Friday, April 30, 2010

Afternoon walk

When I walk, I see beauty everywhere.

Rusty bottlecap with hole

Grape and white hyacinths

The rusty bottle cap wears its hard-earned patina; the hyacinths glow in the sunshine. I thank them all for crossing my path this day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Crocheting fabric

Today was wet and cool. It felt like a day to crochet.

Backtracking a little: I hadn't crocheted in months, but then I picked up some gorgeous blue/green handspun yarn from Juaquetta at Garden Party Fibers in March. When I sat through juror training at the county courthouse a couple weeks ago, I made use of the time by working up a simple scarf.

Blue-green scarf

Now that I've got the itch to crochet, I thought I'd try an idea I've had for a while.

Last year I facilitated an art project at my church. The congregation participated in creating a "peace tree" with strips of fabric -- mostly cotton sheets and shirts from my stash. This was the finished project:

Peace tree

When we took the tree down, I couldn't throw it out. (My middle name should have been Pack-rat.) I've wanted to tie the strips together and crochet them, but I hadn't gotten around to doing it, until this afternoon.

Fabric doesn't have the "give" that yarn has, so I learned that I needed to keep my tension loose, or else I couldn't pull my hook through. I only did one row of double crochet. It quickly got thick and heavy.

Crocheted fabric strips

It's too heavy to become clothing or an accessory, but it could become something sculptural, perhaps. Or a rug, if I put a backing on it?

My cat Gus thought it was fun to play with the fabric strips, at least.

Gus with crocheted fabric

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A 30-day challenge

As I was standing in the shower this morning, a thought drifted in: What if I give myself a creative challenge? Something that would get me doing something creative every day. And, I could blog about it. I could get back in the groove. Hmmm.

These are my rules:
1. I must do some creative work for at least 15 minutes every day. I may work on an ongoing project, sketch, journal, take photos, write a poem -- whatever moves me that day.
2. I will blog about whatever I did that day.
3. I will do this for 30 days.
4. Above all, I will be kind to myself during this challenge. No browbeating myself for "bad" work, no guilt trips if I am too sick to work or if emergencies arise. I intend this to be a positive, encouraging experience.

I know there are similar challenges out there that are fairly organized, but I am not looking for a group experience right now. This is my journey, and I feel that it needs to be solitary, even selfish, right now. I'm not afraid to admit that this is for me. I want to document this challenge so that I can see what I'm learning as I go along.

But if you want to peek in from time to time, you might find it entertaining.

Today is Day 1.

I've been working on those red quilted hearts in small doses, mostly when I'm waiting for Ross to get out of school. Today I spent a little time finishing up the current heart.

Today's heart

I've now completed 7 out of 10:

7 hearts finished

I'm quite undecided about whether I'll add more to the backs:

7 hearts finished (backs)

I don't have a real plan for how they're going to become a sculpture once they're finished. I trust that the ideas will flow when the time is right.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Open the door

I've struggled with blogging the past few months. Life has been so hectic and full of challenges. I was getting some creative work done, but -- honestly, the turbulence has drained me. I am tired, and some days, depressed.

Ah, my old friend, depression. I recognize its vicious cycle earlier than I used to, but I certainly haven't mastered it yet.
Step one: feel depressed.
Step two: feel tired.
Step three: don't do things you like to do because you're tired.
Step four: feel more depressed because you aren't doing things you like to do.
Until you recognize the downward spiral and DO SOMETHING!

Luckily, I've had a photography challenge in front of me for a couple weeks. I've joined a new camera club. The group agreed that we'd each show up to 5 photos on the theme of "doors" for our first full meeting. And so I've been considering a subject that I've not shot before, and trying to create interesting images with a topic that didn't grab me.

I've managed to get 4 photos that I like. I'm not in love with any of them, but at least they got me out of the house and out of my head for a while. (Click on the photos for a larger view on flickr.)

Break down

Photo #1: Break down
The houses and businesses in the neighborhood next to my son's school is being bought up by the state and then torn down to make room for a freeway. Most of the houses are entirely boarded up, but one house didn't have its door barricaded. I noticed the big muddy footprint as I was driving by one afternoon and it intrigued me, so I went back and took some pictures.

Japanese Bathroom Sign at Manito Park

Photo #2: Japanese Bathroom Sign at Manito Park
The public bathrooms nearest to the Japanese garden have fading signs in (surprise!) Japanese. This isn't technically a door photo, but you can see the hinges of the bathroom door in the background.

Pull (Spokane County Courthouse Doors)

Photo #3: Pull
Our county courthouse is a very ornate structure. Recently I was on jury duty, and decided to photograph the doors on a Sunday afternoon (no security guards or citizens to bother me). The doors themselves aren't very interesting, but I like the brass plates with their slight blue-green patina. This photo was shot with my macro lens.

Gimme shelter?

Photo #4: Gimme shelter?
This is the worst photo of the bunch, but the most poignant to me. I was exploring a wooded, steep hill in a local park when I came across this shelter. It's constructed between two large rocks. The blue tarp creates a roof and also functions as a door. You can see some flattened cardboard boxes on the ground, which seem to form the floor inside. I could see a blanket or a sleeping bag in the small opening, but I did not put my head inside.

About a year ago, I'd heard that someone was living in this area, but the man had been run off by police. Clearly, he'd moved back. I'd also heard that the man had been angry with the city employees who work in that area, thinking that they'd turned him in. I don't think anyone was in the shelter when I was there; I'd been crunching along the path leading up to it, so I assume most folks would have heard me. However, I wasn't anxious to incur the wrath of a homeless man. So I got a few quick shots and left quietly, just in case he was sleeping in there.

I wonder if a census worker will come calling at his door.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today at work

When I got to work today, I roamed with the camera. Honestly, it was too beautiful a morning to sit at my desk right away.

Our teens did some fun parking lot art during the church service yesterday:

chalk sun shine

chalk thankful heart

chalk star

chalk I Am heart

chalk you are loved

One of them even "signed" their work:

chalk hand

We have a profusion of daffodils blooming around the peace pole:

peace pole with daffodils

And in the Prayer Garden, amazing tulips in orange:

Orange tulips in Prayer Garden

You can almost feel the color vibrating, can't you? It's spring, glorious spring.