To Remedy An Itch Requires Scratching

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I’m always on the prowl for new inspiration. Which translated means I frivolously surf the net, look at pics, and think: I could make that or I could make that better. Today, I have found what I’ve been searching for… that thing that I hadn’t thought of and it’s nothing short of great art… wire art.

 martin senn wire        Social Climbing

I’ve done some wire art, but Martin Senn and Chris Mason in my opinion have thrown down the gauntlet. These speak to me. It wasn’t until I saw the works above that I realized, I’ve only tinkered with wire art. In Senn’s pieces it’s as much about the balance of negative space as it is about the art itself. That is not an easy feat to accomplish. For Mason’s pieces, I am drawn to the seemingly simplistic approach to the human form. However, I am not fooled into thinking that it is simply achieved. Wire is a finicky nemesis, not to be underestimated.

 As of today though, consider the challenge accepted. I have the itch and every artist and crafter alike knows… it will only get worse until you scratch it. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

 Weigh in on the conversation. What inspires you? Who do you feel has challenged you to be a better artist and/or crafter?

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My Day Explained By Shoes

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Ariat Boots; photo courtesy of www.bootbarn.com

Ariat Boots; photo courtesy of http://www.bootbarn.com

Today is a “cowboy boots” kind of day.

I can feel something lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce when I look the other way. So, I need some cowboy boots. Then I’d feel like I could handle anything… or at the very least I could kick something really hard.

A Second Chance to Make a First Impression

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Do-over; mulligan; take-backs; a new beginning; a fresh start; a second chance.

 No matter which version you prefer, we’ve all been in some situation where we wish life had a rewind button. There’s a saying that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Sometimes, you do get a second chance.

 As you may know, I’m currently house hunting. However, I’m not the average house hunter. I like to think that I add a bit of artistic flare to the endeavor [translation: I’m crazy and willing to forego conventional methods to find and get the house of my dreams]. Thus, I’ve set my sights on an old Victorian styled house with great potential… but it is run-down and in need of serious love. Oh, and it’s also not listed for sale.

I figure the owner may not be in a position to fix it himself and just hasn’t thought about selling it. Besides, every great love story involves some daunting obstacle (enter the house’s condition and status on the market here) that keeps the two parties apart. So, I wrote him a letter to let him know that there’s always someone crazy enough (me) to take on huge projects (buying and restoring that house) in the name of love.

After nearly two weeks, I hadn’t received any type of response. Then yesterday, I received a letter in the mail. Too bad it was my own, being returned by the postman as “undeliverable with no forwarding address”. So now we’ve reached the point where normal people say it’s not meant to be, but find solace in knowing that they gave it their best shot. But… I am not normal.

For me, it’s a second chance to make a first impression. Rarely does such an opportunity present itself, so I will not be the one to turn it away. Instead, I will rewrite the letter to really say what I really mean; leave nothing unsaid. Then I’ll throw myself into the trenches, wade through the mud, find my way through the labyrinth of tall grass, emerge victoriously on the other side, and hand deliver the letter myself (tape it to his back door, since the front door and mailbox are overgrown with weeds and a tree).

I think that if you dare to dream, you better be willing to go through hell to achieve it.

In Search of a Muse

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It’s been 5 days since I mailed my letter to the owner of the 1901 Victorian house in need of love. I’ve yet to hear back, but I have not given up hope. I mailed the letter on Friday before the long holiday. Perhaps the post office didn’t process it until Saturday, which means it would have sat in a bin through Monday. Eventually it would have gone out for delivery, probably on Tuesday. Hopefully the mailman knows the place is inhabited by a living human and can find the mailbox. If all the stars are aligned, the owner will be reading my letter today, mulling over the idea to sell his house, and contact me shortly.

 As one who can’t sit still or wait for things to happen, I still look at other houses. However, my inner artist is awake and it will not quietly lie down again. So, I find myself more drawn to places that need love. I have become a metaphoric sculptor searching for a muse with great a bone structure, stunning features, and a personality I can draw out in my own masterpiece.

 I am no longer content with the idea of an average run-of-the-mill house. I want to be moved by its history and testament to classic architecture. I need to find a house that speaks to me and will let me shape its contours, mold it’s body to match its voice, and capture it in the best light possible… even if that means gutting it and starting from a truly blank canvas.

My soul yearns to find such a place. I have dreams of resurfacing floor boards, hanging new drywall. I have visions of a construction team that gentle lifts the face of an appropriate named house (if it has a personality, I have to name it… just like some people name their cars). I imagine reading books in the summer on the deck as sun kisses my cheeks and melts the ice in my lemonade.

