Saturday, November 13, 2010

hitting the jackpot

I just built a roaring fire and am curled up in front of it with my laptop. The wind is blowing the wind chimes along the porches, and I can see the mountains outside the window. I spent the day at the store selling art and Fair Trade items. I got to listen to tourists' travels and their home lives. Some locals stopped by to give me some silk fabric and colored wire. And in my bag I brought my favorite hummus and carrot sticks for snacking. I was in heaven.

I spread out the silks, ripping them into strips and cutting them into circles. I took a spool of bright pink wire and began shaping them into figures. I've never done this before, and like magic the wire turned into recognizable people that I dressed with the strips of silk. I was pleasantly surprised how they turned out, and those working in the shops around me went nuts over them. How cool was that?!

I've discovered so many ways to make art without my regular supplies. For those of you who don't know, I've been collecting supplies since 1984 when I took up quilting. I also bought into a shop and accumulated a room full of supplies. When I built my house I had a 1200 sf studio on the top floor. For the first time I had a room just for notions, one just for my fabrics, and a large area for my sewing machines and cutting table. I had an entertainment area with stereo and tv with dvd/video player. I had shelves and shelves for my books, and closets full of beads, wires, jewelry-making tools, stamps, inks, paints, etc. If there was something on the market that I wanted, you can bet that it was in my studio pronto. I lacked nothing. I had it all. More threads than some stores even.

Then September 11, 2010 I moved to New Mexico with absolutely none of it. I sold a lot, gave a lot away, and left a lot with family and a dear sweet friend. (Thank you, Molly!) This has forced me into rethinking, recreating, reimagining how I can work with materials I have already or some I can find outside my house. That process alone has stretched me in ways I never thought possible. Today when I was shaping that wire, I had no idea I was capable of making wire look like human figures. Where did that come from? When I cut out dragonflies from magazines I free-formed them. I didn't draw them, I just cut. Was it all those years of thread painting with my sewing machine? I'm sure that has something to do with it, but I also know there's a lovely little place I go when I'm handed little treasures like I was today. I dip into the bags and just create with what I have. I get so much joy out of it that I think I could pop right out of my skin.

So after pricing my little gems and leaving them at the store, I got the kindest offer by a friend who took me to the grocery store so I can have my coffee in the morning. We talked for hours and then she took me home. What an absolutely amazing way to spend my day today. And then tonight while sitting in the living room by the fire, my neighbors came over with drinks, and we just got to know one another. They went home to fix dinner and as soon as I'm done here I'm joining them.

Now, here's another not so little thing that happened when I got home tonight. A dear, wonderful man read my previous postings on my blog and sent me private messages that so warmed my heart. I am one of the most blessed people I know, and I am so very, very grateful.

And just one last thing. On the walk to work this morning, a notion hit me. I wrote a novel years ago that just got published last year. In all the years that have passed since beginning this novel everything that happened to my main character ended up happening to me except ONE thing. And that one thing is coming to pass. You see, in the novel the main character is a woman named Grace. At the time I wrote the book Grace and I had two things in common: we both worked in our husbands' offices, and we both quilted. Grace did something dramatically different than I had ever tried at the time. She met a male artist back east, and he painted on fabric that she would sew together. When she returned home to her husband, that male artist sent her boxes of painted fabrics that she then created art with. That is the ONE thing that has not happened to me yet. However, on my walk to work this morning I realized the offer that a male artist made to me. He's sending me a box of fabrics that he's dyed. Here's something I never thought of when I was writing that book. This wonderful man who lives back east is not only sending me his dyed remnants but he's sending a batch of homemade cookies too!

And that, my friends, is what it's like to hit the jackpot!

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