Oh yeah! I'm back on my blog . . . I took almost 2 years leave from it - 1 year, 9 months, 1 week and 2 days to be more exact. And now we find ourselves here on October 14, 2013. I'm re-designing, everything!
Sabbatical (from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew Shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, literally a "ceasing") is a rest from work, or a break, often lasting from two months to a year. The concept of sabbatical has a source in several places in the Bible (there is a commandment to desist from working the fields in the seventh year). In the strict sense, therefore, a sabbatical lasts a year. In recent times, "sabbatical" has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something. In the modern sense, one takes sabbatical typically to fulfill some goal, e.g., writing a book or traveling extensively for research.
I did a lot of things, too numerous to mention but I will explain a few of them further.
A little backstory to bridge you from there, January 2011, when I wrote my last blog post, to here and now:
I and my family moved to a new house this year and it's wonderful! "Why did we move?" you ask. If you don't know already, I'll explain it a little bit here:
Our youngest kid graduated from high school (LOOK, isn't he a nice looking kid?)
and it was always a part of our plan to move as soon as he did. So we actually found the house about a year ago (August 2012) and bought it when house prices were good and spent our time cleaning, fixing it up and moving over packed boxes before we actually moved this June. Our new house is a little bit smaller than the old one because our daughter went off to college and she can sleep in the guest room or on a cot in my husband's office. She says that she'll probably be staying with us only on occasion and may not live with us anymore. In fact she already has an apartment with four other friends near the college campus she attends and is threatening to stay there through spring break and maybe even live there after she graduates, bless her independent little heart. It will be an interesting transition . . . as we shall see in the future when we get there.
Here is her painting in progress on the back wall of our patio.
When I was a young mother with two little kids in diapers, it was a challenge to keep my spirits up on an ongoing basis because those little people needed me, and time and love was what I had to give them but I had very little time to myself. Duty called about 24 hours a day and I was on with my whole heart. But after a while, I was a little sad (no, I was a LOT sad, I admit it) that I didn't have much chance to get my hands into any projects or making anything I could be proud of, or even finish. Meanwhile the INTERNET was growing behind the scenes and as they grew a little older and my husband became more confident about his ability to hang with the kids, he let me go off and learn a thing or two about #1 Ceramics, my first deep interest that had been put on hold when the kids took over our lives.
the view from up there
an area where his parents' family had homesteaded back five generations. He's fifth generation Californian and my kids are now 6th generation. The first Witherells came over in covered wagons and lived a hard life compared to the ease and abundance which our family now enjoys thanks to my awesome and generous husband. Did I ever mention that he's very handsome too? I really lucked out!
But the cabin! It gave me a chance to attend classes every once in a while in the town of Mendocino at the Mendocino Art Center and there I pursued Ceramics until one day I got the hair brained idea that I wanted to become a goldsmith . . . really, with no training whatsoever, but that was 15 years ago now at least and I had many venues, including my beloved MAC to find out how things were done.
15 years and I have enjoyed every minute of it and now I have a big new studio
this is what the room looked like when we got the new place:
on the main floor of my house, just down the hall from the kitchen, right next to my son's (the night owl) bedroom, and way far away from the bedroom I happily share with my husband who goes to sleep much earlier than the rest of us.
Here it is with some tables and benches:
and now I'm pretty much settled in there. It is my favorite place in the house!
lots of mixed media stuff in there:
and my bench:
My husband is the "morning shift" and I am the "night shift" with regard to making sure things get done around here. We still spend lots of time together . . . between around 9 am to about 11 pm as a general rule and just a few weeks ago we celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary, TADA!
Here's a photo of us when we had been married about 4 years, way back when. I will get a shot of us together and post it here soon. We don't look too shabby for all the things we've been through and we are looking forward to the new chapter that is unfolding for us right now.
He grew a nice bunch of tomatoes this summer and look at this one he found - Minnie Mouse!
and then we went to the wedding of a friend's son who we've know since he was 2 years old. It was very nice but gave me an odd feeling that the time is passing.
Another boon has been the fact that the new town I live in, Petaluma, California will be the location of TWO art retreats this year. The first was Art is YOU that happened about 2 weeks ago and the next one is called "Call of the Wild Soul" and it's in November. I'm not certain that either of these venues will continue to happen here but I sure do feel lucky to have been able to take part in them and not have to travel anywhere this year, with all the moving activity that we were engaged in. I'm happy to say the I'll be selling my work at the new retreat.
