Friday, April 30, 2010

Member Interview















Who are you? Rose of Jane Elizabeth’s.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Rosemary Jordan and I am from the San Francisco Bay Area. My shop on Etsy is Jane Elizabeth’s, and the name is derived from my mother Jane, who along with my father passed away when I was eleven. Elizabeth was my grandmother. I tend to vacillate occupations from being a freelance education teacher, presently teaching the “No Child Left Behind” program, and a photographer. Both occupations sort of feed each other. Teaching children helps me to keep my focus clear on what is “good” and “hopeful” about life, and I try to take that energy and capture it with my camera. The greatest compliment I can receive is that a viewer found something positive and comforting in my work.

How did you learn about Etsy Project Embrace?

The topic of Etsy came up at one of the art co-ops that I belong to.

What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment?

I honestly have to say two are pretty much tied. “Misty Day” for the calming effect of the green rolling hills this time of year, and “Perspectives”. They are both recent.


















What favorite vintage or antique item do you own, and why do you cherish it?

I have an antique water fountain of a woman holding a vase over her shoulder, and the water trickles out. It is in my backyard.

What is your favorite handmade possession?

Hands down that would go to the “Angel” petite-point that a dear friend worked on for 3 months for me and had it framed. It is in my living room.

What do you collect?

What I don’t collect is probably easier………. So many things, so little time…….. but, now I would say that my best things are good memories.












Where would you like to be and what do you hope to be doing ten years from now?

On rural acreage surrounded by my 5 brother and sisters, our families, and my friends. If I win a huge lottery I am going to build cabins for us all.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Finds 'n' Fancies


Neapol
itan Complex

Arctic Heart Necklace by jackiepeppermint, Printed Shawls by Virginia Johnson
Under Cover by Art&Ghosts, Edie Tulle Headband by alexandragrecco


Slip by Laura Berger

Vintage McCoy Planter from bellalulu

You all must think I'm thoroughly obsessed with dessert. I promise that, while I have been thinking about it a little more than usual, I do have other interests. Really, I do.

Breakfast...lunch...dinner...snacktime...teatime...all these interest me as well. ;)
------------------
Go ahead and have your dessert before dinner! I won't tell. --Katie :D


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weekly Challenge

Last week's theme was 'Whimsy'. Congratulations to Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals who won with her beautiful oil painting Walkin' in the sunshine.

Congratulations Rebecca!

Thank you to everyone who participated last week.
All entries can be found on our Weekly Challenge page.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rebecca's choice for this week's theme ...

{{{MAMA LOVE}}}
~~~~~

If you would like to participate, then this is how it works:
1. Get busy creating.
2. List your item in your Etsy shop.
3. Contact me with your entries by next Monday (3rd May) 12 midnight EST with a link to your listing.

~~~~~

I'll post all the entries as they come in on our Weekly Challenge page. Next Wednesday I will post the winner here on the team blog. The winner then gets to choose the following week's theme, and of course, it's winner!

Have fun ...
Thank you my lovelies!
Kim x

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Favourite Things

Good Tuesday, teammates! Katie of BlackStar, BlackStarBeads and the future BlackStarVintage has been kind enough to share a few moments of zen with us. Please read on to find out more about her favorite thing--if you can shake your brain free from the vision of sitting in one of these beach chairs, that is.

a relaxing view of the Gulf Coast from Katie's vacation getaway

I tried to pick one favorite thing for this blog post. Pretty hard to do because I have many. But I did notice that my favorites all had one thing in common.....water. I love being surrounded by water. The sound of a running creek. The crash of ocean waves. Rain falling on a tin roof. Sitting under an umbrella in a downpour. All so peaceful and calming.

a peaceful look at Crystal Lake from Katie's other place

I'm a gardener. My gardens depend on water to grow. If it doesn't rain, I set up the sprinkler system to make sure that our plants get a good drink when needed. A well watered garden is a happy garden. And a happy garden produces a bountiful harvest.


a refreshing downpour at Katie's home

Water. It's something many of us take for granted, but without it, where would we be?

