May 23, 2012

What's In A Name?

I've had a lot going on lately.  That may be reflected in how little I've been blogging, and also in the chaotic-crazy manifested in this art journal page I completed yesterday.

I hate it, and I love it.  

"What's in a name?  Everything & nothing, all at once."  So, true, right?  I'm not planning to get up on a soap box here, but let's see what comes pouring out of my brain and through the keyboard, and perhaps edit back from there...

Names are simple identifiers.  I love that when Jillian was a toddler she started calling us Mama Lisa and Daddy Mike to distinguish us from all the other parents at the park.  She wasn't calling for the attention of some generic "mom", she wanted HER mom to respond.  Brilliant, I say!  (And, a cute aside:  she didn't want us to use the MIKE-ro-wave for any of her food--we needed to use the JILLY-wave!)  Yes, names are simple identifiers that make for more efficient communication.

Then there is the old sticks-n-stones adage.  I think it is pretty much common knowledge that name-calling and verbal abuse has a very real and powerful effect on the psyche.  Not that common knowledge means there aren't buttheads out there that engage in it.  (Ironic, eh?  See what I did there? It is just so darn easy to resort to name calling!)

Oops.  I painted and stamped over my ampersand (&).
I'll keep searching the magazines and add one in when I find one.

And labels.  Don't get me started on labels.  Alright--a little bit on labels:  Person-First Language.

Person-first language is a concept I learned about, and is encouraged by my local autism support group, Santa Clarita Autism Asperger Network (SCAAN).  The idea is to put the person before their disability when speaking or writing about the person, because a person is not defined by their disability.  For example, "She HAS autism," not "She IS autistic." Autism is only ONE of the MANY traits that define her.

Ok, So back to this journal page.  I've been soul-searching lately, trying to get to know myself on a deeper level, and define some goals and a path for myself.  And feeling at once lost, because I don't have a label for myself, and feeling that that's FINE.  Except...wouldn't this be easier if I could just have a simple identifier??  

I carved this stamp when I was taking Julie's online class.  This assignment was to create a damask stamp.  I wanted to do something original, but struggled with free handing a symmetrical design.  Many times when I feel artistically befuddled I turn to ideas and projects I remember from elementary school.  Do you remember name art?  You fold a piece of paper in half and write your name along the creased edge, cut it out, and unfold.  I wrote my name, scanned it, inverted it, and placed the mirror image next to the original scan.

Then I sketched a design out of it, transferred it to a piece of Speedy Carve and made this stamp.  I love it!    It's so cool!  It's just my name, and yet it is so much more than that!

I went berserk with it on that art journal page.  And as I stamped, all this "stuff" about names, and labels, and the various "hats" we all wear, and the impossibility of defining oneself, and changing one's name to a symbol doesn't help any because people still need a verbal identifier for you so you never get away from just being "Prince."  

Names.  So simple.  So complicated.  Who am I?  Really, that is what I am trying to figure out.  In the meantime, just call me Lisa.

Thanks for visiting!

May 03, 2012

Her Lullabies

My dear daughter turned fifteen last week!  FIFTEEN!!!!  Shocking, I know! She is a lovely young woman finishing her freshman year of High School, with one foot out the door as she contemplates University versus Art School.  Fifteen.  Where did that time go?

I remember her third birthday so vividly.  Well, not the birthday so much, and the pictures of her Minnie Mouse themed party do help bring the memories back.  But I remember the NIGHT of her third birthday. I remember going to bed and lying there, sobbing.  "She's THREE!!!  She's only going to be living with us for FIFTEEN more years!!!!"

And now here we are, at the conversial milepost, where she is fifteen and there are (theoretically) only three years left to her time here at home before she heads out at eighteen to take on the world.

I didn't cry this year.  Maybe because we have many opportunities for higher education near enough that her moving out to attend college is not inevitable.  Maybe because she has grown into such a mature and lovely person, with good sense and good morals, she doesn't appear as vulnerable as a three year old anymore.

My first project on Remember When's Design Team was to use  the On The Go line of papers by Bo Bunny.  There was also some of their gorgeous Vintage Dot paper in my kit.  I wanted to use this "boyish" transportation-themed paper in a non-boyish, non-transportation themed layout--pretty much just for the challenge of it.  I cut this semi-circle out of the "Vroom" paper, eliminating the tiny trucks and airplanes in the design, with the plan to journal on the lined area.  When I placed that on the gorgeous deep blue dot paper I immediately thought of the moon, which led me to the idea of documenting the lullabies I used to sing to Jillian way back when.

All papers by Bo Bunny; Distress Inks in Wild Honey and Broken China;Distress Stain in Picket Fence Distress Markers in Wild Honey and Walnut Stain;  Glimmer Glaze in Saffron; Sakura Gelly Roll Pen in White; Prima Ingvild Bolme Distressing Tool 

Handwritten and fussy cut title

Cut outs mounted to scrap cardboard and applied with pop-dots for dimension
The journaling reads:
We had a lovely bedtime ritual, Jillian.  After a story (or two!) I would sing the same three lullabies every night.  They were all from a CD called Disney Baby Lullaby.  The first was "Dreams are the Flowers (That Bloom in Your Heart)."  You loved the vivid, magical lyrics. The second, "La La Lu," had a "pink cloud" that I would change the color of based on your current favorite.  Finally, "Nighty Night" would round out the ritual.  It was last because it could go on indefinitely, until you'd finally drift into Dreamland.

The funny thing is, when I was looking through our old photo albums to find a picture of her sleeping, she settled in next to me to look on.  There was this photo of her eating a piece of string cheese, and here, lo and behold, here she sat, a dozen plus years later, eating a piece of string cheese as we looked through those pictures together.  Thank you, Blessed Universe!  Thank you for giving me a sign that Jillian is still my little girl, my little sweetie-petite-y, who will sit with her mom and giggle and eat string cheese, even at the age of fifteen!