Tag Archives: inspiration

where do you draw inspiration from?

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Necessity is the mother of invention.

This morning I’m pondering on creating a necklace. A friend, whose birthday it recently was, is coming over for dinner this weekend and I would like to present her with a gift. My budget is tight and so I’d already determined that I would make something for her, yet I have only a vague notion of what that will be: beaded jewelry pieces, most likely a necklace and earrings.

I have a colour scheme in mind but haven’t pulled the beads out yet, though having recently rifled through my stash, I know which ones I will pull from to begin. Before I start in on it, I plan on taking to the internet to see what sort of patterns I’m inspired by in prompting me towards my own creation. I think I’ll be working with copper wire but I haven’t decided yet. I love combining glass beads with metal wire, and adding stone beads to the mix – semi-precious or otherwise.

More than ever, what with Pintrest, Tumblr, Flickr and other such boards, it is clear that we inspire each other throughout the creative process. We don’t create in a vacuum. Witnessing others’ work fires our own neurons and has us connect with our creativity in ways we would not have accessed had we not been prompted by the visual stimulus; it sends us off on our own creative journey towards innovation.

I understand this, and yet while I am working on writing fictional pieces I tend not to read other fictional work because I feel too influenced by another author’s writing voice. I’ve read many times that writers read, copiously, even while they are writing on their own projects. They read stuff they love so that they can write stuff that they’d like to read. I’m working on balancing that out. And focus. And discipline. (That’s a whole ‘nother blog post. Can you say “bullet journal”?)

I love reading nonfiction, mostly, but love creating fiction, though much of what I write pulls greatly from personal experience and the line between fiction and reality equally blurs. Welcome to my fictionalized reality.

So see you all later… I’m off to make some coffee, pull some beads and ogle the internet, and commence on the baking of this cake.

Adriane xo

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hip-hip-hippity-hop – a blog tour

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I haven’t done one of these Q&A’s in a while, so when I was invited to join in on the tour by Kim of MuseCraft, it was hard to resist. This blog tour has been going on for a while, and everyone who participates gets to invite others, so there are lots of links to follow back through the tour… to which I say : EYECANDY!!! Go check it out!

So without further ado, the four questions about myself:

What am I working on?

I’ve always got a bunch of things going on, both in relation to my writing as well as my art stuffs.

I’m working on two main writing projects at the moment. I’m working on a story called The Incredible Virtues of Cauliflower. Initially I was going to write it as a screenplay but I’m just going to get the sucker out and then figure out what to do with it – at the moment it looks to be novella length. It’s like birthing a child, this. The story is about a guy who falls in love with a woman after he sees her through a telescope.

The other writing project is my little mostly visual story of Darika. This poor li’l story has been in production for ages – far too long to not be embarrassed by the languidness of its unfolding, but it’s my story (“Darika” is an anagram of my own nickname as a child) and it’s sort of a mythologized autobiography of how I discovered art as a child and how it continues to support me throughout every step of my life.

I am also developing a 52-week program (which I intend to freely disseminate under the inspiration tab of my website – though tips are welcome, if people are moved to contribute) which will approach creating as a form of meditative practice. It’s meant to be used as a way to reach personal and individual inner wisdom rather than a “do this to get that” thing. You become your own facilitator by finding your own way to your creative process.

I’ve been doing this on and off for a long while (it’s my set-point when I am in flow) and when ever I’ve fallen out of this groove I find I also lose my centre. I feel compelled to share this with the world, and it may not be anything new, per se, especially since so much of this is an integration of different processes that I’ve learnt over the years, but perhaps the combination is unique to me.

I recently made a tiny book called How to Navigate Loss. Inspired by Maya Stein’s prompt (of the title) I made the first one for her tiny book library and then decided that I ought to make a more refined version and offer it up as a limited edition. The books are tiny little works of art with a beautiful, healing message, hand made as they are ordered and only a limited number will be available.

I also just built a new Wix website and now that I have a quasi-shop space, I feel compelled to develop things to put up in there. Aside from the Tiny Book, as well as some other handmade items (some jewelry pieces, small original paintings, etc.), I’m in the process of conceptualizing some patterns for fingerless mitts/cuffs, and I plan to sell both the patterns and the actual wearables so that people can either make it themselves or buy the ready-made stuff if they are not DIY-inclined. I’m also working on putting together some images for greeting cards or little art prints. I will use a third-party for the production/shipping of the paper goods because I’m just not set up at the moment to do it myself, but at least I’ll start getting my stuff out there.

And finally, inspired by Squam Art Workshops (which I can’t currently and may never be able to afford to attend), I’m plotting “The Amazing PJ Getaway in the Great Wet North” for next spring (April). I have a couple of friends already on board… more are welcome (though no more than eight, because then it’s just going to be outta control space-wise). But plotting course/share offerings, goodie/trade bags, local walkabouts, radical quasi-rituals, and menu massaging… because food must be good/healthy/indulgent…! The event will be free except for pitching in for materials and food and whatever related airfare will cost to get here, if travelling from afar. And pyjamas and an open spirit are a requisite.

