Tag Archives: creativity

Mistakes will be made. They will be mended.

 I drop the ball. I fall down. I get up. I try again. I never finished my 32 days. I fall asleep every night with an unfinished to do list and you know what? It is ok, I think. A very good friend of mine once told me that I could have it all, just not right now.

I have had a series of massive fails as of late and it is humbling. I typically manage pretty well and take care of business. Failure is humbling in that it reminds me that I must pay attention to my connections. If connections to people, ideas, my body are not mindfully cultivated, they fall away and fall away quickly. The connection I feel to the work that I have created over the past two years is immense. I thought that I was clearheaded about why I make art until I was sitting at a lecture at an art education conference and a woman said that creativity occurs within giving and receiving. I was floored. The statement was so simple. Connectivity through making, giving, and receiving on all levels is exactly what draws  me to the creative process. I have always made work with a social message having to do with what people do for each other and I’ve found my spirituality in scientific theory about cellular and molecular connectivity. Energy, intention, and action from big to small is central to my creative process.

Now that I have this clarity in my work, I am ready to paint again. It is my goal to host a happening in which the viewer/participant determines the worth of pieces within a new body of work and in that creates a connection through the trade of goods, services or currency. The art is in the giving and receiving. All I need is a venue.

I am also ready to seek the same kind of clarity in my own world, my own interactions. I want to give and to receive in balance.  Time to dust myself off and move forward. Who’s in?


Where the hell are my pajamas? Are these really the “softest socks in the world?” and other questions I ask my imperfect self.

  • Where the hell are my pajamas? (found ’em!)
  • Are these in fact, the “softest socks in the world?”
  • How is it possible that I got so distracted that there was a creepy van in my parking spot that I got out of my car after work and left it running for a good 35 minutes before Jon just so happened to noticed?
  • How could Steven Hawkings be wrong?
  • Are all artists weird? (answer: yes, Scientific America says so)
  • Do I have to say everything I am thinking out loud? (apparently, I do, especially in the teachers’ lounge)
  • Do I ask myself questions then answer them? Absolutely.
  • Why am I so excited by the the little rectangle confetti left over from the binding machine at school?
  • Will I ever have a job where I don’t have to glue the skin on my hands back together every night of the winter?

An art teacher's best friends; liquid bandage and a hot toddy.

  • How many pigs in a blanket should we make for the party, Ms. Brown-Velez?
  • When the Solstice comes will the light also be turned back on my mind? (I’m feeling a little slow on the uptake lately)
  • And lastly, am I doomed to hear at least one fart or burp joke per hour for the rest of my life?

Milo worked on his sculptures between fart jokes this afternoon.

My Christmas craftstravaganza is almost complete. Now you know what you're all getting.

I’m an A student

I went to the top schools in the country as a child and was always inculcated with the notion that a formal education is the single most important factor in one’s success (that and connections). I have a Master’s Degree in Education. And as I sat drinking wine with the neighborhood mamas on Sunday night listening to them talk about homeschooling, unschooling, and choosing when and if their children will go to school I wanted to jump to the defense of public education. Of course your kids need to go to school everyday! Of course your kids need to learn to read and write according to the pacing guides! How else would the teachers ever manage to control the chaos?!

Milo's first day of school

The fact of the matter is that no one, not even children learn well when they are told they have to. The most successful people, by whatever social measure, be it,  financial or happiness, or whatever, are those who seek new experiences and information. Those who are able to identify issues and solve problems. Creativity is about seeking, synthesizing, making and doing. So let’s get to the core of the matter. Why do we even go about teaching our children to read and write and to do math in the first place? We insist upon these three skills because we need them to decode our world. But what good is being able to read, write, and do math if you don’t have the additional skill set of creativity?

Public school as we know them are a relatively new phenomenon that developed along side the factory lines of the industrial revolution. I do not intend for my children to be factory workers (so be it if they are and they love it). I do intend for my children to be creatives. So where does this leave the mother, the perpetual A student, rule follower, and teacher?

The day before his first day of school

I am reminded of when at the age of 11 I loaded my gear into a van with 7 other girls and set off to climb mountains. I learned more about myself inside those experiences than I ever did sitting at a desk learning about other people who climbed tall mountains.

I do believe that there is a place for group education. Learning among  peers is a valuable experience. Having mentors, teachers, and experts guide your thinking is important too. In an ideal world I would be able shepherd a small group (say, enough to fit in a really sweet van) of mixed aged kiddos through the early years of their educational life through child centered experiential learning and creative play.

For now I will compromise and do my best to make my classroom a place where that kind of learning can happen for the 43 minutes a week I see each of my 700 or so students. And as for my own kids, they have lots of time to discover their world at home and Milo gets the added bonus of learning some great potty talk and even gets to have the occasional glazed donut or purple Tampico for his afternoon snack at school.

To make is to give, to give is to make.

Are you there blog? It’s me, Delanie.  The last time I blogged was also the first day I went back to work. Coinsidence? I think not. I am slowly crawling out of the black hole that is teaching full time and parenting two very small children with a husband who is working his butt off to daddy, work, and go to school. Sheesh. It has been an adjustment for sure!

I think you forgot your books.

