Tag Archives: existentialism

The Blank Page – or Adventures with Fecundity

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Fecundity is my favorite word. It is the ability to produce. When I am at my best creatively, I am relaxed, comfortable, and feel free. This state of being does not come naturally. I have (as do you, I suspect) what feels like A TON of things that must be done. I have roles of mother, wife, and friend that are important to me to fulfill. It is easy to feel very limited.

Yet, when I see a blank canvas:

behind the scenes 124I can’t wait to gather my paints:

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And fill it with color:

behind the scenes 129Don’t get me started when it comes to what is possible with polymer clay:

behind the scenes 126I can begin a piece feeling discouraged or sad, but it’s nearly impossible to hold on to those feelings when I play with colors and design:

dream onjourneywhat a lovely dayfeel betterjoymay find yourself smiling oftenbeloved let us love

As some of you know, I occasionally work with students in English. Yesterday, I spoke with a mother who needed guidance in how to help her daughter with her writing. She said that one of her assignments simply asks the student to write a story and provided a blank page. For the reluctant writer, a blank page is overwhelming. We discussed ways in which she could help her daughter brainstorm and organize her thoughts, which is really an amazing process when I stop to think about it.

Today, I think about how, even though a blank canvas, page, or a glob of clay doesn’t phase me, staring into the face of the unknown is daunting – just as a writing assignment with no real prompt and only white space was daunting to the reluctant writer. Jean Paul Sartre writes of this sensation in Being and Nothingness. To have nothingness can be ideal in that there is great freedom, but it can also be the source of great existential angst. Great power lies in the ability to create – and great responsibility accompanies that power.

I think, in the midst of experiencing some uncertainty in my own life, that returning to the metaphor of the artist is one that can inspire me to push through the angst and toward the sensation of hope, wonder, and playfulness. In the words of Fr. J.J. Lakers (who I write about in my post on Journeys), “I claim a certain right to expound a vision… by analogy with artists in a theory of artistic creation… when artists meet insuperable limits on the full and free expression of their longing in this actual society, they feel the limits intensely. Yet, where others who meet these limits may repress the longing or adjust to the reality, the artists refuse to surrender. They therefore set out to create new forms of life and interaction, if only in imagination.”

Here’s to the artistic spirit that dwells within us all – waiting to be unleashed. Here’s to fecundity.

– Free Range Al

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFreeRangeArtisan

PLEASE NOTE: excerpts of this blog using Fr. J.J.’s words may not be used without written permission.

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Possibility

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An Introduction: What’s In A Name?

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In short, I think a lot can be in a name – ask any character from The Odyssey … then again, it’s easy to put too much into one’s name, or title – ask Romeo or Juliet.  When someone asks me what I do, I have to quickly decide if I will keep it simple (stay at home mom while adding that I do not like that phrase), or if I’ll avoid a label and provide a quick summary of what I do (write, create, mother, work with English students, support my husband, support those who are dear to me). As you can see, a quick summary is actually not possible, and each part of that summary has a story behind it. We all do a great many things, and our activities and areas of emphasis vary from day to day. That is how The Free Range Artisan came into being. It’s my attempt to have an identity without being limited by it. There are so many ways in which I love to create:

Illustration

Dream On

Polymer Clay

Owl Buddies

Mixed Media

Mixed Media Purse

Felt

Heart Felt Bottle

I could go on…

The world of ideas is also really important to me. Reading and writing has always been part of my life, and an objective of mine is to be published. I daydream about being a published author and respected thinker as often as I daydream about being recognized for my artistic creations!

reading

I wouldn’t mind being a professional drummer either…

Behind the Scenes

Sometimes having a great many interests and passions can be painful – it actually hurts when I do not have the time I need to write to the extent I want to write, or when I cannot stay in my studio by myself all day to make sure a drawing is just right – but these interests are also sources of great joy, especially when I can incorporate them into my current life as a mother. My son helped me prepare my business cards while I stamped bags today…

business card prep

… and it was a joy to share my love of nature with him during yesterday’s bike ride. I think my experiences of motherhood and the opportunities I have to build and maintain meaningful relationships will enhance my work in the future when I’m able to devote more time and energy to my writing and design.

What about you? What are your passions? How do you honor your own desires while being sure to care for those you love?

Take Care,

Free Range Al

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” – Nietzsche