Dec. 28th, 2015 11:53 am
labelleizzy: (write first edit later)
hi everyone.
I have been feeling some guilt over not visiting LJ properly in weeks and I have found that the best way to manage feeling guilty is to do so head on.
Busy making pottery and holidaying, being social. Need to spend a little while getting caught up on what y'all have been up to.

Completely bailed on [ profile] therealljidol. Not gonna lie. Too much otherstuff going on in meatspace.

y'all are loved and I wish you all the winter holiday blessings and all the good stuff in the new year.

Be well, I'll be back in a bit.

labelleizzy: (moon)
I had plans for doing a ritual for the full moon this month, especially as it coincided with Lammas/Lughnasaad, but the timing didnt work out to do so with a friend, and I did not feel like doing so alone this time.

Instead my friend and i were Makers.
We made a prototype for a costume piece that we both liked.

It was its own kind of celebration, really. And quite appropriate for both a Full Moon and Lammas... We Manifested a dream, took on a challenge, saw it through, together. She is a joy to work with, eager and interested and fine with me being the boss. She's impressed with my relatively basic sewing skills, which is both sweet and gratifying. (I cook like I sew, not fancy but gets the job done.)

Actually Getting Stuff DONE was so gratifying, felt like a harbinger of other good things for the future.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
That bowl turned out pretty good!
So did the rest of my stuff!
This bowl, below, was the one that just opened up easily and made itself. It's turned out with a really thick base and walls. It's sturdy, not delicate. (Like me.)
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
His hands are strong, blunt and square.
He works in silence, for the most part, letting his actions do the instructing, with bare hints of where students should watch and learn.
From a rounded, spinning lump of clay he pulls a graceful mug shape, smooth and even with thin sides.

The Beginner's class gasps when, after separating the beautiful shape from the wheel, he deliberately slices it in half to show the walls of the mug in cross-section, so thin and even with beautiful lines. We exchange glances. It's so EASY for him, after thirty years of practicing his craft, and we know we will struggle to make items that don't either collapse or else have inch thick walls and bottoms.

Several weeks later, I have enough practice on the wheel to only feel mild envy instead of shock when he demonstrates a technique so far beyond my skills that it might as well be rocket science. Still, I watch in awe as he shapes the clay with skill and ease. I notice my mouth is hanging open in admiration and I just don't care.

Grace, skill, and subtle elegance. Clay worked into every fold of his fingers. I want to be able to do that. I will need many more classes and dozens of hours of practice.

Half-accidentally, I pull a beautiful bowl from a lump of clay. I'm not sure how it happened, because I wasn't thinking. Rather, I was living into the feel of the clay beneath my hands, utterly engaged in the slow and mesmerizing process as it changed and opened up.

Just for that moment, in the best possible way, I lost myself.

The second bowl is more of a struggle. The third bowl stretches and warps and collapses.

The following week we are meant to trim our pots, which means to carve away unnecessary thickness at the base and to shape the "foot", or the pedestal our bowls or mugs rest upon.
The first part of the process is upending our greenware and recentering them on the wheel, then we anchor the piece with evenly placed blobs of soft clay. Then, we start the wheel spinning, and carve away at the underside of the piece to form a pleasing and functional shape.

The first of two bowls that had survived the previous week, the bowl I had lost myself in making, trimmed up like a dream.
The second bowl first refused to center, then once I finally anchored it, spun out of control off the medium-speed wheel at the first touch of the carving tool. Of course this knocks a big ugly chip into the rim. Of course the clay is dense and too dry, and so was the anchor clay.

With help from a teacher, we re-center and re-anchor the bowl, and he lends me his own (properly sharp, with a lovely graceful line) trimming tool. What a difference proper tools make! I trim and smooth the base, until again I am looking glumly at the chipped rim.

My friend suggests I even the chip out so it looks intentional, and carve out more chips for a kind of flower edge. I try this, but I do not love the effect. It is part of the learning process, though, so I plan to take even this sad example through the glazing process.

A week later, I am glazing all my recent work. And now? The weird little too-hard wanna-be flower bowl has called for an experimental double-dip glaze with a drizzle of contrasting color across the overlap place.

I have my fingers crossed, because these pieces haven't been fired yet, but I think in the end this may turn out to be my favorite piece from taking this six week class.
Not because it was easy, but because it was part of the process.
Making one, I was in the zone; making two, I struggled, then I failed in the making of the third.
With this specific piece? At first I didn't love it, then I was actively angry at it, then I tried to redeem it, then I found a means whereby it could possibly be beautiful.

