Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: All is One and One is All

Tree of Life bracelet, front
Fine silver with copper and sterling silver chain
Michelle Loon, 2012

This week I finished a Tree of Life bracelet. The friend who requested it for her boyfriend wanted it to have elements that reflected both of their personalities and would fit with the macramé jewelry he makes. He is an earthy type of person and likes the symbolism of the Tree of Life while the swirly branches reflect her aesthetic and spirited personality. On the back, the inscription reads “All is one and one is all.”

Tree of Life bracelet, back
Fine silver with copper and sterling silver chain
Michelle Loon, 2012

The bracelet’s inscription reminded me of the quote Tonya shared with us a quote by Derek Sivers during Artful Success, “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Over the past few weeks, I’ve been battling La Resistance in my head as far as continuing to change my mindset and it took an open clash of wills with my family to really understand what that means for me. I can’t just focus on changing the way I approach art or business. I must cling for dear life to the belief that I can let go of past choices and will not abandon anyone by not meeting other people’s expectations. It is still easy to withdraw into depression mode, but I can’t ignore the fact that really good things are going on around me anymore.

Parents will always worry because they care, and want me to be happy. It will take adjustment for me and my family to retrain ourselves and accept that no matter what I am working on or stumbling over at the moment, I am already a successful artist who wants to continue to push my artistic boundaries and find my niche within the community.

My accountability buddy Stephanie has been encouraging as she has gone through a similar situation with her son. She shared a quote with me from Chariots of Fire (hey, I have actually seen that movie!) and said to put it in an art context: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

Yep, that about sums it up!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: Being Human

There's nothing to be scared of, you can only fall as high as you can climb up! 
- Advice to new aerial students with a fear of heights.

I was so excited to keep moving forward with the newest Artful Success module this week but over the past few days I have fallen into the rut of beating myself up over things not done, fighting to figure out where my thinking went wrong, and second guessing myself to the point where I would not commit to anything for the next day either.  How is torturing myself, and inadvertently others around me, progress? Some feedback from friends of how I've changed over the past couple weeks: Happier, a bit more productive, excited about projects, and focused on my metal clay future. These, of course, are all good things but quantitatively they are harder to measure.

I still haven't quite figured out how to turn off the sly commentary in my head before it turns into an avalanche, but something clicked today. Hitting this low allowed me to see how much I have learned from this program and that there is an analogy to my aerial exercises. In silks or pole, everyone starts learning to climb on the ground and every time you do it you are able to go up a bit further. As stamina increases, you're able to hold your own weight longer. Whether it is in a controlled, graceful drop or an accidental tumble, you're at the bottom again and need to go back up for the next trick. Following through with a motion is important visually, but plans literally can be changed in the air without anyone being the wiser. Now I know if I can't avoid a drop, at least I can gracefully control my descent.

Finally, for a bit of lighthearted pole dancing (something that I also dabble in) humor on perspective, check out my friend Leen Isabel's webcomic post: The floor is closer than it appears.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: An Aha! moment

Work in Progress

This semester I'm enjoying taking a figurative sculpture class at a local community college.  Our latest project involves interaction of hands in ceramic clay. At one point our professor demoed how to make fingernails by pressing and almost flicking away clay with the edge of a flexible potter's rib to create the nail bed. I admit I cringed every time I saw a piece of clay go flying thinking about what if I did that while working with metal clay. After watching me attempt to create nails with the rib, he said, "why don't you use the needle tool?" D'oh, of course!  In general I've tried to stick to the techniques we're using in class as maybe there will be something new I can take home with me. In this case I went home wondering about what kind of "bad" clay habits I've acquired without realizing it or so far haven't questioned.

With the little bit of clarity from sculpture class, I'm more motivated to keep cleaning my work area and figure out my optimum table set up. The new start for the next batch of projects is my fuel to start experimenting as I know there are other opportunities that will pop up before the next deadline too.

Other than that, my sculpture now has a pretty good manicure if I don't say so myself!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Published Project!

I am excited to receive the newest issue of Metal Clay Artist Magazine this weekend as it has one of my projects published inside! Kind of surreal, but in a nice way. 

Bird's Nest Bezel Bracelet
Michelle Loon, 2011

Going through the editing process with Margaret Schindel was really enjoyable and I've learned a lot about how my regular class instructions could improve too.

Thank you to Jeannette LeBlanc, Margaret Schindel and rest of the MCAM team for all the work they put into each magazine!