We are staying in a wonderful B+B on the way home. It is the 200 South Street Inn in Charlottesville. Wonderful room, wine and cheese in the evenings and a great breakfast in the morning... if you are ever in the area I highly recommend it!
Yesterday was the last show for jill2day and her roadie! It has been fun, and I can't begin to explain how much I have enjoyed meeting all of you and playing dress up in the booth. You have all taught me a lot and given my so much joy! I loved it when you stopped back year after year, to just say "hi" and wish me well. You know who you are, I know who you are.
I have also met a wonderful community of artists and crafters. I never realized how many dedicated people there are out there; going from show to show and providing wonderful clothing, artwork, garden decor, jewelry, pottery, and so much more, as an alternative to WalMart, Target, or Macy's! Please support them whenever you can. They are a lovely group of folks and work very hard to provide you with both entertainment and wares. If the next time you need a bracelet, a skirt, or a new coffee mug, you can buy from an artisan rather than a retailer, that would be a good deed, indeed.
I am at a show this weekend, and a couple booths down is a booth filled with memories. Randy's Candies specializes in candies from years gone by.
I don't know about you, but I so remember the sophistication of Candy Cigarettes and the stuck teeth and cracking apart the Turkish Taffy. Here were Smith Brothers cough drops, Beemans and Black Jack gums, Bubble Gum cigars, and just about every sweet memory you can think of.
They also had glass bottled sodas like Nehi and Cheerwine. (I gave up Nehi Orange after an unfortunate incident after imbibing in birthday party involving chocolate cake and Orange Nehi!)
They even had the Dots on Paper candy and Wax lips. However, while reminiscing at dinner discussion tonight, we realized that none of us actually knew what to do with wax lips - eat them or throw away? We also realized how intensely personal candy preferences are...what are yours?
I asked Randy where the SenSens were, but evidently the demand for those do not equal Turkish Taffy or Candy Cigs! Evidently the legal rights to these old candies have lapsed, and small candy companies have taken to replicating them - I guess they have figured out how to take the Baby Boomer memories of penny and nickle candies and charge us $1-$1.50 per for them! More power to them!
I love the Metro stations in DC. My dream house is a Quonset hut, so maybe that has something to do with it. The stations are relatively new, and starkly industrial, but with lots of gentle curves that contradict the concrete. They are generally devoid of piped in music and surprisingly quiet until the train whooshes and squeals. There is that same strange time zone that you feel at airports; one that houses both quiet waiting and frantic speed. They are both crowded and lonely. They have views that are long, and high, and downward. There are vast spaces, but there are also small cubicle waiting areas that are intimate. Here are photos I took yesterday of some of the indoor (it was about 11F degrees , so no outdoor ones other than the one I started at on my journey!) platforms. Most of them have been merely sharpened and cropped... otherwise as shot with my trusty Fujifilm S8200.
Tunnels, stairs, and curves;
Waiting and rushing;
I am off visiting this week. I am staying with my older son, his wife and two kids.
When I became a mother the first time, I was astounded at the primal feelings that came forth when that little guy was put into my arms. I still remember the surprise that I felt when the wave of visceral protective instinct rose the first time I felt a threat (big friendly dog!) approach my infant. That was only one of the many maternal surprises that followed. over the years .
Then my boys grew up (but are still my babies!) and started lives of their own. Those maternal surprises still continue, but then came a whole new bunch of surprises as grand kids came along. Who knew?! I find it so much fun to have many of the same joys of being a part of a young life, with many fewer of the parental responsibilities of parenthood. I realize in retrospect how important the grandparents were in my sons' life, and even in my own. There is a special joy in being able to relax a bit more, while watching these kids grow, than I did while raising my own. There is a special relief when things get tough, being able to say "go see Mama/Papa". But almost more fun is watching my son be a parent! That, I have found, is just another maternal surprise to be enjoyed.
There is something exceptionally wonderful about art that is made for no purpose other than the urge to make it. Art that is free of theory or market. Art that is driven only by compulsion. To a great extent that is the very definition of art for many. Most artists would fear insanity if they were somehow not able to make art. I know I would be very twitchy! But somehow when one starts studying art, or showing our art, we become conscience of the audience and posterity and some purity is lost. However, saying that, I also must admit, that every painter should know color theory. Photographers should understand the numbers on their lenses, and potters need to know what will happen when the clay gets fired. To think that you can freely express yourself, while fighting with your media is daft. It is finding the middle ground, where expression is enhanced by knowledge and not inhibited by it, that is sometimes an issue.
When I was in grad school (actually not that long ago, because I was a "non-traditional" -i.e. old- grad student), I learned a great lesson from one of my younger colleagues. We were in a print class critique, and I was presenting my work and droning on about color, and process, with a few gems regarding composition thrown into the presentation. Suddenly, he said "I am so !#@%! sick of hearing about all that, just make art!". Well as someone who at that time was teaching design and color, I was initially offended, but then thought about it.
