Saturday, April 9, 2016

Volume, Volume, Volume - living a Big Life

This last week after packing out the shop in Falls Churchreminds me of the week I quit my corporate job over a decade ago.  The very minute I gave notice at the Porter Group to stay home with my kids and jump into my creative career I got phone calls and emails galore asking to me to donate/volunteer time, effort and money for various endeavors that would require time away from my babies- the very reason I was turning my back on a lucrative , mature corporate career.  This time around the phone calls, texts and emails are a mix of the mundane, exhilarating and profane.  A lot of them sound really interesting but would require taking time away from my now not so little baby and my new creative babies.

I am taking a cue from last time I made a big switcheroo and am NOT immediately judging or deciding on all of the interesting opportunities that are being presented to me.  Frankly I am in no mental or physical condition to do so,  I am still shifting and moving a thousand square feet of surplus display stock and merchandise around my house/yard/storage container( that miraculously appeared in my driveway- thank to Pack Rat).  While my family is being VERY understanding I find it hard to create in chaos because I have always had this attitude that my proverbial house had to be "in order" before I could give myself permission* to make art. Or sew something. Or play with the supplies I bought six months ago.

Just like my ego was tied up last time with not being indispensable to the client and candidate base I had created, I find myself swinging in the breeze a bit as I work through what being of service to the creative community we created at Stifel & Capra looks like. While I war internally with trying to remain in the public eye so all my relationships don't just fade away, I wonder why it's SO important to maintain all of them.  And really can I?  Maintain all of those conversations if I am not sitting behind the counter? I remind myself of all the things I didn't do when I was Head Shop Girl. Work on my Art Practice, which was ostensibly why I opened the shop, to sell my wares. Be present as opposed to being distracted at home, which I was during every waking minute the shop was open.

I don't have the answers.  Always being Idea Girl, I of course, have more ideas than I could possibly ever implement or create. But I am reminded that sometimes planning is a substitute for actually DOING. And then that sometimes DOING gets in the way of just BEING.  "Do you really WANT to be an artist? Seems to me you are not acting like an artist.  You know- making art."**

But then my brain flips-  Darn it,  I LOVE to get together with people, and create awesome environments and events to inspire them to be creative. I LOVE to create something out of nothing- whether it is wallpaper scraps integrated into a collage jsut to peek out behind the color or to introduce people so that they can form alliances that are mututally beneficial. I could crochet plastic grocery bags to make a door mat or I could paint a 4 foot wide abstract that my contractor will barter with me to fix my leaky roof.  I can drive across the county and help someone paint her kitchen.  I can plot and plan pop up shops, art shows and attend my son's play Where the Handsome Man Child Plays the Evil Comic Relief. I can meet a friend for lunch and actually be at peace with them picking up the tab because I will get it next time because if I can actually be at peace with not have every minute of the day scheduled I will get the check next time.  Because there will actually be a next time.

I am staring down the throat of being 55 years old in a couple of weeks. Perhaps this is the beginning of my stuffed to the gills full, creative, enabling, rocking, happening, loving, rested, present Wonderful Life.

And I am good with that. As soon as I get my house in order.

*Patricia Mosca author of Pemission Slips
**Lesley Riley Sage Guide

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Delivering the Goods- Art at the Mill

Study in Scarlet by TW Stifel
Yesterday was a weird yet wonderful day.  For the first time in almost nine years I left the house on a Saturday without worrying about who was on duty, if anyone had any questions or my to do list.  The latter was because mostly I have never been more physically fatigued in my LIFE as I have been this past weekend.  I guess my regimen of not working out and stressing for 18 hours a day did not prep me for the physicality of six days of moving and making decisions about truck loads of merchandise...

Art & Soul by TW Stifel
But looking at my new truncated schedule I realized that Saturday was indeed the best day to deliver my Art at the Mill juries art selections.  I cajoled my hubs into driving me to Clarke County to drop off my pieces.

Lady in Waiting by TW Stifel

It's amazing how just by heading west for 40 minutes you leave the crazy traffic of DC behind and enter the rolling hills and quiet beauty of the Virginia countryside of Fauquier into Clarke County.

Founded in 1939, the Clarke County Historical Association is dedicated to preserving the history of Clarke County.  CCHA also owns the Burwell-Morgan Mill, a fully operational 18th century grist mill located in nearby Millwood, Virginia.  

Their volunteer millers grind a variety of grains as well as give tours of this historic site every Saturday from May through November. 

In October 1990, a small group of artists got together and proposed an idea for an art show at the Burwell-Morgan Mill.  Over time,Art at the Mill has grown from a three-day show of a handful of art into one of the most recognized and prestigious art shows in the region.

 The show’s basic principles remain the same:  to have fun, bring together artists and promote the extraordinary artistic talent of the region. 

I'd love you to join me at the Artists Reception.  It's free but it;s best to RSVP to attend. Join us on Sunday, May 1 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Burwell-Morgan Mill for a very special afternoon to recognize artists participating at Art at the Mill.Please email your RSVP by Monday, April 18 to
On the way home, we popped into the Arterra Winery for a quick glass of tasty vino and then headed home to the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce Gala.  All in all, a VERY atypical Saturday...