Archive for Hot Off The Press

Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List–a few links to wonderful artwork from around the interweb to get you thinking, dreaming, and creating.

This week’s focus is art that explores travel–-from sepia toned vintage images embedded in old suitcases to carefully consructed bronze sculptures to a giant travel celebration machine in the center of Paris.

I hope they inspire you to carry your own ideas forward into your own unique new territory.

Do this artwork speak to you?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!

“Old Suitcases are Canvases for Memories of a Past Life”

These sepia-toned images on the suitcases feel so homey and deeply personal, they really evoke a feeling of stories and domestic histories. I love them.


Yuval Yairi Memory Suitcases

 “Bronze Sculpture: Traveling With Bruno Catalano”

These bronze half empty figures carrying their luggage seem to speak about the past and the future at the same time. The solidity of the bronze and the fragility of the open spaces somehow speak to the human condition in a way that’s both traditional and very fresh.


Bruno Catalano Travellers

 “Escape Machines” by DDB Paris

Is it art?Is it really about travel? I’m not sure, but it’s certainly joyful, unexpected, and over the top! Watch the video and see.

Creating and sharing your work is often an ongoing struggle with “going public” and feeling exposed.

It’s a thrill when people respond positively to what you’ve made and it can be truly painful when your latest creation is met with criticism or–often much worse–silence.

Not Knowing “How”

First of all, people often say the “wrong thing” or nothing at all is because they don’t know how to talk about art or design. They simply don’t have the language.

What I’ve never realized fully until lately though is that this actually makes people feel inadequate themselves. They either don’t know what to say and think they should OR they have no idea how to respond to something that isn’t representational or not their style with any kind of grace or skill.

Heck, I studied a lot of art history and I don’t always have the language either. (The FaceBook “like” button is actually very helpful in that situation!)

And if I’m struggling when art, design, and everything handmade is my obsession, well goodness, these civilians don’t stand a chance!

Which is why I think we need to let people off the hook.

So when your partner, friend, or business associate doesn’t know what to say–or says nothing, consider not taking it personally. Because in truth, it’s not personal even though it probably feels that way.

Even more importantly, consider not filling in the silence with your own terrible sentences of what you think they’re really thinking.

Which takes me to my “second of all.”

False Stories

When a loved one, friend, or colleague says nothing (or something non-committal) about what you’ve made and you feel naked, vulnerable and ridiculous, it’s easy for your mind to go a little crazy and start thinking the worst–filling in the silence with your own terrible sentences about your talent, your value, and your right to make art at all.

These terrible sentences are part of the whole self-critical story most of us tell ourselves all the time, but I think it gets even more exaggerated around your artwork because it’s like your putting your soul on display–an exposure of a different magnitude than most other ways we put ourselves “out there.”

When you can “tell” that someone doesn’t like something you’ve created, it can feel like that person is rejecting your essence.

And the reason this can feel so awful is that it is triggering your sorrow about the countless losses, shaming moments and various rejections you’ve experienced throughout your entire life.

It’s the rare person who reaches adulthood who accepts and loves themselves completely. Feeling “not okay” or “not enough” or “unworthy” –on whatever level–is practically the universal human experience.

And because your artwork is a direct expression of who you are, the usual bevy of self-protection mechanisms that effectively shield you from having to experience these feelings aren’t in place.

It’s like being on a fast track to accessing your unhealed pain. Ugh.

What To Do

Well, first, have compassion. Forgive yourself for judging yourself so harshly through the eyes of another. (Actually saying to yourself, “I forgive myself for that thought” can be quite powerful–try it.)

The second is to simply “notice” to the best of your ability. This can be hard in the throes of hurt, but to whatever degree you can, ask yourself:

  • “What am I feeling right now?” (Try to give it a word so it’s not a nameless, overwhelming blob.)
  • Where in your body are you feeling it? Does it have a shape and color? (A shape is finite and finite is good–again, much easier to tackle than a nameless, overwhelming blob.)
  • What old memories is it conjuring up? Who or what from your past is popping into your mind?

The third is to consider the idea that however true it might feel, it’s not. It’s a merciless story you’re telling yourself.

And even though it might be hard not to indulge that story, all efforts to interrupt it are powerful. Even thinking the thought, “Sarah said this is a merciless story and not the truth” is an interruption and an important first step.

