Halfway through NaNoWriMo 2019

Oh how I wish things wouldn’t fall through the cracks but they do. This poor blog (and social media) are hiding in the dark crevasses of my mind and my to-do list each day. I don’t mean for it to be this way and yet…

I get so busy and/or distracted that I forget all of this is here for awhile. I frequently tell myself and this blog that I will be better about posting. It remains true for a few weeks then back into darkness with the occasional glimmer of hopeful light.

NaNoWriMo this year is WEIRD for me. While I make word count each day, I feel as if I have written nothing of any kind of substance for my poetry books. It is disappointing but I forge ahead. Putting words, any words, to paper just to say I did while maintaining the faintest wish for something useful.

Things with Patchwork Chicken Studio are going well even though I’ve ended up making more drawstring bags/backpacks after I promised myself I wouldn’t after August where I made 37 bags in less than a month. Glutton for punishment I guess but it was out of need for some additional variety after sales at a few shows. I also have a small pile of fabric waiting for the post-show season to become bags too but shhhhh, not suppose to know about that.

Word count for today is done. Would kinda like to curl up for a nap now but alas, no. There are time-critical things demanding my time and attention today. I had to force writing time into my schedule by going to the local coffee shop so I would not get distracted by all the other things waiting for me at home.

I Blinked And…

…it is August. Not sure where June and July went but August is here. Think I blinked in May and, boom, August. I do have vague memories of June and July – most pertaining to dental appointments and pain that followed said appointments. Not the greatest of months for functionality but they have come and gone. I look forward to August and all the things I would like to do.

I haven’t been very attentive to my online presence in the past few weeks. Need to work on that some more. I get busy with and distracted by tasks then forget other things. One track mind, maybe?

I finished Written & Whim in July. That was a big undertaking. It should be published sometime this month – doesn’t have an exact publication date yet as I’m still trying to figure out what the description/back cover should say. Yes, a description is all that stands between me and the publication of my 23rd full-length book of poetry. It breaks my heart just a little to be so close yet so far from the finish line with Written & Whim.

Aside from work on Written & Whim, I’ve been working on inventory for Patchwork Chicken Studio. We have several multi-day Art, Craft, & Gift shows coming up so all of us at Patchwork Chicken Studio have been busy creating in order to bolster our inventory for these shows. Patchwork Chicken Studio is, also, currently running a giveaway. Soon, we’re going to be giving a fabulous denim tote bag that was made by the very talented Susabelle and features a lovely rainbow-colored batik that came from my fabric stash.

My inventory work has primarily involved creating drawstring bags/backpacks in different prints & colors. I had enough fabric on hand for 24 unique one-of-a-kind bags. I have 14 done. 4 more sitting by my sewing machine to finish up this weekend. The rest are waiting to start final assembly. There are so many that I had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of what fabric elements go where and such since each bag features 3 to 4 different fabrics divided among 15 pieces to put together. I typically only make 6 to 8 bags at a time. 24 bags in an assembly line of bag awesomeness has proven to be a significant and, occasionally, overwhelming but worthwhile undertaking.

I have ten mosaic and six painting ideas awaiting my attention too but I’ve been kind of ignoring them. I couldn’t figure out why until this morning. I was gathering my things to come to the coffee shop as I wanted to get out of the house for awhile. I just HAD to get out. This ‘HAD‘ attitude is what tipped me off to my artistic plight. While my home is fairly clean, despite being in the creative trenches, it is just disorganized enough where I am agitated and unproductive among the chaos.

For someone that lived in much worse states of chaos for years and has taken massive strides in correcting such issues, this agitation speaks volumes about the progress I’ve made in improving my surroundings and negative behaviors. Very proud of myself though I am sad I will be spending the rest of today on cleaning. Still not a fan of cleaning. I can think of a million things I’d rather do even though I wouldn’t actually do any of them given the current state of my home. Irony perhaps?

For August: the publishing of Written & Whim, art & inventory (drawstring bags, flannel blankets, mosaics, abstract art, mixed media art, beaded ornaments [maybe]), tagging inventory with the spiffy new logo price tags recently obtained, packing up inventory for the shows, marketing work, writing poems, being more consistent in my online presence, and – most importantly – keep my home from sliding into the chaos again so I can remain productive.

Off I go to do battle with the evils of chaos…..

Fridays In The Studio – The Art Knew

It is Friday in The Studio with Patchwork Chicken Studio!

This week will feature something brand new (not even listed on https://www.patchworkchickenstudio.com/ yet!), and it comes with a little story…

Wednesday night, I was prepping canvases for my morning routine of painting despite paintings rapidly taking over my apartment. I was going to give a base coat of white to several of the canvases. At the last minute, I decided to go with an indigo color instead.

While applying the color to the first canvas, two thoughts occurred, “It looks so streaky, it is going to need a second coat” and “It looks like denim and would look amazing with an array of pinks”.

The second thought gave way to the thought, “That is SO Susabelle!” Susabelle is one of my closest friends, a fellow writer, and the founder of Patchwork Chicken Studio.

I ended up painting three canvases with the base effect of denim because the effect has potential.

Yesterday morning, I created a lovely pink abstract flower upon one of the denim canvases. One of the two other denim canvases had an unfortunate mishap with the array of paint tubes covering 85% of the main work desk in my studio and will be repurposed/reused with a different, much darker, base color.

Susabelle is away, visiting her hometown, and has been gone barely a week. Even so, it would seem that I miss my friend. While I did not realize this consciously until after I completed the painting, the art knew.

Art always knows.

flowerpinkphoto

NaPoWriMo Review

And another NaPoWriMo is done. This was my sixth NaPoWriMo. This year wasn’t as successful as other years but it certainly was not the worst. I ended up with 45 new poems across 4 different poetry books. I had intended to write more for Written & Whim so it would be done and ready for publishing soon.

