Friday, January 25, 2013

My time at JCCFS is over. It was an amazing time, filled with growth and learning experiences that have truly changed me. Here are some photos from my time spent there.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Moving forward...

Happy New Year! This week has brought many new friends, a new love of Rapper Sword dancing, and unfortunately a 24 hour stomach bug and lingering head cold. I rang in the new year alone watching the Brasstown fireworks from the dining hall parking lot. I've dubbed 2013 "The Year of Self-care", so I found it appropriate that I was on my own. Soon after, I took some cold medicine and fell into a deep slumber.

My time here at the school ends in three short weeks. I have two more weaving classes and a knitting class left before I depart. Then its off across the country to my home in Rapid City. People keep asking, "What will you do when you go home?". My answer is, "I'm not sure yet, but I'm excited to find out!" I know that my life will include making more art, fostering community, loving every day, and generally being happy. I've applied for a few jobs and hopefully one of them will pan out. I'm really not too worried about it to be honest. I do know that no matter what I end up doing I plan to make the best of it and smile more!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

33 Things To Do In My 33rd year.

Every year I make a list of things I'd like to do that is equal to the number of years old I'm turning. In 2013 I'll be 33. Normally I don't make the list until closer to my birthday in April. This year I want to start at the beginning of the year and make 2013 extra special. It normally takes me several weeks to come up with my list, but it only took me 15 minutes this time. I know what I want from life and what I want to focus on for the coming year. <3

1. Spend more time being happy and less time worrying.

2. Learn how to can.

3. Tend a community garden plot.

4. Find a new job.

5. Spend more time listening and less time talking.

6. Save more money / live more frugally.

7. Hand make all the gifts I give or purchase them from local artists.

8. Spend more time with friends.

9. Visit Denver.

10. Explore the Black Hills more.

11. Learn more about Earth built homes.

12. Learn more about Homesteading.

13. Learn more about Beekeeping.

14. Purchase a loom and do more weaving.

15. Spend more time making art.

16. Take a dance class.

17. Join a new yoga studio.

18. Go to the lake more this summer.

19. Go camping in the hills.

20. Visit the Badlands again.

21. Go star gazing and watch the sun rise.

22. Get more exercise. Running, walking, hiking etc...

23. Eat less junk food and cook at home more.

24. Cook in bulk, to cut down on prep time.

25. Go through the things I own and only keep what I really need.

26. Go visit Kelly Ruth in Canada.

27. Take a trip to the ocean.

28. More random road trips.

29. Read more books, at least 2 a month.

30. Play more board games and role playing games with friends.

31. Play more music. Practice my dulcimer and noodle around with other instruments.

32. Smile more.

33. More bubble baths.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Travel Schedule

My time here at the school is coming to a close. Its been an amazing adventure, and I've grown so much. I've learned so many amazing things. The next three weeks hold dance, weaving, and knitting classes. I had hoped to take some Blacksmithing while here, but unfortunately all the classes I've had space for have been full with paying students. I'll have to find a teacher back in Rapid City to work with. I'll be looking into the Friday afternoon program at SDSMT. My last full day here will be January 18th. The 19th I'll eat breakfast, turn in my keys, and hit the road again. Here's my January travel schedule. I'm hopeful that the weather will be good all the way back, but who knows.

Saturday January 19th- Brasstown, NC to Carmi, IL to visit with my folks.

Monday January 21st- Carmi, IL to Decatur, IL to visit with Robin.

Wednesday January 23rd- Decatur, IL to Omaha, NE to visit with Stacy and Derek.

Thursday January 24th- Omaha, NE to Sioux Falls, SD to visit with the Holloman clan.

Saturday January 26th- Sioux Falls, SD to Rapid City, SD to be welcomed home!

Season's Greetings!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. My Winter Solstice was lovely! My parents came to visit for the weekend, which was wonderful. We ate lots of yummy food, did a little exploring, and went to see The Hobbit. All in all it was a nice relaxing weekend. Today I'm being lazy and resting up. Tonight I plan to attend a rather large Christmas party at the home of one of the first people I met here in Brasstown. I'm excited and thankful to have been invited.

