Monday, July 20, 2009

Hearing Voices

Last year, I was part of a small group show with my local artist group, affectionately known as "the tArts." The show was held at the lovely and spacious Stocker Gallery at Lorain County Community College.

The tArts in the 2008 configuration: Christy Gray, Tina Rossi, Gayle Pritchard, Christine Mauersberger, Lois Carroll, Susanne Gregg, Jill Milenski, Susan Shie, at the opening of Flavors of Fiber in 2008.

One of the pieces I made for the show, I Hear Voices, was inspired by a song my husband wrote, Simon Says. It's a fairly large piece, given the work I have created in the past years, and attempts to tell the story in fabric. The installation image of the piece doesn't quite do it justice, because of my limited photography skills.
I Hear Voices in My Head by Gayle Pritchard, 2008.

All of this is to give a little background to the video I have posted to my blog. My husband, Chris, who has been a musician all of his life, also happens to be the most creative human being I know. Today, he made a video integrating the song, his photography and my art piece. I hope you will enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Busy Is as Busy Does

What have you been doing this week? I hope it involved some pleasurable activities, even if it involved working for money.

My week started last Friday. Since I watch my grandson two days a week, in the middle of the week, I try to think of those days as my weekends, a time when I relax, try not to think about the work piling up, and play with him. The most pleasurable activity in my week, then, was last Friday night, when I went to a concert: two acoustic guitars, microphones, amazing harmonies, lots of friends and family present. My husband and his partner played for two and half hours, and it was really fun.

Chris and David brought down the house. Photo by H. Kimmel

Other than a quick visit with a visiting brother-in-law, I worked like crazy, launching my new line of Magic Baby clothing. I am tired, and have not had much time to write, so I'll just post a few pictures for your feedback. I had planned to put these on my etsy store immediately, but they keep selling before I have a chance. That's a good thing, trust me!

Magic Baby poncho, fits up to 30 pounds

Magic Baby Watermelon Garden dress, 12 mo. size

These dresses are really cute, if I do say so myself. They are completely reversible, two dresses in one, and size adjustable (at the shoulders), so they can be worn for a long time. I love the shaped edge bottom.

Detail of shaped edge from the Magic Baby fruity flowered dress, 18 mo. size

This one also has a really fun princess-y back bodice embellishment.

The third item in the product line are my snuggly Magic Baby double flannel blankies. The are super-soft and lightweight while still being cozy, cute and practical.

So that's my week at work. I am currently enjoying my weekend.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Creativity One Moment at a Time

Detail of Joie de Vivre 1 by Gayle Pritchard

My daylilies are blooming. Seeing them reminds me of the ephemeral quality of summertime, of life itself. The first time I recall seeing these flowers was when we lived in West Virginia over thirty years ago. On the frequent drive back and forth to Ohio, I would see them, the old varieties I now know, blooming in gullies along the side of the road. I thought they were beautiful.

In my garden, while I have a few of the newer, “everblooming” varieties, I cherish the old-timey ones, in which each bloom only lasts one day. Hence the common name, daylily. You can admire and cherish them for the day they are blooming, but they are on their own pre-determined schedule. The next morning, the previous days’ bloom will be wilted on the stem. They are of immense, and fleeting, beauty.

Creative inspiration seems to keep the same schedule as the daylily. An idea comes, seemingly out of nowhere. It could be in the mist before sleep comes, or first thing in the morning, the sleeper barely awake. Ideas come on long walks, in the shower, driving the car; the more inconvenient for recording them, the better. The creative mind seems to work this way. If I fail to focus on the thought, the very fleeting mist of a vision, it disappears, and my mind can no longer grasp the fullness of what it had seen in that instant.

My journal / sketchbooks are full of such attempts to capture the wisps of an idea before they slip away. The dropping out of thin air quality of creative inspiration is, apparently, a common experience. I remember hearing the story Paul McCartney told of writing the song Yesterday. He says he woke up with the melody in his head, and spent a month asking his friends and colleagues if they had heard it before. When he was sure the song, which he called Scrambled Eggs, was his own, he began to write lyrics.

While I believe that there is no particular magic to being an artist, I must admit that, when the creative mind works overtime solving a creative problem, it can seem very magical when solutions are delivered unexpectedly. It truly feels like grabbing the air and pulling out a gem.

Over the past two decades I have learned to keep my mind open. Looking in my journals reminds me of this. Thinking, sketching and dreaming are all part of an artists work-out routine. This is what creativity is made of. Anyone can learn it, but no one can teach it. It's a path you have to discover for yourself.
Sketch for The Day Momma Died, with front of two-sided piece below.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Going to the Circus at the House of Blues

Last weekend, we went to the House of Blues to hear the Cleveland band DOHM perform songs from their new album, The Circus. Their set didn't begin until 11:00 p.m., way past our bedtime, as my husband and I often joke, but we went early, and stayed for the whole show. And we weren't the oldest people present at this jazzy, melodic home-grown alt-metal band, or as Scene Magazine writer Keith Gribbins described them in his recent album review, "nĂ¼-metal."

I take a special interest in the performances and success of DOHM, not only because my son is the drummer, but also because I have watched these guys play music since they were practically pre-pubescent. I have watched them grow up, and marveled as they grew up to be really hot musicians. If you click on the DOHM link it will take you to their MySpace page, where you can hear a sampling of some of their music. I especially like Rags to Riches and The Exploited on their newest, CD.

I have been surrounded by music for most of my life. My father was a musician, who made a record that I had never known about until after he died. During my childhood he kept a set of cocktail drums in our living room, which he would play with brushes whenever the mood struck. He also loved to sing, and my parents were both wonderful dancers. Like many little girls of my era, I learned to dance standing on top of daddy's shoes. I am sorry that he isn't around to see how his grandson and namesake grew to become a world class drummer.

Both my brother and his son are musicians, and my youngest sister's son, as well. My daughter and her husband both play. My oldest sister was, I think, first chair clarinet in our high school band. I even married a musician. In fact, on July 10th his acoustic duo Back Bay will be playing on an outdoor stage at the beach here on the Northcoast.
Living with music is, to me, like playing in the garden or going to see a play: the common threads of creativity, self expression and connection, to each other, the world, the earth, are what bind us. I cannot imagine a world without music. I cannot imagine a world without singing, dancing, art, flowers, drama or books. I guess I have managed to create the perfect world for myself, and, in the process, had a small part in passing it along.