Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Interview With Ashley Smith (part 4)

"Microscopic Warfare"

(This is the final post of this conversation with Ashley Smith. Use these links for part 1, part 2 and part 3.)

M: Do you think about a spiritual connection with your work?

A: The answer in my head when I first read this question is yes. I have often described my studio and classroom/teaching experiences as if the room itself was holy ground and the practice that happens within it as very spiritual or perhaps sacred. I believe this because I have observed the way emotions and reactions to new skills and ideas are felt by my students and I. I don’t often talk about this openly as those words in public education and even at times in private life are taboos. But, in order for me to really describe why the answer to this question is intuitively yes, I had to first ask myself another question:

What is spirituality? I thought I understood what that was but in trying to answer this question I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then I turned to the internet to do a little research and see what others have put out there on this topic. I found an article titled Spiritual, But Not religious on www.beliefnet.com. I have often used these exact words to describe myself. The article discusses the difference between the two terms and determines that spirituality exists when one deals with the issue of how their own human life fits into the greater scheme of things. The article states, “We also become spiritual when we become moved by values such as beauty, love, or creativity that seem to reveal a meaning or power beyond our visible world.” And that “An idea or practice is spiritual when it reveals our personal desire to establish a felt relationship with the deepest meaning or powers governing life.” I totally and completely agree with these statements. At times (and I am referring to my own studio as well as observations made of students) I have witnessed the transformation of materials that occur as a result of mind and body working together. This experience is like magic and reveals the true nature, beauty and power of the material and also us. The transformation occurs because energy from the whole body, mind and spirit were working together and ultimately the experience transforms the maker in some way. This is spiritual. Also, I once asked my students (a third grade group of students) what they thought I had taught them. The reply from one of them was that “I taught them they had the power to decide.”

I think spiritually also exist, through creativity, you discover that you are on your own autonomous path within this world and you now have felt power to make decisions and continue to create your own path. I also think the process and the practice of art making references a type of spiritual or even religious practice because both require a certain work ethic and discipline as well as a healthy amount of observation, questioning, research, experimentation and reflection so that the practice functions as an agent of discovery and healing with in ones life. So I guess the answer is that the artwork itself may not always be (but sometimes is) spiritual but the practice of art making for me is most definitely spiritual and currently art making is one part of my life that feeds my spiritual needs.

M: Why do you think art is important?

A: I think art is important for all of the reason I gave above and because it is the vehicle that one can use to teach and learn true autonomy, character, confidence, academics, spirituality, physical and health education.

M: Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your thoughts on these subjects. I know this conversation will continue as time goes on--these are big questions and the “answers” will change, as we do, over time. I appreciate your authentic effort in engaging in this thinking and hope that as other artists submit their responses to these questions we can build a rich collection of thoughts and experiences on contemporary art practice.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Interview With Ashley Smith (part 3)

(Links to part 1 and part 2)

M: How would you describe/define a breakthrough in your studio?

A: I think a breakthrough is a moment of sudden discovery that occurs while working or reflecting in the studio. The sudden discovery then moves you and aids in the progression and transformation of your work. It is a moment when some kind of barrier in the work, like a question, misunderstood concept or material that was once confusing suddenly becomes clearer as a result of working, researching, finding, collecting and reflecting. It is a major or significant moment of improvement that occurs after many other smaller improvements. For me a breakthrough occurs most often when I am working steadily in my studio.

M: How would you describe inspiration?

A: I believe Inspiration:

  • Is the power of moving the intellect and emotions through the process of consumption.
  • Is the arousal of the mind and emotion which moves one to creative activity.
  • Has to do with cultivating interests. You have to be an interested and aware person in order to know when something is inspiring. I think it helps to have inspiration training which I define as training that teaches one about what they like and what it feel like when they find inspiration that arouses their intellect, emotion and aesthetic, how and where to find inspiration and learning when you need it.
  • Comes from everywhere. It is from words, visuals, dreams, books, internet, nature, people, culture, color, material and the list goes on and on.
  • Happens when your heart and mind are seeking an answer of some kind. Even when inspiration seems like it comes from no where, I think you are subconsciously seeking it.
  • Is a sudden intuition as part of solving problems.
  • Is often the beginning of something or offering potential.
  • It is very exciting and fulfilling!

M: Why do you make art?

