Saturday, January 31, 2009

Creative Every Day Update

I have been doing lots of creative things this last week, including some art, though I can't really show it right now as I don't have access to a scanner (my sister is "borrowing" it; "borrowing" in quotes since, after all, it is hers).

Those inertial blocks I started got hung up for a time, stymied by the ridiculous fact that I didn't actually have any newspapers for papier-mache; that has been fixed, courtesy of a stack of free car-advertisement papers swiped from the local grocery store.

I have been keeping track, quite faithfully, and I have to say keeping a Creativity Log has been one of the most phenomenally helpful things ever, for it is making me confront, and see, all the myriad creative things I do.

One of the things I did this week was play around a bit with intuitive drawing, though I'm not sure I like the results.

The main piece I did, though, was something I'm quite pleased with, though I feel sort of vaguely guilty about it too, which is ridiculous. After picking Al-Uzza for Goddess of the Week a couple of weeks ago, and realizing just how dissatisfied I was with the original art, I succumbed to temptation, and did another version. This is something I've been trying to avoid, because I most decidedly suffer from the Tolkienesque affliction of never being able to leave well enough alone, as far as my creations go. If I let myself, I know I would be forever going back into things and reworking and rethinking them; so, for the sake of being able to call something "done" and "finished" I have had to train myself to be quite ruthless about Letting Things Be.

But it was really nice, and in doing it I realized that, even though the rest of the Goddess Oracle Deck cards are a good ten years old now, I could still find plenty to explore within that format and that premise and that artistic style; and they're quick to make, too, unlike most of my other work, and the instant gratification aspect of it is a very good thing. So I'm conflicted. You know.

Mostly what I've been doing this past week, though, is working on getting a Sims 1 site together. I have surprised myself by being consistent at it; this last year I've been feeling so rootless and in-between with Things Artistic that I have had to resort to telling myself to just do something for half an hour, after which I can go do something else if I want to. But I remembered something I learned in college about using my time.

Some semesters, because of the schedule, I would end up having these little blocks of time, like an hour and a half, between classes. Time enough to go home and hang out, but not, I thought, time enough to actually get anything done. Which turned out to be not at all true, and once I started using those bits of time I found I got far more done than I ever would have thought, as it spilled out into the rest of my time. So, I'm relearning how to be productive, I guess. Perhaps I can smell spring on its way.

Anyway, here are a couple more examples of the little Sims dresses I've been making:

It occurred to me last night that, though I chose to make One Hundred Toys, I am in fact participating quite literally in the One Hundred Dresses Project too, with all the little virtual dresses I've been doing. Interesting.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Goddess of the Week

This week's card is Inanna, the Sumerian Goddess of Love and Fertility, Who is also the Goddess of the planet Venus as Morning and Evening Star. Her name means "Queen of Heaven," and She is the predecessor of the Akkadian/Babylonian Ishtar. She was one of the most important Deities in the Sumerian pantheon, and She features quite heavily in known Sumerian literature.

Inanna is perhaps most famous for the story of Her descent to the Underworld. Inanna had a great deal of power and knowledge, and was familiar with both the heavens and the earth; but She did not have knowledge of the Underworld, and She knew this. So She resolves to go there.

But knowledge of the Underworld is hard-won, and at each of the seven gates Inanna is stripped of some of Her jewelry and clothes, symbols of Her status and achievements; and at last She arrives naked before Queen Ereshkigal.

Who promptly puts Her to death, and hangs Her body from a hook on the wall, like a piece of meat.

But up on the Earth Inanna's vital force is missed; and so the Wisdom-God, Enki, creates two beings to rescue Her from the Underworld. They go, and, by offering Ereshkigal compassion, convince Her to give up the body of Inanna, which they then bring back to life.

But no one had ever before left the Underworld, once there, and Inanna is told that in order for Her to be allowed to go back to the living world, She must find a substitute.

When She arrives back in the living world She is reunited with Her friends and family, who have mourned Her; and when the demons accompanying Her demand one of Them as substitute, She refuses, for They have been loyal to Her. But when She comes to Her husband, the shepherd-king Dumuzi, She finds Him quite unconcerned, blithely going about His business of the glory of being King. Enraged, Inanna selects Him, and the demons take Him away.

Inanna is shown here decked out in all Her jewelry, in a pose of seduction. Now when I originally painted this card I had meant it as a general comment on Her role as Love-Goddess; though now, after relating Her tale, I see the jewelry as those things, those achievements, She gave up at the Seven Gates.

