There we were, lying belly down on brown shag carpet, in our corduroys and striped velour shirts. Our toe heads hovered, with spit dripping down our chins, and an eager index finger positioned above the red circle of the RECORD button. Then with a nervous inhale, the button clicked down. As the spools of tape slowly wound and unwound, we expelled a violent cacophony of juicy fart noises into the recorder. Our bodies shook with laughter as our radio show just took a turn for the blue.
I would give anything for those tapes of our childhood radio show -- even though I am fairly certain it was just 90% fart noises and 10% giggles. It was so much fun to create a show - a production - even if our audience was just us.
After those experimental years of our radio show, I spent the rest of my youth consuming the music that radio played until my college years when I became indoctrinated into the meaningful broadcasting of NPR. Oh, how wonderful do become well informed to the happenings in the world without having to read about it. Furthermore, there was wit and humor - and yes, maybe even some fart noises from the Cart Talk brothers. RIP Tom Magliozzi.
As a young mother, the radio was on constantly as I nursed, cooked dinner, and wiped butts. And somewhere in there, about 10 years ago, maybe, radio went rogue in the form of podcasts! I was an early adopter. I could listen to shows when I want, wherever I want. It was like having my funny friends in my pocket.
And podcasting has since exploded. There is a podcast or two or ten for everything, and they are an amazing way to learn while doing other things. As someone who works with her hands, I can expand my horizons while I work--peak into communities and points of view that I would not have otherwise. Here are just some of the audio journeys I have gone on: science, feminist film theory, cultural criticism, politics, world cup history, hollywood gossip, scripted fiction, wacky game shows, entrepreneurship, and fake internet judgements. Podcasts have so enriched my life and my every day.
So, it shouldn't surprise you that I have harbored a secret (or maybe not so secret) desire to have my own podcast. And while I have dabbled in some audio recordings of family members telling their stories, I wasn’t ready to take the leap until this year!
So, without further ado, here is my new podcast: The Art We Make
The Art We Make Podcast is a podquest to determine why we make art and what art does for us! In each episode I will either sit down with an artist or maker to find out how their creativity is expressed and what impact it has on their life, or I will be sharing my philosophy of creativity in solo shows.
How Can you Listen to the Art We Make Podcast?
The podcast will be released on Tuesdays, but as of today you can listen to the teaser and my first solo show, which explains my arrival at this podcast topic and name.
Links to the shows will be posted on the website here, but be sure to subscribe to the Art We Make Podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app (i.e. itunes ) and join me in my podquest to find out more about value of creativity and making!
If you or someone you know would like to be on the show, please email me email@example.com I look forward to hearing from you!
Listen to The Art We Make Podcast!
Hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process."
With her recent Netflix special and interview with Marc Maron on his WTF Podcast, I’ve been in a Brene Brown wormhole again.
And something new stuck out to me in her discussion with regard to hope. Hope often feels flimsy and Pollyanna-ish. Hope is sometimes characterized as a weak emotion -especially in our calcified world full of bitter cynicism. We are trying not to hope because it hurts too much when things don’t work out the way we’d like.
But hope is exactly what we need right now, because it will allow for the change we seek. Despair, the opposite of hope, will only get us one thing, more despair.
So, Brown says “no” to Hope as an emotion and “yes” to Hope as a cognitive process. Hope requires plans, goals, steps, and indeed failures. But hope insists that there is opportunity for alternatives. There is opportunity for progression.
I would like to articulate that Creativity is also part of this practice of hope. Creativity allows for envisioning the alternatives and problem solving for them.
What is the outcome we desire?
Let’s hope for that! Let’s have room in our hearts for what we desire, then envision it, and work for it.
Now what steps will get us closer to our desire?
As someone raised by Dominican Nuns, I have long been reminded of the importance of hope.
The Dominican motto is Spes Unica, only hope. Hope was also the only thing left in Pandora’s box after all the evil was released.
Let’s be more hopeful and progressive in our personal and collective lives, and let’s use our creativity to dream the world that we want to live in and creativity in solving to get there. It’s our only hope for change!
I’ve been thinking about deadlines lately and creativity - and I wonder does having the pressure of a deadline spur creative success or does it hamper it?
