Keep Track

I made a special little notebook cover, for a very special friend. She requested Paisleys, turquoise and purple.  Freedom within constraints. 

This notebook was made for Midori Traveler notebooks, in the passport size. Custom inquiries are welcome, drop me a note- crbabbie {at} gmail.com or the contact for in the 'About' tab above.

 

(Big thanks to C, for taking these photos for me.  I was too excited when I finished and sent the cover off without taking any photos! We also added a tab to the bottom, to better hold the pen.)

Stepping back

'You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes, and they are right too.' 

Anais Nin

This snippet has been rolling around my head and heart a lot lately (the rest of it is lovely too). You see, for months I've been writing and preparing to step onto the stage at TedX Charlotte. As I got closer to the day of the final audition, the more I fought myself. You see, I knew I wasn't ready, but I so wanted to be ready, to do it all and do it well. I was tromping through my days wearing a blindfold  and a broken flashlight (aka: denial to the extreme). 

Tears were shed, drafts written and rewritten as I crammed my own words into my head. I sent in a few versions for coaching and last week got the feedback that I needed, a stepping stone away from speaking. It was direct and encouraging feedback, which is all everyone wants, right? It also spoke to my heart, and made me realize that I was not ready, nor could I be in the time left. 

After much soul (and schedule) searching, I decided to let it go. To remove this huge, terrifying thing from my plate.  My decision has been met with such kindness, from the coordinators and fellow speakers, to the few friends I've told already, and especially by my family. 

It took a few days, but I'm feeling better too, more solid in my skin. I'm proud of myself for stepping back, and am looking forward to my other projects with renewed zeal. 

My talk will take form in some other manner, I believe in what I have to say, and know it needs to be shared. The right venue will be found, of that I'm sure. 

In the mean time, may I offer some hard-learned advice?  Something I hope I remember more often in my own life. 

Be kind to yourself, you don't have to do everything all the time. 

 

much love to you.

The Journey

I stumbled across this poem again, which always seems to find me at the right moment. Perhaps the moment is right for you, too. 

"The Journey”
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations —
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Simple as breathing

I have a series of shawls I'm still working on.  There's a few in the studio, a couple who have found their homes early.  

Luxurious fibers- silk, linen, bamboo rayon, cotton, hemp. Lightweight with a touch of ethereal calm.  Each creamy white shawl is accented with one color.  A color I hand dye, gently given from my muse. Creating a pattern that is akin to ikat; if those patterns were studied under a microscope.  

Made as meditation, the shawls are woven from the heart. Sung over with well wishes and reminders to breathe. Love woven through every inch of fabric. Fringe for fiddling with. 

Drape it over your shoulders in meetings, wrap it around you at weddings, throw it around your neck as you run out the door, carry it in your totebag.  Versatile, strong and soft, these shawls will walk with you, ready for anything.  

I hope to make more soon, to complete the first round in this series.  Stay tuned.  If they're calling to you, let me know and I will make one for you alone. 

Keeping it Clean

Inspired by practical beauty, I've been weaving towels. For the kitchen, or the bathroom, your pick!  They have been traveling to the summer markets and have been quite a hit!  This color story is limited to what's in the shop now.    

Absorbent 100% Cotton, handwoven in a classic twill fabric.  Hand stitched hem and hanging loop. Ready to clean spills, dry your veggies and add some handmade fancy to your kitchen

Special discount for you dear readers: CottonTowel6.  Save $6 on all towels. 

Stay tuned for the next color story, I'll be warping them up soon! 

Digital Housekeeping

I work in different mediums, always have, and always will.  My studio is roughly organized by medium, depending on how busy I am.  In general the workbench is for leather and beading, the desk for painting and yarn winding, the comfy chair for knitting and dreaming. The loom is the only thing that's dedicated space to one activity, though I'll admit to draping patterns over her frame on occasion.  My supplies all have places they belong in (whether or not I put them back in that spot when I'm done is another story altogether).  

In my online home, here, I've been adding gallery after gallery, showcasing what I've finished in each of these, putting them together in families.  My tabs were getting out of hand, cluttering this space in a way that was starting to feel icky, overcrowded.  So I finally took some time to find a solution, the Galleries tab now houses my artistic families.  You'll find photos of cocoons, weaving, leather and images I'm proud of under this tab. 

All together, but out of eachother's hair, the perfect sibling balance. 

I hope you enjoy perusing through my finished thoughts. 

Much love to you. 

Always Chasing the Light

I had to stop weaving to try and capture the light pouring into the studio this weekend.  

