Today It Is Official . . . .

I am now a Stencil Girl. I even have an intro to the “family” by Mary Beth Shaw!!

You can find me on the SG website, listed under the artists who create the stencils.

I have been creating stencils for a number of years now and my mind thinks stencil when I cast my eyes over the horizon.

You know how that works. As a photographer, you are always composing photos. As an artist, you see color combinations, characters that your mind weaves stories around. an author, your ears are perked for picking up conversations, accents, or a piece of a story you can weave a whole novel around.

Perhaps you wear many hats, and so your mind is fully engaged as you take in the world around you, always filtering, filtering to feed your creative stash of images, sounds, even feelings.

Well, I now have added stencil shapes to the mix. I see trees interacting and think “stencil.” I see paint spatters and think “stencil.” In fact, just about anything can get me into stencil mode these days.

To celebrate my new Stencil Girl status, I am having a give away. I created the triptych pictured here with one of my stencils, and if you leave me a comment on this post, you are eligible to win it. (Be patient–I have to OK comments). I am also posting to Facebook, so a comment there would also qualify. If you want to comment and are not my “friend,” just ask!

Am I just a little giddy? Of course I am. I love the Stencil Girl line, and being part of it is quite an honor. I am in great company.

Fantasy LifeP.S. Please see the notes on Stencil Girl about how I made this triptych. I will add further details at a later date, but today I am going to have fizzy drinks, and do wild dance steps, and say “Yahoo” a lot–really, really loudly.

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Nancy Pobanz: Desert Artist


In just three minutes Nancy inspires you . . . .

Originally posted on Richard's Notes:

Nancy Pobanz: Desert Artist from Miro Merrill on Vimeo.

My friend Ken O’Connell sent this video along to me done by Miro Merrill about the artist Nancy Pobanz. Her hand made books are fantastic and knowing the back story on the materials makes it so much better.

View original

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I have been thinking and thinking about something for years now. Something crazy. Something I want to do, need to do.

Many signs have pointed the way: especially when I doubted whether this was the smartest way to go. I was afraid for my reputation, ha! As if I have much of a reputation to uphold. I am just a lone artist on a path to self understanding. A few others join me periodically, bless me with their interest, the fact that they care, then head off in their own directions.

Which is just as it should be.

Anyway, in a nut shell, I have some crochet projects I have to do. You heard that right, crochet. Hardly a fine arts endeavour, right? And I say, to hell with an endeavour having to be anything other than what the artist needs to do.

Am I going to tell you what I have to do? Absolutely not. This is really private stuff, that I’ll share after a lot of experimentation. I’ll maybe reveal a peak or two here and there but . . . . . I am not making any promises on that score.

And I will keep painting, keep making paper quilts, and paper jewelry, and vessels, and art pieces for my home, because I LOVE doing all these things, too.

I am willing to sit down at any and every banquet life spreads before me. And there are a lot of them.

I am lucky that way.

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A Theme Emerging

I have spent a number of months creating a book/journal using my Cracked Paper Quilt method.

Now I am adding images and words, with collage and paint. Two pages are nearing completion.

I use deli paper behind the pages I am painting, to protect them and prevent sticking.

Do you sense a theme emerging?

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My Home Is My Canvas

My husband has been retired for some time, working valiantly on our house. It has required a great deal of attention: roofing, electrical, plumbing, walls to rip out and replace, insulation, floors to redo and renew, new furnace, new water softener, new air conditioner. It would be accurate and easier to say EVERYTHING has and is being redone. He is a consummate do-it-yourselfer, but it gets tiresome doing it all yourself.

Enter my retirement. I am working on the house as well, but Ted has brought the house to a place where I can do the more decorative elements, play with surface design.

Our entire home is now my canvas. Actually, it is more like a whole raft of canvases.

A challenge, and a joy.

Playing with cord

Here I am adding a celtic design to an interior window trim with cord and hot glue. Then I covered the result with premixed tile adhesive, let it dry and painted the result.

The result is a little “rough” but I am happy with it. If I wanted machine precision, I would have bought window trim.

I have the top section to do yet. It is curved to fit a big rounded window, so that will require quite a few more hours (days) of play, yet.

I am creating these window trim pieces on the front porch, because the glue stinks. People comment that I have so much patience, to which I reply:

“No, this is fun. What requires patience is housework.”

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Entering the warrior’s world

does not mean having to accept violence as a way to deal with the challenges we encounter.

Rather, it means embracing whatever life presents us with courage, and using our creativity to transform our challenges into something meaningful, perhaps even beautiful.

I found the following quote on Sherri B.’s site:

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world. ~Pema Chödrön

Red Line

Red Line

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I’m jumping back in the game,

right now, right here.

I took a FULL year to let retirement sink into my bones, to think about what I wanted to do next. I wasn’t sure I wanted my art life to be public anymore, but a number of different “encouragements” convinced me otherwise.

