Shine Bright, Lucky Star!

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The last full day, Saturday, of Lucky Star is always a bit emotional for me – final classes, handing in our name tags, the big Girl Guitar performance, Show & Tell and vendor night! My final class was a new offering for me, Make the Book You Wish You Could Buy. It was a VERY customizable bookbinding project with options for paper, pockets, cover flaps, elastic wraps and MORE. We went little over-time, but it was a smaller group and everyone was super patient! They made absolutely beautiful books and I think (I hope) they will fill them to the last page with dreams, memories and all other manner of goodness.

Show & Tell night always begins with Mandy Rowden’s Girl Guitar class performance. This is always a highlight for me as I cannot fathom how she manages to teach everyone to play guitar and perform so expertly all in one half day session!! Mandy is truly a gifted teacher and performer – definitely check her out at mandyrowden.com (plus, she has a new album out that you DO NOT want to miss).

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Then Lisa opens the mike for anyone who wants to stand up and relate their camp experience, talk about or show something they made, brag on a teacher or student… I had the distinct pleasure of being proclaimed “awesomesauce” by sweet Athea, pictured with me above, plus several displays of student work on the Show & Tell tables. I cannot imagine better compliments.

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Then the vending begins!! I had lots of new books and other goodies that just seemed to fly off the table + there were TONS of hugs and sweet words offered about my classes and my work. I was truly on cloud nine by the end of the evening. Thank you SO much to everyone who stopped by to shop or say hello – love you all dearly!

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And that brings us to Sunday. 🙁 Sunday always brings on a very serious condition, known around camp as last-day-itis – symptoms include tears, deep/long hugs, promises to keep in touch, group photos (which I seem to not be able to access on the new Facebook Memories app – gotta figure that out!!!) and final words. I never seem to take any people photos on this day – I forget, I think, because I’m just trying to soak it all in so I can save the feelings and connections in my pocket til next year.

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I do always love to take a final photo walk around camp. This year, the mist and rain felt somehow fitting – like finally washing clean the muck I’d arrived with and cementing the new outlook I’d gained over the course of camp – connected, inspired, ideas flowing, eager to get home and jump in!!

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I really got a sense this year of people looking for meaning, connection, even a bit of spirituality and I’m seriously pondering how I might gently and mindfully bring a little more of that feeling to what I’m doing in the world. The last several days, I’ve seen so much emotion floating around the internet – tearful, at times angry, even a little hopeless. I have to believe that I can help to turn that around by continuing on this path of doing what I love, learning more about what that looks like, practicing kindness at every opportunity, shining in every possible way I can – along with my Lucky Star sisters. You just can’t believe how brightly they all shine until you come and experience it for yourself. See you next year?!

Categories: adventure, inspiration, teaching | 2 Comments

Lucky Star Prayers

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Prayers on the Wind was up on Friday – once again to a full room of 10 ladies! This class is very dear to my heart. I adore the lore behind prayer flags, most especially the idea of them bringing good will, not only to the person who hangs them, but also to the surrounding community. I’m a huge proponent of spreading love in the world through anonymous art – is there any more anonymous way to spread love than to hang a set of hand-crafted prayer flags?!

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We started the day by looking at the elements of Tibetan prayer flags, then we ran with it! Some flags related to nature…

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Some flags were about gratitude & living a peace-full life…

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Others seemed to be about balancing what’s important in our lives…

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It was a class that truly exceeded my expectations – each set was extremely detailed, deeply personal and just beautiful!

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I loved showing the ladies some basic print-making techniques, using the Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate, then watching them interpret those in their own way. We used natural materials, we made our own stencils, we interpreted commercial stencils in brilliant ways I never would’ve thought of… it was inspiring beyond words.

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And I haven’t met an artist yet that didn’t love a good stash of goodies!!!

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I have to say there was a certain energy at camp this year that was unlike any other year… something contemplative and deep, the hugs were unguarded and spontaneously given and there was a spiritual element that transcended politics or religion to be something more like deep & true connection with a higher power and with each other. This class may have contributed to that energy or maybe it just soaked it up – either way, it was beautiful to behold.

