Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Everyday surprises

Every day art comes in many guises.
Is it necessary to arrange the pillows on my bed each morning? No.
my springtime bed: ikea duvet cover, crocheted pink pear, fabulous quilted fabric pillow by amazing fabric artist Leslie Schelly, repurposed bath room mat pillow sham, thrift store fleur de lis shams

Do I derive a moment's pleasure and delight in the luscious spring colors suffused in light streaming through the west window? Absolutely yes!

Broiled eggplant slices was part of dinner a few nights ago. After salting and rinsing them I did what I've done dozens of times - laid them out in a single layer on a tea towel, folded the towel over them, and blotted them dry. Usual every day stuff.

But tonight, when I opened the leaf green cotton towel - voila - there was the imprint of 20 perfect, damp, dark green circles. An instant and ephemeral print.
Double take.... Smile.

A thrill of delight experienced, then tucked away. The impression of the visual imagery, yes, but also the precious moment of realization that delight is anywhere and everywhere we notice it.
Every day.

A favorite quote of mine that says it best:
If our experience of being alive is the most important thing then what we pay attention to becomes a critical choice. Eric Booth

Joann Tomsche 5/4/11

Thursday, March 24, 2011

enter the world of the blog

Ok, so first things first: I admit that this is a whole new world for me, reading blogs in general, and also writing blogs specifically.
The thing is there are so many interesting things out there that people have to say. Brilliant. Wise. Insightful. Humorous. Inspiring. Thought-provoking. And that's just from today. From 2 posts.
But here's the other thing: I DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ A FREAKING NOVELLA.
About anything really. Life for me is a real time activity. Doing real things. The time spent at my computer isn't the real stuff that I crave.
Am I missing something? Maybe. But if I am I'm blissfully unaware.
So, I commit, here and now, to short posts. Thank you for reading my rant.
Amen. Time to go make some art.

Joann Tomsche 3/24/11

my big mistake

"The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy."
That's a quote from Malcolm Forbes. Now I don't really know anything about Malcolm Forbes, other than that he was a publisher.
But the sadness I feel at reading this sentence tells me that I'm one of the people he's talking about.

For quite a few years working as a graphic designer did satisfy my soul.
Then I got this overwhelming desire to make art that satisfied me, rather than a client, so I quit.
I've made art and sold art while I've raised my kids, and for a large portion of that time I had the support of a spouse. Now that I'm still raising my kids as a single mother I find myself at the "day job". I've never really had what I considered to be a day job before - I've always worked in the arts - and the disconnect I feel from my aspired-to creative life is, on some days, numbing.

I ask myself on a daily basis - how do I keep doing this, day to day?

But really, the question I need to be asking is "How do I shift to doing what I love for a living?"

Doing something creative each day helps. Practicing yoga helps. Meditating helps. Using my art as therapy helps. Airing things out with friends and co-workers helps. It's not all the way there but it's a start. And the cool thing is that the more honest I am, the more my mind opens up to new possibilities.
Do I want to make a major move? Could I consider it? Can I imagine and accept feeling totally supported by the universe in my desires?
I don't have the answers yet. But I do have some ideas, and some new openings in my brain that are receptive to other ideas - and that's a start. Stay tuned.

Joann Tomsche 3/24/11

Monday, March 7, 2011

V stitch (dbl,ch,dbl)

Women on both sides of my family taught me needle crafts starting at a young age. Embroidery, crocheting, sewing - those all stuck. Grandma Anna attempted to teach me to knit at age 8 but I didn't quite grasp it. Maybe I'll try again soon - 42 years later.
My ancestral women also tatted, cross stitched, rug hooked and quilted. No wonder I so enjoy fabric and thread and yarns. But whereas they were very careful and meticulous, I'm really attracted to loose threads and mismatched fibers.
I've been crocheting a blanket from random left overs and donated yarns - a real mashup of fiber contents and I love it! The V stitch (dbl,ch,dbl) is probably really common, but my friend and amazing needle craft artisan Leslie gave it to me.  My friend Heather who's a number person says she does V stitch with a count to 7: double crochet (1, 2, 3) chain (4) double crochet (5, 6, 7). I'm more visual so I'm always glancing down to see if I got the entire stitch.
I've been noticing crocheting a repetitive pattern is a meditation of sorts for me. Breath in, breath out, pay attention to the stitch. Then, just like in meditation, my mind wanders: I hope my son gets home safely. (dbl, ch, dbl) What's the next step in getting my divorce finalized? (dbl, ch, dbl) Oh! What a beautiful patina on that wood! (dbl,ch,dbl) Always back to the stitch.
I like the idea that I'm stitching these questions and worries and random thoughts into the fabric. As if this colorful mashup really is my life in a physical form all it's own that is unpredictable but always, always my own expression and really so beautiful.

