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…..

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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

March Into April

National Poetry Writing Month aka NaPoWriMo starts tomorrow. Am I prepared for this? Well, no. Not my version of it at least. I usually write, at least, one poem a day so typical NaPoWriMo isn’t a stretch for me so I challenge myself to write five or more poems a day. Not sure I am mentally prepared for this as I’ve been dealing with a lot of things lately, some of which will end up spilling into the first week and a half of April at minimum. Been so overwhelmed in my thoughts to the point of one poem being a struggle to write. I managed two poems today. I am so delighted especially since they arrived easy with a flow like water. Love the “water” poems.

Since my last ‘On The Blog’ post on February 22nd (a bit surprised it has been that long), I’ve gotten thrown down by an absolutely horrific cold, dealt with a blizzard and other home-related shenanigans, was without a computer briefly due to power cord failure, created a new mixed media piece, began a new bead mosaic (it is almost done), started cutting out a few more drawstring backpacks, struggled to figure out how to help my feline overlord function despite his increasing digestion issues, gained another first cousin once removed, got in a minor car accident that – fortunately – only scraped up some paint when someone backed out into me in a parking lot, stressed out a great deal about matters involving my chronic health conditions, and went on an adventure to upgrade Patchwork Chicken Studio’s show displays after many discussions and layout tests. March has been busy.

I ended up missing the Fleshgod Apocalypse show due to my cold and the flare up of the chronic health conditions that it triggered. I was/am heartbroken over it as I missed them the last few times they had been in Denver too because of my health. Beginning to suspect that life doesn’t wish me to pay live homage to Italian Metal Gods. I did pre-order their forthcoming new release, Veleno, to appease some of my sorrow while listening to the first single, Sugar, in semi-obsessively constant fashion.

For April beyond NaPoWriMo, I have home-related shenanigans to finish/deal with, finish the bead mosaic, and put together the drawstring backpacks. Patchwork Chicken Studio has a show on April 6th so there will be some prep work beforehand. It is shaping up to be very busy too. I just hope it is busier to the creative side of things.

Friday Flair – The Drawstring Backpack

This week’s artistic piece features a sewing project born out of need following a post-concert success and failure. I had purchased a basic nylon fabric drawstring backpack before a concert in October 2018 (Carach Angren!!!!). The small, relatively flat, backpack worked great for holding a water bottle, band merch, keys, and such while keeping them fully secure when I somehow end up in the pit even though I make a major effort to stay out of the pit. The downsides of this bag were the tiny “pocket” in it that was unable to hold anything of use like my keys and, by the end of the night, the side seams had starting to break apart. Unacceptable. So my contemplation began on how to improve this wonderful pit-approved concept of the drawstring backpack.

After many weeks, I finally felt secure enough in trying my hand at assembling my own 100% cotton version with an interior pocket large enough to hold my cell phone and car key. It came together beautifully. So beautifully, in fact, that I immediately went out and bought fabric to make seven more. Over the past week, I’ve made six of these bags to go with the one I already made. One for myself and the rest for a craft fair. My backpack went on its first journey yesterday as I ran errands. It was perfect. I look forward to utilizing it at the next concert I go to in March (Fleshgod Apocalyse!)

Blue WatercolorsFloralsFlowers & DragonfliesLadybugsMermaidsRainbow FeathersMusic Notes

Are the music notes too predictable for my drawstring backpack?

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.

Exhaustion vs. Productivity

Having difficulties in ridding myself of this crud which has been plaguing me since December. Some days are better than others. Then there are days like today where I can work for about 10 minutes before exhaustion makes me dizzy so I am forced to rest for 20-30 minutes before work recommences for 10 minutes more, rinse and repeat. Despite this “work schedule”, I cleared and organized the random pile of items in one of the bookcases and cleaned up & organized two shelves in the hall closet this morning.

Considering that my apartment is fairly clean right now, I’m healthier, than in the past, even with the crud in play. I am impressed with myself. Onset of acute illness (on top of the chronic issues) or a long project usually means my apartment becomes a disaster which takes several days to clean. Today’s cleaning was part of a long-term reorganization project to declutter my personal space rather than post-project cleaning.

Other accomplishments of the past two weeks were completing my cousin’s baby quilt (which was delivered by the postal service yesterday and I hope it was received) and writing 25 poems. I actually remember to post all the desired posts to the blog and social media except one. This may not seem like much of accomplishment to some people but I am notoriously distracted by things so I don’t always remember certain intended tasks even if they are on my to-do list or I keep postponing throughout the day until I end up overlooking them/running out of time.

The baby quilt took much longer than intended. It was frustrating because, at first, I could not figure out why. I eventually realized that the quilt was quite a bit larger the previous baby quilts I had made due to wanting a certain pattern with the squares. I was very fortunate to have enough fabric for the quilt in the end. It was getting kind of dicey with one of the prints. In addition to the baby quilt, my cousin also received two flannel blankets – one I made this week and one I made a few months ago.

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– Not the best pictures, was having lighting & positioning issues – 

Been doing a lot of reading of books. There are some weeks where I read very little then there are times where I binge read like a person who stumbled upon an oasis after weeks wandering the desert. There were several days that involved reading for 10-12 hours, up to 6 books. One of the perks and downsides of being a speed reader is the amount of books I can read in a day (as long as the book is engaging). If you want to know what I’ve been reading, check out my author page at Goodreads.

Finding it hard to believe that January only has a week left to it. Mostly because there were several things I had hoped to accomplish during the month but haven’t even started on. Regardless, things are progressing so I cannot be too heartbroken over the remaining items on my monthly to-do list.

And that is this week’s update. Wishing all much creativity and artistry.