Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Motivation, Inspiration & True Self

As I have traveled my journey in creating my new life, I found that it was the conflicts that helped me to define my focus. I am grateful for each and everyone of them...

...and as I walk upon this new path I am discovering many things about myself, understanding and being comfortable in my flaws, as well as being comfortable in my abilities and my talents.

As I thought back about my art career to date, I see as I changed so did my reason for my art. As I discovered my true self so did my art and I am now on the verge of being able to really express this in my work.

Which brought me to being inspired yet motivated.

Many people use the words “motivated” and “inspired” interchangeably. But I’ve found something quite different to be the case.

Inspiration makes you create, dream and innovate. Motivation empowers you to execute.

Inspiration comes hard, it's often found in suffering. When people see bad times they're inspired to solve problems and make the world a better place.

Motivation makes them work to make that dream come true.

motivation is a pulling or pushing force 
Whether you use the word “motive” or you use the word “reason”, motivation needs to come from that source. Without having a reason or a motive, it will be hard to come by.

inspiration is an inside to outside force
The word “inspiration” comes from the late Latin word “inspirare” which means “in spirit” or “divine guidance”. Inspiration connects with you on the inside to a state of being more excited, productive, and/or purposeful.
And now I realize as I look back that I was extremely- maybe even obsessively- motivated with my art. Not to say that I was not creative or capable but my reason was from being pushed (as I was taught) to please others- yes, highly motivated.

We could go into my years of therapy to find the deep courage to find myself. I can tell you that I do know now that it is about balance of mind, body, and soul. I am truly and mindfully convinced of this and know that if you are on your own journey, you will need all of these to be examined and brought to their highest potential to bring you to your own highest potential- your true self. It is a hard but extremely fulfilling and eventually, a peaceful path. You will be able to see things and people more clearly and know how and if they fit into your life.

In that the realization, I am now being in my true self I find that I am now able to step into inspiration and I feel that my best art is about to be fully expressed! To finally shed my cocoon and spread my wings into full flight...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fabrics from around the World!


Many of you ask where I get my fabrics...and yes, part of it is all about connections!

But not any ordinary connection...

As we grow as artist, we become very particular in our supplies that we use...your eye becomes more defined as your work progresses...

...I have noticed of late that I am on a spiritual path with my work. The beauty of art is that there is no limit you are always growing!

I have long surpassed the "10,000 hours" to gain your "masterdom" in technique and it is very important to me to share my soul...my spirituality in my pieces with you.

Out in the World

I have my “international buyers – Asian division” that traveled to India and to Malaysia this year. This year, I wanted fabrics that were more subdued for the linings on my new line of handbags. Other fabrics are purchased locally, as I travel, or online - which can sometimes be tricky navigating a Japanese website!

So this could be a daunting mission to send someone out into the world and bring back something that is workable! Luckily, I have found the understanding/connection with Julie and Kirk. They have a great eye and are spot on with my requests!

Last time was brights with metallic threads in India read more here

I am well known for my Asian influence in my work...but I do mix culture's fabrics depending on what speaks to me for the piece I am creating...for I am not replicating but being soulfully inspired.

Julie and Kirk are great travelers and bring back not only great fabrics, but also photos of the places where they purchased these wonderful fabrics.


Photo is where they purchased the Indian fabrics in Cochin:


I wanted subdued tones of blue and grey- this was a great accomplishment from a tropical climate!

Photo of Julie doing batik.

Fabrics in Malaysia.

It is with great gratitude that these two actually travel to the places to buy some of my fabrics!!

And now..what will become of these fabrics??? 

They will find their place...their story...in my creations!!

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cranes 1 to 1000

1 crane

I find that nature brings such incredible inspiration to me...and usually on my morning (meditation) walks. 
I use these walks to get out of my own head and listen and look at the beauty around me...and sometimes post of my fb page of my sightings...sometimes it is such a brief moment that all I can do is enjoy it...live it...in that moment.

This past week I posted photos of a stick that was center in my path. I thought it looked like a crane...
inspiration for dolls with bird totem symbolism that I will be creating for a show at the Art Gym  in July-Aug...then onto NIADA Conference.
"There is a Japanese idiom that says, “tsuru no hito koe“, 鶴の一声 or つるのひとこえ, which literally translates as, “one word from the crane’, meaning the “voice of authority”, the one who has the final word that isn’t challenged. 
That is how high the crane is regarded, no one questions his opinions."
the crane stick
the first morning it was a crane "standing" nobly in my path...
the next morning walk...the crane was with mouth open speaking or singing...or giving his opinion...
this past morning the crane was "flying"...

By day three, I thought "ok...got the message...I will create you...
you must have a voice
you must fly!"

