Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Experiment Turns Into Experience

 

My experiment

using Carmen Torbus’s book,

THE ARTIST UNIQUE,

has turned into a wonderful

experience.

 

I used her book, internet resources, and the advice of friends to explore this entirely new medium.  I invited a good friend of mine to experiment with me.  She had the materials and equipment on hand, but had never invited herself to jump in.  So with music playing and good conversation, we had a great creative day together.  And both of us knew more at the end of the day than we knew when the day started.

Part of the commitment to this creative process was that I would make something to give away.  I used my circle on Facebook and over a dozen of  my Pride Pods found happy homes.  Gifts sent out into the world as messengers of tolerance and community.  I’ve worn one out into the world on three occasions – and each time that someone commented on the piece with some statement resembling, “Where did you gete that – I’ve never seen anything like it,” I gave it to them.

This process ignited a real interest in the world of polymer clay.  I used my new found skills to create a party favor for my guests at our Independence Day celebration.  I hammered copper to make a bookmark base and attached the Red, White and Blue pod.  Another “Pride” Pod.  Pride comes in all different colors!

Creativity comes in all different modes and ways.  This is a new expression for me.  I am committed to continue turning Experiments into Experiences!  And Carmen Torbus’s encouragement started this all.  I wonder what her inspiration might get started for you?

 

Questions for the “Self-Taught Artist” Carmen Torbus

Today I’ll share the rest of my interview with Carmen Torbus, author/editor of THE ARTIST UNIQUE.    I am providing another perspective through the view and questions of my friend and fellow artist, Christine Mason Miller.  Her interview with Carmen can be found here:     http://christinemasonmiller.com/2011/07/05/interview-with-carmen-torbus/

 

Mary Anne:  When did you connect to your passion to share what you know about art with others?

Carmen:  I’ve always been a cheerleader and I have this innate passion to inspire and encourage.  When I discovered mixed media art and realized how much I love it, I immediately wanted to share everything I was learning.  It’s just who I am… when I get excited about something I’m not able to keep the lid on it.

Mary Anne:    How did the idea of a creative book first occur to you?

Carmen:  I was developing an on-line workshop called “Spill-It”, which was focused on letting loose, exploring creative ideas and developing a style all your own.  The tag-line for the course was basically, “You, on canvas.”  As I was exploring ideas and playing with the techniques I wanted to include in the workshop, I felt pulled towards the idea that this was more than a workshop.  I loved the idea of not only sharing my ideas and how my own style has developed and evolved, but to round up some of my mentors, friends and absolute favorite artists and ask them to share their techniques, ideas and inspiration.  And ultimately, I wanted the collaborative to reach a bigger audience – which led me to the idea of making it a book.

Mary Anne:   What relationship does writing have to your art?

Carmen:   I think I’m still just barely dipping my foot into that relationship.  I haven’t fully opened that door.  I still hesitate when it comes to writing.  I don’t freely call myself a writer the way I’m finally comfortable (most of the time) calling myself an artist.  Someone recently asked if they could feature my book on their website and I was elated.  Then they said, “since you’re a writer, just write and article and sent it over.”  I had to read the sentence twice.  Me?  A writer?  Wow, I guess I am a writer.  It still hasn’t quite sunk in.

I love words and I love incorporating them into my art.  I love to write about the process of creating and the emotions and passion around it.   So my art and my writing are definitely connected and I’m really enjoying the process of learning more about that connection.

What vision to you have for your future as a creative?

In my wildest dreams, I see myself leading powerful workshops and creative workshops for women.  I see myself speaking to audiences of creative dreamers, giving them permission to follow their biggest dreams with all their heart.  I see myself writing inspiring messages of hope and encouragement, and sharing what I learn along the way.
Tomorrow I’ll share the rest of my Polymer Clay journey and share two photos of my fulfillment of the promise to give what I made away.

 

Hammered Copper, Paul Revere and July 4

I marveled aloud as I worked on my party favor for our Independence Day gathering.  I am quite fond of learning details of the lives of our founders…and I pondered that I was using essentially the same tools and methods to create my gift that Paul Revere used in his shop. I usually write a poem to commemorate the day, but this year I made my poetry out of metal and color.  As I pounded the copper into a formed, flat piece I listened to the high pitched strike. And imagined how different the noises of commerce were on those insufferably hot days in Philadelphia when that diverse group in the Continental Congress decided to pledge their belongings and their sacred honor to the cause of Independence.  I heard cars zipping by and they would have heard the clip clop of horses on cobblestones.

