeks, I felt a little nervous, curious and a smidge of hopeful as to how it would be to navigate THAT much home time. But I then summoned up my best inner Bart Simpson "Let's DO this!" enthusiasm. When I heard we'd be doing another month of home time, my response felt a little more like Maggie Simpson's squeaking out through her pacifier "CAN (squeak) we (squeak) do this?"
My NEXT thought was (a la Jaws) "We're going to need a bigger boat.."
Do I mean literally a bigger boat/house? In my dreams that'd be ideal ... but not likely. Replace "boat" with "breath" and that's more like it.
I realized that I'd been holding my breath a bit the last few weeks seeing a little light at the end of the two week tunnel. I could appreciate the need to extend the stay, but also realized I was going to need to adapt again to this new reality. Here's the thing ... I was going to need to take a much bigger breath ... probably loads of little breaths ... and the breaths might be actual ones (funny how I hold my breath often in new situations) and also breathe in and speak out new ideas of how to navigate these unchartered waters.
So here's my plan:
1) Remember "JOY" is STILL allowed to be in the house.
There have been moments over the last two weeks where I've felt guilty for allowing for play and joy. When so many people are suffering in so many different ways, it's easy to think we need to do the same. I am finding the opposite. In making room for joy and play, I'm MORE able to be present (and have empathy) for others than I would be otherwise. I experimented with PLAY on an artist's date last week where I went for a walk and found an abandoned train. I realized it was on my bucket list to jump a train. I decided to leap at the chance and hung suspended by a ladder and selfie'd that item off my list. (see below). I cracked myself up and shared it with friends and got smiles in response.
2) "Go where your creative impulse is leading you."
The last few weeks it's been taking me to Italy. Perhaps it's because my heart has been going out to all those affected by the coronavirus including all of those in Italy. Seeing the ways in which Italians have embraced their creativity to comfort and heal their fellows has been uplifting. In solidarity, I've taken to using the free Duolingo app and trying on Italian. I found myself wanting to hear some Italian singers and synchronistically a friend sent me (out of the blue) a link to Sour Kristina singing on the Italian version of The Voice. Link below. She's my new favorite rock star.
3) Walking is my new best friend.
Since like you, my outdoor options have been limited, walking has been a daily ritual. However lately, I was starting to even weary a bit of that. BUT then Julia Cameron to the rescue! Rereading Chapter 11 in the Artist's Way, Julia talks about the value of movement. She says "the act of motion puts us into the now and helps us to stop spinning." AND "Exercise is often the going that moves us from stagnation to inspiration, from problem to solution, from self-pity to self-respect. We DO learn by going. We learn we are stronger than we thought." It was just the medicine I needed to lace up my sneakers with a renewed sense of eagerness.
Julia notes that "the stringent requirement of a sustained creative life is the humility to start again, to begin anew."
I'm doing that today ... beginning anew ... for another month ... or however long it takes.
I'm willing to be a beginner again in these new, extraordinary times. I look forward to hearing how you're navigating these waters. Take CARE!
Enjoy the creative links below.
Artist's Way Speaker and Instructor
Photo above of Seattle by Kate Gavigan
Photos below: Italians performing in quarantine and Kate playing around on a train (stationary!)
Artist's Dates in Quarantine
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on April 17, 2020 at 7:10 PM|
Artist Dates in Quarantine
Julia Cameron in "The Artist's Way" talks about one of the key creativity tools is the weekly Artist's Date. An Artist's Date is a time for you to go have FUN for an hour or two a week by yourself (solo!). Why Artist's Dates? We sometimes hear from our students "I already spend so much time alone, why do this?" And then they try an Artist's Date and they have a new awareness as to the benefit. There is something about heading out on an Artist's Date and saying to yourself "This is my Artist's Date." Our students report seeing things in a new way, paying attention to details they normally would miss and carving out time to allow for fun and play which lifts their spirits and gives them new inspirations. And that's just SOME of the benefits!
Here are more reasons Julia says Artist's Dates are a wonderful creative resource - Artist's Dates ...
