On sharing my oracle cards.

I recently returned from a Nia training in Portland, Oregon. There, I spent a wonderful week dancing, learning, and connecting with like-minded movers and dancers.

I also shared my oracle cards.

When my husband suggested I bring them with me, I wasn’t intending to share them. Well, maybe I would share them with my host or bring them out during a break. Maybe I would just use them for guidance in the mornings or evenings.

The cards had other ideas. One morning, as I was getting ready, I was checking in with myself: Is there anything else I need to bring? 

The answer came: Bring your oracle cards. 

I don’t have to share them, I thought. But then I pulled a card and got this:

truth card

The truth card. I had to laugh. It was the most appropriate card I could have picked. I was in the middle of the Nia Blue Belt training, which focuses on communication and intimacy. And one of the elements in the training is truth-telling, starting with telling myself the truth about myself.

I think I have to share them, I thought. And so, during our open sharing time that afternoon (about what we’ve learned that day, what has come up for us in general, anything goes), I told the story and shared this card, passing it around the circle. Several of my fellow trainees later asked to see more of the cards.

I felt incredibly vulnerable after sharing. These cards have become part of my story. They took over three years from start to finish, from the first line drawn to final printing. I initially created them as part of a personal growth program, but I finished them on my own terms.

I recognize that sharing them in a circle like that is a way of promoting them as a product, but that wasn’t my original intention. My intention was simply to share my art. My art and my creativity is part of who I am, part of my truth. I shared my art twice during the training: the first time was the vision board that I created before the training, and the second was the cards.

Blue Belt vision board
My Blue Belt vision board that I created a week before the training.

I did receive some orders as a result of sharing the cards, the first of which was the last set of my first printing from two years ago. So I ordered more sets. You can find them in my Etsy shop here.

I’m realizing how important sharing is in my own creative process. Yes, I share on social media and whatnot, but it’s also important I share in a variety of forums. So I’m setting an intention to share more of my cards and their stories and meanings here.

Yes, there is a vulnerability in sharing my work. But there is also this: by giving myself permission to share my own work and creativity, I also connected with other people about theirs. People came up to me afterward and shared about their art, how they hoped to get back into it. Art can be deeply personal, and it also has a universal language that can speak to the creativity within each person.

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Processing progress.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m making enough new pieces of jewelry and art. After finishing my oracle cards, which was a huge undertaking, I’ve felt a little…well, anticlimactic about my artistic process and progress with the lack of a major project.

In reality, I have continued to create. I’ve made a variety of new things – cards, decorated hair clips, a few new pendants, etc. It’s been more that I’ve been making things a few at a time; it’s been very here and there.

abalone hair clips
Abalone hair clips
I have a decent inventory of items I can sell. I’ve been doing fewer craft fairs this year, although have been successful with selling items to friends, family, and a few Etsy customers. Some of that is because I’m busy doing other things (e.g. oracle cards, planning my wedding, preparing to move) and part of that is because I’m a little more discerning about what kinds of events I put my energy, time and money towards.

There’s also another factor: I’m an aspiring Nia Technique dance fitness teacher. I’ve been putting some of my creativity energy towards learning routines and finding my own sense of movement. I take several classes a week, and for the next two months, I’m teaching once a week. So, I’ve been putting more time into that than into my visual art. However, I also recognize that I’ve been doing art for most of my life; it comes more easily to me. Dance…much less so. I took a few modern dance classes when I was 12 or so, but didn’t have the time or patience at the time. I took improvisational dance and dance history classes in college and took expressive moment classes for a while when I lived in San Diego.  When I started Nia, it became about the body-mind-spirit connection and more. It became a regular activity I wanted to practice and improve at. I not only wanted to learn the technique, I also wanted to teach it. And learning to teach is a very intensive process.

