{hodgepodge #2 is here!}


Actually, it was here Saturday, but I have been so busy, I haven’t gotten a chance to write anything until now. Well, I could have written something then, but it probably would have consisted of grunts and the occasional headdesk as I waded through 27 pages of a spreadsheet trying to get emails out. Which they’re mostly out, except if your partner forgot to put in their last name, and then you’ll get your email when they email me back and voila! Swap officially out into the hands of the people.

When I sat down to compile the material for Hodgepodge #2, I didn’t have a clear plan other than a collection of journal pages from two journals and a few ideas as to where I could go. But after awhile, a theme and purpose grew between those pages like weeds through cracked concrete — that rigid purpose we seem to give things cracking under the pressure of true creative inspiration.

What came out was an exploration of my adolescent phase, that rough, transitory period between first learning of art and excitedly copying the “masters” and the later phase where your own creative inspiration pours freely onto the page.

From the introduction:

Everyone knows the difficulties we encounter during our teen years, no matter where you’re from or your current age. You’ve gone through life as a child, always depending on your parents for love, protection, and guidance. Think of them as those artists you admired when you started, the ones you copied in order to get your footing, take your first steps. They’re there to teach you the ropes of life, give you advice, teach you how to make a PB&J sandwich and ride a bike and swim at the neighborhood pool.

These pages are raw. Like you’d expect of a teenager’s diary, there’s angst. Happy days. Doodles. To-do lists. Life was mirroring this transitional period in my life. There are essays to help guide you, exercises to boost your creativity, and a hand to hold when you need to laugh or have a good cry.

This isn’t a phase you go through once — you will continuously circle around as you continue to explore, and it is no less painful the second or third or forth time you go through this. It’s a shedding of the old and the birth of the new; a messy, painful, exciting process that plunges you into the dark Unknown of your own soul, and it’s up to YOU to get back out of the labyrinth, emerging as a reborn artist.

Writing for and working on this issue really brought that idea home for me. Lately, I’ve been going through a transitory phase myself and the darkness has really frightened me. Yes, I have faith that I’ll come out the other side (mostly) intact, but the shedding is the hardest, when you circle through again, because I thought I’d found my identity as an artist. Instead of going from replicating the work you admire, this second pass has me shedding my own work I’ve grown to love. I was comfortable and — this is a dangerous place to be in — complacent.

I never really thought of that word much until my brother said, “You can be comfortable with recovery, but when you get complacent, that’s when trouble happens.”

Look at the definition:

complacency - A feeling of contented self-satisfaction, especially when unaware of upcoming trouble; An instance of self-satisfaction

Looking at it, you wouldn’t THINK there’s anything wrong with that, but if you give it a minute, you’ll realize that there’s no progress, no discovery, no exploration or play or fun. You’re just going along in the same old way because it’s comfortable.

But I digress. This is material for Hodgepodge #4! But it’s something I’m living right now, and working on this issue has helped clarify and take away a bit of the Unknown I’ve been walking through.

I created the cover for this one by hand, doing the kind of art I’ve been drawn to, a twist on my usual style, new techniques and materials employed in different ways. I love that I’m constantly experimenting, going to myself to play and discover rather than looking up the answers online.

I've experimented and found what colors work in the background and which don’t...

I posted this shot on Facebook over the weekend. I love seeing what materials are around when my favorite artists create, so I thought I’d take a similar shot! There’s, of course, stuff hidden from view, but most of what I was using was captured.

And huzzah! The darning foot for my machine! This has made all the difference when it comes to freehand stitching, and my fingers are now safe from being poked full of holes. ;) This is quickly becoming one of my favorite techniques. 

I sat down with the intention of creating a cover, and ended up making a piece of art. I just want to sit down and make one of these every day; there’s so much coming out when I work like this, and I can’t figure out why it’s easier for me to express myself on canvas “pages” instead of in my journal. But that’s okay — we create where we’re drawn to and let the Divine take care of the rest.

If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of Hodgepodge #2, head on over to the Shoppe for an instant download. You can also grab #1 as well as the three-parter of Page by Page.

As for me, I’m off on another adventure out in the cooling end-of-the-summer air and talking trees...