1) “Allow us to receive – to open ourselves up to insight, inspiration, and guidance”
2) “Allow for self-nurturing”
3) “Can make your work feel like play.”
4) “Allow for self-intimacy”
5) “Give us the time to cultivate our creativity”
6) “Help us fill our well with images”
That sounds great, you might say, but HOW do we do Artist's Dates while we are in Quarantine and in shelter-in-place and have limited movements in the public sector?
Excellent question! Our Winter 2020 Artist's Way students were asking the same thing and they came up with some FANTASTIC ideas. We focused on #6 above and tried to answer the question "How do we fill our well with images?" ESPECIALLY, when our images are starting to look VERY similar in our homes.
Here's what we/they came up with:
1. Walks became a REGULAR artist's date go-to while we are hunkered down in our homes. The challenge was HOW to make the same walk seem more inspired. We asked ourselves how could we pay attention in a new way. Here were some FUN ideas:
*Instead of walking the same direction - make a small change and walk the OTHER direction noticing what you see going THIS way and not THAT way.
*On your walk look at what you are wearing and trying to find colors in plants, cars, et ctr. that match your clothes color item and take a picture
*When you come upon a hopscotch on your walk path or a chalk direction to "hop three times and clap your hands 5 times" - embrace the PLAY and DO IT!
2. DISCO time! We had two students who unbekownst to each other bought a disco ball to install in their homes and were having solo DANCE Parties/Zoom parties with others
3. CLASSES online! What a gift it has been to have so many in the arts open up their classes for free or for very little (including dance classes like a very popular Dance Church event happening locally online).
4. Challenge yourself to learn a language (Italian?) - baby step your way through it using DuoLingo and emersing yourself in Italian films online to see if you can catch a word here or there - "Grazie" .... "Prego". Have fun watching Italian Singers on the Italian version of the Voice. Here's one of our favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpaQYSd75Ak&t=383s" target="_blank">Suor Kristina.
5. Wear your mask and make a quick trip to Home Depot and pick up some plants (photo above) to spruce up your yard and create some new colorful images. Dream a little - do pansies spark your fancy or do snapdragons bring you back to sweet memories of your grandma's garden? Embrace your intuition and snag what makes your heart sing.
6. Go for an Art Walk in your own home - take pictures of your art - or just some section of your art and REALLY look at it - pay attention to the color, to the brush stroke, to the attention the artist gave to the picture. Maybe even try to do some art in the style of that artist.
7. Take your daily walk to the beach and write an inspiring message in the sand - "Courage" (or in Italian ... "Coraggio!").
8. Before your walk draw a smiley face on your mask or the word "HELLO!" and notice the thumbs up, smiles from your social distancing fellow walkers.
9. Get out those paints at home and if you don't have a canvas - improvise! What do you have around you could draw on? Any wood in your garage you can repurpose and use as a canvas? Play with what you have! Get your inner Jackson Pollock on and let yourself have FUN with paint and color.
10. DRAW - think you can't? Try this ... go around your house and find shapes that call to you - get a piece of paper and trace the shapes around on a piece of paper in whatever way pleases you. When you are done, color it in - add lines, images that call to you. Allow yourself to enjoy the meditative feel of picking up markers and crayons and moving the drawing implement across the page. (See below for our student Trish's cool shapes!).
Allow yourself to use your imagination! To quote an acting teacher of mine, "Your imagination is a muscle, the more you use, the stronger it will get." YES!
Wishing you INSPIRATION and BABY STEPS as you try on some new Artist's Dates and allowing for FUN and PLAY and JOY! All needed during these extraordinary times!
P.S. Our Winter 2022 Artist's Way ZOOM Classes are Now Open for Registration with classes starting in mid-January and running 12 weeks. Classes on Monday nights or Friday mornings. JOIN us for FUN as we rediscover our creativity. More info on our Class Offerings or Register for Classes pages.
Here are MORE Artist's Date Ideas in Quarantine from our students:
*prismacolors (or other colored pencils)
*adult coloring books
*at-home spa day (facial, manicure, etc.)
