Creating Your Life: 7 Weeks of Color!

 

IMG_0391I’ve created a Facebook Group, “Creating Your Life: 7 Weeks of Color!” to nurture creativity by inviting people to join me in focusing on one color each week for seven weeks, starting September 12.  I’ll provide inspiration and wholesome snacks (just kidding… no snacks) and welcome members in this “closed group” (only members can see posts) to share images and ideas related to each week’s color.

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Your participation might be in the form of what you wear, experience,  eat, or create; in meditations, photos, readings or explorations.   I’ll offer guidance along with glimpses of my color-related studio work, and hope that the abundance of color will tickle your senses and encourage your creativity!

To join, you can either type the name of the group (“Creating Your Life: Seven Weeks of Color!”) in the search area of your Facebook page, just as you would search for a person’s name; and when you arrive at the info for the page, click on the “Join” option — or you may send me your Facebook-related email address (either via email at: aspangborn@gmail.com or by commenting to this blog post) and I will add you to the group by adding your email.

Please send me a message if you have any questions.  I hope you’ll join me in this simple and free experience!

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Published in: on June 28, 2016 at 3:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Inspired by Mark Nepo: “Fame or Peace”

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These words are from Mark Nepo’s day book, “The Book of Awakening:”

“Fame or Peace

“Rather the flying bird, leaving no trace, than the going beast, marking the earth.”  Fernando Pessoa

“Much of our anxiety and inner turmoil comes from living in a global culture whose values drive us from the essence of what matters.  At the heart of this is the conflict between our outer definition of success and the inner value of peace.

Unfortunately, we are encouraged, even trained, to get attention when the renewing secret of life is to give attention.  From performing well on tests to positioning ourselves for promotions, we are schooled to believe that to succeed we must get attention and be recognized as special, when the threshold to all that is extraordinary in life opens only when we devote ourselves to giving attention, not getting it.  Things come alive for us only when we dare to see and recognize everything as special.

The longer we try to get attention instead of giving it, the deeper our unhappiness.  It leads us to move through the world dreaming of greatness, needing to be verified at every turn, when feelings of oneness grace us only when we verify the life around us.  It makes us desperate to be loved, when we sorely need the medicine of being loving.

One reason so many of us are lonely in our dream of success is that instead of looking for what is clear and true, we learn to covet what is great and powerful.  One reason we live so far from peace is that instead of loving our way into the nameless joy of spirit, we think fame will soothe us.  And while we are busy dreaming of being a celebrity, we stifle our need to see and give and love, all of which opens us to the true health of celebration.

It leaves us with these choices: fame or peace, be a celebrity or celebrate being, work all our days to be seen or devote ourselves to seeing, build our identity on the attention we can get or find our place in the beauty of things by the attention we can give.”

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As I develop a simple website to synthesize my holistic life coaching practice, expressive arts workshops and studio work, Nepo’s writing reminds me of my original intention — to nurture creativity and well-being  — and illuminates the path I’m longing to follow.  I feel reassured: that it’s OK to keep my plans simple and modest; and that it’s good to focus on giving attention rather than receiving it.

Published in: on June 27, 2016 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Nuno Felted Scarf with an “Ocean” Theme

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This scarf was created by a student in a one-day “Intro to Nuno Felting” workshop I recently taught.   Inspired by images of kelp forests, the student carefully applied a minimal amount of merino and silk fiber on a base of hand-dyed (by Suzanne Morgan) habotai silk fabric.  The result is a shimmering piece with luxurious drape, that measures 12″ x 67″ and weighs just an ounce and a half.  Nuno felting takes time and patience, but it’s an easy technique if you understand the “mechanics” of how the process works.

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I’ll be offering small-group nuno felting workshops in the fall (please contact me to receive notices about workshops); and also schedule individual felting workshops by-arrangement.

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Published in: on June 13, 2016 at 1:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Felted Dots!

