Using Mercury Retrograde to Make Better Art

Using Mercury Retrograde to Make Better Art

Mercury Retrograde is real y’all.  And it went into effect Sunday. I am not gonna lie…I actually LOVE Mercury Retrograde these days. But that was not always the case.

What the retrograde is, as Mercury is winding its way around the sun the view of this on earth puts that orbit askew. For about 3 weeks Mercury looks as if it is moving backwards around the sun. When Mercury goes into retrograde it will feel like nothing is going right. From glitchy to maddening communication and travel, computers are particularly wonky during the MercRX. Just today I have 2 notices of newly broken links on two different posts.

 

Oh and the art frustration– miss read patterns, calculations and general mishaps are bound to happen here. Projects will feel like you are spinning your wheels. UGH!! NOTHING is moving forward without 3 steps back.

 

What is one to do? Hide in the corner with wine and chocolate(although I am not saying that is a bad thing…) turn off the computer for 3 weeks? How can one push through the ass-backwards energy that is totally throwing it all into a spiral. This IS my circus, and damn it, these ARE my monkeys!!!

Fiberista, there absolutely is a way to master the retrograde energy and I promise it is going to make your creative work explode.

I learned this the hard way after scheduling a solo trip to desert for a new teaching gig right as Mercury Retrograde was rearing it’s ugly head. I felt for certain I would have lost luggage, bumped flights, bad classes and an awful time. What I realized was the retrograde is not much about moving backwards, as it is turning inward. It is an invitation to do the inner work, healing, self care, taking inventory and shedding what no longer serves you. What I found during my trip was an invitation to make that trip into a pilgrimage and inner journey finding deep inspirations and so many personal a-ha moments I was not expecting at all. I had so much creative and personal inspirations, found new creative paths and gratitude that had me in tears every nigh of that trip. Put it this way, that was the trip where Debra Lambert sold me my tiny loom and started me art weaving. Those seeds were cultivated doing the inward work during the powerful inward energy of Mercury Retrograde.

So today I am sharing with you 5 critical steps you should take not just to weather this Mercury Retrograde, but to totally rock it for your art.

Step One: Get out the calendar, check the dates
I usually check the farmer’s almanac for the dates. This retrograde runs from April 9 to May 3, 2017. Note any big events, particularly ones relating to travel and communications. Big meeting? teaching gig? Be particularly especially aware of any major contracts to be signed during this time.

Step Two: Get your self care supplies into place.
What are you go-to methods for when the shit hits the fan. Do you have a yoga tape? Do you journal? On second though, grab a journal regardless, we will need this in step four. Mediations are good (here is one I made for you). Into energy clearing? Grab a partner and do clearing trades during the retrograde. That is one of my big supports and it helps to clear the energetic junk as I shed what no longer serves me. Maybe it is just a routine to take a meditative walk, or even a nap. I just want you to have something soothing in place in case aggravations rise and you need to ground yourself until it passed.

Step Three: Move slowly and carefully
I am not saying put down that sweater/weaving/painting. Just don’t feel compelled to push through any frustrations right now. Technical difficulties will happen. Do what you can. Give yourself extra time for travel. Engage in communications at a slower more thoughtful place. Merc RX is notorious for mucking about in these areas. Think of as going with the natural flow. Don’t try to swim against a rip current. You may actually be called to look at a different perspective, be open to a new path or idea. THIS is where Mercury Retrograde can be a powerful ally.

Step Four: Journal the heck out of everything.
You know how I am all about journaling… now is a the best time to do all that inner contemplative work. Write down your dreams, art journal as just play time with your supplies, do morning pages to shake loose anything deep in your subconscious. Paste in inspirations you see from your day…no pressure to do anything with them, this is not the best time to push forward, but absolutely the best time to uncover deep seated ideas.

Step Five: Prepare the ground work for when Mercury goes direct.
Now is a great time to make plans, but not necessarily an awesome time to act on new directions. That is ok, dive deeper into the details, gather materials and schedule time to begin your new ideas. I promise all the inner prep work you do with now during the retrograde energy will explode your work once Mercury goes direct again.

So my question for you Fiberista, do you have any tips for surviving the Mercury Retrograde to share? Leave me a comment below.

 

 

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Today’s art meditation

Today’s art meditation


Usually I sit down to journal with nothing more than some washi tape and maybe a good thin sharpie pen. Today I am adding some props and a little soul work. I didn’t realize I was feeling so anxious, but today found myself officially on anxiety meds. So working some woo with my art journal today using a pendulum for a little energy clearing, some Idaho Blue Spruce to raise my vibration, and some Kambala jasper for peace. 

