Release: My word for 2013

In past years, I’ve had to constantly tumble ideas for a “word of the year” around in my head, discovering over time which are nicked or just don’t fit right in the palm of my hand, discarding those until I find the one smooth encapsulation of my heart’s desire for the next 365 days.

This year, it came to me as sudden and undeniable as a lightening bolt:  RELEASE.

It wasn’t just a goal; it’s permission. Permission to let go and give up the burden of too much angst and so many expectations, permission to be whoever I am without all that. I discovered in 2012 that my own highly internal fears and expectations can be a huge stumbling block, especially when paired with any past commitments, any false starts or half-completed plans. It’s like everything that I didn’t do or complete gangs up on me to prevent me from getting anything further done.

Or it did. Until I said, “No more” and offered myself release. And I started with this unassuming hardcover sketchbook.

Word of 2013: RELEASE

Bought in 2008, it was originally a lovely commitment to my art practice and sketching. And a lot of its pages got used up for that (like here and here). Some also were used for notes when nothing else was at hand, for testing out new markers and countless other tasks. And a good 20 or so pages were still blank, though scattered throughout the book. The combination of those remaining pages and the previous pages filled up with lists unfinished and plans unaccomplished was no longer a source of inspiration or potential, it was just dragging me down.

So, I tore out every single page. I made a small pile of blank pages to use in some other function, followed by a smaller stack of pages to keep. The rest, I crumpled up and took outside:

Journal pages before the fire& then I took some old journal pages outside to burn...










I tossed a match in, drank a beer and wished myself a happier, lighter new year. In a word, it was cathartic.

I used what was left–the covers and binding–to journal about the experience:

Word of 2013: RELEASE

Word of 2013: RELEASE

I even included photos of the fire. And a quote from Susan Wooldridge I’d read only the day before:

Word of 2013: RELEASE

The final page was pretty much the best advice I had to give myself about how to make my life better, how to let RELEASE take me where I know I want to go, drilling home the lessons I need to be that person. Including this:

Ask, “Will this make me a better artist? web designer? friend? sister? wife?” If not, you just don’t need it, tadpole.

I expect this is a refrain I’ll be learning over and over in 2013. I hope to be patient with myself and, eventually, proud of the process and progress both. I’m glad to be back in this space, however, and hope it will be fruitful for my journey.

(NOTE:  Evidently, I haven’t blogged most of my words of the year, but I do have an entry about 2009′s word, if’n you’re curious.)

Published in journal, quotes on Tuesday, January 1, 2013
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Free to play

Playful beginnings (day 1)

Inspired by Kris (Collage Contessa), I’ve joined her Creative Vibrations to fill the month of June with creativity, which I’ll be blogging along with her and with several others in a related project titled “30 Days of Creativity.” Some of what I create will be shared here (& on Flickr & Twitter & on & on), but some of what I’m hoping to do is like the project above–it’s not a thing I made or even particularly love, it’s just me, playing in the studio, making marks and having fun. Courting my creativity or the muse, if you will, with just the sheer habit of showing up and doing something. It will be lots of fun for me (I hope!), but not always something spectacular to look at.

Having said that, if you’re inspired to join us and want a burst of creativity in your month or just an excuse to play, I hope you’ll join us!

Published in 30daysofcreativity on Thursday, June 2, 2011
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Goals & such & tracking

Earlier this year, I needled (encouraged? depends on who you ask!) a friend to create a 30-in-30 list—30 goals to accomplish during the year she turned 30. I found turning 30 to be prettyfuckingfantabulous (granted, 29 was hideous), so I was excited for her to have a good experience of turning 30, too. I also made her a little goal-setting book, which I’ll share photos of here tomorrow as part of the Friday 5.

June Journal (cover)This, of course, got me thinking of my own birthday; I turned 33 in March which, in turn, inspired it’s own list of goals for the year. I’ve 27 of the ideal 33 sketched out and have even completed them in my bloggity absence. Some of those goals are less one-time deals (like getting a massage, which I’m doing later today, or taking a workshop at Baltimore Print Studios, which I hope to do this summer) and more like habits I want to form—habits that create the life I want to lead, the woman I want to be.

And, at least for me, habits require record keeping, temperature checks to see how I’m doing. So I whooped out one of my many bookmaking guides and made one of the simplest books I’ve never made:  a stitched pamphlet with only one signature. It came as no surprise to me that I had whizzed past this style of book, anxious to make other more interesting or complex creations, but, as this project shows, the simple pamphlet book also has its place!

June Journal (cover)June Journal (inside view)June Journal (inside view)

Published in 33in33, books, journal, true life stories on Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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Friday Five: A few of my favorite things

Friday Five Inspired by the Fancy Friday feature organized by the great gals at LoveFeast, this week’s Friday Five ventures out of the studio and explores my favorite things. As always, you can click on the photo to see a larger version of it.

My favorite things: Handmade Book
One of my closest friends is a book conservator which, in turn, has given her the skills to make kick-ass handmade books. This is one of the beautiful books she’s gifted to me.

My favorite things: Ephemera drawers
I have a love for ephemera, for odds and ends, and, when these objects follow me home, they invariably end up in these metal slide organizers where they wait to inspire a bit of artwork or a journal page. Not much of what I collect/organize gets attractive containers like this (I see so many studios with glass jars, but I think my cats would enjoy redecorating with those too much!), so I’m extra appreciative of the aesthetic appeal of the old slide organizers.

My favorite things: Bracelet from my mother
What would you give someone you loved if it might be the last gift you gave to them? My mother chose this silver bracelet with the inscription “BLESS THIS WOMAN” inside to give to me for my 28th birthday. She died 292 days later. If I could, I’d wear this bracelet every day but, unfortunately, it has a bit of a weak spot/crack and now I worry that the whole thing could fall apart.

My favorite things: Pressed Pennies
I don’t allow myself many collections, but I do gather these pressed pennies on my various travels and adventures. They seem like some a piece of Americana, I was quite surprised to also find them in Europe and, as a result, have pennies from the London Dungeon and Dublin Zoo among the collection. I also have a a coin I hammered myself at the Jorvik Viking Centre!

My favorite things: Books
The other collection I must own up to: books. We have bookshelves of art books, of cooking books, of gaming books and, of course, fiction and other types of nonfiction. I regularly try to whittle down, but have to acknowledge my short comings every time we move, people express shock at the number of boxes labeled “BOOKS—HEAVY!!”

Published in books, friday5 on Friday, January 14, 2011