soft collaboration

Prompt: plan a garden ...

Planagarden

This slip of paper arrived in my life yesterday.  I thought: this is a perfect mantra-seed for me right now.  Then I thought:  what if it's a perfect prompt for everyone else as well?

**

Say you had a fertile growing space about seven foot square - all fluffed-up and ready to go.

what strange and mysterious blooms

would you be happy to welcome,

learn from, and share with other

sentient beings

?

 

(turning the plot into a cannabis grow is cheating.  and I mean that on a number of different levels.)

 

 


Prompt: change your blue

very simple and yet not:

switch-up the precise blue that's your normal go-to blue for the sake of blueness.  Work with it for at least a few days.  Longer if it starts to grow on you.

Commit to getting to know a new layer of BLUE for the rest of the month in this kind of way.   Maybe you stay with the original switch-up blue or maybe you just wander around with a larger scope and less automatic favoritism where blue is concerned.

also:

Start looking for and at forms of BLUE you usually overlook.

think about why.

Blue is the color of truth.

how do you decide what you will or will not look at/consider/work with, and why?

look around among your supplies and wish lists.  Make sure you're hearing yourself within your choice-making.

Whatever form of Blue you choose -

balance as best you can

between projection/voice

and reception/hearing

 

**namaste**


final heart prompt: extend love's reach

Spend these final days of intensive heart contemplation actively pushing heart energy through your arms and hands.  Allow the energy to flow into everything that you touch, whenever you remember to stop and hold both the thought and its intentions.

imagine if our collective Heart left indelible traces of itself on everything we touched ...

Trustyourself


prompt: where does your heart rest?

Mossagateheartbasket

Visualize, create, or repurpose a container that's a suitable resting place for your heart.  You can leave it empty until you need it or keep a representational heart in the container at all times as a visual reminder that hearts are only as secure and vibrant as their resting space.

***

I've been working with a tiny willow basket a friend made me years and years ago - ever since I had a really bad day in which it was clear I was not holding the right energy to post on my main blog.  Since then the basket has been holding a moss agate heart.  I've been keeping it on my chakra-related stonework altar in the corner of my studio coffee table workspace.  It's incorrect to say this prompt is inspired by what sent me so far from center.  It was inspired in a way that feels more accurate to say - it was woven - by a few people who read what I wrote and had a purely heart-based response.  And in my own heart and intuitive sense of energetic wonderland, I felt that weaving happening inside of me as well as externally.

It was an incredible thing.  There were other things connected to a few local people and people who emailed or otherwise contacted me privately.  But that energetically woven basket created by simple words on a screen really knocked me out.  So far, it's my biggest single takeaway from Heart Month. 

WillowbasketinnerAt some point in the fairly recent past I came as close to having my heart hit the ground as I've come in - ever, quite frankly.  It's a different kind of thing - losing Heart throughout your consciousness.  It's nothing, for instance, like clinical depression- or any lesser kind of 'giving up' that I've experienced or observed.  Losing heart is beyond terrible.  It's, more or less, The End.

Sensing my heart dwindle with heaviness and shadows, I caught myself thinking of all the times I've rallied other women having a very hard time finding enough heart to hold all that hearts must.  A lot of times it's been intensely personal, as was/is my situation.  Even more frequently it's more collective.  For instance, the day after the '06 elections, I called a group of a my female friends, one at a time, who are (a) established leaders of some kind  (b) hypersensitive plant geeks and (c) close enough to the NYC area that they already had a rough idea of what was coming at us on a scale (i'm sorry but it has to be said since it's so freakin' true ...) the likes of which nobody had seen before.

During those calls, I shared a quote that's nearly always given Cheyenne attribution.  I only shared the first sentence:  a nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground.  I talked to seven friends that day and I left five quotes on voice mails along with the assertion that we were needed more than ever.  I know this because I wrote about it in a journal entry I do not remember making.

