Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Inspirational Tips: Be the Music, Be the Art!

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: If you have not had a chance to visit Blockhead Radio's Artisan Challenge this week, please do so. My card, "The Impossibly Possible Hippo" is in the Paper Crafts category and I'd LOVE it if you would vote for me. AND we have several other Thursday Sweet Treat participants/cheering members in as well - please look for mkc photography, Huckleberry Arts, GlassElements and Dorset Hill Beads! If you have a piece in, please let us know. Congrats to TheClayMuse on a big win last week!!

Help support the many, amazing artists in this challenge and Blockhead Radio. That station and it's entire crew do SO much to help other artists like YOU. Please take a moment to vote, enter a work of your own and support a wonderful, amazing radio station! http://www.blockheadradiolive.com/

Now let's talk INSPIRATION!!

Rose Lariat Necklace

Salvaged Expression has a special place in my heart. I am not just a fan of her tremendously beautiful, fresh, exciting artwork or the way she challenges herself within her work, I am a fan of her as a person as well. Salvaged always extends a hand and a kind word, listens and gives sound advice, and selflessly gives whatever she has to help others, including her endless supply of wit and humor.

After last week's Artist PlayDate, she wrote and shared this story with me. I was so inspired by it and her key points to remember that I asked her permission to pass this inspiration along to you!

"It's a Friday after work and I'm driving into Pittsburgh to see my SO," Salvaged begins. "Due to too much enthusiasm and a miscalculation, I am stuck in some of the worst rush hour/tunnel traffic I have yet seen.

There are things going on in my life as evidenced by the fact that I'm driving my mother's car. (yikes) A car with no CD player! (Really, really yikes!) Thanks to slow moving traffic I have time to fish out my headset and make this drive more enjoyable. Before I know it, I'm road dancing. The kind you can only do when you're in, "Stop and stop some more traffic". Fingers in the air like a disco queen, swinging my head around, rocking down to the steering column and back. Utterly unpretentious or self conscious, it was freeing...it was embarrassing! Seriously, I occasionally think of myself as a rocker and this was "Praise You" by Fatboy Slim. Ouch!

So I'm grooving like Saturday morning on a long weekend when I look over and see a guy grooving along with me. (My inner rocker goes to hide behind some amps.) This is a man who clearly does not listen to "Praise You!" We dance a bit more and traffic moves and I never see him again. But in the meantime, we had shared that silly, little moment (and a blue dolphin air freshener actually...) and the thought always brightens my day.

So this story has 2 points. Ok 3.

1. Music is good!

2. This whole thing was started by a song. Your work will touch people you will never know in ways you will never see and the world will be much richer for it.

3. Either of us could have sat there like rush hour automatons... and had zero fun. Living your life as yourself, going out into the world and being you without shame doesn't just make you an artist/writer/amazing chick. It makes you the art.

Now that's not without pressure but it does give you permission to be wrong. It also gives you permission to be powerful. So I may have totally missed the mark (too late to stress over the brush strokes now) or hit something home but if nothing else you know what to do next time you're stuck in traffic. ...I reserve bubble blowing for the advanced classes. (Seriously!)"

Monday, March 30, 2009

"March Goes Out Like a Lion" Mini-Monthly

Mini-Monthly: a place where gorgeous works of art that were created for various themes but did not make it in by the deadline due to different circumstances are showcased. These works were simply too incredible not to share. They will make you roar with delight!

Janet, creator of Janet Davies, created this simply stunning piece for the Vibrant Chaotic Rainbows theme.


Twisted Thicket created this absolutely gorgeous piece for the Artistic Safari theme.

"I've always been fascinated by the art & messages left thousands of years ago for us to find," said Twisted. "So, my safari took place in ancient Africa and Brazil where I hunted for spectacular petroglyphs and cave paintings that were created as far back as 5,000 years. :) I recorded some of my "catch" in acrylics on stretched canvas to share with you.The colors of the pyramid shape are actually the colors of the Brazilian flag. The canvas is small, only 5" x 7". "

My Website & Blog ~~ http://twistedthicket.com/
Follow Me on Twitter!~https://twitter.com/TwistedThicket

Ashley Markus, creator of OffTheHooks, created this truly beautiful "rainstorm handspun art yarn" for the "Let Beauty Rain Down Upon..." theme.

