Explore, Practice,Play- weeks 1 and 2

Things have been quiet over her for a while. The last time I wrote here consistently was when I took a month away from social media. Soon I’ll have an e-book available which compiles all the posts and some added thoughts about social media and creativity. That being said, on to this week’s post.

Inspired by surface designer and author Jen Hewett, I am taking a try at printing and potentially sewing things from what I create. My introduction to lithography was in the late 90’s. I was in my teens when I attended an art school called New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) where I studied in the visual arts program. One of my teachers,  Louise Mouton-Johnson,  a visual artist and arts educator introduced me to Lino-cutting and I was hooked. It would be many years before I would revisit it with a few printing projects here and there.

Recently, I’ve been wanting to push myself in a similar way that Jen did by working to print something every week. I’m not sure I’ll make it 52 weeks, since I know I’ll be traveling this summer. But in the meantime, I will strive to print weekly for as long as I can. There might be some weeks I have to skip but in the beginning, at least for the first three months, I will strive to print weekly.

Last week’s print was centered don practicing. I creating some new stamps and refreshed some old ones.  I consider it my prep printing week. Here are some of the practice prints as well as some of my supplies.

This week, I wanted to try to play around with repeat patterns on a large piece of cotton I bought.  I’ve completed a little over a half yard and plan to complete the entire yard. I hope to make a handbag from this print or maybe a pillow. We’ll see.

I hope you check back in next week. My plan is to post every Sunday (or Monday) after the print is complete. Thanks for stopping by.


Changing Seasons

I’ve opened my windows to the call of  birds who return this time every year. They are talking to each other and sound just as excited as I am for the change in season. I couldn’t name any of the birds I hear by their call, but I revel in the beautiful melody of their songs.  After living in New England for eleven years now, my body shifts with the waxing and waning of daylight. My ears have adjusted to the sounds that arrive and depart as the melting snow gives way to the fertile soil below, awakening from her slumber. Even the trees appear to stretch their branches from their yearly slumber. Small hints of pine indicate what we all know, Spring is on her way. 

I am a child of the south, a daughter of the Crescent City. When I was a little girl, in the rare event that it would snow, it was quite an event. Never enough to plow, let alone build a snowman and gone before the days end. But it always was a wonder. In New Orleans’ subtropical climate, we would get something like winter, but never what the Northeast has. Being a child who spent most of my time out in the thick of the humid New Orleans air, I never knew what it was to long for Spring.  It was always outside my front door awaiting me. But now that I live in New England,  I have had eleven years, forty-four seasons to take notice. To pine for warm air and count down the days until I can pack up our winter wears, open all the windows and let the first breezes of spring in. 

Copyright 2021. Gabrilla Ballard.

New month, New week, New Commitment

Today is the start of a new month and it’s a Monday. A good day to start something new. A good day to start a new practice, or to refresh a current practice you already have.

For the last two months, I have been writing every day. It’s a commitment I made to myself. No public announcement (until now). Daily writing practice is something I’ve wanted to return to ever since I took a month off of social media in the latter part of last year and wrote every day on my blog.

My current writing practice started small-fifteen minutes a day. If I chose or choose to write for longer, fine. If not, I met my commitment for that day. Eventually, my writing time increased to thirty minutes, sometimes more. And over the last two months, my writing practice has become something I enjoy and look forward to. That’s not to say that some days aren’t hard or sometimes I don’t know what to write about. Half the time, I think what I’m writing is not good. Then there are other days when I am in the flow. Fluid. In the pocket. But whether I feel lost or I feel like I know exactly where I’m going, I keep showing up. I don’t wait for inspiration. I only wait for my house to be quiet enough.

What I have discovered is that with commitment comes a deep satisfaction. It’s small at first, like the satisfaction you get from a small piece of candy. Then it grows. Because you work out the resistance with yourself. You don’t abandon yourself or your practice when things get hard. Because the good stuff is on the other side of that hard, seemingly unmovable resistance. And when you get there, to that other side and you do it over and over again, you develop unwavering faith in yourself.

My other commitment is to post here weekly. I think a few months ago I was a little over-ambitious in thinking I could post twice a week. Start small Gabe, I had to remind myself. That said, I hope you keep stopping by.

What are you looking forward to? What new practice are you working on? What current practice can you level up?

Have a great start to your week and month. Spring is on the way!