How did that happen? With too much too do and too little time. I took a new part time job at the Rochester Art Center last spring assisting with curation and installation, and then I had about five shows to prepare for in that same time. So here I am. I was so delighted to work with artist Alexa Horochowski installing her exhibition “Beautiful Sky.” The work is deeply powerful, beautifully crafted and emotionally resonant. And she was a dream to hang out with. She got me really thinking about scale and ambition. And I think I am ready to pursue both of those things. I hope you will have a chance to see her exhibition!
Make the most amazing work! I first saw their work when I was in Miami for Superfine! two years ago and I snuck off to one of the other fairs. There was so much great work, and so much to be inspired by...but you know when you come upon something and you lose your breath for a minute? And then your hair stands up on end? That was this work. I bought the catalog before I even finished looking at what was on the wall.
I love how whimsical they are, but yet I also sense some melancholy. Have a look at their website...they work in many mediums beyond taxidermy...but these are my favorites!
So in my weekly image google search of contemporary (fill in the blank); which has been embroidery, sculpture, fiber arts, etc. But today was mixed media, I discovered the ceramicist Angela Dieffenbach, an artist in Chicago. I love this work and you can see it here! It is weirdly about the body, animal bodies, bodily functions and science.
More and more I am thinking I need to takes some ceramics classes. It is speaking more to me as a medium the older I get.
While baking some birthday goodies this week, I started listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's podcast "Magic Lessons" which is an extension of sorts of her book "Big Magic" which was published in 2015. She has two seasons of episodes, and I just picked the last episode of this last season. It was a sort of post mortem on the whole season of guests, and there was so much good stuff. I had never heard of Glennen Doyle Melton, but she is a blog writer (Momastery.com), an author, a recovering addict and a truth teller. WHAT A TRUTH TELLER. I have got to see if I can find a transcript of their conversation. Elizabeth Gilbert mentioned a quote by John Steinbeck, "and now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." Elizabeth said that Glennen went one step further with the thought, "but if you don't have to be good, then you can be free." Isn't that the most beautiful idea? Isn't that what we all want, to be free?
just came in the mail from amazon a couple of days ago. I actually saw it in a girlfriends bathroom and I thought it looked really good. I was looking at it last night before bed, and started on the first chapter "the voice inside your head." I am so familiar with mine. I have gotten good at watching it. It is just so amazing when you can observe all the buzzing in your mind; it is like a little movie running. Since I have started to observe it, I have noticed it can be more in the background instead of drawing all my attention. Michael A. Singer, the author, says "you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it." The voice is incessant, it makes both sides of an argument, it can be hateful or kind, it is just a running narration...and when you realize you are not the voice, you don't have to figure out if the voice speaks the truth.
So I was dawdling on Instagram a couple of days ago, and thejealouscurator (who I am slightly obsessed with) asked with an illustration, "what does your inner critic say to you?" She has a new book coming out about your inner critic being a jerk. And the responses...well, our inner critics are just bullies. But I think I am able now to see the inner critic (that voice that I notice) and let it be. I don't have to argue with it, or wish it away, it just happens to be there and I can go about my work. I am so thankful I am learning this skill.
I sit. I sit at my desk and work, on the couch and space out, in my bed up against the wall reading. I also sit as a practice. And it is not even sitting really right now...my back and neck hurt to much to hold myself upright; instead it is laying on the floor with my knees bent and lower legs resting on a chair. I do this for twenty three minutes usually, most every night. It is meditation, but that word makes it seem like something more than it is. It is just noticing. I notice my breath, and my weight and how it meets the floor, and the sounds. There are so many sounds in a house to notice. And there are so many thoughts in the mind to get lost in, so that you lose the noticing. When I realize I can't hear the sounds, I realize I am listening to my thoughts. Then I can come back to the noticing. It happens over and over; there is something so comforting in that.
I was talking with my brother a couple of days ago about some changes he is making in his life. Difficult changes. He knows the changes are better for him, but he still wants the other. He told me he can allow the desire to be there, but he doesn't have to do anything about it. He can choose. That choice is so powerful. I find the sitting helps me make those choices with more peace. That is why I will keep doing it.
Do you ever listen to the Krista Tippett radio show/podcast "On Being"? I do, but am way behind. So this friend that I was visiting said I really needed to listen to the episode with Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote "Eat Pray Love." I did today while I was at the gym, and it had me smiling the whole time. The episode title is "Choosing curiosity over fear" and it really resonated with me. I don't often address my personal life here on the blog, but so much of the discussion addressed questions I have had in my own life and artistic practice.
Elizabeth Gilbert said creativity is our "birthright" as humans, that we are the "maker apes." And then somewhere along the way, we lose this sense of naturalness or innateness to our creativity. Many of us don't recover it; but that living a life of curiosity is also living a life of creativity. She said that you may not may an object/an artwork, but that you make a life, which is a creative act. She seems to have given herself permission to follow her curiosity, wherever that may lead.
"I think curiosity is our friend that teaches us how to become ourselves. And it's a very gentle friend, and a very forgiving friend, and a very constant one. Passion is not so constant, not so gentle, not so forgiving, and sometimes not so available. And so when we live in a world that has come to fetishize passion above all, there's a great deal of pressure around that." Elizabeth Gilbert
I am finding now, in my mid-life, that I am changing, that the people I love are changing, and that being fixed on passion, or your younger self's expectations. leaves little room for this organic growth. Isn't it so brilliant to give yourself permission to explore in ways you might never have before....and then to have no judgement about that exploration?
To choose curiosity over fear means to choose possibility. One of the things I have struggled with is not wanting to feel the fear, or to know it. But there is no way around that. There is no life without fear. There is however that moment, where you recognize the fear and want to run. You can say hello to it instead, and then choose to not let it make your choices for you. It is so difficult but unbelievably simple all at the same time. I think I am beginning to choose curiosity; to explore because it brings me joy. There is some good stuff in their talk about joy, and gladness, courage and compassion...just some wonderful words that will continue to resonate for me. I hope you will have a listen if it is of any interest to you.
again, with the embroideries. I just love this work by Michelle Kingdom. The images are so painterly, textured and detailed. I dearly want one for my own. Her little dreamscapes are full of mystery. You can see her work on her website, she is one of Designsponge.com 18 embroidery artists to watch on instagram, and she has been featured on thisiscolossal.com.