Thursday, December 30, 2010

working girl

So I've only hinted at big, positive changes going down at work.
I'm super thrilled about them, and you will be too, here's why:

-I've substitute-taught 2 workshops already
-they've decided to 'give me' one night a month to host an 'open craft' THEMED party at the store
-they loved all my theme ideas, and put them into the Cherish calendar!
-I got a raise! a tiny raise, but a raise nonetheless.
-I get to stay on longer than 'holiday help', obviously (yay!)
-They're designing and printing fliers to advertise my 'open craft' nights, and I got to discuss my 'aesthetic' for them. it felt like having my very own Kendra 'brand'.
-They are now allowing me to host 4 "She's Crafty" nights: a themed party/craft workshop/girls night out! (Example: the 1st one will be in March, with a Mardi Gras theme complete with demos on how to craft a MG mask & how to craft with beads, King Cake cupcakes, and 'hurricanes' cocktails. Doesnt that sound fun? I'm very excited!)

Biggest News Of All:


I've an official title!
Can you believe it? After everything I've suffered through at other jobs, always feeling 'not good enough', I finally found one that not only do I adore, but one where they recognize my heart, embrace me, think everything I suggest is an amazing idea, and give me a raise and a title!

Oh I'm one happy girl! as one decade ends and flows into another, i feel more like myself than ever before.

I've more big news about big changes come Jan 1st.
But I just want us to bask in this career glow for a moment.

current mood: elated.
current music: ida maria - queen of the world.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

post xmas post: gifts i made; to have & to hold

at work we did a not-so-secret santa gift exchange. this means we drew names out of hat and posted the results on the wall. i know it takes the fun out of it, but i guess last year a couple people never received gifts from their very secret santa. how sad!
one of the victims of last year's secret scrooge was the name i drew, Carrie. Seeing as how she was jipped last year, I felt a lot of pressure to make it good.
The Rules: It must be something that we MADE, & it was due by December 31st.

I hate to gift people 'stuff'; I always want it to be something as functional as it is adorable and beautiful, as useful as it is thoughtful.

Here's what I made for Carrie:
Gift #1: Chalkboard Bubble Wrap To-Do List.

 I bought Chalkboard paint and painted the piece of MDF from an old Ikea frame I had laying around. I cut strips of unpopped bubble wrap, and adhered it to the chalkboard with double-sided tape. So she can pop the bubble as she accomplishes her tasks. I also included a bag of extra strips of bubble wrap, so that she could use this chalkboard over and over. (I wrote on the bag: Lots to do!).

Gift #2: Candy Cane Puzzle.

I covered an old shoe box with faux-wood contact paper, and the rest is pretty self-explanatory. Clever huh?

Well then all of us at Cherish received an email that after weeks of the decision being up in the air, our beloved manager Deb and her husband Don were in fact moving to Portland. ASAP. Like, this is her last week at the store and she's gone.
It seems I was the only person that didn't know she was even moving. Everyone else kinda knew it was happening, but was just unsure when.
So I was SHOCKED. It really shook me to my core. You see, after nearly a year of dead-end, misery-inducing, what-the-fuck-am-i-doing-here, hard-labor, uber-intense jobs, I had a single shot to change my life. I literally woke up one morning and thought: I like to make things. I like weddings. But thats more of my future career, and because I'm still in school, I can only work part time. Hey waitasecondhere, there's no reason I can't work at an art supply store. You know what? I'm gonna try. Please help me, Universe.

Deb saw something in me. She saw me as a sincere, passionate, creative girl with a lot to offer. How do I know this is what she saw? Because she consistently held up a mirror to me, persistant and insistant on showing me, making me see, exactly who she saw when she looked at me. After years of trials and tribulations, and more failures than successes, and too much time spent feeling wrong, feeling somehow displaced all the time, everywhere, I am not exaggerating when I say that Deborah's unshaking faith in me SAVED me. I've never felt more embraced than at this job, at this store. I have found a home because of her, and because of what she saw in me.

I made her this:

A framed jigsaw puzzle made of corkboard (functional) and covered in chalkboard paint (even more functional) with Deborah's piece being removable. We'll be forever incomplete without her.
I've been crying since I heard the news. I hugged her and told her she was 'amazing', which set off her own tears and we made plans to see each other January 1st.

I can't think of a better way to start 2011.