 

A number of fellow feltmakers have asked me how I fabricate the dots in my designs.  I love incorporating dots into my felted work — there’s something organic and cheerful about them!  I hope this pictorial will help explain the process.IMG_3055Here’s how I craft the dots that brighten many of my felted art works:

Lay out one layer of thin merino roving, about 4 inches square:

IMG_5662Starting from one end, coax and twirl the fibers onto a thin, wooden skewer, and roll — jelly roll style — around the skewer.  Do this four more times, for a total of five different colors, one on top of the other, tightly rolled, til it looks like a cigar or cocoon.

IMG_5663Aqua is the first color; it will be the center of the dot.

IMG_5668Each color completely covers the previous one.

IMG_5673When you have five layers of different colors, carefully slide the cocoon off the skewer, and using very sharp scissors, slice the dry fiber into thin discs.  The thinner these discs are, the easier it will be to use them for surface design; however, if they are too thin, they will not hold together.  Experiment to find just the right thickness for your own purposes.

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Place these dots on your prepared surface of whatever felted item you’ve crafted — tea cozy, scarf, table mat, etc. — then wet with soapy, hot water and carefully rub each dot to get it to begin to mesh into the fibers below.  It takes some effort with each dot to be sure it is secure; and it’s best to continue with less agitation in processing your fiber, to retain the integrity of the dot design.  In other words, you might do more careful rubbing of the surface, and less rigorous agitation such as throwing or rubbing against a ridged mat or wash board.  Explore and enjoy!   I welcome your questions.  Happy Felting!

Published in: on June 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm  Comments (2)  

Re-reading “Art Is a Way of Knowing”…

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…a beautiful book by Pat. B. Allen, first published in 1995, as I develop new expressive arts workshops for Fall 2016.   The subtitle of Allen’s book is “A guide to self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment through creativity.”  I recommend the book to all artists!

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From the Forward, by M.C. Richards: “The art process carries us free of conscious thinking and judging.  This absorption in the process is what heals.  It accesses another part of oneself, where the mysteries of pain and release, grief and anger and despair, longing and hope are present.”

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And from the author’s Preface: ” Images take me apart; images put me back together again, new, enlarged, with breathing room… Art making is my way of bringing soul back into my life.  Soul is the place where the messiness of life is tolerated, where feelings animate the narration of life; where story exists.  Soul is the place where I am replenished and can experience both gardens and graveyards.  Art is my way of knowing who I am… I don’t believe that art cures or fixes; rather it restores the connection to soul, which is always waiting to be reclaimed.”

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The words from “Art As a Way of Knowing” describe what I experience and what I intend to share when I work with others, via creative coaching and in offering expressive arts workshops.

This summer, I’ll announce new Fall 2016 “Creating Your Life” classes and workshops, some held in my State College, PA, home studio; and some offered through a combination of online experiences and one-to-one creative coaching in-person, on the phone, via email or Skype.  If you’re interested in learning about these classes or in creative coaching, I invite you to please let me know if you’d like to be on my contact list.

Published in: on June 8, 2016 at 12:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Creative Allowances

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Some days in the studio, I have a vision that is so clear and motivating, I just need to get to the other side of accomplishing it.  There’s no ambivalence, or wondering if I will be able to figure it out, there’s just DRIVE.

IMG_1123What are the qualities of those inspired days, that invite exploration and growth?

IMG_1100The qualities include all sort of “allowances”… Such as allowing myself good resources: investing in fine quality fiber to stock my studio; allowing myself time: making conscious choices to carve out studio hours; allowing a sense of creative expansiveness, without ambivalence about what might be experienced through focused hard work, persistence and patience.

IMG_4468I see these same qualities in others who are creating lives aligned with how they wish to live each day: they invest in their dreams, literally by being financially responsible and careful managers of material resources;  they are thoughtful about time and energy management, and keep their promises in ways that exceed others’ expectations; they believe in themselves, trusting that if they work hard enough and smart enough, they can achieve good results — and in this, they avoid setting limits on or derailing their own accomplishments.

 

IMG_2560When I work with others, these are the qualities I seek to nurture, inviting and motivating clients and students to allow themselves the investment of resources, time, vision and effort, believing that their sweet dreams — for creative expression as well as for creating a good life —  are within reach.

Published in: on June 2, 2016 at 3:54 pm  Comments (1)