Writing in KansasWriting in Rural Kansas

Last month (June 2017) my mother would have been 82, she passed in February.

Here is the thing, life is short.

I have first drafts completed of more novels than I care to mention, and screenplays. They are all rough, nothing is edited. At this point I would NEVER actually show any of it to anyone.

Growing up in rural Kansas I did not know anyone that wrote for a living, or even just for fun. Writing? It wasn’t on my radar.

For a number of reasons, I eventually put things I wrote for my art students, and I found it sold. I still did not think of myself as a “Writer”. Yet, I told myself that nonfiction is “practical”, it is not like fiction. Fiction seemed so self indulgent.

I did not pay much attention in my English classes. Why would I need English? After all, I was going to paint!

(I hereby formally apologize to all my former English instructors.)

You probably know where this is going, huh?

I expect things to be a bit wobbly and uncertain for me in the coming months. Natalie Goldberg says to give yourself at least two years of practice writing. Take that time to find your voice and discover what matters to you. I am impatient and hesitant to say I can wait two years. But whatever journey I am on, I am telling myself I am now officially taking the first REAL steps. Be that two years, or twenty. Wherever it takes me, I’m game.

Note: When organizing this weekend I came across the item shown above. If you are not familiar, Nancy Pickard is a respected Kansas author. At some point in the journey of wanting to write, we crossed paths. Sadly I can’t say for sure when, or where it happened. But I do know, this weekend the inscription above was just what I wanted/needed to read!

Blacksmithing Art How To

Why blacksmiths? If you had a weekend to learn anything creative, what would you want to learn?

I asked this question on our Facebook group a few months back and was surprised by the answers. I assumed, and wrongly, that most people would put “drawing”, “painting”, “knitting”and so forth. But no, what I saw were things like “blacksmiths”, “glass blowing”, and “welding”. Things that I myself have been curious about but haven’t pursued.

I decided to begin a search, to find these people in our area of the country. The ones that use materials not always associated with the arts.

This past weekend such an opportunity dropped right into my lap. A group of blacksmiths were doing a demonstration in my small community of Humboldt, KS. Because I needed to work my day job, my husband was kind enough to go take some images and video for me. Admittedly, it took some coaxing to convince him to take time out of his day off, to take a few pics of the demo. When stating my case, I told him it wouldn’t take more than “thirty minutes to an hour tops!”. It wound up becoming more like a couple of hours. Not because they were slow, or he was pokey. It was that he simply found watching them incredibly interesting.

As the opportunities arise, I will share images and videos of other topics that people said they would like to know more about. If you know of any glassblowers, weavers, bookmakers etc.. in the area please drop me a line through this webpage, social media, or just email.

To start things off I would like to share with you a few images from Saturday afternoon with the “Free State Blacksmith Club”. https://www.facebook.com/freestateblacksmithclub


Blacksmiths Art How To

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Yarn stash colors inspires

As I planned for 2017, I was asked the question “Who, living or dead, imaginary or real, inspires you? Who would I have as my board of adviser’s?”. Who inspires you to take it to the next level? When thinking about setting out on this adventure, the following people came to the forefront. (In no particular order)

Mark Lipinski http://marklipinski.com/

Mark Lipinksi, everyone’s favorite “Cupcake”! Although he is not a knitter, he is still important. As his says, “My life is just a series of awkward and humiliating moments separated by snacks.” He is a joy to hear and often says what I wish I had the nerve to say. He would be the one to tell me to be authentic, stop worrying what others thought, and eat the frosting first.

Marly Bird http://www.marlybird.com/

Marly is the national spokesperson for RedHeart yarn. I was not familiar with her until her grandmother and aunt told me about her in my day job (Library). Creatives are often told about a cousin, brother, or family member that also create in a said medium.  In this case, I only wish I had heard of her sooner. Her podcast brightens my day, makes me laugh and motivates me to continue creating.

Alice Starmore https://www.virtualyarns.com/

She was masterful. Her work beyond compare. Amazing. I can only aspire to be half the fiber artist she personifies.

Meg Swanson and Elizabeth Zimmermann http://www.schoolhousepress.com/

Meg Swanson and Elizabeth Zimmermann. Mother and daughter knitting heroes. Elizabeth is considered the American guru of knitting. She took something she instinctively knew how to do, made it accessible and shared it with the masses. Her daughter and granddaughter continue that legacy today.

Kaffee Fasset http://www.kaffefassett.com/

One word: “Color”

Mary Walker Phillips http://cprhw.tt/p/2AukR/

Mary Walker Phillips helped take knitting into the world of fine art. She showed that it was possible to be creative and expressive with simple needles and yarn. That it simply was “more”.