Winter Dance Week starts at the school tomorrow. I'm both ready and not ready for there to be people on campus again. I'm a wee bit lonely here on my own, but I love the solitude. From what I've heard dance week is a pretty crazy time of year. It seems like its going to be a week long party. Which is fitting for the season.

I finished reading Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. Andrew Weil this week. Its helped me to remember all the things I haven't been doing to care for myself over the last few years. I feel much more balanced now that I've started taking care of me again. I look forward to the new year and what it holds. I'm so grateful for all of my friends and family. You're all so wonderful and supportive, and each and every one of you means the world to me!

Love and Light to you all!

Monday, December 3, 2012

down and out in Brasstown....

It seems as though, even in a place where I can allow my creativity to flow, I can't escape my depression. I'm feeling very insecure this week. Its not easy for me to hide my emotions and unfortunately this is a job where the ability to "put on your game face" is required. Twice today I've had co-workers stop and ask if I'm okay. My mom could tell something was up just from the sound of my voice over the phone. This journey is as much about working through my inner landscape as it is about experiencing this place and all it has to offer. Tonight I want nothing more than to snuggle up with my favorite person and fall asleep. That's not an option, and it makes dealing with this sick feeling in my stomach a million times tougher. I keep thinking I should just go to bed, but I'm restless on top of everything else.

I've started a list of ways to bring "Happy Ashley" back. I miss being zany, spontaneous, and delightful. I miss the sparkle!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cultivating a creative living...

I've been trying to add a post with some new photos for a couple of weeks now, unfortunately something is causing the photos to load incorrectly. They all end up with strips of color through them or only half load. So instead, here's a little piece I wrote this morning while I was sitting in a cafe drinking too much espresso.

"Who could have known it would take a trip of 2000 miles to teach me that Rapid City had become my home. I never thought I'd miss my place in the Black Hills, that I'd long for wintery weather. And yet here I am three months into my adventure and I'm ready to load the car and head West. I've said a lot of awful things about Rapid City in the past, for those sins I pray forgiveness. There is a beauty in the solitude of the hills and I miss it deeply.

I miss the friendships that were formed there. I realize now that it is far more meaningful to have a few true friendships than to cultivate many partial ones. I never really gave Rapid City the chance it deserved. I think this behavior results from a life spent with too many expectations. I build places and people up so that they are destine to fail. I'm uncertain exactly when this behavior began, but I know I've spent my whole adult life practising it. A perfect example is how I've treated my college education. I often hear an undertone of embarrassment in my voice when I say the name of my alma mater. Even as it happens, I'm questioning, "Why?". Why do I act the way I do and how can I change? I'm tired of "Angry Ashley". I want to be "Happy Ashley" again. I miss her, she's way more fun and a hell of a lot cuter!

I know there's a direct link between my creativity and my happiness. This has become very clear during my time at JCCFS. Perhaps, "Angry Ashley" is a bi-product of the creative dry spell I was going through. Perhaps, she is the embodiment of my creative frustration.

I have to find ways to live my creativity. To stop getting so wrapped up in working full-time towards other people's dreams. I fully believe that way of life robs us of our creative spirit. When I spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week working, it leaves little time and energy for me to concentrate on my own dreams. So, my first step in manifesting a happier life is to only work part-time. Thirty hours a week is plenty to yield enough money to pay the bills and keep me fed. Plus, there would be time and energy left for art and writing."

The above has lead me to make a list of the things I need to do in order to cultivate a creative living. Here's what I have so far:

-Finish and publish my cook book. All that is left are the photos, the index, and the forward.

-Teach Printmaking classes in Lino-block and White Line printing.

-Teach Cooking classes in vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan cooking.

-Make and sale my artwork through Etsy, local galleries, and art fairs.

-Apply for more art grants.

-Work only part-time in order to keep the lights on and my belly fed. So that I may spend more time living my passion.

-Spend more time cooking at home, practising yoga and meditating.

-Spend more time with my loved ones.

-Practise open communication. Spend more time listening and less time talking.

-Volunteer at places I enjoy being more often.