Aside from that I’m always thinking things up and making stuff. I can’t help it.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not really sure. I tend to take in what others are doing kind of like enjoying a nice piece of fruit and I don’t often compare my own work to what everyone else is doing, so I’m not really sure how it differs or is similar. I do make an effort to be original in content and execution, but I’ve been creating for so long now that I imagine my stuff must look unique to some extent.

I just do and make and create and hope that it offers my own perspective and that the flavour of my essence comes through in my art and words.

Why do I write/create what I do?

So for me the point of all of this is to express… paint the picture of yourself, continuously. It’s through that act of self-expression that we come to know our ever-changing selves. And the expression is the beauty – the beautiful thing to behold. It’s a shifting masterpiece, a performance piece.

Creation encompasses everything, not just the arts but… how we roll out of bed is a dance, the angle we fill the kettle with water at the sink is a sculptural study, the movement of our feet against the pavement a moving syncopated sound composition, how bodies of people acknowledge each other while crossing from opposite sides of the intersection a choreography of movement.

It’s all so fascinating at that level.

Yeah, sometimes the mundane shit wears us down because we stop being present and want to be elsewhere, but as soon as you pull the focus back to the doing, it becomes this amazing dance again, a co-creative symphony of movement and creation.

How does your writing/creating process work?

It depends on which part we are talking about, and which form. I could drive myself mad with all of the ideas always flowing through, especially if I tried pursuing them simultaneously.

Just.Too.Much.

So when I get an idea I jot it down in my iNotes (how cool is Cloud computing?!). The notes transfer to all my devices so I have access to all of my little ideas where ever I am. I add to them as things occur to me. When there’s enough there, or I feel moved to push the concept further, I start working on it in earnest.

Poetry flows of its own volition. Very rarely do I sit down to specifically compose poems. They come like a sirocco wind and blow through me. I remember hearing about how Ruth Stone explained her experience and thought “yes, exactly!”. Grab that sucker by its’ tail.

My other, lengthier, writing starts with idea kernels that I let incubate until they are ready to come to life on the page and develop into bigger stories. I’ve tried over the years to be more disciplined in my writing (i.e., create an outline, make character sketches, etc.) but I’m just not there yet. Maybe I’ll never be. I know who the characters are because I carry them inside me and they become “real” to me as the story incubates. I have an idea of where I want to take the story and then let it write itself. I “see” my stories in my head unfolding like a movie, reel-by-reel, scene by scene. I just capture what comes through.

What I have done, though, in the way of being more disciplined, is to deliberately create a space container to allow for the words to manifest. If you don’t make the time and merely wait until the words are ready to come spilling out, you will be waiting a long time. The French have this saying… l’appétit vient en mangeant – your hunger will grow once you start eating the meal.

The visual stuff is similar, but again, it depends on what I’m creating. Because I make so many different things I operate differently for each. Making a beaded necklace will be approached differently than working in a visual journal. However, what is the same in all of these is that I allow myself to tap into the stillness inside and let it speak in the creative process. I sort of step out of the way and let this non-rational part pick colours and beads and paints and collage materials and techniques and create. It truly feels like a sort of out-of-body experience and a dance with the divine. When I’m in that space it’s exhilarating and I often look at what I’ve created in the end and think “wow… I did that?!”.

So that’s me, in a nutshell.  Now on to the next part – I get to introduce you to some other creatives who agreed to join in on this journey.  Go visit their websites/blogs/FB pages and see what they’re up to, and make sure to check in next Monday (June 16) for their blog tour posts.

Anastasia Olson

Anastasia is a jewellery designer and metal alchemist extraordinaire, creating artisan jewellery that is unique and organic – but with a polished sophistication – meticulously handcrafted in sterling silver, copper, brass and gemstones.

You can find Ana online on Facebook and at her website.

Belle Wong

Belle Wong is a writer and blogger. She writes about books, writing and creativity at MsBookish.com, and is currently hard at work on a mystery novel and a children’s fantasy. She loves reading and anything to do with creativity, is a closet foodie, and has been known to dabble messily in various artsy endeavours.

Belle can be found on Twitter at @msbookish and on Google+.

Lisa Gornicki Bolender

Lisa is a self-proclaimed creative wanderer living in Southern California, making art and coaching creative souls.

You can find Lisa online her website.

onward march…

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(close up of a new hand bound journal cover I am in the process of making)

Another year begins. It never ceases to amaze me how life moves along and the unexpected always happens (and somehow surprises me, because I expect things to remain constant despite knowing full well that they never are).

