Sometimes it's hard to be both at the same time... especially with the time and energy constraints of modern life. If I look back, I can see that I was most creative and likely to finish a project when I was in college. Duh, if I didn't, I got a bad grade! But I think it was more than that. Us creative folks can be, forgive the stereotype, a little out there and I believe that I personally benefit from structure. This can be self-imposed (but that's like letting the fox guard the hen house) or imposed from outside one's self. Luckily, one of my good friends turned me on to Swapbot.com. It's a great way not only to find structure for your creative endeavors but to meet other artists and fun people all over the globe. You join a swap and you're given parameters for your creation, an audience and a deadline ;) I can't tell you how great this has been for me! Here are the results of my first swap, an ATC swap with a Dia de los Muertos theme.
They are both ofrendas which means "tribute" or "offering" in Spanish and refers to the altars made by families for their beloved dead on Dia de los Muertos. The first one is for my grandma Barbara. The images in the card remind me of her. The perfume bottle for her Avon, the dragonfly for the pair of earrings she gave me and the calaca for the many Albee awards she received for her success with Avon. The flowers are marigolds, traditional altar flowers for the Day of the Dead and also represent the love and joy she brought to so many.
The second one is for my grandpa. His was a little harder for many reasons. My grandma died in 2002 and I think I've had a lot of time to process that loss. My grandpa died in 2005 while I was planning my wedding. In order to make it through that time, I had to push aside many of my feelings of grief and guilt. By making this piece for him, I was able to get back in touch with and release some of that pain. I chose the images based on his love of westerns, his free spirit, his love of his country and his stellar personality. You might also notice that my grandpa's card has a small dragonfly, which links the two pieces together. Also, the wire on his card spells out his call sign: W6UBQ.
There are so many lessons I learned through this project! One was about giving your art away. Yes, I mailed the originals to my swap partner. I didn't have to, the rules specify that you can send high quality copies but something told me that I should. Maybe it was another act of letting go. I'm happy that they will be placed in someone's art collection. I have already benefited through the creation and I don't think I would benefit more by keeping them. Anyway, thanks everyone for reading. This is indeed the time of year when we are going into the darkness. I hope you all find healing there.