The gift I wrapped for myself and put under my tree? A copy of Thoreau's Walden (which is actually a hint about my New Years Resolution, but which I'll address in a more upbeat post later today or tomorrow).

current mood: incomplete.
current music: blitzen trapper - furr

Saturday, December 25, 2010

comfort & joy

While I've loads to update you folks about work (so many positive changes!), and personal life (big changes on the home front, as well as a MAJOR CHANGE come January 1st), I'll simply tell you about my Xmas so far.

As a very single city gal that was originally hired as 'holiday help', I knew I was doomed to work xmas eve. Sigh. But I was able to clock out in time to attend my weekly Buddhist meditation group. There was only a handful of us on this special holiday, and the meditation leader was a 'subsitute'. Nonetheless, I had a beautiful meditation, albeit a distracted one. Later, during the lecture part of the sit, the leader was talking about the Buddha's teachings on Equanimity, and described it as "the radical permission to feel". I started crying instantly. Because as someone who is too oft accused and chided for strong emotions, and having ended a relationship where he constantly told me that my feelings were too intense and where therefore wrong, I finally felt FREE. The radical permission to feel. My ex was wrong, just like I knew he was. I can feel, as much as I want. The rest of it, my actions, are just mindful self-control. But it is not wrong to FEEL. All of it, any of it. The radical permission to feel.
Obviously, that stayed with me and afterwards I thanked the leader and we chatted about that concept for a bit before I headed home to watch Frontier House.

Today's christmas day and I was anticipating an anxiety-ridden day of suddenly feeling acutely single. But instead I crafted all day (pics tomorrow) and set up my tiny table-top tree.

Ornaments: one handmade one from Lorissa (in the shape of her homestate Michigan), one sparkly glittery purple snowflake from Stacy at work. Topper: a paper flower I crafted this morning.
Under the tree is the gift I bought for myself. Yes, I wrapped it. And what! I plan on opening it in a couple hours, I'm very excited!

A few hours into crafting, I realized I wanted a nice xmas dinner. I sat back and watched myself shower, do my hair and makeup, get dressed, and make a nice little meal for one.

I took the picture in candle light because while I did indeed set up candles, the dim lighting masked the fact that I burned the chicken, the spinach, the biscuit, and some of the vegetables. Oops. Well, I'm still learning;)

After a chat with Agata where we praised each other's courage and brave hearts, and made plans for a road trip to Lake Tahoe in January, I'm about to curl up with a kalimocho cocktail in a mason jar and watch Dances With Wolves on CMT.

Best Christmas Ever.
I am so complete.

Stay tuned for more details.

Love, warmth, and peppermint kisses to you all.

current mood: warm
current music: iron & wine - faded from the winter

Friday, December 17, 2010

everything all of the time

hello folks.
well, yesterday was my last presentation for my Expressions in Clay class, where I debuted Diagnosis: Make A Wish. Yes, I changed the title a bit. Its my prerogative. Hmph.

Here are photos of the results of the past weeks laboring to make clay look like wood, to make clay look like pills, to make clay look like medication bottles, to make clay look like cloth curtains, to make clay look like frosting. Essentially to make clay look like everything EXCEPT clay.

the whole piece

close-up of the 'stage'

close-up of the steps and pills
I had some technical issues when setting it up. Ceramic is so fragile. A couple of my 'very' steps broke off and shattered on the floor. I didn't have time to feel devastated- I simply took a deep breath and set up the rest the best I could.
I carefully placed all the pills along the stairs, one by one. You see, I had thought I would just scatter them precariously, but then I realized I wanted the tiny words I had painstakingly applied to the pills to be easily seen. It took a good half hour. Damn those pills.

Then the critique started. In art school, 'finals' are code for 'critiques'. We all set up our art pieces and all the students in the class gather round and stare at it in silence and then someone finally speaks up and usually uses diplomatic words and phrases like 'incredibly resolved', 'evolved concept', 'successful', 'intriguing', or 'evocative'. Ugh.
Well, my Borderline Personality Disorder acted up while I explained my piece. I tried to be vague, and merely said: "My goal was to create a piece that spoke about the drama of growing up with a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder, and the trauma that it creates."
I was so self-conscious as I stood next to this ceramic faux-wood collection of slabs, I dissociated. I didn't make eye contact with anyone. I looked at the floor. We all stood there in silence. Eventually people said things, though I barely heard them. I heard only negative comments, and even now I can't remember them. My psyche checked out and left me hanging on a critique ledge.