Thank you, Katie, for sharing your favorite thing with all of us. Now, back to the beach chair I go! --Katie :D

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Have a Favourite Thing you'd like to share with the team? Leave a comment and I'll get in touch or contact me via Etsy and next Tuesday's Favourite Thing could be yours. (It's either that, or I'll hunt you down and wrangle something out of you myself.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Question of Faith

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach......waiting for a gift from the sea"
Anne Morrow Lindbergh



What do you do when a tragedy occurs and throws you into uncertainty?
When the unequivocal becomes foggy and distorted and something, or someone, that has been in your life is suddenly and inexplicably gone, where do you look?
How do you begin to comprehend the sudden feelings of helplessness and loss, as if a big hole has just been blown in your heart?
These are perhaps questions that we have all been asking ourselves in the past few days after being told about our dear friend Cat's death, at least I know they are questions I have been asking myself. What do I do now, now that I am not sure anymore? How do I find the perseverance and the clarity to move through these feelings of personal and shared bereavement and loss? Where is the patience and the humility that will let time heal me, again....

I unfortunately did not know Cat well but I knew her photography extremely well. Through her incredible images and compassionate and loving spirit I feel I knew a big part of her, as I believe that people's art is a window into who they are as a person, a tangible mirror of their soul. When I read that Cat had taken her own life I sat down as though the wind had been sucked from my sails and I anchored empty and forlorn. When my shock subsided, I asked for blessings of peace and love for her and her family, and then my thoughts turned immediately to my Mother. Seventeen years ago this summer my Mother committed suicide driven to leave this world by what seems are many of the same reasons Cat did. My Mom even said in a note that there was no more "Joie de Vivre" in her life and I have come to believe that with no joy in one's life, perhaps there is no reason to have life. Some of the feelings that have surfaced around Cat's leaving are identical, if a bit less intense, than the ones that were so devastating when my Mom left this world: Confusion, Questions, Bewilderment, Questions, Incomprehensible Loss, Questions. And then on the heals of those feelings come the big ones: Aloneness, Abandonment, Anger, Fear....and of course, more Questions.

It was amidst this hurricane of grief and emotional upheaval seventeen years ago that someone placed a book in my hands, gently told me to read it and said that I would find shelter and hope in "Gift From The Sea". That first reading was a desperate attempt at a lifeline to something tangibly good and true and I only remembered it as having something to do with "filling myself up instead of spilling myself out to everyone and everything." I have since reread it numerous times and it is an honored and well traveled book in my life's journey. I brought it out again last Thursday in order to find some peace around Cat's death as I have found around my Mother's passing:

"The sea's gifts are more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life;...how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith."

In the midst of feeling profound and wordless disorientation and sadness, I look for direction by turning inward to the faithful sea inside and seek solace in the simplicity of an inner ocean shore, a haven in the storm of personal hardships and turmoil over things that I cannot change. Cat and my Mom are both gone from this tangible world, and I believe they are both on a peaceful, wondrous and loving journey, wherever and whatever that may be. I am still here. We are still here. And although it takes time, I believe with absolute faith, hope and acceptance that all these somber feelings will be replaced again with Life-Full ones of wonder and joy, love and peace, all coming with time, wave upon wave, like gifts from the sea.


"I want first of all....to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact - to borrow from the language of the saints - to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible."


Thank you Anne Morrow Lindbergh for all of your insights and gifts to us all.


Thank you also to Frances, Mollie and Deb for the incredible art to illustrate this Post and please visit their Etsy Shops here:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/FrancesPhotography
http://www.etsy.com/shop/RoughMagicCreations
http://www.etsy.com/shop/dbabcock

Peace, Love and Light to all...
xoxo
Kristin

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cat

We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Cat, a much loved and cherished friend, and a member of Etsy Project Embrace.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.

.....................

Her husband Warren has posted a message on Cat's blog.



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Finds 'n' Fancies

A Very Merry Bird Day Earth Day Birthday

Meri Meri Cupcake Set from urban outfitters, Fluted Dessert Plates from kate's paperie
Millinery Flowers
from bellalulu, Cake Stand by
vesselsandwares

Say what? Well, y'all, it's the two-year anniversary of my little friend's birth and birds just seem to be an appropriate choice for a party decor theme. Plus, it's Earth Day. Makes perfect sense now, doesn't it?
Be Present Every Day by groundwork

I don't know if it's all the cupcakes I've consumed this week (my friends threw me a baby shower over the weekend and forced the leftovers on me. Darn.) or if I'm just feeling particularly festive, but I had to get all these tooth-achingly sweet party goods out of my system lest I explode and shower the world with frosting. I suppose I really should be concentrating more on Earth Day, but a worldwide shower of frosting could very well be detrimental to the earth's eco-system, right? We don't want that.

