December 3, 2017

Year of Yoni: Week 35

Year of Yoni is a self-assigned studio practice with which I have committed to make a new yoni once a week for at least one year. A broad explanation of yoni and this project can be found here.

December 2, 2017

Year of Yoni: Week 34

Year of Yoni is a self-assigned studio practice with which I have committed to make a new yoni once a week for at least one year. A broad explanation of yoni and this project can be found here.

November 30, 2017

Resistance & the Trickster

Chattering thoughts, the desire to understand and explain, the belief that explanation and/or understanding leads to solution or is solution itself; it's all part of the trickster's plan. 
Call it ego, call it intellect, call it judgement, call it thoughts, call it brain - I call it the trickster. I know that my own biggest obstacle to working, doing, trying, experimenting, creating, whaterver-ing is getting started. The trickster, tricksy as ever is it's nature, compels me try to figure out why I resist getting started. The trickster would have me believe that if I could just figure out the root of my resistance, I could then overcome it. But here's the thing, trying to understand my resistance, searching for answers, thinking about it, all this intellectual effort is merely a delay tactic. The trickster is creating further obstacles to my getting started.

Because I don't have mastery over my thoughts/trickster - I can't turn them/it off at will - I try to trick the trickster. I don't always recognize when the trickster is throwing up delay tactics. I can't always discern my genuine intellectual curiosity from the trickster's pranks and misdirection. What I can control is my physical space. I remove the physical barriers or obstacles to my getting started. I can create a clear, inviting work space with the necessary materials prepped and near to hand. This little effort can out-trick the trickster.
The trickster would have me believe that needing to search for the size 15 needles and unearth the rug yarn and, once found, wind the hanks into balls before getting started on knitting the rug is an insurmountable, Herculean task. Because I do recognize that locating my tools and materials really isn't that big a deal and shouldn't feel so hard, the trickster wins again. It ties me into knots, berating myself for feeling overwhelmed to the point of inaction by the prospect of undertaking small tasks. The trickster keeps me from searching for the needles and yarn and instead redirects my attention to trying to untangle why I feel bad and overwhelmed and if I could just figure it out then I could get started knitting. Oh yes, tricksy it is.

The best way I can out-trick the trickster, since my personal sticking point is getting started, is to do just that, GET STARTED. Then my thoughts, mind, chatter, et al is occupied with the project at hand. The trickster is shunted aside. It might throw a tantrum at first, but it tires itself out and takes a nap. Then the magic can happen. The creativity can hum. The work moves forward.
We all have our own sticking points, our own worst enemies, our own areas of resistance when it comes to delaying, avoiding, or setting aside creativity. Even though I do try to not get sidetracked by my trickster who stamps it's foot and demands an explanation for my resistance to getting started, I am genuinely interested in the process of and the self-created roadblocks to creativity. When I'm not using it as a delay tactic to getting started, I do enjoy reading about and thinking about creativity and resistance. In my opinion, Ann Wood and Felicia Semple (The Craft Sessions) both have interesting things to say about this process.

ann wood handmade
Remove obstacles
Reduce the scope
all posts on productivity

The Craft Sessions
Resistance to fixing mistakes / going back / starting over
Avoidance, not starting

November 23, 2017

Think Small: Routines

I'm a big believer that process and productivity - be it creative invention and making, day job work load, cooking dinner, washing dishes, getting a good night's sleep - is supported by routine. By productivity I don't mean churning out X and Y at top speed and highest efficiency. Perhaps I should have used the word practice, except actually accomplishing something - i.e. productivity - is central. I think of productivity as movement rather than a quantitative end goal. 
Moving house, surprisingly to me, shook up my morning routine. Little things like a new kitchen layout, limited counter top locations to place the coffee maker near an outlet, mugs in a cabinet rather than on the counter, threw me off my half-asleep morning stride. But this week it clicked. Start coffee, shove thick-socked feet into boots, fill bird feeder, wash hands, put away clean dishes in the dish drainer, pour first cup of coffee. Ahhh. I'm chuckling at myself for how much impact these little routines have. But, truly, repeating these steps every morning set the stage. The rest of my slow, gentle entering of the day has yet to coalesce, but it will come.
With the couch dressed in it's winter wool and wood for the stove stacked on the front porch, I'm thinking some evening routines involving being parked on the couch in front of the fire are in order. First up: knitting and felting a thick woolen hearth rug.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

P.S. I have a little movement (productivity) on the web to share, not the result of routine, but rather getting started. A new Odd Bird Studio website is in the works. 

November 18, 2017

Year of Yoni: Week 33

Year of Yoni is a self-assigned studio practice with which I have committed to make a new yoni once a week for at least one year. A broad explanation of yoni and this project can be found here.

November 16, 2017

Plant ID

The previous owners of our house left their potted plants behind. Anyone know what these are?
This one has a mound of green leaves from which delicate stalks emerge, tipped with small pale purple and white flowers.
These are newer growth leaves. The older leaves are darker green and kinda leathery. The newer leaves aren't leathery. The leather texture might not be natural to the plant, but a symptom of severe drought.

I was hopeful that unknown plant #2 was oregano. But the leaves have absolutely no odor. When we brought it in from the front porch before our first frost, periwinkle-blue flowers started to bloom.
In other nature related news, the birds have found the feeder I put up in our little back yard. It's located next to the fence, near the neighbors old growth trees. The birds flit to the feeder from the neighbors' trees and flit back into the trees for cover. Our little plot is more of an clean slate. The space was recently fenced in and cleared of growth (if there was any) and replanted (within the last year?) with a handful of specimens. Someone obviously either had a long-term plan for what they planted or planted at random in order to make the house more attractive to sell. More plant ID to come once I get into the garden with my camera.

November 12, 2017

Not Quite

Yoni # 33 is in process, but not quite there yet. With materials still in boxes in an unpacked, unorganized studio, I can feel myself resisting work. More thoughts on that aspect of creative practice might filter into a future post or two. For now, though, I need to get my materials sorted, into new, easily accessed homes as a means to diminish my trickster brain from legitimizing my resistance to getting started. I need to unpack my magnifier light and figure out where to set it up, thus establishing my new sewing spot. And I need to decide where and how to photograph the completed pieces now that I no longer have the convenient bathtub light box. All of which is to say Year of Yoni is nearly re-started, but not quite yet.