Later, when the voice mail women began to unbend and recuperate enough to respond, I couldn't remember making any of the calls, either. The car accident that dinged my brain had happened.  It took one particularly fiesty NYC-for-lifer INSISTING that i had in fact left her a voice mail before I began to remember doing so as if it all happened in shadows and underwater.

***

When I recently felt my heart cruising about six inches above the ground, I mentioned it on my main blog because I knew I'd need to step away in order to heal somehow.   A couple of people were moved to leave a comment or they sent me an email.  I conceived of this prompt at that time.   My sense of the spontaneous heart-centered energy's pure love was enormously sustaining emotionally and also at a inner-screen visual level.  I saw a nest structure very similar to the tiny basket featured in this post.  But it was big and sturdy enough to hold me.  Inside there were feathers and flowers and sumptuous sprigs of many protective and healing herbs. 

I rested there, as need be, throughout my time of regeneration.

Outebasket

thank you.

it can be done ...


prompt: flip or enhance your script

Heartspread

Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday and I mention it every year on my creativity blog. 

If you're with me on that - ignore the prompt-within-the-prompt of the way this one begins and just amp up the experience to some kind of an idealized EVERYBODY loves heart day kind of level.  And note the closest thing the font color options hew towards emerald green below. We are all the way out of the primary zone so I bolded and all-capped for heart-emphasis only.

WITHOUT LINGERING OVER ALL THE REASONS WHY YOU MAY ABSOLUTELY HAAAAAAAATE (or merely ignore/'don't play into' VALENTINES DAY

what would a Day of Heart-Space that met your specific necessary criteria for being a "good" holy-day look like?

bonus question just because I'm curious this way:  How elite is the holy-ness of your personally sanctioned Day of Heart-Space? 

for example - could people with a fondness for Awful Cartoon Shaped Hearts get in

????

what if they were glittery?  and that may or may not be a trick question.  You decide.

asking for a friend, as they say ...

(obviously - Coyote Spirit's still here in ways sacred rules say we're permitted to talk about openly, should we dare.  Winter's not over yet and it was believed that meant the larger medicine spirit was sleeping.  None of the literal dawgs here are sleeping during this particular winter.  They've been up in here howling and running off the foxes throughout the night for a few weeks now.  The foxes  are now over-running the old overgrown orchards where they usually spend their summers. 

WHAT DO THE COYOTES KNOW THAT WE DON'T?

besides everything, i mean ...)

Coyoteexcellence


the blessing of space & sanctuary

SunnystudioplantsToday this space is sunlit and elevated for the shift that's coming with the Aquarian new moon.  Am thinking about what metaphorical seeds I want to plant then.  Also note the background glimpse of an area in the room that I think of as collage fodder purgatory.  Haven't looked at anything there for four years or so.  Thinking this may change sooner than later but we'll see.

OrangeyellowquestionThroughout the past ten days or so, I've been looking at this page from an orange-yellow-gold color collection journal all the time.  I have it open for ongoing viewing on my desk.   Although I wasn't thinking on any kind of subtextual level, or considering layering meaning as well as color application, in this moment of time it seems inspired to remind myself that all sacral questions seek the resolution of volitionary action.

Leomagicsome days ago I called an official time out on my main blog.  It doesn't work to post there when I'm immersed in something as deep as it is personal.  My internalized/frail ego/vulnerability level in such times can't sustain the entire premise and purpose of that particular sharing space. But this blog doesn't aim (or need) to set either the same standard or tone.   After the time out set root of a productive nature, somebody I mentor came around to that blog's comments section and invoked all kindsa yellow/solar/leo energy he knows to be the crux of my earthly soul's resilience factor.

i thought it was - at best - aspirational on his part.

but it worked.  That's the main thing.

Griefpage1the deeper purpose of recent soul growth-work is making more than adequate space for itself.  Within that space I've begun to articulate the overwhelming season of loss I experienced - beginning around this point in the years calendar - that was due in large part to Covid.

