Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving + Project Updates

Kittens, Thanksgiving has come and gone!  I did a small version this year, but it sure was yummy.  We had roast chicken:


Dressing (a little burnt...wrong oven setting, whoops):


Candied sweet potatoes:


And green beans with onions and Parmesan (eventually):


Ta da!


My food photography skills need some improving, but the food was delicious. :)  No pumpkin pie this year.  The candied yams are plenty sugary and it was just the two of us...

And look, my embroidery project is nearly, nearly done!! It needs to be finished within the next three weeks, so I need to keep my momentum going.


Plus I picked up my knitting needles again, for the first time since May, to start working on the body of the February Fitted pullover.  I messed up a bit during the decreasing/increasing part for the waist, but hopefully it won't show too badly. 


Otherwise, it's a fast and agreeable knit.  Maybe it will even be finished by February (cough, cough!) :)

Hey, what do you think of the new blog background?  I was going for something more autumnal...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Why I Am a Maker

I haven't let go of those blog hop questions yet...they have stuck to my mind like peanut butter.  And this week I had my last class with my photographer student.  I didn't see her all that much, honestly, because I shared her with another teacher who was her main teacher.  But already the fact that she's no longer a student makes me a little sad.  It's so rare that I have artists as students and it was such a pleasure to be able to discuss with her.  It kindled my making urges. 

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My typical student is a businessman in his 40s...and while that is perfectly fine and is often interesting, those conversations don't create a spark in the same way.  I am keenly missing "my" photographer and "my" journalist students right now.  (Teachers can get proprietary sometimes, when we are attached to a student).

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And, to place all my cards on the table, I personally value art and art-making more than I do trade.  Commerce is important, to be sure, and of course art and commerce have a special relationship too, but I'm not especially interested in the pecuniary aspects of art, but rather, the creative aspects.

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So anyhow, the confluence of these two events - losing my art students and the blog hop - have kept me thinking about the role of art and creation in my life (in the past, present, and future) and why it's important/essential for me.

For one, I think that making something (from conception to realization) makes me feel more anchored in the world.  Like I'm giving something fundamental and not simply reacting.  I feel more secure and real somehow.  I grant you, this is illusory, but the feeling is important.

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Most of my other interests, reading, traveling, movies, etc. are essentially consumer experiences.  I experience things and I learn things and perhaps - especially with traveling - I influence other people's lives, but nevertheless, I don't feel like I am creating with those experiences.  Of course, books, movies, and travel definitely influence what I make further down the road and so are an important part of the process.  I *do* have another passion in which I think I am fundamentally an actor and not a consumer, and that is dance.  My partner and I create the dance; if we don't move, there is no dance.  But dancing is such an immediate, lived experience that it's hard to share on a blog. And I think I experience it and conceive of it differently than I do my other creations because it is easier to see that it is fundamentally ephemeral...

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Making something (or altering something) seems to create a fundamental shift in the fabric of the universe...putting something there that wasn't there before.  And through this act I feel that my presence has more substance.  I suppose this is sometimes why people have babies...but then again, what do I know?

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So, fundamentally, why do I create anything?  To say that I'm here and that I matter, and to say, this is how I see the world right now, in this space, in this moment.

The photos sprinkled throughout this post are taken from my kitchen window, looking toward the cathedral.  I haven't retouched them in any way, not even cropping.  It's just a view from my kitchen window or an object that I find beautiful.  And, of course, a cat photo-bombed my shoot, for so much the better. ;)  I also placed the photos in the order that I took them...so the earliest in the series is featured first in this blog post.