The crane is the symbol of longevity and good luck because it was thought to have a life span of a thousand years. Tsuru are also monogamous, therefore, often used for wedding decor."
I will definitely be creating a crane in my series of dolls!!
The crane has traits of peace, nobility, loyalty, and truth, as well as longevity. 
stay tuned for the upcoming postings of my work in progress...

1000 paper cranes

note: I have fortunate to have been to her shrine in Horshima...

Sadako Sasaki also became famous for her own attempt to fold 1,000 cranes in the 1950s. When Sadako was only two years old, she was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, in Japan. As she grew up, she developed leukemia. Suffering from the deadly disease, she learned the ancient tradition about the 1,000 paper cranes. Inspired to follow the legend, Sadako folded paper cranes in her hospital bed, praying for world peace. Sadako died when she was only 12, before she could finish 1,000 cranes. 

As a tribute to Sadako’s life and selfless wishes, her classmates folded the remaining cranes, and Sadako Sasaki was buried with the full 1,000 cranes. Her story stands as an inspiration to all, and a testament to the continued power of the paper crane as a compelling symbol for hope, love, honor, and peace.

I challenge you!

Start folding to create your own 
symbol for hope, love, honor, and peace.

Place one or two or a thousand anywhere
take a photo
post on facebook!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My Happiness Hat

As I travel my path as an artist and a person who is listening carefully to my soul, I found that I needed expand my art and share this journey...

So where would that take me and my beloved students?
I found that I had to stop, take a deep breath, and listen to myself...to my soul...and hear what it was telling me...

“Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul 
... and you answer.” 
~Terri Guillemets

It was telling me loud and clear to share my love of hats and the symbolism that communes with them...and with that I had to stop again, and ask questions and hear the answers...

“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, 
and the less the artist does the better.” 
~André Gide

It is in the stillness that the answers will come to you...it becomes so obvious that you wonder why it took you so long to get it!

“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, 
while the art tells you to take your time. 
Always listen to the art.” 
~Junot Diaz 

As I shared the direction my soul was going with my students in CA last year, they were receptive of creating a hat for a workshop project...it was there in that amazing connection that Kathy came up with the name "My Happiness Hat"!

Of course!!! My Happiness Hat.

I thought about which materials I would use outside of fabric but still having the "hand" of fabric. Paper...but no ordinary paper. It had to be as thoughtful as my fabrics I use. It had to have the quality that I am known for...it had to be different from what is usual.

I consider paper to be a sister of fabric. I have created in both for many of my artistic life.

Now...which flowers to bring to life in paper...

Lily and Peony...soulful and delicate.
Here my Story Hats© in fabric.

Lily = Love

Peony = Peace

I was excited to create these for a class...

In creating this hat...from paper, I felt that the details where just as important and meaningful as in my one of a kind Story Hats©.

As you well know, I am about the details of my pieces. I find that each step is very important in creating a quality piece.

So I looked at each element of the hat. The Petals, leaves, hat base exterior and interior.
I thought about the design of each...with one focal flower as in my original pieces.
And of course how would each flower relate to my students or potential buyer of these beauties.

I chose my paper carefully and ended up with a heavier weight designer crepe paper. It differs from the usual craft store paper in weave, quality of paper used, and in thickness. I also decided to mix my papers using a fine quality card stock for the leaves. The Hat base exterior was made from easy accessible card stock paper that my students could find, this way they could add their own touch into it. The interior was made from nice thicker wrapping paper and/or museum quality papers I found online.

Closely related to my fabric petals, where I dye the fabric, with the paper petals I bleached the ends.
Fabric Petals

Paper Petals

Fabric Petals and Leaf
Paper Flowers and Leaf

Fabric Interior

Paper Interior

I feel as an artist that it is important to do things with the same intentions and care, no matter what your project is.
Here are the Paper Hats...My Happiness Hats I created!

* Love: Lily 百合
The Lily symbolizes “forever in love” and is often associated with summer, abundance and luck. Used as a lucky charm, the Lily is known to avert the effects of the “evil eye.” The Lily hat is blessed with love and the power of warmth.

* Peace : Peony 牡丹
The Chinese name for peony means “beautiful”. The flowers represent riches, prosperity and honor.

Peonies embody romance and prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage. They are also considered as a symbol for nobility and honor in full bloom, the peony symbolizes peace.

I will be teaching My Happiness Hat 
Piecemakers Costa Mesa CA
April 22-23, 2017

...and as a bonus if you take the class you will be able to attend my Story Hat Presentation with the price of the class...I will talk about the presentation in my next blog!
I'm also very excited to share with you my work through a 2 hour slide show presentation of my work. I will discuss my work in detail and answer any questions about my work!

Not able to make the class
Sunday April 23 will be the presentation

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Story Hat Book

Many of you know my Story Hats, the love of stitches and stories that come together.

