….

Hello my friends. Summer is so hot. Andy and I are reminiscing about winter. Classic, isn’t it? But summer has been fun: last weekend we found a secluded pool at the base of a little waterfall in the middle of the woods. I had come to think that there was nowhere outside of an air conditioner or a freezer that was any cooler than ninety-five degrees, but here the water was nearly frigid. A truly unexpected gift.

My summer inspiration has largely been inwardly focused. Maybe the heat is helping to cook ideas in my restless brain, but I have also been enjoying the opportunities that summer has provided for travel and exploration. My trip to France was in May, but I want to share a few photos for my buddies who aren’t on Facebook,which is where I usually showcase the majority of my photos. (If you are on the FB, and haven’t done so already, please add Rockpile as a friend.)

In showing some photographs from the trip to friends and family, I had the thought that many of these photos might look like they could have been taken anywhere. My next thought, though, was how they testify to one of the most remarkable aspects of the trip for me, which was how enjoyable it was in all of its simplicity, and its calm and slow wonder.

So there you have it. My advice to my buddies is to skip some rocks in a river and wash your faces in a cool mountain waterfall. Lots of love.

I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been in France

Being away from home always offers much helpful insight into my everyday life and habits. While I don’t have any specific resolutions at this point, I am ready to be more mindful of the way that I treat myself and spend my time. After all, I have often observed that my life in Asheville feels very much like what people these days call a staycation, full of beautiful, meaningful, and fun experiences in just about every day. I missed my attic apartment, my friends, my kitties, my studio!

When Andy and I were in New York staying with my sister, Anna, before driving back to North Carolina, I showed her some photos from our trip. This one was taken in the outdoor bathroom of our favorite camp site, in Uzes. When I described it to Anna, she said, “Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong country?”

I think I might be happy to move to France, as long as I could bottle up my life and bring it with me.

I have to say that even after we saw the Mediterranean, looked down on a castle from the top of a mountain that we climbed all by ourselves, and ate lots of French cherries, bread, and cheese, the drive into Asheville was pretty damn breathtaking and even more exciting. Cause I’m a sucker for my life.

.!.!.!.

Considering that I exercise my creativity primarily for the feelings of joy and spiritual fulfillment that it brings me , I generally try to take it easy on myself when I don’t feel like making stuff. Every so often, I go to my studio and just don’t feel altogether excited about making books. And I find that if I put too much pressure on myself, chances are that I’ll make a clumsy mistake (and in the precise art of bookbinding, every little error shows) or make something that I don’t like that much.

So last weekend when I didn’t want to make books, I made some paint blobs instead. I spent a few hours playing around with gouache and colorful paper, and I felt entirely satisfied.


I thought that most of them ended up looking like bugs…perfect for Spring!

making meaning

If you have known me for a little while, you may have heard me talk about one of my most favorite classes from my school daze: Strategies of Chance. In this lovely class, we were instructed to engage in some fairly random activities, such as making top ten lists of anything we thought of, or doing random searches on internet search engines. And then, we made things that were somehow inspired or provoked by the randomness. (The above print was the first piece I made in the class, and my first ever screenprint)

I can become overly preoccupied with meaning. I have difficulty working at jobs wherein I cannot find meaningful substance. That said, I found my job at a coffee shop extremely meaningful for a number of reasons, my spiritual love of caffeine and delight in random conversations with strangers (I did meet my sweetheart through an amusing chance encounter at this job) among them. Over the years I have come to understand that, for me, the most significant way in which to find meaning is to make it. And so, now, that’s what I do with my creative energy. I make things that are beautiful enough to me to inspire me to make more nice looking things. And I love to sell the things that I make, releasing them into the world to grow and change, or maybe just stay the same.  What they do after they leave my hands doesn’t matter so much; what matters is that they are gone, and their absence makes room for more creating.

When I get stuck in a creative rut, I love to reminisce about my old favorite class. I trust that the world is always random, and, hence, about to inspire me just around the corner. How amazing is that?

oops!

I’ve forgotten to update my blog for the past month. What have I been doing? Well…I have been making quite a few books, but also attempting to take it easy, as it feels like the holidaze has only recently faded.

The winter in Asheville has been pretty snowy, and as I hear more and more stories of winter woe from friends who are sick of the cold, I’ve been noticing that I myself have not altogether detested the frigid airs (I must interject, however, that the “cold” here isn’t really too cold, and also that on Friday the temps will be in the 70’s). All the same, I wondered why the winter hasn’t been getting to me like it has in past years.

I have a lot to be grateful for. As a wise teacher said to my yoga class this morning (in paraphrase), we generally have about five or six things that are going wrong in our lives, and we spend a lot of time and energy thinking about those things, all the while failing to acknowledge the millions of things that are going right.

This thought hit home for me. When I am in a place of gratitude, I can stand in awe of fellow drivers obeying traffic laws that in turn keep me safe on the road. I can nearly dis-believe my luck when I experience the pure joy of hearing a beautiful baby’s laugh. And the gift of creativity! This, on top of having food to eat, good health, and a warm attic to share with my sweetheart and two sweet kitties.

This winter, snow days have all but forced me to slow down. And I need the reminder to take it easy, to let my mind and body rest. What a gift! Spring is coming (with a time change in only 3 weeks!) and I’m looking forward to longer days, of course, and sunny afternoons on the porch, and taking walks without shivers. But today I’m also grateful for winter’s gifts, coming as surprising, much needed lessons.

winter photo

it seems like people in north carolina generally takes pictures when it snows. above is my sister, anna, in her fancy dress, showing us her new animal scarf (looks almost alive).

the colder it gets outside, the warmer it gets in this little attic. this picture of the kitties makes me think of warmer days to come.