flash forward to now... i look at art in a totally different way now. perhaps it is the art therapist part of me, perhaps it is the mellowing that almost inevitably comes with age, but i realize that what is REALLY important in the art of self-expression is the perspective. the person behind the paintbrush, the pencil, the clay, or the viewfinder is showing the world how they see the world. (why do you think parents love any and all artwork that their kids do?) and that in itself gives credence to the art making process. it is how YOU see things. where YOU see beauty. and in having the courage to share that perspective with the world, to nudge someone into thinking about things just a little differently, makes it even more beautiful.
for some reason, every time i look at this set, i hear ben harper's "forever" in my head. so here it is for your listening pleasure - as interpreted by miguel tavares.
>> Friday, March 25, 2011
>> Thursday, March 24, 2011
family vacations with my parents meant countless long drives in the car, (nyc, minneapolis, and even once, florida) packed with snacks and cassettes of my dad's favorites - the product of weeks of compliling before our departure date. kenny rogers, don mclean, anne murray... all minstrels who probably fed my kind-of-secret love for country music. then there were the beach boys, tom jones (you go, dad!) and of course, elvis. my dad prefers to drive at nighttime, when there is less traffic, less distractions, and the quiet blanket of darkness. most of the time he and i used to stay up alone while the rest of the family slept, driving, talking and listening to his favorites.
i too prefer to drive under the cover of darkness. not so long ago, my workweek consisted of over 40 hours of driving - some for the job and some for the commute - and most of it in late afternoon into twilight. i also have a thing for fast cars - call me a stereotype; tokyo drift, much? - i've torn my way through three honda civic coupes, the last (and my favorite) with a sleek silvery paint job and a dashboard that lit up like a christmas tree at night, all neon chronometer and fiery red numbers. back when things were also a little less stable at home, there were also long, meandering drives with the sunroof open, and the music loud.
some of my best thinking was - and probably still is - done in the car. my commute is 30 minutes of nearly highway speed limits and rolling hills, with a minimum number of streetlights and speed traps. if only i could sketch designs while i drive! most of the time, i am alone with my thoughts, with no distractions (especially if my blackberry is quiet), and music. i have the feeling that there is a long-distance trucker buried somewhere inside me just waiting to get out. or maybe cyndi lauper.
>> Wednesday, March 23, 2011
i'm sorry i cut you off. sorry i didn't return your call. sorry i forgot to write that letter. sorry i wasted your time. sorry i made you sign that paper. sorry i dropped the ball. sorry i interrupted you. i'm sorry i didn't let you know. i'm sorry i broke my promise. i'm sorry i keep saying sorry.
it's been one of those days. at least it's almost over!
(sorry i chose buckcherry and all their cheesiness. but i really like this song. especially acoustic.)
all the legends imply that the ring originated long ago possibly somewhere in Turkey where a king or nobleman had it designed as a wedding ring for his beautiful wife (hence the term "turkish wedding ring") . the ring itself was made up of many pieces and was so intricate that if she ever took the ring off (with the intention of being unfaithful to him while he was away slaying dragons or going to the office, i suppose) , it would be almost impossible for her to put it back together without him - because he was the one with the solution. kind of romantic, i guess, but i really do hope that he had one made for himself so that she would have had a similar guarantee of fidelity. and perhaps they could have also worked on their communication skills. but that's another discussion altogether.
nowadays, puzzle rings are used as a symbol of love, usually given as a promise ring, wedding band, or token of affection. the more intricate ones usually come with the "solution" so that if one does find themselves hopelessly befuddled, the ring can be put back together. my version is (obviously) a more simple one - just three rings linked together, allowing the wearer to roll it back and forth over their finger, which is the perfect distraction during boring meetings or family reunions. and while it is definitely not a guarantee of anyone's fidelity, i can pretty much guarantee that my rings will be cherished.
on that note - talking about love... nothing like a little pop song to start off the day.
>> Tuesday, March 22, 2011
my initial problem started because i assumed that copper wire would respond to the flame in the same way that sterling, argentium and fine silver does. while copper does have a relatively low melt temperature (around 1900 degrees F) it is also an excellent heat conductor (hence its use in electrical, thermal and building applications) which sucks for me because this means that the metal draws the heat faster than i can supply it via my small handheld torch. it also results in the wire "breaking" before the ball is completely formed at the end of my wire. eureka!
apparently, a larger torch works even better and with a little tweaking of my technique, should get me the results that i want. so today, i'm off to home depot and grabbing myself something bigger and hotter. (that would be a plumber's torch. get your mind out of the gutter.)
