Tag Archives: Cynthia Tinapple

Taking a plunge

I create and I connect. I create designs for Samunnat, I connect with people who support us and buy beautiful Samunnat jewellery. I create my own art; I create and connect through classes and articles. I want to create and connect with clarity and abundance.  So I am making some changes to my website to do that.

DSCN0930The regular visitor to this blog (and may your god bless you!) may have noticed some of these changes! Like the vanishing comments! (I think that is fixed now.)  Or the challenge to subscribe…still working that one out!

In an attempt to embrace a growth mindset and become more independent, I am doing an online course for artists who want to create their own websites. To say I am not naturally gifted in this area is a massive understatement so it will be a testament to Susan Lomuto and the patience of Cynthia Tinapple when I can finally think For now, I’ve done it.  Unlike most website designers who no doubt have mantras like Beautiful website, Beautiful experience or We develop Smart Ideas mine is No-one will die if you press this button.

So, bear with me while I tweak, explore, press wrong buttons, discover new strengths and skills and create and connect in another way.  And feast your eyes on these babies: my personal flyer and business cards and the flyer for the magical Colourful Journey! Very exciting!

You can tell a lot about a girl by her caddy…

I don’t subscribe to many posts but one I love is Ginger Davis Allman’s The Blue Bottle Tree. She writes clearly, frankly and intelligently about all things polymer and her latest post about the Sculpey Organiser Tool prompted me to photograph my DSCN0933wonderful organiser!  We both agree that often the best storage tools come from other people’s junk.

I haunt our tip (as I may have mentioned before) and got these two caddies on two separate occasions. Gosh, I must have paid at least a dollar for them! I slightly modified one and find it to be a perfect tool caddy. It revolves. It is easy to shove in a box to take to classes and it was in one of those classes that students told me they were stands for remote controls! All I can say is that some people must have a lot of remote controls. I am just glad that sometimes they chuck out their holders!

I love that my fabulous texture sponges from Daniel and Natalia have their ownDSCN0936 slot and my extruder disks go in small containers blue tacked onto one of the corners. (Cynthia Tinapple’s have their own and the rest go underneath).  Another corner is for carving tools and a third for exacto blades which are stored in an old film canister (remember them!?) The final corner is for water spray when using molds.

DSCN0935I have a section for blades, a section for exacto handles and a Berocca tube stuck in one section is great fro storing my carving tools.  A second caddy is great for my pliers, scissors and measuring bits.  The careful observer will see that the caddy is decorated with a favourite Neil Gaiman quote:

Go and make amazing mistakes.  Make interesting mistakes. Make glorious and fantastic mistakes.  Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.

The presence of Bandaids clipped to the side indicate that at least I take the Make mistakes bit seriously!

Don’t do the habitual thing….

….and how Brian Eno had an impact on polymer art in Broken Hill!

DSCN5443Recently, a wonderful teacher, Jen Louden*, wrote:

to shape and build more of the life you want, you have to make choices. To make choices, you need awareness. To access awareness, it helps immeasurably to be able to calm down no matter what.

Recognising that moment of choice and being calm instead of rushing headlong into default DSCN5452response is a work in progress for me.  Acknowledging the spaciousness of calm and not doing my habitual thing (if it ain’t helpful) takes practice.

A lot of that practising happens in my art.  And naturally it spills into my teaching.  In our classes we’ve been talking about being open to new things, taking risks, doing something that breaks a creative deadlock.

DSCN5447In the 70s, musician Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt developed Oblique Strategies -a set of cards used to break deadlocks in creative situations. Each card had a remark to ponder and think about how it might apply to your situation. Sometimes the remarks are cryptic and many of these related specifically to music  but can be reinterpreted to any form of creative endeavour. Here are some examples (with more here):

Use an old idea; Think – inside the work and outside the work; emphasise differences; tape your mouth; use the simplest idea; honour the error as a hidden intention; ask advice and many others.

Another version of this is Dayle Doroshow and Cynthia Tinapple’s Chaos Cards.  I have been making my own Oblique/DSCN5449 Chaos Cards which include general and more design related prompts like Add Spirals; Make a curve angular; Incorporate words; Add texture; Include a memory as well as more Eno-esque ones!

