Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Target: Routine

Aerialist on silks
Digital painting
Nguyen Dong, 2008

Over the past couple years I have taken silks, lyra/hoop, static trapeze, flying trapeze, and pole dancing classes.  Discovering what one's body is capable of is such an exhilarating feeling! As much as I adore aerial arts and look forward to taking classes again soon, my obsession with metal clay comes first. What does being a circus monkey have to do with jewelry making?  Both require the right mindset and having a disciplined practice routine to get off the ground.

Whether it is a physical trick or art technique, I have to keep telling myself reading is one thing and actually sitting down to create something with it is another. With a goal of establishing new habits and to get myself to be productive a little bit every day after getting home from the day job and/or school, here are my observations for the week.

Journal affirmations - Taking the time to journal each night and set intentions for the next day really makes a difference on the next day! I wake up more alert in the morning and am able to hold a positive mindset better.

Warming up - Do you have a routine when sitting down to create? Similar to stretching before attempting the splits, working on drawing assignments right before class has helped me focus during sculpture class.  I've been able to identify a couple triggers that help me shift into "work" mode, and a couple things that mean I'm overwhelmed, but I'm still trying to figure out my ideal warm up for clay as sometimes that leads to over thinking things.  Maybe I'll try using a timer.

Timers - Much as I hate to be told what to do by a clock, I admit they work!

Accountability Buddy - My "Spotter" for Artful Success is Stephanie Maben of Stephanie Maben Jewelry! She is such an enthusiastic person to work with and makes gorgeous jewelry with natural cabochons!

Mindset - I'm in a better spot mentally today than last week, but trusting myself is a giant elephant for me to tackle.  Near my desk there is a collage from an aerial recital that proves at some point I trusted myself to do a trick in the air and let go of my hands.  To bring that mentality back to my clay, no additional thinking, just doing. And take pictures. No pictures, it didn't happen!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday's Target: Vision

Stock photo from

I went to the eye doctor this week as it has been hard to read signs while driving. When the doctor checked my glasses, he found one lens was made to account for astigmatism while the other one wasn't. Really? Still, he said my vision is stable and with a little adjustment to the lens prescription, I should see a huge difference in clarity. Wouldn't it be nice if clarity in all aspects of life were so easy to find and correct?

This week my goals for Artful Success included writing down the answers to goal setting questions and making flowcharts for projects. Seems pretty straight forward. What really has been a challenge is understanding what is going on in my head to make this so difficult. I understand concepts and can verbally answer questions, but when it is time to write or make something, I get so stuck over thinking things, I don't even realize I'm doing that. As I've been reminded by multiple sources recently, planning is useful but at some point you need to jump in and see what neat things come out of it. Usually the outcome is much more positive than I think.  Hey, long term goal! (and this is in writing)  => Embrace a creation (creative) mindset and let go of worry.

From last week, I have continued cleaning and purging stuff to make my workspace more conductive to working on projects. It feels good to get rid of things that I've been hauling around for a couple years and abundance has come to fill that void in the form of validation! The store I regularly teach at, Brea Bead Works, had their Registration Day on Saturday and metal clay classes were really well received.  I have 2 sold out classes for the next session and a couple friends asked me about jewelry requests, sweet!

One more big thing I don't think I mentioned specifically in my last post of gratitude is that I was chosen as one of the recipients for Tonya Davidson's Artful Success Scholarship! Part of the program is to update weekly progress. To help me do that, Thursdays will be my days to blog and recap my week.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Commiting to Action

What is the best way to eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

Since the beginning of the month I have been writing down, scratching out, and staring at a list of class projects to submit to the store I regularly teach at. However, it has been really hard to pin myself down and honestly ask why I procrastinate with my project proposals.  
 What if the projects are not "good enough"?
This past week I started Tonya Davidson's Artful Success program. While it can be daunting to employ any new system of project organization, I instead find myself completely overwhelmed with gratitude. This comes with the realization of just how much emotion I subconsciously attach my projects. One thing Tonya suggested this week that resonated with me is, "Commit without emotional attachment". Does project exploration need emotion? Not really. The important thing is a successful project outcome. Being able to show a technique and seeing a student's face light up when they can do it themselves is a definite bonus. My friend has dubbed me the "Bag Lady" as I tend to bring everything with me to class. I realize this happens mentally also. I want to let go of the "worst case scenario" and "the ghosts of fumbled things past" baggage so I can conduct my classes calmly and with confidence.

Looking back at the things I've managed to accomplish, what has really blown my mind is all the wonderful people who have been so supportive with gifts of advice and opportunities. This encouragement has been keeping me aloft, even as I avoided believing that I could do what I truly want to do. That is, one day make art full time. I hope they will know how grateful I am and that I am ready to believe in myself. I am committed to a plan of action. As far as those class projects go, they will be tackled one bite at a time.