Praise the Rain (CATALOG 5/6/2022)

My latest list of recent likes and favorite links…

  1. Poet laureate Joy Harjo poet describes poetry as “a tool to uncover the miraculous in the ordinary” and “a sense of play.” What a treat to hear her read “Praise the Rain” for National Poetry Month a couple weeks ago!

  2. I’ve relied on an old-fashioned spreadsheet to keep track of writing project progress and queries, but I’m tempted to give Kanban a whirl, specifically Trello.com, to make it more of a visual exercise.

  3. A couple years ago, I attended an encaustic painting workshop by artist Jodi Reeb. Wow, her landscape paintings really make my heart sing!

  4. From none other than Austin Kleon, learn how to make brush pens in any color!

  5. Being a knitter/crocheter, I love this video showing the Netflix bumper replicated with yarn. For more about the process, check out this extended version.

  6. My daughter and I, along with some friends, are signed up to volunteer with My Very Own Bed later this summer. We can’t wait to deliver and set up new beds and bedding for some kids in need of consistent and comfortable sleep!

  7. Have you seen the Oscar-winning movie “CODA” yet? I was so moved by the story and music—and can’t seem to get “Both Sides Now” out of my head.

  8. My hometown boasts a cool art and nature experience called Green Island. Poetry by yours truly will soon adorn the walking path!

  9. I became new to pickleball last summer and agree with Caryn Sullivan’s article deeming it “a model for a better life.”

  10. I would never describe my church as “uncool” or “boring,” but I really resonate with the “instead of” statements in this article celebrating church as I believe it should be.

Ode to My Socks (CATALOG 4/15/2022)

My latest list of recent likes and favorite links…

  1. In preparation for their standardized testing next week, my students and I analyzed a couple poetic gems: “Ode to My Socks” by Pablo Neruda and “Rivulet” (page 16) by Aramis Quintero.

  2. I love using Canva for all of my basic graphic design needs—it offers a lot of different templates to make just about anything, and many of them are free to download without payment or watermark. My daughter, who is just eight years old, also uses it to design notes to her friends, flyers, to-do lists, and calendars!

  3. As a two-time Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor, I am proud to be associated with the publisher’s “Hallway Heroes” program, a creative and stirring social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum. In fact, I will be trained in the program this summer in preparation for leading it next fall!

  4. Speaking of SEL, All Learning Is Social and Emotional by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fischer, and Dominique Smith is a must-have for educators who would like to become more familiar with SEL’s five key factors: 1) Identity and Agency, 2) Emotional Regulation, 3) Cognitive Regulation, 4) Public Spirit, and 5) Social Skills.

  5. As soon as my iPad is up and running again, I am totally putting the learnings of Stacie Bloomfield‘s free mini course on making greeting cards into practice.

  6. The timing stinks for me, but I still dream of somehow making it to this Writing for Your Life Conference in Colorado. I’d love to learn from Philip Yancey!

  7. My Heart Cries Out by Paul David Tripp has become part of my every day. It’s a grand collection of faith-based poems, along with related Scripture leads and journaling prompts.

  8. I first became aware of artist Jane Davies when I saw a print of her work in a major department store. Wow, does her web site feature a lot of great resources, including a very generous list of free tutorials!

  9. Austin Kleon shares how he can easily document favorite quotes from his reading with the help of a couple standard features on his iPhone.

  10. The AoPS (Art of Problem Solving) podcast is in its infancy, but it promises to offer some great content on the joy of learning.

Confused Misfit

I love when two different resources cross my path around the same time and seem to communicate a similar or resonating message. In other words, I love common threads.

During this past week, it was through public radio and public television that I was reminded of the beautiful otherness, even the chaos and mess, of enjoying and contributing to the world of art…

“Confused” – On a drive home from northern Iowa on Saturday night, my husband and I tuned into Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and the Live Wire radio program, a non-profit venture to acquaint artists with their audiences, and vice versa. I was particularly taken with program guest Roger Reeves, a poet whose latest collection On Paradise will be released soon.

Reeves proposed that there’s a genre of incredible art that sparks a feeling of confusion, a sense of not knowing what we’re seeing or reading or experiencing in any sense. This is what produces exhilaration, joy, appreciation.

Reeves went on to say that the process is often just as confusing for the artist as the interpreting is for the audience. There are times, he said, when he writes something only to come back to it months later with any kind of understanding of what was surfacing through his sub-consciousness. There are also times he gains no understanding whatsoever, but this doesn’t discount the artistry of his poem.

“Misfit” – I mentioned the “American Masters” series on PBS in my last post, and I have since watched two-and-a-half episodes, the half episode being about Eva Hesse. “The true artist is also the true personal misfit,” she wrote in her journals. In other words, what made her work and perhaps her whole personality especially interesting and rich—and simultaneously sad, some might say—was Eva’s feeling “different, alone, and apart from others.”

