Sarafina Fiber Art

Sarafina Fiber Art

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lonely no Longer

       A series of recent events have flooded me the realization that I am surrounded by great people in a creative community that did not even exist for me just 3 years ago. 

Four Day Workshop group with their owls
For a long time I worked odd jobs to support my art habit.  From retail, to waiting tables, to mucking stalls and galloping race horses, I did what came my way to keep my head above water (and sometimes I needed a little help when I slipped below the surface). Other than painting/creating, a career path did not call out to me.  So I painted when ever I could.  My marriage to Dave gave me a huge advantage with the security that came with it.  Before Max and Evan were born, I spent a year just painting! It was a wonderful year.

It was also the year of 2001.  On 9/11/2001 my career path was shaken by the absolute grounding emotions of humanity with the attack on our country.  Stripping life down to death, loss, and vulnerability made painting feel like an indulgent and selfish pursuit.  What was I really contributing?  Pretty paintings to relatively wealthy people who could afford them?  Of course it has its place, but at that moment in time it felt empty.

Life of course went on and the arrival of two babies definitely becomes all encompassing.  (The experience of a young family is its own blog!)  I did keep painting.  I would have gone nuts if I did not make time for it. 

But still, I wanted to be a part of something that extended beyond my own two hands.  I dabbled in the idea of a Cafe.  I had Dave on edge with the thought of the time, money, and risk involved in such a venture.  It fizzled when the same realization sunk into my brain, but still, I know it was a great idea and would have been a huge success.  ; )  I volunteered, briefly.  I considered teaching art somewhere.  But nothing stuck.

When needle felting came along, I had no idea where it would lead.  I just loved it.  At first I would paint in the mornings (my real job) and felt in the afternoon if I had time.  Then it morphed to felting in the mornings and painting if the afternoon if I had time.  Then felting became the only focus.  I was thrilled with the prospect for growth.  (Turns out, all of those odd jobs, gave me skills that I would need, and still use, to move forward as an entrepreneur. )

Pat and Bernie with Nunno Felted Scarves taught at The Art House by ReCreatively
The growing interest in the art and the demand for supplies drove me towards creating Sarafina.  Talbot actually worked for me first, when I was still in my home!   Moving out of my house was the first big step.  Then, while Talbot was off working some where else, Kyla joined me and soon after Jennifer. 

The Mill, about 500 square feet of rustic space only 1/10 mile from my home.

I will not lie, having two other personalities (in many ways opposite to my own to boot) in the space was an adjustment.  But adjust I did and the three of us began to make great things happen. 

A powerful trio

We moved again to our current location, another big step.  All the while we were growing our online community with Facebook, YouTube, and Etsy.  Now we have a legitimate local presence.  A place to invite people to share creativity with us. 

Grand Opening

Wet Felted Landscape Workshop - one of my favorites!
Friday was one of those perfect days in the shop.  Everyone was there; Kyla, Jennifer, Talbot, Marsha, Mary, and I.  Everyone was doing something remarkable that takes advantage of their skill set.  It was as if we were in a movie scene, the transformational montage with the cool music and no dialogue, all day.  I have my "beyond my own two hands."

The Sarafina Crew less Mary.  I will write a blog about each person, including Mary.

Thanks to social media I have also made new friends.  Dear friends as well as an extended creative community. 

A horrible picture depicting a wonderful time

A few of my faraway Besties thanks to Facebook.

Creativity does have its place in this world.  Even on the smallest level it gives us hope.  It gives us something where we once had nothing.  It is God's way of acknowledging our recognition of the beauty of  his/her creation.

Thank you for being a part of something greater than any one of us.  Make something today. : )

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Didn’t Happen and What Isn’t There

Over a year ago a seed was planted; the idea to hold a workshop across the Atlantic in England.  It started with a few requests and then an invitation from a remarkable woman who wanted to see the seed grow as much as I did.  Over the year we planned and more and more people become involved and made significant obligations in time, money, and energy.  Teachers, hosts, staff, participants, and all of the families around them watered the seed until we all had a week full of fun in front of us with months of anticipation.  I fluttered with excitement fueled by what lay ahead.

But with one fatal murmur at the passport check at The UK  Border, the carefully cultivated, now mature plan was ripped out and in front of me left a huge ugly crater big enough to hold 100 rusted buses.  Where there once was the plan to share, felt, laugh, and bond with new friends, there was now only the gaping negative space.  How on earth could I cross this hole in front of me? 

At first the loss overwhelmed me.  Complete emptiness.   No ideas.  Just The Crater.   “Gutted” was the word of the moment.   But only hours later, there were new revelations emerging.  The Crater made space.  And the space allowed different experiences and opportunities.  Lee and I shared something dramatic and like the good friends that we are, it bound us tighter together.  Love poured in through the few texts we were allowed to receive and the dirty ancient phone attached to the wall in the holding room during our 9 hour detainment.  I felt the love even through the greasy receiver.  After our release, we had 6 hours of time to kill from 12 am to 6 am before our flight back home.  Our UK friends, Cheryl and Malachai, whom we had never met in person, drove over 2 hours each way in the dark and rain wee hours of the morning to spend some time with us in the cold, badly lit airport.  I can not express in writing how they warmed that time and space.   I will cherish that short time spent with them.  Kyla, Lee, and I began to plan how on earth we could make up the cancellation to the workshop participants.  I shuttered to think of it, but as it turns out, it is another opportunity.  Not only for my business to do what’s right, but also an unexpected gift back to us to feel the concern and support from the very people jilted. 

About 36 hours in for me 48 for Lee and 2 am.  Not a bad looking lot considering!

And now Lee and I are on the plane back home.  Lee will have a few open days to spend with me; again, we have been given an opportunity.  We have already plotted all of the things we can do.  The negative space is holding all of the new positive experiences and will continue to do so in ways I can’t even imagine yet.  Because of what did not happen, my life is richer in an alternate way.

And here lies a needle felting analogy!  The negative space, what is NOT there, enriches our sculptures.  Cherish the interest of negative space.   Allow it to be, creating dimension, shadows, peaks, and valleys.  Do not fill it.  See it nature and mimic in your work by leaving it empty.  It holds goodness.  I will elaborate more on that when I can hold my eyes open. 

We will land soon.  One more new experience in line for me thanks to The Crater:  the shower and nap of a lifetime.