A: I make art because with every fiber of my being I LOVE IT. In life I am a maker and creator. It sounds cliché but it is true. Art making fills my spirit and simply makes me happy. My mind becomes stimulated and my hands have learned their purpose and now they know what to do. Art has made me in control. Art has made me a decision maker. Art has taught me how to listen and how to speak articulately when I need to. Art is a language I understand and communicate through and can always learn more from. Art provides obstacles which I enjoy working through. Art making and teaching gives me purpose. Art is part of everything and is everywhere and that makes me feel connected.

M: What's an example of an obstacle that you have worked through with your art?

A: Well there are many times when art seems to be the obstacle that I am working through but this question seems to be inquiring about an obstacle in life that I made it through as a result of creating art. I think for me this happens often but there is one moment that is sticking out clear in my mind. It was during my second semester of working toward my teaching certificate and our professor had us create three visual statements through out the class in response to questions about our self as a student, our worries or questions about working with students that have special needs and any other general questions or worries about teaching. They also served as a source for reflection within the program. Our professor is an art teacher and art therapist so she had us use art often to help us fully develop our ideas.

During our first visual reflection I created a drawing of a woman (me) doing a back-bend while being blindfolded on a floating rock. Essentially I was trying to convey a sense of strength and strong work ethic I felt as a student/teacher. I had a willingness and a need to be great, to ask great questions to find the answers because I really have a strong passion for art and teaching. I was willing to literally bend over backward to become the greatest. I also felt vulnerable within the program and as a teacher. The blindfold was about feeling unaware or blind to certain issues in art education and I was in the class to work to figure some of those issues out.

M: Also, backbends are often thought of in yoga as gestures of moving into the unknown!

A: This turned out to be a great healing and learning experience for all because what ended up coming out in my class crit was that it is ok for me to literally bend over backwards for my students and myself in order to achieve my goals. Having a passion for what you do is good. People (my peers) look up to me because of my drive to be knowledgeable, articulate and in general just great but they also get annoyed if I try too hard. It is a double-edged sword because I don't want to be annoying but I also don't want to kill my personality, my drive or my pursuit for more knowledge and skills just to make others feel less threatened.

So here is what I learned. By communicating through and reflecting on my art with my peers and professor I learned there is way of learning and succeeding in a group that is more balanced. I learned that I could tone it down a bit and still find success within the group by essentially sharing more and monopolizing the floor time less. My professor helped with this process. She recognized that probably there were others that had a similar need and knew how to fulfill it. Weekly she asked us to write and reflect, as she knew there was not always enough class time to answer everyone questions. She would respond to our reflections and questions so that we still had all that we needed. She did this every week and answered every question in writing and brought the really important or frequent questions up in class so that class time was really, really productive.

So, through my art I learned better about how to succeed and help others succeed within in a group. My peers understood more about me and my needs came out in the classroom to my professor so she could be a better teacher for me. The artwork served as a vehicle to get the information out there so I could productively overcome this obstacle. Perhaps this is not seen as major obstacle but it was one that really bothered me and I am glad to have figured out so that I could get what I need within the delicate balance of a group dynamic.

Two Kinds of Critiques

I went to open BFA open-to-public crits at Pratt last week with a friend who graduated last year. I'm not sure why I didn't take any photos. The work was pretty interesting despite the usual undergrad flavor that comes from sourcing pretty much everything they know about art from academia. That was not meant as a criticism at all. On the contrary, I find it's really interesting to be able to learn so much from one place and one community in such a short span of time. But, as an artist who has been out of undergrad for just about 5 years, I feel like I am wearing different glasses when I see undergraduate art (including my own), glasses that reveal that "undergrad tint".

Some of the best advice I ever received when I was graduating with my BFA was something like, "there are a zillion Megan Bisbees out there. The best thing you can do it to go out and get a life." What I got from that was to go out and get some life experience. I'm not sure if what I've done so far is "getting a life" but I definitely have had some major life experiences that have influenced my work: touring with Glitter Chariot, living in Florida, Biking in Europe, teaching in Japan, etc. Even NYC has had a huge influence on my work. The more experiences I have, the more I realize that the way I see the world is just that: the way I see it. Other people see it completely differently and make art, behave, practice religions, and observe traditions from those perspectives. Literally, if someone does something that you wouldn't do it's because they see the world differently. Just knowing this has fostered a serious amount of compassionate thinking and a much less defensive way of talking about and viewing art. If I don't understand something I wonder what the artists perspective is.