A new set of towels is in the making. Hoping to have them pulled together in the next few weeks. 100% cotton, random zigzags, hanging loops... I have to say, they're lovely. 

Glory, Glory

This brilliantly warm cocoon is dripping with beads, its weight spins it slowly around as it holds space. Space for dreams, for creativity, for love of making and life. 

Made for my mentor/art-sister/friend.  To hang in her studio. 

Keep up your shining, dear heart, I adore you. 

Wool/silk yarn, felted, dyed and embellished by hand. Glass beads, citrine, copper, cotton. 

For the curious: original weight was approximately 0.4 ounces, final weight- 3.6 ounces! This one is up there in heft for my cocoons, I loved every single stitch of it! 

Sheridan, Wyoming

First, we met in Montana, in the most stunning lightning storms I've seen in ages, perhaps ever.  In the morning we drove down the winding, gentle hills into Sheridan and slipped into King's Saddlery museum. Al Stohlman's workbench is traveling, and we were lucky enough to see it. 

Then we took a lecture from the one and only Gordon Andrus, and proceeded to add to our tool list. His knowledge was shared freely, the work below is his.  (The notes pictured here were taken over the shoulder of a fellow classmate, too pretty to pass up capturing). 

The next day we shopped and talked and shopped and talked.  I was blown away by the kindness of our fellow artisans and craftspeople. Everyone was generous in time and knowledge. We ate a beautiful lunch and followed a road until it turned to gravel, until it turned to dirt. We stopped and breathed in the fresh air, marveled at the birds. We stuck hands in cold creek water and took the stones that called our names. It was magic.

My tulip purse was graded fairly, with feedback I agreed with.  She has a home now, which makes me so happy!  

 I'm looking forward to next year already. 

Creatively Thinking

I've been rolling the concept and definition of creativity around my head for a good while. Talking about it to friends, reading what scientists have to say about it, absorbing the work of my fellow makers. Holding definitions, assumptions and conclusions up to the light, seeing where it pushes through. The passionate response I experienced caught me off guard.  As a response to my surprise, it's time to dive deeper, to study, to report back on what I'm exploring.  

This is a first of many rough drafts, I hope it inspires you to look at your world with a new light. 


We are a creative species.  Everyone has potential to be creative, and before you tell me you're not an 'artist'- that is not what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about a broader, truer definition of the word. One that encompasses new thoughts, being curious, problem solving.  Our current society has narrowed the vision of creativity down to such a precise point, we aren't allowed to give ourselves full credit to be and become the curious, expressive creatures we are born to be. 

Are you still thinking "but I don't make art, Cat, how can you say I'm creative?", let me say this:

I don't care if you can't paint a portrait, write a sonnet that makes your lover weep, or pluck melodies from a keyboard. Can you cook? Or garden, or program computers? Do you take photos that make you smile? Are you a scientist, an avid reader, a parent? Hell, do you doodle in the margins of your meeting notes?

Do you solve problems?

Did you say yes to any of the above? Did you say yes to something I missed?

Well, then-

You are creative.

We need to open the doors of creativity.

No- we need to bust it down, and flatten the walls. We are better individuals and a better community when we use that part of the brain. Like our muscles, creativity atrophies without use, and it can be reignited through practice. Find something that makes you think, something that makes you want to act. It can be anything, just go make something, write something new down, look at a problem from a different angle, take a class.

When you do new things (and my definition of New is just as broad as the one for Creativity), you use your brain in a different way than when you perform a known task. Our brains need to be challenged, creatively as well as logically.  What are you good at? Can you challenge yourself to become better, or to simplify your method? 

See what happened right there? I asked you to look at something old from a new angle. Did you? Then you just activated your creativity. Bam. 

Now, go do it again. Try to touch base with your creative self every day. Even if it's just for a few moments, blow off the dust and start making friends with it. It's there, you have to find what lights it up, and keep the flame burning.  You can do it. I know it. 


Whew! I'd love to hear what you think, in the comments below or in an email if you're feeling shy or have more to say than a comment section can handle.  We can make the world a better place, if we try new ways to solve problems and take time to play. 

Thank you for reading. Now, go do something new. 

Stone Cuff

Leather, hand-cabbed stone (99% sure it's parrot wing jasper), waxed thread, snap.

Two hands, and time.

Reserved for Teresa

Luminus Cave

For the one who helps me shine.

Who finds the thread for me to pull.

The one who interprets my reluctance and hands me the hammer to break down the walls no longer needed.

All my love, always.

 

Gratitude Project Part V

For a dear, far away friend

To remind her of her Artist Heart.

Keep exploring.

 

Love