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Little Offerings Everywhere – Lucky Star Style

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Big Personal Challenge #2 came Thursday night – the second time in my life to hold a microphone!

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Lisa contacted me while I was still in Bali to say how much she was loving my photos of the offerings I was finding everyplace. She had an idea about doing something similar at Lucky Star and I was immediately on board!

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Over the weeks that followed, Lisa and I started brainstorming about how we might execute a “personal offerings” project at Lucky Star. We knew we wanted to keep them fairly natural and landed on corn husks, marigolds, natural materials found around Waldemar, fabric scraps and paper tags.

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Some of the key elements of Balinese offerings are…

  • wisdom – which equates to fire
  • protection – which equates to water
  • destruction – which equates to earth

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Some interesting parallels can be drawn between these elements and our experience at camp…

  • fire is often associated with passion, creativity and learning
  • water is about learning to navigate obstacles
  • destruction goes hand in hand with new beginnings and rebirth

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These are the very things that bring us to retreats like Lucky Star – to express our passion for creating and learning new things, to find ways of managing the inner critic that so often stands in our way and to learn to look at the world with beginner’s eyes.

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For the Balinese, daily offerings are made as an expression of devotion, a meditation/prayer, a gift for the maker, a sort of supplication to lower spirits who might otherwise make mischief and an invitation for goodness and protection. Their offerings always include a “poroson” or ignitor, without which the offering becomes purely decorative.

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For our project, we invited campers to “ignite” their offerings with wishes for the world – at large, at camp, in their cabins, in their families, even for themselves.

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As terrified as I was to speak in front of everyone, it went so easily! Everyone was super excited, asking questions, eagerly jumping into the supplies Lisa and I had provided, talking to me afterward to express their excitement for the project or share their own Bali stories. I was moved just by that! Then the offerings started to pop up everywhere! 🙂 Thank you so much to everyone who participated. I know I didn’t capture photos of all of them, but I could feel the love in the air and I’m so very grateful to you all. ♥

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As I write this post, the election has finally ended. I won’t express a political opinion here, but I will say I think we’ve been through a lot this year & a little love for the world wouldn’t hurt right now! Care to join me and my fellow campers? Make your offering to the world in whatever way fills your heart and post your photos to Instagram with the tag #littleofferingseverywhere.

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Click here to read more about my discovery of the Balinese offerings.

 

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Marbling Magic at Lucky Star

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The first full day of Lucky Star 2016 was my Marbling Magic class. We were in Depot this year and I loved it – there was a great front porch with posts to hang lines on, big doors on both sides to let the breeze flow thru and plenty of room for 12 students to spread out and marble their little Lucky Star hearts out!

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I have to say that Marbling is one of my favorite classes to teach. People get so excited when they see that first demo, they practically RUN back to their tank to get started!

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Then they start making the magic happen themselves!! The room fills with oohs and aahs, students admire each other’s work, they gleam and occasionally giggle when something particularly magical comes off the tank.

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I would swear there was a beam of light shining out the top of Depot by the end of that day! I know there was one shining out the top of my head the rest of that evening!! 😉

Our fearless leader, Lisa, even got in on the action – with sweet Penny looking on…

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I think we all would’ve appreciated a little actual sunshine, but our tanks adored the gray, humid day and there was MUCH success. I think there are 12 ladies headed out into the world to marble their hearts out!!

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Thanking My Lucky Stars

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Life sure is a journey! And it’s funny how, when we’re following our instincts, the journey seems to take us right where we’re supposed to go. I’ve just come back from another heart-full four days in the Texas hills at Lucky Star Art Camp and I can’t help but think about how far I’ve come.

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Lucky Star is a women’s art camp, held in the Texas hills every November at an historic girl’s camp, called Waldemar. This breath-taking property lies right on the Guadalupe river – think native stone, rustic wood, sweeping vistas, bunk beds (tho their wonderful staff is always careful to ensure we only have to use the lower bunks 🙂 ), and sing-alongs by the campfire. Just heaven.