The Big Pay-Off

What I actually love about this whole challenging experience for myself is that it elevates my artistic journey into a spiritual one.

Because creating is who I am, it’s the path through which I can explore the sacred and heal my wounds–and not just in the “making” part of my art, but through the entire experience–the showing and sharing, the applying and hoping, the acceptance and rejection, the selling and not selling, the praise and the silence.

It’s the place I do so much of my hard growing.

And an unexpected gift from this process is that it creates an increased...intimacy somehow between me and my artwork. It’s like they become private symbols of my healing process and growth (in addition to be artwork about this or that.)

How about you? Do you face these challenges too?

What do you do when you feel exposed and vulnerable? Do consider your creative journey a spiritual journey?

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you and as always, remember that sharing your own experiences and struggles–even when you don’t have an answer or solution–can help other people know they’re not alone!


Letting Go of Mistakes

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A peek into “someone’s” (ahem) art supply closet.

Like most people who sew, I’m a bit of a fabric-aholic. I have a huge stash.

Last week, as I was (semi) organizing my studio, I packed up 2 big bags and gave it away–including a whole bag of pillow forms that I had gotten from someone else.

This was hard to do because I felt guilty about buying the fabric and then not using it. Wasteful.

But I was also happier when it was gone because I didn’t have to go through the guilt of looking at it every day anymore either. And I realized that I had given myself permission to let go of my mistakes.

Why it’s Complicated

I have a friend who is a professional organizer and I have these imaginary conversations with her in my head when I’m tidying my studio. Often these conversations happen because I have piles I can never quite get rid of completely (and I’m wondering how on earth to do that) and sometimes because I’m mentally defending my mounds of supplies that I won’t toss.

I have a box of feathers, for instance, that I’ve owned for over 20 years. Literally. My mom scored them for me at a yard sale in the early nineties. The thing is, I used some of those feathers the other day.  And I could tell you that I use them regularly, which is true lately, but I’ve also gone for years when I didn’t use them.

Hence the agony of the arty person. We can have a seemingly ragtag assortment of stuff that sits for ages without getting used. Normally, in the organizing world, that means you must not really want it and you should toss it.

But that’s not so helpful for the arty collagist type person. It’s true that I could never use it but it’s also true that I could.

Some Guidelines

While I’m definitely a work in progress on clutter and organization myself, I do think, when it comes to art supplies, that normal rules of keeping and tossing don’t apply.

But I also think you can hang on to things too long out of guilt, feeling wasteful, or unrealistic expectations and accidentally create a clutter that interferes with your creativity. This we don’t want!

So here’s a few questions I try to ask myself when I’m attempting to create more order in my studio:

Do I own these bits or do they own me?

Does your stuff control the way you move around? Does it oppress you? Do you feel overwhelmed by it?  Being enslaved by your stuff is a sure sign you need to get rid of it (or at least some of it if that statement just gave you a heart attack!) Either way, don’t let your stuff control you–and don’t feel bad about needing help to figure it out either.

Is this stuff about my “Present Me” or my “Past Me?”

Sometimes we hang onto old stories about ourselves when they no longer serve–except to provide us an identity or a comfortable explanation that we’re used to saying: “I’m a _________ (fill in the blank) type artist and that’s why I have all this kind of __________ supplies.

For instance, you might be defining yourself this way: “I always frame all my artwork myself, so I have all this mat board leaning against the wall over there and all these odd sized frames in these milk crates that I scored at yard sales and that big cutter that’s partially blocking the back door until I set it up again…”

But do you still do that? Do you want to? It’s okay to have changed, moved on, realize you don’t like doing that, etc. It’s okay!

(Or if that definition of yourself means a great deal to you and it hurts to get rid of that stuff because of you still want to be that someone who frames all her art, it’s just that you’re not making any art right now, which is what REALLY bums you out….well, it might be a good time to sign up for a phone coaching session where we can figure out how to get you back to that!)

Is it really so precious or could I actually get it again if I got rid of it now and decided I needed it later?

We artists often collect unusual bits that can’t be gotten in a store whenever we feel like it. But that said, we also have an abundant universe.

