When Life Gets In The Way…

Today, I wanted to take a hot second to talk about the reality of stifled creativity.

Do you regularly feed the monster within? When you don’t, does it rear its ugly head? Or is it patient and graceful?

So many creative types have day jobs, families, obligations, commitments, etc. which keep us from expressing our urges when they strike. For instance, my studio is currently bedroom to two girls.

So what do you do when life gets in the way of your creative expression? Do you become depressed? Do you push through? Do you settle? Are you more apt to seize what little time might be allowed you? Do you throw up your arms in despair? Do you say, “I WILL create anyway!” ignoring the chains that bind?

QuestionMark

Honoring our creative voice is difficult in the best of times. We are BRAVE souls, taking leaps of faith, pursuing our calling. Few of us escape challenges along the way.

I, personally, become more stressed and grouchy (to put it mildly) when I refrain from creating on any level, for any reason. I know this truth to be as real as the keyboard on which I’m typing, and yet, I seem surprised each time the pattern exposes my folly. It is the universal mistake I make again and again, the lesson never seeming to stick.

So I ask you, my peers, my creative brethren… What do YOU do when LIFE gets in the way? All comments and contributions are most welcome and encouraged!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

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The Trash Bubble Concept

As I sit, writing this post, from Piney Creek Acres, it is approximately 20 degrees and snowing! I can’t tell you how happy that makes my heart! Winter was made for snow! Without it, there’s simply no point to the cold.

Snow at Piney Creek

Trash Bubbles were a personal discovery I made, while exploring the realm of Trash Poetry via mail art. I was looking for a unique way to reach out to my mail art friends at the International Union of Mail Artists (IUOMA.)

A collection of cool, plastic consumer packaging and its card backing had been growing for some time, with no idea as to how I would put it to use. I am drawn to colorful pieces with unusally shaped “bubbles.” Here are some examples:

TB 002

One day, I picked up a piece and began filling it with bits of colorful trash I had collected. I rummaged through the trash can in my studio for other pieces and filler. The end result was a self-contained ecosphere of trash. (Three Trash Bubbles later, I knew I was hooked!)

Believe

The first composition made me happy! I sealed it with paper bandage tape, added printed tape, ink, and stamped, inspirational words. A layered button and sticker adorns the divot in the center of the package.

A message emerged from the visible text, left to right, top to bottom: Be GENTLE with yourself. believe. dream. It’s your Lucky Day!

The second Trash Bubble was made from the very same paper bandage packaging. The change in color palette completely changed the feel of the piece.

Hershey's Heals

Look closely and you’ll see a BURIED cable flag, rusted tack trim and paper scraps rescued from the trash bin. A vintage button graces the center. Once again, the visible text left a message: Be GENTLE with yourself. DE CHOCOLAT-HERSHEY’S. WE HELP HEAL! Take the Scenic Route! You may find BURIED treasure!

The final piece in the series of three was a much brighter, more bold piece:

Orbit the Blue Moon

It’s message was no less inspirational: ORBIT the Blue Moon! HELP CLEAN UP YOUR WORLD! MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS!

All three Trash Bubbles were mailed to friends and thus began my Trash Bubble journey through mail art.

Trio of Trash Bubbles

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

Sketchbook Project 2013, CHECK!

Last Tuesday was the postal deadline for the 2013 Sketchbook Project. I was able to make it with a little help from a friend. Jill Eudaly and I are high school chums who just happen to be travelling along similar, artistic paths at this point in time. She and I have participated in the Art House Co-op project for three years running.

The first year, we often made time to work on our books together. By the second year, we found it difficult to find time to make art, let alone get together to do so. This year, we were operating solo for many reasons. So, when Jill suggested that we meet to share our finished sketchbooks and mail them, I readily accepted. (A quick note here: Jill was the driving force behind my Trash Bubbles submission to GreenCraft and this blog.)

We sat in the local Starbucks, with our favorite beverages and took in each other’s vision. (It must be said that Jill’s sketchbook, Fly Me to the Moon, is way cool! You can read more about it on her blog, Recycled Daze: http://www.jeudaly.blogspot.com/) We caught up on the news in our busy lives and then we were off to post our labors of love and art, sending them home to roost in the Brooklyn Art Library, home of the Art House Co-op and Sketchbook Project.

We had a passerby snap a photo of us for posterity. It isn’t as flattering a picture as I would’ve liked, but it is documentation of the day! It screams: WE DID IT!

And They're Off!

As is always the case when I send my work out into the world my stomach was queasy, I worried if I’d met all the criteria and I needed to breathe deeply to recover. Jill is so cool about these things. She has a carefree attitude about her work that I admire. I think that comes with being self-assured and confident. Needless to say, I wish I were more like Jill in that regard.

Since then, things seem to be going in slow-motion-fast-forward for me. The stuff of life is getting in the way of my attempts to make art, as it is wont to do. With so many changes in our home life recently, I hope to ease into my new routine before much longer. If not, I fear that my need to create may run over everything else in an effort to be heard!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

GreenCraft Magazine Article!