When I first pulled this card last night my thought was that "seduction" was a very narrow, and very limiting, meaning, given that it implies She is performing for someone else and is being objectified. But then I thought, No, She's looking in a mirror.

Inanna is a very sexual Goddess, one Who causes the life-force to flow throughout all of Nature; and Her sexuality belongs to no one but Herself. To quote one of my favorite passages, from Inanna and the God of Wisdom, from Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer's Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth:

Inanna placed the shugurra, the crown of the steppe, on her head.
She went to the sheepfold, to the shepherd.
She leaned back against the apple tree.
When she leaned against the apple tree, her vulva was wondrous to behold.
Rejoicing at her wondrous vulva, the young woman Inanna applauded herself.

If we could all cultivate that level of honest self-love!

So I think that's the message this week for us all: to cultivate honest appreciation of our own beauty, power and sexuality and to approach the dark sides of ourselves with curiosity and a genuine thirst for knowledge, while appreciating our individual journeys as ways for us to grow. In this last week before Imbolc shows us that glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, as we are still inhabiting the darkness and quietude of deep winter (well, those of us in the North, anyway) we can take advantage of the opportunity to sit with our own darkness a little longer, and find the beauty and power within it.

So what does She have to say?

Look in the mirror and see Your own beauty. Look into that dark mirror, down in to the depths of yourself; see that great, great beauty, that goes back and back, down and down.

I am intimately, and I do mean intimately, acquainted with power. I take what is Mine, the wisdom, the adventure, the mourning and joy, all of it. I own Myself.

Love. Self-Love; I can't emphasize that enough. Look in the mirror, see yourself with great Love. This is an especially hard time of the year for some, when the newness has worn off, and when the resolutions start to fail. Remember Self-Love. You must love yourself first before you can effectively love others. And besides, it is simply the right way round.

What do you think?

To read more about Her, go here. To read Ishtar's tale, which is very similar, here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Looking Into The Mind Of Goddess

Playing around with fractals always reminds me of these lines from the Orphic Hymn to Nature (from The Hymns of Orpheus, Mutations by R.C. Hogart):

Your pure mind full of seeds
gives crowds of stars and flowers
creating worlds streaming
to receding horizons

Variations on a wintry theme, made with SpangFract, a fractal program for the Mac.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Scarf and Hat Set (Toy #3)

Let me just say, Maude is a damned patient cat:

And, of course, the matching hat:

It's a miracle, obviously, that I managed to take that second photo in the .7 second window I had, and it's a little underexposed; but, still, they are quite fetching on her, don't you think?

It's made from that pokeberry and indigo smallish batch of yarn I tie-dyed back in November; the scarf is in seed-stitch, and the hat is my somewhat botched first attempt at decreasing stitches. She sat on my lap or next to me the whole time I knit it, while pointedly and generously ignoring my evil chuckling. She really is a bigger person than I.

Though, she may still opt to kill me in my sleep, you never know.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Goddess of the Week

Al-Uzza is a Nabataean and Arabian Goddess, one of a triad with the Goddesses Allat and Manat. Her name means "the Mighty One" and She was most likely the patroness of Petra in Jordan, that fabulous Nabataean city cut from the rocks. She would appear to have been the main Goddess worshiped there, and though Allat (Whose name just means "the Goddess") was also widely worshiped from the Yemen to Palmyra, She is uncommon in Petra itself.

A lot of times, in books not specifically about the Nabataeans, Al-Uzza will be mentioned briefly as a "pre-Islamic maiden warrior Goddess," but I'll be honest here. I know more now. Ten years ago I depicted Al-Uzza as just that (in a ridiculously anachronistic outfit to boot); but I don't know now if that can really be supported.

Now, in books that go into somewhat more depth, She is said to be the Goddess of Venus as the Morning Star, sometimes in a pair with the God al-Kutba as God of the Evening Star; and I suspect someone somewhere assumed Her attributes must then be parallel to Inanna/Ishtar, Who can be a War-Goddess. Now, they are all Semitic Goddesses, it's true, but I'm not sure how far the parallel can be taken. I don't know. I can make better cases for Her sisters in the triad, really--Allat was associated in some cases with the Greek Athena, and Manat, as a Goddess of Fate and Justice, had two swords dedicated to Her in the time of the beginning of Islam.