"This was a great project to do as spring has been taking forever to arrive in Canada," said Ashley. "Lately, I find myself making things that incorporate the feelings, colors, and textures of spring, in hopes that it will eventually be coming!"


Kim, creator of kfritzphotography created this unbelievably gorgeous piece for the "Bones of the Earth or You're My Rock" theme.


Jan, creator of Remember When Creation, created this incredibly lovely "Shower of love" premade scrapbook layout for the "Let Beauty Rain Down Upon..." theme. http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=22590869


I originally created this for the "Flicker of Imagination" theme. It was a felt wall hang with beaded strap. That's the first time I've ever created something like that so I'm still working out the kinks. For now, I created a bookmark. To be honest, it makes me truly happy.


Now I ask you, did you not love these creations? Tell a friend, tell your boss, tell your Mom but most importantly, tell these artists. Leave them a little love!

See you next month :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Theme 12: The Joy of Dance

How you choose to interpret the theme is completely up to you. It simply needs to be tasteful – no pornography or messages of hate here. When you sit down to create, you cannot think about how people will or will not receive your work. You are required to simply enjoy the act of creating. Please see the bottom of this post for how to submit a response.

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. And if you block it it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it." -Martha Graham

"The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word." ~Mata Hari

"Dance for yourself, if someone understands good. If not then no matter, go right on doing what you love." ~Lois Hurst

"Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair..."~Susan Polis Shutz

"A child sings before it speaks, dances almost before it walks. Music is in our hearts from the beginning." ~Pamela Brown

Important Guidelines

The work submitted must be something you have created and/or worked on between the time the theme was revealed and the Thursday unveiling. Please submit your response to Natasha@creativenachos.com no later than end of day Wednesday, April 1st if you would like it to be posted on Thursday, April 2nd. OR send me a link to your response to include in the comments section of the post.

With your response please include:

1. Your name - either first name, shop name or both.

2. The name of your piece (if you choose to give it one)

3. Something you'd like to share (process of creation, idea behind piece) if you'd like to share anything

4. Two photos of your piece or of each of the pieces (3x5 or 4x6 and 72dpi or a max of 96dpi - if you need any help with that please don't worry I'd be happy to help!)

Most importantly, let your imagination dance, dance, dance!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Exceptional Artists Use a Flicker of Imagination To Light Up Your World

ANNOUNCEMENTS: This is the official call for the Mini-Monthly. If you have a piece from a previous challenge that you were unable to submit, please send it to me no later than the end of the day on Saturday, March 28th. The Mini-Monthly will be revealed on Monday, March 30th.

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to some of the beautiful emails I've recently received. I will be writing shortly. This week was the epitome of Murphy's Law. Everything went wrong and yet I feel I have a ton of material to write a comedic novel! Hahaha...I was unable to complete my piece but will have it in the Mini-monthly and I'm SO excited about it. In fact, I might be as excited about that as I am about the new website which will be revealed within the next two weeks.

I was so emotional after seeing all the entries this week and there were many reasons for that. From the stories of how the artists discovered their "flicker of imagination" to the way parts of my poem were used (I am deeply honored and so humbled), these works are filled with originality and incredible, inspiring beauty. However the most moving part of this was the way each artist fell in love with their own work. That sentence, that thought makes me want to celebrate. Is there anything more powerful, more wonderful then seeing someone try something new or travel down an unexpected road that allows them to create something they never thought they would? Is there anything better than watching a snippet of thought, a moment from childhood or that secret inner desire come to life in a new work? I'm in love with this week's Sweet Treats. I'm moved by the passion and talent that is shared here this week and every week.

These artists, these talented, beautiful, warm, inspiring, driven, risk-taking, professional, gorgeous souls have changed the world with the artwork they have created. How have they done that, you may ask? Without knowing it, using only their heart, their talent and their imagination they have given all of us, all those who are viewing and cheering the gift of hope, belief, trust, love, passion and bravery. They have inspired an openness and honesty that can only make this world a better place.