DSCN5445Last night the ladies made bracelets in an analogous colour scheme using the personal palettes they created the week before.  And they each had to use a card.  There were some groans as they read out the remarks – what does this mean? How am I expected to do that? But with encouragement to risk experimentation, to approach things with an open and curious approach, they came up with some fabulous design ideas.

My latest version of not doing the habitual thing is my response to the challenge issued by the organisers of the White DSCN5455Cliffs Art Festival.  The incredibly creative Cree Marshall gave a bust to a range of people with the instructions that it was to be covered and in line with the festival theme of RAW! I lacked the confidence to take progress shots and now wish  I had but at least I have the finished object! I was inspired by the phrases raw metal, red raw and raw edges. And I set myself the boundary of not buying ANYTHING to complete the task.

Her Teach Now course is simply one of the best courses I have ever done.

Cross Paulination

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In this post I wrote about when Samunnat was contacted by Paulette Walther of Kazuri West about selling loose beads.  We were hesitant, to say the least, but were totally won over by Paulette’s patience, transparency, clarity, and commitment to the well being of the ladies.

The reality was…I was terrified.  We’d had our fingers well and truly burnt in the past and I did not feel anywhere near up to the step that was looming ahead. Paulette’s compassion, coupled with our experience that courage wasn’t not feeling scared but about feeling scared and still doing what needed to be done, meant that we did take that next step.  Albeit falteringly.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  Nearly two years later, the bulk of the ladies’ income, and our capacity to provide legal services, counselling, emergency support and income generation training comes from the money we make from the sale of loose beads.  We love her.

And now, Paulette has established her presence on Facebook!  To celebrate, she’s running a wonderful contest where all you have to do is LIKE the new page andct_paulette_helen make a comment. For this, you are in the running to win one of three prizes:

Helen Breil’s new e-book;

Cynthia Tinapple’s Extruder Disc set; or

5 Samunnat Nepal beads!!!

Hope over to the Facebook page and LIKE and comment and we will have our fingers crossed for you.  Doing this means you are helping us. Tell your friends about the new Facebook page and check in regularly to learn about projects to use our beads, new products, exciting contests and lots more!

The bottom line is that the more beads we sell, the more we can do at Samunnat Nepal.

A card carrying member of the Sona Grigoryan fan club

It has been a long while since I wrote and not surprisingly, I am almost paralysed DSCN4779with indecision about where to start. So much to say!  Two amazing, albeit exhausting months away.  To deal with my paralysis, I will do the writing equivalent of a Skinner blend…I won’t set myself the task of writing a brilliant post that conveys all I want to say but will write several smaller posts that say one or two things. Let alone be brilliant.

Today I write about the kindness of strangers and Barcelona!  And maybe it was the kindness of a not really stranger which is one of the reasons I loved Barcelona so much.

Cynthia Tinapple told me about Sona Grigoryan and Noelia Contreras, two talented w3artist from Barcelona here, here and here. I loved their work and when I knew I was going to be in Barcelona, possibly with some free time while the football was on, I emailed Sona and Noelia to see if we could connect.  To our disappointment, Noelia and I could not get together (but we will!) but Sona and I did.  She was amazingly hospitable, treating us to the most wonderful paella I have had, showing me her workspace (I will NEVER complain about lack of space again!!!) and then giving me an absolutely gob smackingly gorgeous necklace she had made especially! (Sona’s husband took the photos)

wendy3Sona shared about how inspired she was by nature and by the work of Gaudi, so much a part of the feel of Barcelona (and one of the reasons I chose to go to Barcelona en route between Malta and Nepal. Logical to me?!)  Her work is so fearless and organic (look at her latest creations!!!!) and the piece I am now privileged to own reflects this.  She wanted to combine elements of her home, Armenia, with elements of mine. The resulting necklace used an ancient Armenian manuscript juxtaposed with the famous shell shapes of our Sydney Opera House.  I feel like a queen whenever I wear it and the day I wore it at Eurosynergy in Malta (strap yourself down…another breathless post to come!) I never tired of telling the MANY people who asked about my necklace the whole story.  I reckon in five years, I would not be able to afford a Sona Grigoryan original!!!  I will treasure mine because of its great beauty and because of the wonderful memories it brings.

