My little goddesses are back. While getting ready for Reston’s annual Gifts from the HeART, I came upon the pieces I had created but never finished into pendants. So I decided to turn them into pins. I made 24. I have 13 left. I have a feeling there will be more. Meanwhile, here is a little information about the symbols I used.
I began designing the goddesses as gifts for my friends when I was 8 months pregnant with my son in 2012. Originally, they were meant to be fertility goddesses, based on the ancient statue of Astarte. But most of the symbols I chose were about life and renewal. I made several designs using these symbols.
Heart Love Goddess
The Glitter Heart Love Goddess. She really just speaks for herself. And she’s all warm and glittery inside. I love the way these came out.
Special days to celebrate love include St. Valentine’s day, Beltaine, and Tu B’Av (the 15th of the month of Av), the Jewish holiday of love and rebirth. But loving yourself every day is the most important way to begin.
The Lotus Goddess is a mixed cultural metaphor as my design does not represent any of the eastern religions, rather just the symbol of the lotus itself signifying rebirth and enlightenment in the feminine. In Buddhism, the lotus represents spiritual experience and growth on our journey through the world, fortune, and purity. The lotus flower grows from the dark mud under the water and blooms above, unsullied, into the light of day.
The Pentacle Goddess was inspired by the goddess, Astarte, goddess of war and sex. One of the symbols of this goddess is the star in a circle, indicating the planet Venus. Adopted by the Greeks as Aphrodite and then by the Romans as Venus, she became the goddess of beauty, love, fertility, and sex. In modern times, this symbol represents the Wiccan religion.
The Pomegranate Goddess represents the cycle of the seasons, death and rebirth, as well as fertility. Inspired by the Greek myth of Persephone consuming the pomegranate seeds in the underworld and thus being compelled to return there for six months of the year, and the biblical story of the Israelites bringing Moses a pomegranate to demonstrate the fertility of the promised land.
The Pregnant Goddess design simply represents the bond between mother and child. A strong symbol of fertility and potential.
Sea Turtle Goddess
The Sea Turtle Goddess was inspired by the turtle’s ancient association with creation. A sea turtle can lay hundreds of eggs at a time and has become a symbol of longevity, fertility, and good fortune in many coastal cultures. There are so many myths and legends surrounding the sea turtle (and turtles in general) worldwide, that it would be hard to discuss them all here, but among the many attributes of the sea turtle are freedom, patience, virtue, love, wisdom, protection, perseverance, and rebirth.
“The Turtle is considered by some Indigenous North Americans to be one of their the oldest, most sacred symbols. They believed that North America was created on the back of a turtle. To this day most Indigenous peoples refer to North America as Turtle Island. “
The Spiral Goddess is based on a prehistoric goddess design and represents the creative power of the earth mother and the ongoing circle of creation emanating from her womb.
The Triskelion Goddess was inspired by the ancient Celtic triple spiral which represents the three aspects of women (mother, maiden, and crone). Early Christians also adopted the symbol of the triskelion to represent the father, son, and holy spirit. It may also be a symbol of mystery and rebirth as it was used to decorate many prehistoric tombs, notably Newgrange in Ireland where the sun shines down the passage into the tomb on the shortest day of the year.
Filled Heart Love Goddess
I first painted this original design in watercolor and acrylic on a brown paper shopping bag, probably around 1995. The image is of a woman looking to fill the void inside herself with a heart symbolizing love. Now, almost 20 years later, I thought it would be fun to add her to my goddess collection as a symbol for bringing love into your live.
This isn’t the sort of post I’m used to writing on this website. Things have been mostly quiet here since I returned from SCBWI-NE last spring which is usually a pretty big no-no in the social media world. Obviously I’ve been busy working on various projects but nothing really post-able. Mostly, I’ve been working on another contract building digital high school math course curriculum for k12.com and I’ve started picking up smaller info-graphics and corporate graphic jobs again as well. My k12 contract ended this week and this is the first weekend I haven’t had to work in months!
My husband, Bill’s, job also ended in October. After 14 years in federal business development, prop and grant managing/writing and tech writing/editing on staff for various companies, he decided he wanted to stay freelance and support smaller businesses. Because we both are now freelance, we decided to file for an LLC the day before Thanksgiving. We’re still waiting on the name and number before I make us some cards and an online presence for the new biz which, if all goes well, will be called Illumination Services, LLC (as in – illuminated manuscript – the combination of words and images). So today, at the Virginia Women’s Business Conference, I found myself handing out my illustration business cards with this website URL because that’s what I had on hand.
