Autumn Sky

Autumn Sky, photo by Mary Gow

Autumn Sky, photo by Mary Gow
Autumn Sky, photo by Mary Gow
Greetings as we approach the cusp of Winter. Though I like the dramatic feel of this photograph, it might violate one of those rules of composition that I learned: do not place the subject in the center! I still like the strong texture of the sky.

I hope you are enjoying the Spirit of the Season.

Found a reflective poem that seems to go with this season. It’s by Zhuangzi:

We cling to our own point of view,
as though everything depended on it.
Yet our opinions have no permanence;
like autumn and winter,
they gradually pass away.

Affirmation for Spring

Ocean Beach, photo by Mary Gow
Ocean Beach, photo by Mary Gow
Happy Vernal Equinox, Solar Eclipse, and New Moon! May you thrive with the new energy of this season.

This quote was handed to me and I feel inspired to share it. It reminds me of the power of choices we have every moment.

EVERYTHING YOU DO IS BASED ON THE CHOICES YOU MAKE.
IT’S NOT YOUR PARENTS,
YOUR PAST RELATIONSHIPS,
YOUR JOB,
THE ECONOMY,
THE WEATHER,
AN ARGUMENT
OR YOUR AGE
THAT IS TO BLAME.
YOU AND ONLY YOU
ARE RESPONSIBLE
FOR EVERY DECISION
AND CHOICE YOU MAKE.
PERIOD.

Cheers to your personal power.

The Enemy of Creativity

Glass Tile at Alcatraz photographed by Mary Gow
Glass Tile at Alcatraz photographed by Mary Gow
Purple Cow, The Dip and Linchpin: Are You Indispensible? – these are three of my favorite books written by Seth Godin. Each hits a significant tendency I have.

Purple Cow reminded me I won’t be memorable unless I can distinguish myself from others the way a purple cow stands out from the crowd. (Though it also reminded me of how I was teased in grade school about my last name that rhymes with “cow”).

The Dip goes through the creative cycle and gives tips on which ideas may be worth ditching
and which ones may be worth enduring the dip before the uptick.

Linchpin challenged me to think through what being an artist means in the deepest sense. And whenever I do something with the intention of giving it my absolute best it has a touch of being a true artist.

Recently Godin said something I want to share to remind me (and you) to move beyond lizard brain thoughts.

    The enemy of creativity…

    is fear.

    We’re all born creative, it takes a little while to become afraid.

    A surprising insight: an enemy of fear is creativity. Acting in a creative way generates action, and action persuades the fear to lighten up.

    -Seth Godin

Check out more wisdom at sethgodin.com.

Joy-Lily Transforms Fabric into Art

Joy-Lily, San Francisco-based Fiber/Surface Design Artist. Photo by Mary Gow
Joy-Lily, San Francisco-based Fiber/Surface Design Artist. Photo by Mary Gow
It’s as long as a professional NBA basketball player is tall. That’s the size of a silk painting of two gargantuan brilliant red and orange sunflowers painted on silk fabric that bring to life the stairwell of her home in Bernal Heights. It’s called “Georgia’s Poppies,” made originally as a sarong that now functions as a wall hanging.

Joy Lily’s been around fabric and making clothes most of her life. Originally from Detroit, she’s the daughter of a dressmaker. “I was grounded a young child by a mild case of polio, so I made a lot of art early on.” At age 20 she began her career as a graphic artist and illustrator and for the next 16 years she designed ads, book covers, brochures and logos in New York City.

On a visit to her brother in southern California, she discovered batik (wax resist dyeing). She was captivated by this magical technique and even convinced a client to use it for a series of recipe illustrations.

She’s called Bernal Heights home since 1986, and here she’s pursued her passion as a fiber artist / surface designer. “I don’t weave or knit, but plain fabric is just not safe around me. I will dye it, paint or print on it and lately I’ve been chopping it up and sewing it back together. I’m making quilts from this ‘art cloth,’” says Lily.

"Tree," painting on silk by Joy-Lily. Photo by Mary Gow
“Tree,” painting on silk by Joy-Lily. Photo by Mary Gow

The patterns and colors in nature inspire her, as well as her travels, and the accidental effects of the dyeing techniques batik and shibori (Japanese resist dyeing without wax also known as the grandmother of tie-dyeing and involves tying, stitching, clamping, or wrapping fabric).

“Shibori makes an artist out of everybody,” she said.

Lily’s written a book for quilters of all levels (including complete beginners), called Carefree Quilts. It features perfection-free quilting techniques and what Lily calls her “quirky quilt blocks.” Autographed copies are available directly from her.

Wednesday afternoons Lily instructs a quilting class in Bernal.

By special request she will teach a four-hour workshop on how to hand paint and dye your own silk scarf. The host gets complimentary tuition if she brings 8 people together to take the course.

You can see more of Lily’s work and enroll in classes at http://www.Joy-Lily.com or visit her studio by appointment.