Artist's Way Blog
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on November 27, 2015 at 12:00 PM||comments (3)|
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."
|Posted by Kate Gavigan on September 13, 2015 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
Julia Cameron in her book "The Artist's Way" describes an Artist's Date as a key tool in recovering our creativity. Simply put an Artist's Date "is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend again all interlopers." The benefits of Artist's Dates are numerous but one of our favorites is that Artist's Date feed our creative well of images which inspire us in immeasureable ways!
Artist's Dates can be incredibly fun but we often hear from our students that they feel stymied when thinking up a fun Artist's Date. The cool thing is an Artist's Date can be whatever sounds like fun to you. Some of our ideas below may strike you as great ones while others ones not so much ... just listen to what sounds like fun FOR YOU. And that might even change on your Artist's Date - you might head out to do one and realize half way through "hey, this isn't fun" and the great thing is since you are doing it solo you can change your mind and head off in another direction.
Here are just a few ideas for a fun Artist's Date ...
1. Go to the beach and make a picture in the sand with a stick.
2. Check out an art supply store and just wander around and see what catches your eye. Two of our favorites: Seattle Recreative and Artist's and Craftsman.
3. Take your camera on a walk and snap on what inspires you
4. Go swing dancing. Century Ballroom in Seattle has great classes and dances in all types (salsa, swing, waltz)
5. Go to the beach on low tide and see what critters are showing up in the tide pools
6. Check out a local museum and only look at what art calls to you. The Frye Museum is one of our favorites.
7.Take a notepad with you to a coffee shop and draw whatever calls to you
8. Learn a song on the harmonica - youtube is a great place to learn the basics of how to play
9. Go to a music store and look at all the cool instruments (and allow yourself to strum some even if you have never played one before). American Music in Seattle has some great instruments to check out.
10. Go to a slam poetry event. In Seattle, check out Seattle Poetry Slam.
11. Embrace your inner kid and go swing on a swing set or go down a slide
12. Wander around in a part of town you don't know well and stop in shops that call to you
13. Take a tour of the little library stands in your town. Not sure where they are - click on this map and type in your city.
14. Sit at a coffee shop and watch the fashion as it walks by
15. Go to a hat store and try on hats
16. Walk through a cemetery and create a story on what you see on the headstones
17. Go to a bead store and find some cool beads
18. Check out the pretty yarn at a yarn store
19. Go to a fish ladder and watch all the fish coming and going
20. Find an outdoor pool and go swimming.
21. Hang out at a park and observe how kids play
22. Go to a upholstery store and find cool fabric and reupholster a foot stool or a chair
23. Go to a park and watch the birds.
24. Go to your favorite ice cream shoppe and get a root beer float.
25. Check out places where you can have the sensation of flying - Ifly in Seattle is one option.
26. Try out an Acting Class sample and embrace your inner actor. Freehold Theatre in Seattle offers free quarterly acting class sample events.
27. Get your new favorite book and sit in a park and read for a whole hour (or two!)
28. Go to a movie by yourself (maybe treat yourself to a special movie house experience). The Big Picture in Seattle can be fun.
29. Go listen to some live music. Check out some local musicians at small music events like at Dusty Strings in Seattle.
30. Walk on the beach in your barefeet and pick up some rocks to skip.
31. Go on a whale watching tour.
32. Walk in the woods and listen to the sounds around you.
33. Take a rowboat out for an afternoon row. The UW has a great place you can do this.
34. Buy a razor scooter or borrow one from a friend and tool around on one (the stretch along Alki in Seattle is perfect for this).
35. Take a ferry ride (Bainbridge - 1/2 hour ride - Vashon - 20 minutes) and check out the local scene on the destination side.
36. Drive to an out of the way town and take a stroll around the town. North Bend can be a fun place to do this.
37. Try out a pottery class.
38. Go to that fancy clothing store you are too shy to check out and go in and allow yourself the fun of trying on some pretty/stylin' clothes (you don't necessarily have to buy anything) and notice what you like.
39. Go to the library or sheet music store and pick up some new piano music to try out.
40. Go stand up paddle boarding (perfect Solo event!)
41. Grab a basketball and go to your local neighborhood park and shoot some hoops (maybe pair it with watching your favorite basketball movie right before)
42. Check out a great documentary (POV has some good ones)
43. Take your computer to an inviting space (coffee shop/restaurant) and give yourself an hour of guilt free Pinterest watching/inspiration
44. Google the local film festivals in your town and schedule them into your calendar for a fun Artist's Date
45. Find an old piece of furniture and go to your paintstore and find the perfect color for it and go to town painting it.
46. Allow yourself to paint, draw badly - have fun with it!
47. Go to the art store and get some coloring books (they are the RAGE these days - especially for adults). If the adult coloring books don't call to you, allow yourself to pick up a kids' one and have fun.
