Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Library: The Sacred Experience

I believe libraries are sacred spaces. Embracing knowledge, experience, and imagination is divine. Amy Hanna recently posted a link to a fine New York library along with her Art Saves story. This gorgeous patinae environment with wood paneled walls, savory surfaces and textures welcomed you to insert yourself into this other world of quiet, calm and exhilaration. I couldn't help but smile, once again, to come home to begin writing about something and simulataneously find an associated story shared somewhere. It's a connected feeling. The library is one fine institution with many ardent admirers.

This connected feeling began from the time I would run about a mile to catch the book mobile in another neighborhood. Oh my goodness, the excitement was more than I could contain when my mother would casually mention-
"you kno-o, I think it's the day for the Book Mobile.. .?"
She'd then turn to see my backside springing out the door. There were times I'd be huffing and puffing climbing up those bus steps pleading within my spirit to the mobile librarian- "please don't say it's time to move on, pleeeeeease." I don't think I was ever turned away without being able to quickly fish through to find something. God bless the librarians. Each and every one.

Reading these books created a little wonderland filled with experiences I could never invent. It was amazing. I was reading everything I could get my hands on. I was learning about other worlds,, horse and animals, other children with vastly different lives, and then eventually, young ladies in complex scenarios, the angst of coming of age, men in war, crimes and punishment, and historical biographies.
If it wasn't nailed down I was reading it. I would read a a can of hair spay if that's all I had and, I did. I was pretty content, and grateful to read a dictionary at times when there was nothing else new to read.

Monday, March 29, 2010

When push comes to shove, it's all about love

When push comes to shove, it's all about love, in any possible way it manifests in each of our lives. Love is everywhere and in everything right where we are.

I try not to get bogged down in the process of Lent but my nature, being what it is, seems vulnerable to it this year. My life seems to mirror the seasons, and this season of spiritual renewal with all it's subsequent deaths and resurrections, is no different. Soooo glad Easter is near. I can feel the beginning of a shift.

+ Aspiring to a birds eye view is to rise above and make small life's niggling negatives. I have created more sorrow for myself when allowing thoughts of pettiness to creep in. This isn't to say we aren't allowed to defend ourselves, if necessary, or become angry. Not at all. (In fact, learning how to properly and powerfully manage our anger is great thing to learn.)

Easter is considered a highlight event for the church, Christmas running neck and neck. This holiday and lenton season embodies the full story of a traditional faith, the need, the sacrifice, the gift created as a result.

May your week be blessed beyond imagination.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Regarding Comments

I was told there have been problems commenting on here. It's all fixed now. I'm really bummed about this but a good number of you have been stopping by my facebook page, and I do appreciate that! Love to get feedback. I was kindof suspicious something was amiss when my story ran on Art Saves and there has been increased traffic on here as a result. Comments are encouraged and always welcome.

On a similar unrelated note a special shout out goes to my friend Lola Morales. She has helped get my google reader feed back on track. I am so grateful, thank you Lola. Lola has a really great site I'd recommended along with my Art Saves Story on the crescendoh site (www.crescendoh.com) called Sacred Curiosities check it out:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Duirwaigh Studios! Click here!

Here is one of my most favorite sites for one of those days when you feel like just curlin' up and gettin' cozy. Savor, enjoy, dream. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Kimberly Santiago, new book coming: "Collage Playground" North Light Books, F + W Publishing, due Fall of 2010, is collaborating with other artists on a project called "Differing Similarities". She has sent some of the things used in this piece and I'm adding things of my own as I go along. You can visit her on her blog here: She's on facebook, that's where we met, so be sure to friend her- and she's kind. Always a nice thing! find her here http://kimberlysantiagoart.blogspot.com/
This is the beginning of our project.

Here is another picture of just starting on a project.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Unconditional stamp of approval

Making a spiritual gift can be so simple. It just needs to come from the heart. These little wood rounds were collected by my dad when he worked at the local sawmill. They're just stamped and then attached by adding a bit of fun-tac to their backs. Fun-tac is a sticky adhesive substance, similar to gum, and is removeable. These are then pressed onto my cabinet edges.