Sona….Shnorhakalut’yun!

 

 

Promote your Top Shelf!

photoIt possibly sounds like I spend ages reflecting and pondering.  A bit of January pondering does take place, partly due to timing, but also because usually October, November and December are ponder free zones!!!  I am generally in Nepal, and there is precious little reflecting and pontificating time and lots of frantic doing.  Any reflecting or planning is very Samunnat related and I usually come back feeling like I need to regroup at a personal level.  Hence the preponderance of pondering.

Every year, my friend Cath and the Team at UN Headquarters come up with100_0328 their version of the Declaration of the Year.  Readers may recall 2012 when we were to start where we were, revel in our imperfections and wear undies that made us feel great. Some made underpants earrings inspired by the more profound aspects of this great declaration.

DD iconThis year it’s another cracker and spookily synchronous given my amply proportioned iconic goddesses.  (This one pictured even doubles…sorry…as an earring holder!)  This year we are exorted to Do a hobby (old or new), accept yourself as you are right now, yes, now…right now and promote your “top shelf”.  The final part of the Declaration began as Stand up Straight but Promote your Top Shelf does it so much better and ever since receiving the word, so to speak, I have been aware of my posture in a way stand up straight would NOT have inspired!!!

Anyway, it all tied in very nicely and in the spirit of the Declaration and all my pondering (see, it does all come together in the end) and I have created a class called THE DOUBLE D GODDESS ICON CLASS where you can do all three aspects at once!  You can do a hobby; not even just accept yourself but walk out loving yourself sick becauseCanberra polymer clay retreat 2006 027 of your gorgeous creation; and we will be so aware of posture and our top shelves in general the whole time.

Each creator will make a unique icon that reminds her/ him(?) to be a double D girl, a Dreamer and Doer.  We will also create our icon to express a quality we want to take into the year. So much! Gosh.  All in fabulous polymer. To the right, I’ve posted some photos of icons made by students in a similar class I ran in 2006!  Read more details of February’s class here but those here in the Outback in Australia’s stinking hot Summer would be mad not to do it!

An Upstanding Artist

As I drove the approximately 1750 th kilometre of our Christmas/ New Year road trip I remarked to my husband, Husband, I will be glad to be home. In the past three months, I have only had two weeks at home.
Those who know the aforementioned husband will not be surprised to read that he responded with You make your bed, you lie in it. Lovingly of course. Tongue in cheek and all that.

But it’s true. I have chosen this peripatetic, at times chaotic lifestyle and so far, apart from a few exhausted hiccups, we manage. This year was going to be quieter but for reasons, happy ones, beyond my control, quiet won’t be what it is! It’s a long time since I kidded myself I had much control though. And it’s been better for it!
StandingOne change I am bringing into to 2014 is standing.  It’s not the word of the year (more of that in another post! I know some of you are waiting….) but I am committed to standing more ( for health reasons) and have altered my desk to do so. So far….loving myself sick!! (Ironic for a health practice!)  It is really, really, really good.

The other thing that has worked sensationally well for three whole days now was triggered by a comment by Cynthia Tinapple at Studio Mojo.  She mentioned that she spent time in her studio each morning and then did computer based stuff in the afternoon. What a difference that has made to me! Transformed my sense of enoughness no end. I will burble on at length about this one day. Lucky youse!

On my wonderfully raised work surface, you can see the beginnings of the necklace I am making inspired by this poem:Miracle to Miracle
To be alive
To be able to see,
To walk, to have houses,
Music, paintings
-it’s all a miracle.
I have adopted the technique of living life
Miracle to miracle
Arthur Rubenstein

That wonderful phrase miracle to miracle leapt out at me with a very clear image! We’ll see how it goes!

What I’m doing after my VERY BIG WEEK

What a week it has been.  And not just because it included a teapot that I didn’t think I’d have time to finish.  (Aptly entitled: Tea with the Girls)

DSCN4326It began on a whopping great high with my Tsarang Mala being featured here on PCD. I was, as any PCD addict would totally understand, blown out of my tiny mind.  In a really evolved and unattached and calm way, I was beside myself. Yes, indeedy.