48. Go to a local Goodwill and find pretty vintage fabric that calls to you and make something (apron, scarf)
49. Go to your local hardware store and find some wood and make something - art or birdhouse or?
50. Go to your local hardware store and browse. One of our favorites in Seattle is Hardwicks.
51. Find out about the local farmers markets and go and check out all the wonderful produce, fleurs and crafts.
52. Go to a gourmet-ish shop and buy some delicious new ingredients and make yourself a tasty dinner.
53. Make a list of restaurants that you have been wanting to try and give yourself the gift of going to one solo.
54. Take a drive to the mountains (we have beautiful Mt. Rainier in our backyard)
55. Go Snowshoeing or skiing
56. Go Snow inner tubing
57. Go to a water park and go on whatever rides YOU want to go on for as long as you want to. We have Wild Waves here in Seattle in the Summer months and Great Wolf Lodge in the Winter months
58. Grab a tennis ball and go to a court with a board and hit balls against yourself.
59. Go to a basketball game.
60. Go to a baseball game - minor leage games can be a lot of fun too
61. Go to a play.
62. Check out a local musical
63. Go to an Open Mic Night. Conor Bryne's in Ballard has a great Open Mic on Sunday nights.
64. Go play putt putt golf.
65. Go to a Golfing driving range and hit some balls
66. Go to an outdoor Art exhibit. The Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park is pretty cool.
67. Go to the Aquarium. Check out Seattle's Acquarium.
68. To to your outdoor Public Market and wander around - check out Seattle's Public Market.
69. Go to the Zoo and hang out with your favorite animals. See Woodland Park Zoo.
70. Get your flight on - go see some cool planes - like at The Museum of Flight.
71. Go to the Arboretum and see what is in bloom.
72. Check out some beautiful Japanese gardens - here in Seattle Kubota Gardens and the Japanese Garden
73. Go on a fun ride. Ferris Wheel, Roller Coaster.
74. Go sailing. In Seattle at The Center for Wooden Boats on Sundays you can sail for free. Check it out here.
75. Go out for some delicious Dim Sum.
76. Go look at some cool glass art. Chihuly Glass Exhibit has some amazing art,
77. Be a tourist in your own town - go on a local tour of your hometown offerings. Check out the Ride the Ducks in Seattle and ride an amphibious landing craft into the water.
78. Go to a ballet
79. Go to the Opera
80. Go to a wine tasting
81. Check out an independent record store and listen to and/or purchase some new/old music
82.Take your knitting to a favorite spot and knit away
83. Take your computer to a favorite spot and find some cool drawing online sites and draw away.
84. In fruit season, go pick some blueberries, strawberries, blackberries
85. Visit an organic farm and go on a tour
86. Treat yourself to a sweet on your Artist's Date walking outing (ice cream cone/gluten free pastry/tasty coffee)
87. Go to an old junk store and admire the beautiful old handcrafted furniture
88. Go to a jewelry store and notice which jewelry calls to you (maybe it'll inspire you to make some)
89. Go wonder around a plant store and take in the sites (maybe treat yourself to a coffee/drink as you do so). We have several lovely garden stores in Seattle. Swansons Nursery is pretty special.
90. Go to a used bookstore and see what catches your eye.
91. Go check out open houses in your neighborhood and admire the beautiful homes in your area
92. Go to some yard sales and allow yourself to choose one or two things to buy that just delight you.
93. Declutter your space and make room for one special item that makes you smile.
94. Go to the Library and find some movies that really call to you and give yourself permission to watch one for your Artist's Date.
95. Go through your closet and choose one dress up item and wear it out to lunch/dinner by yourself
96. Go to a pet store and hang out with some pets and maybe go read about them afterward
97. Find a local waterfall and sit by it and observe the wonder. Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State is beautiful.
98. Check out a local History museum such as Mohai.
99. Check out a public garden like The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge or the Bellevue Botanical Garden
100. Go for a bike ride.
101. Go roller skating.
102. Sit in a coffee shop and observe people and imagine if they were a character in a book you were writing who would they be - what is their backstory and start writing whatever comes to mind (dialogue too!)
103. Go running in a beautiful area
104. Go for a walk in nature and choose your favorite tree/plant and read more about it later
105. Walk through a p patch vegetable garden and be inspired by how folks designed their plots
We keep adding more ...
106. Go Fishing
108. Go on a train ride
109. Take a horse riding lesson
110. Go fly a kite
111. Go to a horse show or rodeo
112. Go see this amazing horseman in person - Buck Brannaman - he gives horse clinics and you don't have a horse to go observe (usually $30 a day to watch him train horses and their owners). He was the inspiration for the movie "The Horse Whisperer" and his horse teachings are more like "life teachings." His clinic schedule is here.
113. Go to the Library and select four random music CDs
114. Go to a parade
115. Go to a makeup counter and have a makeup DO-Over
116. Go Ice Skating
117. Do a Singing Lesson online
118. Go to a thrift store and have fun pairing mismatched outfits and/or allow yourself to try on things you would normally NEVER wear!
119. Go out on a paddleboat by yourself and notice the nature around you
120. Take in an Improv show - Unexpected Productions and Jet City Improv are two local Seattle ones.
121. Go to Tinkertopia - a creative reuse store - in Tacoma.
122. Like Poetry? Check out some of the poetry stores in town including the very cool Open Books (poetry bookstore). They have a bunch of great poetry reading events! They are located in Wallingford.
More to Come!
Our Spring/Summer 2017 Artist's Way classes will open for Registration on February 17 with classes starting the beginning of May. For more information on our classes, go to: Class Offerings