As part of restructuring my blog – and deciding what subjects to focus on in future posts – I came across my “Tools I Can’t Live Without” posts. I enjoy writing these and often get feedback about them, even years later.
These posts are also taking on a special meaning as Greg and I talk about possibilities for retirement. We’re probably 15 years out but we’re planners by nature so we’re already having those discussions. One of our ideas is selling everything and traveling by RV Van for a few years. Just the thought of a very small space both thrills and terrifies me. I love the idea of not much to clean and no room for clutter. I do not love the idea of cleaning out my studio and of trying to figure out which art tools are so important I must take them and which are not necessary.
I told Greg, “Maybe I’ll retire when you do.” He laughed and pointed out that making art is for me like breathing. He’s right. I’ll make art until I not physically able.
So I am looking at my art tools a bit differently. I often find myself thinking about the tools I’ve used that day and which I could do without. Fortunately I have a lot of time to think about this. In the meantime, here are the past “Tools I Can’t Live Without” posts.
Tools I Can’t Live Without: Teflon Bone Folder
Tools I Can’t Live Without: Kutrimmer
Tools I Can’t Live Without: The One I’m Embarrassed to Admit (to)
What tool(s) do you use in your art that you can’t live without?
Look for more “Tools” posts soon.
Posted in Art, Business of Art, Personal Stories, The Business of Being an Artist, Tools, Uncategorized
Tagged Ginger Burrell, Kutrimmer, Retirement, scoring board, Teflon Bone Folder, Tools for Art, www.gingerburrell.com
Well hello again. Still working like crazy from Codex orders (this is a good thing!) but I thought I’d tiptoe back into blog writing with this quick post. My friend Marilyn S. asked if I’d ever heard of the mystery books by Kate Carlisle that have a bookbinder as the main character. Nope. I hadn’t. So I requested them from my library and they’re so fun!
Brooklyn Wainright is the main character in the Bibliophile mystery series. She’s a bookbinder, book restorer and just generally crazy about books in any form. These mysteries are light and fluffy and easy reads. They fit in what I’d call the girlfriend mystery genre. The main character, her girlfriends and her family are the center of the stories (after bookbinding, artists books, and wonderful book details, of course) and there is a handsome man or two or three in every story. And a cat.
I’ve read the first two books and think they are so much fun I’ve ordered the rest of the series from the library for my trip to San Diego next week. I love the careful details about the condition of the books, what will need to be done to restore them, mentions of book structures and Brooklyn’s passion about books. Bookbinder tools as weapons, why not? Bonefolders, blades, awls, goodness knows we injure ourselves enough while working with them! She even teaches an accordion book making class in the second story.
If you’re from the Bay Area you’ll find them especially fun. Brooklyn lives in San Francisco, comes from Marin, and even mentions the San Francisco Center for the Book and the Bay Area Book Artists!
I hope you enjoy them as much as I am.
Today I received an email from my dear cousin Cindi. She is a therapist and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Just being with her makes me feel more calm and gentle and centered.
What struck me about her email was the idea that we should pause and reflect on all of the experiences of the last year, both good and bad, happy or sad, exciting or depressing and that “most likely your 2016 was quite a mixture of many rich moments that make up daily living.” Isn’t that true? In our every day lives as humans and in our practices as artists. We have successes and failures, ups and downs, moments of creative genius and moments of frustrating blockage. It’s very easy to focus on the negatives. On what we didn’t do, or on what we did wrong. More productive, I think, to look at every aspect and go from there.
She went on to encourage the idea of intentions, rather than resolutions for the New Year. Here is Cindi’s description of the difference: ” Intentions come from the heart and are gentler ways of getting yourself to live the life that matters to you. Setting intentions is more about connecting with your values rather than some wished for outcome. Intentions help you to align your daily living practices with what’s most important, and they don’t set you up for failure the way resolutions do… How many years have you made the same resolutions, only to fall off the path before February? …When you set an intention, you are creating a scaffolding that always helps you to go in the right direction.”
So, I’d like to propose that you take some time to set intentions for your practice as an artist. Again, following Cindi’s lead, here are some questions that you might ask yourself in setting your intentions for 2017.
- Why do I make art?
- Who do I make art for?
- What is it about making art that I value?
- What do I wish for in my art making?
- How can I support myself in being an artist?
- What do I need to change in my life to make more time for art?
Answering these questions will help guide you towards intentions.
Here are some sample intentions that I created based on my answers to the above questions. Yours may be similar, or very different.
- May I use my day to create art and help others make art.
- May I remember that making art is more important than making art perfectly.
- May I be aware when I am using other activities as an excuse to avoid a difficult part of making art.
- May I be kind to myself when I make mistakes.
- May I remember that it is okay to say “no” to others to make time for my art.
In my case, I’ve printed these out and I’m putting them on the back of my studio door. The idea being that I’ll see them each morning as I enter the studio and close the door. They are meant as a reminder to help me refocus and set the tone for my studio time.
I’d love to hear about your intentions for 2017. Please feel free to post them in the comments.