Not that I have been doing nothing, art wise, for a year. I might as well decide to stop breathing. I just haven’t shared any of it, or paid much attention to anything other than my own inner urgings, thoughts, and emotions around it. There were a few things we had to clear up between us, Art and I.

I’ll be sharing soon, showing the direction I’m heading. Maybe I’ll reveal some of my experimentation of this last year.

Like paper and thread jewellery, for instance.


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A Heavy Heart Can Still Sing

I don’t usually talk about personal family matters in my blogging. But I am making an exception in regards to my oldest son, who works in advertising as a Creative Director.

I gave birth to Jason when I was 19, and have always laughingly admitted that I grew up along with my two sons. Frankly, there wasn’t much use in telling either of them, from a very young age, what to do or think. They both had confidence in their own abilities to figure out what they wanted and the best way of getting it. Our parenting style was the sharing of ideas, skills, and strategies. If either son felt drawn to something that my husband and I had doubts about, Jason or Michael’s job was to convince us why such actions were called for. Both sons were, and are, excellent negotiators.

Fast track 40 years later to Jason’s full and creative life. He is a fascinating man: brimming with energy, ideas, humor and wicked ability in computer games. He is also dedicated to his wife and children, and it has been a real joy to see him embrace that role. He and his wife, Dayna, have built a life for themselves with the realization that not only are challenges to be expected, but they are what instigate growth and open up new possibilities.

This week, they were hit with a very sizeable challenge.

On Wednesday, November 21, Jason had a stroke.

Thank God he had it in full public view, among caring colleagues, rather than alone somewhere or on a plane or in his sleep. He was 10 minutes from St. Michael’s hospital, which offers highly specialized neurological and trauma services. He was soon joined by friends and family who are more than willing to do whatever it takes to ease his way on the road to recovery.

But the fact remains: he had a stroke, and at quite a tender age.

So what is a parent to do? Whatever we can: pick up the kids from school, sit in the room and watch him sleep, arrange pillows, pull up blankets, buy Gatorade.

I came home from the hospital and watched an interview and slideshow, followed a few links on his website. All to remind myself of the way he thinks and how very much I always enjoy being privy to his creative thought stream whenever we get together. This time, I needed Kleenex.

But as impressed as I have been with Jason’s accomplishments, I have never been more moved by his actions than this week. There have been no curses, bitter words, or wailing self pity. None. I have only heard him express gratitude for the timing of the stroke, the quality of his care, the support of people around him. He has already vowed to jump into rehabilitation, with characteristic determination, to regain his losses.

I have seen Jason pick himself up from serious tests in life before, and once again his positive, courageous approach inspires me.

My heart feels heavy with the weight of this “hit” to my son, but it is also singing because of the consummate quality of his response.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
…….~ Viktor E. Frankl

FYI: How to recognize a stroke

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A Passionate Exploration

I am teaching two classes this summer: Open Book for the Altered Ego at Wellington County Museum (see page 3 of the brochure) and Stitched Paper Explorations at Southampton Art School & Gallery.

I am passionate about working with paper. Its marvellous capacity to accept any mark making method I throw at it (sometimes literally), every stitch I take through it, every cut, tear, and fold I put into it, never fails to excite and delight me.

I want to share that excitement with you.

When I teach a course, it is more of a collaboration than a teacher-student relationship. I love to discover the skills of others, learn what they have to say. The particular roomful of abilities and views soon magnifies. Every one is encouraged, and all expand.

None of this will happen unless you sign up (no pressure :-D). I want to meet you, you would like to meet me ~ let’s dance through some wonderful art making together.

A Whirl of Creativity

The moment in between what you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place.
…………~ Barbara de Angelis

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Work Is a Very Serious Matter

David Whyte knows whereof he speaks when it comes to the meaning of “work.” He has been bringing poetry to the corporate world for decades, and challenging people to deepen their understanding and practice of the work they do.

Work is a very serious matter indeed. We freight our work with meaning and identity, and fight hard and long for some kind of purpose in our endeavours. Vocation can never be defined solely by the organization for which we currently work, though it should be the beneficiary of our best powers. Vocation is a moveable, often unspeakable frontier, between what we want for ourselves and what the world demands of us. It is this interior foundation married to the necessities of the outer world that make up a life’s work. Organizations need to understand this wellspring of human creativity in order to shape conversations that are invitational to an individual’s greater powers. The insights available to us through good poetry can provide a compelling vision, grant needed courage and stir the dormant imagination of individuals and organizations alike.
…………….~ David Whyte

David is all about the third frontier between you and the world, or what he calls the conversational nature of reality (

Working Together

We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again.

The visible
and the invisible

working together
in common cause,

to produce
the miraculous.

I am thinking of the way
the intangible air

passed at speed
round a shaped wing

holds our weight.

So may we, in this life

to those elements
we have yet to see

or imagine,
and look for the true

shape of our own self,
by forming it well

to the great
intangibles about us.

— David Whyte  (The House of Belonging) 

He also has a deep and compassionate understanding of human nature, in general.

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