Studio Awesome Challenge Day 20: Working the Merc Rx for big purging

Studio Awesome Challenge Day 20: Working the Merc Rx for big purging

So Mercury Retrograde (MercRx) started yesterday. No wonder I was able to get so much studio-purge stuff done.

For those not into astrology, Mercury Retrograde happened 3x a year (except for this year where it is happening 4 times….F. you 2016). For the most part it is 3 weeks in length not including the lead up and languishing parts. Technically what this means, where Mercury is in it’s orbit, make it look like it is actually traveling backwards in the sky. When Mercury goes into retrograde things like communications, computer stuff, travel plans will literally feel like they are tops turvy, ass-backwards, going against the grain. It can be a maddening time that generally calls for a little more patience, flexibility and lots of deep breathing.

A couple of years ago I had some unavoidable travel happen during the MercRx. I was heading to Taos for my first big teaching gig in a part of the county I had never been to before. I was traveling alone, had my entire yarn inventory in checked luggage, and had 2 plane changes happening in large unfamiliar airports. I prepared myself to just move slowly, be flexible and solicited some extra support to help me weather what I was so sure to be a tsunami of bad luck. Something else altogether happened while I was on that trip. I got some crazy deep insights into my goals and dreams. I had so many opportunities do really do some introspection and ended up leaving Taos with an entirely new outlook on where I wanted and needed to be in my business as well as my artwork.

You see, it is not that a retrograde is bad, it is just an intense waning of energy. It is yin instead of yang. It is ebb instead of flow. So, rather than fight the energy that feel “backwards”, what worked in Taos was to do my “inner” work. To journal, pay attention to what was bubbling up to be thought through and let go.

So what does this have to do with the studio rehab? For the last 3 weeks I have found myself deep in contemplation over my space and my stuff as it relates to how I want to move forward with my business and my work in 2017. I am letting go of projects and supplies that no longer fits with the work I want to do. I am really getting clear on what I want to do actually is. No wonder yesterday felt like a big step forward when actually it was just a big step deeper.

Joining me in the 31 Day Studio Awesome Challenge?

I am posting progress and info on setting up my studio over the next 31 days. I will not be blitzing my main email list daily…but if you DO want an email notice when daily posts go live, sign up here:

Making Art: The Yin and Yang of Creative Ebb and Flow

Making Art: The Yin and Yang of Creative Ebb and Flow

Think about it for a minute. The world seems to work in a series of opposites. Dark/Light, Good/Evil, Right Brain/Left Brain. Even nature works in cycles through opposites…growth/decay, night/day, high tide/low tide, winter/summer, ebb/flow. I think the Chinese theories of yin and yang is a perfect explanation of how these cycles create such a perfect balance.

Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light).

~ Georges Ohsawa (1931) The Unique Principle

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But what does this have to do with knitting, fiber art, or even creativity all together?

Yin Yang of Creative Work

There are really two parts to making art, the idea forming, and the physical work to bring those ideas into form. And to really get to the core of your true creative self and it’s expression through your work, you really need to spend time in both the yin and yang of your work. You are probably already doing this to some degree. But if you feel a little stuck, it might be because you are a little out of balance in the Yin or Yang of your creative work.

Creative Yin Work

Creative Yin work is where all the subconscious ideas bubble up. It is the act of going within and listening to that inner calling to bring forth your creative voice. For me yin work is art journaling, self care, going to galleries, being in nature. Living life and getting clear on what makes your heart sing. It is all about nurturing, dream time, and often feels like you are not doing the creative work at all. For knitters it is surfing Ravelry, stash acquisitions with no project in mind, it is the initial itch to cast on something new. It is the critical look at projects gone awry.

Creative yin out of balance often looks like frustration with what you are currently working on. Forging ahead, though you are not loving your project. If this sounds like you, step away from your work. Pick up a new medium, like journaling or gardening, or cooking. Something that is self care related. Hang out with people who seem to know you best and can remind you of who you are at your core. Though it seems like you are not doing art, you are really just getting back in touch with your inner voice.

Creative Yang Work

Creative yang work is the physical act of making art. It is growing you body of work, it is about getting shit done, busting through your stash. It is knocking out the WIPs. It is accomplishments. It feels awesome to crank stuff out. It is forward progress. We all tend to want to be in the yang work, and often find ourselves here.

Creative yang our of balance most often looks like the lack of drive to pick up your knitting altogether. Procrastination. Will I ever knit again? Am I any good? It is fear of messing up. It is overthinking a pattern. If this sounds like you, give yourself permission to make something totally wrong. With yarn we are fortunate that mistakes can be frogged back to try again. If you are procrastinating but not out of fear, but just a general not wanting to knit, just pick a yarn you love love love from your most precious stash and make a swatch…just to see how it will knit up. If I had to pick a mantra for Yang imbalance it would be …Just do it. Even if it is in 15 minute increments.