Working to transform raw or broken things into beauty is what I've strived for my whole life.
Starting with myself.

I don't claim to understand the concept of shibusa (2) or how to determine if something is shibumi (3) or not.

But the older I get, and the more often I try new ways of making things, the more I come to appreciate the beauty in the process, in the struggle, to create. I'm coming to appreciate subtle and nuanced, where once I envied bold and blatant. And I also have come to understand there can be beauty in the imperfections. The creative process, the struggle to find meaning, my life itself are filled with little things gone wrong (and right). What we expect to happen can turn out to be something totally different instead, that may also be wonderful. This is true in life as well as in art.

Redemption, transformation, metamorphosis, and growth come both in big gestures and in small details.
I am not my teacher, with his steady hands, his years of experience, and his refined technique. Still, in my state of Beginner's Mind, I can create something unexpectedly beautiful, or beautifully unexpected.

(1) from
(2) from
(3) from

This has been my reentry to [ profile] therealljidol for week 25 (hello again!), and the topic I chose was "shibusa."
labelleizzy: (thinky thoughts)
I am an artist.
Yeah, and HOW many years has it taken me of Making Things to be willing to say that? Too damn many.
Too many years of judging myself harshly, of getting in my own way, of "saving" art supplies and fabric and my time, energy and engagement for "some other time", some time when I was "worthy" of using them.

*shaking head*

Recently I grokked that destruction is a necessary part of creation.
I must destroy the beautiful clean lines of that shrink wrapped notebook if I am to use the notebook.
To make something useful from that gorgeous kelly green silk, I have to cut into it, not leave it stored up in a box in the garage.
If I cut that t-shirt to fit me, and sew it back together? It will look SO much better on me than if I schlump around in a Men's XXL, no matter how cute the graphic.

I have to tear the paper. I have to write on the canvas. I have to stick my hands in the wet clay and PUSH. I have to get out the hammer and the anvil, the beads and the copper and the pliers and the wire cutters, put my hands on the project and CHANGE THINGS.

I'm going to have to learn and relearn this for the rest of my life, aren't I?
Because it's so easy to sit on my ass and just absorb how amazing everything is, without making my own mark.

Chop wood, carry water. Every day. Enlightenment isn't a one time deal. It's invented and created and realized over and over again.
Because I'm human, and I fall asleep sometimes into life but I don't WANNA walk through the world asleep!

I have to keep waking myself up. It's not easy to stay awake to this truth right now.
I'm largely contented, and let's face it: my life is really simple, as Scalzi says, I'm playing in Easy Mode, despite the ways I am weird and not mainstream.

so here is my goal: do one thing everyday that makes me uncomfortable. Destroy something. Make something new from the remains. Speak truth somewhere that it needs spoken. LEAVE MY HOUSE more often, god can I get out of my comfort zone more, please? I won't learn very damn much staying at home reading and writing on the computer. Poke at people until they agree to do things with me.

Take some damn risks. Do something new. Open up wider. Say yes more often, solicit chances to say yes more often.

Say Yes. Get my hands dirty. Get off my ass and MOVE.

Writing is one of my art forms, that's why I've been loving this writing competition so damn much. Someone ELSE is kicking my ass by giving out prompts that I have to challenge myself to meet. It has forced me to try thinking and writing about totally new things, and I've been taking the chance to write in totally new styles as well.

Make the thing. Do the thing. Wake up, wake up WAKE UP!
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
"Fair Weather" by Dorothy Parker

This level reach of blue is not my sea;
Here are sweet waters, pretty in the sun,
Whose quiet ripples meet obediently
A marked and measured line, one after one.
This is no sea of mine. that humbly laves
Untroubled sands, spread glittering and warm.
I have a need of wilder, crueler waves;
They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

So let a love beat over me again,
Loosing its million desperate breakers wide;
Sudden and terrible to rise and wane;
Roaring the heavens apart; a reckless tide
That casts upon the heart, as it recedes,
Splinters and spars and dripping, salty weeds.

I've needed this for a long time. The last time I could be consumed by something, overwhelmed and delighted by something, had to fight with something and getting my choler up, was when I was struggling and working to teach Reading and Drama back in 2006-2008.

It doesn't have to be a love affair in the conventional sense. It doesn't have to be a PERSON. It could be a job, an idea, some issue I can be passionate about...

I need something to fight with, to strive with, or I'm only half-alive. I've been too scairt to say so, but my life has been too EASY. It's beautiful, it's rewarding, this life, but in a lot of ways it's simple. Manageable. Civilized.