It is tricky, I admit, to separate Al-Uzza from Allat, as their attributes tend to overlap and shift given geography and time; and also, please bear in mind, I am no expert and am not a scholar, just a well-read amateur.

That said, it is generally accepted that it is Al-Uzza represented by the much eroded statue given place of honor center front on the Khasneh at Petra. (The what? you ask. You've seen it, trust me. Have you seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? You know that fantastic rock-cut building with the columns and odd broken pediment which dramatically comes into view at the end of a mile-long, 300-600 foot deep chasm? That building.) Though quite worn it is possible to make out that She carries a cornucopia and patera (offering dish), indicating a (probable) association with Tykhe, the Greek Goddess of Fortune, Who was also invoked as a protector of cities. There are also images common to the Egyptian Isis on the pediment, which may argue for a further association for Al-Uzza; though the Greeks mainly identified Her with Aphrodite (perhaps due to the planet Venus association).

So. It is not unusual, I think, that Al-Uzza has such a wide range of seemingly disparate associations, given that She was one of the main Goddesses (in some locales the main Goddess) worshiped by the Nabataeans; also, Isis was linked with both Aphrodite and Fortuna (the Roman name for Tykhe) in Roman times.

I was not at all sure how to interpret this card, given that I no longer know what it means, or if the picture I drew is even appropriate (a similar problem, I admit, is what is holding me up on the Benzaiten entry for the book, since the more I learn about that particularly complex Japanese Goddess the less I think my art is appropriate); but then it occurred to me that maybe the picture isn't the message.

It is always amazing to me, though perhaps it should not be, that certain 'themes' seem to pop up simultaneously and independently across the Pagan Blog-O-Sphere. Late last summer it was the observation that the veil was thinning far earlier than usual. Perhaps it is because we Pagans are more open to seeing that sort of thing, or more open, anyway, to acknowledging that we see that sort of thing. And perhaps it is a lack of faith on my part that this surprises me. But this last week or two the theme I keep seeing is a re-working, or re-thinking, or re-evaluating, or a crisis of faith when it comes to religion, Wicca specifically. (Dear Dianne Sylvan's most recent post is really bringing this home to me.) And I can't help but think it is all a symptom of a change--a big change--coming our way. Now, sure, on Tuesday Barack Obama will be sworn in; but this feels, to me, anyway, to be a more general heightening of awareness, and the inauguration is just another effect, not a cause. Something is shifting.

And pulling this card, a picture of a Goddess I surely would not paint in the same way now, I feel it is telling us that now is the time to let go of old ways of thinking, to commit to some deep reflection on what no longer serves us; and to, most importantly, be flexible enough, and forgiving enough, to admit it to ourselves.

I almost forgot. What does She have to say about all this?

Change is sudden and clean, like the edge of a knife or a sword's edge; clean and cutting like the light of the Star through the dawn. New day, new way of life, new everything; do your best to make it clean so it heals well. Also, love: deep love. I watch and protect; and I am far greater than you imagine. I am the Mighty One, after all. I am very strong.

What do you all think? Do you feel this change, this shift, as well?

Here's my original article on Al-Uzza; though I don't know about the Warrior Goddess bit anymore, it's still pretty sound, I think. Also, here's the link to a much more recently written article on Al-Uzza, Allat, and Manat, though I still have Al-Uzza down as a Warrior. I suppose it will take completing the Nabataean section of the Obscure Goddess Online Directory to get it straightened out, if then. Until that time, I fear I must say please don't quote me on it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

There Was Something Missing...

The result of a three-in-the-morning inspiration, aided and abetted no doubt by various prescription meds. I simply could not resist, as he was crying out for an apron. I think he wants to do the dishes, and I'm not going to stop him (hey, I'd sell my soul for less some days).

I put the pocket on his left since I figured he'd be left handed. I mean, come on--between dexter and sinister, which is Satan going to choose? And at any rate due to stuffing irregularities on the part of his Maker (myself) it does appear that his biceps are considerably beefier on that side.

Yep; still cracking me up.

Minoan Dress Designs For the Sims

What else I've been working on:

I've had a bunch of these little Minoan dresses done for a while now, but this week I started gathering them all together and organizing and designing some pages for a (maybe) Sims 1 site of my own. (We'll see, and I'm not promising anything just yet.) I don't know if these quite count as "toys," though they are of course for a game. Aren't they spiff? The first is after a painting from Thera and is true to the original colors; the second after a terracotta votive dress painted with a design of saffron crocuses from Knossos, and the last is modelled on the famous faience Snake Goddess, also from Knossos (with blouse added; I made one without the blouse, which is more authentic, but I need to redo the thumbnail).