Flowers by Saipua, Decorations Kit by StudioFludd
Chirpy Letterpress Card
from Hello!Lucky, Silk Wrap Blouse from
bohemiennes


Birds of a Feather Decor from Land of Nod

Wishing you the happiest of Earth Days and the merriest of (un)birthdays! Just try to keep the frosting contained. It's the responsible thing to do. --Katie :D

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Weekly Challenge

Last week's theme was 'Electric'. Congratulations to Ames of adornbyamysingley who won with her stunning Electric Shock bracelet.

Congratulations Ames!

Thank you to everyone who participated last week.
All entries can be found on our Weekly Challenge page.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ames's choice for this week's theme ...

{{{Whimsy}}}
~~~~~

If you would like to participate, then this is how it works:
1. Get busy creating.
2. List your item in your Etsy shop.
3. Contact me with your entries by next Monday (26th April) 12 midnight EST with a link to your listing.

~~~~~

I'll post all the entries as they come in on our Weekly Challenge page. Next Wednesday I will post the winner here on the team blog. The winner then gets to choose the following week's theme, and of course, it's winner!

Have fun ...
Thank you my lovelies!
Kim x

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Favourite Things

Hey, kids! Today's guest, Monica of moonovermaize, comes to us with a most appropriate favorite thing for the week of Earth Day--nature!

Monica and her two children enjoy a walk in the great outdoors

One of my favorite things is nature. I love the vastness of our Earth and all it has to offer. From the regal mountains to the frozen depths of the Antarctic to the blazing deserts and the grandiose oceans. Within each of these areas grow wild and wonderful plants and animals that I never tire of learning about. I thrive when I am outdoors enjoying nature and it is important to me to introduce my children to the wonders of our world. I want them to grow up to love and respect the splendor of nature.

And, because we all know a picture is worth a thousand words, Monica found the following particularly "wordy" photos on Flickr to further illustrate her love of nature. I don't even have to tell you to enjoy.

A view of South West Iceland provided by Mundilfari


A peek at the most visited peak of the Rofan Mountains in Tyrol, Austria provided by Batikart


A glimpse of a rock formation in the White Desert, Egypt provided by hiro008


A look at an ice floe in Antarctica provided by "Aunt Janet" via rich66

Wow, Monica. Thank you for sharing your love of nature with us. The pictures you gathered are nothing short of stunning. --Katie :D

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Have a Favourite Thing you'd like to share with the team? Leave a comment and I'll get in touch or contact me via Etsy and next Tuesday's Favourite Thing could be yours. (It's either that, or I'll hunt you down and wrangle something out of you myself.)
-

Monday, April 19, 2010

Life and Art: Powerful Principles and the Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke


I have decided that today I am going to have a guest writer, (well actually 2, but you'll have to read on to see why.....), fill in for part of my "Positive Insights" post, so let me introduce him.

His name is Rainer Maria Rilke and he was born in Prague in 1875 and died of leukemia just after reaching his 51st birthday at a Swiss Sanatorium in 1926. He is considered one of the most significant, if not the greatest, modern poet of the German language and his work focuses on the joining together of minds and spirits in an age of rampant disillusionment and isolation. Rilke's vast understanding of the anxieties of the era he was living in led him to write incredibly haunting lyrical prose and verse, but it is his letters to a young poet that I would like to focus on.

In 1903 Rilke received a letter from a fledgling poet, known only as Mr. Kappus, who was deeply enmeshed in self-doubt and seeking his advice. He responded and thus began an incredible relationship which lasted intermittently over a period of 5 years through a series of intensely introspective letters. There were only 10 total and they have been bound together, published and are now collectively known and as "Letters to a Young Poet." At the time Rilke was writing these letters he himself was still struggling, (albeit, he had found some measure of success), and it was through his own observations and perceptions of these fortunes and failures and the society that had brought them that were the cornerstone of his letters. Rilke's prose positively sings and it speaks to integrity, idealism and the beauty of creativity, and what is so amazing is that the Principles he outlines in his letters are as relevant today as they were 100+ years ago when he wrote them seeking to help another struggling artist.