Tomorrow I will take some craft supplies and camp out until my car's servicing is done, making stuff the whole time if I can.

That's one.
labelleizzy: (make things!)
wow. a solid night's sleep and two solid meals (well, and menstrual cramps becoming manageable) make a lot of difference in my mood!

I know what I want to do:

I want to MAKE STUFF.

I am happy when I Make Stuff, when I manifest new things in the world that have never been there before.
I don't want to read someone else's script, I want to write my own.
I finished a piece of art last night; it was so joyful to bring it to completion!

I wrote music to set a nonsense poem to; it will be wonderful fun to teach to the girls!

I made a garden! I planted rosebushes where they weren't before!

I want to make stuff. Moreover, I want to make stuff be BETTER, also.

It's a good wide umbrella. I can teach, I can priest, I can be an activist, I can build community, I can make more art. I can do a lot of the things I love doing and need to do, and I don't need to hang a job-description around my neck for other people.

I am a Maker.


Now to find a gig where I can DO that...
labelleizzy: (make things!)
Been taking notes and coming up with ideas on a casual basis all week.
Am taking this class with [ profile] bellacrow and she and I have discussed it a bit on FB.
I should look into the forums tonight.

There's a phrasing in the fourthsecond assignment that doesn't make sense to me: "the four course project criteria."

It's just that the language is confusing to me, because it could be parsed as
A) there are four projects in the course, the criteria for those four projects
B) There are four criteria, criteria which shall be applied for all the projects to be done during the course.

C) Jeff points out that the four criteria are described in the second project's description: D'OH!
  • You personally experience the gap (i.e., you want to solve the design problem).
  • You have access to at least five people who also experience the gap, or a closely related gap. This access is ideally face-to-face, not solely via the internet.
  • You can imagine creating some kind of design and prototype of an artifact that would address this gap within the next 8 weeks. In other words, the challenge is not so complex that you cannot imagine addressing it in this course. (For instance, the gap “I really wish I could travel in outer space” would be a poor choice for a course project.)
  • You can imagine the gap being addressed by an artifact in a domain that interests you personally (e.g., physical product, architecture, apparel, graphics, web design, furniture).

I'm hoping I'm correct in believing B) is the correct parsing.

From the homepage: "The emphasis of the course is the basic design process: define, explore, select, and refine." So I hope that's what's meant.

And I'm doing that, and from the syllabus, it CERTAINLY looks like I'll be making many more than four things, so I hope I've got it right, or I'll lose points on the fourthsecond assignment.


  • I have a sketch AND a prototype to do for HW 4,
  • (and I have to scan & submit the sketch, & photograph the prototype & submit that photo)
  • have to clean up (erase pencil lines), scan, and submit my sketch for HW 3, (closest to done)
  • have to type up and submit my list (of "gaps in the user experience") for HW 2,
  • (with a note about which one I'm taking for this week's project,)
  • (and under 100 words of how this gap meets the "four course project criteria above")
  • and take a photo of my Doc Martens for the Good Design (HW 1) and submit it,
  • and write fewer than 100 words explaining why I love "the artifact" (meaning my Doc Martens).

I think I'm glad Jeff was ambivalent about going out tonight. I really needed to sort out how much work I had to do for this course before end of day tomorrow. And Jeff is a handy engineer-about-town to consult in the understanding-of-design.

More than a bit sad to miss some social time with [ profile] joedecker and [ profile] wuukiee among other fine people who will be at Joe's party tonight, but I'm actually feeling more like assembling prototypes in my underwear than going out and being social.

Gonna go eat some food, and then get going on the prototype for 4. scissors, cardboard, and tape! Woot!
labelleizzy: (poly)
I would dance you a love letter
...but my steps are no longer sure.

I would sing you a love letter but voice is hoarse with winter coughing...

and I could paint you a love letter
...once my skills are up to the task,

or I could play you a love letter, although
my fingers don't yet find the notes.

Instead, I shall tell you the truth.

For the truth is that you are beautiful
and kind
and worthy of love;

that the crocuses and snowdrops about to break the surface of the earth
are already seeking to love you;

that the sun is best pleased at the sight of you,

and the moon, sailing by, contemplates your visage with as much wonder as you contemplate hers.

Trees dig their roots in for you.
Daffodils blossom, and crows and foxes sing for you.
Even the dewdrops sparkle for you...

You are eminently lovable, and you are deeply loved.

labelleizzy: (Default)
Step One:
Make an post. It can be public or friends only, whatever you’re most comfortable with. The post should contain your list of ten holiday wishes, and these wishes can be anything - from simple (a fan fiction written about your favorite pairing), to medium (a DVD you want), to really extravagant (a brand new laptop or car).