My relationship with this event actually began LONG before its inception. I met Lucky Star Director, Lisa Field, at a Squam Art Workshop in 2010. In those days, I really didn’t think of myself as an artist. I was still working and getting away for “art camp” was mostly just a lark – I liked art, I liked camp, why not?! SAW was incredible and three years later, when Lisa launched Lucky Star, I was there to enjoy every moment!

Then I came back the second year. Then something morphed and I came back the third year as a teacher (I like to say I got promoted 😉 )!! THIS year, things shifted quite a bit more. I can’t possibly tell you all the ways in a single post, so I’m going to take it by stages – starting with the Creative Collaborative.

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The very first year of Lucky Star, myself and my friend Mary took part in the Collaborative and we adored it. It was a chance to create something artistic that the entire camp could contribute to + it would live on to commemorate the time we had all spent together. That year, we made a prayer flag bunting that adorned the check-in table once again this year.

The mother of the collaborative project, Shawn Stratman, is an active mother and teacher of Irish dance and was occupied this year taking her daughter to the 2016 All Irelands during Lucky Star (I just read they placed 8th – congrats!!). When Lisa asked me to substitute, I was honored & a little terrified, but it turned out to be such a fun experience!!

The first step was deciding on our base materials, so I started wandering Pinterest looking at alternative guest book ideas. One of the most important elements of the Collaborative is for campers to somehow contribute their thoughts & dreams and I thought a guest “book” would be an easy thing to refit for our purposes. One idea led to another and we ended up with chicken wire and a gorgeous vintage window frame.

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Next was to gather a group of Creative Collaborators. I hit the jackpot and ended up with six of the sweetest, most talented, enthusiastic and hardworking women you could ever hope to spend an afternoon with. We quickly decided what we were going to do, then jumped right in and got ‘er done!! I think I can safely say everyone’s favorite part was weaving the fabric strips.

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Then we fleshed out the theme of our project. In Bali, I came to deeply respect the practice of gratitude I noticed everywhere – daily offerings on doorsteps, motorcycles, buildings; MASSIVELY attended celebrations; and the quiet, joyful and gracious way the Balinese walk through their everyday lives. The Collaborative decided to make this year’s project about gratitude and we named it “Thank Your Lucky Stars.”

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Then Big Personal Challenge #1 came, when I stood up and took the mike at breakfast to tell 105~ lovely campers about the project – literally the first time I ever held a microphone in my life! We provided pens, crayons and colored pencils + a basketful of various tags and invited campers to decorate a tag and tell us what they are grateful for.

The next part just blew me away and I think the pictures say it all…

I wish I could’ve taken it home with me! I’m so very proud to have been a part of this project, completely honored to have been given the chance to lead the creative souls who dreamed this up and utterly grateful to have been able to witness it unfold. Thank you Lucky Stars!!!

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Categories: adventure, teaching | 3 Comments

Little Offerings Everywhere

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A few weeks ago, I returned from a crazy, amazing, life-altering trip to Bali. It broke me open in many ways and made me step back and look at my life from a very different perspective.

I tend to be someone who circles a lot… learning lessons, forgetting them, relearning them (over and over). One of the things that I realized in Bali was that I have, once again, let sacred slide. It’s an idea I’ve revisited MANY times in my life – a desire to create space for something quiet, sincere and maybe a little bit divine. Like having a meditation practice or lighting a candle to start each day or just tending lovingly to a plant (which, believe me, isn’t as easy for me as it might be for some).

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One of the things that stood out for me most about Bali was its religious practice. It’s truly something that seems to unite the entire country. There are ornamented temples on every corner (and many in between), deities draped in plaid and marigolds at the center of most major traffic intersections, huge and massively-attended celebrations (like the kite festival our first weekend in Bali – photo above is one of the teams praying before they flew).

And there are daily offerings – on every doorstep, in front of or inside every business, tied to their motorbikes, layered in stacks on altars in front of those many temples. These offerings are made daily and almost always by women. They range from simple bits of the natural world to elaborately cut, shaped and curated offerings of deep personal significance. They’re always made with a prayer – for wisdom, protection and the chance for happiness and success; but also as an expression of gratitude and respect for those who’ve passed before.