Now, I invite you to experience the power a flicker of imagination can have.....

Ruth, creator of Allover Art, created this stellar “Flickering Woodland Twilight Hand-Painted Art Pendant Necklace.” Here's the link to the piece: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=22669443

"I have created a piece similar to this one before, but I made the colors in this piece darker, giving one a sense of the setting sun at twilight filtering in between the leaves of the woodland canopy,” said Ruth. “I'm rather fond of nature, trees, and silhouettes and use them quite often in my wearable art pieces.”

website: http://www.alloverart.net/
blog: http://www.alloverart-nc.blogspot.com/
shop: http://www.alloverart.etsy.com/

Susan, creator of Yaffa Dreams, created two, unforgettable pieces this week, With a Little Imagination We Are All Creative Hardware And Guitar Pick Necklace” http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=22696069
and “With a Little Imagination We Are All Creative Hardware And Guitar Pick Bracelet” http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=22567222

"I think its so cool that you can pick up the guitar and create something that didn't exist 5 minutes ago. You can write something that no one's ever heard before. You have music at your fingertips." ~~~ Michelle Branch

“We all use our imagination to be creative,” said Susan. “A musician creates music with the guitar picks; a builder/handyman creates buildings, cabinets, furniture, etc .. with hardware. I use my imagination to create jewelry with guitar picks and hardware!”


Lorrie Veasey, creator of Our Name is Mud, created this awesome piece.

"This week's theme made me think of catching fireflies, which I loved to do as a child," said Lorrie. "My imagination made an attempt at catching a twinkle fairy in a jar. Earthenware with acrylics and a pickle jar."

Maureen, a talented artist, created this truly stunning piece.

"My play with the prompt this week ended up being less "artistic" and way more emotional healing,” said Maureen. “I copied out and read/re-read Natasha's poem and was strongly affected by "Love builds a house." I'm in Mississippi right now, in my sister's new home, and will return to mine in a week. I've struggled to know what to do with my life, my house, the stuff inside it--after the natural event of kids growing up and leaving, and then the unnatural spouse leaving, leaving me as the house's only inhabitant. In response to the prompt, I ended up drawing the same picture I drew all through childhood, except that now, every building block is the word "love." I feel at peace now about going home next week. My new guiding thought is "Love builds a house." Thank you once again, sweet Natasha, for helping me do just what I needed to do, before I even knew it myself."


Kelly, creator of Backward Glances, created this exceptional piece titled, "Playing With Fire".

“I'm working outside my usual boundaries again this week, very graphic, almost cartoonish and like last week not as polished or refined,” said Kelly. “This is a bead embroidered ACEO, the design was just free handed, not planned out in advance. It's a small piece but I still managed to use nearly twenty colors!”

“Fire and imagination/creativity have much in common:

Both start with a tiny spark
Both require nurturing and feeding
Both combine utility with beauty
Both can be all consuming
Both can be dangerous

Allowing imagination free rein can be very liberating, but for many people, a dark shadow is lurking, care must be taken in pushing boundaries - sometimes they push back.”


Theresa E, creator of WoodsNGoods, took this gorgeous photo.

“Here's something different from me this week. I wasn't able to create anything in wood, but while visiting the museum in Grand Rapids, MI this last weekend, I was able to snap some pictures of the carousel animals while my kids were riding the Merry-go-Round,” said Theresa. “Which got me thinking - what better place is there for your imagination to run wild? So, here's one wild horse for your wild ride!”

made in Michigan scrollsaw art and more.

Rowena, creator of Rowena Murillo, painted this exquisite piece titled, "Goddess Inspire, or The Flicker of Imagination."

Goddess Inspire came out of nowhere, and yet she is all around.
In fact, don't you think you know her?
Wasn't she that girl down the block?
Didn't you see her in that place the other day?
She's so familiar.
Say hi.

Agathe, creator of Meherio68, created this truly inspiring piece.

“When I saw this weeks theme, I was in awe,” said Agathe. “My first thought was something really close to "Duh!" But then I scrolled down a little and saw the word "Fireflies" (and read your beautiful poem, Natasha - you're a complete artist!). Then I laughed and got down to work. I knew what I had to do. Let me explain.”

