Hand Spun Connections

IMG_1393Many autumns ago a friend and I were walking with our dogs around a local area called Shingletown Gap when we spied the orange flash of a fox in a nearby field.  My dog, Doobie, a young and muscular mixed breed who looked like a giant yellow lab puppy/lion mix, took off after that flash, and I wondered how far he’d go to chase that fox.  I called for Doobie, and he braked, looking at the fox as it ran.  Then Doobie looked back at me, and turned to look in the direction of the fox, as if weighing his options.

To my delight, Doobie trotted back toward me and sat by my side.  He looked up at me, and I looked down at him, happy that he had returned.  His look said to me “Did you see it?  Wasn’t it great?  Wasn’t it the most exciting thing!  Isn’t it amazing to share this!  And who’s a good boy?  I am, I am.”  We shared that wonderful moment of connection, and so many more in the ten years of his life.  He was such a good boy.

Opportunities for connecting are all around us, in nature, in relationships, in art…  It seems that as we grow older and gain more connections — and also lose connections as we let go of things that cannot last — and have our hearts broken over and over just by the normal progression of life — we might grow in tenderness and compassion; we might become more honest and courageous and thoughtful, or simply more kind, in the interactions and opportunities of our every day, “hand spun” life.

I hope my art helps people find connection and the sweet, simple pleasure of a shared moment.

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Published in: on September 25, 2017 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Creating Your Life

IMG_0382The new season offers its magic!

Published in: on September 15, 2017 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hand Spun Art Yarn Card Images

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Published in: on August 18, 2017 at 6:57 pm  Comments (1)  

Little Labors of Love

Outside:

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Inside:

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Published in: on July 5, 2017 at 10:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Felted Mats with Curly Locks

These are about 20″ x 8″.  I’ll add a bit of embroidery to some of the hand-spun yarn embellishment; then press the mats flat before taking them to the shops.  I was pleased with the texture of the yarns; and how the yarns meshed with the merino on the surface: even the strips of silk fabrics that I used in spinning some of the yarns found their way securely into the surface.IMG_1218IMG_1220

Published in: on May 17, 2017 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Little Felted Cases

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Made of merino, yak, camel, alpaca and silk; with embroidery and one or two metal leaf beads; and a bit of surprise on the inside of the flap: for holding a special gift or poem, business or credit cards; amulets or antidotes; a favorite feather or stone.

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Published in: on May 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Little Felted Mats with Curly Locks


Want to learn the craft of felt making while creating a small felted mat? This is the same technique used for other flat, wet-felted work, such as scarves, table runners, wall hangings, rugs. Our focus will be on the basic elements of felt making and on learning how to use those little happy curly wool locks as embellishment. I am offering this workshop in two formats: as a full-day, one-to-one individual tutorial with a “creativity coaching” component; and as a small group workshop where the focus will be more on the actual craft of felting. I am just starting to plan some workshops, so if you’d like to be on my list, please email me at: aspangborn@gmail.com for more info.

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Published in: on April 19, 2017 at 3:04 pm  Comments (4)  

Pushing the EASY button


There’s an ad motif for Staples stores, advising that we can “push the EASY button” by shopping at Staples. I love the general idea of an EASY button, and apply it to my own life and when working with clients, asking: “What would pushing the EASY button look like?” Sometimes “EASY” looks like asking for help or support; sometimes it means arranging for professional services; sometimes it means adjusting expectations or attitude — including adjusting one’s attitude that the situation can or should be easy.

Life’s challenges — those times that make one wish for an EASY button — can trigger anxiety, that voice that says “We’re doomed!” What if we met these anxiety-provoking instances with a sense of doing an experiment, having variables to adjust, making adjustments as needed. Would life seem more easy, more like an adventure, and less affected by worry? We can practice this when we process thoughts and feelings and when we try things that are new experiences.

Teaching felt making, I love seeing how students approach the unknown. Some students dive right in: it’s clear that they are not inhibited by a fear of doing something new.  Other students, no matter how gently I invite them to play with the materials, no matter how reassuringly I tell them it’s OK to use more fiber to figure something out — no matter how generously supplied they are with fiber, they fret.