I don’t see my Nia practice as replacing my visual art practice by any means; they definitely can exist side-by-side in my life. However, even as I write this, I’m realizing that I practice Nia regularly. I don’t currently have a consistent art practice. I see blogs that talk about sketching or making at least one thing a day. At the moment, I am not doing this. At one time, I was practicing wirewrapping on a regular basis, and my skills definitely improved dramatically. I don’t think I’m at a stagnant place with my art – but I might be at a place where things aren’t moving very quickly. And really, they don’t have to. I’ve been satisfied with the small supplemental of income I’ve earned, which mostly means some of what I create pays for itself. I also realize that I’ve felt vulnerable about the idea of getting feedback on what I can do next art-business-wise.

At some point in the relatively near future, I want to dedicate more time to it. I want to create goals for the act of creating – whether I’m doing it to create something for profit or just for myself. I want to get feedback on my Etsy shop, recommendations on what I could improve. I want to read books or take online classes about different aspects of running an art business. Ideally, I want to create enough time and space so my Nia and art can feed each other. Perhaps someday I’ll do a Nia and art workshop.

My time and attention is pretty divided right now, but perhaps once I settle into my post-wedding life, perhaps I will find more flow and ease in my visual art practice and business. It’s all a work in progress.

Ending and beginning, retrospective and hopes

As a new year begins, I like to look back on what I’ve accomplished over the past year.

In 2015, I:

  • Officially registered my business, Seeking Spirit Designs.
  • Created my website.
  • Opened my Etsy shop.
  • Participated in 6 craft fairs.
  • Established myself on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Got a new art desk, which should give me a good surface to work on and a place to store my supplies.
  • Promoted and sold my work, both online and in person!

I don’t really do resolutions, but I do have hopes for the new year.

In 2016,  I hope to:

  • Develop a stronger presence on Etsy and social media
  • Learn more business strategies
  • Continue to develop my creative skills
  • Sell my work at several craft fairs and apply to at least one juried show
  • Finish my oracle cards
  • Structure my time:  Make dates with myself to specifically work on both the creative and logistical sides of my art business

Practicing creativity and self-care

Yesterday, I was feeling a little anxious.  There’s something soothing about creating a chain through connecting beaded links.  It’s methodical, detail-oriented, and repetitive.  So I decided to make something.

I have a bag full of beads leftover from other projects, or given to me by a friend who didn’t want them.  I’d seen a picture somewhere of necklace created with leftover mismatched beads, and wanted to try it.

This was my result:

Assorted Bead Necklace
Assorted Bead Necklace

This necklace is simple,  yet it stands out because it doesn’t follow a pattern.  I appreciate its asymmetry and variety.

How did I feel after making this piece?  Definitely calmer and more focused.  Creating is part of my self-care practice.  I’m so grateful there are times when I can take care of myself and make something beautiful in the process.

Custom circlets!

I am not what you would call a sports fan.  I played soccer for a few years when I was younger.  I sometimes would stop and watch the last minutes of a basketball game my dad was watching on television.  Simply, I lack the patience and the interest to watch the full game of any sport.

One of my regular customers recently bought this circlet and she sent her family pictures of her wearing it.  The next thing I knew, I had a request for two circlets in Broncos colors.
I enjoy commissions:  they give me a chance to be creative, experiment, and collaborate with my customers.   This particular request gave me a new challenge:  I am used to working with the colors and energetic qualities of gemstones.  However, this project required a different approach.  When trying to match beads to Broncos team colors (navy and orange), could I successfully bring out the kind of team spirit a sports fan might have?  Could I succeed in making something visually appealing?

 I went to several bead stores to find what I needed:  orange, white, and navy seed beads; a strand of dyed orange bamboo coral beads; and finally, several triangular-shaped cobalt blue glass beads.

Then I took my beads to my design board and came up with this:
IMG_3967
which evolved into this:
IMG_3971
I’m pretty pleased with the result, and the chance this project gave me to practice and come up with something completely new.

The two together, complete with ribbons
The two together, complete with ribbons

My circlets are great for Halloween costumes, dressing up, and other occasions.  If you’re interested in a custom-made circlet, please contact me here.
One of my other circlets.
                    Me in one of my other circlets.