Recipe for Creativity

It’s pretty common when I’m teaching a class to have one or two women before hand tell me they haven’t created in years. Marriage, babies, careers and life just sort of took over. They tell me stories of how they used to make all sorts of things, they went to art school and yet they can’t seem to get those creative juices flowing again. They need a jumpstart.

And to be honest, who hasn’t had a period of time or two when the creative juices have seemed to have all but dried up? Whether you’re in a creative rut or the creativity is flowing freely, there are a few things that can help spark inspiration or to help keep it going.

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Creative ingredients:

:: gather a few favorite treasures [currently for me that includes a teapot, sugar bowl, felted flowers and a cutting board]

:: camera [it can be your iPhone or even a simple point and shoot]

:: head towards a place in your home that has some beautiful natural light. There’s a corner in my studio where the afternoon light draws me in. It’s simply too soft and pretty to miss out on.

Creative direction:

:: arrange, rearrange and maybe even gather a few extra items as you begin to set up your shoot.  Try shooting from different angles, adding and subtracting from what you’ve gathered. Go with what you’re feeling, have fun and just let that creative energy free flow. Let go of perfection and expectations so you can create  and play from that place that just feels what it is you need.

The Happy Month of May

1. happy month of may.books.farm table studioThe month of May is a happy one for me. It’s the month I was born, the weather is perfect and it seems like the whole world is blooming. During this time, I try to savor the moments and days the best I can while honoring another journey around the sun with some of my favorite forms of self-care.

A stack of books to fuel my mind and soul is on the top of the list. This year it’s all about putting as much of myself into my artwork and creative life as I can. Connecting with the words of other warrior women on how they do it is like sitting down at the farm table with some friends to share a cup of tea to have a truly meaningful chat.

2.happy month of may.snail mail.farm table studioBeing surrounded by what you love is a powerful remedy for whatever it is that may ail you. And snail mail is definitely on the list of things I just love [I’m talking the sweet cards from family and friends – not the everyday junk]. Each piece of birthday mail that comes gets read, cherished, displayed, and enjoyed for at least a good week. It really is the little things.

3. happy month of may.felted macarons.farm table studioIn between reading, there will be a couple of photography dates with myself and one with my sweetie, to walk a farm and at least one public garden.  This may sound pretty self-indulgent to some, but when I take small pockets of time to give back to my mind and soul, it makes a difference in how I feel, think and give back in my day-to-day life. There really is no greater gift.

 

 

Empowering Ourselves

visionboard

Working part-time, running an art business and tending to our everyday lives (grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry – and then repeat), can all feel a bit like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. And I know I’m not the only one out there feeling like this. Having a schedule with routines that I can rely on has helped tremendously, but that’s just how I get it done. I get asked on a regular basis, how do you do it all? When do you find the time?

The time is there, its carefully managed, but the key for me is how I care for myself. In between the daily routines of things that have to get done, building in time for self-care is crucial. And when I don’t, well…I’m sure my husband can tell you all about what that looks like.

Self care comes in many forms, and vision boards is just one of them. If you’re longing for change of any kind,  feeling off-balance or in a funk, find a class, a teacher or even a YouTube video to guide you through the process. And if you’re local, I’d love for you to join me on Thursday, May 7th for my next class, Empowering Ourselves.

Class Description: What is your heart longing for? Maybe it’s to travel more, have a greater connection with others locally or even globally, or maybe it’s to make a difference. Whatever it may be, you have the power to bring it to fruition. All you need are the right tools. On May 7th from 6:30-8:30 pm join well-known artist, Nicole Levy as she teaches ‘Empowering Ourselves‘ using the art of vision boards. During this impactful two hours, Nicole will guide you on how to listen to your intuitive voice in order to create a vision board that not only reflects your heart’s desire, but will help guide you to your amazing future self. Email info@iccralbany.org to learn more or to sign up.

 

 

Albany Art Room

1.FarmTableStudio_Albany Art Room

If anyone local is looking to take a last-minute mixed media collage class, join me at the Albany Art Room the next two Thursday nights (April 23 & 30). Mixed media collage is the perfect type of medium for those looking to explore the world of paint, paper, glue and found objects without any rules! The sky is the limit when it comes to mixed media. Anything truly goes.

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What I love about teaching is bringing out a new-found creative outlet for someone, seeing their canvas turn into their own masterpiece and even hearing from my students afterwards about how much they learned and how their art is helping them manifest new things in their lives.

When we unwind and let our creative intuition have a space, it’s like having a conversation with our higher self on the canvas. Listening to that voice will guide the way. I compare it to having one of those dreams where everything becomes more clear and decisions can be made more easily.

Class Description: Remember the days of creating art? Where playing and making went hand in hand. As an adult it can be harder and harder to let go, play and create without self-judgment and fear. This beginner class is about exploring mixed media collage and creating from the place of your inner child – the one whose art inhibitions run wild! Learn how to create beautiful layers of paint and paper along with other items such as fabric and found items, all in a relaxed and fun environment. In two, two-hour classes, you’ll learn the basics of mixed media collage. Email karen@albanyartroom.com to register.