I didn’t actually plan to attend this conference. Actually, I didn’t know about it. Despite 20+ years alternating between employee and contractor status, I am still just starting to wrap my head around the idea that I’m a businesswoman. Today happened… by a confluence of events.
Last year, my friend, Dana asked her friends to start collecting bras for a project that helped homeless women. We were (really she was) so successful that she started a non-profit company called Support the Girls(which has been getting a lot of press – here’s one from the Washington Post). At the end of this summer, she asked me if I wouldn’t mind doing another collection. I can’t say no because this isn’t hard. So I asked my friends in the MOMs Club, the Preschool, on-line, and a Facebook group called Buy Nothing Reston for donations (the final count this year was 102 bras and a kitchen garbage bag full of feminine hygiene products!).
On the Buy nothing group, Kim Lysik Di Santi noticed my post requesting donations. She and I were still strangers but she had met Dana a few years back and was very impressed with Dana’s work both at her primary company, Accessibility Partners, as well as Support the Girls. Kim has attended and volunteered for the Virginia Women’s Business Conference since its inception. She asked me if I would like to nominate my friend for their annual Stellar Woman Award. I said sure! and she emailed me the forms. My eyes crossed a little. This was more Bill’s bailiwick than mine. I asked him and he very kindly helped me put together the nomination with additional help from Dana’s colleague, Sharon.
Surprise! I was informed two weeks ago that Dana was a finalist for the award! Wooooo Hooooo! So, slightly unprepared and glassy-eyed, I attended the conference today as Dana’s guest. I participated in some informative business 101 sessions and a fascinating legal presentation by Nancy Greene. I met a bunch of truly fabulous women in all stages of the business world, and ultimately felt a lot less like a fish out of water than I’d expected to.
Ok so I’m a little late. The holidays snuck up on me as I was buried beneath work from a new client as well as the usual end-of-year to-do kinds of things, and of course, the care and feeding of the Jaegerlings (now aged 4.5 and 2.5). The ridiculously warm weather didn’t help. It only started to really feel like Christmas on its 12th day. Hanukkah is already a distant memory as Tu B’Shvat is at the end of January this year. Seriously?
Now that the loose ends of 2015 have been mostly been tied up, I can get on with it being 2016.
Of course I have a few new resolutions for 2016. I was thinking about these as I was sorting out my kids’ artwork the other day. I went through LITERALLY hundreds of my 4-year-old’s drawings from Sept through now, thinking she’ll hit her 10,000 mastery hours LONG before I will at this rate. Picasso was seriously on to something. I realized I have much to learn from watching my daughter progress while “wasting” tons of newsprint paper.
So I resolved that in order to really practice and progress, myself, I’ll have to try and “Art” a bit like a child again. That is to say:
Don’t be afraid to waste materials.
Don’t think too hard about it (the sketching will lead you where you want to go).
Don’t edit while you sketch.
Don’t overdo it. Stop when it’s done.
Make it sparkly (this is the kid version of “make it pop”).
Move on to the next.
The natural progression of this resolution is also that I need to stop worrying about the consistency of my media choices and if everything works in a series. I just to make more “stuff” the way I used to when I was a kid. Throw those ideas and creations out into the world and see where they lead.
On my way upstairs, I stopped to check in with Facebook (as you do) and caught some of the first 52 Week Challenge posts in my feed. By the time I’d got up to my studio, I was pulling out a bunch of “stuff” to “make something” for the “Fancy Dress” challenge, and this lady (above) emerged. Ok I went a little crazy with the glitter, which is also hard to photograph, but I felt better. I did it. Baby steps.
Another of my resolutions is to get more of that “stuff” out on social media and for sale without worrying too much if it’s “fitting my brand.” I think the definition of “personal brand” may actually be more or less the same thing as Giuseppe Castellano’ definition of personal style. It’s often hard to be objective about the way one actually looks. I have been told that my personal signature should shine through whatever I create as well. Looking at Fancy Dress Lady, I see that’s probably true.
