Friday, September 27, 2013

Tactile Notebooks and the Written Word - After

Each day of Sandra Brownlee's Tactile Notebooks and the Written Word workshop was comprised of one or two exercises - usually mark making followed by writing about the experience. On Wednesday, Sandra asked us to bring out our objects of inspiration.


When packing for the trip, I'd considered 2 things that are very dear to me and finally decided on three wrapped stones that were a gift from Fiona of Paper Ponderings.


Per Sandra's instructions, we were to examine the object carefully, record it, describe it in detail, tell its history/story and tell the personal significance it holds. I did just that using antique Japanese receipt book paper, sumi ink and marker.


When all were done, we gathered upstairs to share our objects and their stories. Soon enough, it was my turn. And oh! What a turn it was.

 
As I told the story of discovering a kindred spirit in Fiona and of being gifted the stones, the enormity of what they represent for me swept in. Sitting there, midst 12 incredible women, with Christine Mauersberger and Sandra to my right, Mary across the table to my left and India Flint directly in front of me on the couch...sitting in Big Cat Textiles...in Newburgh, Scotland, I choked up.


Unsuccessfully fighting back tears and struggling to speak, all the while wanting desperately to disappear, with tissues in hand, I finally managed to squeak out my thoughts.

This little blog of mine was started as a way to get myself back in the studio after an extended time away from it. An art blog needs art, right? That was my thought. What I hadn't even considered were the connections that would be made as a result or how my world would be opened and expanded. 


Fiona's stones = the world, quite literally, opening up to me. I was sitting midst the best possible example of it.

Once we'd all shared our stories, I was desperate to escape outside for a bit of fresh air, to feel the sun and compose myself. Couldn't be crying all afternoon, could I? A few steps had been taken when Pauline - who'd seemed the quietest of our group - walked up to me and said that she reads my blog and was happy when she read that I'd be in the workshop. (cue more tears)

That short exchange with Pauline meant everything to me. Even now, I still get all weepy eyed remembering. We've a love of tea bags and rust in common. What more is needed to begin a friendship? Before leaving on Friday, I gave Pauline a piece of my tea rusted cotton.


She mentioned that she'd send along one of her books and not long after the workshop, residue arrived.



Decaying flowers that I see as dancers - leaping and twirling through space with total abandon, 


trusting that they will be caught, will alight safely, however briefly before stepping into the air again.


residue's other side is the ethereal world of the dancers' dreams. A world filled with creativity and artistry, music and dance, landscapes/seascapes/airscapes, kinship and understanding.


While this edition of residue now belongs to me and the photos above are mine, I ask that they not be pinned, tumblr-ed or shared without Pauline's permission. Thank you for honoring my request.

The name of Sandra's workshop may be Tactile Notebooks and the Written Word, but it is far more than that. It is about connections, journeys, discoveries and possibilities. By the way, I hear that she'll will be teaching the workshop next June at Committed to Cloth in Betchworth, UK in case you're interested.

38 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, Jennifer. I, too, have found that blogging has opened my life up in so many ways.

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    1. Thank you Judy. It is surprising how what really is a solitary experience (sitting in front of a computer and writing) can open the world, isn't it?

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  2. wrapped stones and dancing flowers... gifts of the bloggy universe ... reminds me of why I enjoy the interactions and new connections (thanks for introducing me to pauline's lovely work!)

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    1. Thought you'd like Pauline's work. Just one of the perks of the blogiverse.

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  3. J - so precious and special...tears this end.

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    1. Thank you. (tears here too - where's the darned tissue box!!!)

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  4. What a fabulous post - friendship, wonderful work, extraordinary thoughts and amazing people. How lucky you were ...
    ... and gosh there are still places on next year's course - I've just checked ... now there's a thought!
    Also, I do so know what you mean about the connections that you have made with your blog and how much your world has been opened and expanded. I feel just the same about mine. I've only been blogging just over a year, but the knowledge I've gained is amazing and the comments from viewers are enormously encouraging and uplifting - and I'd so like to meet commenters in person as you have done.

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    1. Isn't meeting another blogger or someone who comments on your blog such a special experience? I've been lucky enough to meet several and it's wonderful.

      Oh! I hope you're able to take Sandra's workshop at Committed to Cloth. Hers is a class I'll happily take again and again because she'll never teach it exactly the same way. One of the things I really admired is that while she had a curriculum in mind, if something or someone else sparked something that caught her interest and that she thought would make a good exercise, she'd come in the day and say, "I'd planned to do this, but here's what we'll do...." and off we were on some other adventure. Takes a truly amazing teacher to be do that.

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  5. Lovely post and LUCKY you for receiving the book from Pauline. I love those dancing flowers!xoC

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    1. Aren't the dancing flowers amazing? Pauline said it took a year to get the photographs she wanted of the decaying flowers - peonies and anemones. They're brilliant.

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  6. Oh what a lovely post. Yes, blogging is really special for me as well. I have always created my art in my solitary way. And then blogging opened up the world! Magically all these other solitary artists found their way to one another!
    PS That book of Pauline's is gorgeous. I have always loved drawing wilted flowers more than fresh!

