When asked about a women I admire or feel influenced by I go to my grandmother, Aleen Snyder, who I affectionately named Darling.
Growing up in the 70’s, I had heard about women gaining powerful stances through commercials, advertisements and television shows but men were still very much in the lead in everything from my view.
Early on, Darling was my power source for creativity. She taught me how to sew on machine, follow a pattern, doodle an impressive swan from the letter L and sing a round of “Mares Eat Oats” so fast, no one knew what the words were. She was a master of reuse in the most subtle ways, keeping and displaying the broken and chipped things she loved the most. She was accepting. She let me be me.
I had other important women influencing me, my mom and my aunt, both birthed by Darling. They were and are artsy and creative in their own unique ways but she was our source.
I have thought of Darling often over the years with CReATE STUDIO. I see her touch in so much of what I do with it.
Today is International Women’s Day, this month is Women in History month. If I am asked about who inspires me, who I look up to? It’s my Darling. She paved the way for my creativity to shine.
Each month we focus on one of our more commonly reused materials. This month we spotlight wood and many of the forms we see at CReATE.
Throughout the month we’ll explore where wood comes from, how materials are made, how it’s recycled, what we are creating with it on YouTube, and what artists are making with it too.
All the materials we focus on have a back story. They came from the earth somehow. Our Spotlight program is our way of honoring them, where they began and all they become along the way, even when they are aligned for single use.
Have you been to Watts Towers? I have lived in Los Angeles nearly all my life and I still have yet to go. It’s an iconic Los Angeles Landmark location that is all about art. Its 17 Tower structures speak to my “use what you have to create” nature.
Since the Pandemic started I have had more time to think about the places I have long wanted to visit in So Cal but, many are closed, including Watts Towers. I visited the Watts Towers website and got an idea, they offer a virtual tour! Now, I can go, at least in part, so why not invite you to come along. It’s an opportunity to explore some LA culture and history with a peek into their arts community.
Let’s go! Click here to go to the Watts Towers virtual tour page on their website. Click here to learn the history of the Tower’s creations. Let’s saunter through the Towers and take it all in. I think we’ll feel refreshed, a little more curious, and a lot more creative.
The other day my friend Vicki asked me what I liked best about doing art with the preschoolers I host enrichment for. Without a beat, I thought of how giddy I get when I see kids creating their way. As they work on our main project or tinker with the extra materials I give them, it’s so fun to watch them be in their own creative zone, tongue sticking out of the side of their mouths, brows furrowed in thought. Creating is serious business. To watch their minds working through their hands as they make is just a joy to see. I just get giddy when kids create from their hearts. I think they might be a little giddy too.
I’m having a gratitude moment about my car. It’s a 2002 Chevy Tahoe, officially an SUV, that has been with me for the better part of 20 years. She was born in Texas and raised in California. My daughter recently named her Mary Poppins, because no matter what I try to put inside, it fits! Mary, helps me get CReATE’s stuff everywhere. This week she’s taking me to two pre-schools, a parks department, a sewing session, and a birthday party. Each event calls for different materials and tools. No problem. If a car could be a friend she would be the truest. She’s reliable, always ready to help, and a real workhorse. No matter how much I ask her to carry she readily agrees. If it weren’t for her overall character I couldn’t really be mobile, not with easy support anyway. This car has been through a lot of life with me. She was my right hand raising young kids, carting strollers and bikes, tolerating endless messes and spills. She was always ready to take friends to theme parks or get packed for a road trip or move. She even helped me teach my daughters to drive! I can’t think of a better companion for life’s requests and demands. Thanks to my Tahoe, my dreams for mom-hood and being creative as a business owner have been coming true again and again. How has your car been your friend?
I find it’s the little things that make a space feel good. Sure, the furniture is an anchor to a space but “God is in the details” as the saying goes. That is to say, the good is in the details.
Since deciding to transition CReATE to a mobile pop-up format I have been thinking of details and how I could bring them to a new outdoor version of the studio. It’s the little things that made the indoor studio space special. It’s the little things, the details that will do the same for our pop-up studio too. For practical reasons these details also need to be easy to include as each event is a set-up and tear-down process.
This is where I get to explore my creativity, in the little things. I love to marry the practical needs of something with fun. With CReATE the task is creating the feeling and spirit of the studio in various outdoor settings. As my daughter Maisy says, I am looking for casual magic.
Every time I bring CReATE to a home and pop-up the studio, I am excited to explore how this casual magic works now and how it can grow. We are out not just thinking outside the box here, we are physically of the box now too.
I’ve always known that boxes were created to be temporary.
Art Journaling with CMATO yesterday was so rewarding to be a part of. As a Family Art Day session on Zoom we had a wide range of ages participating from our own backyard here in the Conejo as well as back East and beyond.
Art journaling offered us all place to connect with one another and explore it’s concept. We talked about feelings and fears, doodles and Joy’s along with our hands on making. It bonded us. Here, I share a simple way to make a journal-ette from folded copy paper. I appear alone though thanks to zoom I am with many friends.
Talking candidly while making was cathartic. I think the process left us all feeling a little lighter.
We’re excited to offer a second Art Journaling session for the next Famliy Art Day in February.
Mark your calendars and save the date for Saturday, February 20th at 2pm pst. This is a free event to attend on zoom. If you weren’t able to join us this month we hope to see you in February. The sign-up link coming soon and will be posted on our Happenings Page. When you sigh up we’ll provide a list of recyclable materials and supplies to collect at home for our additional Art Journaling time together.
How have you been impacted by Covid 19? No doubt the changes you’ve experienced have been life changing in surprising ways and in a full range of emotion.
We can help.
Join me this Sunday, January 17th at 2pm for a Virtual Family Art Day in partnership with California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks (CMATO). Here’s the link https://bit.ly/3mt82j4
We’ll be making Art Journals inspired by CMATO’S current online exhibit, Life Interupted- a virtual collection of student works expressing how their lives have been impacted by Covid 19.
Art heals. We see that first hand through the exhibit. Taking a page from that process we’ll explore art journaling and it’s natural process of expression through writing, doodling, collating and painting. There are no rules to follow and no experience required to make an art journal. Join us this Sunday to as Madonna once said , Epress Yourself.
The student works includes here include Bleeding Heart by Dexter Guiellmot, Somethings’ Missing by Madison Moc, and Vibing by Hana Ryan.
Hurray! As Plato once said, “the most important part of the work is the beginning. The new 2021 is creating that beginning. The beginning Plato refers to reminds me of making art. Art always begin with a fresh idea, a blank canvas, an empty box, and builds from there. I am envisioning a blank canvas for myself. It has layers of other art that I can now paint over to begin anew. I am looking forward to this process. I plan to apply all that I learned in 2020 to my fresh start 2021 canvas. On top of that I plan to work with my “materials”; flexibility, positivity, a few solid goals, people and planet connections and, a good dose of wonder to start. I don’t know how it will look but I want it to be vibrant, fun and a work I will be proud to keep. How will you make your 2021 art?