The other thing that happens to all humans sometime before they're 26, is the development of the prefrontal cortex. You can read more about it if you go to that link, but basically, studies show that our brains don't fully develop until we are around 25. Correlated (maybe not caused... but maybe) with the changes in my brain came more of a settled feeling. I was 24 and 25 while living in Japan and that was a major time of realistically planning my future, becoming more realistic about time management and seriously questioning myself and the ways I make meaning. I became much more serious about yoga and began a regular meditation practice when I returned to the US last year. That is particularly interesting to me as I had tried to meditate during undergrad but just couldn't sit. I believe I didn't have the brain development for it. Whatever the cause for these changes are, I am a much different artist now that I was 5 years ago.

Anyway, this isn't a scientific article I'm writing. I'm offering observations that seem to indicate the fact that there is a certain artistic development that can only happen outside of school. What I really want to talk about is critiques: how they can be amazing educational tools but more often get muddied with mixed intentions and lack of witness consciousness.

The reason I love art crits so much is because they are times when other people can act as our witness consciousness. This means that they look at our work with fresh eyes and tell us, the artist, what they see, without judgement. This helps us to see what our work is actually doing out there in the world and compare it to what we think it is doing. It helps us as artists develop our own witness consciousness and in doing that we are able to observe the hang-ups we get stuck on at a distance-- worries that people won't like us, worries that our work is not good enough, beliefs that there is one way to make work and all others ways make "bad" work. Whichever thoughts are relevant to you, we all have some thoughts like these that, if they go unwitnessed, paint the color of the world we live in individually. By not practicing this witnessing, we are literally choosing to live in the world that tells us that we aren't good enough or that "that art is total crap". BUT, if we can't find some space within us to observe them and decide "yes, I'll stick with that thought" or "no, that thought is destructive" our brain literally reorganize itself (this is called neuroplasticity).

This where I find a discrepancy between what I believe can happen in crits and what actually happens. The biggest indication to me that crits have confused purposes is when I (often!) hear critics saying, "I just wish it was bigger/smaller/more dangerous/more elaborate/etc." This is not addressing the artist or the art at all. It is only addressing something which doesn't exist and literally telling the artist that their work is wrong but if they made it bigger it would be right. You may want to be a millionaire or to live in Thailand, but if you don't stop and observe your life at this moment nothing will improve in your life. An artist can't grow if we are telling him or her that, "sorry, this isn't the product I would buy. What I really want is..." My question is "What is already here? How does it make you feel? What is the work doing? Where does the work seem alive and where does it seem dead?" There are literally a zillion questions to ask in the moment of looking at the work and it isn't helpful at all to an artist to know that their product/artifact of creativity isn't what someone else wants unless they are doing market research.

So maybe the question is: Are we educating art students to create marketable products or are we teaching them how to BE artists? I think we are doing both and confusing one for the other, muddling up the way we look at work as we hop from one perspective to the other, sacrificing the benefits of each perspective. I could have used more of a dose of how to market my work and the business of being an artist, AND I also could have used more tools on how to really LOOK at work, how to be in the process of making work, etc. These are two different perspectives.

I propose that art education consciously practice two different kinds of critiques: one for process and one for product. By consciously I mean that the educators are go into the critique with enough witness consciousness of their own to steer the conversation in a direction that can fully benefit the artist. This can not only allow the artist to see their work in both the process realm and the product realm with fresh eyes, but by the very act of steering the conversation to directly and clearly deal with one inquiry at a time (process vs. product) models for the student how to do that for their crits in the future.

Anyway, more on this another time. Have a great week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Space Pants Strike Again!

"Space Dance Party Pants" earring.

Studio land before I disassembled my sculpture. I am cutting paper to attach to the wall so that it appeared that the sculpture was in a white room. I covered the base board and my closet. I must say I totally despise documenting my work BUT I had a thought recently that if I am in the creative "zone" that I am in when I made the work I take better pictures. I think it's because I look at my work with different eyes that depending on which are viewing the work, determine what the work looks like! So then is the documentation itself work on its own?

Bean! Dr. Pancake is a real cat now with huge ears, grey eyes and everything! But don't get confused by this photo and think he is a big dude. I documented his recent athletic excursions. He has taken to climbing my legs when I am in the kitchen.
I think one of his eyes is looking at my face and the other is looking at the camera... he's like Mad Eye Moody with his magical eye in Harry Potter.