*walk or drive around and look for lilacs (or whatever other spring flower you like)
*bake and decorate a cake, cupcakes, or cookies
*order your favorite berries from a local farm online, and make homemade jam
*Shakespeare day (or other literary classics)
*go through your closet and makeup drawer, and play dress-up (and toss or donate whatever you don’t wear/use)
*take your journal and/or sketchbook to a park (observing social distancing, of course)
In Times of Difficulty, Use It
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on March 18, 2020 at 8:10 PM|
In Times of Difficulty, Use it.
Easy to say.
NOT always easy to do.
But that’s what has been on my mind the last few weeks as the Coronavirus concerns have grown and the restrictions implemented here in Seattle and surrounding areas.
Coming face to face with issues we’ve never had to face, I find myself trying to somehow solve this unsolvable problem. My solutions have included trying to …
Get ahold of it (“I’m sure mega doses of Vitamin C will help me.”)
Metabolize it (“MORE news is better. I’m sure of it … Maybe if I click and reclick for the latest news story I’ll feel better …” 100’s of clicks later … not so much.),
Fight it (“I’ll just wash and wash and wash and wash …”).
“Yes, and” my way around it (“What have I been wanting to do at home that being here SO much I can finally get to?”)
And FINALLY accept it by incorporating a little bit of each of the above AND reading Julia’s Cameron’s section on Gain Disguised as Loss in The Artist's Way where she asks “How can this loss serve me?”
I am not one to Pollyanna my way through difficult situations and this is most definitely NOT to minimize the toll this crisis is taking on so many in our communities … Especially those who have tragically lost beloved family members to the disease … those who have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight … those who are homeless, those who live paycheck to paycheck and so on.
The crisis is real and the impact profound.
And yet …
And yet … I keep saying to myself … what am I supposed to do with this? With the situation I have been dealt? With THIS day?
A student pointed out the quote from Duke Ellington, “I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.”
I don’t know that I’ve been pouting, but I’ve been doing just about everything else.
So what would it look like if I USED my current circumstances?
Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, Chapter 8, which we are synchronistically on this week (of course we are!) talks about Gain Disguised as Loss and says “The trick is to metabolize pain as energy.” And to ask “How can this loss serve me?” Now, granted Julia is talking about when we have a creative loss, it can be helpful to ask these questions. However, I’ve been finding it helpful to apply that question to these extraordinary circumstances.
Here’s what that looked like for me today:
*Instead of checking and rechecking news articles today, I reminded myself of how that constant clicking started to feel like crazymaker behavior to me. I was reminded of Julia’s comment about how crazymakers do all sorts of creative blocking things. I thought “This Coronavirus is MY crazymaker” and it fits some of the categories Julia gives for crazymakers:
Crazymakers break deals and destroy schedules (“My schedule sure has been shot!)
Crazymakers spend your time and money (“Check”)
Crazymakers create drama (“Um, yes … and am I feeding that drama or setting it down and doing something useful/anything else?!)
Crazymakers hate order (“Check” “Check”).
and then ...
*I thought I could write about my conornavirus musings today. And did.
*I stopped in the middle of the road and took a picture of cherry trees (see above).
*I got out of myself and was of service to someone else.
*I worked on a project (just even a LITTLE bit) today I’d been putting off for ages.
*I re-watched a sweet video of this little girl whose reaching out to an older person at a grocery store changed both their lives for the better.
I know there is more I can/could do. And it looks like I’m going to get the opportunity to uncover what that will be.
I look forward to hearing and seeing how you and your colleagues, friends and larger community make sense of this experience. Those creations will likely help us ALL make sense of the unimaginable.
Those poems, paintings, songs, plays, short stories are needing to be born.
Here’s their chance.
Stay Safe and Well.
We are going to be NIMBLE with our Spring/Summer Artist's Way Classes 2020. Since we don't know yet what the restrictions will be in terms of attendance, we are going to offer to have the classes be a mix of online and/or in person. We will plan for IN PERSON but if need be will jump to ONLINE until we can meet in person. I'll be an expert ZOOM-er by then, I'm sure!
