Sometimes when I'm having a really bad day I wonder if it has anything to do with the copious amount of spiders and insects I've sucked up with my vacuum cleaner over the years.  

I'm pretty sure a Tebetan monk would say, "probably."

And in other news, here's a glimpse into some of the fun stuff to be included in the Bohemian Pearl pop-up shop in August - enjoy!
 
 
 

WHAT I'M MAKING

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Today I'll be spending a bit of time in the studio getting ready for my first Bohemian Pearl exhibition.  I've exhibited before as an artist, but this will be the first time the entire exhibit will be dedicated to my Bohemian Pearl line of products.  I'll have prints, cards, jewellery, and home decor on display and available for sale.  I've spent the last two weeks working on prints, where I've used the same technique I use to make Nostalgic Prints to create hand-crafted prints of my artwork and illustrations. 

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 This week I'll continue getting the prints ready and will also work on making crocheted necklaces and mug cozies.  I bought this incredibly soft and lush wool in fantastic colours which are perfect for the job.  I love to crochet with it - it's so easy to work with and so nice to touch.  And they look great on mugs.  It's going to be difficult for me to sell them because I want to keep them all!

WHAT I'M READING

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I recently went to the library to pick up a new read - I had just finished with John Irving's Last Night on Twisted River and knew it was a bit of a mistake to take on a new book before I'd fully digested this one, but I just couldn't help myself.  I'd just come home from Malta where I'd visited the cave in which it is believed Calypso held Odysseus captive and thought I should re-read that classic.  However, the library didn't have it in and I ended up getting very sidetracked with the works of other great novelists and Kafka's Amerika was among one of the many books that found their way home with me.  It's my first time reading anything by Kafka and the introduction informs me this work is a bit of an anomaly, so don't know that I'm getting the true Kafka-esque experience, but am enjoying it none the less.  It seems that as of late I've been quite unintentionally finding books that deal with the issue of immigration on some level or another and I find that I'm reading about this theme with a different perspective than I would have done a few years ago.  I like that feeling of growth and looking at things from a different vantage point.  

WHAT I'M WATCHING

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Last night my husband put on a documentary that I don't know if I'd ever have come to watch on my own.  Not because I wouldn't find the content of interest - quite the opposite - but because (I'm ashamed to admit) I am a sucker for a picture.  And because the picture on the DVD looked like a comic book, I never gave it much thought.  But I'm so glad he put it on.  Wow, what a great documentary!  It tells the story of Mark Hogancamp, a man who struggled to recover from brain damage after being severely beaten by five men outside a bar one night.  He lost all of his facilities and memories.  His injuries were so severe that he had to relearn how to walk and write.  He had learn who he was through photographs.  As a method of therapy and rehabilitation he created the World War II town of Marwencol, in which he uses dolls representative of people he knows - including himself - to populate the 1/6 scale-sized town he built in his backyard.  With the characters, he develops stories where he can live vicariously through is alter-ego through a series of fantasies he creates and photographs.   

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What's so fascinating about Mark, as captured by Jeff Malmberg, is how he seems to wander back and forth between fantasy and reality; there are times during the documentary when he seems full aware that what he is doing is very much against the grain of society and is a way for him to develop his imagination.  At other times, he seems to cross into the fantasy world he's created and speaks as if he has been possessed by his alter-ego.  It's hard sometimes to discern his awareness.  There's something child-like and innocent about Mark; and it makes me ponder the question: at what point does the exploration of imagination cross the line into mental illness?  I think of all of the film-makers, painters, sculptors, and writers whose imagination fuels their work; how art is, in essence, a means of capturing or - in the very least - expressing imagination.  Maybe all artists are crazy.  Or maybe it's only the crazy ones who are so driven by their form of expression who become well-known and successful.  If that's true, does that mean an artist like Thomas Kinkade is crazy and can be filed in the same category as, say, Egon Schiele?  I'm not sure, but I think that maybe I am not at that level of crazy or enlightenment - perhaps I should work at my mental instability.  

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO

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On Sunday I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to see the wonderful Paul Simon in concert at Hyde Park in London.  Simon has been one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters since I was about 14.  To see him in person, on stage, along with thousands (probably tens of thousands) of other fans was an incredible experience.  Dave and I managed to work out way up toward the front of the crowd so that we were in what would effectively be the third row. 

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 Simon looked pretty small from where we were, but I still got a pretty good view, which was helped immensely by the enormous screens on the stage.  Everyone around us was singing along at full volume and with such excitement and passion that the atmosphere was electrifying.  Words just cannot do it justice.  He played Graceland in its entirety and this was the first time all of the original band members for the album had played together on stage since they'd toured the album the first time around.  And Ladysmith Black Mambazo band was there, too.  To hear Joseph Shabalala sing Homeless gave me goose bumps.  In fact, it's giving me chills as I type this!  It was just a truly priceless night.  I feel so lucky and happy to have experienced such a monumental event.  So, naturally, I'm listening to the Graceland album and smiling at the memories of seeing it be performed live.  I am truly blessed!