It was beautiful and something I wanted to bring to my life back home. Maybe not daily, but with some level of regularity, I wanted to create these expressions of gratitude and grace. I started to curate what I’m calling #littleofferingseverywhere. Some of my favorites have been a tiny collection of things found on my back porch… leaves, a feather and a cicada’s wing…

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a tiny dish filled with other tiny things – chrysanthemum petals, shells from Bali, a piece of cinnamon and a tiny feather…

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the sweetness of my cat’s paws resting on my arm…

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They’re just small expressions – made with what’s in front of me at the time, purely from a place of gratitude for what I have, respect for the world around me, and the breath of a moment that feels divine.

Are you coming to Lucky Star 2016 next week? If so, meet me in the Pavilion at 8:30pm on Thursday (11/3) for a chance to share in this practice Lucky Star style!!

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What’s Cooking

My beautiful studio is a complete wreck right now, so I guess I have to say it is officially broken in! It’s all for good reason though because there is lots of good stuff cooking these days.  Before I jump into some of those details, I want to point out a new page I’ve added to onejanuaryday.com – blank book ideas. I run into so many people who resist the idea of buying a handmade blank book because they can’t picture what they would use it for. On this new page, I’ve gathered a ton of ideas from my own experience and from some of my customers for a wide variety of ways to use blank books.  I hope you’ll check it out and, if you have additional ideas, please leave me a comment.  I suspect this page will be an evolving one!

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My friends with the Stillwater Book Arts group invited me up this past Monday to give a paper marbling lesson.

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The girls brought all sorts of found papers to play with and there were some wonderful discoveries – deli paper marbled beautifully, as did recycled tea bags.

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Plus, we made time for some free-style fun and there was no holding back!  I had a fantastic time and I think I can safely say that the historic division between book binders and paper marblers has been finally and firmly been dissolved!

While I was in Stillwater, I was able to finalize a formal class at the Multi Arts Center on April 23-24!  This class will span 2 four hour days – first half will be an introduction to paper marbling; then on the second day, we’ll make a soft cover book with our favorite print. I’m not actually seeing it on their schedule right now so it may be full, but if you’re local to Stillwater and interested, please contact the Multi Arts Center directly to see if you can still enroll.

Also, if you’re closer to Oklahoma City, not to worry! I’m working with Maura of My Heart’s Fancy to schedule another round, likely in mid May.  I will let you know as soon as we iron out the details and set a date.

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On May 14, I’ll be returning to the Indie Trunk Show.  I’ve been a busy bee, working on a little rebranding, lots of new books and some brand spanky new products! Can’t wait and hope you’ll come see me if you’re local.  The show is going to be in the Cox Pavillion this time, so should be much easier to get to everyone!

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In November, I’m going back to teach at Lucky Star!!  I’m so incredibly honored to be invited back and cannot WAIT for classes to come out so I can talk about what I’m offering! It’s going to be good – promise!!  And there are lots of other incredible teachers coming too.  You can check out the teacher list and find out everything you need to know about camp at http://luckystarartcamp.com.

Lots of adventure and growing/stretching in the works for me this year – hope you’ll join me somewhere along the way!

Categories: adventure, book arts, shop news, teaching | 2 Comments

Studio Wreck

I’ve been a bit absent from the internet, not to mention the art world, since about mid-December, but with very good reason.  Hubby and I decided to embark on a BIG remodel journey approximately two weeks before Christmas.  We probably need to have our noggins examined for taking on such a big project at that particular time of year, but here we are at the end and I couldn’t be happier.