Griefricksomething simple, imperfectly elegant, inadvertently messed-up/air bubbles and contextually Everything for the unCovid mic drop of my incomparable friend, rick.

DowhatsrightnotNear the beginning of solar month I discovered the resin smudged note while tidying up.  It's from years ago.  In the process of awaiting something 'worthy' I turned some kind of intentional corner so that I simply wanted to find it a comfortable home.

Grieftwostoriesa story of deep grief transcending itself.

SunstampYesterday evening I found a piece of fabric stamped many times with a representation of sun magic & medicine.

InthosedaysOne of the stampings was placed to headline a snippet of narrative.  I held this cloth in my hand and read the words in my handwriting seven or eight times.  I have no idea wtf this refers to.  Not just what but whom.  My twenty first year was quixotic and relatively untethered.  It spanned (this sounds way more glamorous and noteworthy in its episodic qualities than it actually was, by far ...) 3 continents  and 7 countries within the first five calendar months.  I knew - in the walking around sense - any number of men who routinely betrayed themselves.  After squeezing my mind on the subject, I can think of three who semi-routinely fell on their sword for me.  The four of us were yoked to a highly disorganized, recreationally unpleasant, and insufferably narcissistic boss.  Nuff sed.

Samplerwhole am both baffled and intriqued by the personal mystery factory.  have resolved to steam refresh, then press smooth.  Hand sew stay stitching at the edges.  Hoop it up and backstitch my words into place.  Keep going from there. 

i like the idea of this showing up somewhere that won't matter to me with somebody i won't know saying 'i wonder what THIS was all about.' 

and.

i would not be able to tell them even if I could magically be there to speak in human language once more.

 cartersfacingthedoorspeaking of words - this is what two-pass working draft quality now looks like as I wend my way through the previously procrastinated,  emotionally and mechanically difficult corridors of my novel-writing project.  Think it's obvious I keep doing this Thing on a primarily daily basis.  In the past while there have been a few days in a row when I didn't write.  The self-mother in me would not allow it.  In that time the sun didn't shine in the literal sense.  I sat on the couch and let myself be held in the love of friends as well as my personal faith in the larger universe of healing and happenstance.  This one's going to take awhile to situate and explore with the necessary level of fearlessness.  Otherwise there's no point.  I'm not a healing-lite kind of person.

note:  the two children in this snippet are 4 and half years old.  Cici is unwanted by her family (although deeply treasured and loved by Carter's people) and is thus passed around from relative to relative.  Dominic's her oldest cousin, who was similarly treated in his youth, and has thus risen to the considerable personal challenge (he and Jessie have a past that I cried for three days straight back in Sacral month to draft-out...shhhhh...) of coming back into town in order to be the steady guardian influence she needs. 

DominicrealizesasmuchIn the same eight days of keeping my own counsel, there was a three or four day window in which I didn't have a working power cord for my laptop.  J was kind (and kind of INSISTENT) enough to let me have his personal machine during his working hours.  The first day I managed to record (as opposed to write) three and a half paragraphs.  That's how much I struggled to get back in synch with a mouse and also the fact that the keyboard doesn't work very well and J thus has a second keyboard he uses precariously balanced against the first.  The second day I did better.  The third day I pretty much typed at will/ability level given the over-arching life circumstances.  My sense of accomplishment was calibrated against the fact I was aware, even as I was writing, that I wasn't actually working so much as taking myself along a compulsive jug handle of irrelevant happenstance and dialogue serving neither expository nor inter-layering purpose.  I guess it was a comfort to me.  To know most of these characters so well that I could spend a day doing that and thus coming closer to mooring myself in ways that support coming both farther and closer, perceptually, in a further "way" of some sort that's pragmatically as well as creatively driven.  And in direct relation to knowing what is true for and about me.

Whatportrait

A 2 hours old selfie.  In the present tense I'm squinting with a bowed head  because the strong sunlight's shining right in my eyes.  It feels great.