Our Spring/Summer 2020 Artist’s Way Classes are NOW Open for Registration! We appreciate you sharing about our upcoming Artist’s Way classes (and the e-newsletter!) with folks you think might be interested in joining us this coming Spring/Summer. We could DEFINITELY Use the referrals this summer.
The Artist's Way
Section 1: May 1 - July 31
Fridays, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
$395 (In person - possible online)
Note: No class June 5 and July 3
The Artist's Way
Section II: May 4 - July 27
Mondays,6:30 - 8:30 pm
$395 (In person - possible online)
Note: No class May 25
To register or for more information:
Thank you for sharing information about our classes with those who might be interested! Feel free to share via Facebook as well as on our Facebook Spring/Summer Artist's Way Classes
Time to go within and listen to what is wanting to be born!
Artist's Way Speaker and Instructor
Seattle Sunny Day Options for Artist's Dates
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on April 7, 2016 at 12:55 PM|
Seattle has quite the reputation for rain and a pretty deserving reputation, at that. However, we also get a fair amount of gorgeous sunny days and because of the frequent rainfall, when the sun comes out we are THAT much more appreciative. Here are some ideas for getting outside for a fun Artist's Date:
1) Take a Ferry ride - check out Vashon Island or Bainbridge Island but don't forget there are also some other gems like the small town of Manchester (take the Fauntleroy ferry to Southworth -only 40 minutes) and 10 minutes from the ferry is a sweet little town of Manchester with a charming library, community park and a nearby state park (they have a few restaurants but you might want bring a picnic as we didn't see a lot of grocery stores). Be sure and go into their library for a few minutes and check out their ongoing book sale - amazing collection of books - with many for sale at only $1.00 each!
Manchester picture below:
2) Check out the Japanese Gardens in town - the Seattle Japanese Garden
or the Kubota Gardens.
3) Rent a kayak and go paddle around - check out the Northwest Outdoor Center as one option.
4) Hang out at the Beach - the Madison Park Beach is one of our favorites. There's some great shade (for those of you who want less sun exposure) AND great sunny spots too. Beautiful spot to people watch and recline gazing on the lovely water! See below ...
5) Take a walk - SO many great parks but we love particularly Discovery Park on Magnolia - so pretty and you feel like you are out of the city. Photo below:
6. Our ALL time favorite Summer Sunny thing to do is to go to the outdoor pool - the Colman Pool - in West Seattle - set right on the beach with a great view of the beach and the mountains beyond it. PLUS the pool is HEATED SALTWATER - the BEST! Opens Memorial Day weekend and open through the summer. NOT to be missed! See below ...
7. Go outside to eat! Treat yourself to a cafe au lait outside and imagine you're at the wee French bakery in Paris. We have many favorite spots to enjoy the sun but some of our favorites are The Pink Door in the Public Market - they have a rooftop balcony which has some shady bits as well - gorgeous and SO pretty! See below ...
8. Bike somewhere! Anywhere! On a sunny day - So many great possibilities. Some of our faves are the bike paths from the UW over to Fremont and then onto Ballard. A lot of the path is right along the water - what a view - and then easy spots to stop and watch the boats strolling by and great places to munch along the way.
MORE IDEAS to come!!
Apron Love by Kate Gavigan
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on November 27, 2015 at 12:00 PM|
That’s where my creativity is sending me these days. And I am learning to not judge it.
Some days my creative spirit says “go learn that new Maverick's song on the Ukulele” or “go noodle around and try learning a song on your harmonica” or even “Take that Acting class with your FAVORITE instructor. You KNOW you want to!”
But the last few months, it’s all about loving (and making) retro aprons.
My gateway drug to fabric obsession surfaced after coming upon the super sweet store Seattle Recreative. If you haven’t heard of it, you are missing out on an adventure. They’re a nonprofit in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood that takes in donated art supplies, fabric and all sorts of wonderfulness and then resells it at a deep discount to the creative folk (that’s US!). I heard they were having a fabric sale – half off on already deeply discounted fabric – and I got that nagging “hmmmmm … now that sounds intriguing.”