Below is the studio space pre-reno – it was about 12′ x 12′ (~140 sq feet) and PACKED wall-to-wall with cabinets…

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On the other side of that far wall was my office – photo below is the room after we’d emptied it, but it was also packed with bookcases and storage cubbies; this room was also about 140 sq ft…

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All of my furniture, tools, supplies and other art-creating goodness got stored in a spare bedroom – that was just about impenetrable…

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The whole process took about a month and, while I know this certainly falls into the realm of “first world problems” – it was a gigantic MESS!!  Dust and glue odors and not being able to work – but, let me tell you, the finished result makes it all worthwhile.  Join me below for a little video walk-thru…

Here are details for some of my favorite components…

Here are a few photos of the finished space…

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I have to say that a reno like this is not for the faint of heart!  This little art gal surely suffered during (in my own first world way), but my heart is mended and ready to soar now that the end is in sight.  If you have a scary reno in mind, talk to a contractor and see if your dream is possible (and most things are usually possible), you might be surprised and you’ll certainly be delighted with your dream come true!

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Santa’s Elf and the 100 Books Journey

I am one POOPED puppy over here!  It’s been pretty much non-stop since about August – first getting ready for Lucky Star, then for Thanksgiving and a fun visit by my kiddo, followed immediately by prep for the Indie Trunk Show (which is this coming Saturday 12/5 – come see me if you’re local!).  It’s been a whirlwind, but I’ve made so MANY fun things – let’s start with the books…

Books 53-54/100 are both 3-signature paperback book forms; the bottom one is Keith Smith’s Staggered Diagonals and the top one is his Triple Dash. These feature marbled covers (my current obsession), mixed media paper and pretty Canson Mi Tientes end papers (aka “underwear” 😉 ).

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Books 55-56/100:  Bottom one is another 3-signature paperback Staggered Diagonals.  Top one is hardcover, long-stitched with a chainstitch header/footer – this one also has a gorgeous plum-colored elastic wrap to keep it all contained (and two! pockets).

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Books 57-61 are little accordion books, tho these have a slightly different closure than the original ones (shown here).  I wasn’t really happy about having to re-tie mine every time I pulled it out to brag, so I added a button to wrap the tie around.  MUCH better!

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Books 62-66 are the fruits of some of my labors while my daughter was visiting.  I HAD to show her marbling and, in the process of having some fun, was able to get a whole mess of new covers ready.  This is the first batch!  Nothing really new here – I’m keeping it simple!

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Books 67-70/100 is the last batch for a bit (due to me being a POOPED PUPPY).  Again, nothing new, but I am a little excited about those Boulders on the map paper (back left).  The paper is part of a big batch of aeronautical maps I found at an antique store several years ago.  I’ve almost thrown them out a dozen times, but kept thinking they’d find their purpose eventually.  Yep, I think they have!

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Whew!  That’s a lot of books.  I, of course, love every single one and would like nothing better than to keep them ALL but, alas, they are all going with me this Saturday to the Indie Trunk Show!  I’m super excited about this venue – over 200 makers of all different sorts, just a mere 20 days before Christmas.  It’s bound to be festive and I’m doing my part with a few Christmasy goodies!

There are ornaments and garland…

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and Christmas ephemera bags…

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plus some new pen/tool rolls, which I’ve redesigned with a flap that folds over the top of the tools so they don’t fall out (I need to make one for ME)…

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and new jewelry (with new packaging that I hope highlights it much better)…

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and a whole bunch of other good stuff that I will have up in my shop as soon as possible after Saturday (well, assuming I don’t SELL it all)!

Happy weekend!!

Categories: shop news | 3 Comments

Lucky Star Connection/Celebration

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“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was a simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The first still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.” ~Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds

I’d have to say that the rain became sort of a defining element of my Lucky Star Art Camp experience this year – there were rain jackets and galoshes and puddles and even a river running through, but none of it seemed to dampen anyone’s spirit. We just rearranged, worked it out, pulled up our galoshes and such and trudged right on through. That spirit of pursuing your passions without restraint was only lifted and magnified by the rain.

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So, here’s how it all went… I got up bright and early Tuesday morning, loaded just about everything I own, puzzling it all out so I could get what I needed when I needed it and also have room for MORE stuff (cause there was going to be shopping, oh yes there was!) and set out for Lewisville Tuesday afternoon. In Lewisville, I met up with my sweet friend Laura to spend the night and prepare for the final leg to Lucky Star on Wednesday. There was a grand tour of Laura’s amazing studio, puppy cuddles (that’s Beau, pictured above), a trip to Ikea (my first!), a yummy meal and a soft place to lay my head before we jumped back on the road and headed for camp! Laura is a most gracious hostess and we’re already planning our next adventure to Canton Trade Days in early 2016!!