After helping 153 or so kids discover their creative potential, I am afraid I have little creativity left for myself. By the end of the night I seem to have just enough brain cells to read three pages of a book before it lands sqaurely on my nose and I am out cold until someone wakes up needing something or other. Sound familiar parents? I am not alone. This business is tough. Tough but good.

One of my fourth graders made this awesome brain! So many things to think about...

I don’t always get to see outright the rewards of parenting  and for a bit I was questioning whether or not our philosophy of less stuff and more love was going to work and then…Milo went and did a super good guy thing.

My little entrepreneurs

On Sunday we went to sell some of our old clothes at Buffalo exchange (a hipster consignment-type shop). Milo wanted money to get a new bow tie or something or other but only had enough to play pacman. On the way home he saw more than a few people beggin on street corners with signs. He insisted that when he got home he would make a sign and stand on the corner so that he could get some money. We explained to him that he could not do tha because we have a home and money and we can work for things that we want. I suggested that he could have a hot cocoa stand if he wanted to earn some extra cash. He set it up and within an hour he had earned $5 (thanks Heather and Tom!). He was so pround of himself that he rushed upstairs and put the money in his piggy bank. We were already excited because he had decided to deposit his money the next day in his savings account. But something else happened.

After dinner the doorbell rang and a homeless man selling copies of the Voice was at the door. Just as I was shooing him away, Milo heard him say that he would accept loose change. Milo told the man to wait right there. He proceeded to empty his hard earned money out of his piggy bank and give it to the man. The gentleman told Milo thank you and that he would then be able to get a warm room for the night. That’s my boy, a giving heart at the age of four and a half.

It's time to make something...

Milo and Wyatt have got me thinking that giving is a beautiful thing and part of having a  giving heart is giving  something to one’s self every once in a while. Something that downright nourishes the soul. I have felt so underwater since July and I need to resurface. With a little momma TLC in mind, I am instating, “Make Something Mondays.” I am dedicating Monday evenings to taking care of myself and cooking up some creativity in the studio. I’ll do a little bloggin’ and let y’all know how it goes. What to make, what to make, mhmhmm.


Playdough and Microfilm

Honestly, I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. I’m moving forward but not at the pace I envisioned.  Blerg.  I am going to try to look on the sunnyside of things:

I share my life with these three yahoos.

Larry, Moe, and Curly

My sweet boy came up to me the other day and gave me these Thank You notes for making him robot pillows.

That's preschooler for "thank you."

Robot pillows for the chill down spot

Not to mention I have paintings up at a new little gelato shop, working on a secret bday trade for a friend, some German design publication contacted me, two of my paintings  sold at Milo’s preschool auction, and one of my best girl’s just bought two paintings to be shipped to Finland tomorrow, and I am busy trying to get going on some new stuff for my show at Mod Livin’ in April. Wow, once I wrote all that down I felt much better about things. Aaanndd, the parents at Milo’s school all said really nice things about him, like how cute an funny and nice he is.

Working on some top secret bubble art

I have a tendency to make up stories in my head about how no one likes me or my kids and how I should go into hiding until I become a better person and my children stop acting like children. Well, I woke up this morning and have decided to say f-it to all that nonsense. So what if my closet is a three feet high clothes pile, I’ve had one before and you haven’t de-friended me yet (you probably jumped into it looking for something cute to wear).

So what if I only manage to work out two times this week, and I’m pretty sure I’m addicted sugar, and I only blog once a week at best and I only shower every other day, and the dishes from yesterday are still in the sink, and it takes me two weeks to finish a book  and my kids have food on their faces, and my car is full of bunny grahms, sticks, and gum wrappers. I’ll chalk up my imperfect life to my flare for the creative. My friend Shari once said that the size of the piles on one’s desk is directly related to their intelligence. The bigger the pile, the smarter the lady. I must be really smart!

You have a little something on your face

I also had grand plans to shoot some sweet pics of our little abode and pretend like my blog is our feature in Sunset magazine all about decorating on the cheap using DIY, Craig’s List, second hand stores, and alley scores. Maybe next week when I’m  feeling perfect-er. Today I’m going to take a cue from my boy and just be thankful for the whole big mess that is my life.

I thought I’d at least share a few fun discoveries. The first is how awesome micro-film is. Jon and I went to the library on Friday and spent a few hours winding through old newspapers. The sound of the machine, the knobs, the film, its all so fun. I printed out a few choice images from the Denver Post on the day I was born in 1980. We also scored all these rad posters mounted on foam core for 5 bucks a piece. The library prints tons of primary source materials, maps photos,etc for exhibits and sell them when they’re done.

10th Mountain Division

Miss Sue Wood was arrested for roller skating in the pavilion at Cheesman Park! How dare she!?

Heavy load coming through

And now something for the kids…my easy peasy play dough recipe.

2 cups all purpose flour1/2 cup table salt

1 cup hot water

1 teaspoon cooking oil

tempera for color

Mix salt and flour. Slowly mix water and oil while stirring. When it becomes hard to stir mix with your hands when the flour leaves the sides of the bowl  and and ball is formed, remove from bowl and knead for a bit (add more flour here if it’s still too sticky).

For Milo’s super cool building blocks, form and cook at 200 degrees for an hour or more. They lose their color considerably but you can paint them or color them with marker.