Yesterday was an exciting day! It was the deadline to mail my Sketchbook Project 2013 entry. (Which posted in time, thanks to a friend and fellow participating artist… blog post on that to come!) It was also a very good mail day. In the box was my complimentary artist copy of GreenCraft magazine!

Cover Page

I’d been anticipating its release since before Christmas and was tickled to finally have it in my hot little hands!

GreenCraft cover

A quick look at the features told me I would find my Trash Bubbles! article on page 36.

Feature Articles Index

Having approved the article for print weeks ago, I knew what to expect, but it really popped!

Trash Bubbles! article

I think they made a wise choice with the crisp, white page to offset the color palette of the artwork.

Trash Bubbles! article 3rd and 4th pages

The GreenCraft Winter 2013 issue will be available at newsstands shortly. If you happen to pick up a copy, I would love to hear what you think of the article.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

Where There’s A Will….

Many of you know that I have been working on my entry for the 2013 Sketchbook Project. My last post found me wishing I could add a Trash Bubble to its pages, but it seemed out of the question because of the chunkiness of traditional plastic bubble packaging.

These sorts of ideas are not easily dismissed, once they have piqued my brain. Rather, they take root and become bothersome, preconceived ideas: the ones I loathe for their difficulty and love for their uniqueness. The bottom line is that they mean trouble for the project at hand, each and every time.

Inspired to locate an interesting plastic bubble thin enough to adapt to the sketchbook, I went through my stash and found a Dentyne Ice gum pack that would work perfectly! Never mind that it had twelve bubbles to fill, which meant having twelve little bits sliding around, unwilling to stay put, whilst I tried in vain to adhere it to the page! Needless to say, I gave up on adhesive for the job. That left me with only one viable option: hand-stitching.

Pre-punching the holes was going to be my best bet when stitching through such a durable plastic edge. I did my best to space them out evenly, taking care to keep the holes aligned as I punctured plastic and page as one. Tricky business, that. I psyched myself out several times, thinking that I’d somehow let one or the other slip.

SP 2013 Trash Bubble

All’s well that ends well, reminding me that once again, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

Upcoming Deadline!

Deadlines keep me on track. They insist that I finish the project I started. They don’t care that I have mouths to feed, chores to perform, or folks with whom I need to spend quality time. Deadlines are greedy and self serving, but without them, I doubt I’d be as productive.

That having been said, the first deadline of the New Year has reared its ugly head. January 15th is looming ever closer and I find myself, once again, pushing the proverbial envelope.

This is the third year in which I have participated in the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project. I have had my 2012 sketchbook in hand since last spring. I swore that I was not going to procrastinate, that I would work steadily on the thing until it was done. I promised myself that I would not be working on it over the holidays, or pushing to finish it at the very last minute. Yet, here I am, sweating it out, hoping to finish the thing and get it in the mail in the nick of time!

Over the summer, I managed to lay in some color on the pages. That gave me a false sense of having made a great deal of progress. One week ago, I still had no chosen theme, no ideas and no direction.

Choosing a theme, provided direction. And STILL I dragged my feet. Not for the first time, I find myself wondering if this annual endeavor has become more an obligation to fulfill than an enjoyable way to showcase my artwork. To be completely honest, I don’t feel as though I’m doing my best work here.

Locking myself into the singular dimension of a page has limited me greatly. I tend to work in 3D. I would sooo love to make a book of Trash Bubbles right now! But alas, the dimensions would far exceed those allowed. Sigh.

2012Sketchbook 001

It’s back to work for me… You can check out my previous Sketchbooks here: http://www.sketchbookproject.com/users/LynnRadford/artwork

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

Out With The Old….

2012, the year of Personal Growth, has come to an end.

(We survived the end of the Mayan calendar! WHOOT!)

Our holiday was filled with child-like wonder! It was fun having a three-year-old for Christmas. So much delight and awe reigned supreme! We truly felt the joy in the magic of it all.

The last week of the old year found us in recovery mode as we headed toward New Year’s Eve. It was an end to the old, a door opening on the new. I dedicated 2013 as the year of Challenges, of goals set and met, of triumphs over change.

Happy New Year!

So here I am, one week into January, on the precipice of the promise that anything can happen. Committing to this leap of faith, I am jumping in with both feet, knowing only that great things lie ahead. I intend to make the most of every opportunity to grow my art and my writing. The blessings are there, hovering on the edge of tomorrow, waiting for us to grasp them. Carpe Diem!

This blog is one such blessing, launched in an effort to support my Trash Bubbles movement. The launch coincides with the publication of the article by the same name in the Winter 2013 issue of Green Craft magazine. The content here at Trash Bubbles and Life’s Little Bits will follow my creative path in the coming year and beyond through the creation of Trash Bubbles and other Trash Poetry. We’ll address numerous subjects as relates to trash as art and trash as poetry. I will share my process, my inspiration and my techniques. Each post will provide an opportunity to glean bits of this and that.

Join me on my journey! Say YES! to an environmental adventure in art! Create some eco-spheres of your own and feel free to share your experiences here!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!