Joann Tomsche 3/7/11

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

live your dream

My day job puts me in contact with people all over the world. Literally.
I help people decide upon the details of custom metal products, like pins and coins, that my company makes. The interesting thing about this is seeing all the amazing businesses and volunteer organizations that want to express thanks and to show recognition in some tangible way - every day.

So one of my colleagues told me the other day about a young military officer he works with who, when asked how he's doing, always responds with: "Living the dream".

Wow. That really made me pause and ask myself, "Am I living the dream?" Which was closely followed by "Do I remember what the dream is?"

So I sat down and wrote out words I associate with THE DREAM: freedom, color, simple, curiosity, experience, discovery, travel, vibrancy, creativity, beauty, light.

Now I am setting about finding tangible everyday ways to experience each of these and more.

Because I may not have THE DREAM fully fleshed out, but with each piece I experience daily I am living it a moment at a time. And really isn't that what life comes to - a collection of moments strung together. Hopefully moments that fill in pieces of the dream.

Here's what I think: you deserve every good thing your mind can imagine and your heart can desire.

We all do.

What does it mean to live your dream?

Joann Tomsche 2/16/11

Monday, February 14, 2011

mid life panic attack

Wow, it's already well into February of the new year.
My checklist goes like this:
Kids doing great. check.
Great man who adores me. check.
Amazing community of friends. check.
Bills paid up to date. check.

Then it gets sketchy:
House clean, or if not clean then at least organized. Not so much.
Studio ready for work at a moment's notice. Sort of.
Art vision worked on today. Nope.

Here's when I get panicked about the speed of life. I'm not getting any younger here people! Honestly, I don't care so much about the house. As long as we're not eating off that floor does it really matter if there are a bunch of dust bunnies everywhere? Not to me.

Studio ready. Well that is important because the more inviting it is to work, then the more likely I am to, well, work. Even if it's for short bursts.

And the art vision - experiencing art as a part of my life every day. Well, I guess that's all in how I look at it. Am I surrounded by art? Yes. Am I appreciating said art? Sometimes. Am I making the art? Not lately.

I want to make the making a living part and the making art part be one and the same thing. There. I said it.

Joann Tomsche 2/14/11

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

the current spark

So there I am, looking at 2 perfectly wonderful collage pieces well underway on the studio work table. And not feeling too inspired by either one.
I have the urge to rise up off the surface - to go 3D. But these aren't really going there - not today anyway. Wow, and I loved them when they began, still do - sort of.
But here's the thing - rather than go to the chatter brain who says "finish what you've started" I go to the current spark of inspiration instead. Always a wiser move I've found.
crocheted pear January 2011

So 3D it is.
Texture + fiber + curves = a crocheted pear.
Well in my case it does anyway. And it makes me smile.

What does that equation equal for you I wonder?
What's your current spark?

Joann Tomsche 2/1/11

Monday, January 31, 2011

the art dilemma

All week I say to myself - tomorrow, or tonight or this weekend I'll get to the studio and work on something new. Since my studio is my dining room (thank you family) it's not like I need to actually go to get there. After a full week at the day job served with assorted sides of kids, cooking, volunteering, basketball games, workouts, house cleaning and grocery shopping, just where the heck is the time and focus, not to mention inspiration, supposed to come from. And I do mean not to mention inspiration, because fantastically, there always seems to be some sort of idea percolating below the surface of my conscious busy mind that announces itself - quietly or dramatically - once I stop and allow a space. Isn't creativity grand that way?

Joann Tomsche 1/31/11