“When I was about 13 or 14, I read this play for school : Ruy Blas, by Victor Hugo; a very, very Romantic melodrama, with this very noble-minded commoner who's in love with the very unhappy Queen. It's beautifully written but doesn't end all that well... At some point, the Queen is reading and re-reading this letter that she has received and that says:

Madame, sous vos pieds, dans l’ombre, un homme est là
Qui vous aime, perdu dans la nuit qui le voile ;
Qui souffre, ver de terre amoureux d’une étoile ;
Qui pour vous donnera son âme, s’il le faut ;
Et qui se meurt en bas quand vous brillez en haut.

(in a nutshell : Madam, at your feet, in the shadow, a man loves you, a low worm in love with a star; he will give up his soul for you if need be, and languishes beneath when you shine above.)
I found this "ver de terre amoureux d'un étoile / low worm in love with a star" such a beautiful image! It was only years, at least ten years, later when I realized that what this expression conjured up in my mind was a "glow-worm". A flicker of my imagination had united the ill-starred lovers into a firefly...
So I did it again with this hand-stamped pendant: the words "ver de terre amoureux" stamped on copper and "d'une étoile" on a smaller silver one, along with the glimmer of a star. I considered adding green jade or even an emerald but then, going through my stash, I found this freshwater pearl that is the exact same shade as the glow-worm's little lantern. It had to be.”

Meherio68blog : http://lebarduvent.blogspot.com/

Salvaged Expression created this beautiful piece titled, “The Search for Love.”

“My mind clearly went off on its own with this theme because my submission doesn't really look like...well anything!” said Salvaged Expression. “That said I'm IN LOVE with it and not sure I'll be listing it at all! I call it, The Search for Love. In the search for love your compass is broken. Beautiful but slippery rocks abound and can trip you up at any moment. Sometimes you're not even sure if your destination is real or which way to go but at night hope (or a couple of glow in the dark beads) flickers through and helps get you through another day of searching for what you love here in the real world. The whole thing was inspired by fireflies looking for their mates.”


Iris O’Connor, creator of Iris Design, created these magnificent photos.

“This was another theme that just created itself like my 'Evening song' a few weeks ago,” said Iris.“The photos were taken at sunset and all I needed were a few effects and some ttv (through the viewfinder) and voila! I am very pleased with the outcome :)”

Kris, creator of Lisianblue, created this phenomenal butterfly piece titled, “Flicker of my imagination.”

“Something I've been wanting to do for some time is to combine stained glass techniques, and actually painting the glass used in the structure,” said Kris. “ I recently completed my first stained glass piece, a butterfly. I decided to do another one for this weeks theme - I don't think I've ever seen a blue and white butterfly before, although I think they do exist - but in my imagination this is what a blue and white butterfly would look like. I still have a ways to go in getting the soldering technique down, but overall, I'm pretty happy with this.”

Janet, creator of Janet Davies, created this exquisite painting titled, “Your Soul Pirouettes”.

“The painting I’m submitting this week is entitled ‘Your Soul Pirouettes’ after Natasha Reilly’s poem, Fireflies copyright 2007. That poem is so incredible and that line in particular reached out and caught my heart,” said Janet. “Painting always feels so vulnerable to me, it is the medium where I have the least confidence. I have with the support of my good friend, ‘dirtroadsouth’ been exploring this medium a lot more lately and letting my intuition be my guide. The judges and the critics in my mind have been confined to an imaginary playpen outside of my internal home, far from my heart. They are still making a lot of racket and so I should have someone come and just haul them off the property but since they still feel a bit like they are part of me I’ve decided to keep them, but at a distance. I used acrylics and oil stick.

To see the progress of Janet’s painting this piece and her “Sushi” painting, please visit, Flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/janetdavies/


Michelle, creator of mkc photography, created this outstanding piece titled, “Roots”.

“I created this piece for a woman who commissioned me for an incredible project - she asked me to create an image that signified connectedness, commitment, and harmony. I was honored - and terrified, worried that I might not meet her expectations...I shot millions of images over the next few days, but none was exactly perfect...To clear my mind, I went for a walk past my two favorite trees that overlook a small creek near my house, where the flicker of creativity finally found me.”


