30 April 2010

the importance of place

I'm trying something a bit different today and look forward to hearing what anyone thinks about my latest experiment.

This is a hot topic for me ... the importance of place, my surroundings, my 'hood'.  I've long been aware of just how important and what a strong influence my surrounding landscape has on my work and creative inspiration.  Imagined landscapes as well as the longed for landscapes - those of previous homes or places I hope to one day visit, or places where I've stopped along the way.  If you've been following this blog at all, you'll know that my years in Port Townsend, WA were a creative jack pot and that I've been struggling since moving to Asheville.

Joining the Arboretum in March was my turning point and has proved transformational.  These days, my goal is to walk there at least 2 or 3 times a week - this is as much for exercise as maintaining sanity (hmmmm probably heavier on psyche help).

So here goes the 'something different' part ...
I don't normally take my camera on my walks - I'm trying to keep up the old heart rate.  Yesterday morning I decided to go at a more leisurely pace and take my camera along.  Then, I thought it would be fun to try out the video function, upload the segments for more of a firsthand experience.  Then I got to thinking it might be interesting to include photos of the newest work that's been emerging right along with the dogwood and azaleas and ferns.  You know - that 'point / counterpoint' sort of thing.

It was downright chilly yesterday morning - mid 30's when I got up.  I wanted to get out for my walk so I could enjoy the morning's bird chorus, but I decided to not rush and hope the temperature would warm at least into the 40's when I headed out.  Turns out the birds slept in too.  Here's a sampling.......

Further along, one of my favorite sections.  The Owl Ridge Trail and the transition between mountain laurel and sort of a scrubby understory to a large stand of pines that never fails to fill me with awe and a sense of perfect well-being.

further still ... a rhododendron tunnel along Bent Creek is like stepping into the land of fairy.  These necklaces and earrings were inspired by the ferns and creek:

a bit more of the rhodo's and fast moving creek....

A little slice of heaven - the National Native Azalea Repository ... 7 acres of Mother Nature at her finest.  This is the longest segment with a bit of silliness thrown in.

The azaleas have been incredibly inspirational ... the spindly branches, lush colors and delicate blooms.  Here's the most recent fruits of my creative bursts......

I think this updated version of my Double Strand Coins is an absolute stunner:

This work is being added to my official 'line', so I need to design for a variety of price points.  Here's a scaled down version ...

And here's a 22" single strand that can be wrapped as a bracelet.  I love this color combination - all pale stones, labradorite, moss aquamarine, green amethyst, smoky quartz, moonstone - on ivory silk.

And this next group almost came out of nowhere.  I got a flash of an idea for the 'pod' shape and made up a few to play with and then had no idea what to do with them once the components were finished.  The next day came another flash of inspiration.  I'm thinking these are just some of the sweetest little earrings...

And here's a little fancier version ....

And of course, I'm saving the necklace for last.  I'll be doing this with 3, 5 or 7 pods in a variety of stones and colors of silk.  I'm pretty much smitten with this one.

I've had these tiny stones for over a year and have struggled and struggled with how to use them.  But, boy howdy, am I in a new groove.  Totally excited, totally buzzed, totally inspired.  Luckily for me, the gem show is next weekend.  Yep, it's going to be expensive........

So, I'm curious ...
How does your sense of place or your landscape play into your inspiration and influence your work?  What about imagined realms or cultural differences?  How important is the 'backstory' to what you do?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Thanks so much for taking the time to peruse my universe!
with so much gratitude and many blessings - kvk

15 April 2010

enormously precious

Okay - so I'm s'posed to be getting the rest of the new work onto Etsy but I keep getting distracted - stuff back to the library, groceries, catching up on replying to comments on this here blog (finally, yes!).  So for my next distraction I'm choosing to post a bit of silliness ....

My darling Zoe - this 'little' girl sure does love peanut butter.  Hard to do - holding the camera and the knife and trying not to move and getting Zoe all in the frame - there's a lot of her to get in the frame (I'm thinking she weighs in at about 16 pounds).