Though the world pressures us to glamorize sameness and to follow the crowd, the making and appreciation of good art seem to celebrate unlikeness and the option to travel narrower paths. So feel free to call me a “confused misfit.” I’ll take it as a compliment in my creative journey.

 

The Lent Project 2018

Calvary Chapel

Calvary Chapel at Biola University

I know, I know, I’m about 40 days late in sharing this resource: The Lent Project, “a 53-day aesthetically guided meditation on Christ’s life, death, and resurrection” brought to us by Biola University and their Center for Christianity, Culture & the Arts (CCCA).

The Lent Project is essentially a virtual art exhibit of well-known and not-so-known artists that features one special piece of artwork for each day of Lent. Each piece is accompanied by a Scripture passage, a poem, and a devotional. What’s more, as we read, we can also listen to a music composition selected by The Lent Project “curators.” It. Is. Rich!

This year’s project introduction offers this description: “Through the layering of Scripture, prayers and the arts, The Lent Project offers a wonderful opportunity for daily reflection, an occasion for us to pray with our eyes and ears as well as our hearts and minds.” We can enjoy the experience any time throughout the year since The Lent Project will continue to live in the CCCA’s archives. It’s also there where projects from previous years reside. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to catching up!

No matter your walk of faith, CCCA’s archives contain a treasure trove of resources for artists and art enthusiasts. Recorded symposiums. Interviews with accomplished artists. Profiles and articles. Even past Advent Projects in a similar vein of the Lent Projects! I can’t wait to dig in!

 

 

 

 

Empty Bowls & Blackout Poems

In my continued quest to claim the identity of “artist,” the past few days have provided a couple more opportunities to discover and grow and imagine…

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“Emergence” (2017) & “Sensory Sampler” (2018) from Empty Bowls

Empty Bowls
It’s my absolutely favorite fundraiser: Empty Bowls. No matter the amount of their donations, all guests receive all-you-can-eat soup and bread provided by local restaurants and other food-savvy organizations (my favorite soup from this year’s menu came from a nearby nursing home), but the best prize for each person there is a handmade bowl to take home! Middle and high school students, churches, professional artisans, and citizens of all talents and backgrounds contribute to the supply. The whole effort benefits local food shelves.

For the past two years, I have attended Empty Bowls with my friend Judy. It was by her inspiration that I turned my attention toward the more unusual and less conventional bowls. Of all the bowls I’ve collected from the event over the years, these pieces mean the most to me and seem to embody so much personality.

I’ve also taken to naming the bowls I bring home: “Emergence” (2017) by R.W. and “Sensory Sampler” (2018) by Olivia. This year’s find is glazed in a beautiful turquoise color, plus I like Olivia’s experimentation with a different texture on each side of the bowl: brick pattern, fish scales, basket weave, and diamond shapes. As for “Emergence,” I admire it and its mysterious maker so much that I was compelled to write a poem last year:

Emergence
By Barbara Farland
I imagine a sitting, zitty, and somber teen
Resigned to the day’s assignment
To sculpt a bowl from clump of clay

Young fingers coil
Thumbs tug and nudge
The damp media into resemblance of prescribed form

Lumpy sides
Lopsided bottom
Endear me to it
So obviously amateur and thoughtless and rushed

Now as mine
I name it

Emergence

Its rough sides reach up in jagged uncertain stretches
Reminiscent of the awkwardness of its maker
Ever oblivious to my appreciation
And prayers for his soul
His sense of contribution
His eventual awakening
And emergence of spirit

Empty Bowls events are held all over the United States. Find one near you to eat good soup, to support a great cause, and to see and take home some phenomenal art!

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Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon & my own blackout poem “Mission”

Blackout Poems
A couple weeks ago, I shared my appreciation for Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. On Wednesday, I picked up his book Newspaper Blackout from the library and read it from front to back in less than an hour. It’s a super quick and super fun read!

Here’s how the gist of the book is described on the back cover: “Armed with a daily newspaper and a permanent marker, he constructs through deconstruction—eliminating the words he doesn’t need to create a new art form: Newspaper Blackout poetry.”

Through this deconstructive method, Kleon came up with a variety of free-verse poems that are sometimes lovely, sometimes humorous, and always clever. But they’re so much more than the words—each piece is also an interesting work of visual art.

I was reminded that I already tried this approach of “poetry-writing meets art-making” through the “28 to Make” class on CreativeLive.com (see photo for my creation of “Mission”). But after reading Kleon’s book, I’m itching to make a little more blackout poetry of my own, but instead of newspaper clippings, I think I’m going to go the altered-book route. Now if I could only find that cool little purple book I bought a few years ago for this very purpose!

Any weekend plans? Mine will include another date with my husband, this time with our taking in the “Crazy About Collages” class at Hopkins Center for the Arts. More on that later!