I've also been keeping a Creativity Log quite religiously, in which (per Leah's suggestion) I've been writing down the creative things I do each day. I'm rather surprised just how much I do, really. I'm finding it unbelievably helpful to be able to see it out in the open like that; it reminds me of and makes me acknowledge what I've done. I'm one of those people who if I can't see it, I'll forget it exists, which goes even more for works in progress.

Knitty Satan (Toy #2)

Oh my Gawd this guy totally cracks me up:

I like how the curved claws make him look vaguely pigeon-toed.

I have to admit I don't quite get the whole God vs. Devil thing. If the Devil is the opposite of God, shouldn't God be a hopelessly square utterly un-charming bore with no dress sense? Well, I guess there are reasons I'm not one of those monotheistic sorts.

Anyway, two toys down, ninety-eight to go!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Goddess of the Week

Nü Kua is a Chinese Goddess of Creation and Order; She is said to have created the first human beings from yellow earth and restored the heavens after a mythical battle. She finds order in chaos.

Descriptions of Nü Kua vary; though generally She is said to have the body of a serpent and the head of a woman (though sometimes She is said to have the head of an ox, or to have ox-horns growing from Her human head).

In legend She was one of a line of mythical rulers, succeeding Her brother Fu Hsi; and She was known for Her great wisdom as Empress. But during Her reign the great (and rather violently-inclined) dragon Kung Kung decided to make trouble and challenge the God of Fire, Chu Jung; and though Kung Kung lost, he succeeded in wreaking all kinds of havoc, breaking the pillars of heaven and flooding the earth.

To repair the great damage Nü Kua gathered together five kinds of colored stones which She melted and used to make the heavens whole again; and She used the legs of a tortoise to hold up the four corners of the sky. To stop the flood, She filled the hole through which the waters came with the ashes of reeds.

There is another version of this story, in which a Goddess-Queen known as the "Mother of the Gods" went up against a local chief with Her army. The Queen won the battle, and in his rage at being defeated by a woman the chief decided to end his own life by banging his head against the Heavenly Bamboo, which held up the sky. He actually succeeded in knocking it over, which caused the heavens to tear and let in a great flood; so the Queen, like Nü Kua (if She is not simply an aspect of Her) then repaired the sky with a powder ground from five colored stones.

Nü Kua is about creation and order, and being able to organize and prioritize things, so that creation can then take place. I can see about a million ways this applies to my own situation, and coincidentally enough I have rather uncharacteristically been cleaning and organizing things the past couple of days. But that's me. What is Her message for the World this week?

I create order from chaos. Yes, it is itself creation, not mere cleaning. I create the space in which creation may occur. This is a sacred duty; and nothing will happen without that first.

For the world? This is a time of winter and drawing-in, of long cold nights and time spent indoors; and before one can re-emerge in spring, one must make space for it. Let the old die with the old year; and take this time to sweep it out, so that the new may have space to grow. Take some time with this now; do it slowly, carefully, and thoroughly. It is part of the magic of restoration and hibernation.

Looking it up I find hibernation comes from the Latin and means "the action of passing the winter" or "being in winter quarters." Perhaps She is saying this is a good time to look around at your surroundings and home and take stock of what you have right now; and that it is easier to see what you do have (of possessions, talents, or blessings) if there is a certain amount of order to things, and that the process of organizing makes them apparent.

What do you think?

To read more about Her, go here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

'Tis The Season!

Amuse your friends! Confuse your relatives! Send Groundhog Day Cards this year!

I got in the habit of sending these several years back, when I once again missed the deadline for sending out Yule/Christmas cards. As an artist I always felt like an idiot buying cards, when I knew I could make perfectly pretty ones myself; but I never had the spare time lying around in December (really, who does?) So I hit upon the idea of Groundhog Day cards, which, if I do say so myself, is freakin' genius.

On my end it means I have the entire month of January to do the art, and on the receiver's ends it is unexpected, silly, and just the thing everyone needs by that time of the year, when more than likely the winter has dragged on and on in its dreary way; and whether my relatives get it or not (probably not, honestly) it does at least provide an amusing diversion. What's not to love?