Jodi, creator of Jodi Horgan, created two, exceptionally gorgeous Butterfly Pendants.

“My daughter loves butterflies,” said Jodi. “Every summer we plant flowers to attract the butterflies. We were looking at a seed catalog the other day deciding on flowers to plant this year. We were talking about the butterflies and wanting them to come back. She said, "When it's cold and the butterflies are gone, she can see them in her imagination." Ding. There was my connection with this week's theme. I tried a new technique this week to make the butterflies and had a lot of fun with it.”


Kim, creator of Twisted Thicket, created this awe-inspiring piece.

“I drew a few different things for this theme, but wasn't really happy with them at all,” said Kim. “Finally, I just sat down with my journal and put pencil to paper—this is the result of that sitting. When I was young I was always seeking a quiet place to think and daydream and just be alone (I had four younger sisters and 2 younger step-brothers). I didn't put a lot of thought into it...or maybe, in reality, I did since it is a quick sketch of a distant memory.”

Patti, creator of Peacoxcreations, created this awesome "Girl's cropped cardi and purse."

“I really enjoyed this one as it took me back to the carefree days of childhood, trying to catch the little green glowing darlings in the inky darkness,” said Patti.

Katie, creator of Kay T Taylor, created these fabulous leg warmers.

“These guys are the first of their kind to be created by me,” said Katie, “Definitely something new for me. Where they came from? A simple stroke of imagination- perfect timing for this week's theme, lucky me! Stretchy and soft they are just yearning to be on some chubby little baby legs. =) Hopefully they will find good homes at the Proceeds Benefit this weekend. I'm glad my imagination is going towards a greater cause than just myself this time around. If anyone is wandering around Cincinnati, OH this weekend, come join in our fun! (my blog has the official invite & information”

Steph, creator of A Paper Buffet, created this beautiful card.

“I had to mull this week's theme over for a few days, trying to decide how I was going to capture a "flicker of imagination" in paper,” said Steph. “Children came to mind- they have such an uninhibited imagination, the sky is the limit. And then I turned to the sky for the answer- clouds. Everyone at least once in their life has looked at a cloud and saw something. Then you turn to your friend who's looking at the same cloud and sees something completely different. I wanted to capture the essence of what we see in the clouds. I used some word stamps which I think represents the images we see, with 'imagine' being at the centre. What shapes, images or characters we see in the clouds are represented by the words "discover", "hope", "beauty", "dream", and of course "imagine".”

Felicia Kramer, creator of Another Bright Idea, created these three, magnificent pieces titled, “Child in the Middle”, “Life Ballet” and “The Path is Calling”.

“The “Fireflies” poem that Natasha posted for the “Flicker of Imagination” challenge just – well – blew me away!” said Felicia. “Every line evoked visual images for me. She graciously gave me permission to use parts of it for my submission this week, and I thank her for that. These are all digital collages, layered with my photographs and altered backgrounds, some clip art, and my big sister (!). I will let Natasha’s words, and my visuals speak for themselves.


Kelly, creator of kpdesigns07, created this gorgeous 4X5 original Firefly Painting.

“The photo of the fireflies really reminded me of growing up on a farm in Illinois, said Kelly. “We had a huge front yard that in the summertime would be filled with lightening bugs. The whole sky and yard seemed to be filled with them. I was fascinated and freaked out at the same time. I liked to look, but I hated to touch! I am also reminded of when I visited my parent’s home and saw the same wonder in my nieces and nephews eyes as they discover what is lovely about this world.”

Amanda, creator of Persistent Green, created this deeply inspiring piece titled, "Shine." It is a mixed media artwork.

“Natasha's incredible poem gave me so many ideas this week, but I decided to focus on the aspect of light,” said Amanda. “Sometimes the light of our spirit flickers and threatens to go out. My piece encourages you to fan your flame until it burns bright and strong. Together, we can light up the world!”


Giraffelabel created this fantastic “Bella Adventure Bag.”