I think we all fall somewhere between Yin and Yang creative at any given time.

I know for me in the last year, I have been on the Yin side of my work most often, and almost to the state of a yang imbalance (ie…not busting through the WIPs for sure).

Where do you think you are right now in the cycles between Yin and Yang?

Share in the comments below. May your creative cycles always be ebbing and flowing.

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Unraveling Your Creativity: a guided meditation for fiber artists

Unraveling Your Creativity: a guided meditation for fiber artists

For the last 15 years, I have heard it over and over again. Knitting is the new yoga. The idea being that the rhytmic motions of knitting would put you back into your body and you become relaxed. I find that the rhythms of fiber work can spark some crazy good creative energy. Even better when I feel that my mind/body/spirt energy is in balance. But keeping your energy in balance is a constant thing. There are probably a million different energy systems you could tap into to achieve that mind/body/spirit balance.

The chakra system is probably one of the most recognized energy system out there. There is a ton of information and meditations to help keep your creative flow in check. Today, I want to focus on chakras as they relate to your creative work

 

The Root Chakra

The root chakra is located in your pelvic bowl. It is a primal and grounding and related to your physical body. It is the physical act of working your craft. It is the history of all who did this craft before you. It is the utility of creating a tangible useful item.

The Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra is located just below your navel in your lower belly. This is known as the chakra where the the core of your creative energy sits. It is all about creation and the inception of ideas that are a part of you. It is related to creating new life and gestation. It is your emotional identity. It is what makes your work unique.

The Solar Plexus Chakra

The solar plexus chakra is located between your sternum and navel. This chakra is all about your will power and inner strength. It is your self confidence. It holds your drive to get shit done. When you are procrastinating, it is usually because this chakra is blocked.

The Heart Chakra

The heart chakra is located in the center of your chest. It is all about pure love. It is what drives us to seek harmony and beauty. I often say work it until you heart sings. What I mean is feeling that sense of harmony in this chakra. It is what is behind all those times when you pick up a skein of awesome yarn and say “Holy crap I love this yarn” In art, it is hands down the best meter for knowing when your piece is done.

The Throat Chakra

The throat chakra is located in the base of you throat. This chakra related to communication. It rules how you are expressing your work,  how you are communicating all the ideas and creations to the outer world. In art it is about finding you visual language. Your throat chakra helps you parse all the info from all your other chakras, and express that work to the world at large.

The Third Eye Chakra

Your third-eye chakra is located in the middle of your forehead. It is about you intuition and you inner vision. It is where your imagination and subconscious hang out together creating visions for your art.

The Crown Chakra

The crown chakra is located on the top of your head. I can only describe this as divine energy. It is the idea that you are a manifestation of what ever higher power you believe in. It relates to your highest potential and how your spirit shows up to do your art as a part of a collective universe. I know this is kind of big on the woo. I just love the idea that each one of us are here to express our work in our own unique way, and we are each just one voice in a sea of many, Each of us, beautifully called to make art.

 

So here is a little creativity booster for you to try.

I have recorded a guided meditation that will step you through each of your chakras to help unravel any creative blocks that you might have stored there. It is a 30ish minute long recording where I walk you through a fibery inspired visualization.

Back ground music: http://www.bensound.com

So my question for you… what is you favorite ways to find a creative balance. Leave me a comment below or share it on the FB page.

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The Woo of Reading Your Yarn Stash

The Woo of Reading Your Yarn Stash

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When I was doing shows, often Mom would help me work the booth. (Thanks Mom!!xo) Pretty early on she made a keen observation that a large majority of customers subconsciously bought yarn in colors that would match what they were wearing that day. Even if they spent a significant amount of time debating over skeins, in the end what they bought usually matched or coordinated with what they were wearing. I noticed this to be true as well when I was working in the yarn shop.

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To me this always made sense. We often wear clothes that subsonsciously will express what we are feeling that day. Yoga pants for comfort, power suit, or even pearls to clutch. For some it can be colors that help amplify or attract a way we want to feel– black when you want to go unnoticed, red when you are feeling powerful, navy when seeking structure. So it makes sense to me that when selecting yarn that you will be using to make a garment (and tapping into your creativity which sits right next to your subconscious in your right brain) that you are seeking more fuel for emotions or feelings we want to express or attract more of. I think stash woo is also not just about colors, but can also be translated into textures and fiber intent as well.