My friend and bookmaker/collage teacher Kelly Kilmer taught at Art is YOU in Petaluma, for the first time and I took two of her classes. I can't say enough about how good she is and how much fun it is to sit there tearing and cutting and gluing and stenciling, lettering, coloring and all kinds of fun things I used to remember doing as a kid.
and I LOVE PAPER! I love the tapes and the pens and the rub-ons
and just the whole pile of stuff she brings to class. Someone in class wants to host her up in my area and I was thinking . . . (whoopeeeeee!)
Here are some of the handmade books and collage pages I've made over the last few years with Kelly:
And those are only a few. I have almost a whole shelf of handmade books and journals, many of which were made in one of her classes or probably inspired by something she made. We are all happy when we're in her class.
So going further in the spirit of checking in after almost 2 years, and showing a little bit of art, I wanted to say that I had a very good time at Aftosa this last weekend taking a Kaleidoscope Caning workshop with Sarah Shriver. I met her at the Bay Area Bead Extravaganza a few years ago and then again in a class we both took at the Mendocino Art Center last year. Seeing her polymer clay work inspired me to take her class and serendipity brought it all together for me. I learned so much from her about polymer clay. I tried it for a while once many years ago and I lost interest because I felt the clay was too hard for me to work compared to ceramic clay and I didn't care for being exposed to the chemicals in the formulation of the plastic. She told us that the polymer clays have been improved and the chemicals that are not good for you are no longer part of them. GOOD then, I'm in! . . . and we used pasta machines which was really fun! . . . because I am always ready to try something new and learn something that I can add to my bag of tricks. I know it will come in handy one day.
The following snapshots are of what I made in class and this weird looking thing I was working on:
and this amazing thing:
and all of these shapes as well:
I am wowed and my daughter wants to make some with me when she gets home for Christmas break. Yay! It will be fun making something with her and hanging out.
This next story is for Laura, my table mate in the polymer class. Here are a few photos of an idea I got from a YouTube video I saw one day. A woman was explaining how she found some sheets of glass at the dollar store and she had this idea to attach adhesive foam to them in patterns and use them as large stamps. The spool of thread is for size comparison.
Well the glass part made me squeamish because well, I start dropping things late at night and I could see where that might lead but then I remembered Tap Plastics has tubs of remnant pieces of plexiglass so I went and got some and voila! I made a few.
The trick is to use pale stamp pad ink colors so that they appear as backgrounds in your journal or on your mixed media artwork but I think the point here is to make the patterns and then decide what kinds of colors suit your purpose. I think you could probably use watercolor inks, alcohol inks and any number of things on the surface of the foam. You can even dilute them so the colors aren't too hard. Just remember to clean them off with a wet paper towel once in a while.
and in a small journal:
I had to reassess what I wanted this blog to do for me and I decided it was going to be for checking in, sharing, showing my art and making processes and marketing. I have jewelry and I have LOTS of it and I want to sell some of it. It's beautiful! It has personality and it needs to move so that my new ideas and projects can flow and so that I can fund my need for more supplies for my growing self expression and creative life, specifically silver and other metals. So if YOU feel like there has been an item of jewelry that I made that's in my etsy shop, and you've had your eye on it for a while but you thought the price was just too steep, look no further . . . everything in my shop will be 50% off for the next two weeks (October 15-28). No time ultimatums from me, except the two weeks because after that I will be on to the new. These will be the best prices you will ever see from me because after that I will be selling the things I make at a few shows, in shops and galleries and their prices are not cheap. I am just about done selling on Etsy. It was a good long run, thank you! I'm going to spread out to something that suits me more and I'll reveal that later when I have it all battened down.
I've wanted to say this for a long time . . . OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW SALE!
It's time for me to move out the already made and make room for the brand new ideas I'm going to put forth and will continue to put out into WORLD when I have a chance. Here's how it will work . . . since I only just decided this as I was writing . . . Go to my shop . . . check it out at your leisure and see if there's anything that you like and want to have https://www.etsy.com/shop/happydayart . . . and send me a convo telling me exactly which piece you want. I will then adjust the price to 50% off and reserve it for you in your name and then you can buy it. I will ship it out within the next two days after your purchase. First emails are first served. I'm not making more of these particular items. They will now be set free. GO!
And thank you, thank you in advance if you are one of the people that happen to buy something during this sale. I really appreciate it so much, and want my jewelry to go to people that really want them.
It's nice to be back in the world of the blogging again. I hope you enjoyed my long story and picture show and I'll be back again on Sunday with a special blog post in which a bunch of us, in rotation style, will talk about a certain topic to be revealed on Sunday morning for your delight and entertainment.