Sunday, May 31, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday (And Another Giveaway)

When I was writing more or less full time...way back in the 90's...there was one particular year that I set out to write a novel. In that year I wrote three novels. Yep, in one year. Tad bit manic was said by some. And yeah, it was a bit of that, but there was also the very real "thing" I had going on with my characters. I gave them waaaaay too much control over me. Sometimes they would wake me up at 5 in the morning tugging on the shirt sleeve of my mind saying "Hey-hey wake up...I've got an know what I could do?" Tad bit schzoid was said by some.

Once a story was done, I barely had time to take a deep breath and revel in my accomplishment, before an entire set of new characters would come forward. It was like there were people in my head waiting in line to tell me their story. As soon as I saw them I recognized them, seemed to know everything about them. And we were off and running. Tad bit scary was said by all.

I walked away from writing many years ago. I am a bit hyper...ok a bit manic...and being a novelist with its many months to write the story, many months (even years) to sell the story, and another year or two for good measure before you held a book in your hand...was just too drawn out for me. I need a quicker fix for my creative juices.

Enter fabric collage art. It's still storytelling. I still have characters-the faces on my pieces. I still have dialogue-my quotes. I still have a setting...the fabrics and papers everything sits on. And I still have a happy ending-my pieces hanging on walls all over the world. Oh...and one other thing I still have...waaaay too many ideas.

Now instead of characters standing in line in my head...ideas for new work wake me up at the crack of dawn saying "Helloooo." While I am known for my fabric collage wall hangings, the past nine years have seen my brand of collage art on clothing, jewelry, altars, boxes, paintings, altered books, found objects, crosses, birdhouses, garden decor, papers on papers and one of my favorites, furniture. So it was probably not a far leap to imagine that I might have a few things I wanna share/teach beyond my wall hangings that are near and dear to my heart.

So in a manic moment of workshop ideas roaring down the Autobahn of my mind...I decided to go ahead and let you have it. Thus KC Willis Mixed Media Mania was born. A series of on-line workshops very much in keeping with the spirit of my Collage Camp. Fun, informative and hopefully inspirational workshops based on some of my favorite things.

The first three are open for Early Registration at a discounted rate at the Ning site I have set up for this Manic Menagerie. They are on Altars and Shrines, Works on Paper and Altered Books. Yipee! I for one can't wait. Logan and I are making the videos as we speak (Fiona is helping out again) and they will be up before you know it.

Go to the Main Page and check out the particulars. Man, this is gonna be fun. And while lots and lots of you have recently put up a link on your blogs, or Facebook pages, or been all a-Twitter about Collage Camp, I thought mayhaps (sorry but I love that word) that we might rally around the Manic and do the same. She'll do another Giveaway.......Link

How about one of my famous The Women-The Flag. Ain't I the generous-type? The first one of these that I ever made is in the permanent collection of the Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth. (There are 50 women for the 50 stars.) If you live in another country and want in on the can select something else if you win.

Just link to www. on one or all of your social networking situations, drop a comment here telling me you've done that, and if you of my favorite pieces of art will be yours. Let's hold the drawing on June 15th along with the $300 Shopping Spree touted on the previous blog. Be sure your name is in both drawings!

It's time to head off to bed...but wait! I've think I feel an idea coming on.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

$300 Lipstick Ranch Shopping Spree

Whoa...did I say that? Yes, I guess I did. All right then, I've made the let's get on with it.

We have been having such a blast at Collage Camp...haven't we gang? If you have any doubts, just check out the Camp Photos section! You guys are either ridiculously talented or I'm a REALLY good teacher! But sitting around the old Campfire recently, we decided we need more Campers to come play in the fire with us and hike around the collage trails. Sooo....I'm offering a reward-I mean I am opening up a mega-giveaway.

Mention Collage Camp on your blog-you don't have to write an essay-just mention what a good time you're having-or if you're not attending Camp, just mention that it looks like a good time and link to The Camp. You can even grab the little icon off the Camp front page. If you don't have a blog, post it on your Facebook Page, or on any other art group you belong to. Even a Twitter or two will work. Heck, send postcards-you know..."Having a wonderful time...wish you were here." Tell your readers they can get in on the drawing too by doing the same thing you are doing. This is an equal opportunity run-amok shopping spree. But, please be sure they understand that this means they have to link to Camp too. They can't simply comment below this blog and have it count. Okey-dokey?

Drop a comment at this particular blog, stating that you have bandied about the Camp logo shamelessly and your name will get in the drawing for a $300 Lipstick Ranch get-whatever-the heck-you-want shopping spree. None of my fabric art is off limits. The drawing will be held in 3 weeks-Monday, June 15th.

Be there or be square.

