Branks Comes to Port Union October 24th

If you are in the Port Union/Bonavista area on Thursday, October 24th, please stop in at Union House Arts at 7 p.m. and join me and the Women’s Institute for an evening discussion and performance of Branks. This is the kick-off event for the public aspect of this project!

Please note that this gathering is open to women-identifying people only.

Her Tongue Was Sharp (Branks), 2019

Her Tongue Was Sharp (Branks), 2019

Small Things Brought Together - Season 2, Episode 2 (Anne-Marie McIntyre)

In this episode, I interview artist Anne-Marie McIntyre who works in ceramic and drawing in her studio just north of New York City. Anne-Marie also teaches art in the public school system in Yonkers, NY, and with the Continuing Ed Program at Cooper Union. As you will discover, education and sharing her well-earned wisdom generously with the next generation is a large part of Anne-Marie’s work. I also can’t help but say that A-M did ceramics before ceramics were cool. Her work is beautiful and highly original and I hope you enjoy the episode!

Branks - Coming Soon!

I am thrilled to share that my project, Branks, received a project grant from ArtsNL, the arts council in Newfoundland and Labrador. This support means that I will be able to make the project much larger - I plan to make 100 bridles - and share it with women around the province. Starting in the fall, I will be traveling around the island with the bridles and meeting with groups of women. I will invite them to try on the bridles and talk about their own experiences around having a voice, speaking up as well as being silenced. If you live in Newfoundland and Labrador and would like me to come to your group, please be in touch!

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Enter Season 2 - Small Things Brought Together

In November 2017, I launched my ongoing video series, Small Things Brought Together, as a way of inviting people to join me in an exploration of the creative process. I was especially interested in reaching people who may have stopped imaging themselves as creative people. To me the term “creative people” is redundant. I believe that every human is naturally creative and curious unless and until they are convinced otherwise. Unfortunately, that covers a lot of people! STBT was my attempt to encourage and gently guide people back into connection with the creative part of their life.

I recorded eight episodes using Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, specifically sutras II.1 and I.20, as our springing off place for exploration. The teaching of those sutra closely matches the evolution of the creative process. In Sutra II.1, the advice is to make some effort, engage in self-reflection as a result of that effort and adopt an attitude of acceptance around what arises ie. don’t judge yourself. As newcomers (recent returners) to creative work, this is most excellent advice! We looked at that over several months, piece by piece, using ink drawing as our medium. The last episodes explore Sutra I.20, which describes how to cultivate trust: through effort, memory and insight, we cultivate trust in our practice.

As I recorded those last episodes, I realized that I didn’t have too much more to say in that particular direction but, as a result of those episodes, I had been having some really interesting conversations with a few people who had been engaging with them.

Thus Season 2 is born!

Small Things Brought Together, Season 2 will consist of longer episodes featuring in-depth conversations with artists about their creative practice. I am very excited about this season! To kick it off, I interviewed Shea Zuiko Settimi, an ordained monastic at Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate NY. Zuiko was, perhaps, the person with whom I spoke with the most about the topics raised in Season 1. She is not trained as a visual artist, indeed even telling me at one point, “I hate drawing.” Yet, she embodied Sutras II.1 and I.20 - continuing to make effort, reflect, and be curious not judgmental with the result that her art practice has grown and changed in fascinating ways over the past couple of years. Her experiences as an ordained Zen monastic add a depth to her understanding and framing of the process. It is a wonderful conversation!

Thank you so much, Zuiko, for taking time to speak with me and share your experiences around the creative process. This is definitely an episode that I will watch over and over!

Think Differently

For the past two months, I have been working through an online program called B-School. It was created by Marie Forleo and she and her team run it once each year. The “B” stands for business and most of the people who enroll in B-School have traditional businesses that offer products or services. Marie walks you through an in-depth series of exercises that help you clarify your purpose, your customer, the need that you are meeting and then how to most effectively reach the people who want what you have to offer.

Making art seems to fall into its own category. To describe what my art offers as meeting a need feels a little, um, generous. And yet, I have often received comments about how meaningful it was to be a part of one of my projects or to witness one of them. Part of my work these past two months has been to stop with all those “art is extra, frivolous, a luxury” comments in my head. If I really believed that, I would not have dedicated my life to making art. What if I actually allowed myself to commit to the statement, “My artwork is important and necessary.”? What if I stopped being apologetic and minimizing when I talked about my work?

Game changer!

I also have been working on clarifying the ways that I would like to invite people to participate in my work in an ongoing way. I started with some ideas about a year ago over on Patreon. The Patreon format is very interesting but it never was a great fit for me and I found myself bending like a pretzel to make what I want to offer work in their system, which is always a sign that things aren’t quite right. Last week, i shifted everything over here to my shop. It feels like the start of something important and new, not just for myself but for all kinds of visual artists who are interested in engaging directly with their audience.

I will write more in future posts but meanwhile, maybe you want to head over there and take a look.