Stalking is a Form of Love

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William Shakespeare once said that the world is a stage and we are the actors. So, I thought it was only fitting that I truly commit the role of house-stalker. Since, my obsession had already presented itself to me, the next step was finding out everything I could about it. I began by pouring over County Assessment records.

 One can’t be a tortured-soul if there’s no torture. I spent hours looking at volumes of records, jotting notes in a steno notepad newly named “House Notes”, only to find that the “abandoned corner lot” of my heart, wasn’t actually abandoned. It’s not a neglected foreclosure owned by the city, it’s a neglected house owned by some individual. I couldn’t believe it. Why would someone let a great place fall to disarray? I decided that I should drive-by again, just to verify I didn’t get the address wrong… even though County Assessment record include photos of the property. I had to see it.

 Like a good stalker, I waited until before the sun would set and circled the house from my car a couple of times. It was two hours before sunset, so it was still light out because I didn’t want to get lost at night in a neighborhood I wasn’t familiar with. I also didn’t want to look suspicious, so I parked across the street from the house on my third loop. The house was definitely neglected. The siding was falling off and the deck in the front had rotted and broken off so splintered wood protruded from the house like the bill of a baseball cap. The front door was blocked by overgrown vegetation and the wooden stairs leading to the back entrance looked shoddy at best. I was assessing how much work it would need, when a light came on in the upstairs window. I gasped and quickly drove away.

 My mind was reeling; that was not what I expected. I hadn’t even planned for a scenario in which someone actually lived in the house. Who would live in a house in that condition? My mind immediately went to squatters, but then I realized they’d have to prove they rent or own it to get utilities turned on by the city. The city wouldn’t allow a house in that condition to be rented, which meant the negligent owner had to be the one in there. Either way that would be the point when normal people returned to hunting houses that are actually listed for sale, aren’t in need of restoration, and aren’t occupied by the owner. I, dear friends, am not normal… remember I’m the “tortured soul who is haunted by beauty they see trapped in the world and wants to set it free”.

 Now, I just have to revise the plan. Instead of making an offer to the city, I’ll write a compelling letter to owner (who maybe doesn’t know what a gem he has, or that there’s someone crazy enough to buy it in its current condition). Maybe he’s tired of living in squalor and my letter will be a breath of fresh air. It can’t hurt to try, right?

House Hunting Evokes the Artist’s Plight

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Whenever someone announces their title as an artist and they aren’t well-known, one of a few images comes to mind: the touchy-feely hippie who thinks everything is art, the starving New Yorker who’s trying to make a name for themselves, and the tortured soul who is haunted by beauty they see trapped in the world and wants to set it free.

 I dabble in art and find magic in its creation, but not to the extent that I sought a degree in art, or feel compelled to have my work in a gallery. Alas, I fear I am still one of the tortured souls. I can’t even say that I was aware of it until M (my husband) and I began house hunting.

 We’re raised to think that owning our own slice of land is the “American Dream”. But no one prepares you for the stacks of paperwork, hours spent wading through housing lists searching for that one gem, and emotional ties to places that are scooped off the market before you can even visit them. Our realtor said driving around neighborhoods would make the process less stressful by aiming our focus on an area and then finding the right house. So we purposed a Saturday for our expedition, plotted a course on the GPS, and puttered around the city to find our next neighborhood.

 Apparently, GPS isn’t all that reliable if you don’t have it updated after you’ve owned your car for three years and the city’s been under heavy construction since then. So, M and I got a little turned around, but that detour lead me to what would become my obsession. A corner lot in the cutest neighborhood, though I’m not certain what neighborhood we were lost in. I should probably mention that the house looks as though it’s been abandoned for quite some time and the weeds and trees have taken over.

 

 post 4 pic1                    post 4 pic2

 I see it though, as a once-grand house with the potential to be grand again. It would be a restored home boasting of a gabled and hip roof, with clapboard siding, and tower of bay windows.

Growing Up is Optional

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Have you heard the cheesy saying: “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional,”? We all have our five year old moments, where we throw a tantrum and don’t want to pick up our clothes… at least I still do. Does that mean I am no longer a contributing member of society? I work, pay my taxes, and avoid breaking the law as much as I can. I feel grown up.

 

Well… I thought I did. Recently, my darling husband M delivered a very compelling argument that has brought us to a precipice called Buying a House. It’s a big decision that impacts our future. It is roots to a city, affects our credit scores which is the first domino in every other life series, and means I would have to curb my shoe addiction – at least temporarily. This overhang has me staring straight into my future with a different perspective that I hadn’t anticipated. I have responsibilities now, but this… this feels different. For me, it really is an option of growing up or not. Since I don’t want to rent all my life, I guess I’m taking the plunge.

cliff diver