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Showing posts from September, 2013

Changing a Culture Within

How do you influence the culture around you? I admit, I have purchased items, watched movies and listened to music simply because it is Christian. Why? Because I thought that supporting fellow Christians was the best thing to do, or because I knew that Christian fill-in-the-blank would be morally uplifting, or because I thought I could help change culture. Sometimes, I didn't want to think about what I read, heard, watched or purchased.

Culture reflects the values that people hold dear; art both reflects and develops those values. Consider the impact that Uncle Tom's Cabin had on the American population before the American Civil War. The book both reflected the Abolitionist movement's program as well as inspired others to do more. Charles Dickens and William Hogarth also influenced their culture through novels and paintings.

Within the conservative Christian culture I grew up around, there are two battles taking place: first, the desire to see the culture changed; second,…

Random Updates

This post is just going to be a simple update since I've had several things happen this week. Nothing major - no life-altering events, just random ones.

I finished my first all wool warp. Random, yes, but it was something that I have wanted to weave for awhile. The two photos below show the pattern and a close-up of the first sample. Eventually, I continued the pattern throughout the warp, but I made two more samples before that. The first sample followed the pattern with a slight change in threading. Originally, I had a log cabin weave in one portion with 1 purple 1 white. I changed it to 1 white 1 purple thereby creating an interesting secondary pattern at the corners surrounding the central purple block.

Yesterday, I received the edited version of Shamrocks of Stone my first adult historical mystery. It's due out in March. The main character, Orfhlait  nĂ­ Sorcer (pronounced OR la nee SOR ca) is a fifteenth century Irish woman forced into the convent against her will. Like …

Little Bits of Fabric

What to do when the fabric doesn't work? Or worse, you can't part with it?! I have an art fair coming up the last weekend of September, so yesterday I worked on organizing items for the fair to see what I needed and/or could take. I had a lone piece of fabric left over from my sari ribbon experiment, but didn't know what to do with it.

Besides, it was just too pretty to give away.

I did the only logical thing and made it into a wall-hanging to enjoy whenever I looked at it. Granted, I have the same material in a purse, but that isn't an everyday enjoyment. Currently, I use another purse. Wall-hangings, however, can be put on a wall and enjoyed day-in and day-out. I showed the hanging to my mom yesterday, but she remained unimpressed. Mom isn't much for the geometric designs like I am. The following photographs are closer shots of each portion of the hanging beginning with the top:
I used a 1/2 inch dowel for support the hanging. It's a portion of the same woo…

Culture Changers

There lies within the hearts of most artists, no matter their field, the desire to change the world. I think very few artists ever wake up in the morning saying that they want to live a mediocre life with not much to show. Nope, we want to be the next fill-in-the-blank and do great things.

Clonmacnoise, Ireland 
Artists and non-artists see the culture as being molded by the artists, but unfortunately, non-artists don't realize just how much their influence remains in the culture. I grew up in a conservative Protestant world, and one of the constant refrains playing in the background is 'take back the culture.' This refrain echoes through our halls and classrooms (I also attended conservative protestant schools and college), yet there seemed to be an emphasis on the artists to make that change. The musically gifted were encouraged to use their gifts for Christ; the same was true for the dramatically gifted. Those who were writers or artists were often ... left behind. The…

Appleumpkin 2013

September is always one of the busiest times for me because of Appleumpkin in Wyoming NY at the end of the month. This will be the first year that I will offer a book signing! Besides having copies of Azure Maris to sell, I will also have journals, shawls, and purses. I look forward to seeing all who come by to visit.

Those Big Events

Yesterday was the twelfth anniversary of 9-11; obviously, here in the United States the event is remembered more than in other countries. I was a sophomore in college during the 2001 attack. I remember where I first heard about the attacks, and the concerns that I had about my family. I didn't know if there were attacks happening in other portions of my state or not. I actually live closer to Niagara Falls than to NYC, but it didn't matter that day.

Old Fort Niagara at War of 1812 Encampment  The United States is a young country - older than some, younger than many. Even some of the countries that we are older than are actually older culturally. Think of places like Syria and Israel which were both formed after the United States came into existence, but have a longer cultural heritage that Americans can only dream of having. The US is currently in a season of several major anniversaries: War of 1812, American Civil War, and the upcoming World War 1 anniversaries (which, obviou…

Gather Up My Tears

When I was younger, one of my favorite book series was the Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard. Mandie, a spunky 13-year-old, solved mysteries in her Appalachian home at the turn of the 20th century. One of Mandie's favorite verses was Psalms 56:3: What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. Later on in the same chapter (verse 8) the Psalmist continues: You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?
There are those days in which, like my dog, you want to curl up under a blanket, hide your face from the world, and just let life be. It's just too hard to go through with the next step. That might come from the death of a loved one - or watching a loved one fight cancer. It might come from the end of a dream or the end of a long relationship. The fight might be your own: cancer, amputation, or even the regular onset of migraines and cramps. Tears come in many shapes and sizes: joyous occasions and sorrowful occasions, yet they come into each…

First of the Month Review

Sometimes, an overview book is required for research; sometimes it is required to provide a larger picture of events. Finding a good overview book tends to be a difficult proposition especially in certain fields such as religious history. One of the books that I recently discovered fills in a missing portion of my research in Church history.

The author of this book has also written one concerning the Reformation which I have yet to read, but I look forward to the other book because I have enjoyed this one so far (I'm only half-way through Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years). I first borrowed the book from my local library, but in the process of trying not to underline important facts or ideas, I decided to purchase the book therefore the one in the photograph is my personal book.

The book begins with the years before Christ's birth and life on Earth. Providing the context of the world, MacCulloch begins with Greece, expands into Rome and Israel to give a grounding f…

Learning Your Pet Words

One of the things that an editor (or really anyone else who reads your manuscripts) will discover are your pet words and phrases. Sometimes these pet words are part of a message, sometimes they are simply a nervous habit. While I was in college, we had regular speakers who had pet words - and everyone counted the time the word was used.

Like our own pets (case in point, our two lab mixes in the photograph above), the pet words seem to be everywhere. In Azure Lights, my pet phrase became 'breathed deeply' or 'took a deep breath' when the character was about ready to speak. I remember taking some of the words out (after all, you can't really breath deeply underwater if you're a mermaid and use gills), but I didn't catch all of them.

If the words are used as a character's distinguishing mark that can be a good thing, but often times it is lazy, such as in my case. Sometimes, you catch yourself through the editing process; sometimes you don't. Having …

Home Again

After a few days journey to Branson MO, I have finally returned home. Over my life, I have visited several states, and just added another one to the list as well as seeing the St. Louis Arch for the first time in my life.

While traveling, you have a chance to see another part of the country, gain ideas, and generate new concepts. Some of the more interesting places to find information is to look at fabric for ideas (odd, yes, to use already made fabric as an inspiration for more fabric, but it works). Of course, talking to people is another means to expand the idea aspect.

I had a wonderful conversation with a woman in Branson about selling items. It provided some ideas and new inspiration. Over the next few months you will see more products from the ideas; I'll explain the process as I go.

An update on Azure Lights: I received the edited version of the book, and will begin the process of clearing up confusion with the book.