Monday, November 3, 2014

Find the Art in your day.

I've been thinking a lot about fear, motivation and art.  It might seem like a jumbled sort of nouns but linking them together creates my current definition of life.

life  noun

1. the existence of an individual human being or animal.

Really?  That's the dictionary definition of life?  "the existence"  That doesn't help much when you are pondering the meaning of life as your 2 year old clings to you with teary eyes crying,  "I'm scared, I'm too scared to go to school.  Please stay with me, please!"  My little guy was excited to run in to class the first day of school, but reported home that he missed me all day and cried for me all day.  On the second day of school he cried and protested and had to be carried in to class.  It was so hard making him go, but I knew he wanted to be there and waited outside his room so I could peek in a minute later to see him playing happily with his cousin.  The next day we talked a lot about why he had to go to school (he doesn't have to, he goes because he wants to play with his friends and sing and dance,) why mommy wouldn't stay (because it's against the rules,) and most importantly about being scared and being brave.  On day 3 of school he didn't cry but he did have tears in his eyes, as he hugged me goodbye he said he would have courage and be brave.

He was motivated beyond his fears to walk in to class.  He was intrinsically motivated to be brave.  He wasn't doing it for me, he was doing it for himself.  He wants to go to school, he loves playing with his friends.  Being away from me for the first time in his life (outside of staying with other family members) was terrifying.  They call it separation anxiety, but somehow he managed with his tiny little self and his teary eyes to push through it in order to do something he really wanted to do.

My children amaze me constantly, but more than that they teach me about myself and about life.  Sure, I knew life was about existence  but today my son taught me that life is defined by fear, motivation and ultimately for me, art and for you whatever you are motivated past fear to do.

At the beginning of the year I wrote in this blog that my goal was to make more art this year.  A sweet friend chastised me immediately and reminded me that I made art everyday and that no one should ever tell me different.  What I meant was that I wanted to paint and draw more, I do view the dolls I create as art but I often forget that sewing and stitching together a doll is creating art.  It was a really nice reminder to get but my fear was that I was not actually an artist, I was just a crafter.  I don't believe that and I was motivated to make myself feel differently.

I often hear my friends say, "I'm not crafty" "I could never do that." "I can do crafts, but I'm not an artist."  I will tell you everyone is an artist, we are all artists.  As homemakers we express ourselves in different ways, wether it is a beautifully decorated home or a meal that is worthy of a 5 star restaurant.  My home is not expertly decorated, my cooking will never be called cuisine.  Why do I fail so miserably in these areas?  I want to be a great cook, I would love to have a nice home, but what it comes down to is the lack of motivation and beneath that the lack of fear.  When I picked the colors to paint the rooms, I had no fear or anxieties that I was choosing the wrong colors.  I just didn't care enough to be scared.  It would be okay no matter what because I wasn't motivated to make it wonderful.  When I'm cooking dinner I usually just toss all the ingredients in the pot, as in I don't even read the directions... the most effort I can give is gathering all of the ingredients from the top of the list.  I don't worry about it.  My lack of fear is because I know it will be edible and I have no fear of failing or motivation to make it amazing.  I just want to eat (sorry family,) we will continue to eat the same 5 mediocre meals.

I AM terrified that I'm not a great artist.  I am scared evey day that I won't be the best.  When I look at my work I see it peppered with flaws and I want to make the next one better, I want to do more and make more.  I am motivated by my fears to be better, to work harder.  I don't want to fail and I feel every second that I am not dedicated to my art as failure.  This aspect of failure is fear, it is my motivation.  I push myself, I tell myself I must have courage and I say I will be brave.  I don't call myself a homemaker (my husband and I take equal care of the home) I don't call myself a cook (mostly the food is heated) but I do call myself an artist.  So my definition of life for you...

life  noun

1. the motivation beyond fear to existance.

Being able to define myself in that way keeps me going, it is my life.  My challenge is finding balance as a mother when my focus is skewed towards art.  My little man reminded me today, motivation is fueled by fear, don't run from it face it and you will be rewarded.

