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My Fourth Blogiversary

I don’t know who made up the word “blogiversary” but it stuck in my head when I read it once or twice. I realized very late in the day that my birthday is also my blogiversary. I’ve been blogging since November 28, 2002. Four years!

My system tells me that this is blog entry number 1729. I never really thought of myself as a writer much. I’ve always been one of many words, for sure, and many opinions. Sometimes I have more opinions than are really my share and occasionally that embarrasses me… but because of those opinions I’ve always wanted to write a column. Without a degree or job history in writing or journalism, it was not going to happen easily if at all… so a blog was an incredible opportunity. I could hire *myself* to write a column! Imagine that!

I realize that some others don’t think of a blog as a column. For me that expresses my approach. Perhaps that is why I write about so many topics. I have this opinion that many things in life can be classified as art… dance, cooking, gardening, even raising a child is perhaps the most difficult creative act anyone can execute.

I have so many people approach me as an artist with words to the effect that “I’m not creative, but you are.” (This can imply somehow that I’m superior in some way, which puts a barrier between me and the speaker and makes it hard for us to be real with one another.) Nonsense.

It took me until I was in my mid-thirties to realize that I was an artist. I bought into the idea that drawing and painting defined who was an artist. I do not draw or paint… at least not realistic “objective” artwork. I do decorative painting, for sure. But since I don’t feel comfortable making traditional art renderings on two-dimensional surfaces, I thought that meant I was not an artist. I had a long, confused, emotional process of discovering that I had not given myself credit for a long time.

I dance, I sing, I write (poetry mostly when I’m unhappy, this column since my life turned around), I adventure with food and I appreciate others’ gardens. I am relatively good at photographing, at least at snapshots. I use the computer to create artwork, in fact PhotoShop has helped me do several artpieces that I could not have created if I needed to draw instead of use a computer.

I enjoy costuming myself, be it for stage or every day. Yes, choosing clothing for the day can be an artform! Surely you know someone for whom self-costuming is a primary creative activity.

I love to embellish found objects. This can mean embroidery and beads on a purchased beret, or it can mean fabric paint on a cellphone or nail polish on a palm device. I always loved to work with textiles, mostly sewing until my divorce (my previous life before I met Brian) in about 1990-91 at the age of 32.

After that lifechanging event I started working with polymer clay and I still did not consider myself an artist. Eventually I called myself an artist of the “one song canary” type, where I used “only one artform.” Nonsense, I was sewing at the same time, and doing decorative painting in my home. But I did not see these “domestic” activities as art.

I guess you could say that “creative endeavors” and “art” are not exactly the same, but for my purposes at least for this column I don’t separate them. I think that when people say they are not creative, that I am, they do themselves a huge dis-favor. They are not honoring the artful things they do accomplish.

Nearly everyone is creative in some way. Just because I did not work in two dimensions, just because my artful output was not frameable for hanging on a wall, just because I was mostly working in three dimensions, and mostly within a “domestic” framework, I discounted my artfulness. I did not allow myself to see the artist that I was, that I’d been since childhood.

So ColorJoy! “Art as an everyday attitude” became my blog’s name/subtitle. I encourage you to allow the thought that your dinner that you made might be considered artful, to realize that planting flowers or choosing what clothes to wear, all might be artful activities. Consider that you might just be an artist yourself, if you don’t limit your mind to what might or might not be in the rigid category of “art.”

I’m very fortunate that at this point in my life I make a living as an artful person. I write, I design, I teach (also a creative activity), I sing, I dance, I dye yarn and garments. I make polymer clay buttons and kazoos. I do unusual one-time artpieces such as the knitted self portrait.

I occasionally do “soft block printmaking” which is also sometimes called “eraser carving” and is related to something called “mail art.”

But even when I was teaching full time as a computer software trainer, I found it extremely important to save time out for one creative act per day. Sometimes it was rubberstamping images on the envelope as I paid my bills, but I made sure to do something each day.

My life has come a long way, I can not even express how different I was fifteen years ago. I barely recognize my former inner self, and it’s a good change. And now I have this blog, and you friends out there. I’m very grateful.

Photos: 1) A Hershberger Art Kazoo tm, polymer clay on metal; 2) Embellished palm device, 3) Digital collage from 3 photos I took, 4) Me as Eudora, my dance persona, dancing at New Aladdin’s restaurant, 5) Soft block print of my friend Elizabeth’s cabin in Vermont (the image originated as a photo which I then scanned into Photoshop, transferred to a soft block, carved and printed). Of all these artforms, only the print fits my previous/traditional sense of what artists might do… now I see them all as different facets of the same gem, so to speak.

4 Responses to “My Fourth Blogiversary”

  1. Patch Says:

    Happy Blogiversary! :)

    I occasionally do “soft block printmaking” which is also sometimes called “eraser carving” and is related to something called “mail art.”

    Have you ever heard of letterboxing? It’s a hobby that’s only recently started to get popular, but it’s been around in various incarnations for 150 years or so. It’s current incarnation is thusly: someone handcarves an eraser-type rubber stamp, places it in a water resistant container (inside a ziplock bag too!), along with a logbook. Then they post clues somewhere online, and other people go try to find it, carrying along their own personal stamp and logbook. When they find the letterbox, they stamp their own stamp into the box’s book, and the box’s stamp into their own book, replace everything, and continue on their way.

    A lot of the letterboxes around here are out in the woods or along the beaches, so it’s great exercise as well as fun art. Hiking and puzzle solving and graphic design and carving and book binding, it’s my perfect hobby. ;D

  2. Maryellen Says:

    I consider myself an artist but I don’t mention it to many people as it almost seems a threat. I say I’m an artist then some unhappy person says no your not you just do that fill in blank. Over the past ten years I’ve done my own thing time permitting and I’m looking forward to doing it more next year when my daughter starts second grade. I’m babbling but I really agree with what you said and enjoy your blog and enjoyed your class at Michigan three years ago.

  3. Karla Says:

    Wow! Sorry I’m so behind! Hope your birthday was memorable and Happy Blogiversary! I’m still catching up from the Holiday!
    I love your “column”! You write well and often touch on things that I find of interest. Books of peoples musings do get published, I for one have always seeked them out. The human thought process is very interesting to me, maybe because I sometimes feel very confused and am hoping to find a path to understanding from others. Now that could be a subject for a column. I’m thinking of starting a blog myself, even though putting myself “out there” strikes fear in my heart! I want to share, but ….
    And as for being an artist, life is art, how a person lives life can be art, how a person thinks can be art.
    You are a writer, a muscian, a singer, a fiber artist (painting yarn) and you’re a dancer. You’re obviously creative in many areas. I’m sure I missed something, but I didn’t miss that you are an Artist.

  4. Mom Says:

    Yes, you are a good writer and so were both of your grandmothers. Grandma Illa had a column in the midwest magizine,The Farmer, called Country Living. Grandma Ruth wrote for the weekly newspapers, both in Henderson and Janesville, MN. She loved telling the tale of when she started, she would call folks on the telephone to introduce herself with “This is the new editor’s wife.” After a long day, she caught herself saying, “This is the editor’s NEW wife!”