Also:  huge upgrade in the pragmatic sense.  During yesterday's snowstorm J. installed a second hand railing in the studio stairwell.  I can now walk up and down holding on with both hands.  This is a HUGE blessing given ongoing neuro-unreliability that's largely weather driven in terms of severity and duration.

Kneescaband my knee is almost healed ...


shibori girl yellow, etc.

YellowglennisunopenedYesterday I went through a box in which I pre-sorted a lot of yellow treasures years ago.  I virtually never look in it because I know what's there except, by now, I really don't   since I never look.  Had forgotten the above treasure and find it a perfect meditative visual aid as I continue to vacillate between, as Pam Gregory puts it, clarity and silt.  Gotta say this fantabulous grey is the most gorgeous silt I've ever contemplated!
Yellowshiborigirlopenhuh.  as usual I was scattershot and doing a few things at once.  I thought surely the words on the other side of the white paper background wouldn't show up in these pictures even though I could clearly see them with my eyes.  Also you can see I was digging in pots and plant roots today...

YellowtreasuresFirst thing this morning (3 degrees.  snowing.)  I livened up my consciousness by steam pressing a lot of the treasures I re-connected with from the unexamined box.  More Glennis beauties and a lot of stuff I messed around with on my own, plus some Artemis ribbons, a sheet of wool felt, and a piece of linen it looks like I painted with watered down yellow ochre acrylic paint.  I perceive a lot of destinies but have got to stop thinking like a 30 year old.  A lot of the things I reconnected have the feel of what I had in mind for my braid.

interest was expressed concerning the example braid so here's what that was about:

Rolledscrollin the mid aughts I was part of an international collaborative fiber arts journal project.  A modest group of us worked on Anthologies in which we each picked our own theme and then everyone in the group made a page to fit.   This particular page was for an anthology entitled Blue.  I figured somebody else would riff on Joni Mitchell so I thought about how Blue is everywhere in my home environment because J is blue to the bone and it's soothing up to a point from a mental health point of view.  But am not myself an all-blue person.  Fortunately I happened upon a Van Gogh quote that solved my dilemma:

Thereisnoblue

The unrolled scroll reveals my inspiration.   Part of the request was that we hide a quote in a secret pocket.

ScrollpocketI created a lined pocket partway across the page so it was a little less obvious of a hide.

Blueandorangefrontwoven and embroidered front of page with light beading.  Each person chose the page dimensions.  I added a cloth 'gutter' (orange strip to right) to facilitate a variety of attachment/binding options. 

Backofscrollback of scroll designed as a nod towards Van Gogh's Night Sky Over The Rhone
Secretpocketused water soluble crayons to color the indigo batik.
Orangeandyellowback


thank you for your patience

BraidingtogetherHere's a concrete prompt.  As we had it planned - I was going to begin introducing them on what turned out to crazytrain incited mob day because if I keep learning one thing over and over again it's that timing is everything.  The original prompts didn't allow for what I or anyone else was likely to feel like after such an event being what it actually was, and all.

***

Find three braid-able threads, cloth, or paper - or something else entirely.  Make the three elements you select relatively comparable at the organic working level.  One of the elements - or all of them - is obviously going to be yellow.

the picture I'm using as illustration of the prompt isn't whatever I'll make in response to it.  It's from a series of pictures I was editing hoping something would strike me somehow, beyond editing images for posts in the future tense

  So I'll share my own effort when I make/complete it.

If you use all yellow:  think about integrating different aspects of the solar center's receptivity and projection that have been most meaningful and of use over the past 3 weeks.

Consider your completed braid of personal experience with the various ways you've related to your third chakra in its personal volition context.  How have you felt yourself trading energies with compatible energy centers/yellow energy more abstractly?  Think about:  moments of joy, self-determination, manifested creativity, humor, volition/leadership in the wake of solar's shadow of rage.

In terms of your own anger as you feel it needs to be interwoven or as you may have joined with others to form a crucible in which that emotion is elevated to action-orientation - Think about the sacred shadow principle and RADIANT rage.

manifest elevation as a visual cue.