So there you have it. Seven people that help keep my creative juices flowing. Who would be on your list?

knitting hat

The last few weeks I have been regrouping and reorganizing. I am bitten by the knitting bug, or is it re-infected? As I have mentioned before I tend to have Creative ADD.

If you are a knitter you probably know of Elizabeth Zimmerman. A Facebook group I joined is working our way through her “Knitting Workshop”. A new edition was recently released that has peaked interest.

First up is create a hat with Fair Isle accents. We gave ourselves two weeks to complete the hat, using Zimmermann’s guidelines.

Knit hat elizabeth zimmermann

Next up is making a sweater. Her method is such that it encourages you to design your own items. And since a purpose of all this is to offer knitting patterns here, it is a perfect match.

Another thing that has been on my to-do list was to make looms for my grandkids to use. OK, truth be told the grandkids are just an excuse. I want to do a bit of weaving with some of the less expensive yarns I have on hand. I mean I need to make sample…..right?!

I wound up making a few different sizes using the guidelines found at CraftLeftovers.

Weaving

I have a small exhibit now hung in Chanute, KS at the Chanute Art Gallery. it will remain there throughout June. On the 16th there will be a public reception. As I am well aware I am not the best speaker or socially smooth person, so it all is being kept casual and low pressure.

"knit 1" Oil on Canvas

“Knit 1” Oil on Canvas

I still am working on the knitting designs and I have an eBook on knitting in progress.  But from the looks of an informal survey I conducted over the last 24 hours, it will need to be put on the back burner. Oh, I will still knit. But, realistically getting eBooks completed and on the market sometimes trumps our obsessions. So, it will get completed, just not before the things that pay the bills. As they say, “Girl gotta eat!”

Knitting Lace Shawl in Progress

Knitting Lace Shawl in Progress

Glen With Boys - Just Before Shipping Out

Son-in-law (Glen) With Boys – Just Before Shipping Out

So, today is Memorial Day. Today I am thinking on my goals, as to what to accomplish before Labor Day.

Like many, I have too many irons in the fire. So this weekend was spent narrowing things down and getting focused. Which, lets face it is ALWAYS a battle for me!

I need some input. Which would you find more useful?

1. A guide to painting portraits. In the studio step-by-step.

2. Information on how to publish your own eBooks. A step-by-step on how to have a passive income from your art skills and knowledge.

3. An instructional on knitting lace shawls. Six new patterns to make yourself, along with information on the types of shawls made historically.

People have already been responding on my Facebook page(s).  But feel free to also leave a comment below!

Sitting here at my computer, it is a blustery day in Kansas. So windows are shut tight and allergy problems are being attempting to be avoided. I did get out over the weekend though.  Sunday marked the annual Neosho Valley Art Exhibit at the Chanute Art Gallery. I was pleasantly surprised to be awarded the Best of Show for the second year in a row.

Derosa critiquing exhibit

Mike Derosa critiquing exhibit

Mr. Derosa of Coffeyville judged and critiqued the show very professionally. But probably the best comment I heard was ‘The best thing Bob Ross ever did was die.”

BOS entry over the weekend

BOS entry over the weekend

Aside from the award it was amazing seeing everyone again.  Many of these people I have known close to twenty-five years. Hubby even came with me. :0)

In the studio/office I am working through the piles of “stuff” I have let get away from me. Again I have a VERY large pile of books sitting on the floor, checked out from the library. I prefer to work in an orderly environment and like many always attempting to tame the clutter.

Smaller piles

Smaller piles on side work table.

Aside from the expected knitting and art books I also read a number of business books. One particular book that is resonating with me is “Overcoming Underearning” by Barbara Stanny. Women and creatives seem to have a big problem in this area. or, at least I do and many around me do! (Note: Link on cover goes to Amazon, but I am not currently an affiliate.) FYI The copy I have checked out is covered with Post-It Notes for areas I need to look into further.

"Overcoming Underearning"

“Overcoming Underearning”

Easter is going to be here before I know it and we are hoping to have grandkids here that weekend. Oh and their parents too of course. So mentally I am thinking of what I need to get accomplished before then. On the top of the agenda, after getting all the books under control, is to have a painting currently on the easel completed and a shawl for the month of April begun.

The painting is for inclusion in a solo exhibit coming up in June and the shawl is for a collection i want to release later on in the year.

camkniOn my four year old grandson’s last visit I attempted to teach him how to knit. I don’t think he is quit ready yet. But he will get there. Baby steps, baby steps.

1964791_10152215647541291_490657685_nPlants in the studio are reminding me that it is almost spring! Officially it starts this week, March 20th. Raise those hands in the air! WHOOT WHOOOT! This has been a long hard winter for sure.

 

 

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