Gabe’s Summer Camp: An Experiment in Fun!

Life has felt exceptionally hard this year. As a result, I’ve felt the need to infuse my life with fun and joy! After watching a YouTube I like create 30 inventions in 30 days, it gave me an idea of ways of spending my summer off… Create a Self-Directed Summer Camp.

The plan is fairly simple.  Each day, I will create something from the following categories and interests. Some of things listed here, I have ether made before (like fabric design) and want to do more or I have an interest in it (like leather craft)

  1. Polymer Clay Jewelry
  2. Fabric design (screen print, block printing, dyeing, etc)
  3. Pyrography 
  4. Video/Film 
  5. Painting
  6. Sewing
  7. Collage 
  8. Houseware design 
  9. Jewelry design 
  10. 10.Paper embroidery 
  11. Music (make a beat)
  12. 12.Cook a new recipe
  13. 13.Poetry 
  14. 14.Floral design
  15. 15.Leather craft 
  16. 16.Yard design(something for the yard)

Whatever it is, I have to complete it (unless it is a multi day project)and I have to share it, either on social media or on my website. If I am on the road or travel for any reason, I will take a travel art kit with me. 

Additionally, I will either walk, ride my bike or yoga everyday and do strength training 2-3 times a week. I will also read for at least 20 minutes a day. 

I will strive to eat well and make sure I am getting enough sleep and limiting my time on social media outside of sharing my daily.

I will also go on weekly “field trips,” weekly adventures to places I’ve never been to or haven’t been to in a long time nearby.

I will also make weekly time to connect with friends locally and take monthly trips to places that require a train. 

If there are new things I add, I will come back to this post to update.

I’m very excited about this! What summer fun plans to do you have?

New items in my shop

As summer comes to a close, I have been gifted with bursts of creative energy. I have returned to my pyrography and have created some new earrings inspired by my many hikes this summer. I have also started exploring the world of polymer clay and I abolsutely love it. It’s not my first time working with clay, but definitely my first time working with this one in particular. I added a few pieces to gauge folk interest.

If you’re interested in owning your own pair, please click here to go to my online shop.


One month in

It has been a month since I’ve started my first studio audience residency. I wanted to share with you my “Rosebuds and Thorns, “holding what is working well and where I’ve been challenged.


So far, the greatest rosebud is the space and how big it is. It is HUGE and empty, except for my work. And because of this, it focuses my attention. When I am there, I am present for what am there to do-paint.   I don’t have anything distracting me (well, almost-sometimes my daughter comes with me) I am there to make art. And as a result, I have painted more during this residency than I have in years. I have also found that I can get started more quickly than I have in the past. I don’t overthink things. And if something comes out “ugly” then that’s just what it is. I can always paint over it and start over.

Works in Progress All by Gabrilla Ballard


The thorns are centered around my energy.  After a long day or week at work, I have to drive another 40-50 minutes round trip from my house to the studio, which limited how many days a week I get to the studio. I sometimes remember to bring my art supplies, but those days are the exception. During the long Dr. King weekend,  when I thought I would spend days painting, my car broke down and spent those hours painting in my art room at home.

Another work in progress. By Gabrilla Ballard

Because I may not go to the studio for days,I have been toting my supplies back and fort.  I want to always have access to my art supplies with me when I need them, so I never leave them in the studio.

All in all, it has been a great learning experience. One in building a sustainable creative practice. It has caused me to reflect on the power of limitation and the notion of bigger being better.  It has made me revisit the heart of my undergraduate work, which centered on mothering and self-actualization, which I plan to write about later. In my next post, I will talk more about my emerging work and some more insights that have come during this process.

Cell abstract By Gabrilla Ballard

With love,