“The Bella Adventure bag is just that…a bag for Bella (my daughter) to go on adventures (with her nana, in particular). This theme was the perfect inspiration for this bag because she has been asking me to make something for her, and being 6, she always wants to carry a purse with her. I thought of her immediately when I saw the word “fireflies”. On a sleepover night with her nana, she experienced what she calls “her favorite memory with nana!” After her brothers had gone to sleep, she stayed up extra late with nana…watching movies, eating popcorn in bed, and…looking for fireflies. Yes, at around midnight nana took her to the window to look out into the dark for fireflies. When they couldn’t see them quite good enough, they got into the car and drove down the long dirt driveway to an opening that overlooked a big hay field. There before them was an amazing sea of fireflies lighting up the night. For her (and for nana) it was truly magical! Although I was not there, I can see the magic in her eyes when she tells the story of her night with nana. I don’t think she will ever forget it. And, she is not alone. Nana loves to go on adventures (in the daytime too), and you never know what you might find along the way. With this bag, they both will have the perfect place to keep all of their treasures!”


Marja, creator of Glass Elements, created this unforgettable piece titled, “Singularity.” Check out the listing: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=22795037

“A flicker of imagination travels across your thoughts – you marvel at the notion and try to grasp it before it speeds away,” said Marja. “A vivid idea in a recent blank creative stretch makes you almost desperate to own it, to expand on it – but you let it settle and take root, confident that this little glimmer will bring you infinite ideas if you take care.”


Ceridwen, creator of Wanderlust Bling, created these amazing pieces.

“These tiles have been living in my heart for months now, and I've slowly been working them out! I visited Portugal with my husband's family this past December and I instantly fell in love with the tiles that cover the houses in Ovar,” said Ceridwen. “On our last day there, I walked around and took close up photos of all the tiles without really knowing why, just that they inspired me on a deep level and I would want these photos someday. After many months of creative fits and starts and trial and error, I finally came up with these pendants - photographs of individual tiles set in resin and hanging from a cord or chain of the wearer’s choice. I'm even hosting a giveaway on my blog to share a little bit of Portugal with everyone!”


Bird, creator of Crow Tarot (a new store coming soon) shared this moving piece.

“Flicker of Imagination - the moment I heard the theme, I knew that a channeled message from my Muse was the project I wanted to do, since channeling occurs through the same place in the mind where imagination dwells,” said Bird. “I was nervous about this, wondering how it would be received, but after a wonderfully written punt-in-the-tail feathers from Natasha (which is worthy of being posted here all by itself! :-D), I finally took that bold step. Here it is for your enjoyment. :-)”

Subject: Thoughts on the Artistic Path

"Art is about bravery. The bravery it takes to begin, to believe that you have something of value to say to the world. It is about the courage it takes to create and to give your work to the viewing public... who may or may not like it or understand your vision.

The path can be long and winding, but it can be traveled. The miles may be long, but they will come to an end and you will find the recognition you seek, tho' it may not be in the form you first imagined it to be. Not everyone is a Picasso or a Strauss, but everyone can express themselves and bring joy to a loved one or to a passing stranger, one who happens to happen by when your work is shown. This joy has immense value to the world. The Journey is all about bringing Light & Love to the World. These are not the floofy words they are sometimes made out to be, full of butterflies & unicorns, but words of the greatest Power in this world. Joy and happiness can be yours in both the creating and the giving. Joy creates the World if you will but let it. You paint pictures every day with your words, your actions, your joy or lack thereof.

Be not only the change you want to see in this World, but also the Art. Bring forth the joy that is in your heart and give it form, whatever that may be. A cake in the kitchen, a painting in the studio, a smile for a passing stranger. Be the Art you want to see in this World, and let it flow forth freely and be Truth. Both for you and for the World. So go forth, Dear Ones, and create your Art. May you always find it to be a joyous Journey. So let it be." :-) – Adriata, Spirit Guide & Muse

http://www.crowtarot.etsy.com/ (coming soon!)

I have to ask....were you not moved by this tremendous work?

Please share your thoughts, ask the artists questions, leave a comment and some love here. Then, go visit these artists at their shops and blogs, share some more and tell a friend! Thanks so much for visiting!!