I think the most accurate way to read your stash is to really sit with it and think about what was going on in your life when you bought those skeins, and think about the core emotions of feelings you have when you look at each skein. Pay special attention to the skeins that you felt were a mistake and the skeins you have mad crazy love for. But today I thought I would share with you a few of my personal observations when it comes to reading the woo of my stash.

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Colors

There are thousands of online resources that will guide you in the woo and psychology behind every color imaginable. And for the most part it can be dead on. But honestly sometimes a color can mean something totally different psychologically to someone who might have a direct personal experience with a particular color. Take for instance Black. For  many it can mean elegance as in the little black dress or black tie attire. But for some it hardens back to something goth, anarchist, counter culture. For me black reminds me of how artist would dress in college and at a graphic design conference I attended in the early 90s. For an artist, technically black is a lack of color altoghether. In clothing it leaves a blank slate for personalities to shine, or it can be a means by which one can feel “invisible”. Here are a few of my own color correlations:

Red: vibrant, confidant, wanting to stand out as powerful

Turquoise: playful, soulful, youthful, deep happy emotional

Cobalt blue: Bold but in a calm grounded way, vibrant yet serene and centered

Navy: Structured, historic, patriotic, conservative

Hot pink: like red, but with a girly younger vibe

Pastel pink: princess, graceful like a ballerina, whispering softly

Light Grey: mysterious, ethereal, peaceful, stillness

White: Potential, holy, like a clean slate, also with out color, meant to amplify other colors.

Orange: creativity, energetic, kinetic, exotic

Purple: mysterious, new age, marching to the beat of a different drum

Golden yellow: wisdom gathered over time, aging gracefully, a life well lived

Bright yellow: youthful, happy, bubbly childlike

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Fibers

Fibers can be such an interesting thing to read. It is not only about drape but how the feel can react with our skin and make us feel. Think of how cranky you can get if a hat is too itchy or how comforted we feel snuggled into a soft blanket. Here are a few common fibers and how they translate for me:

Wool: I think depending on the softnes of the fiber count wool cam mean anything from a soft comforting merino, to a solid reliable Romney. Overall wool is warmth,and protection be it a soft feminine kind or a study masculine kind

Silk: timeless elegance. Strength though perfect structure. And depending on the shine for me shiny is like yang energy, matte finish boil is like yin energy.

Acrylic: oh yes acrylic… Common sense, utility, frugal, overcoming adversity

Cotton: movement, unassuming, strength, adaptability, claiming

Rayons: exotic, sustainable, elegance despit humble means

Sparkle: Attention grabbing, must be noticed, vivacious, outgoing

Mohair: ethereal, angelic, holy, faith, strength through belief

Cashmere: cashmere is interesting. While it logically speaks of luxury and wealth because of the expense, to me it’s extreme softness actually seems to speak of a equally extreme need for top of the line comfort. Absolute and complete self care as priority.

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Textures

When reading textures of your stash I think often the texures of the actual yarn can read totally different than the textures of a final garment. Mostly because when knitted up, texture can look entirely different than it might have looked in a single strand of yarn. What textures elements that may have attracted you to a particular skein, might very well get lost once knitted up. This is exactly why I find knitters are most often disappointed in projects made from textured yarn than any other kind of yarn. Here are a few of my personal woo observations of texture both as a yarn and knitted up:

Ribbon: As a yarn ribbon represents flow and elegance there are distinctly two sides which also may play into what could be going on. However, knitted up ribbon creates a fabric that looks thicker than it actually is, it is not as it seems.

Bouclé: As a yarn : bubbly playful, sense of rhythm. As a fabric: thick comforting protection.

Art yarn: As a yarn: needing to be heard, as in telling a visual story (every inch is different), the unknown, unpredictable, surprises. As a fabric: unique, one of a kind,

Plied: As a yarn: working together, community, family. As a fabric: everyday ordinary, rhythms and routines that makes life smooth

Singles: As a yarn: stillness, slowing down to notice life and details. As a fabric: finding messages through stillness

Reading the woo of your stash is such a great way to tap into you subsconious. It is a way to see where you are emotionally. But it is also a way to actively translate you work into art.

Applying these elements consciously can create a visual language that of will give a voice to your work that is as unique as your creative mind.

So my question for you is, what is one element of your current WIP (Work In Progress) that is absolutely expressing what you are feeling (or were feeling when you began). I would love to read about it in the comments below or over on the FB page(especially if you would like to post some pictures! You know how I love to see what you are working on right now) I will share mine as well this evening. If you like this post please please please pin it or share it using the social media links above and below this post.

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