However, during the lunch break, a classmate and I took a stroll and she raved on and on about the piece. "Really?" I was slightly stunned. She said "Yeah, everyone really loved it Kendra. C'mon you heard 'em." Too embarrassed to admit that no, I actually hadn't heard them, I simply thanked her and changed the subject.

I did learn some things about myself and my art this semester, though:
-In Mold Making, I learned that I don't want to use molds. It feels artificial, making copies of things. Its just doesn't sit right with me. It feels dishonest, somehow. So from now on, if I need multiples of something, I will just make them one by one. Yes, each one would be slightly different. But that's what i want.
-In Expressions In Clay, I learned that I don't like the idea of making clay look like something it isn't (i.e. wood, cloth, etc). That whole process feels somehow evasive. If my sculptures require wood, then why wouldn't I use wood? If my piece calls for cloth curtains, why wouldn't I use fabric? I am much to honest with my Self, my viewers, and my Art. It only makes sense that I would be true to the materials as well.

Now excuse me while I pray to the art school gods for a good grade.

current mood: sincere.
current music: deerhoof - you can see.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

finals, art school style

oh man folks.
you need to know just how different art school finals are from other finals. we are not memorizing, cramming. we are, in fact, trying to finalize conceptual ideas + figure out the words to explain the piece + the actual physical labor of the piece + limitations of time + limitations of space in the kiln + limitations of being able to lift & carry your mold in order to get a proper casting out of it + cold barrels of dirty wax + glazes that melt your ceramic pieces together instead of simply making them glossy + limited amounts of decal paper to apply text to your clay piece + a part time job that you MUST keep because it pays for more art supplies
= frazzled kids in dirty clothes standing outside the art school building, smoking, starving, exhausted and by now, half delirious.

or, lemme put it this other way:
-i cant remember the last time i ate something, washed my hair, or changed my socks
-my arms are covered in lumps of gunky PC-7
-my cuticles are shot to shit, with manganese ink wash and englobe under my nails
-my pants and shoes are specked with globes of wax
-my shirt is flecked with white underglaze

on my face? a contented smile.

BUT, I will confess: my Borderline Personality Disorder saw an opportunity. this morning, in front of half of the class, i had a breakdown in front of my ceramics teacher, because i was TERRIFIED that my clay did NOT look enough like wood, while she enthusiastically persisted that it looked perfectly like dark, carved wood from every angle of the classroom.
i knew i was crying in front of near strangers, and i knew i should stop, that these tears and the intensity of this emotion would scare them. luckily for me, this time, the sheer embarrassment was enough for me to find the brakes and i inhaled strongly, strongly. it was eventually strong enough to suppress the salty waterworks momentarily.

so, i'm a bit busy. if not equal parts crazy, huh? ;)
I'll post pictures of my installations as soon as they are complete.

wish me luck.

current mood: busy.
current music: cassius - toop toop

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

a cause for celebration! a moment of reflection, in its sincere sense.


Its true! Its really really true!

I'm floored!

You see, being the DIY-Wedding-Planner-in-training that I am, I frequent like-minded blogs, one of which is OffBeat Bride. Well just this morning I saw the news!
Amanda Palmer married Neil Gaiman! In a surprise spontaneous ceremony!
You can read Amanda's blog about it: Still Life with Wedding Party (god shes brilliant)
And read Mr. Gaiman's perspective here.
And you can see their wedding album by Kyle Cassidy here. And trust me, you should.

My idol did it. She found and fell in love with a talented amazing man. And they'll live happily ever after. Did you see how happy he looked?

Messed up people can still find love and happiness.
Maybe I'm to find my brand of crazy, my brand of romance.
I will never promise him that it'll be easy. I'm intense and dramatic and passionately commited to nearly everything that crosses my path, no matter how brief. I'm equal parts distractable and unfailingly loyal. I can't make a good cup of coffee to save my life, but I can pick out a red wine that'll knock his socks off each time. My BPD will act up and try to take over and all I can ask is that he hold my hand while I battle it.
I hope he's out there. I hope he can find me. Cos I'm thinking about him a lot lately.
My very own Neil Gaiman.