When I first read Rilke's letters 20 years ago, I was so overwhelmed, astounded and moved, that I experienced what I can only describe as a "deer in the headlights" gut reaction: how do I process all this incredible insight and incorporate it into my life? I think I was too young then to accomplish this and so it wasn't until I recently reread them that I was able to distinguish some of the concepts set out in each letter. The only way to share Rilke's thoughts and wondrous observations is to offer a condensed version of his letters and I unfortunately did not have an extra 3 weeks to achieve this, so I have found someone who has. His name is Robert Genn and here is his incredibly accurate, inspired and accomplished summary of Rilke's letters:

* Your work needs to be independent of others' work.
~ You must not compare yourself to others.
* No one can help you. You have to help yourself.
~Criticism leads to misunderstandings and defeatism.
* Work from necessity and your compulsion to do it.
~ Work on what you know and what you are sure you love.
* Don't observe yourself too closely, just let it happen.
~ Don't let yourself be controlled by too much irony.
* Live in and love the activity of your work.
~ Be free of thoughts of sin, guilt and misgiving.
* Be touched by the beautiful anxiety of life.
~ Be patient with the unresolved in your heart.
* Try to be in love with the questions themselves.
~ Love your solitude and try to sing with its pain.
* Be gentle to all of those who stay behind.
~ Your inner self is worth your entire concentration.
* Allow your art to make extraordinary demands on you.
~ Bear your sadness with greater trust than your joy.
* Do not persecute yourself with how things are going.
~ It's good to be solitary, because solitude is difficult.
* It's good to love, because love is difficult.
~ You are not a prisoner of anything or anyone.


Through this list Robert Genn has given all of us an amazing connection to the heartfelt guidelines set down in Rilke's letters, concepts to consider, to digest and to incorporate in our daily lives. I think I'll choose one, reflect on it awhile and start today....
Will you join me?



Thank you to both of the amazing artists for letting me feature their work as examples of one of the essentials of Rilke's writings, which is forming a style and individuality independent from others work. I chose these 2 pieces because they are very similar in many ways despite the different mediums, yet totally unique and diverse in their respective art forms. In other words, find your own artistic voice singing in your soul and share your personal vision with the world!
Have a wondrous week all....
xoxo
Kristin

Please visit both their Shops on Etsy:
www.aliherrmann.etsy.com
and
www.wildwomanjewelry.etsy.com

Friday, April 16, 2010

Member Interview



Who are you?  Rebecca of Knee Deep Originals
 
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Rebecca, and I’m no big-city girl.  I live in the woods in the foothills of North Carolina, very close also to the Virginia border.  I am surrounded by some ancient mountains, a river, woodlands, deer and all variety of wildlife, and it is to me the perfect place.  My father-in-law bought this land in the 50s, built a little vacation cabin of 600 square feet with his own hands, and gave it to my husband in later years since John so loved being here.  We used to bring the kids up for weekends when they were small; we all have wonderful memories of those days, and some very special moments were created back then.  Beginning in 2001, we spent three years, every summer vacation, every weekend, renovating and adding on, creating a cozy little place of well-planned 1200 sq feet. It was an exciting time for us, and boy did it get us in good shape! But as that third year dragged on, the fun of it was slowly wearing thin. Finally, we moved here permanently in the fall of 2004 and then sold our home in the city, and we’ve never looked back! This is our heaven on earth, and we’d rather be here than anywhere else.  I’ve posted about this special place on my blog quite a few times.  http://www.kneedeepstudio.blogspot.com
Prior to becoming a “full-time artist” about two years ago, I taught writing at a local university and worked as a Communications Director at a small Episcopal church.  Both of those careers had some wonderful benefits, but the essence of my being is in my hands and in what I can create with them. My Etsy shop name, Knee Deep Originals, came from my business name, Knee Deep Studio.  Being a word person, I like the way it sounds, but it also explains how much art we have around… unfortunately I make more than I sell.  I’ve been painting for about ten years, but not really seriously until we moved up here and I had more time and inclination.  The jewelry I do is a nice change of pace from painting, but I am easing away from the beaded things and focusing on my newest jewelry endeavor, scrimshaw on recycled piano keys.  These make more sense to me as a companion product in the shop with my paintings since they involve a definite artistic side and skill - drawings in miniature.  And of course I must mention that I also am a singer/songwriter and my first CD is for sale in the Etsy shop.
How did you learn about Etsy Project Embrace?
I’m a big treasury fanatic, and while looking through the treasuries, I kept noticing ones that had EPE in the title or mentioned in the comments. So I checked it out and learned about Laura, how it all got started, the goals, and what a great supportive team it is. I joined the team last September. My mom died of cancer when I was 17. She had always been very healthy, active, vibrant… just so alive, and that six-month period of her horrible illness left a huge hole in my young life, and that hole is still there even today. My dad is a cancer survivor, so supporting ACS is important to me, and I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of this team.
What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment?
I’d say that I’m most proud of the CD, Homespun Girl.  
I’ve played guitar since I was a teenager, but I had little time for it when I was raising my children, playing with friends on an occasional music night here and there.  Once we moved here to the woods, I took it up again and a year and a half ago wrote my first song. My playing has improved, my singing has improved, and each song that comes is so different from the others. 
 