Here is another fun thing I like to do that visitors seems to think is as inspiring as I do. Inside a beautiful picture frame place a printed loving verse. One year for Thanksgiving I placed the words "thank you" inside the frame and have never removed it.

Saying thank you often is one of the most powerful things we can do in our lives. When we finally realize we lose nothing by giving away our gratitude our lives become a piece of art, a masterpiece of goodwill and grace.

And, because kindness and thankfulness are closely linked, you can visit this link to create wonderful downloadable projects from Kind over matter. These wonderful people have taken it upon themselves to promote kindness whenever and however possible. I love that. Be sure to check them out here


Sunday, March 21, 2010

From lack to surplus in one fell swoop

This beautiful necklace came to me recently from my very sweet and unbelievably talented friend, Tonia Davenport. She is one not afraid to share her heart and many people are blessed because of it.

The black velveteen cloth with the bird and inscription on it was a gift from my dear friend Laurie Cleveland. This friend is known for her thoughtfulness and compassionate ear. With beautiful things given by beautiful friends such as these it's not hard to feel thankful, in fact the feeling of love associated with these gifts can be overwhelming.

But, once I heard advice that if you're having bad dreams and are awakened in the night simply begin to think of what you're are thankful for. For a time after my mother became sick I was having bad dreams. I'm ashamed to admit it took a few nights to come up with 10 things...but it wasn't long before there were countless things to be thankful for, and I could go and on. The power of thankfulness is amazing. I am a lucky person because I am thankful. And, you are lucky too, or you can be.

Melody Beattie beautifully writes: "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

We say Art Saves! What Say You?

Here's a little picture taken by Jenny Doh of Crescendoh recently at the CHA show in LA. Art Saves! And HOW?!

Minding Hope CHA 2010

This is a picture of Jenny Doh and I from CHA last month. Jenny is the founder and president of Crescendoh, an online media publishing company with Crescendoh Radio & TV coming.

A large part of Crescendoh is Art Saves, for which I am a Curator. My story will go live on the 22nd of March. I will be sharing my story of how art saved me and I'll also be sharing sites that I've found useful and inspiriring in design or lifestyle, or both.

There are many wonderful elements to Crescendoh and it's a really fun and inspiring place to visit. www.crescendoh.com Jenny's heart comes through again and again as an advocate for the less fortunate and disenfranchised. (Be sure to check out the many wonderful products for sale with generous portions going to charity.) You won't be dissappointed, I promise.

Special thanks to Dorie Barrett for taking the picture.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Easy Tiger, it takes two

Sometimes this is just how it feels. There is a sweet but oh so lonely sadness to this song. It does seem to hit the nail squarely on the head for any one of us at some point in our lives. Loneliness is a common problem. This became so clear to me recently after being removed from my safe little world of ease and comfort while watching my son and his significant other break up. The fact that our 2 yr old grandson is involved has been heart wrenching. I've been finding that processing an avalanche is just plain hard work. Perhaps there have been some missteps along the way. The transformative power of the imagination, not only for the joy and enrichment of our daily lives, but also for the creation of large miracles is something so accessible and yet, at times can be damn elusive.

Imagination's free wheeling ways are an absolute must for miracle building.

A man filled with angst and deliberate defensiveness is powerless to make miracles until a place of faith, in the midst of the storm, can be accepted and claimed again. Fractured from the fall...it does seem as if we're called, by and large, to overcome our fractured spirits. Faith is the main, necessary ingredient. But, grace is also a necessary ingredient. Grace proves itself as forgiveness for anything, and everything.

Creating a more loving relationship with others (albeit eventually) we may need to be healed. So, there is a decision to be made. Shall I walk on water and believe? In other words, am I going to believe, in spite of the unhappiness I know I can be capable of?

Can I surf the tide of recriminations and sadness to see a way to the other peaceful shore? It takes two.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

As Luck Would Have It

"Congrats! We have picked your name to receive one of the Hambly Wallets. We hope you enjoy it and thanks for stopping by our booth at CHA." What a fun surprise to get my notification by email that this fun little wallet was on it's way. It's cute, don't ya think? And, they do have the cutest wall decals with birds, chandeliers and wood grain images. Right up my alley and right in my mailbox! Fun, huh?!