Mmmmmorning light in the kitchen

Interview With Ashley Smith (part 2)

This is the second part of my conversation with Ashley about her work. Click here for part 1.

M: In what ways is your creative process related to supported by or connected to the rest of your life?

A: Art making is connected to many aspects of my life and mostly this is because moments from my life and surroundings influence and inspire my art. In the past I have found that my art was most influenced by my physical surroundings. When I lived in Alfred, NY and in Seneca Falls, NY I felt very aware of the physical landscape and nature that surrounded me. My location was evident in my past artwork. Lately I have been less inspired by my current location (which is Buffalo, NY) and more inspired by my own internal landscape. I think my art is a reflection of my physical, emotional and possibly spiritual self or at least is representative of the internal activity going on in my body and mind.

Right now the artwork that I am currently making is an attempt to visually document emotions felt within the body. I believe that all emotions will eventually manifest physically within the body. When someone feels any emotion such as sad, angry, depressed, guilty or happy an aware person can see this emotion on or in a person. Emotions surface for various reasons and then create sensations within the body. Lately I have been trying to determine the connection between the emotion and the cause of the emotion. While this process is new to me and I don’t fully understand it, I believe the visual documentation of this process is a way of experiencing it and understanding it while trying to transform my thought and reactions to the cause and the emotion. Simply put, it is a way of learning how to deal and find peace through art. There is not a lot of emotional education in school and I think I might be in the process of retraining my emotional and physical awareness through art. To be quite honest describing it feels a little awkward like being in middle school going through puberty.

This process started when I was dwelling (almost obsessively) on emotions and feelings I was experiencing due to work related stress. Once I started writing, I discovered that the feelings I had could be described using very physical concrete language (such as layers of unsettled twisting, whirling, bubbling, hot, agitated pressure) I discovered I could use shapes, lines, forms, textures, color and structures that would become the language that would describe these feelings and perhaps imply the event or action that created the feeling. There are probably countless avenues of life that this body of work could be inspired by. An example of a few are the way inspiration feels and transforms, self punishment (which works like a disease or cancer) for not feeling like I am enough or living up to expectations that only I create or agree to, the land of paranoia I go to when I assume the thoughts of others, the guilt and or joy of food and the pleasure or adrenaline rush from any number of activities.

M: It's interesting that you went from school-- where you were expected to perform (through crits, tests, shows, etc.) in order to pass-- to a living situation where you are no longer expected to validate your art in any external way. During this transition your work went from being externally focused to being internally focused. Why do you think your focus changed from your external landscape to your internal landscape since leaving school?

A: I think for a number of reasons. During my undergrad I was very interested in mapping/recording my daily experiences and observations as they occurred in my physical external landscape. At Alfred, I was engaged in a new (to me) art making process (as well as new independent life situations) but in a landscape that I was very familiar with as I grew up there. Since I had a preexisting interest and knowledge of the nature and landscape of the area as well as the things and people in it, I believe it was a natural easy starting point. Work with what you know! Also, since there was so much pressure and concern about failure, success, crit, tests etc. I guess I didn't want to reinvent the wheel. I watched some of my peers finish critiques crying because their work was very personal and about their inner landscape (intentional or not) and the critiques just became more about the person and less about the work. I don't think I was ready to peel back the layers in front of a group of 20. So on to the transition.

I remember the point at which I started to transition to my inner landscape. At this point I have been living in Buffalo, NY for two years and was trying to find that burning question that I would use to make art about. I felt like I needed a new story of some kind. I also was feeling not so inspired by my new visual landscape and I was on a hunt for the next inspiring thing. Three major events also happened around this time. The first, being that I had gone back to school for my teaching certificate. This eventually led me to a very interesting (life changing, opinion forming, AH-HA moment) student teaching experience with one teacher in particular that focused on using art to teach elementary students how to be autonomous, responsible and thoughtful people that are confident decision makers. Part of her philosophy was to make students aware of and in control of their body and thoughts so that the artwork produced would naturally be quality because it was made with the highest amount of care and respect possible. Simply put she taught students to practice being present while making art so that they could feel and articulate what was going on in their mind and body while they worked. Eventually, the goal is that students would be able to transfer this knowledge into real life. Certainly, this was an education I never had and seriously was glad to be a part of and now I have adopted as part of my own teaching philosophy.

The second major event was that my other half quit a job he hated and bought a chiropractic office. Life as we knew it completely changed. So began a new round of evaluation and reflection within our relationship and our roles within the relationship and the way in which we would be living life.