I begin the year with the knowledge that how things flow is largely dependent upon my own actions.

Some observations:

  • I become disconnected from myself when I neglect my urge to create.
  • Working with colour gives me joy and feeds me in a way that only it can.
  • Meditation is not an option but a requisite.
  • Discipline is the only path to accomplishment.
  • Bliss is to be found everywhere, all the time.
  • Shiva Paintstiks will rub off on your keyboard if you don’t wash your hands before typing.
  • Ideas are like popcorn kernels; store them in a jar until you are ready to make them pop.
  • Community, whether real or virtual, feeds the soul just as well as solitude; both are necessary to thrive.

Giving thanks to Effy Wild who went live on Ustream today and inspired me to create a new journal.

To a joyous, blissful, productive and enlightened new year.

Art… where art thou…

I’ve felt a rant coming on for days now.

It’s really interesting to see what’s going on out there in the crafty worlds… I stepped away from it all a while ago, mostly because there really wasn’t a huge community of folks around in the new land I now call home, and also because, well, frankly, I got tired of everything looking homogenous. Pretty, certainly… aesthetically pleasing, definitely… but… homogenous.

Since being laid off last month I have had some extra time to kill, looking to revitalize my visual art practice and so have been poking around again to see what was out there. I’ve long since given up on the publications that cater to the craft industry (for the reasons above), not only because things they showcase are repetitive in nature but because the publications themselves over time become cost prohibitive. Truly there is little in each issue that I find stimulating, and hardly worth the price of admission for a few relevant pages of eye candy. I fare better with books, but that too becomes costly after a time, and there aren’t that many worthwhile ones published (insofar as this category).

With that said, living in a creative vacuum can be limiting sometimes, and being involved in a community of creative people is empowering and enriching… so off I went to the interwebs to see what I could find.

There is some cool stuff going on out there, for sure, but on many levels it’s still the same ole thing… there is a bandwagon to be jumped on (can you say stencils? modelling paste? gelatos?) and people are churning out the same ole “stuff”, and in order to find innovation and originality I once again find that I have to go outside of and away from the usual suspects. I must turn to the illustrators, designers, graphic and typographical artists, etc., in order to find things that will spark inspiration and engender within me the urge to innovate.

Now I realize that we all do this “art” stuff for different reasons, and for some (myself included) it serves multiple purposes, but why is there always such a frenetic buzz around the “it” things while there is also an immense void in the internalization of the processes underlying the material techniques – why is there no incubation of sorts, and then a proliferation of novel ideas and visions with said materials? (Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places?)

The product “designers” all churn out the same old stuff, the products proliferate in the market place and so more of the same stuff gets created and there is a literal flood of sameness. And I’ve gotta tell ya, it’s not all great stuff. A lot of it isn’t even good stuff. It’s akin to the dreaded gad-awful knitted jumper Aunt Flo gives you for Christmas every year.

But I get it… that is the nature of craft and the industry. It’s all about the consumption of materials to create prolifically. Capitalism at its finest in the guise of self-satisfied “artistic” entitlement.

I’ve always associated “craft” with workmanship and also, in a sense, innovation. In order for it to remain relevant I believe it has to evolve and change and gain meaning and yearn for a sense of longevity.

I also get the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” adage… clearly there are benefits to sticking with tried and true methods and processes and creative births. A formula that is working is a good thing, to some extent. I do the same thing with my stuff (oftentimes)… I create in the same way, using the same materials, and with similar subject matter… but my work has changed and evolved over the years, and it is diversified – I will try just about anything just to see what the medium is like and whether I like to work in it and especially to determine if it is the one best suited to the expression of the “thing” that I am trying to express.

So I guess that’s where it starts. Creation isn’t a random process. Something niggles and quickens and wants to be borne into the world in some form or another. You get to deliver it through some semblance of mastery of the materials you work with/in, honing your skills so they are able to translate those ephemeral visions from within to without, becoming knowledgeable enough in the mediums to determine which will be the best suited for its fullest expression and daring to try to deviate from that which you’ve done before (or is the norm) in order to breach your imagined limitations.

Skill. Happy mistakes. Explorations. Personal aesthetic. Curiosity. Drive. Purpose. Vision.

These constitute a pretty good formula for creative expansion, but there is no template to follow. In fact if you don’t break free from a template almost as soon as you work with it once, you aren’t digging deep enough.

Let me clarify…. there is a difference between developing and working repetitively in your own style versus regurgitating another’s work and calling it art.

There… I feel much better now. Rant over.

News of my world… feeling the yellow

I’ve started working on the next batch of postcards, peripherally, anyway. I’ve been going through these huge piles of magazines that I have, gleaning images for my image stash, and throughout that process have been putting aside the “yellows” that I’ve found so far. Of my three huge magazine stacks, I now only have about a six inch stack left, so I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been saving these books for years to go through and harvest images from, and it’s always been one of the projects I’ve pushed off to the back burner for lack of time as other issues were always burning more brightly.