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We had a fun drive down to Hunt and arrived to greet lots of familiar faces + some new ones (there were hugs), check out our cabin, eat the first of many to-die-for dinners, listen to an inspiring and heart-felt discussion with Bernadette Noll, and then wrap it all up with Mandy Rowden’s truth-telling – sorta near the fire (oh, the rain!).

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Thursday morning, I was up with the sun to put the finishing touches on my classroom and jump into the first of my two classes, Monoprint Heartsongs Folio. My students were so amazing – absolutely fearless and eager to try everything I threw at them. And their books!! Each one was a unique expression and truly beautiful. I know there was a whole BUNCH of well-deserved bragging that evening.

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Friday I taught my Monoprint Longstitch Journal and had so much fun. It was a bit rainy, but we were cozy and warm, listening to music, chatting and working oh-so-playfully. We tried a few different printing techniques and then used our favorite papers in the afternoon to make our books. I think you can tell from those smiles that everyone was thrilled with the end result.

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Saturday I got to be a student and take an AMAZING class on Shibori, Making the World a Bluer Place. This was a class I’d been drooling over every day because the Thu and Fri classes were hanging their work right outside my classroom window. Let me tell you, Erin Lane was such a great teacher and she created just the most comfy and safe atmosphere for this slightly scary process. I absolutely ADORE what I made and cannot wait to do more!

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Saturday evening was Lucky Star Show and Tell – there was Irish dancing and a guitar girls performance and lots of show and tell, including several of my students who stood up in front of everyone to brag about their beautiful books (my little ole heart just about burst with pride)! Oh, and there was a vendor fair too – that’s my table pictured above. Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by – it was so much fun seeing your delight with what I had on offer and just talking and laughing together. Loved every moment!

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If you’ve followed me over the years, you’ve seen me write about many different retreat experiences – I’ve stayed in adobe huts, creaky farmhouses, family camps and yurts. I’ve studied under people I consider masters in their fields – a world class triathlete, famous authors and “real” artists. I’ve connected with people from every possible walk of life – learning about their passions and struggles and coming to understand the many ways in which our passions and struggles intersect and (often) run parallel. I’ve often wished there was a way to capture the feeling I have when I’m in these places, standing side by side with these like-minded souls, because there is always that moment when I’m back in my studio alone wondering if it was even real – struggling to imagine how connected I was just a heartbeat ago.

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Here’s what I know… the women I connected with last week at Lucky Star Art Camp were the real deal – passionate about living their lives holistically, from a place of vulnerability and truth, expressing their light in the most courageous ways imaginable, making what they make with pure joy and zero apology, loving without regret and growing tall and bright in the sunshine of those like-minded souls who gathered in that most beautiful place.

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This year was unique for me in a number of ways. First it was my first time to attend as a teacher – I laughingly told someone that I’d been promoted. I suppose if anyone has earned a promotion, it might be someone like me, someone who probably barely said a dozen words the entire duration of my first retreat ten years ago – this year there were conversations and hugs and daring choices and it was liberating and life-affirming and I can barely stand the wait for next year.

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I was also there with a group of women who truly and completely understand and accept me – flaws and all. It didn’t matter that I was hyper-focused on my classes the first two days, it didn’t matter that I got super quiet as the day started to wind down, it didn’t matter that I was a little late coming home after class – they waited and applauded (literally) when I walked in the door. It’s hard for me to even express how that lifted me up – I felt embraced, my demons stayed out on the front porch, and that safety net that was created for me, made it so much easier and natural for me to extend the embrace to others when they needed it.

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I’ll just close with this last thought – if you’ve ever considered going to an art retreat, this is the one. You will be fed in so many ways – good food, of course, but also good connections that will most certainly remind you of what you might have forgotten – that life is a gift, meant to be shared and celebrated.

Categories: adventure | 10 Comments