And I’ve learned to listen to that “hmmmmm” and (mostly) don't try to figure out where IT will take me. Now, I just baby step my way to it. Though it would be SO very easy to listen to that looming internal critic… “And why are you considering getting fabric, missy? Did you forget the last time you sewed was in high school sewing class when Mary Kumasaka tried to help you and you managed to put the sewing needle through her long nail" (thank GOODNESS for long nails! And for missing her finger).
But here’s the thing … Now I stop, turn around and talk back to that voice...
“I think it’s safe to return to the sewing machine. I think the statute of limitations on sewing crimes has passed (some 36 years later)…” and “You know what works for you … take the next baby step – just go to the sale and see if anything calls to you.”
SO I got up early one chilly sunny Saturday morning and went to the sale heeding the fabric call. With my handy empty Frida Kahlo bag in hand ready to fatten up her image (maybe), the doors opened and I saw the mounds of glorious, wondrous fabric. I swear I could hear the angels soprano singing and the heavens humming “HMMMMMMMMMM …. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY”.
You think I jest. But there is something that happens to me when I listen to that wee call that says “go explore that thing” … it’s the feeling akin to downing a triple espresso or hearing your favorite musician playing at your beloved musical spot …” The goofy smile appears on my face and I’m in the giddy zone.
So away I went seeing what caught my retro apron maker eye and within an hour I was in the fabric bounty land. I sailed back home on the magic carpet of fabric goodies and gave them a nest in an old metal tin and I did the NEXT next thing. I grabbed an old retro apron of my moms and used it as a sample to make my very own apron.
And here’s the thing. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty sweet.
I also discovered that it’s really helpful to have NEW companions with you as you navigate new creative waters.
When I worked through that first project, I remembered some wisdom that someone from Made Sewing Studio (a super cool sewing class organization/studio in Seattle) had shared something her grandmother had told her about sewing in straight lines “My grandmother said ‘if someone can see your sewing stiches’ they are standing TOO close.” HA! My other “go-to” was from a book I read about doing things ugly and her suggestion was to call your seam reaper “your new best friend.” It’s amazing what a difference wee words of wisdom/encouragement like these can have on the fits and starts in the process of creation.
The voice I hear the most though is my mom’s.
She was the first artist I met though she would be the last person to describe herself in that way ("Ohhh anyone can do what I do!"). She could bake, sew, cook, paint, knit, play piano … pretty much anything. But it was her sewing, in particular, that I was in awe of and she was the author of the apron that I was using as a pattern.
When I somehow managed to sew two pieces together that were clearly meant to be two separate ties and not one, I could hear her laugh with me (boy oh boy and what a laugh she has) saying “Now how did you do that? (laugh laugh laugh) That’s ok, you can just rip it out … you just need to be sure that tie is to the left. You crack me up.” When I finished the first one, I could picture her beaming with pride … a bit of reflection to the beaming I was doing myself.
And then the first apron led to the second and to the third … that’s what I find with creative inspiration … it can propel you onward to the next cool thing …
“I DID it!” I would say to myself when I would pass the completed apron du jour that I had hanging in my creative space.
“YOU did it!” the aprons replied back to me along with … “Thank you for giving me some life.”
Because that’s what exploring our creativity does (not causes you to hear aprons talking back to you but ....)
It gives life.
To the item, to new ideas, to others who receive the gift or get filled up with the image of what you created. It inspires them to go explore their gifts, their quirky yearnings, their own “Hmmmmm’s”. Lately, I've noticed that I've had lots of other new ideas that I've been giving life to in my life both personally and profesionally. Is it a coincidence that those have been popping up just as I've been allowing myself the fun and joy in creating new aprons? I think not.
So much to be thankful for.
And I am … VERY thankful for all those who are willing to create and share their talents with all of us.
Such a gift.
To check out my available aprons for sale, go here.
Our Spring/Summer Artist's Way Classes are NOW OPEN for Registration with classes beginning beginning May, 2016. More info here.
This wonderful tidbit below on The History of Aprons was shared with me from one of our Artist’s Way students who found it on the internet. Thank you, Kendra!
"The History of 'APRONS'
I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..
And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.
Send this to those who would know (and love) the story about Grandma's aprons.
Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.
They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.
I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love."