Then, as fate would have it, a day later, my copy of Global Perspectives Polymer Clay by the magnificent Cynthia Tinapple arrived and I was even more excited! Hard to imagine!  Obviously there is a degree of bias being a contributing author etc but, casting that aside, I know I would buy this book anyway! I loved reading about the other artists.  This is not a CV/ Galleries/ articles blurb.  Cynthia’s great skill is in drawing out the people behind the stories, capturing the warmth, the journey and then seeing the links, the shared experiences.   The inner busybody really enjoyed reading about the other artists- their motivations, practices, inspirations and lives.  How their landscape, experiences and culture impacted on their work.   I also particularly liked Cynthia’s discussion about categories of motivation.  She said that not everyone fell neatly into oneDSCN4328 category, I know I don’t, but I could certainly recognise myself in some of her descriptions.  And then, there are the projects. So many I want to try.  Perfectly timed to almost coincide with AFTER THE INSTALLATION.

Ah yes….the installation. Well, on Wednesday the last piece for the Exhibition, my triptych, was delivered to the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery and a few minutes ago I pressed SEND on the final bit of paperwork.  It’s DSCN4333over to them now.  It is a weird mix of vulnerability and excitement and for now I am enjoying the sense of relief at getting it done.

I had to really fight the urge to immediately sit down and make a (long) list of all the things I now need to do and to itemise those things I have to catch up on because they didn’t get done during the GREAT EXHIBITION PREPARATION OF 2013.  Those who know me will know just how hard it was not to make that list.  Instead, I spent several hours in lovely Winter sunlight yesterday writing letters.  With pen and on paper.  Until my hand got sore and my writing deteriorated due to loss of hand writing skills.

I shared my sunny space with our boisterous and happy new dogs and marvelled that little old me, who as a child became hysterical with fear at the sight ofDSCN4338 dog poo, let alone an actual dog, can now say that these two beings have improved the quality of my life enormously.

I savoured time with our younger daughter, formerly the primary carer of the aforementioned dogs, who is about to leave Australia for exotic lands.

And…in a more traditional after finishing a big thing task…I cleaned my desk.

But wait, there’s more. And I am loving myself sick about this really.  Following a tradition of up-cycling and domestic organisation (not mine) I made a wonderful thing.  It solves all the desk storage issues I have DSCN4341been battling for years and uses tins and an old (hopeless) dish drainer.  Which may in fact belong to the Flying Doctors but it was truly useless in its intended role and I promise I will replace it with a good one!  Anyway, here is a photo and I only wish I had a BEFORE shot now.  You can imagine though.

And I joined a Challenge! For a while now, I have thought longingly of participating in a swap (like those at Art Bead Scene) or a Challenge and Erin Prais-Hintz’ in particular have appealed.  She has has Challenges based on Music, Art, Literature ans last year in her travel Challenge, she made this piece inspired by Nepal.  Her Travel Challenge for this year appealed at so many levels.  It’s all about creating an art necklace inspired by where you are.  I am very inspired by the incredible scenery here in the Outback and find that my work increasingly reflects this.  It’s time to do it in a more deliberate way so I am very excited about taking this challenge up.  I don’t fully understand what it all entails and have yet to learn what a blog hop is but am looking forward to seeing how over 80 other artists use their home as a source of inspiration.

So, enough for now.  Lots more happening but I’ll save it up for next time.

Living on the edge

This was going to be a review of blister prevention treatment (No, seriously!  I am in a great position to advise on this!) but I can write about this later.  In light of my comments about living a little bit on the edge, a different post seemed apt.edge

I am catching up on the Studio Mojo reading I missed while I was away and in May, Cynthia put the Mojoettes onto this  post by Seth Godin. He differentiates between what we don’t do because we are afraid, and what we don’t do because of our fear of  feeling afraid! Interesting to think about.  He asks us to consider whether we are avoiding the unsafe or merely the feeling of being unsafe?  And his alternative to avoiding the feeling? He suggests we dance with it…to seek out the interactions that will trigger the resistance and might make us uncomfortable.

It fitted with something I read this week by Pema Chodron:

If we really want to communicate, we have to give up knowing what to do. When we come in with our agendas, they only block us from seeing the person in front of us. It’s best to drop our five-year plans and accept the awkward sinking feeling that we are entering a situation naked.