So over the past few years I've been uploading each year's art to The Cat and Cauldron so that you too can send Groundhog Day cards if you like.

This year's is a pastel painting done in the style of Paleolithic cave paintings, and shows a groundhog advancing towards a primitive sun symbol. Alas, CafePress does not allow for printing on the back of a card (don't ask me why; it's been an issue with them since like forever); which means the paragraph I usually write establishing the art's (fake) provenance has to be left off. But for your amusement, here's what this card should say on the back:

Groundhog and Sun Symbol. Detail of a cave painting; Iberio-Cantabrian, Upper Paleolithic period (late Aurignacian-Perigordian), epoch of higher figurine culture, 15,000-10,000 B.C.E. Right wall of the so-called "Gallery of the Sun" in the cave at Cuevas de la Araña (Province of Valencia), Spain.

Should any of you out there wish to start a Groundhog Day Card tradition of your own, I feel I should let you know that the official color scheme I've chosen for the holiday (in the way that Hallowe'en has orange and black, or Valentine's Day pink and red) is of white (for clouds and snow), blue (for the sky), gold (for the sun), and groundhog brown. I mean, for what that's worth.


Monday, January 5, 2009


I've started another set of blocks, this time to be in papier-maché; seven of them all told, to spell the word inertia.

It's a funny thing, inertia. It can mean both being stuck, and moving. To quote Mewton's, er, sorry, Newton's First Law: an object at rest will remain at rest; an object in motion will remain in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force.

I feel I am right now stuck in the remaining at rest part of the Law; and trying to get myself to work on Something today, like these blocks, meant talking myself through it, the way a very depressed person has to carve up the day into tiny, manageable baby steps. Instead of looking at the whole project, which felt overwhelming, I told myself, Okay, now I'm just going to get the wallpaper paste out of the drawer of the art caddy. Just that, and nothing beyond that, right now. Turns out, though, I don't actually have any wallpaper paste, I just thought I did; but still, I did work on the blocks a little. And that counts.

Partially I'm sure it's the fact that it's winter, and all I want to do is hibernate; a little tricky, really, to get moving when Nature is telling me to remain at rest. But, also, it's that I have really gotten out of the habit of making things, and there is a lot of stuff to get moving, psychic, mental, and physical. So there's rather more to it than I'm assuming.

But, here are my blocks, so far:

Pardon the unphotogenic background; my drawing table does double duty as my sewing table. I hope to get that rectified soon, as I'm working on refinishing the spare room to be a proper studio space; right now my drawing table is set up in a corner of my bedroom, not the best way to go about things, if one has a choice.

Now, in the interests of showing myself (and the rest of y'all) that I have been doing plenty in the name of being creative every day, here's what I've put in my creativity log so far (I won't, probably, post in this much detail all the time; I just need to see it and make it real out in public today):

1/1/09: Danced a little to "Brain Damage Situation" by They Might Be Giants, which has a great groove; got doll's skirt attached and apron made; sketched a little; finished off the first set of Artist's Blocks; wrote a blog post.

1/2/09: Researched/wrote about Benzaiten for several hours (and let me tell you, Her history is unbelievably complicated!); and, oh, I'm gritting my teeth and making myself include this, I played The Sims for a while. Mostly I made the little houses, this lovely terraced neighborhood of Minoan houses with nice little gardens, &c. which, yes, technically, is creating something. (I will learn not to judge this one, dammit!)

1/3/09: Wrote Goddess of the Week entry; played more Sims and worked on the little houses some more (if interior decorating in reality is creative, so is this--yes, yes, I'm trying very hard to convince myself!); sketched some toy ideas.

1/4/09: Started more blocks; photographed doll; made a couple Minoan heads (these little bitmaps in Photoshop) for The Sims. (All right, Brain, listen up: this month's theme is Play; combine that with my word for the year, Permission, and it means I have permission to play. You know, like a game. Like, oh I don't know, maybe, just perhaps, The Sims! Oh, Brain, when will you learn?)

Here's that photo of the doll I've been working on. Right now she looks a little Amish (by which I mean the no face part; that's one way they reconcile the "no graven images" thing in the Bible). I have a vague idea what I want to do with her face and hair, but haven't liked any of the sketches I've done so far, so I've put her aside for now while I mull.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Goddess of the Week

Weird. I usually shuffle fairly obsessive-compulsively, but this time, I had only cut/shuffled the cards a few times when I heard a little voice say, No, go back. So I uncut to what I think had been the top card after the last shuffle and was like, You mean this one? and the voice was like, Yes. And there She was, again.