The third and final major event (or major to me) was that during the school/student teaching process I had gained about 30 pounds and was very tired from the successful experience.

So, I was now living in a new life, 30 pounds heavier and on the hunt (and still hunting) for the ultimate lifetime teaching job and my burning art question. All of these events happening at once created the need to focus on my body, inner landscape and personal needs. I had to reflect on new experiences, changes in my body, my need to feel peace and happiness again with my renewed life as well as wanting to work on being more present and aware. So again it was only natural that my artwork became the place to begin exploring and mapping all of this stuff. That moment was an especially good time to do it because I was in the safety of my studio with no real threat of judgment.

"Drawing of Sugar on top of Fat on top f Salt"

M: I'm very interested in your feelings about talking about your search as being like talking about puberty. I often feel the same way about my own search because I think, like puberty, the process of transformation that happens when there is a search for meaning, is something all artists are going through but it's maybe so uncomfortable and unknown that we don't talk about it. It's a lot like puberty for me in that things are changing on their own--- perceptions and awareness of myself, of the world around me--- it is a total emotional roller coaster and there is a strange taboo around talking about it.

I also think that, like with puberty, the more we do talk about it, the easier it is to go through it as we share ideas, experiences and tools with each other. What did your experience of puberty have in common with your process of "retraining your emotional and physical awareness"?

The common link between the two experiences is having people to share and talk about it with. I am lucky to have people in my life that are willing to do this with me. You are absolutely right, talking is the best way to "share ideas, experiences and tools with each other" to make it through with out too many bumps and bruises.

M: Your work has an illustrative and map-like quality to it. It reminds me of Tibetan art where chakras and energies are mapped out. When you are painting these sensations is your imagery illustrating these sensations through a kind of encoding? Is there a difference for you between being with your experience and making whatever you are inspired to make (even if it looks nothing like a body) verses being with your experience and making a sort of map for it?

A: I am not sure I totally get this question but it seems like it might be one of the most important questions. In fact it might be the thing I am trying to figure out now in my work and can't quite wrap my head around. I do know that I am most definitely trying to develop some kind of code so that I can map out sensations and the experience that causes it.

M: When you look at your work when it is finished does it evoke some of the sensations from which it originated?

A: Sometimes it does. The work then reminds me (especially if it is a feeling or sensation I don't like or would like to change or transform) of how to better deal with the event, which initially caused the feeling. Life is full of repeats and if we can learn to deal with and develop tools which will assist with each repeat situation then we can eventually learn to change that situation over time and with hard work.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Interview With Ashley Smith (part 1)

Ashley Smith in her studio

Ashley and I went to Alfred University together from 2001-2005. I have always been excited by Ashley's dedication to her work and to her own process of making meaning through art, cooking and relationships. Each of these aspects of her life seems to be directly intertwined and supportive of the rest. Ashley currently lives and makes work in Buffalo, NY.

M: What are your biggest struggles and fears in art making?

A: I think the biggest struggle I have with art making is creating and maintaining a consistent studio schedule. Since I am one to thrive in structure it is important to have a schedule that is dedicated to quality studio time where I work on only my work. This seems like not that large of a problem but it is so hard for me. It is as difficult as making a workout schedule. Both activities are things I enjoy and ultimately make me a healthier person and yet during weekly scheduling so many things come up that make each week different from the next. For some reason I edit out some of the activities that are probably the most important (like schools are making cuts in art education, physical education and music, hmmm?) It takes discipline and will power and that is something I am currently working on. When I don’t keep a schedule I am not as productive and then I start to feel feelings of guilt for not being productive enough and ultimately I end up feeling like I am not enough. This brings me to my biggest fear in art making. Perhaps my art is not beautiful enough, not conceptual enough, not connected to enough things, not meaningful enough, not professional enough and the list could go on. Not enough. This I fear will always be a struggle for me.

M: What would your ideal day be like? For example, is there a time of day that you feel more creative, or more energetic?

A: I feel most creative and energetic in the morning after I have had a good night’s rest. I think my most ideal day (not sure this will ever exist for me) would look like this:

Monday through Friday:

6:00 Wake up, eat breakfast, shower, sit with coffee and quiet. Perhaps make a to do list.

7:30 Leave for work.