If braiding large amounts of yellow feels overwhelming and/or too de-hydrating, try adding a little (or a lot...) of deep purple to balance and restore your energetic sense of Self.

another idea is to braid-up ways the madness has caused you to not recognize your own thoughts or actions.   In my case I'm thinking of this in terms of the inability have hold and maintain either component of expressive sentience. So I'm considering a mini-braid within a braid.  And some of the yellow - the thing that switched the flick, as on of the dive captains likes to put it - being as close to the yellow of Amanda Gorman's coat as I have on hand.

Here's a long-planned yellow listen only version of Sly and the Family Stone wanna take you higher to move you along through stuff  and take it ALL higher as you braid.


YELLOW = picking up wherever you stopped

Justpickup[Have been yellow/manifesting energy in clearing-out the studio a little - which so far has primarily meant making up some collage fodder stash supplements for a few folks who asked and otherwise looking through art journals and sketchbooks in both complete and in-progress forms.]

eta:  today I brought back a post called from chaos to cosmos just because the title was on point.

I have a particular DIY sketchbook that I sometimes carry around like a studio-to-house/home life transitional object.  Four or five times now it's gone MIA for a couple months at a time because it gets stacked in with other books either up here or somewhere in the dining room wall of book shelves. I posted about a spread I filled shortly after the last time I reconnected with it.

NumberfivecoverI really love everything about this book from the large size to the feel of the recycled cloth-bound covers of an old Time-Life book (Elves & Fairies).  And the paper I selected - Stillman & Birn in various weights and finishes also intermingling bright white and ivory colored folios.  And I'm also enjoying the face About a quarter of the pages have flaps or partial gatefolds.

***

Prior to insurrection I'd begun clearing-out more pragmatically here in the studio.  This is a standard January activity that never happened last year because I preferred to lead the collage challenge while also challenging myself with the daily prompts.  Then the pandemic insured I didn't have to concern myself with what visitors 'might think' if the sink looked like it was part of a creative omnivore's laboratory

So far this hasn't meant much of note beyond unclogging the sink drain and finishing up with anti-bac everything afterwards.  Otherwise I'm 'clearing-up' more in the memory and psychic sense of infusing more/fresh yellow vitality into dark crevices.  Also taking a wander through sketchbooks in both complete and in-progress forms.  Plus Moleskine based art journals.  I mention them right at this particular juncture because at least four people who now read here regularly as part of the Dive have a Moly hoard they don't think they are talented - or otherwise know - enough - to actually use.  but you should!  Then they'd look like the stack below rather than an unused testament to hesitancy!! 

Molysinsunlight***

  The level of ongoing reliable focus I need to pick up exactly where I left off before the siege has not yet returned. This isn't about shifted or disconnecting motivation but more about examining what's whole and stable enough to be built-upon in a more mindfully sustainable way.  I've also found I need more time outside - bundled up and dreaming of the next growing season, providence willing.

My sense of mental-mind is still somewhat jumbled and amorphous so I'm going to go with the inspiration of emergent solar/yellow energy currents.  Today there's no actual sunlight.  The pics were taken yesterday.  Below is a show of the 7:35 a.m. light in the room.  It falls on my work desk.  By close of studio business day the desk will be clear and ready for various creative impulses I feel brewing.  Since I work in many books at once it's ideal to have the desk clear enough to leave a variety of projects to dry overnight.  This makes a great next-morning review space especially with the natural light falling over the pages.

DeskthisamThe other day as I was watching the live feed of the mob swarming inside the only response I seemed able to have relates to making many multiple copies of the woman walking past an open arch way.  I don't know why.  But I'll be ready once I do.

BettercolorofbackingchoiceHave found my choice of a commercial backing for Primary Nest.  I learned the hard way that this series of Holding Cloths are best served to have very plain tightly woven backings.  I've been stitching each day - sometimes more than others.  It's an intentional piece of work so if I feel my heart shutting down or aching in response to my thoughts I set it aside and do something that more directly addresses my emotions of the moment.