Do you think it means anything that my idol married my ex-boyfriend's idol?....
Probably not.
don't get your hopes up, kendra. the universe doesn't work like that.

current mood: hopeful.
current music: here comes the bride.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

say it aint so

today was my first day off in a while.
today my Borderline Personality Disorder decided to take the reins.
today i've been a mess.

I guess I've not been managing as well as I thought.
I guess all this alone time is catching up with me.
I guess I've a long way to go still.

It looks like this:
though I've recently acquired several new books i've been anxious to read, i couldn't pick up a single one.
though I've a long list of crafty projects I've been eager to make, i wasn't inspired to start any.
though its finals season and my stage and steps could use another layer of underglaze, i couldn't get myself to school.
and though i've beautiful friends trying to make plans to spend time with me, i couldn't be bothered to even glance at my phone.

What did my BPD have me doing?
I loafed aroound my tiny apartment, my emotions swinging out of control. My moods changed rapidly and intensely. I alternated between tears and smiles every couple of minutes.
Its been hell.

Before my official diagnosis, I would have beat myself up about a day like this. Even now, I feel disappointed at my lack of self-control, my lack of productivity, my lack of motivation. But this is the BPD, in raw ugly form. This is what it looks like. This is what it does to me. It incapacitates me. It cuts me off at the knees. Its terrifying to be at the mercy of this BPD.
My therapist says it takes years to learn to work around days like this.

And apparently I've been 'dissociating' a lot lately. This means a part of your cognition, a part of your consciousness, sort of 'checks out' for a while- it can happen for a few minutes, or for hours, or for a whole visit somewhere, or a phone conversation, etc. This explains my recent increasing forgetfulness. I lost my ipod, my sunglasses, my latest paycheck.

In my research I have learned that Borderlines see things in black and white. There are no shades of gray, there is nothing in between.
Today was very very black.

current mood: devastated.
current music: radiohead - motion picture soundtrack

Monday, December 6, 2010

a text message exchange

K=kendra; A=Agata

K: today a girl at work was scrapbooking her wedding pictures and i started crying

A: u r awesome:)

K: what! it was so embarrassing! i was bright red and kept apologizing.

A: i love that about you! it is so endearing. Dont ever change!

K: now i'm emotional all over again!

I am lucky to have people like Agata, people that know me well and love me anyway, in my life.
that is all.

current mood: sleeping pills.
current music: mumford & sons - awake my soul (especially the last 90 seconds)

Friday, December 3, 2010

women who wonder

Remember my salvaged idea for my ceramics class? The one that was reduced to just a morsel?
Well I’ve begun to apply the underglazes and inky washes galore, and here’s phase 1:

Isnt it lovely and beautiful! Oh its merely the stage and a few of the steps, but a few weeks ago it was a rough sketch and now, well its just really shaping up, isn’t it? Doesn’t it look like real wood? I was unsure at first but I got so many compliments on it as I layered on the colors that I’m certain it resembles the beach-weathered lumber I was envisioning.

Feeling highly encouraged by my progress (especially my increasing craftiness thanks to my current employment), I booked an appointment with the Director of Graduate Sculpture to discuss melding these two worlds with my determinedly Victorian aesthetic  into my very own brand of Sculpture. Her eyes lit up. She reached for a mini post-it, wrote one word, handed it to me and smiled.

More than just a beautiful word, it references an entire genre of art: the Cabinet of Curiosities. Literally translating to “Wonder Room”, it also means “Cabinet of Wonder”, and is the aesthetic I’m meant to be a part of. Oh I simply can’t wait to do more research! Wouldn’t it be fantastic to depict my Borderline Personality Disorder in a cabinet? Yes.
Even though it was pouring buckets, I made a mad dash to the school library to check out the appropriate books, so that may fully drown myself in this new direction. I found one on an artist I’d heard of before, so I paid my previous fines and checked out the one and only book on: Joseph Cornell.


I picked up my car from the shop today and celebrated by driving all around this damn town.

Tonight I attend temple. Official Buddhism classes begin February 1st, and I wanna be prepared.

Tomorrow Lorissa and I will:
-start with mimosas
-attend the Women in Crafts show
-drink wine
-attend a craft workshop/ NoisePop Holiday shop by MissionMission
-drink wine
-maybe make it to local artist crafts show
-where we would be drinking more wine, of course

When you put together a feisty Mexican woman with an equally irreverant French/Hispanic gal, you've got boozy craftiness ahead.

current mood: she likes to dance.
current music: art brut - modern art.