So, Kamrusepas it is. I guess the question is, What do we still have to learn from Her presence?

When I wrote last week's entry, I was aware of the fact that in previous writings on Her, I had said that She healed through sweetness, placating Telipinu with honey and fruits. But suddenly having access to the translations themselves (via that new book, Hittite Myths, by Harry A. Hoffner Jr.) instead of a few oblique references found in the mythology books of my famously crappy local university library I found no mention of honey or fruit, at least not specific to Kamrusepas's spell to cheer Telipinu up, anyway. And so I figured that I had just researched it badly back in the day (not all that surprising given there is not a whole lot of information out there for the layperson on Hittite myths), or, more likely, that it just wasn't included in the translations in my new book.

But when I did the art at the time I was thinking that Kamrusepas healed Telipinu through sweetness. So let's see.

Now, I was going to try to expand on that a bit more, but She jumped right in, saying:

I am Magic, incarnate. I know all the spells, the sweet as well as the harsh. So yes, I can heal through sweetness, with honey and fruit--and yes, chocolate and sugar and macadamia nuts and bananas and cookies baked--and it works. Who is healed by being bee-stung? No, sweetness is not placation, or compromise, or being nice to someone through fear, or through expecting them to be nice to you in some way too; this is genuine. This is kindness. See where the other person is hurting, and soothe that hurt. Yourself too; in fact I always recommend you start with yourself. For one it's good practice, and will acquaint you with the process; for another it is best to start from a place of solidity if you are to most effectively help others; but most importantly, you deserve to see yourself whole first. You deserve it. All these good things you wish for others? You should have them too. Wish them for yourself. You must start with kindness for yourself. You must.

This is what I ask this week. It is your New Year; start with the basics. And this is most basic: how are you kind to yourself? What do you do, on a practical, real, level--I want a list!--to be kind to yourself, to be sweet to yourself? Answer this, deeply, honestly, and with great love. Yes, I am giving you home-work, if you will.

And then She laughed, and Hers is a very sparkling laugh.

Well. I guess then we all have our assignments. For me, I know it has been a continuing struggle to look at myself and my actions without judging them; and I have been trying for some time now to remember kindness towards myself.

Now, Leah on her Creative Every Day blog reminded me of an idea that my old late lamented really marvelous coven used to do, come Yule: pick a word (or two), a quality, that you wanted to work with for the next year. People picked things like Delight, Joy, Sufficiency, Balance, Direction, Gratitude, Grace; funny, I don't entirely remember now what I picked, though I think Play was in there somewhere.

But I hadn't picked a word in years, since my coven broke up when some of us moved north and some of us moved south. But this reminded me, and I got to wondering what I'd pick for the coming year. The more I thought about it the more I wanted something that was not, well, active, for want of a better word. Because where I am with things right now I feel like I need to let things settle, so the water can clear and I can then really look at what's going on; and at any rate I have found out through years of trying to force it that pushing this sort of thing is not going to work, at least not for me.

So I thought, and came up with stuff like Relax, Calm, Peace, Letting; but none of them were right till I hit on Permission. I know it's the right one because when I say it to myself I can feel my shoulders relax.

So to wrap up a long-winded tangent (get used to them) taking Permission this year as my theme is a big way for me to be kind to myself, as Kamrusepas is asking of us this week. Because it cuts right through all the shoulds and shouldn'ts and just says, Go ahead. You can if you want. Or not, if you don't want.

What ways can you think of to be kind to yourself?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Artist's Blocks (Toy #1)

Well, here they are, the first batch of toys for my One Hundred Toys Project, as well as my Creative Every Day entry (not that I made all of these in one day!)

Participating in Art Every Day Month back in November I realized just how stuck and how blocked I was feeling; and, since if you can't think of anything to make, you can always make something about how you can't think of anything to make, I made:

A set of Artist's Blocks. (Har, har har.)

Each one has embroidered on it the letters F, E, A, and R, since that seemed to be the thing that was most contributing to my feeling stuck.

Or one might rearrange them to show off the other sides:

They can also be stacked, sort of (they are a little roly-poly):

Or, would you look at that! One might even spell other words with them:

Speaking of spell, in just playing with them I've found there are an awful lot of other, useful words hidden within those four letters: for example fae, ear, far, are, and rarr!

Art is magic.