When I was a kid I won a can of paint. (In retrospect it seemed to hearken to my future vocation.) To this 8 year old, the store owner offered a Hawaiian poster instead, much to my delight. :)

When it comes to winning, my name's not often drawn out of the hat. But, winning is a matter of perception and thankfulness. Renewing appreciations for all that seems to come carelessly our way, often after dodging emotional landmines of bitterness and anger, will motivate us to transfigure the negatives into something beautiful through imagination and creativity if we allow our true nature of love to respond. This is the surest way to feel lucky and be surrounded by loving kindness and care. I always picture a train with two sets of tracks parallel to each other. One set will show you the landscape of fear and darkness, the other of love and light. We are so much more than our circumstances, or the predicaments we may find ourselves in. We are human beings, the masterpiece of God's creation. We are not nearly as helpless to transform negatives as many of us have been inclined to imagine, or been lead to believe.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do you feel lucky?

I have to say St. Patricks Day has never held much interest for me personally, I can't say why really. But with holiday meanings on my mind it does suddenly intrigue me. hmmm. I like that...
In our town, St. Patrick has a particular place of influence. The local high school with St. Patrick as mascot, amid the sounds of "We are the Irish, the mighty, mighty Irish!" rally a cry for spirited play.

Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. I did not know that. And now that I'm sufficiently inspired to extract new meaning here I'll also have to take a good stare at luck.

occurring by chance; "a lucky escape"; "a lucky guess"
having or bringing good fortune; "my lucky day"; "a lucky man"
golden: presaging or likely to bring good luck; "a favorable time to ask for a raise"; "lucky stars"; "a prosperous moment to make a decision"

Well now, that does sounds promising. "Diligence is the mother of good luck." I can see that one too.

So, why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.

information attributed to http://www.st-patricks-day.com/about_saintpatrick.html

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Always near

During this season of Lent I've become persuaded to do things I've been hesitant and more than a little reluctant to do in the past. Like fasting. I've never been one to really buy into traditional means of sacrifice. There just seems to be too much of an artificial formulaic element to much that I've seen in the past. However, this year, with my heart pushing forward to a new place of faith I'm asking myself "what is the point of hold out?" Our family has been through crisis of late with our son and his heartbreaking and crushing custody issues. But alongside of this is the knowledge that release and resolve are inevitable. So, in knowing this, how do we get there? Lent has long been regarded as the season of fasting, prayer and meditation. Well, we're right on schedule. One of the greatest and most wonderful surprises of my life is how holidays have taken on deeper meaning, resonating the truest import of the holiday. Particularly at holidays I feel so loved. It just seems God has chosen to reveal himself to my heart in a personal way by adding yet another layer of meaning to each holiday. Part of this stems from having learned that many of us (myself included way back when) are not good at celebrating...at feeling good. For some feeling good is perplexing and unsettling.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Gallery of Regrettable Food- A must see

Creative and funny-
Because we all need a little more funny in our lives I give you James Lileks. http://www.lileks.com/ On sidebar check out The Bleat blog and Home of the Gallery of Regrettable Food. (Also Interior Desecrators.) Hysterical. There is a ton on this site that keeps me laughing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

my book is now available as a digi download- that's fun!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Remnant Craft

A box used for gluing glitter to other things is used as a little grotto of sorts for this little dear. Simple gold glittery cording has been attached around and a pretty little card is placed inside. This jpg is further embellished with photoshop, but, as it is right now, it rests on my office mantle reminding me of just how easily beauty comes to us.

See Yourself Sainted in 2010 Cortona, Italy!!

Lisa Bebi and I will be teaching in Italy this September! Doesn't this look like fun? Read all about it and all fun details by clicking on the Sainted picture on the sidebar or by pasting http://toscanaamericana.com/coletteglisabmix.html in your browser. Literally this is going to be a blast! You'll learn excellent techniques you just won't learn anywhere else from the master and originator of the paint-over method St. Lisa Bebi herself, known for an enthusiastic, edgy approach to teaching. Lisa has been winning awards and recognition for her work, but so have many of her former workshop attendees! One thing is certain it will be hilarious!