Last year on Instagram I met a fellow artist and mom named Anna who lives in Sweden. Her children are roughly the same age as mine but she is somehow managing to create complete pieces of dynamic art, illustrations, and intriguing Tangles daily, posting them out on the interwebs and in her etsy shop. I am in awe as well as inspired that she is able to do this. I want to be able to do this, too. I know there are only so many hours in a day and that I sometimes have graphics work that takes priority to my personal work, but it’s a goal.
Like Anna, I don’t want to just wait around for people to hire me. I can get my work “out there” myself. My young self had hundreds of personal, creative obsessions. While I don’t fall in love with things as easily as I did when I was 9, I still have my own stories to tell and projects to complete. Another resolution is to get my own projects started (if not completed) without wondering if or how I’m going to earn money from them. I believe that if there is a true passion shining through in the work, an audience will come. We can’t all be J.K. Rowling, Johanna Basford, or Jacquie Lawson. But we can certainly try. So for starters, I put Fancy Dress Lady out on the interwebs and on Etsy for sale: http://tiny.cc/eppx7x Ok that’s something. Not a large project, but another baby step. On to the next.
Last year I surprised myself by falling in love with the media and world of colored pencils. And here I’d thought I was supposed to be a painter. I discovered this love while working on my 100 Days project (which I also resolve to finish in 2016 – I need to continue working on simplifying). This year, I aim to improve my colored penciling skills and techniques. I also plan to work on improving gesture in my illustrations. I resolve to pay a bit more attention to contrast (didn’t we call that chiaroscuro in art school?). And maybe get into a workshop or master class later in the year…
Of course, finding creative representation in 2016 wouldn’t hurt either!
Apart from my creative resolutions, I resolve to manage my not-so-spare time a bit better, de-clutter the house, spend more time with my family, lose about 10 pounds, and get back to the gym – you know, all the usual stuff.
Just signed up for an 11 week yoga class starting next Tuesday. Let’s get this year started!
That’s Babywearing International, not Baltimore Washington International…
If you’re a member of thebabywearer.com, please go to this thread to vote (“like” my post) if you love my submission.
I submitted this to an image contest to try and win some lending library items for our local babywearing chapter (this link will probably only work if you’re a member of the BWI website). They’ve been quite helpful and an all around bunch of great folks. I started wearing JaegerThing1 when she was about 4 months old and have somehow managed to stave off a woven wrap addiction (I currently only have two). I do have to stifle myself a little when I see other moms and dads babywearing. I can get a little over-exuberant about it. I like to help out folks who are new to wearing and don’t know a lot of their options. I always point people towards the local Babywearing International chapter.
Anyway, about this illustration… I had a bunch of ideas and not a lot of time so this is the one that came out. Maybe another time, I’ll do some of the other illo ideas I had. They were a bit more representational and less presentational (which is often a criticism I get of my illustration work).
This was a tough one, really, because the theme is so open-ended. And because babywearing is so much about everyone, I didn’t want to do an exclusive illo. However that is indeed what I’ve done. Another goddess. I am just drawn to drawing goddesses I guess, so apologies to the men right off the bat.
My sketchbooks of the last 20 years show me that I have always seen women as goddesses. I look to other women for guidance, inspiration, and often spirituality. When I became a mother, one of my goddess friends introduced me to our local babywearing group. I had inherited a mei tai and had been gifted a Moby, two Ergos and a Pikkolo and I needed help figuring out what to do with all these things.
Now, as a mother of two, I find that wearing my children is essential if I want to get anything done. All of the moms in our playgroup have now had their second children and even the ones who didn’t wear their first are now starting to wear their second. I am happy to be able to guide them.
I am blessed to be among these groups of mothers helping and supporting mothers. Even on our worst days when we haven’t slept at all and are covered in food or milk and whatever else our kids have wiped on us, trying to muddle through dinner time and feedings to bedtime, and we feel like complete crap, we have this wonderful network to insist to us that we are wonderful radiant goddesses and that we created these little lives and continue to nurture them, our partners, and if we can manage a little time to ourselves, ours as well. My image is one of those times, when you can just savor being in the moment. And the strawberries. They’re in season here now, too.
Also, at the suggestion of my husband, I tried color pencil for the first time in aeons… so long, in fact, that the only pencils I own are watercolor ones. I did not use water on this though I may go back and see what happens. I did screw up the color on the border oval pretty badly. I had to clean it up in Photoshop. I never can get 100% away from the computer anymore.