Friday, March 20, 2015

Your Mission

On one of my papercraft e-mail lists recently, this suggested activity was posted. 'Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to find a unique piece of art on a blog or website to share with the group.' What an interesting challenge, eh?

Naturally, it sent me on this sideways thought process, as these things often do, probably in a totally different direction than the original intent but this is where it took me.

First, I thought, I have to determine what 'art' is. That one question alone can and has been debated many times before. Here are my thoughts on the subject. I think that a majority of people have a very narrow view of art and only use that word to identify and define items found in galleries and museums. In truth, art is all around us.

For the purpose of this exploration, let's eliminate the art of Mother Nature which is wide and vast. We will concentrate on things made by human beings.

Is music art? What about the furniture in your home? Or the clothes that you wear? How about jewelry, is that art? Or the car that you drive? My answer to all of those questions is YES.

In my humble opinion, anything whose origin is in the mind of a man, woman or child, then created from that vision is 'art'. Is it all 'good' art? Well, like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. And why can't 'art' be functional too?

Most of the items we use in our daily lives are several degrees separated from the personal imagination they came from, made on assembly lines in factories, by nameless, faceless people we will never meet, but does that make them any less a piece of art than the painting in an art gallery?

It's an age old question that many have asked and few have answered to the satisfaction of the rest of us. So, I will leave it with all of you to decide for yourself. What is art and what is not?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Midnight Inspiration

It happens to me all the time. I bet it happens to you too. I wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea, thought or memory. And I know that I want to retain it to act upon it the next day but I don’t feel like getting out of bed to write it down.

It’s the only way that I will remember it, that much is certain. Chances are strong that if I don’t record it, it will be gone in the morning. I know this because it has happened so many times before.

So, in order to hold onto those midnight inspirations, I’ve started to keep a notebook and pencil on the dresser beside my bed. All I have to do is reach over and grab them, along with the small flashlight there to help me SEE what I’m writing.

I write some of my best blog posts from these inspirations captured in the dead of night. I never dismiss or ignore them anymore. It only takes a moment or two to jot down the essence of the idea, just enough to expand on the next day.

Do you do this too?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Life Challenges

A series of events over the last three months has completely changed the world as I knew it. I will admit, that this may sound overly dramatic considering the state of our planet at this time in history but right now, it’s all about me.

It all began in late December of last year, just before the holidays. A long-term relationship unexpectedly and abruptly ended for reasons that I do not fully understand, and likely never will. With that, I lost not only a person I cared for deeply but also a lifestyle that we’d built and shared together. 

Next, one of my beloved cats, Rudy, became ill. He went completely blind, quite suddenly, and quickly deteriorated from there. He succumbed to the rapidly growing brain tumor within a very short, eight week period. The ‘Kingon Death Howl’ that came out of him before he collapsed into a coma on that final day still haunts me.

Then, came the car accident. A vehicle that I had owned for ten years became a total write-off in an instant. I’ll recover from the physical injuries but the experience has left me mentally and emotionally shattered. I only have the rental car for a few more days, and finding a replacement vehicle with the money the insurance company is giving me will be the next hurdle to overcome. And don’t get me going on the frustrations of dealing with an insurance company!

It’s been difficult to stay positive through it all. Some days are more challenging than others. Don't get me wrong, I’m happy, even delighted, to be alive to have the opportunity to rebuild my life and reinvent myself. There could have been a much different outcome that I’m trying not to focus on. I’m not certain where my new path will take me or who I will meet along the way but it will be full of new adventures, new friendships and new experiences.

And yes, I’ve heard all the clich├ęs. I know that everything happens for a reason and that when one door closes, another opens. I just wish the reason would reveal itself to me NOW, and the door will open for me soon (today would be good). If the old saying is true and bad things come in threes, than I should be done, right? I'm ready for the GOOD things that come in threes now. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Great-Grandmother's Quilts

A quilt, hand-made with love, is always a very special gift. It is an expression of love from the maker to the recipient. On a recent visit to see my mother, she gifted me with three very old quilts made by my great-grandmother and her sisters almost 100 years ago. I am so happy to have these treasured pieces of my family history.

I remember the first one fondly from my childhood. It came to be referred to in our house as 'the sick blanket' because we were always wrapped in this warm quilt on the chesterfield when we weren't feeling well, the same as it was with my mother when she was a child. It seemed like this quilt had magical powers because you really did start feeling better with it tucked all around you.

Small section of the crazy quilt

A lot of the fabrics are fragile and frayed now but the beauty of the workmanship still shines through. This 'crazy quilt' was made from scraps of material left over from other projects...dresses and blouses and trousers and coats. And look at the hand embroidery around each piece, perfectly lovely, even if some of the stitching has loosened over time.

Twin-size Dresden Plate Quilt

The next one, I remember having on my bed as a child. This Dresden Plate quilt is twin-size and makes me think about a field of colourful flowers. I love the randomness of a scrappy quilt while maintaining a degree of symmetry. I want to make one of these some day, in remembrance of my
great-grandmother who lovingly laboured over this one which was completely done by hand, no sewing machine used. The close, tight stitching is a wonder to behold.

The Insanity Quilt

The final quilt, I am calling 'the insanity quilt'. This one must have taken the ladies hours and days and weeks to complete! I can't even imagine cutting that many little triangles and piecing them together like this. It was an insane task to undertake! This queen size quilt, in spite of its' age, is still in wonderful condition, except for a couple of small stains, attesting to the love and care that has been bestowed upon it over the years. It is a cherished family heirloom. And yes, my friends, that is a quarter in the photograph below to help you appreciate the 'insanity' of this project.

Down the road, I will pass these treasures along to my granddaughter and hope that she will love and cherish them like I do.