Sometimes we need a deadline to motivate action, and when we are truly down the the wire, when there is no time to hem and haw, action and adrenaline can become a beautiful cocktail that leads success ---- sometimes. Have the pressure of time can mute perfectionism, which sometimes works to inhibit the creative process. There’s just no time for it, when you have to get the thing made.
Not to brag, but I watch Stephen Colbert clips pretty regularly - and for his Late Show, on Thursdays, they film two episodes in one day. How is it that they can produce twice as much content in the time and space that they Monday through Wednesday produce only one? Well, I am sure there is a great deal of planning and working ahead. I.e. I am guessing some of the the second show is actually getting made during Monday through Thursday, but I have also heard Colbert mention that there is an intensity to those days of filming that is certainly infused with adrenaline. There is no second guessing. His staff just has to perform, has to write the joke, and move on. He has said that this fast pace of working makes you focus and nail it the first time.
Creativity under pressure can work - but it’s hard to maintain that level of adrenaline all of the time. That much adrenaline can be unhealthy, and I think ultimately it can lead to sloppiness and mistakes, with no time to fix. Also, even if the quality of work is maintained, it will lead to burnout.
I like having an excess of time that allows me to make those mistakes upfront - first thing. I like having time to clear the cobwebs - to get the bad ideas out in order to make room for the better ideas.
I guess I have a certain amount of performance anxiety, but there is also a benefit to having more time for a project. Having more time allows a project to breathe - allows for the ideas to come in the shower or while driving. As a project evolves, as you evolve, there is adequate time to rewrite and rethink everything.
But that kind of time can sometimes be unproductive when our first choices and intuition are often the correct one.
Word on the street is that the current cast of Queer Eye, the group of five, talented men, was the first choice, but there was a lot of time and effort spent affirming that instinctual choice. Sometimes we spend a lot of time ruling out other options when we ultimately go with our initial choices.
How do we know when to trust our first impulses and when should we push pass them and on to better and more creative ideas?
I am not sure if I know the answer to that, and mostly there are deadlines and outside forces that limit and shape our time and choices so that we are left with whatever we get.
Adam Grant, a self-proclaimed precrastinator, speaks of the benefits of some procrastination. He believes that there is a preferred balance in starting fast and finishing slow. That it is best to give yourself enough time to evolve ideas by getting them started as soon as possible but let them marinate for a while before finishing.
What do you think?
Do you need a lot of time to be your creative best?
Or do you work best under pressure?
So, I have an inner boyscout who fantasizes about making hand carved birds or small figurines, and a few years ago, I bought myself a carving knife and some balsa wood for my birthday. I fiddled with it trying to carve some fish. They were a bit clumsy, and I never got very far with it.
Then, while living at Spring Bird, Pat passed along a pocket knife (that I had given him while we were dating) to Abe who seems most at home at the fire pit, stripping long pieces of bark off of a stick with his foot propped up on a stone. I am jealous of his presence, his ability to pass the time guilt-free- languidly - to fall into a calm rhythm. While I am busily tackling projects of all sorts and stripes, I ache to just stop and sit and be with a stick.
Sticks are all around us at Spring Bird. Someone once asked me what I collect, and I think she didn’t believe me when I answered, “sticks”. Certain ones call to me, and I pick them up to display.
Well, I made some time recently to perch myself on top of my picnic table with knife in hand to peel back the bark on some sticks. If I couldn’t carve an intricate fish or bird figurine, maybe I could carve a snake. The idea of carving a snake from a stick makes me laugh. Can it even be called carving? In addition to crudely shaping a head and a tail, I wood burned geometric patterns. I loved all of it, and love my slithering snakes. They remind me of playing with a wooden snake as a child. Then, I found snakes to be slightly frightening, but I have grown to really appreciate their symbolism as a sign of rebirth, feminine power, and creativity. I want to reclaim snakes as a symbol of the goddess and not as evil.