Even though I've woken up two mornings in a row thinking of troubleshoots and inroads related to fictionland - once I'm actually up here in the studio I'm inclined to put most of my creative energy to focus on more tactile and visual aspects of creative capability.  I need a visually immediate sense of personal accomplishment rather than two well-pruned paragraphs to show for a whole lot of time thinking and staring into space.  But as the dust in my soul begins to settle from last week's [not unexpected.  and somehow all the more horrifying to bear remote witness to how it was as it happened] melee - I find my need for joy-inducing creativity to be heat/solar seeking at an instinct level.  So I'm picking up where I left off within a study of largely paint based color relationship/pattern deconstruction exploration. 

5innercoverI altered the original faux marble inner covers with collaged image-grid page out of Amy Butler's fabulous Bloom compendium.  If you've ever purchased or been gifted a collage packet from me you've had at least a few page sections included.  For this endeavor - and knowing in advance how I planned to work in the book - I focused on colors and images that held very strong appeal for me.   Personalized with paint swatches and the impulse to trace a magnolia bloom to keep the lotus bud company.

MagnoliatracingTo get going I riffed on some of the colors and imagery that made my eye the happiest while also sticking to the theme.  Everything is pretty paint driven with colored pencil and pitt pen additions - with the exception of the smeared oil pastels making up the petal colors in the riffed flower vase.  Ink brush pen over the smears.  Now I know that works ...

Vaseriff

Almondbranchriff

JudeinspiredOnce I 'broke the silence' I moved to an inner section of the book to work on pattern deconstruction on a page spread that included a flap.  The limited color palette was an enjoyable/soothing mix for me visually.  Also of note is that the batik fragment serving as inspiration was originally from a long panel jude sent - wow.  Right after T came home from college for the first summer 'away' from home or his Italian parents' homes.  Putting another part of the globe at 17 into comparative balance, it's pretty hard to consider the Valley to be legit away-away but, yeah. 

Once he was back for the summer I immediately turned the panel into a pair of curtains for his western facing bedroom windows.  They were exactly long enough with the addition of an unobtrusive commercial batik used to form the curtain rod casings.  When the sun began to lower his entire bedroom was illuminated by the batik's colors as well as the setting sun's light.  He kept a sphere-shaped prism given to him at his birth by my mother positioned just off center to catch the maximum amount of sun-time.  The curtains were kept just open enough to maximize the prismatic addition to the visual display.

Here in this house the retrofitted curtains hung in an eastern window - with rod casements running in the other/short direction of the two panels - in the upstairs bathroom.  They caught each sunny morning's light for the better part of seven years until the gifted fabric shredded free of the tight commercial weave.  The paper thin remnants are relics used for very special purposes most usually involving because used as auspicious gift-wrapping in the ultimate spirit of jude-ness.

Pinkandyellowopenflapjust all different mark making tools and spontaneous life-tracking memorabilia inclusion by way of sparkly pink mesh flowers cut from a stashed-up bouquet finishing wrap.  This final inclusion worked out quite well with a layer of pre-applied soft gel medium. I collaged the flower separately and put them under a book with a layer of wax paper to blot-up some of the extra gel.  Any additional gel ooze I buffed-off with a soft threadbare pillow-case remnant. 

Yellowpink3Right now I'm yellow-pushing myself to complete a spread in this same book I stopped working on when I made an unfortunate smear that "ruined' the perfect color and element spacing.  Something always ruins the perfect whatever but sometimes I practice longer avoidance in getting to the fix than is warranted.  It's more than a little ridiculous but since I juggle so many idea-catching volumes at once I usually solve other problems while something else is incubating.  

In this case I deconstructed the color palette and design elements of a chocolate bar wrapper.  When the unfinished page spread has been 'healed' of that condition I'll share where I was - an unflinching close up of the offending unmindful smear - and where-ever I wind up. 

Cottonfabricbackingaudition