Even if you can’t get that exact thing again, if you believe that you can always get what you truly need when you need it, you can have faith that when you’re struck by inspiration, you’ll not be suffering without “x” because you tossed it or gave it to charity or sold it at a yard sale to another quirky soul six months ago.

Don’t forget, you’re creative. Part of being creative is coming up with creative solutions. Your creativity is not dependent on your stash of cool bits.

Is it serving me? Is it feeding my creativity? Does it give me joy? Or do I just feel bad about getting rid of it?

You can think something is neat/cool/fun/handy and still get rid of it. By getting rid of it you’re not saying to it: “You are worthless.” You’re just saying, “You’re neat, but I’m about other things now.”

If it truly has value, then you know a thrift store or charity shop will be happy to have it.

Is this about my beliefs about things other than art?

For instance, do you allow yourself to have made a mistake? Sometimes hanging onto stuff forever is about that: never say die!

Or are you like me–is it hard to feel like you “wasted money” and if you throw that out you’re conceding that that’s what you did?

Remember, an abundance of supplies is an expression of loving to create–it might not have been the smartest economic decision ever, but are you giving that mistake too much weight? I mean, have you never ordered the wrong thing at dinner? Bought shoes that don’t fit right?

We all make mistakes, we all use our money unwisely sometimes. If your art supply shopping is preventing you from paying your bills or feeding your kids, okay, you’ve got a problem. But I doubt that’s your situation. Don’t beat yourself up!

Okay, admit it, did you actually forget about it?

Even though I’m a big believer that you have to see your supplies if you want to create, I still have stuff I’ve put in boxes and forgotten about completely. Then, when I open the box I think, “oh yeah, I forgot about that. Hmm…that’s pretty neat.”

Neat or not, that can go. My life was fine without it. My creativity was not informed by it. I didn’t even remember owning it for goodness sakes.

What do you think?

How are you doing with your stuff? Do you allow yourself to make mistakes? Do you let stuff go? Would you feel more free with less clutter?

What are your strategies for keeping on top of your supplies or organizing your studio/workspace corner?

Please leave a comment–we’d love to hear from you and don’t forget, your experiences might help someone else!


Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List–a few links to wonderful artwork from around the interweb to get you thinking, dreaming, and creating.

This week’s focus is Animal Art–-3 different artists using animals as their subject matter in 3 very different ways but all imply a  story or mythic feeling. I think that’s so interesting.

I hope they inspire you to carry your own ideas forward into your own unique new territory.

Do these artists speak to you?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!

“Karen Knorr’s Photographs of Sacred Indian Interiors Consider Caste, Femininity, And it’s Relationship To The Animal World”

Karen Knorr Animals in Sacred Indian Interiors

Surreal Mixed Media Animal Sculptures by Ellen Jewett

Ellen Jewett

“The Art of Yong Ho Ji – Recycled Tire Sculptures”

Mythic and monumental, these sculptures are not only gorgeous, but somehow, being made out of old tires, they really bring to mind the impact of human culture on the animal kingdom.

Recycled Tire Horse Sculpture by Yong Ho Ji


Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List–a few links to wonderful artwork from around the interweb to get you thinking, dreaming, and creating.

This week’s theme is the Dress–four women artists exploring the dress as a metaphor, a symbol and a shape in very different ways.

I hope they inspire you to carry your own ideas forward into your own unique new territory.

Which of these artists speaks to you?

Have you ever considered using the dress as your subject matter–or other clothing for that matter?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!

“Paris Progressives: Yiqing Yin Couture”

Often what comes down the runway by top designers can seem ridiculously unwearable, but young design world super star Yiqing Yin appeals to me as she does this because it feels more like artwork coming down the catwalk. And her work is actually inspired by sculpture as well as mother nature herself. Fresh and exciting. Check it out by clicking on the image below!

Paris Progressives: Yiqing Yin Couture

Elvira ‘t Hart

I love these drawings (definitely click on the pic below to view more of them) but what’s even cooler is that she’s taken them one step further and turned them into actual clothes by laser cutting black leather to simulate the lines in the drawings and be as true to the original as much as possible–while also experimenting to see how this process would create something new.
Love it.

Elvira 't Hart

Melinda Le Guay

These beautiful, fragile, ethereal knitted copper wire sculptures of dresses by Melinda Le Guay turn the empty dress into a sort of delicate vessel–I find them poignant.