New Space

Farm Table Studio_New Space

For those of you who followed me over from my old blog, thank you! And a big, warm welcome to everyone stopping by to say hi in my new space. This past year I took a bit of a blogging break and detox in order to stop and listen to my heart. It needed some tending, not due to anything serious, but just a little TLC along with some focusing on what I really want to make happen in life.

1. Farm Table Studio_new space

During this time, my home studio has moved and I have a new website and blogging space. I’m so excited about this fresh new start. I’ve also begun regularly teaching art classes again. And we’ve made some big decisions as a family, but more on that in a later post.

2. Farm Table Studio_New Space

For now, welcome to Farm Table Studio, where you’ll find regular inspiration, recipes for creativity and self-care, glimpses into my creative life and world as well as many opportunities to connect and create alongside me.

Brimfield

Brimfield. Another year. I can’t even tell you at this point how many times I’ve been. The trips have blended into one another. And the stuff! It all starts to look the same, but yet I keep going back. Why? The crowds are manageable, the weather cool and comfortable and there is an endless and wild amount of things to look at and poke through. Plus it’s just fun to be outside for the day walking about. 

Arriving is always a bit overwhelming and at some point you just have to dig right in. My husband is better at this than I am. I tend to circle the field we’re in and then go back and try to focus in on something. At first, if it wasn’t a collection of artfully displayed items, then forget it. There was no focus. It was a serious case of sensory overload. Ha! 

But eventually I find my groove, something catches my eye and I fall into a rhythm all my own. At this point I start to wander off with purpose. Eyeing this and that.

Although there is a good part of the day where I’m still unsure of why I came and if there is anything I even really want.

Some things call my name, but with no real desire to own it. Just to glance at it for a while, touch it, and take lots of pictures. The guy selling these Union Jack chairs got a little chuckle out of my snapping photos of these from every angle. That’s truly where a big part of the joy is. Just being. Creating a little bit of art among art…

…and drooling over some of the same things year after year. Tents like this always draw me in. It’s a guaranteed stop. 

And then I ask, ‘Honey, can you make me one of these?’ The poor man! These clocks are there every year and are so overpriced ($5k and it’s brand new and the quality is so so), but I look anyway. The right one, will come across my path, at the right time. I’ve learned there is no hurry. 

By the end of the day I was loopy, laughing and plum tired. This Superman tricked me three times — each time out of the corner of my eye I thought he was real. When we drive away, I can’t help but think who buys all these bizarre things, not to mention the person who drives around the country trying to sell them. Oh, the wonders of Brimfield.

Sweet May Days

May is the sweetest month. Filled to the brim with goodness. It also happens to be my birthday month, which helps. The past few days have been overflowing with moments of deep contentment. 

The loveliest cards have come by hand and mail, bringing tears to my eyes. There’s a small stack of books that I am treasuring and enjoying alongside freshly brewed tea and homemade hazelnut spread (with all raw ingredients to boot). 

And don’t even get me started on all the blooms. I am obsessed. 

A Tale of Three Bunnies

There’s nothing like being startled first thing on a lazy Sunday morning by your husband banging on the outside of the window. I was relieved to see he was in one piece and not bleeding, but then was equally startled to see bunnies hopping around every which way. Said husband, accidentally disturbed a nest. After rebuilding the nest, settling in three out of the five bunnies that couldn’t be out hopped, we anxiously awaited dusk and their mama to return. She came, but never entered the nest to feed them. 
After a call to the bunny hotline [yes, they have such a thing], a sleepless night and a 6am nest check, these furry babies needed some attention in the form of food. We scooped them up, brought them in and nursed them with droppers of pedialyte – per the experts. 
We are simply not people who in a situation like this, let Mother Nature take it’s course. And it’s in moments like these I am reminded that our souls are meant to for one another. But I digress.  
This is when the the tale of three bunnies turned into planes, trains and automobiles. As luck would have it, the rehab lady was in town, next door to where I work!!!!! These little guys were packed back up with a hot water bottle in their box and went in the car, the bus, up 28 flights in the elevator and lived under my desk [and through the fire alarm going off – of all days] before we headed back down to meet the rehab lady in the building next door. 
We even managed to charm three security guys and two state troopers [and by charm I mean I teared up, held them tight and wouldn’t let anyone touch my box of bunnies – yes we were a sight] into letting us into the building without them being sent through the X-Ray conveyor belt. All this only to find out the rehab lady, in preparing for her expo for the day, forgot the formula she promised to bring [insert the mother of all sighs]. 
My nerves, patience and strength were tested in many ways today, but it was probably nothing compared to what my furry babies – for a day – went through. I was determined to give them a fighting chance. And in case you are wondering, the rehab lady made an agreeable plan on how to care for them at which point I reluctantly let them go off into the world. Walking away, my heart broke and my inner five year old burst into tears. Let’s just say the security guys didn’t make eye contact after that.  
Moral of the story? I promise there is one. When you moms out there talk about wearing your hearts on your sleeve or chest when you have a baby, I can now ever so slightly understand what this is like. It takes a brave, beautiful soul to lovingly raise a child. 
A happy, albeit early, Mother’s Day to all you moms out there.