Friday, January 23, 2015

French Fridays - French Lessons

I studied French in high school for all of a semester, but in college, I took two years of French. As a writing major, I was required to study a second language, and French seemed appropriate. After all, I enjoyed Early American History, the Renaissance, and art - three subjects which included a lot of French.

Keeping up my French has been harder, though. One of the things I discovered was a website called Duolingo which makes keeping up a language (or learning a new one) fun. If you're looking for a free language course, check it out.

Yet, I've also learned that keeping up the language skills only goes so far. After all, language learning like Duolingo helps me learn French vocabulary and sentence structure, but it doesn't always help with everyday language.

At this point, though there are several ways around it. One of the easiest ways for me is reading the French news. With so much going on currently about Charlie Hebdo, I generally have an idea what's being said without necessarily understanding word for word.

On the other hand, subjects which aren't covered in American news tend to be both harder and more helpful since I must use my French skills. I find it fascinating what makes the headlines around the world.

Next on the list, of course is speaking skills. Since I'll be in France for a month, I'll have to talk, but I prefer to have some vocabulary behind me.

Once again, if you want to support me, go here to TEAM's website, and type in Bridgette Britton under missionary.

Friday, January 16, 2015

French Fridays

Bonjour! My French is growing again as I prepare to travel to France in May. Beginning today, I'm going to dedicate Fridays to my upcoming trip. I had debated about whether to create a new blog or to keep it here, and decided it was easier and practical to write here.

As I write this entry, I'm currently listening to a French music album (Blonde) by Canadian artist, Coeur de Pirate. Check it out on YouTube.

I'll be heading to France for a month, beginning in the middle of May. I'm excited about the trip, and look forward to meeting people. Part of the journey is to connect with French missionaries to see if my art can be utilized in France.

I'll be going with a group called TEAM which has centers in Paris and the Alps region. It's a group I've known about for a few years, and when I saw they had Creative Arts missionaries, I took a chance to see if I could go.

Why art, you ask? Why not?

One answer to the art question is simply because I use art to express my own faith whether through my books or through my fiber arts. Another answer would focus on the many avenues art provides. For many people, entering a church is out of the question. How do you reach people who have been hurt by the Church? How do you reach people who have no desire to learn about Christianity? The easiest spot is to meet them halfway.

Art, through its many avenues, can remove the Christian part, thereby focus on universal elements such as love, anger and redemption. We all understand these elements whether through a love story, a story about revenge, or the redemption of a character. You find it in films, books and songs.

For me, art remains the way I express the frustrations and joys I find in the everyday. Often, characters in books explore issues I wish to explore, but for whatever reason cannot. I may not draw cartoons or create symphonies, but I write, and I weave. Through these avenues, I explore darkness and hope.

In a world increasingly full of questions, I realize I don't have the answers, but often more questions. To be honest, many of the "Christian" answers leave me empty and dissatisfied. Maybe, through art, we can learn from one another and find an answer to all our questions.

If you want to support me, you can donate here and type in Britton, Bridgette as the missionary. The link takes you to TEAM's website.

It will be interesting to see how this journey progresses, and I hope many of you join me on it. I know it will open new avenues, and new opportunities, not to mention new frustrations and sorrows. It's life, and without the bad, the good isn't as sweet.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year!

While I realize that it's a week into the new year, I figured I would wish you all a Happy New Year.

Do any of you have any goals you want to do this year? Visit another country? Write a novel? I enjoy setting goals for myself. Sometimes it's simply to finish the novel I'm currently on, while other times it's organizing what I need to work on.

What I've found is having a big goal - finish the novel - is best completed by having a series of little goals - write for an hour every night. Another thing, which is probably the hardest for me, is sending out the finished novel. Usually editing is fun, but there comes a point when you have to follow through.

So, here's to your goals for this year. I hope you succeed with them.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Adventures in Weaving and Writing

I really had no idea how to describe this, but adventures seemed to be the best. Over on my weaving blog, Bryony Studio, I focused on weaving a new shirt. Yes, you read that right - weaving a new shirt. Actually it turned out well (check out the site tomorrow for the image).

On the other hand, I'm working on new books while I also work on Azure and Orfhlait. Normally, I have a couple ideas rolling around my head while I work on other novels. The most recent short novel (by short, I mean less than 200 pages) has a fashion designer as the main character.

Added to all of this, I'm preparing to head to France in May for a mission's trip. One of the things I've always known is God can use the gifts He's given us to glorify Himself. Art, whether through weaving or writing, is one way I've been blessed. Part of the reason why I'm going to France is to see if the Lord wants me to live in France, using my artistic gifts as a means to show people God loves them.

I haven't decided if I want to make a separate blog for those interested in my journeys, or if I will just keep it here. When the decision is made in the next week or so, I'll make certain to let everyone know.

If you're in the Buffalo-Niagara area on Saturday, December 20, come visit me at Bender's Christian Bookstore on Sheridan Drive in Williamsville. I'll be there signing copies of my books from noon until 3 PM.

Until then, I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Corcra Baile

Corcra Baile means Purple House, which I thought an appropriate title for the quilt.

Corcra Baile Quilt
As you can see, I tend to be eclectic in my quilt designs. I have little use for the ones with hundreds of little pieces to sew together. While the quilts are beautiful, they don't really intrigue me like the big block quilts do.

It boils down to a lack of patience - first to cut out the pieces then sew them together. I prefer to be over and done with the quilts at the end of the day, not still arguing with them a week later.

It is, for me, and interesting style and design to see how pieces of fabric can flow together in seemingly mysterious ways.

The Corcra Baile Quilt is available for purchase here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Book Signing

On Saturday, 20 December, I'll be at Bender's Christian Bookstore in Williamsville NY for a book signing. I'll have copies of all three books, but the focus will be on Shamrocks of Stone. The information (including Bender's address) is down below.

Hope to see you there.

When: Saturday, December 20 2014
Where: Bender's Christian Bookstore
             8550 Sheridan Drive
             Williamsville NY
Time: Noon - 3 PM

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review - December

I think this is one of my favorite books. Part of it is from the photographs, partly because it is about Ireland, and partly because it involves weaving.

Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland is about a group called Taipeis Gael in County Donegal. The book is substantial, heavy with beautiful photographs, some in black and white, many in color. It's really an ode to the weavers in County Donegal.

Tapestry weaving is not indigenous to Ireland. Something I had to remind myself while I wrote Shamrocks of Stone. This book, however, is part of the reason I often set contemporary weavers in Ireland (and to be honest, I love Ireland).

Some of my favorite sections include the gallery of tapestries as well as the section on natural dyes found in the Isles. It's a section I used for another series I'm writing.

If you like Ireland or weaving this is one of those books to purchase. It's a good book to flip through occasionally.

Note: the book cover links you to Amazon where I receive a small commission when you click through. It's a way you can support your local writer.