Just make sure these are wishes for things you really truly want.

Step Two:
Skim through your friends list and see who has posted their own wish lists. Then - and this is the most important part - if you find a wish you can grant, and it’s in your heart to do so, make sure that person’s wish comes true.

Sometimes a person’s trash is another person’s treasure. If you have a leather jacket you don’t want or a gift certificate you’re never going to use, give it to someone who wants it.

Step Three:
Post this wish list any time after November 1st. Then repost it two weeks before Christmas.
You needn't spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn't to put people out, it's to provide everyone a chance to be someone else's holiday fairy - to spread the joy.
Gifts can be made anonymously or not, it's your call.
There are no rules with this project, no guarantees, and no strings attached. Just...wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you'll have the joy of knowing you made someone's holiday special.

(cross posted to Livejournal)

My list: (prefer upcycled/recycled/regifted if possible)

1) small, perhaps collapsible hair dryer (for drying intermediate stages of watercolor paintings)

2) Invitation for social outings or meals with you

3) Shopping trips with you (thrift/antique/secondhand shops a plus)

4) Storytelling swaps. (improv story creation)

5) Stuff-organizing swaps (you sit with me while I organize/clean out stuff and I'll return the favor)

6) Hand spun yarn in jewel tones and natural fibers.

7) Beginning Knitting lessons. Crochet lessons to ramp up my skills and tidy my techniques.

8) Stoneware bowls and mugs.

9) Breadbaking lessons.

10) Woodworking lessons (beginner).

11) Lessons in how to manipulate art and photos digitally.

12) Herb starts for savory, white woodruff, hyssop, and catnip, or Lily of the Valley bulbs.


Mar. 25th, 2010 07:24 pm
labelleizzy: (quiet before the work)
my teaching day was good, then okay, then ARGH with unnecessary student craziness and outright cruelty.

*headdesk* I had to write a note to the vice principal as well as to the teacher.

Then I got home, and [ profile] eeyore42 was there! I didn't have to manage my frustration alone! It made me feel so much better to talk about it, and to eat some food. Then I phoned [ profile] chinders about delivering compost-food to her house, then I got to go visit her and check on the progress of her garden (yay), dog training (yay) and behbeh chickens! I got to hold baby chickens! (almost adolescent chickens!) One perched on me for awhile, it was awesome.

Came home a little while later, started layout work on my poster for class this weekend. It's challenging - I'm doing art that requires a certain amount of precision, and well. Precision has rarely been my strong suit, but it is coming along.

I think that this is going to be great. AND I can put off one of the assignments I thought I had to do, till next weekend: read three more Steiner lectures and make a poster for THOSE. well.

Back to it then!
labelleizzy: (Default)
Ridiculous and inconceivable that tomorrow is my last day of Summer Session for the Waldorf teacher training.
I won't get to see my friends every day? I won't have dance and art history and creative writing and speech classes every day? I won't get to hang with the incomparable Ken, my sculpture teacher? I won't be learning new songs on the fly every morning with Lisa?


This has been wonderful. I am entirely sorry it's almost over. I will survive the transitions necessary, but for now I have to kick my own ass to get there.

I get to bring a lot home with me. My Main Lesson book from Roberta's class, with art and poetry we created together. Some of my sculpture work. A LOT of literature to read and share, including a great article on the Waldorf philosophy of reading in elementary school. I have work I want to continue to refine, including writing and speech exercises, some of the art in the Main Lesson book, and I have a bit of clay I can use to be creative, and which might last a long while if I am kind to it.

Tonight I have to make a card for Glenda, another for Anne-Marie (my class secretary), and try to do a bit of practice for Saturday's assembly: the skit, the speech exercise, and the eurhythmy performance.

Gonna take the husband out to find some food he finds appealing. Right now he's feeling better enough to play piano, which is a VERY good sign.

Love ya, read y'all later,

labelleizzy: (balance)
In other life news, today finishes the second full week of the summer Waldorf teacher credentialling session.
I am STARVING. I am always starving when I come home after classes. AND I eat like a pig at snack (11:00) and at lunch (1:00) ... but I'm not changing shape at all, unless i'm gaining a little bit of muscle ... I suppose it helps that we are dancing for an hour every morning, and doing sculpture in the afternoon, and I'm THINKING like a hard-working thinking-thing the rest of the day (my Creative Writing teacher and Program Director, Dorit would have FITS about that description, not to mention all my parenthetical habits and multiple-adjective descriptors, hee!)