Friday, May 15, 2009

When Angels Fly

On Friday night I had the house to myself courtesy of the new Star Trek movie. The young men in my life had been beamed up. The remote was mine! I got into my comfy, lay-around-on the- sofa-with-my-dog pants and settled into digital decadence. It was my intention to not even land on anything for more than five minutes at a time. My converter box was my boogey-board and I was going surfing. This euphoria I describe should tell you what a rare happenstance I found myself in. But barely a minute into my evening I caught a big wave and rode it for two hours, finding myself reflective and refined when I made it back to shore.

I had heard somewhere that Farrah Fawcett was yet another celebrity with cancer. What I hadn't heard was that she was a warrior. I watched the documentary "Farrah's Story" and saw up close and personal how she fought desperately and heroically to conquer "the terrorist" (as her doctor put it) that had ambushed her life. I marveled at the courage she possessed as she endured painful treatments, surgery after surgery, chemo, radiation and all the hell that goes with living in one. The girl known for her hair didn't have any any longer. A friend of hers had taped her battle for well over a year, because Farrah was sure it would have a happy ending and she could be a beacon of hope for others. She fought so valiantly because, as she said several times on Friday night..."I just want my life back." Instead, as we speak, she is dying. No matter how much she wants's not gonna happen. She will be a beacon, though. Just not the kind she had in mind in the beginning of all this.

I just want my life back. The places that you have to be in to utter those words have doorways I don't want to ever cross. But I have a chance to take my life back. I can say it and it is so. I don't have to beg God for that miracle. I have that miracle every day.

How is it that my life needs taking back? Anything you take for have lost. I am so lucky in so many ways...yet I am wasteful. I have a God who loves me and offers me his grace and forgiveness spite of myself, but my Bible has dust on it. (literally). I have talents that for some reason he decided to rain on me, but I don't honor them like I should. (I actually complain out loud as I head to my studio when I have too many orders for my work.) I stopped singing. I am not sick, but I am lazy about exercise and do next to nothing to insure I stay healthy. You get the picture.

I want my life back. I want the joy that is found in "His mercy is new every morning." I want to sing again and to run to my studio everyday, thrilled that I get to make things with my hands for a living. I want to glow with health. In other words I want to take nothing for granted and seek a grateful heart. MY grateful heart. All I have to do is wake up tomorrow morning and grab it..take's mine.

Grab it. Take it. It's yours.

Thank you Farrah.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Making Collage Camp Accessible

Hi All...Just a quick post to let you know that KC Willis Collage Camp is now available on DVD! Cool. I have had quite a few people e-mail me and tell me they would love to view the Workshop videos, but due to an older computer or no high-speed access in their area...they could not. So we are offering a DVD with the entire 6-part workshop on it. So if you want to join in on the fun or give a gift to someone you know would like to do roll around in fabric for a few days, just head on over to Collage Camp and check it out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

As Good Excuse As Any

This week I got an e-mail from a stranger on my website. Happens all the time. This one got me to thinking, though. She said that in the hard times we find ourselves going through in our country, she found it rather self-indulgent to do something as frivolous as making art. After all, it wasn't going to add to her family's coffers, she had never really made much money at it, and while she would like to attend my on-line Collage Camp, she just couldn't bring herself to justify such a thing. Now the fact that she was writing me to tell me that, told me that this was more about convincing herself of the validity of her selflessness than it was about explaining her decision to me. I, for one, was not convinced by her argument.

If there was ever a time for mankind and womankind to honor their creative selves it is now. In art we find the, freedom of expression, a way to take our fears and angst and let it all out. But there is more than that. When I feel overwhelmed by the world I like to look at art for starters, which almost always shoots "artdreneline" through my body, leading me to create something of my own. But it starts with looking at the art others have made. Helen Frankenthaler makes paint dance across canvas, DeKooning's "Women" make me chuckle and be glad I am not one of his girls, Pollock, before he dripped was a Bi-Polar wonder to behold and O'Keeffe makes me fly up through the holes in her desert bones and come back to earth more in love with color than I was before I took flight. Robert Rauschenberg just makes me as joyful looking at his collages as he was making them. He died a couple of months ago, no doubt with a smile on his face and an idea in his head. Most of these artists lived through World Wars and a Great Depression. Thank God they never thought that when times are gloomy they should stop doing something as self-centered as Art. Sometimes looking at art is the thing that fills me with hope and keeps me focused on forward motion.

Not everything I make in my studio is intended to sell and I certainly don't need to validate these things that I do that are for the pure pleasure of doing. I look at an empty fruit crate and feel an obligation to make it into a shrine of color and texture, giving it life beyond what it seemed destined to experience when it lay in a pile of "stuff" on the side of my studio. I am not being self-centered, I am being God-centered. I believe we are created in God's image and therefore we who have been given a vision to make something out of nothing must CREATE. It's what He did. He set the example. I follow. Create. Create. Create. In the first few pages of the Bible it was pretty much what He did. The Ultimate Artist. So how can I possibly think that there is ever a time when I can feel bad about being an Artist. I like to think that on the seventh day he rested...because he had created what he set out to create and from that point on He was turning it over to us.