I’m thankful, though, that my songwriting began so late in life because I have such a different perspective on things now and so much more to meditate on and write about… none of that young angst for me!  The workings of a song can come from anywhere, and it’s always exciting to see how one begins and develops.  I don’t know what I’d do without that in my life, as a means of expression. 
My favorite painting in the shop is the Pop Art Pets in OilThe main photo for this listing is of my beloved Bruschi who recently died, but this shows him when he was healthy and happy and would spend time in the yard and garden with me.  This particular painting is in the collection of the Hanes Companies in Winston-Salem, NC and the experience of painting it was very spiritual for me.  It’s a 60 x 60 work, so it’s the largest I’ve ever done.  The three weeks I spent working on it, and doing little else, were mystical, magical, spiritual, liberating, and invigorating, and I’ll never forget it. 
 
What favorite vintage or antique item do you own, and why do you cherish it?
I have a silver opera bag that was my grandmother’s.  It looks like chain maille, or at least that’s how one of my kids describes it. It’s very slinky and oh so cool, but I’ve never used it.  It hangs in our guest room.
What is your favorite handmade possession?
I have a few, and most are just small little things. But I’ll tell you about two.
One is a boot dagger that my husband made for me to wear on my cowboy boots. It was a Christmas gift from 2008, and I’m very proud of it and of him.  And perhaps it led to a song on my CD… those who have listened to it will know that The Salton Sea is a song about a certain dagger.
Another favorite possession was made by my middle child, who is a very strong artist but who has not yet given his life to it.  He is amazing in what he can do, and I can only encourage him at this point. At 27, he is still struggling to find his place in this world. This possession is definitely not his best work, but it means the world to me and it brings me much joy.  It’s a little flip-book drawing on a Post-It-Note pad.  He has given me two, the first from many years ago of a skateboarder and the second, a Christmas gift from 2009 of a trick biker.  They are simple little things, but they are special. I keep them in my desk drawer and pull them out as a reminder of what I truly cherish… my family.
What do you collect?
Rocks, stones, bones, and feathers… currently on my windowsill in my office I have a small jawbone with teeth attached and a cardinal skull (this courtesy of my cat, Scout). Most of the bones and skulls and turtle shells find a home in my garden, although the dogs sometimes like to go in there and have a chew. All through the house you will find rocks and feathers, things I have picked up for one reason or another, during walks and hikes.
Where would you like to be and what do you hope to be doing ten years from now?
I want to be right here where I am, with the same conditions… open fields, the woods intact, few neighbors, no housing projects.  I’d like to be doing more music, playing more in public and of course continuing to write songs.  And I hope that I will always paint!  Most of all, I hope that I will always be able to share what I have and what I do with others, to be a bright spot for someone who might be struggling in his or her life.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Finds 'n' Fancies

PEOPLE WATCHING
Custom Family of 3 by goosegrease, You & Me Earrings by jewelera
Tug O War by jenniferdavis, People by Judykaufmann


Coney Island Beach by depuis
Max (with friends) by simplijessi, Cute People Collection Collage by mayicarles
A is for Artistamps by thesmallobject, This Happy Rainbow Family by Demofia



Enjoy your day, everyone, and here's hoping the people you watch don't catch you looking! --Katie :D


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weekly Challenge

Last week's theme was 'Sequential'. Congratulations to Jean of 3squares who won with her fabulous Fettucine Alfredo - sterling silver necklace.