>> Monday, March 21, 2011
this lovely treasury is by the lovely dreamsdesigned in honour of her grandfather who was a beadsmith! talent runs in that family... and this treasury too! thank you for including my rings!
and not in the good artsy jewelry making sort of way. it was back to the office for me this morning - and it was a gray, rainy morning, mirroring the way i felt. sigh. and of course, inspiration hits at inopportune moments, but i'm hoping to have some time to work on some new ring designs.
i did have some time to try to make a copper version of the tiny bud earrings, but quickly found out that copper has different melting properties than sterling. much different. i think i went through a whole tank of butane and now i have a whole bunch of twisted, charred wire fragments littering my workspace. but i'm determined to get it right... so stay tuned.
in the meantime... i'm totally loving the freelance whales. what a nice surprise. a little bit of ride, a little bit of swervedriver, a little bit of chapterhouse with a sprinkling of belle & sebastian. because, of course, we can always just be friends. yummy.
>> Sunday, March 20, 2011
i hated high school and i'd NEVER go back. but if i did, i'd tell my awkward, insecure self that everything ends up being okay. that failing calculus does NOT mean that you won't get a real job. that one day, you WILL get the guy. and that life is sometimes as simple as two tickets to iron maiden. (but why couldn't i have looked like mena suvari?)
the absolutely perfect teenage anti-anthem. take that, guns n roses!
(whatever happened to wheatus anyways? i sooo love this song.)
this one is for the mini. seriously, she LOVES andrew w.k. and of course, we think she's totally beautiful.
(now if i could only figure out how to pull a screenshot (new toshiba laptop be damned, where the heck is the prt scn key) we'd have a proper graphic for this post.)
funny enough, i just finished reading Jodi Picoult's latest novel, Sing You Home - which tells the story of a music therapist and her journey amidst life's challenges. while the book is true to Picoult's formulaic template (if you read/saw My Sister's Keeper, you'd know what i'm talking about - engaging characters, courtroom drama, legal jargon, twist at the end) i was more interested in how she describes the way music provides a soundtrack to life and how music therapy - or really, any art-based therapy - works. it got me thinking about what i was listening to when i was trudging my way through school and how the songs from that time period in my life brings me back to who i was and what i was doing.
15 years ago (yeah, 15. holy cow. where were YOU 15 years ago?) i was working on my MA in art therapy in a very small department at a huge metropolitan university. being the wanna-be goth cheerleader in high school, and the alternative, i-dress-only-in-black fine arts student during my first round at university, it only made sense that my final research master's thesis was going to be about death and dying. i packed up my art supplies and headed off to the palliative care unit of the hospital i was interning at.
well, that was an eye-opening experience. quite a blow to my self esteem as well as a definite challenge to my work as a clinician. as Picoult describes in her book, it is hard to try to convince people that they should be doing something as insignificant as drawing pictures or participating in a resounding version of "the wheels on the bus" while they are struggling with astronomical doses of pain medications (anyone up for a lethal dose of dilaudid with lunch?), saying good bye to their loved ones, and just plain old LIVING. i worked very closely with a music therapy intern as well and i know that she struggled with the same dilemma. seriously, the LAST thing i probably would want if i was in the hospital is some know-it-all student coming with her crayolas, wanting me to make a picture.
Picoult effectively outlines the principles of music therapy - which i feel pretty much sums up any creative therapists' work. even though people might think that it's airy-fairy, bohemian, new age garbage, there are strong roots in psychology and the science of psychotherapy with all the creative therapies. (i know. try stumbling your way though Abnormal Psychology 101 and The Fundamentals of the Structure of the Brain) it's about accompanying someone on their journey, alleviating their pain, giving them an alternative way to "talk", and honouring who they are and where they have come from. it's about establishing and maintaining the therapeutic relationship, giving someone a safe place to be, to talk, to dream. i remember covering an elderly cancer patient's room walls with images of her childhood so that she could look at them every day. i remember drawing pictures with a small child in the waiting room as her family spent their last moments with their loved one. i remember spending hours with the music therapy student in her music group, giving people the opportunity to forget where they were, just for a moment.
(the gocco printed notebook to the left is by me!) - and i am thankful for the insights and the experiences that i have had. the music almost always follows as well - i never run a group without having some music on in the background. the "soundtrack" of my life also provides a thread that i can follow back to those times, and i can see how the songs i was listening to also helped me.
so don't hesitate to be creative or to take the time to dance to the music in your head. it's good for you.
that being said, here's a favorite from my school days. (yes, i know i'm treading on vintage territory. and sorry for the boring youtube video.)