I had thought of his process as "monkey art" - you know, the old 'if you put 10,000 monkeys at a typewriter, sooner or later they will write Shakespeare' type of creation. I had seen him in the studio - music cranked, ink flying, paper grabbed, seemingly without intent. It was a Friday, so over the weekend I went to the studio, cranked up the music, let the ink fly and grabbed endless sheets of whatever paper was there... It was bliss. Complete indulgent, unabashed bliss.
On Monday, I thanked him for reminding me about the art urge.
So, as I see it "art" is twofold. There is the artistic experience of making, and the art experience of viewing. The ratio or import of each will vary. The correlation between the artist's experience and the viewer's experience may be incidental or profound. As a graphic designer, there is a wealth of experience as you work to make both concept and marketing goal work while combining a multitude of design and color theories. The result is a very transient artifact, that will most often not be appreciated for its aesthetics - even though they are the reason it works or not! The experience of making the ad may be profound to the designer, but [conscientiously] inconsequential to the viewer. While I may choose five different fabrics to make into a sweater and spend a lot of time making sure the textures and weights work together, the buyer may love the comfort and the fact it matches their new jeans. That does nothing to lessen my experience during the creation.
Some of my favorite forms of art are folk art or naive art or kids art. Art that is made because the artist had to get it out.
Tomorrow I will talk a bit more about that.
For me, that was a very meaningful experience. We often hear things like 'be in the moment' or 'learn from experience', etc. but this was more than that for me. It explained the difference between the personal experience of art and the public artifact of art. At times they coincide, but many times they are quite separate events. I may have a total 'artgasm' experience while creating something, but the final artifact may not move anyone else. One the other hand, an artifact may be created with a rote hand and is beloved by the masses.
This is why there is both a huge universe of that which we call art, and why art is undefinable. Is it the making or the made. Is it enough for it to be personal growth, or must it be communicative? Those answers probably differ as much as the art created by each artist. That is the wonderment of it all. That is the angst of it all. That is the core of it all.
For me (and I do mean "for me" - not "how it should be"), it is the experience. I have never made art with a conscience effort to change the world, or even one single mind. I have no want to be validated through gallery sales or fame. It is enough to feel the well up of the creative force and the visceral relief when it escapes from me. Whether it is then enjoyed by others is both a bonus and a wonderment, but never a necessity.
The above assertion may seem either contradictory, or a bit of downright hypocrisy, coming from someone who has made their living based on their creative endeavors for almost four decades, so tomorrow I will address that. Stay tuned!
A few days ago, I posted this photo on my Facebook page. It shows how Etsy - which was a unique outlet for handcrafters and artists - has become an outlet for mass producers. I need to acknowledge that they are not alone in this trend or the trend of the non-original idea.
To be really fair, I also have to say it occurs in both camps - the makers and the manufacturers. For every manufacturer that rips off a design or idea from an artist, there is a maker capitalizing on Dr. Who, Disney or Hello Kitty on their site. I find both practices equally as abhorrent.
Has the internet made ownership so fleeting and piracy so easy that it is now the "norm". In just the last month, besides the continuing Etsy issues, I have had two other very personal events that bring this all close to home, and make me angry!
What has happened to originality and respect?
The saga of the boots....
I had been drooling over UGG boots for a while. I had been to their site often, and was waiting to see if any would go on sale around the holidays. Of course, that meant that my Facebook page was now regularly plastered with boot ads. One day one appeared for UGG boots on 30% off. YIPEE. it was "officialUGGonline.com" so I went there. sure enough it was the UGG site - the same one as I had seen many times before, but with "sale" banners! So I ordered some boots. SCORE!
I bragged about this to an on-line group and another person went there and came back to tell me that when she went to pay she noticed something fishy. I checked my Credit Card, and saw the charge was NOT from UGG, but from "EnjoyShoppingCenter, Beijing China". Turns out they had cloned the UGG site and were selling counterfeits. I confirmed this with UGG and called my credit card company. They said they had had MANY such calls and the counterfeiters were on-line in full force during the holiday season. All is now settled, and my CC company has been fantastic. But UGH!
And now to today's story...
I am not naive enough to think this will stop, but it still ticks me off! Globalization makes enforcement of copyright almost impossible. I also know that sometimes the same idea happens two places at the same time. BUT I am also old enough to remember when product design and development involved hiring someone to research and come up with original ideas for the marketplace. Many of those jobs have virtually disappeared (pun intended) as the internet makes searching and stealing so much easier and cheaper.
I grant you that I am becoming a crotchety old woman. I will also grant you that with all technological advances come challenges. But if we as citizenry do not require better of ourselves and our society, we get what we deserve. We can not all do the right thing all the time every day, but think about it the next time you get a "deal" or create something base on another's idea. The line is fine sometimes, but when you can see it try not to cross it.
Steps off soapbox for a cup of coffee.
Yesterday we finally got sun for a bit in the morning and late day. I walked into my studio and it was like visiting the Caribbean for a moment. (well no snorkeling, but sunny and colorful!). So I cranked up some tunes lit up some good smelling incense and sat back and reveled in the light. (I even washed a window to let more in) My studio is south facing, so in the winter, it gets whatever sun there is all day! Both my rescued Geranium and I enjoy it. Oddly enough, even the sweaters I worked on were more colorful than usual!