Congratulations Jean!

Thank you to everyone who participated last week.
All entries can be found on our Weekly Challenge page.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jean's choice for this week's theme ...

{{{Electric}}}
~~~~~

If you would like to participate, then this is how it works:
1. Get busy creating.
2. List your item in your Etsy shop.
3. Contact me with your entries by next Monday (19th April) 12 midnight EST with a link to your listing.

~~~~~

I'll post all the entries as they come in on our Weekly Challenge page. Next Wednesday I will post the winner here on the team blog. The winner then gets to choose the following week's theme, and of course, it's winner!

Have fun ...
Thank you my lovelies!
Kim x

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Favourite Things



Happy Tuesday! I did not manage to get a favorite thing out of anyone for this week, so please bear with me as I share yet another of mine.

Sade's "By Your Side" was the song Chris and I chose as our first dance at our wedding reception almost 9 years ago. While we were getting dolled up for his brother's wedding this weekend, he put this song on, walked into the bedroom, told me he loved me and gave me a little kiss. Now, the song has always caused me to get a little teary-eyed, but as I was painting my eyes and listening to the lyrics for the umpteenth time, the words hit me with a whole new meaning. I thought of the baby we're expecting and how I could now not only apply the words to her father, but also to her. I had to put down my makeup brushes and step away from the mirror until the joyful tears had run their course.

Later that evening, during his brother's reception, Chris requested the DJ play this song for us. This time, he led two ladies onto the dance floor--one of whom has loved him for 10 years and another who has no idea just how crazy in love she will be with him. Oh, yes. There were tears.

Have a joyful day everyone! --Katie :D

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Have a Favourite Thing you'd like to share with the team? Leave a comment and I'll get in touch or contact me via Etsy and next Tuesday's Favourite Thing could be yours. (It's either that, or I'll hunt you down and wrangle something out of you myself. Or not, apparently.)


Monday, April 12, 2010

Of Shadows and Light

"I see only forms that are lit up and forms that are not. There is only light and shadow."
Francisco de Goya




Lately I have been pondering where I come from. To be more specific, I have been thinking about what it means for my life's journey, for all of us, to be born out of the darkness of our mother's wombs and into the brightness of this world. What a shock it must have been, this first passage from total dark to total light with no real in between, no buffer zone, no explanation except perhaps some inherent knowledge in our souls. This acute beginning becomes the sequence of our lives, a circular odyssey, from night to day, lights off {flick} lights on, eyes shut in the sweet darkness of dreams and then open wide to the reality of life.

The Japanese have a word for this "lightness-darkness", it's called Notan. It has nothing to do with colour, it's the ability to see things in terms of black and white and build strength in imagery and composition. I think the concept of Notan is mostly used by artists, painters to be exact, and I cannot tell you how many times I have stood back from my work, eyes squinted to see the play of negative and positive, because the character of any good painting is resolved in the arrangement of shadow and light. Without a strong Notan design, both color and line will fail to reach their full impact and the quality of the work will be inferior.

Darkness-Lightness. How do I apply Notan to my daily life, my circuitous pilgrimage, from the threshold of the dawn to the curtain of the night? If I concentrate on the simple principle of the pattern of the visible and the obscured I begin to see how this works for me. Light becomes Life: growth and warmth, vision and awareness, creativity and exertion, presence and passion. This wondrous Light cannot and does not exist without Darkness, without it's depth and power and the vital template of Notan. Dark becomes Rejuvenation: intimate and internal, deep-seated and central, soothing and restful, silence and peace.

Light and Dark, Life and Rejuvenation. In my day to day journey, Notan becomes Balance. The tapestry of my life will be inferior if the balance of my illumination to my obscurity isn't whole and essential. If I am too much in the bright and shiny world then my mind, my body and my soul get no rest, no renewal, no peace. And if I am too much in the nebulous and pitch-black cosmos then the whole of me knows no vitality, no nurturing, no perception. The building blocks of a strong character and life composition depend on the Balance of Notan, as it is the arrangement of light and dark elements that create all the beauty regardless of any other components introduced along the way.