Anxiety can make you fearful of discovery, can raise the volume of that inner voice that clutters our thoughts: Have I made a bad choice?  Am I ready to try this new endeavor?  What will others think of me?  What if I fail? The word “clutter” relates to the word “clot.” We can see how it gets us stuck.

A sense of adventure is motivated — and liberated — by the desire to get to the other side. I don’t use the word “desire” lightly.  Adventure taps into longing, nurtures the value of exploration, and moves us along toward a deeper quest. We aren’t stuck with cluttered and limited thoughts.

I know that my work as a teacher is going well when I can see a student lose any sense of anxiety and replace worry with adventure.  Other teachers can relate to this:  we can hear and see and sense this shift in a student’s focus.   One cannot learn a new instrument or a new piece of music if one is afraid of playing a wrong note; however, in an environment that values the effort of learning — welcoming the wrong notes as the pathway to the right notes masterfully sounded SOME DAY — creativity is nurtured.  This is called “beginner’s mind,” and is a good framework for happiness and personal growth.

In holistic life coaching, too, we seek to motivate an individual’s quest, by asking illuminating questions.  How liberating, to have dark recesses of thoughts and beliefs become well-lit, and to experience this with steadfast, nonjudgmental support.

One way I am “pushing the EASY button” in my own life is to navigate around the reality that I have ongoing home repairs happening, with no fixed date of completion (because they are weather-dependent) that are affecting my studio and coaching spaces. I started focusing more on offering coaching on-the-phone, and find it so mutually convenient and… EASY. What started as a reaction to a challenge turned into a welcome change. When I stopped lamenting the inconvenience, and saw the potential for developing more of an on-the-phone practice, I felt energized by possibility. I invite you to email me (aspangborn@gmail.com) for more info; or please visit my website at http://www.annpagborn.com or my blog at http://www.WoolyBlissFeltmaking.WordPress.com.  

Published in: on March 31, 2017 at 7:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Permission to Create

As a holistic life coach and an artist and art teacher, I love that “AHA!” moment when students and clients claim their own creativity. It’s palpable: they glow. There’s a hum in the atmosphere akin to falling in love. It’s the beautiful process of their re-enchantment with the child-like experience of creativity and play.

Several years ago, an acquaintance asked me how I found the time to create.  This was an accomplished woman who did a lot of entertaining and traveling.  She had several homes and enjoyed decorating and gardening.  She loved to shop, and expressed herself in the way she dressed: colorfully, with lots of sparkly jewelry.

I thought about how creatively she lived her life, with so much expression and zest. Her question stayed with me: How do I find time to create? How did she NOT see her own life as filled with creativity? In my mind, the answer was clear: there is a trade-off, because there are just 24 hours in each day, and if we are giving our time and energy to things other than a focus on art making, we cannot or will not have time for art.  On one level it’s that simple: life is filled with urgent demands and yummy distractions. But it’s also true that there are infinite ways to be creative. The tricky part is finding creative expression that’s authentic and satisfying; being mindful about how one uses one’s time and energy; and paying attention to priorities.

The interaction with this woman happened before I became a holistic life coach. If she asked me that same question today, “How do you find the time to create?” I would be curious to know her perspective on how she spends her time, and could ask questions that would support her exploration. If in fact she feels unfulfilled creatively, despite how expressively lived her life seems to be, that would be such a good opening for discovery. Maybe our conversation would lead her to affirm that in fact she is finding time to create, in her own ways, but that for some reason she’s disparaging her own forms of expression; and therefore a shift in her attitude, rather than in her behavior, would bring her more satisfaction about how she’s using her time and energy. If I felt that a direct question to her question would be appropriate, I might ask: “How do you find time to do the many things you do?”

Each one of us is creating our own life, with every moment.  I’m energized and challenged by seeing every day life as a form of creativity; and via life coaching and art making and art teaching, I love sharing that “AHA!” of falling in love with creativity over and over again.

Published in: on March 23, 2017 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wooly Bliss!

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Published in: on March 21, 2017 at 12:21 am  Comments (2)