8:00-12:00 Teach Art. At this point it could be any age group. Although I experience the most joy with elementary. Part time for me would be perfect right now so that I would have time for other activities that I love. I think I would be a healthier teacher too. It also makes sense to teach in the morning because I am my most alert and creative self, which will make me the most effective teacher in the morning.

12:00-2:00 Physical activity and rest/lunch time.

2:00-6:00 Studio time plus teacher plan time. This would be time for my studio work and any other teacher products or planning that I may need to do.

6:00-7:30 Prepare dinner and eat with family/friends (depending on day) at the dinner table with music and a bit of wine.

7:30-10:00 Nighttime adventures, chores, relaxing, talking, reading, movies, activities with Jordan, family, friends or home.

10:00 Bedtime. I have tried staying up later but I have found that my body doesn't like it. It likes 4 hours of rest for the body and 4 hours of rest for mind.

During the weekend:

8:00-9:00 Wake up, eat breakfast, coffee, shower, sit, quiet.

9:00-12:00 or 2:00 Studio time for me.

2:00 - 12:00 Could be many things.

12:00 Bedtime.

OK, so I realize that is super structured but that is it. The most ideal! It was fun thinking about that. The times listed above could be flexible (and life happens, it can't always go that smoothly) but the activities I listed would flow in that order. I think I would feel my most rested, happy and productive with a schedule like that.

"Mandala Sunrise"

M: I have the same experience about feeling guilty for not being productive. I also talked to another artist recently who went to Alfred with us and she said that same thing. I remember feelings of purposelessness when I wasn't productive before undergrad but not guilt until school. Did you have your feelings of guilt for not being productive before you went to undergrad?

A: No! This is a really interesting question. I never thought about this before. The only feelings about art that I had before undergrad were excited feelings. Occasionally I had moments of low confidence about my artwork or wonder about what I was making and why. What is the point? What was an art career? How will I live? I never felt guilt about art and productivity before undergrad. In fact I was probably more productive than my peers around me so there was no need to feel this way. I think the guilt came during my undergrad when everyone in our art community was so competitive about quality, crits, time spent on work. Egos ran large in undergrad. Somehow in undergrad the greater amount of time spent in the studio was somehow viewed as equivalent to the quality and quantity of work one produced. This I learned is not true but still I have these left over feelings of guilt.

M: Are there times when you feel like you are "enough"?

A: Yes. On days that I have a breakthrough in the studio I feel like I am enough. Also, on days in the studio or in the classroom where I experience the natural flow of work. Even if there is no breakthrough I still experience what they used to call "an honest day's work" and that makes me feel like I am enough.

I also feel full enough when I am in the kitchen preparing a healthy and delicious meal for my family and I. I am good at this and I enjoy this. It is a time that I feel creative, focused, productive, and that I am doing something that provides a very important need as well as want.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Sale

***Yay! SPRING SALE at my etsy shops!***
20% off all jewelry, paintings and greeting cards in April!!
This sale includes custom creations so if you have been wishing that something existed in this world but haven't been able to find it, let me know!
We can come up with an idea together and I will take it to Studio Land!

Are mushrooms animals?

Moon Calories (detail)

Moon Calories

This is my new installation that I finished on Sunday and attempted to document last night (I am finally at the point where I need to retire my 6 mega pixel camera and invest in a sweet SLR digital camera. For now, this is the documentation I have.) I named it Moon Calories because I was recently reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and he talked about how mysterious mushrooms are-- not just the magic type but mushrooms in general. One of the mysteries he mentioned was the fact that mushrooms possibly get their energy from the moon rather than the sun. What an amazing idea! It seems like moonlight would spawn and nurture amazing creatures and landscapes that exist by different rules as organisms that depend on the sun for food. As I was making this sculpture I suddenly thought, "If I ate this I bet I would ingest moon calories!"

Dying Sculpture #3:
(onions, uncooked spaghetti, lemon peel, an olive, pita, mustard and yogurt)

Already, since I made this sculpture this morning it has changed. The spaghetti has wilted. Everything seems to want to return to the ground...

I would love to find large terrarium jars to make these living and dying sculptures in.

Yoga class was cancelled yesterday so there is no theme to share with you today. I DO however have a stellar book to recommend: The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori. Much of my thinking and practicing has been inspired by this book lately. John Daido Loori is a photography and an American Zen master. He offers amazingly practical and enriching philosophies and practices to bring into your creative practice.

I hope you are having a fantastic Tuesday!