Melinda Leguay

Marilyn Stevens

I really like these satisfying collages by Marilyn Stevens and her use of the dress as a starting point for all her work. Click on the image below to see all her interpretations and explorations of life through this potent symbol.

Marilyn Stevens

Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List–a few links to wonderful artwork from around the interweb to get you thinking, dreaming, and creating.

This week’s theme is Reflection–the mind-bending kind.

These artists use reflective surfaces to make you think about space, illusion, reality, and the nature of seeing.

I hope they inspire you to carry your own ideas forward into your own unique new territory.

Have you ever considered making “reflective” art? Which of these artists speaks to you?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!

“Paris Photos By Joanna Lemanska Capture Serene Reflections Of The City of Light”

It’s easy to manufacture reflection in Photoshop, but this artist looks for reflections naturally occurring in the water all over Paris or in combination with the reflective surfaces of contemporary buildings around her. Arresting.

Joanna Lemanska Reflexions de Paris

“Daniel Kukla: The Edge Effect”

Kukla takes a mirror and an easel with him out into nature and then snaps photos of the mirror reflecting an image you cannot see directly as the viewer, and then extending it into the space of the natural object he rests it against. It’s kind of quietly mind-bending.

Daniel Kukla: The Edge Effect

“The Skewed, Anamorphic Sculptures and Engineered Illusions of Jonty Hurwitz”

Okay, I can’t even explain this, so I’m going to have to quote the article in
“His anamorphic sculptures rely on scans of objects (hands, faces, frogs) that are then distorted digitally and fabricated, but when placed in front of a cylindrical mirror the projected reflection reveals the original object.”
Okay, so you really need to click on the link to see the photos of the work to get a sense of what he’s really doing. A different kind of mind-bending.

The Skewed, Anamorphic Sculptures and Engineered Illusions of Jonty Hurwitz

“Metalmorphosis: Incredible Moving Sculpture by David Cerny”

Photograph by David Cwiertnia

It’s massive, it moves in sections, it’s a fountain. Holy Moley. Go look.

Metalmorphosis David Cerny Stainless Steel Head Sculpture North Narolina


“Mind-bending Scaling Building Illusion” Mirrored building facade installation art by Leandro Erlich

Fun. Weird. Wackadoodle. Mind-bending for the whole family. ;-)

Bâtiment (Building) by Leandro Erlich


This Week’s Art Inspiration: Water

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Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List–a few links to wonderful artwork from around the interweb to get you thinking, dreaming, and creating.

This week’s theme is Water.

These artists use water to explore time, space, and the relationship between human beings and our natural environment.

I hope they inspire you to carry your own ideas forward into your own unique new territory.

Have you ever considered making “experiential” art like this? Which of these artists speaks to you?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!

Water Drop Perfection by Markus Reugels

German photographer Markus Reugels uses high speed photography to capture water droplets–frozen in time and space like that, they take on a weirdly concrete, sculptural feeling. Very cool.

Perfection of Water Drops by Markus Reugels

“Osaka Station fountain displays time, art in water”

What I like about this project is that the flowing water functions as such a beautiful metaphor for time while the piece serves as a literal “digital” clock in a public space. As the feeling of the water rushing through the numbers makes you more aware of them as abstractions as well, the fountain becomes this very layered symbol about that slippery notion/experience/fact we call “time.” So interesting.

Osaka Station fountain displays time, art in water

Rain Room: Installation Art at Barbican’s Curve Gallery in London

This interactive exhibit in London is so interesting because it plays with our modern notions of our control over our lives and the world around us. As you walk around the exhibit of falling water, the rain “stops” wherever you move…fun, thought-provoking, and tactile–I’d love to experience this first-hand. Click on the image below to watch the video.

Rain Room: Exhibition gives visitors power to control the rain

“Neon Luminance: Landscapes lit up by glow sticks, road flares, headlamps, and moonlight”

Photography duo Sean Lenz and Kristoffer Abildgaard used slow shutter speeds to capture the path their glow sticks traveled down waterfalls–take a look:

Long Exposure Neon Waterfalls by  Sean Lenz and Kristoffer Abildgaard of From the Lenz