Other teachers and students refer to the work we are doing as spiritual work. And that it's HARD work I do not deny, nor do I deny its spiritual nature. But spiritual work burning this many calories, is just something I have to make an effort to wrap my head around.

Snack and lunch are incredibly tasty affairs at summer session. Today the snack table had berry scones, a variety of bagels, cream cheese, corn bread with honey butter to spread on it, melons and berries in an attractive display, hummus and sliced peppers and cucumbers and tzatziki... plus very tasty coffee with honey, brown sugar, whole milk and half-n-half, and a variety of teas, both caf. and decaf.

Lunch has been fresh, organic, and varied, and incredibly tasty as well.

I love my sculpture class. Ken Smith is also our Art History teacher, and he's built like a short balding blacksmith, with a gentle New Zealand accent and a puckish sense of humor. Really devoted to his subject, and very heart centered. Unfailingly polite and helpful, even when our class is feeling our oats and we start to talk over him. I thought sculpture would be kind of scary, you know, new means of expression, but he's so approachable, it's very easy to ask questions and get help.

I love my eurythmy (dance) class. Glenda was born in South Africa, has lived and worked all over the world so she has this intriguing mixy accent, and she's SO graceful and warm and welcoming and sweetly funny. I told her today what an amazing "stage ninja" she was, backstage (behind a simple curtain) at the first Wednesday night performance... she was unnoticeable, and I was LOOKING, and on top of that, managed to change costume back there, utterly unobtrusively... the way she walks is amazing, the variety of movement styles, accents she flows between, the real gentility of her manner... wow. I will be sad when I no longer get to work with her every day. I will really miss her. And I love the range of movement she has us doing, and doing beautifully, in class. She is unstinting with praise and warm eye contact, and I love that about her also.

I love my Language Arts class. Roberta is an experienced Waldorf teacher, having ushered two classes through from first to eighth grade, and now teaches teachers and, I believe, works part time in another Waldorf school with students having reading difficulty. She's profoundly deaf and relies on hearing aids, which gives her speaking voice a kind of metallic, flat affect, but her enthusiasm and encyclopedic memory for verse, rhyme, game, and story makes her a real force to be reckoned with. I hope my mind is as sharp and my will as enthusiastic by the time I'm her age (which I don't know, but she's got white white hair and an 8 year old granddaughter, so...)

I am having a time of it in the creative writing class. *wry*
Dorit, I am discovering through the grapevine, lacks certain social skills like tact and communicating the parameters of an assignment. She knows her subject, that's for sure, but when her way of telling you how she wants you to write an assignment consists of saying, write three sentences using these subjects, and then proceeds to just rip every body's work in front of the class? Hm. So she's letting everyone make their natural mistakes first, then bringing examples to the class for correction and suggestions... which is not too bad, everyone can give suggestions for improvement... kinda makes her the bad guy, but she's almost gleeful about it (funny, for a melancholic personality!) so yeah. She's maybe harsh but I don't see anyone crying on the way out of the room so it's probably all right.

And honestly? if anyone can break me of the remains of my codependent habit of trying to please authority figures? It'll be Dorit. Nothing I do seems to please her, I seem to irritate her somehow (no, really I have evidence) and tbh she's starting to irritate me also, though I'm trying to be compassionate about it. I'll work to stop trying to make her notice me and just pay attention to doing the work properly. And I have to admit I haven't given it as much thought as I have the other classes, cos hey, I can write already! I am a Writer. </ poncy pretension> heh. I need to give those assignments decent focus and not dash something off as I have been doing. I need to go ahead and draft something, work on the draft and change and experiment and fix things... I need to really friggin' WRITE, and do myself proud.

Lots of progress being made now. This is the halfway point, I can't believe we're already half-over, it's gone by swift as the wind over the El Sobrante hillsides...

I. Am. Loving. It.

New Meme!

Jul. 24th, 2008 01:09 pm
labelleizzy: (calvin play naked)
I just thought of this last night...

Ask me for a letter of the alphabet.
I will give you a letter.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take that letter and try to build an alliterative sentence (that actually makes sense) with as few non-alliterative words as possible.

bonus points for no non-alliterative words in your sentence,
double-plus bonus points if you can make it a double entendre or dirty in some fashion:
to wit:

"Anne and Amy always allow Albert and Andrew alternative anal access."
(for a score of 26. Hee!)


Go on, you know you want to!

(open post. Please give me credit for the idea, kthanks!)


labelleizzy: (Default)

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