BREAKING NEWS! I wrote this blog a couple of days ago. Then, tonight, my cats caught a snake! They were whipping it around. It showed its pink mouth at them. My Mom, who has been eager to see a snake at Spring Bird captured it all with her phone. It was very exciting! We think it is a young snake. I am guessing it is a type of garter snake, but it definitely looks different than the other greener ones that I have seen here. We kept the cats away from it, and eventually it slithered back into the brush. Can anyone identify it? Check out the slideshow below:
Check out the “carving” process below. Maybe this will inspire your inner boyscout?
Snakes For Sale!
And snakes are currently for sale at Spring Bird Cottage! $5 each!!!
Carving Snake Sticks!
Clean the bark off of sticks.
We don't make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”
I can't think of anything more rewarding than being able to express yourself to others through painting.
All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.”
This is your world
Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you're willing to practice, you can do.”
The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.”
Mix up a little more shadow color here, then we can put us a little shadow right in there. See how you can move things around? You have unlimited power on this canvas -- can literally, literally move mountains”
Let’s build a happy little cloud.
I am so pleased and excited to announce this year's Spring Bird Artist Residency Recipient, Dawn Bertuca!
Dawn's application spoke so well to the spirit of this residency, which supports artists, writers, and makers needing to find time away from busy lives.
Furthermore her work as a nature photographer connects so well to the mission of Spring Bird which seeks to connect humans with nature, to notice the patterns and changes in the seasons, and to use our creativity to build the world that we imagine.
During her residency, Dawn hopes to begin a new series of macro photography that will look at the patterns in nature. The residency will allow her to have time and space to capture just the right image!
I am so excited to see what develops (pun intended), and I think our founder, Torkel Korling, would be pleased that our first recipient is a photographer like him.
I posted some of Dawn's photographs's below, but follow her work and see more here:
Instagram: @dawnbertuca and @everybeautifuldayDB
Thank you to all who applied, your projects were inspiring!
I gotta stop feeling invisible
And start feeling invincible
Hate feeling impossible
The hardest thing is believing in your dreams
-From Invincible by Anime
I am talking about how razor companies began telling women that our body hair was gross and unhygienic in order to sell razors to the entire population.
In the same way, self-help can create a feeling that you are inadequate - fractured in some way. Then the one who points out our inadequacies miraculously offers a solution.
But most often self-help comes from a genuine place of wanting to help people live the lives we want to live.
And because this genre is often targeted to and used by women -it is discounted as less important or less significant work.
I hate this, too.
And I think a reason why women often are attracted to self-help is that we have lived entire lives being told we weren't fully human.
We were wrong from the start.
We have been taught to be self-reflective; self-critical from birth to get better so that we might matter to someone or for someone not for ourselves.
So, what if we worked to love ourselves - to matter to ourselves? What if we helped ourselves to be the person we want to be - for ourselves?
What if we show up for ourselves on our own terms and believe in that version of ourselves?
What would we look like? What would we do with our time? What would our lives be for?
PS The Above Quote is from a song used in the soundtrack of Spiderman into the Spiderverse. If you have not see this movie now! And Paddington 2!!! Both will help you to feel full of life and inspiration!
Pat began the Forest Garden by defining its perimeter. It’s important to have strong defenses against hungry deer. He built a thick wall from the cutting down of honeysuckles, an invasive weed shrub. If the deer can’t see where they can land, they won’t jump. So far, it’s been pretty effective at keeping away our dear, deer friends.
In his first round of planting which included pawpaws, strawberries, raspberries, perennial onions, herbs and flowers, he planted a couple of rows of willow. The intention for the willow was to develop living hedges. Now after a couple of years getting established, our little shoots have grown into beautiful, long branches.
And after getting inspired from the likes of Mary Reynolds and Monty Don, we really want our gardens to embody a sense of magic and wonder. Our gardens have the potential to give us so much more than their fruits. We want our forest garden, in particular, to be a place for Spring Bird guests to experience and connect with the cultivation of food and beauty.
So, getting back to the willow, springtime is the best season to work with willow because the plants are still dormant and cuttings will have the whole growing season to become established. Over Spring Break, as a family, we decided to harvest some of the willow to make living willow arches.
It’s my intention that these two arches will be a focal point and add a level of sacredness to the garden. I hope the birds will enjoy them, as well. Now all I need is a bird bath to complement them!
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.
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