Smile, this blog is for you! For those of you missing graduation, prom, birthdays, weddings and other celebrations, this piece is for you. Artist Kristine Schneider occasionally preps her canvases in “Burnt Sienna” and works the color back out through her technique. One example of this is the oil on canvas art deco camera called “Lovely Tonight.” It reminds us that even though we are missing some of these events, we can still celebrate them.
Do you believe in fairies, love creative re-purposing, or like positive stories about how people spend their time? You might be interested in what my fellow third culture friend Miriam Lusk Berry has been up to during this pandemic. In addition to being a nurse, Miriam is a Mom, a daughter who gets to live with her own Mother (rather than be separated) and has a beautiful Grand Pyrenees mix named Maggie. Maggie deserves some credit, for it is her walks that produce the treasures used in creating her “shire.”
I love a good re-purposing story and I love people who pick up trash when out walking. In the case of Miriam, she not only picks up after Maggie, but picks up natural and man made debris to use in constructing fairy houses. I also enjoy learning how people spend their time and find joy during difficult times. Look at this fairy house made of bark, beads, twigs, moss and hand painted styrofoam!
Miriam, a Scotch/Welsh American, was actually raised in Hong Kong and Macau. She remembers studying examples of Chinese cork art as a child and was drawn to the life of miniatures. Her idea was to build some miniature homes similar to the Hobbit Houses of the J.R.R. Tolkien stories. The result was beautiful little fairy houses and bonsai like art. You can buy fairly garden houses and other accessories, but they are ugly and often made of plastic. It’s much more creative to clean up the trails around your house and use the bits and pieces to make your own. Miriam has a love of bead making, and and those are also integrated into the designs.
After constructing the tiny houses, Miriam sprays them with a clear water-proofing treatment and “plants” them in her garden. They are said to bring good luck. So far, they have lasted several weeks through several rain storms. Behold Maggie’s Shire:
Next up on “Project Shire” will be a couple of cairns, some miniature tree swings and stacks of cut logs. Have you repurposed anything lately? What have you been doing to bring new life to old things in your life?
My husband Mark and I have been walking around our neighborhood daily (sometimes twice) to get outside and work off the lasagna and other home made comforts. Look, there’s another one! Who is making these?
Someone in the neighborhood was making something of their own – huge colorful banners for their yard: A strong blue eyed nurse presenting the word “Love” for World Health Day; the word “Victory” rising up out of darkness with the sun shining its rays onto a garden; a collage of happy images surrounding the words “Find Joy in the Little Things.”
That did it. I had to find out who was behind this. The third banner was the first one I’d noticed that had an artist’s name on it. So I began my social media digging.
Having just completed my second full year of retirement and getting ready to marry/combine households, my latest hobby has been trying to purge items from my home without generating waste. I’ve gotten quite good at selling, donating, regifting, recycling and repurposing. My main hobby, however, is travel and I’ve noticed a trend in the use of abandoned items to serve greater purposes.
Real friendship protects intimacy and is sustained over distance. Real art is like a bolt of fabric – a creative, continuous process over time. My art is to write about the creation of art.
My blog was started to write about retirement, but has expanded to include travel, art and anything else that amuses me – such as how much time I’ve been spending with fabric. At the first of several post-retirement workshops (three of which were dedicated to fabric) I made this painted silk scarf and promptly gave it to a friend. It reminds me of the many old friends I have, near and far, who have stayed close to my heart.
My second fabric workshop was also silk painting, but using slightly difference tools and techniques. This time I travelled across the country to meet with three new friends that I’d met in Molokai. We bonded further over several hours of creating these beautiful ocean hued treasures on the drying rack.
Daylight Savings began this morning. I stayed up past my bedtime and woke up too early. Now I’m stupefied. Here is another good reason for procrastinating on my writing goals. Several interviews done and zero drafts completed this year. I must remind myself of how and why I write. There is no deadline and I’m not getting paid. This blog is about my crazy retirement adventures, not just promoting art. In honor of that philosophy and not getting enough sleep, take a look at these fantastic “keep you up all night” bedrooms from Modernism Week in the Palm Springs area last month. Continue reading →
What does The Houston Rodeo and Marie Kondo’s Netflix show have in common? Nothing, but that’s not how my mind works. I can lasso a tangent faster than you can process my last sentence. Even though I read her book a couple of years ago, I’m still dealing with clutter and still wonder what brings me the most joy. I didn’t find the expression “spark joy” helpful when dealing with things like pots and pans, or cleaning supplies and many other things that I need and use. It doesn’t help when curating art work, either, because I just want more! Continue reading →
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.”
From “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.
Last month I spent a week in Molokai, Hawaii at a women’s retreat called The Life Reimagined. Some of our workshop guidance on interaction was inspired by this poem. One of the rules was to get to know and support each other without talking about our “back-stories,” one of which is what one does for a living. Recently retired, I found not being able to talk about careers pretty challenging. “What do you like most about your job, without telling me what it is? “What would you be doing more of if you got paid for it?” “What were you doing before you arrived here?” With some adjustment, my open-ended questions started to reveal the dreams and passions of my fellow retreat-mates. Continue reading →
Day light savings has ended and I have more time to write….or rearrange furniture because what I’m feeling is “ants-in-my-pants” instead of creativity. I was furniture shopping on-line yesterday. I imagined how a white leather sofa could brighten things up. How would my eclectic taste for Danish and Japanese furnishings, accented by large-scale cat castles, do with a high-tech, low profile leather sofa injected into it? Then I glanced up at one of my favorite paintings and started thinking of my Mom. She was a master at mixing things up; artwork, interior design, colors…I’ve been meaning to write more artist features. Why not start by covering my own Mom? This feature is about her.Continue reading →
Along with the love of art and photography comes my obsession with framing. Vintage framing. Growing up, I always had a large collection of frames in which placed photos of friends and family. I preferred antique or vintage frames, but any frame would do. In part, this was due to my military brat upbringing and the longing to hold on to memories of friends after multiple moves or family I rarely saw (and in some cases never knew.) But I also think I got this from my Mother, Artist Jacqueline Stubbs. She was the same way. Every time I moved, one of her contributions to my unpacking would be the creation of a family wall. Here is one of her with me as an infant, on my current family wall. In this case the frame and the photo are vintage!! Continue reading →