John Adams noted in his diary on the 2nd of July…after he and most of his compatriots had signed the document…that he imagined this day would forever be celebrated with gatherings and festivities, parades and illuminations.  And on that count, as in so many of his other imaginings, he was absolutely correct.  We celebrate on the 4th because that is the date on the document – the day it was formalized.  But the large portion of those signers had done their work, dipped their pen and cast their lot in with the Revolutionaries by the 2nd.

So on this day – I like to re-read the Declaration.  Take stock of what those men and their families will willing to lose for the sake of what we enjoy today.  I also re-read the Constitution and allow myself to again be dazzled by their language and thoughtful prescience.  Such an old document still stands the test of a country that has evolved beyond what they had been able to suppose.

I am honored to earn my living by the craft of my hands and my thinking.  And I was especially pleased to create something that had an element in common with one of our founders.  Happy Independence Day.  Enjoy these quotes which I have complied to celebrate July 4.

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.
- Charles A. Beard, 1874 – 1948

It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, independence now and independence forever.
- Daniel Webster, eulogy for John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, 2 August 1826

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
- Martin Luther King, Jr, 1929 – 1968

I often warn people: Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’
- George Carlin, 1937 – 2008

America, in the assembly of nations, has uniformly spoken among them the language of equal liberty, equal justice and equal rights.  John Quincy Adams, 1767 – 1848, 6th President of the United States

The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.  Samuel Adams, 1722 – 1803

Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.  John Adams, 1735 – 1826

To disagree with anybody or anything is to run the risk of taking oneself out of the money. All this is a country that was born of controversy – a country that wrote controversy into its Constitution, and set up its legislative bodies on the theory of controversy, that established its free press in the belief that controversy is vital to information, and that created s system of justice of which controversy is the heart and soul.    E.B.White – 1899, author, editor of the New Yorker

One Day Everything Shifted…

All through high school I wrote in my journal, “I want to be an artist.”

I kept writing it through my first several jobs after high school  Somewhere in the midst of becoming the Director of Public Relations at a private high school and coordinating all the graphics and newsletter and visual lay out work for the school I transitioned to saying, “I am an artist.”  One day everything shifted…

I asked Carmen Torbus about her experience identifying herself as an artist.  I’ll share her heartfelt reply with you.  Carmen’s book, THE ARTIST UNIQUE, is the subject of a series of ongoing posts.  I hope you are enjoying them…

Here’s Carmen’s answer and a piece of her current work…
I asked, “When did you first assert to the world at large, without qualification, “I am an artist?”  And she answered…

The truth is, I’m not sure I have without qualifying it.  (Suddenly feels the urge to hang head in shame.)  I still feel a little funny in my stomach when I say out loud that I am an artist.  I feel like an artist.  I paint and create and play with art supplies,  (and here comes the “but”) but what I love more than anything is the process.  I love painting.  I love making a ginormous mess with paint.  I love adding words and doodles and images and text.  I love learning new techniques, playing with texture tools and experimenting with color.

But does that make me an artist?  My heart tells me it does.  But my gremlins ask me questions like, “Who do you think you are anyway?” and then I question if I’m really an artist at all, and I compare myself to others and start the measure up game that never ends well.  Then something else happens.

I get the urge to go sit in my studio.  When that urge strikes and I lean into it, something deeper starts to stir.  I sit there in my chair at my art desk and I look at my art supplies and my art journals and my in-progress canvases and my blank canvases and my paint brushes…. and I instinctively reach for a tube of transparent yellow iron oxide paint and squeeze a little onto my palette and dip my finger in the paint and start painting.  And in that moment, I know, unequivocally, that I am an artist.

I may not always be fully prepared to assert it to the world at large, but if I assert it to myself often enough, and if I lean into my instincts enough, I’ll get there.

I think more than anything, my calling is to encourage, inspire and believe in other creative women on the verge – to empower them to lean into their own urges and instincts, until they are ready to believe in themselves.  That to me is another form of art – and that is the artist I am – to my core. 

 

More from Carmen and my ongoing exploration with Polymer Clay next week.

 

In the meantime…remember the words of Benjamin Franklin (although it is sometimes attributed to Thomas Jefferson)  as you creatively head into your own celebration of Independence Day…

 

Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

 

 

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