Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Art of Retreating

The word retreat often has a negative connotation in U.S. culture. We are focused on moving forward, not backward. Retreating when faced with a difficult situation may be seen as a sign of weakness or even cowardice. Retreating on one's formerly held viewpoint may result in being labeled a "flip-flopper". One who chooses to retreat from society and spend time in seclusion may be seen as eccentric or even downright weird.

Perhaps retreating should be considered a sign of strength and wisdom. Taking time to prepare for a situation, to contemplate a course of action or to evaluate other viewpoints can bring great insight. Resist the urge to act and allow the mind to settle into the quiet. Allow the answers from deep within to spring forth.

And so in this spirit, I am taking two months off for a personal retreat. The trip, at it's conception, was to be an art retreat. An opportunity to be by myself and create lots of art.  I set numerous lofty goals for my time. But now I've discovered that what I really need is time to contemplate bigger issues - where is my work going, how do I want to move forward, what kind of life do I want in the next 10 years?  I still plan to create art, but I've let go of some of those early goals.  I plan to indulge my whims and let the days unfold as they will.

I don't expect to be blogging during that time.  I'll have limited access to the internet (ahhhhh!) and little desire to keep up with blogs and social media.This is time for re-connecting - with nature, with my innermost desires, with my intuition and with my creativity. It is also a time for renewal (my word for 2013).

Wishing you all a happy and creative summer!  May you do some retreating of your own.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Want to Give Ice Dyeing a Try?

Ice dyeing with MX dyes produces beautiful patterns and vibrant color. It's a great substitute for snow dyeing and you can do it any time of year. What's so special about it, you ask? As the ice melts, it drips onto the cloth and dilutes the dye on some parts of the fabric.  This (along with the way the fabric is folded, scrunched and manipulated) contributes to the patterning.  It is especially interesting when you use mixed colors rather than pure colors.  They tend to break down into their component parts, resulting in rich color combinations.

Interested?  Join me next weekend, June 15 and 16th for an ice dyeing class in San Antonio. We'll explore several approaches to ice dyeing and you will leave with at least 4 yards of beautifully dyed fabric that can be used as-is for clothing, quilting or sewing projects or as the first layer for additional surface design techniques. (View photos of ice-dyed fabric.)

For more information or to sign up, visit the Southwest School of Art website.

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