I’ve finally (and hopefully sustainably) regained my health (well, I still have 60lbs to lose, but that doesn’t count… :P) and my energy levels have improved. I’m feeling creative… yaay! I have lots of plans… today I’m going to the office supply store and picking up a “daytimer” refill and will attempt organization. I am notably inept at it these days. I used to be really great about it until somewhere into the middle of my marriage, when I just chucked the whole concept out the window. My husband creates a sort of chaotic void (resists order like I’ve never in my life witnessed heretofore). I can’t really explain it in any other way. I used to really resent him for it but now see it as an opportunity for change for myself; not get sucked into the black hole but learn to use it and work with it… be flexible with my schedule instead of a) rigid (I was doing that for a while after my son was born and I returned to work. I’d spend inordinate amounts of time traveling to and from my workplace, slogged through my work day and then got home and had to go all of the domestic stuff too… AND have creative time… at the time I’d pretty much dropped most of my art and was slowly getting back into it via scrapbooking and rubberstamping). My attempts to recruit him for assistance failed, and so I was stewing with resentment, and then dropped the ball because it got too heavy for me to carry alone. Lots of things disintegrated over time… including our marriage… which led to a nine month split in 2002/2003 and an enforced reunion (because I’d lost my job and Gabriel and I were in need of a place to live… it was his one bedroom apartment or the street).

I was at yet another turning point in my life… our separation had been difficult for me… I wasn’t the one to call for it and was saddened and dismayed that our nine year investment into each others’ lives (not to mention having another co-created life amidst us) had come to this… failure. I looked upon it as a failure, as a loss of an investment of time. That’s how I used to look at all of my (previous) relationships.

I learned to surrender… I’d been so busy trying to “man-handle” the flow of life… it’s until you let go, flow with it and trust that you will end up where you need to be that it finally takes you to the next place you need to be heading. Trust… surrender… those are the two things I learned… regardless of what situation… good or bad… I needed to learn that.

In any case… shortly after we got back together, we decided to stay together, at least tentatively. I’d gained a new sense of myself (which he honed in on and was impressed with the ‘change’… I’d been depressed for several years prior to the “collapse,” or maybe it was some of that combined with really low red blood cell count… I found out that I was anemic–borderline transfusible–and that explained a whole lot of things as far as that went…) and creatively was taking off in a new direction. I was doing lots of collaborative art dolls and journals and incorporating my own artwork into the mix, instead of using rubberstamps and such.

Just a few short weeks after we moved to our third floor apartment in Irvine (to be closer to his workplace… and mine too, as I began temping as a patent secretary again in the Newport area) he had a moto crash (shattered his tibial plateau, requiring reconstructive surgery–i.e., pins and a plate–and three months of “weightlessness”–i.e., using crutches to get around). Two weeks after that my mom–who lived in the ‘burbs of Montreal–had a massive heart attack and passed on (my dad had already gone that route in 1991 via lung cancer). What a year… what a doggone couple of years… but that was the last of it (at least for a while) and all of this changed me in so many ways.

Buddhists embrace the concept of “impermanence”… I don’t prescribe to any specific religion but I suppose the Buddhist philosophy may be closest to my understanding at this time (though I don’t practice any dharmapada)… I’ve run the gamut of various religions, simultaneously find them all equally fascinating and disturbing… and have come to the conclusion that I don’t have a need to follow a religion… I am who I am… I consider the universal energy flow around us and the earth my “parents”… I’ve been orphaned and adopted, even though I’ve only just recently come to realize it. Humans seem to feel the need to impose limitations upon themselves. I’m not sure whether that process yields negative or positive results. In a way it makes us “think outside the box” in order to overcome the restrictions, while at the same time it gives us the sense that we have finite powers, and limited in our capacity to do and change things, which narrows our perspective to the likes of looking at the universe through a straw.

+++ Sidebar: how did I get off on such a tangent?! +++

Anyway… so here I am, ready to embrace another new, and hopefully creative and productive phase of my life.

Back to my daytimer thought… I have several stories I am working on. One is possibly novel length (perhaps more of a compilation of short stories rather than one fluid story–not sure yet). The others are shorter: one is destined to be a children’s story, for a younger (but not really elementary) readership; the other a visual story: few words accompanied by printed plates. I plan to print them on the Gocco and hand-tint them with watercolor using a very simple and subtle palette, making a limited edition of 12 seven inch square hand-bound books.

The daytimer will serve as a way for me to carve out time for all of these, but still be able to maintain essential other things into my schedule: work… parenting and wife-ing duties… housekeeping and chef duties… exercise… personal/”me” time for reading, journaling, non-scheduled “arting”… like that.

And on that note, I’m off to make some breakfast…