She talks a lot about this.  She is not saying don’t be prepared or don’t plan.  But she warns against clinging onto those preparations and plans when they are not working or helpful.  As a rule I’m not your walk into a situation totally naked kind of girl really.  But I’m learning that dropping my own agenda helps me to connect better with people.  When I am less locked into my way being the ONLY/ BEST way, I can be more flexible and gracious about unexpected Safetythings, and can learn even better ways from (as Seth Godin calls them) the interactions that can trigger resistance.

Then, my wonderful friend Indigo Kate shared this diagram which says so much so succinctly!  So much of what I am doing now sits out side the small circle.  Which is kind of nervy for me. But every day, there is a bit of magic.

PS: A comfort zone for your feet IS important though, especially if you are walking many kilometres each day, so be assured, I will share my blister prevention wisdom with you soon. Strap yourselves down.

Re-entry- back in the Hill!

Sitting down to write this post prompts the feelings I have when I think about the next few months. There is so much to do/ DSCN3888say that I wonder where to start.  I know that I could easily feel very overwhelmed.

In the distant past, I was a woman who liked to feel like I was on top of things…thoroughly prepared…in control.  This was obviously an illusion as life, particularly life in Nepal, revealed. The truth of the matter is that over the years I have sort of got used to this living on the cusp of being overwhelmed feeling.  It is not so frightening any more.  And, would you believe, I have a polymer clay metaphor about this phase:

It is like sometimes when you sit at your work table and you have a zillion ideas in your head and your table’s a mess and the blogs haven’t been written and there clay orders to make and send and emails to write and Skype calls to organise and maybe one oDSCN4109f your gorgeous girls is moving to (very!) far off lands in under nine weeks so you want to savour her presence while she is in the country and you have an exhibition to prepare* and you are trying to sell a house and organise a retreat and another Colourful Journey…(it is SO like that you would not believe!)  Anyway, it is like that and then you just quieten your buzzing brain, take a deep breath to still your busyness, pick up some clay and start to make a Skinner Blend.

And it all just flows from there. Sort of.  When it all is on the verge of being too much, I have learnt to Stop. Breathe. And do life’s equivalent of Make a Skinner Blend. Do something simple, pleasant, achievable and, with a bit of luck, something that will be part of getting another thing done. Just starting makes all the difference.

So, here is the blog equivalent of a Skinner Blend! Write about four of the many things that make me happy right now!

DSCN4072I am just back from two wonderful months in Nepal. Happy to reconnect with my patient and resilient family and friends.  The time there was fabulous, frantic, at times frustrating, physically challenging and one aspect was the fulfilment of a dream I have had for over 30 years: Two and a half weeks trekking in the remote region of Upper Mustang. Words and photos ( especially mine!) will never adequately convey the grandeur, beauty and scope of this area. I am sure I will have a go in subsequent posts. Suffice it to say, it was great.

The time with the Samunnat ladies was, as usual, inspirational and humbling.  I am thrilled to hear about our building progress in Birtamod. Read about it here. So far the monsoon is not slowing things down too much!photo

I love, love, love my new earring tree. They are all over Kathmandu as props – not generally for sale – but a chat in faltering Nepali with a friendly bloke called Indra K.C. meant I could buy one. A chat with lovely trekking buddy Marg meant I could actually get it home. ( Predicting what will actually fit in my bag has never been a strong point for me!)

 Book CoverAnd finally for today, I am nervously excited about the fact that Polymer Clay Global Perspectives will be arriving in bookstores on July 30. Nervous because there’s a chapter and project there by me. Excited because there are chapters and projects by some fabulous artists from all over the world, a gallery of work by over one hundred others including the States’ Genevieve Williamson and Rebecca Watkins, Canada’s Claire Maunsell, Spain’s Natalia Garcia de Leaniz and Fabiola Perez Ajates (who shares more than a passion for polymer with me); and Australia’s own Sabine Spiesser  (to name just a few) and because the whole thing was put together by the amazing, insightful, energetic, encouraging, empowering Cynthia Tinapple. Have a look at the website  and you can buy it here. NO PRESSURE!

*New name for the exhibition- Wendy Moore: Unfinished Works