Celebrating Optimism in a Corona World

March is Optimism Month!

The great news is, that if you are reading this, you are ALIVE.  Congratulations.

I feel like “cautious optimism” needs a big comeback moment.  Can we be cautious and optimistic at the same time?  I hope so.

91277127_620186575194918_5112236183006478336_nToday, keeping “safe at home”, I made some simple clay from flour, water, salt and vegetable oil. I’ve never made clay before.  I am used to it looking grayish, in perfectly formed blocks, wrapped in glossy plastic, straight from a box.  Mine was more like a cookie dough, sans the eggs and sugar.

As I worked with the clay, I remembered that I get to shape some things.  I may not be used to what I am working with, but I can still shape it towards what I intend.  I can create hearts and smiley faces, or I can create something less pleasant.  We are all creators, even if what we’re working with is, at times, less than ideal.

What can we create, optimistically, at this time?  Maybe it’s only a new perspective, but that is something.  Maybe it’s a smile?

Here’s the recipe for the dough.

Stay well.  Stay safe.  Stay optimistic AND stay home.

 

A Little Glue, A Little Paper, A Lot of Insight

At certain pivot points of my life in acting, I’ve needed a hobby where I didn’t have to perform.  For me, decoupage has been a place to exercise my right brain, create and decompress without feeling the need to “do it right” or impress.  I’ve done a few good pieces over the years, including a shelf, a glass table top, vases and now these votive candle holders made from the Oui by Yoplait jars.

Things I’ve learned from decoupage:

decoupage jars1.  Tissue paper is very delicate.  It tears easily, especially when wet.  It needs a light touch.  A light touch is often the right touch in life too.

2.  Sometimes the dye of the paper bleeds.  Don’t worry about it.  The things you can’t control are often the most beautiful.

3.  The most interesting patterns have more colors.  Add a little color to your life!

4. The magic of decoupage is in the waiting for the piece to dry.  Once it’s dried, you actually see it.  Before it dries, it’s a wet mess.  Patience pays.

5.  Edges first!  It’s much easier when you attend to the edges first and then work to the center, especially on household objects.  Parameters are important.

6.  It’s okay to “fail” or it not be what you were expecting.  It’s just a little tissue, a little glue, a little water and a little time.  Failure in decoupage is allowed for me!

7.  Especially on clear glass, yellow paper and white paper don’t show up as easily and may need to be double layered in order to “pop”.   Sometimes, you have to make the extra effort to really show something.

8.  For me, decoupage is about creating a mood or bringing color to an intention.  When I bring intention and attention, decoupage is not longer just a crafty thing to pass time, but it’s a way to meditate.

9.  Once you start decoupaging, your relationship with paper may change.  You start to re-purpose envelopes and scrap paper.  Use the unusual to create the unusual.  

I think every working artist feels pressure to perform in their field.  Sometimes, the pressure to perform hems in our sense of play and risk.  When I’ve felt I’ve been at a pivot point, I’ve turned to decoupage to give me permission to play and experiment without fear of judgment.  What’s your hobby?  How does it help you?