This highly sought after instructor is incredibly talented and makes each class something very special and unique. No doubt many of you here will recognize Lisa Bebi since she has been Artist On Call for Somerset Studios with literally countless projects published in all their magazines like Somerset Home, Somerset Apronolgy, Somerset Life, Memories, etc. etc. etc. It truly does go on and on! Lisa teaches annually in Italy and in her local San Diego area. Check out her blog www.lisabebi.blogspot.com I will be teaching creating crumbling substrates rendering the appearance of aged walls, collage and edging techniques to replace framing, and we'll be using my canvas kits for other exciting projects as well.

You'll learn what is "OK" to use in your art without asking permission and what might be questionable-- and how to get permission or how to get around asking.

This Sept 18-25 Italy workshop is a truly lovely time planned specifically for the magnificent weather for traipsing around Cortona and gathering objects d'art and photos for class - one of kind foreign findings. St. Lisa is a scream and together we pray we'll avoid arrest by the Italian po po. There will be laughing and making gorgeous art. Give this workshop serious consideration- it truly will be a once in a lifetime event and not something you'll want to miss.

In the meantime we'll both be teaching in San Diego in April at the Escondido Arts Gallery. April 24Th. ph. Escondido Arts 760-480-4101.I'll also be teaching at The Stamp Addict the 23rd. update: Stamp Addict is being rescheduled perhaps for May. Will likely be adding other locations along the way to utilize my drive time well (have been trying to do this for the last 3 months) and fully enjoy the trip from Oregon to sunny southern California!

And while I'm thinking about it here is the number for the Stamp Addict: 619-667-5060 to learn more. or email Jennifer Zuorrow Van Pelt at jennifer@thestampaddict.com

Friday, March 5, 2010

Of a mind to recycle

Talk about baggage! It's time for this baggage to move on. . .
The driver of this truck told me the recycled tin compacted and placed here are
5'x 4' blocks each one weighing 2300 lbs! They are removed using an enormous magnet that can pull 6 blocks at a time from the bed of this truck.

I was kindof unprepared for the bad smell emanating. (Why was I surprised?)

Sometimes I think serious circumstances that enter our lives are like the enormous magnet- removing tons of garbage and " stinkin thinkin" in a fairly fell swoop.

I'm thinking it may seem things take too long to recover from, or to endure, but I have to wonder if a grand recycle is taking place transforming us into something less destructive to ourselves and our environments.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Halo Dear Heart

It has been a while and I've missed you all too! This little vignette is largely due to my friend Christina Jackson, my online friend from Kansas. I LOVE the heart she created with the Halo over it! For me, this says it all. I believe most of us do have halos over our hearts. It's our imagination that prevents us from seeing the love others really do have for us. I can't believe how many times I've been shocked to learn the level of care someone has extended toward me and I've been completely oblivious to it! We get caught up in our own perceptions and fail to imagine another perspective- another way of loving. We aren't meant to live with all those around us simply mirroring ourselves back to us. We are meant to experience the joy and beauty and newness of love as expressed through differing personalities and authentic sharing. A beautiful pathway through our lives is permeated with the fragrance of unknown beauty if we open our hearts to let the divine nature of others express themselves without our concerted influence.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blessings To All

These two very short videos capture the prayers requested for water I use in my artwork. This water came downstream from a place I've dubbed Buffy's point. (To read more about this see July 26th and July 29th posts: "River of Dreams" & "Buffy Point")

In this water I believe Buffy's innocence and dreams still somehow reside. May the hope, love, grace and indefinable mercy of God make itself known.

This water was collected just outside my little town at the little spot most locals know as the singing bridge. We call it the singing bridge because this bridge has long grooves in the surface so that a humming sound will accompany you as you are carried across.

It has become important for me to fuse my faith in God's love toward all mankind with my work. Water is such a gift, not just used in many spiritual applications but also for sustenance and cleansing. It really is mysterious and miraculous- how lost we would be without it.

See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them and God himself will be the action feast.