Moderation has never
been my style.
So, for the past New Year's I would do the usual resolutions and be a fanatic for a while, slip, feel guilty, and return to my slovenly ways.
For the past year or so I have tried a different approach, and so far so good. My husband (who is also the chief cook here) retired last year, and we joined a gym here in town. It is one of those stripped down 24 hour gyms. All the essentials and none of the frills. This is not our first gym membership, so the equipment was all pretty familiar. Jon is much better than I at getting going, so that has helped my biggest challenge: getting to the gym.
In the past, I have had programs and records, and coaching, etc, etc. But this time decided to take it a different approach.
Several years ago I had a "heart thingy" happen. After my doctor gave the "exercise" RX. I dutifully asked "How many minutes? How often? What?"
Her response was "What do you do now?" I replied "Nothing."
Last week on NPR they were talking about resolutions and our mindsets about them. They said people think guilt will spur them on, but usually it does the opposite. If we say we are going to go to the gym five times and we go four, we feel guilty and a failure and quit without realizing we successfully made it four times more than we used to - a great success. This brings me back to our gym and eating approach for the past year. We have been eating better, and working out a lot, and consequently seeing the inevitable results... slowly but surely; But I still ate Maggie's wonderful shortbread cookies and other goodies over the holidays! We go to the gym as much as possible; But if we miss a day or two, we know we are still doing fine. Instead of feeling guilty, we anticipate the next time. If we get there, and don't feel motivated to do the weights, watching America's Next Top Model while on the treadmill is still better than not doing anything!
Maybe there is something to this 'all things in moderation' thing after all! My hope to all of you with however you approach resolutions or not!
I have always snapped pictures, and loved photography. My family will attest to that. I have many pictures of my sons, as teens, that are a hand in front of the lens. I once survived a sail boat ride where I discovered I had a true phobia of being out of sight of land, by looking through my lens finder for the entire voyage.
I rarely look back at the photos I have taken... like with most of the art I do, it is far more about the experience than about the artifact. using my camera makes me slow down. It makes me look. It makes me compose and notice and enjoy.
The last few years, the photos that have been the most frequent have been my product photos. That was good and useful, but I am enjoying getting back to photo for fun!
I joined the Facebook group 365 for 2013. It is a group of people who have vowed to take and post a picture each day for the entire year.
Back to the skirts for a minute. I brought about a dozen knit skirts to the Chicago OOAK show in December, and they almost sold out the first day. They are so comfortable and provide winter warmth, but are not as stifling as sweaters can be for some people. They look great with just a knit shirt or turtleneck.
I had a pretty good stash of velvets and velor fabrics that I had accumulated, but didn't have any special plans for them. So I made some skirts from them also and Llove the way they turned out. They are very swishy and twirly!
SO I have a good inventory going for the January show, BUT I am pretty sure there is enough to go around for those who can't make the show! I will be posting the balance of my inventory on Etsy after the show (Aiming for February 1) I will also have a "clearance" section with the t-shirts and some home goods, etc that I have unearthed from seasonal storage.
I appreciate you hanging in with me, and hop that this will give"one last chance" for those who are looking for more jill2day garments.
I have decided that everything is fine if you have a pair of warm pink boots.
It is below zero out today, but who cares! I have pink boots. They are sheepskin on the inside, and my dogs are toasty!
As you can see my steering wheel frames them well, and they were just the thing for wandering through the library!
Those of you who might not live in the land of snow and cold, might not be able to relate to the joy a bit of color can bring to a Midwest Winter! Most days the sky and land are the same color gray, and the branches and roads, just a darker gray! We had a beautiful - but momentary - sunrise this am that bathed the landscape in orange pink, and resulted in the complementary purple blue shadows. Other than that, it has been pretty monochromatic. Sort of like the black and white days of my youth (you know; before color film was invented!)
The weather is very cold these last few days, and the birds have been eating us out of house and home! they swarm the feeder, and come to the window to say "more please" if the feeders empty!
The Mourning Doves come in packs of 20 or so and take over the feeders, the ground, the tress,and the wires!
This photo shows a Blue jay (upper right) and a Flicker (right of feeder) trying to get at the food too!
I love the little Junkos with their yellow beaks and fluffed up feathers.
I truly believe the Chickadees use up more energy flying back and forth with one seed, than they gain in eating!
Good morning to you all. May your 2014 be bright and beautiful and full of all that you deserve!
The house is quiet and ready for the New year. This might be my favorite holiday. Some call it "New Year's Day" I call it "Sloth
Nothing to do except unadulterated laziness! Left overs from last nigh mean that no cooking will be needed. Wisconsin football managed to win just enough to be in a bowl that we can see without having cable, so a great nap or good game will happen. The scrabble board remains out for those that want to try again. It is cold enough that even promises of bargains will not compel me to leave the house.
But then starts the count down. One more show, six months of purging and packing, one abode to locate, 62 years of Wisconsin to say good bye to, and a million new adventures to unfold!
BRING IT ON!
A visual Review of last night's fun...
If you are really into history, click here for blog posts prior to 2014 !