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BookSmithStudio.com | Nikki Smith Book & Visual Artist

Handmade books and various art explorations

Archive for October, 2009

Silent Auction Donation – Planet Path

October 28th, 2009 by Nikki Smith

Based on a 360 degree panorama photograph of a rural Bryan, Texas scene taken in 2007.  This “Wee Planet” was donated to a silent auction to benifit a dear friend, Tina Wright, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Planet Path, rural Bryan, TexasThis is one of my favorite Wee Planet creations.  I took the photos during a delightful afternoon ride through the country side and back roads with my husband on his motorcycle.   The weather was perfect and the wind and sheer exhilaration of the ride made my spirit soar.  I honestly have no idea how to find this little meadow and pond again!

The Silent Auction and Benifit Dinner is October 29th at the Wellborn Community Center from 4 to 8pm.  Please stop by!

Nurturing your muse

October 17th, 2009 by Nikki Smith

Where do your ideas and inspirations come from?  Do they come to you in the shower or when you’re in that halfway state between wakefulness and sleep?  Do you wake up in the morning with a solution to yesterday’s challenge?

museMany well known authors say that when they are writing it is as if the words and ideas that flow from their pen are not their own — they come from somewhere else, not the author’s conscious mind.  It’s as if they are merely the instrument for conveying the idea to the world and not the originator.  I’ve always been fascinated by this concept, and I’ve found that it is true for other types of artists as well, myself included.

I have been blessed with a talented and creative muse who shows me possibilities and glimpses of the fantastic.  Late at night when I’m lying in bed and close my eyes she extrapolates from the place where my conscious mind left off.  My muse is visual and the ideas she presents to me are fully formed snap-shots of finished projects, often in rapid-fire and without the road map for creating them.

Why do I speak about my muse in the third person?  Because the ideas she presents seem to come out of the ether fully formed and without my conscious input or control.  They’re my ideas, and yet…it sometimes feels as if there’s a separate creative soul sharing these glimpses with me.  The ideas are often truly wonderful but gone in the blink of an eye before I can capture them on paper.  I can’t “decide” to be inspired and my muse is sometimes silent.  I can only lay the groundwork, create a fertile, nurturing mental environment and then be receptive.

So how do you nurture your muse?  Here’s a great strategy:

Immerse yourself in eye-candy art!
This is one of the best ways I’ve found to encourage my muse.  Just before bed I’ll read an art magazine or browse through an online gallery or two.  The more visual inspiration I give my muse, the more likely she is to inspire me in turn.

Channel your dreams.
Have you ever had one of those nights when your dreams are all about work?  That’s often because you were focused on (or worried about) work when you went to bed.  I admit, I’ve solved some problems this way.  However, I’ve also done some tedious bill-paying and dish-washing in my dreams.  (What a waste!)  Wouldn’t it be more fun to dream about creating art?  And wake up with some great ideas to try out?  Just be sure to be thinking about your art as you drift off to sleep.  Keep a pen (or crayons!) and notebook handy by your bedside table to jot down those great ideas when you first wake up and before the dreams fade away.

Explore different concepts and apply them to your art.
Sometimes I’ll explore an unrelated idea and then challenge my muse to apply that concept to my art.  For example, after reading a great magazine on “softies” (artist’s dolls and stuffed creations), I went to bed thinking about the ideas I had seen and how they might be applied to handmade books.  I (or I should say my muse) came up with several creative ideas for softies as book covers on journals, or softies with pouches to hold a small book.  The “characters,” closures, colors and materials were all there just waiting for me to bring them to life.

Give your muse a steady diet of inspiration and you’ll be amazed at the results!

Hope is the thing with feathers…

October 15th, 2009 by Nikki Smith

A dear friend, Tina Wright, was recently diagnosed with Stage Four cancer.  Several artist friends got together to create a handmade book of wishes, prayers and art to lighten her spirit and show our support for her in this difficult time.  Tina said the book touched her more than words could say.  Below is my contribution, with the first stanza of a poem by Emily Dickinson.

Hope page spread 1

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Hope page spread 2

Details:  The bird has been cut-out from the front of the page.  Sandwiched between the front and back pages is a swatch of fabric with “Shine,” “Love” and other words which shows through the opening.  “Hope” is written with a metallic paint pen.  The poem was printed on transparency and stiched to the page with a style of stitch that looks like bird tracks.  A feather was attached to complete the theme.  On the reverse side, the bird cut-out from the front was attached to a sheet of patterned paper along with notes from sheet music.

The other artists’ contributions will be posted online shortly and I’ll add a link here when they are ready.

If you know Tina and would like to help, please read more about the Fund Raiser for Tina Wright on October 29th.  Contribute art for the silent auction or attend the event and show your support!

Tina, you are in my thoughts and prayers!  With love, ~Nikki.

UPDATE:  See the complete book on Flickr!