Sometimes focus feels impossible. Sometimes your imagination, your creativity and your drive seem to have vanished without warning. Sometimes thoughts and ideas spin so frantically you can’t catch them.
And, there are moments when it all seems to magically work – the better part of a day slips by without notice while you’re completely lost in a glorious flow state – effortless, creative and productive.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have it all at your command, to be able to summon deep focus, motivation and drive, ingenuity, and sparkling original ideas as needed or desired. But our minds don’t work like that. Our minds do what they like and so often just the opposite of what we’re looking for. Practice, training and attention help though and I’m always on the look out for ways to improve – stuff to try – ways to reach the deepest parts of my imagination and creativity.
Something I have come across a lot is the idea of alternating focused work with distraction in an intentional way – one example is The Mac Gyver Method – which I love and use all the time.
And Earnest Hemingway talks about the value of letting things percolate in The Movable Feast :
“It was in that room too that I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything.”
Last week I heard the term “deliberate day dreaming” for the first time In this podcast episode (If you are curious about why your brain does what it does you will particularly enjoy this episode). I even like the sound of it – deliberate daydreaming – I like the idea of an intentional, daily invitation to let your mind meander and watch where it goes.
My mind wanders off all the time without permission – especially while I’m doing pleasantly (for me) repetitive tasks. I think it’s part of what attracts me to things like hand sewing and paper mache.
So I wonder what the effect of intention and daily practice will be. I’m test driving the idea for the next month – devoting 10 minutes everyday to “deliberate daydreaming”. I will let you know how it goes and if you feel like experimenting with me I’d love to hear about it.
Before I tell you about the workshop I have to tell you that the squam art retreat, where I’ll be teaching it, already sold out in pre- registration – both spring and fall sessions (there is a waiting list and stuff happens in a year so …. contact squam to get on the list). That’s the bad news. The good news is – just today I learned of a scholarship opportunity being offered by Honey & Oak:
We are offering one spot to attend the Squam Workshops either for their Spring session (June 7th – June 11th 2017) OR their Fall session (September 13th – September 17th 2017). You get to choose what works best for you! In addition, we will provide a $500.00 stipend to be used towards Travel Expenses and Extras.
It’s a pretty sweet deal – find all the details on how to enter right here. You must enter by January 3rd.
And also – just so you know – September will be the 10th and last retreat – I’m sad to see it go – it has been a truly marvelous experience.
In my diorama workshop (fall 2017) we will explore the poetry and spirit of things. I’m bringing all sorts of things to play with and we’ll forage the magnificent fall Squam forest for natural elements too. The compositions that emerge might be entirely abstract or tell a story, they might reflect an inner landscape, an outer landscape or an intersection of ideas – intersections are always interesting places.
There is more info on the class and retreat here.
I hope your holidays are lovely,
The Beaumonts are ready for the holidays (if you have not yet met fifth avenue’s most stylish anthropods you can learn more here).
Tiny Fortuny stockings are hung, presents are wrapped, cookies baked, hearth blazing and the whole family is trimming the tree – such festive ants.
Meet the Beaumonts, fifth avenue’s most stylish anthropods.
To celebrate Fortuny’s 2016 Micromondo collection (which means micro–world in Italian) I created a miniature world of cosmopolitan, domestic bliss inhabited by sophisticated ants with a taste for midcentury furniture and modern art. They also really love christmas – that’s part 2.
The ants are 6 inches tall and made from the Micromondo collection. I made furniture, drapery etc. – everything a fully appointed ant penthouse needs – from the new wools, velvets and linens as well as many of the classic patterns – the blue and bronze above is one of my favorites. I also made ant art – I got super into the art making – and family portraits – lots of tiny details.
Miniature fascinates me – we’ve talked about it before. It fascinates and delights me – takes me to that marvelous creative place where time and self-consciousness completely disappear – I can lose myself for hours and hours. I began to create a very particular miniature world, with very particular inhabitants more than a year ago and I can finally show it to you next week. It’s been one of my most favorite projects of all time.
Just lately that little world got ready for the holidays – and of course it needed poinsettias, pink and white poinsettias.
They are made from crepe paper – I painted it just the right shade of pink. Tip – adding water and rubbing alcohol to acrylic paint makes it penetrate crepe paper much better – you can get clear, bright and translucent color.
There are a couple previews of the recently festivised version of the project below and more to come next week.
PS – The vinegar, citrus, clove cleaner I made is awesome – smells good – and works great. I’m pretty pleased.
PPS – The mr. socks pattern is imminent – probably tomorrow – just finished up a couple last minute reshoots today – crammed into the one corner of my place where I can get some light on a rainy day.
Week 73 in my sketchbook practice.
I’ve been experimenting with small compositions – making marks and texture with thread, exploring, observing and maybe expanding my vocabulary of stitches. Some are organic feeling marks – spilling out of the botanical things I’ve been working on and some mix with and echo the meandering stitches of mends and intricate darning I find in garments. I’m paying attention to my impulses and habits and challenging them – looking for the rules I’ve made for myself but am not always conscious of – the musts and can’ts that get in the way of being truly expressive. I’m asking myself to be responsive and un-self-conscious – to pick up a thread and follow it.
And P. S – regarding tiny rag dolls – thanks for your feedback and the pattern making is well underway – it will be available in the next week or two!