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    1. Roberta, I came to blogging after having had the pleasure of being part of the Torpedo Facotry Art Center in Alexandria, VA for nearly 10 years. It is a 3 story working art center, open to the public and filled with some of the most incredible artists I've ever met. There was a strong sense of community among those I was friends with. When we moved to Connecticut, I had to leave that behind.

      Never, in my wildest dreams even, would I have thought that that community could be replaced...or bettered...as a result of blogging, but it certainly has and I am forever grateful that it has and is...and no doubt will continue to be.

      As for Pauline's book, it is wonderful. How she managed to get such incredible photos of the decaying flowers...well, it's a mystery...

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  7. It is definitely such a special thing for the Soul to connect at a creative heart level with another. Happy that you had this experience and connection. Beauty sure emerged out of it !

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    1. "Beauty emerged out of it"

      Very well said Kim. Thank you!

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  8. i feel magic coming from you, a good teacher does that, finds the portals and invites you to do the work, and if you're brave and trusting, well, the world opens

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    1. Oh Velma...one of these days, we've got to meet. Yes, magic did come from me in this class and totally as a result of the teacher. I'd thought it only came when I stepped in front of the typewriter at Sandra's suggestion, but looking back, she brought magic out of me every single day of the class. I'm hoping it continues until I have the chance to study with her again.

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    1. Thank you Liz. And yes, life is great!

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  10. gosh jennifer . you describe this experience so well, the opening of some inner well ..my experience in a class with dorothy caldwell a little while back exactly . who knew that place was within ? only needing a tender and special moment to begin the trickle and then a gush and so some new revelation and beginning. grand that the universe should bring it to you ..and another door opened ....

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    1. Roz, this is the second time I've taken a workshop that has opened some inner well, as you so eloquently put it. The first was in 2006 in Dorothy Caldwell's Books of Marks workshop. (yes, I've been there too) Dorothy's teachings set me on the path to mark making and Sandra's teachings/gentle nudgings have opened a whole new door that will allow me to expand on that path. I can't wait to see what comes from it.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this powerful experience with us Jennifer.

    You have expressed the amazing connection available here in Blogland quite eloquently. I, too, treasure the day I entered this world of wonder and friendship.
    -sus

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    1. I must admit to having been a bit reticent about sharing this post and am glad I did. Thank you so much Susan

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  12. I could feel your emotion while reading this beautiful post and was almost reluctant about leaving a comment, because you've said it all and I'd hate to say something trivial. Some teachers do indeed open windows and doors for us, they bring walls down and blast obstacles away. We suddenly know, we become aware of, and our thoughts take on a whole new meaning. Something like an initiation. I'm so happy that you had this experience, thank you for sharing it so wholeheartedly.

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    1. You are most welcome Ersi. I am very touched by everyone's comments and their understanding. Your words are eloquent and so very right.

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  13. An absolutely marvelous and inspiring post! I love, love, love Pauline's book and gesture. It is so gratifying to have those connecting experiences and emotions from which creative inspirations flow. I'm so happy this was a good experience for you.

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    1. Thank you Cindi. Sandra's workshop was one of those experiences of a lifetime...and one I'm looking forward to taking again for it will never be the same twice.

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  14. What a life and art affirming experience that must have been for you. An experience I feel certain you will always remember. And I too have been so impacted by the connections I have made as a result of my blog. It is incredible, really.

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    1. It truly is incredible. Do you think the real inventors of the internet had any idea just how lives would be effected by their actions?

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  15. J- the simplest things exchanged can create such strong and encouraging connections. Go well. B

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    1. I've found that ofttimes, the simplest exchanges have the greatest impact...usually without the giver having any idea. Such was certainly the case here. Enjoy!

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  16. A beautiful and heartaching post Jennifer yet speaking tenderly about your connection with Fiona and how your emotional breaking has/will lead to other firm and wonderful friendships. I think our ability to create art, share art and appreciate it makes us uniquely sensitive people and the bonds one can form with other like minded souls is essential to our wellbeing, and vital to our ability to create. I am so glad you shared this moment, and your thoughts with us so openly. It is not easy to do. x

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    1. So true. So beautifully stated. So...when are we finally going to meet? You're not perhaps planning to stow away in Fiona's luggage this December, are you?

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  17. {{ this is simply the best posting
    for so many reasons, jennifer.

    do not B alarmed
    if you find me stalking this post
    as the words & photos speak to me ...

    love the gentle way you used the fabric--
    AFTER the leaf shapes were cut out--
    to frame the text underneath ...

    lovely }}

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    1. Feel free to stalk. I'm honored that my words and photos could entice you to do so. Thank you.

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  18. My eyes welled while reading this post Jennifer. After taking an unplanned blog break I landed on Barry's post about needing people and then Fiona's post about the tug between hiding and communicating.... and now this post. The Universe is telling me something. I really need the blog world.... writing, reading, sharing and being inspired by you all.

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    1. The Universe is also telling you the blogging world needs you in it. I'd noticed your absence, but had been too caught up in my own life to stop and send a note. For that, you have my most heart felt apology. Welcome back!

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  19. Your beautiful wrapped stones, the art created out of this lovely gift, your genuine heartfelt words that give me shivers and the gifting from you to Pauline, and her gift in return have all added to my enjoyment of the day, and contentment in knowing about the wonderful goodness and gifts in this world. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Oh my....you're very welcome Kim. My thanks to you for being part of this blogging community and for such lovely words.

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