I hope you all find joy on your path and remember to be brave,  Nikki

NapLush Dolls, Luke the Bear and Kelly the Fox

I first began the series of NapLush dolls last June (as in 2013?!?!) with the intentions of making a Naplet Bear.  I can't believe it's been over a year already and he's just come to life.  I had big plans with my new design, ordered tons of mohair and sketched 20 different possibilities.
I started with Mohair Naplets to get use to working with the new material, these 3 to be exact....

This is Bazinga, don't tell the others but he was my favorite!  (And I'm a bunny person!)

I was in LOVE!  The mohair was so scrumptious; fluffy, soft and warm and I couldn't wait to dive in.  But before I got to work on my teddy bear style Naplings I had a bit of a customs list to finish.  Well... a bit is an understatement, not that I didn't have fun with it.  I loved all of the different ideas and challenges of what a Napling could be and I some of my greatest creations came from those custom requests.
Somewhere along the line, my son adopted a Naplet rolled head.  (No face or body, just the head.  As in a wool ball with a fabric covering)  He wanted a little home for the head and found a tiny box, my 4 year old took such great care of this little stolen bit of wool I could hardly believe it.  I wanted to make him something tiny to care for and I was oddly inspired by these finger monster guys from my childhood.  I remember treating them the same way when I was little!  I loved them and they were my bitty pets.
Let me tell you, the teeny hedgehog has been an amazing hit with him!  Something about the abstract simple shape, and the teeny tiny-ness.  His little friend is one of his most adored toys.  He gives him baths and sleeps with him.  Second to Eggy (my son's pet rock) Hedgie is his favorite.

So... I veered a little on my path to Teddy Bear Napling.

And then with the fall approaching, the leaves crunching and deer running everywhere, and I literally mean everywhere I looked!  I HAD to make deer.  It wasn't even my choice.  And I found a new all time favorite!  Okay... maybe he ties with Nathan the Snail and the Moth... who am I kidding I can't pick a favorite Napling.

Back to the mohair story.... somewhere in the frantic trying to figure out how to be a WAHM and what I actually wanted to do with all of this mohair, Shima the Kitten came along and said "Find peace my friend."  That was in October and shortly after I was hit with my first flu in 10 years and worsening Hashimoto's symptoms (I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's in 2005 but have been able to manage it with medication.)  Now it seemed as soon as I started to recover a little bit, I would catch another preschool bug that would put me out for a week or two.  
Recently, I've been feeling incredibly well since discovering that Gluten was exacerbating my Hashimoto's symptoms and this winter I plan to carry anti-bac handlotion everywhere, something I've never done before.  (Take care of yourselves Mama's!)

Shima the first Mohair Napling

 Smitten by Shima, I was anxious to make more mohair teddy style Naplings.  Mohair teddy style Napling started to be too much to say so NapLush took it's place; as in Luscious Naplings or Naplings Plush style.  

With snow on the ground I couldn't help but make these Snow Butterflies, these Teddy style little ones begged for antennae instead of ears. 

Then as the snow melted and the foxes started running through the fields nearby I wanted to make all of the woodland creatures on my list.

Kelly the fox was a priority, not only because he kept running through my yard but my boys had still not stopped singing 'what does the fox say?' and the book became heavy bedtime rotation.  I spent 3 days (and lots of mohair) trying to get the  dip dye on his hands and feet to take.  Eventually, I discovered a magic trick.

My dear friend Jennifer Casey (check her out!) captured this magical shot of Kelly enjoying the quiet calm of the woods at night. 

Kelly is an excellent daddy.

Whew.... now that I've written a novel when all I wanted to do was introduce you to my latest NaPlush creations, Luke the Bear and his forest friends.   Well here they are!

"It's not too cold, I'll take the beach any day!"  

Naplet Unicorns

Hey!  What about me?!?


Hey, guys!  Wake up, it's time to meet everyone!
Okay, one more song...  Hush little baby don't you cry...

 Now for an update; among the last two customs from patient wonderful customers deer and Naplet Hedgies are on my work table, I hope they will be ready for December's Dollectable and many more NapLush will be coming to life along the way.

Well, I hope life is treating you kind and I'm wishing everyone a healthy winter.  I just wanted to say hi and I hope to be a better (more consistent) blogger!  Feel free to say hi, it will keep me motivated. 

Best Wishes, Nikki