Category Archives: Paper-Mâché

Lunch at The Shrine with a Raven

The last few months have been hectic, in some way or another. I am sometimes amazed that I can feel this way since my lifestyle is rather stripped down and simple. I even feel guilty at times, when I contemplate a day off, as if I had not earned it. Then again, a part of me knows it has nothing to do with earning anything; it’s about stepping away at the right time in order to return refreshed and more productive.

After several weeks of juggling my time between building up an inventory of dolls, pouches and various paper mache animals to bring to new locations and replenish existing ones, keeping a client’s website up to date and managing a couple of Facebook pages, I finally had to set time aside for a delivery. It is with little hesitation that I planned to make a day of it.

I dropped MacGregor off at the dog sitter early in the morning and ventured off sans tablet or any connection to work. Destination: Grand Isle Art Works. Shining sun, not too hot, oddly no one on the road. Bliss.

I spent over an hour there, visiting with Jim, the owner. He shared the history of the gallery and the house and I toured every wonderfully colorful room. If you read up on them on their website, you’ll find the words,  “…a quirky old farmhouse built in 1797, with lots of character.” The atmosphere is indeed rich with character, and light and creative energy. I invite you to take a road trip some day.

Following our visit, I drove away in the opposite direction from home, not knowing where I might land. A turn here and there led me straight to Saint Anne’s Shrine, on Isle Lamotte. It’s still off season for them, so besides a couple of staff members and ground workers, the place was free of commotion under the great blue sky. A quick trip a bit further down the road for a bagged lunch and I was back at a picnic table by the lake.

saint anne's shrine

I don’t think my mind had had this much rest from creating articles and product descriptions and from conjuring up new art creations in a long time. I welcomed the silence; the stillness. Soon though, I had a visitor.

A huge raven perched above me in a tree and chanted its presence, or rather its interest in my sandwich. If there had been other people around, I would not have satisfied its craving, but I confess that since we were alone I left a morsel on the table for my black-feathered friend. It watched me the whole time and I hope it feasted once I left. Perhaps the squirrels beat him to it. In any case, someone received a gift.

In the Christian faith, among others, the raven is perceived as a bad omen. I understand, but am unable to feel this  way. To me, it is a beautiful and mysterious creature of great intelligence. Ravens are feared, also, when they appear in dreams. Here again, an encounter with this black beauty in my dreams makes me wake up feeling like I have received a gift. I think and feel that my love for my lunch time visitor,  yesterday, overrides any specter of darkness our human culture has imprinted upon its kind.

I drove home with a sense of clarity.

A Can of Good Worms and a Cow

Little did I know, when I joined The Vermont Hand Crafters, last fall, that I was opening a wonderful “can of good worms.”

Normally, the mere mention of said can conjures up the possibility of imminent, overwhelming and dark challenges. While the word “overwhelming” is rather appropriate in this case, light, not darkness sets the tone.

The first bright challenge arrived after I had spent several months immersed (as much as possible) in building an inventory of paper mâché animals, gift pouches and brooches for prospect shops and galleries. A couple of clients for whom I had previously done some website design and social media management convinced me to return. I had promised myself, or so I thought, that I was done with that career path, but something in me could not resist.  I accepted.

No regrets. Now, I am enjoying this more than ever, and I am convinced that it is precisely because of my restored confidence in my art and commitment to it. I feel more complete now, somehow.

The overwhelming part comes into play at this point, and lies in the fact that I have received back to back invitations to join gift shops and galleries. This, in fact, has been effortless, and all thanks to my decision to splurge (for it was a splurge at the time) on a membership with The Vermont Hand Crafters. Doors are just opening before I even knock.

I am not saying that I expect this to be the norm, and I can only do so much anyway. The last several months have been a juggling act between two or three social media or web design gigs and making room every day to build an ongoing inventory that vanishes to a new venue the moment it is complete.

This is the newest batch… and a cow was born.