Saturday, September 13, 2008

And I Think to Myself, What a Wonderful World

This song never fails to generate a swell of emotion when I hear Louis Armstrong sing it.
The last refrain is the kicker --"Oh yeah..."-- thank you Louie!

If you'd like a bit of positive news to brighten your day, you'll want to read yesterday's Wall Street Weekend Journal article, "The New Pranksters" about "acts of random silliness." Ellen Gamerman writes, "Cities are being swept up in a wave of inane pranks. On a recent weekend, 'zombies' smeared with fake blood idly roamed the streets in downtown San Francisco. That same weekend, a crowd of people in New York's Union Square danced to music that no one else could hear; and in Berkeley, Calif., jokesters in white, flowing robes handed out pamphlets at a farmer's market, touting the benefits of joining a cult (Reason #5: 'A great excuse not to talk to your birth family anymore.')" You can read the full article and watch some of the pranks at Oh America, you are a land of amazing contrasts!

Speaking of contrasts, feast your eyes on this lovely, uncluttered space.

I have gone through every storage cabinet, drawer and shelf and surface to root out the chaff from the wheat to create a studio space that works easily and well. I've gifted trims and fabrics and silk paper and felting materials to friends, sent old yardage experiments to the thrift store and weeded out all the miscellaneous "stuff" that I have collected, experimented with and pretty much ruled out for my work. There is still some cleaning to do, a wax area to set up and a storage system I need to establish for all my language elements and ideas, but overall, the studio revamp is almost complete. One more day dedicated to it will finish up the loose ends and I can stamp this "DONE." We're talking three trunkloads of packed trash bags already carried out!

New shelving seemed to be a way to improve paint storage, so here's the best $40 I've spent in a while, a 4-tier Rubbermaid shelving unit where every brand of paint that I own is now visible and easy to locate. When I started teaching, I tried almost every brand of paint (and type of dye) on the market so I could be knowledgeable about how they compare, but I find that I return to several brands over and over and those are the only ones on these shelves that I will continue to reorder as the others get used up.

There's a psychological counterpart to all this cleaning activity that goes hand in hand with developing my new website and setting new goals. These actions contribute to making tangible the intense shift in energy and focus that I feel inside. As I sweep away the old items that have accumulated, I am generating intentions for what comes next, for the new focus that I see happening both in my approach to my work and in the work itself. I've "graduated" from my self-generated art school education and now am working on creating what I envision will become a rich, intriguing body of work.

The fabric "pages" are almost all stitched together on Pages 5. Hopefully tomorrow will be washout day and if the idea for this structure works, it will be ready for composing the final layer of letterform shapes on the surface. While I was working yesterday, I plugged into my ipod and enjoyed four episodes of one of my favorite NPR shows,"This American Life".

Then I started listening to David Allen's audio book called "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity." Amen, I'll sing in that choir! While I'm already an organized person, I am learning a lot by listening to this book to refine my methods and increase my productivity. Get ready to hear more about organizing as I implement some of his ideas!

Other projects are getting resolved as well in this intense atmosphere of sorting and letting go and redefining. After over-dyeing the Parables 5 piece with gray, which made it dull, I decided to stop trying anything else on it. To disconnect from it mentally, I threw it into a pot of thiox discharge where it turned a gruesome white and orange. It felt like murder -- a surprisingly satisfying one! I've always sworn that I could save any piece -- and I probably could have made this one serviceable for SOMETHING -- but suddenly it makes more sense to start over than pull out defibrillator paddles and try to get a heartbeat again when the "patient" has flat-lined. Turns out that "discarding" Parables 5 is one way to take action that completes a project, according to my new organizational expert -- and hey, I hadn't even read his book yet!

It's amazingly freeing to throw out something that isn't working and break the mental connection with it. Some works can be resurrected, but others just need a kind hand to pull the plug and let them go. Some pieces just end up as studies and samples; hopefully the experience gained on one will impact the next.


  1. If you'd like a tool for setting your goals, you can try this application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version and iCal are available too.

    Hope you like it.

  2. Jeanne, seeing the photos of your lovely cleaned up studio made me think that a new and engrossing project is certainly on its way. Nice that you are refining, fine-tuning, cutting to the essence of what you do, and want to do.

    Go for it girl: I am cheering you on from afar!