Yep, she's pretty cute.
Okay, I really do need to do something productive.
ttfn - kvk

p.s. anybody seen Men Who Stare at Goats - my new favorite movie.  Amazing thing - really funny movie and a good part of it is true.

11 April 2010

synaptic ruts

Some might have noticed ... I've been in hiding for a bit.  Over the last couple of weeks, there's been a wonderful visit from one of my best friends which included a visit to my old stomping grounds and another friend's MFA thesis reception, computer nightmares, plain old introverted hunkering and a lot of sorting out and rethinking and reassessing.  I've reread a bunch of old blog entries and am trying to not be totally disgusted by my lack of forward progress.  The words 'synaptic rut' come to mind.  The last couple of weeks have been all about breaking out of my well worn ruts.

Rut destruction has included socializing with some of the old NOC crowd from the early 90's - I worked in the Outfitter's store for about 5 years - just let me know if you need a canoe outfitted, help with your hiking boots or adjusting your backpack for the AT.

blurry good fun - Phyllis, Cindy and moi - NOC buddies from 1990

Rut destruction has also included regular walks at the Arboretum alternating with  my Jivamukti video practice.

Cindy and me at the Arboretum
Further changes have ensued ... I think it was maybe a week ago, lying in bed, hoping sleep will come sooner than later.  An image came to me ... I'm in a small rowboat at a dock.  I have a large knife with a serrated blade in my hand and I've cut the big rope that seemed to be tying me to the shore.  Visually the link has been severed and for all I can see, I should be free to move away.  Turns out that's not what was really holding me back.  I finally see that I'm really stretched out, as far away from the dock as possible, but my big toe is just barely grabbing the edge.  All this time I thought I was breaking free, I was really still holding on.

I'm a very visual person - no surprise there.  I like to have a working image to keep me on track.  For years it's been the 'leap of faith' image of Indiana Jones stepping out into the abyss in The Last Crusade.  Another of my working images came to me a couple of years ago during a morning meditation and is about my weight.  I saw that the extra pounds I carry are a mask that I hide behind, an imaginary fat suit.  All I needed to do was unzip the fat suit and step out to see the real me.  After that realization, I actually lost about 10 pounds - they just disappeared.  That weight has snuck back on and I can feel that, once again, I've been hiding in my 'fat suit'.

So in the past week, I've put together a new working image ... I'm standing at the water's edge.  I unzip my fat suit and step out onto the dock and into the rowboat.  This time I easily toss the rope onto the dock, my feet are squarely in the boat and I begin to drift out into the water.  There is movement, progress away from the dock.  The movement is not specific or directed, but it is movement nonetheless ... a gentle transition, no abrupt leaps, no aggressive severing of ties.  The progress is out into the unknown, wide expanse and I must participate, the oars must be engaged.

I have no idea where I'm going.  I do know that we are going to Provence in less than 6 weeks (yep, got the tickets - better travel times, lower price).  I am still working on new jewelry and I'm trying to stay away from the computer as much as possible (that's a tough one - bordering on addiction).  There are comments from previous posts I have yet to respond to and for that I apologize.  I have to believe that as I, once again, regroup and reassess, rowing purposefully and fully engaged, I will arrive revitalized and ready to meet whatever lies ahead.

So here's a peek at what I've been working on the last couple of days.  The work will be going onto Etsy, but it will probably be Tuesday before I have time to photograph and list the pieces.

I really love the middle earrings - moss aquamarine and flourite
Like I was saying ... I'm not sure what's ahead, but it does feel different - honest it does.  I'm going to do everything I can to climb out of my deep synaptic ruts and carve some new ones.  I'm hoping for lots of surprises.

with enormous gratitude ........
blessings - kvk

p.s.  my horoscope for today:
Your horoscope for April 11, 2010
You will have a day of profound reflection, kathy. While you may be tempted to look back and think about how far you have come in the last months, your time would be better spent thinking about what the future has in store for you. You have entered a period of rethinking both your identity and your objectives. These are not small changes. You will need every ounce of energy at your disposal to make it through this time of transition.

gotta love the universe