Friday, September 30, 2011

September HITS

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Welcome back to the monthly post where I recap what went on over the last 30 days in my life as an artist. This month I dragged my feet in writing September’s H.I.T.S., because it takes so much time and energy to evaluate the past month and come up with a game plan for the following 31 days. I’m finding it more and more difficult to do things I find just mildly stimulating, like being on the computer. And yet, without a plan, how can I get to where I want to be or even know where I want to go? One blessings from giving myself a monthly deadline, is that it helps me to finish projects, since how it sounds better that I completed an art project, instead of saying it’s pending.

The biggest shift this month happened mentally. I’ve finally given myself permission to adjust my time so that I’m mostly doing the things that I LOVE, not just enjoy doing. That means instead of talking about how much I love to work out with friends, I actually do this every day. I’m volunteering at the Athletic Playground, where I took an aerial class and learned how simple it is to climb a 20 foot tall rope!

One good habit leads to the next, exercising feeds my interest in learning how to prepare meals that are more efficient, in terms of high nutritional content, time and money. One cookbook that I’m referencing called 3 Bowls, shares that cooking and eating is not only a meditative practice but also very spiritual. I prefer to share meals with friends, so this gives me an outlet to share what I’m learning in the kitchen. Everything is linked together, like in martial arts. Traditionally it wasn’t just working out, but it also incorporated cooking, medicine, body work, spiritual guidance…

I’ve set the timer for writing this post or else I’ll continue to expand it, eating up everyone’s time. Here we go!


Creative Experiences that have Fueled my Right Brain:

  • Thanks to Netflixs and to my eco-art class, I’ve watched many documentaries, which were mostly on environmental issues, biographies of artists and where food comes from.

I saw Mary and Max (which is the only film here that I don’t recommend), rivers and tides, the convenient truth, the inconvenient truth, food inc., The story of stuff, Gas Land, Home, A pixar story, PBS documentary on Warhol, and the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I typically watch maybe one movie a month and now, I’m actually eager to watch more. I LOVE learning!

  • I went to a disparate showing of live music and performance. One night I saw a punk band perform at a house (or was that the venue?) that was charmingly “punk” in its design and it was so much fun!!! I also heard brass bands and acoustic performers at the Bay Vibes Fest. I also saw an aerial dance troupe, Bandaloop, repel down a 8 story building and dance on the side of the building. With the live music and lighting design it was pretty cool.
  • Not sure how this related artistically, but as a side not I got to use my motorcycle helmet and gloves for the first time. When I get a bike, all I’m going to do is ride. It was nice knowing you. ;-)
  • I heard about an annual show in Portland, OR called the Time Based Art (TBA) exhibit. The audience gets to interact with the art and manipulate it. Next year I’d love to either create a playground for people to explore or to just go and check it out.


What Goes in Must Come Out:

  • It’s silly but I LOVE organizing spaces, objects and data, making them user friendly and aesthetic. I get so much joy in stream-lining tasks, making them so simple that people want to use the system. I got to use these organizational skills for my friend who runs his own patent firm and for tracking the library’s inventory for my eco-arts class.
  • Speaking of the environmental arts class that I’m taking at the local community college, I learned an important lesson in respecting boundaries. I chose to make a zafu (a mediation pillow) for one of my projects. I bought materials that were meaningful to me: fabric made from bamboo and buckwheat husks for filling. I was all excited about making the project and getting to have a meditation pillow when I was done. Well- I didn’t get that far.

In the past, I’ve questioned why I bother using a sewing machine, since how hand sewing is so much faster for me. Random, odd ball things break when I use a sewing machine. It makes me super frustrated and the process is unenjoyably.

For some reason I decided to try it again and this time even more things went wrong then normal. After six hours of trying five sewing machines, none would work for me. I decided this wasn’t the way I want to create. I don’t enjoy sewing. I have fond memories as a kid sewing with the ladies in my family: both great grandmothers, my grandma and my mother, but I can’t seem to get a rhythm now that I’m an adult. I decided that six hours of work on a simple pillow and not even have reached the actually sewing part, wasn’t worth continuing. Miss A student didn’t turn in a project and that was ok with me. I got what I needed out of the assignment.

  • Several years ago I taught myself to read Braille and last week I got to put these skills to use. I noticed that a classmate’s glasses had Braille on them, so I asked him what it said. He had no clue, so I offered to decode it. I’m so rusty, that I had to reference the Braille alphabet, but I figured out that it said “cold.” Not sure why his Clockwork Orange glasses have the word “cold” on them, but it was so cool that I could give him a clue to the mystery.
  • I requested a tour of a gallery in Alemeda, CA that showcases artists who use recycled materials. I got to see the gallery, the store and the studio spaces for rent. I got my questions answered about the art residency program at the East Bay Transfer station (aka dump). Networking and seeing what opportunities that are available to me helped to formulate what I want to work towards.
  • I’m revisiting the vinyl record light switch covers that I had for sale once-upon-a-time on my etsy store. I’m making one for my sensei that has the RCA dog on it. It’s pretty cute.
  • The most encouraging thing that happened this month was talking with a seamstress about ideas on where to buy black cord. I need the cord to knit the matrix for the LED Cactus Lights. Carolyn had some wonderful insight and I think the end is in sight. Soon I will have this cord (which I learned is actually called binding)!

Symington_cord sample

  • Another ongoing project is the bouncy ball curtain. It had some structural issues, that required a restring. It’s a curtain made out of 900 bouncy balls and crazy straws, and from people walking though it, the materials are sagging. It was expected that alterations would be necessary since how I haven’t made an interactive installation like this before or had any prior experience working with these materials.

I’d put off restringing it because I wanted the Chinese manufactures that I emailed about buying crazy straws in bulk, to get back to me. A month went by and nothing happened. I had decided for the collector, Andrew, on his budget for the restring, instead of giving him a full status update on ordering supplies. I finally decided to take my mother’s advice from when I was a kid and to let the other person decide for themselves. It is his art, that’s in his home. Now the ball is in his court, and I’ll proceed as he wishes.

  • My other creative outlet is in the kitchen. Over on my food blog, Surprisingly Thankful, I pick a monthly theme and prepare or eat out four times, so to introduce myself to new experiences. September was “Monk food month” drawing inspiration from my stay with the monks.

Thanks for your support. Go out there and create!

Table of Contents for Happenings in the Studio

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1 comment:

  1. Everything you are doing seems awesome. I have been thinking of how to incorporate a maze or mandhala into my house/land. Have to see where it goes. It is always awesome to read about what is going on for you!!!