...hats give you the possibility to dream.
Philip Treacy

When creating these Story Hats, I think about not only their size, shape, their movement, but also their voice...what do I want this hat to say...to you.

For many years, people have been asking for a book of my Story Hats...and finally it is here! 

I have put together a carefully chosen collection of my Story Hats to include:
  • Butterfly
  • Goldfish
  • Seahorse
  • Lotus
  • Lily
  • Elephant
  • Dragon
  • Happy Dog
  • Rabbit/Hare
  • Snow Tiger
  • Green Tiger
  • and of course, Black Cat.

It is hardcover coffee table book and features stunning 12" x 12" glossy images from my amazing photographers Mark Mortensen and Allan Rodriguez Villalobos.
Each hat has two full pages of exceptional photography showing a full shot and close ups. 

I believe that my pieces are multi layered not only in fabric but also in meaning so, I have also shared with you the special symbolic meaning, wishes or protection each Story Hat holds.

The book has sold out in it's first unadvertised "outing".
I am doing these as a limited run with signed copies going to those who order in this next pre-order round. The cost is $69 + shipping (anywhere in the world).

If you are interested in this next pre-order run,
please let me know email me here and I'll include you!

I am grateful for all the years I have been able to create these pieces of my soul and am thrilled to share them with you.

The Story Hats themselves, as art pieces, will eventually be for sale, I will keep you posted...and I am now starting to create a couture line of my Story Hats for women!

I hope to hear from you!

As always...creating meaning to add beauty to your life.

Insight from others:
This book is absolutely GORGEOUS....extraordinary photos and Leslie's writing is, as always, lovely, wise, and inspirational! I hope everyone is able to add one to YOUR collections!

Excellent book! Keep going through it. Thanks Leslie. Look forward to your next one!

This book is a gorgeous and an instant inspiring boost. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Questions Part 2

This is a continuation of my Questions posting. 
My Questioning of myself and my art...read it here.

As I stated there was some stumbling that lead me to questions myself and how to make a living with my art...to have that "conversation with myself on what matters...what feels right.

I am finding that I ask a question and must keep a quiet mind to hear those answers. Taking the time to be still...to become aware of the possibilities.

Many of you have asked...how do I become still...quiet? In today's world the noise has grown in such a manner that many do not realize that we are even living in noise. It has become a humming comfort to us...but myself, as an artist, I find that I cannot think clearly in clutter or humming.

For me, I take every morning as a ritual for myself. I walk, not as exercise but more as a meditation. I get out of my head and into the space around me...yes, it usually takes a good lap around the park before I can achieve this. And when I do I notice the sky, the birds, I notice that I am breathing...I notice the beauty.
...as in all the feathers that keep coming onto my path! 
We now have a bowl of feathers...that's a whole other discussion...
Image may contain: outdoor

This quiet and talking with dear ones, has helped me to define who I am as an artist and my path. It may again be tweaked and change a bit...but I am now finding the answers very clear...so clear that it now seems so obvious!

So thank you my dear friends and cherished man in my life...you're are making this journey glorious.

I am forever grateful.

So, how does this translate into my work??
I am finding that I have many collections that are just waiting to be created and some, like my dolls, that will continue on...

Let's start with one of my collections -  the beginning of my LL Couture line:

I started with bags and infinity scarves...I was thinking of the most versatile things...

I designed the tote from black wool and digitally printed fabric for the lining...this is the bag that I carry most often. I am fairly rough on it and it has held up well over the years. I pre-wash the fabric so you can machine wash it and yes, dry it also!

These are from the Botanic Series:
There are three bags left.
If interested please email me here.

I love these bags but I needed more... more of what my art is about...where my soul is...
After talking with my friend, Pam, it dawned on me like the sun breaking through the clouds! She said you are known for your dolls and your hats and your detailed techniques...there it was in the quiet stillness...the obvious...my fabrics and my stitching...

So, here is my proto-type of my LL Couture Tote...
These bags are bit larger and can carry 8 1/2" x 11" papers in a folder, ipads,  phones, and other needs comfortably.

As you can see this is the same stitching technique I use on my Story hat base. 
Interior with a vintage kimono fabric pocket.

Initially I was going to applique my Lotus, Lily, Goldfish, etc on the outside...but after talking through concepts with my business consultant...another obviously came into light.

Keep the tote simple for the everyday and place the Lotus shape etc. into top stitching. THEN! the evening bag (fits into the tote) can be more expressive with my appliques. Everything starting to fall into place.

So bottom line and how does this relate to you?
  • Keep it simple, don't over think it. Quiet your mind.
  • Talk it over with trusted souls. Quiet your mind.
  • Let it happen, you have the answers. Quiet your mind.
  • Give it your best and always be kind.

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