I find the keys to the doorway of my life's journey lie in the intricate pattern of light and shadow. Everyday the door opens to me, and on the threshold await the promising seeds of all creativity, all genius, all imagination. I pick up the spade and plant them in the rich and powerful darkness and watch them grow into the vital and brilliant light.



The gorgeous photograph of Oriental Blossoms illuminating the concept of shadow and light is from Rose at: JaneElizabeths.etsy.com please go visit her Shop to see all of her wondrous photography!
I wish you all the keys to your beautiful life's Notan, today and always.
xoxo
Kristin

Friday, April 9, 2010

Member Interview

Who are you? Betty of Art by Betty Refour.












Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am an artist that uses art to advocate for causes that are important to me. I am also the caregiver for my sister Rose who has autism and we live in Oklahoma City. I have terrible allergies and have never been married so there are no pets, children or husbands - just us two. I have two shops on Etsy - Art by Betty Refour that carries art, and awareness cards for autism, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and myeloma and Noteworthy Crafts that carries fine art note cards and jewelry.

How did you learn about Etsy Project Embrace?

I think someone brought it to my attention on twitter if I'm not mistaken. I didn't actually join until recently when my sister became ill and the doctor told us that she could have cancer. I felt I needed to be a part of a group whose focus was on supporting those who have been affected by cancer. We lost our mother, maternal grandmother, a great aunt, an uncle and countless friends to cancer so I felt that if I was going to have to fight with cancer again I wanted to do it with a group like Etsy Project Embrace. Luckily she does not have cancer but I am honored to be a part of a group like Etsy Project Embrace.

What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment?

The Blue Pitcher
This is a pastel drawing that I did. I grew up drawing geometric shapes on note book paper so I am most comfortable rendering geometric shapes. Whenever I push myself out of my comfort zone I am happy.

What favorite vintage or antique item do you own, and why do you cherish it?


I have a chair and foot stool that had been discarded that I took and painted and reupholstered. I think it's my favorite because it has my stamp on it so to speak. Take A Load Off is actually a drawing of that chair and foot stool.

What is your favorite handmade possession?

I have a quilt or I should say I had a quilt that my grandmother made for me. I always kept it on my bed but Rose has taken it and it is now on her bed.

What do you collect?

I used to collect matches but I rarely see matches anymore. I am a former flight attendant and worked in marketing and public relations before that so I would collect matches from the places I went.
Where would you like to be and what do you hope to be doing ten years from now?

Ten years from now I hope to be alive and creating in a world that is a better place. Over the years I have donated art and crafts to such causes as art in schools, animal cruelty, cancer, autism, battered women, abducted children, homeless shelters, rape crisis centers, poverty and people affected by war.

I hope that in ten years we have learned to get along, that there are no victims of any kind, that we can sleep with our doors unlocked if we want to, that there's a cure for cancer.... I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. If there's no improvement I hope to still be able to use my gift to help us get there.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Finds 'n' Fancies

A peek at my Poster Sketch:
Small Change Purse by peppermintdesigns, Olga Flower Garland by emmalamb
Penny Lane House Charms by hodgepodgearts, Little Ones by jenniferdavis
Untitled by SimonFilip, Metal & Glass Glasses by spacejam
Renaissance Vine Crown by whichgoose, Vintage Velvet Pincushion by bellalulu

Surely, y'all can understand how it feels to begin putting together a group of items for a Treasury only to find you've hit a wall mid-way through. This happens to me quite a lot, actually. Sometimes, it's because I'm merely using the Poster Sketch tool as a means of relaxation and, therefore, have no real aim to begin with. The other night, I began with a painting by Jennifer Davis and just kept going until I'd lost steam. Clearly, I couldn't manage to fill a dozen squares, let alone sixteen; yet, the thought of clearing it made me feel sad, so I figured I'd share these eight squares with all of you, knowing you could appreciate the failed attempt and possibly even commiserate.

Enjoy this Thursday, everyone! And may all your Poster Sketches have happy endings. --Katie :D