However, life had other plans. An emergency tooth extraction on April 11th made the rest of the month kind of odd as things aren’t healing, recovering as quickly as I would like. Prior to the extraction, I had been more tired than what is typical. I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so for me to notice this, the exhaustion was WAY intense. I suspect, now, it was due to my body fighting the infection that led to the tooth extraction. Worse than usual exhaustion remains – though not as badly – through recovery. I only have so much energy to give things, anything, in a given day. The infection, the extraction, and the recovery have been consuming most of it.

I had hoped to go to a concert during the month but fatigue vetoed that. I wasn’t a total recluse during the month though. I managed to go to the coffee shop a few times to write even if I didn’t really want to. The days I want to spend the entire day in bed, I force myself to get out even if it is for an hour at the coffee shop and I make myself write. I may go back to bed when I get home but, at least, I did something productive with my day.

I spent Easter with my niece and nephew. On April 6th, I worked a craft & art show. Sadly, the crowd was minimal at best. I sold nothing. My friend sold 2 items. It was very disappointing yet we forge ahead with getting our art out to the people.

I did quite a bit of sewing prior to the show as I constructed more drawstring backpacks out of my fabric stash as well as create an Easter-themed mixed media piece and an Easter-themed mosaic.

I started figuring out how to make things from polymer clay which was prompted by an idea for a mixed media art project but being unable to find the components in order to make it a reality. I need to finish constructing the clay components this coming week so I can start on the project. I also have several mosaics in various states of creation. Working hard to motivate myself to finish them. A few have been languishing, unfinished, for a while.

My hopes for May are:
– Complete most, if not all, of my mixed media art project
– Finish off at least 3 of the 6 mosaics I have in progress
– Finish the sewing project I have sitting on my cutting table
– Finish the clay pot art project I have sitting on my work table
– Finish Written & Whim while making more progress on Doll & Discarnate, Letters & Locks, and Tincture & Thorn
– Finish the healing process of the tooth extraction site
– Have a very successful craft show on May 11th

The Story of Art

For a while now, I’ve been part of this artistic collective/studio, Patchwork Chicken Studio. Mostly, we sell our art and home goods at local craft and art shows. Recently, we decided to expand our horizons and establish even more of an online presence. For the past two weeks, a lot of work has gone into that while prepping for our first show of the Spring season. Saturday, March 2nd, is the show so it is closing in quickly.

All this work has left me contemplative because marketing/selling my work is something I have always struggled with. I can be very shy and anxious around people I don’t know to begin with then there is the “marketing”… People want a story of why the item should be important, why it is interesting, how did I make it, or why did I make it. The back cover blurb, the source of inspiration, something…

I struggle with this immensely because I often don’t remember (or don’t know) the inspiration, the meaning, the anything of the piece. Saying, “I was sitting there waiting for words to come, as I sipped my coffee, then there were words and, from those words, this poem was birthed,” isn’t much of a story.

Trying to describe my poetry books doesn’t make anything easier because they aren’t 100 poems on a single theme or a few themes that tie into each other, their nature is much like a mosaic – different elements coming together to create a picture left up to personal interpretation as poetry is very subjective to the reader. While poems may mean certain things to its writer, it can mean very different things to its readers.

With my art and other projects posted here, I have attempted to put a story/explanation as to why a piece exists but, again, I struggle. Saying, “Every time I went to the fabric store, this fabric caught my eye so one day, I finally broke down, bought the fabric, and made this bag from it,” is probably lacking.

Most of the mosaic supplies are the same way – “I was wandering through the local craft store, this charm drew my attention, I bought it, it sat in a bin for a time before I put it into a mosaic with other beads that play nicely with it design-wise.”

There have been a few moments where I did buy items for specific projects like the beads for the Astrology-themed mosaic because each sign has different colors, elements, and nature ties so I wanted those represented in the designs. Even with those mosaics, the story is lackluster. Beyond the basics of color, element and nature, what else is there to say?

There are people out there who think writers can write anything, tell any story, etc. This is not true. I know fantastic writers that tell great stories through their novels but ask them to tell a story out loud or write a short story or a poem, there will be nothing. As a poet, my work is very fluid and organic. A brief, beautiful, blinding spark of inspiration before it is gone, leaving a glorious design behind. This nature is why I struggle to bring my novels fully into life. Why I struggle to tell stories about those sparks I consumed to make my art. It is profoundly difficult to exhume “ash” and make it talk to you once more.

The reason for this post – and the ones that proceeded it – are to, slowly, push me out of my writing comfort zone into one of stories that require more than a brief spark. Some moments out of my comfort zone are easier than others. Not sure if this moment is easier or harder but I think it might be both.

So yesterday morning, the other artists in Patchwork Chicken Studio thought it would be cool for us to take pictures of our work spaces for the website and Facebook page. While a good idea, I did panic because my worktable was covered in fabric, a small army of thread bits, beads, and other things while I still had 5 projects in progress. I kept losing my scissors even though they were right next to me the entire time. Decided it would probably be worthwhile to clean up my work space before continuing on with the five other projects so I could – shockingly – actually find my scissors right away when needed. Spent about 30 minutes, in early afternoon, making my work space clean and photo ready.

Work Space 1Work Space 2

So beautiful and organized. It actually does look like this normally when I’m not in the state of last-minute creative panic with a ton of projects in progress. I typically work on one mosaic, fabric, or mixed media project at a time, in addition to poetry, so the chaos stays to a minimum.

I did not get back to my projects yesterday so today is going to be a busy one.

My thoughts are feeling better now that I have written this post despite my story dilemma remaining unresolved.