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108 posts categorized "Books • Films • TV"

October 27, 2014


Marathons, Baselines, and the High Ponytail


Marathons, Baselines, and the High Ponytail
Art Camp 2014
by Jenny Doh

THE HIGH PONYTAIL
I’ve been here before. With Terri, and with many others who are in this room, to help us focus on the value of art and creativity. The value of art and creativity.

Since the last time I was here at art camp, I’ve aged. And so have you. We all have.

Another thing that has changed since I was here last is my hairstyle. Last time I spoke at art camp, my hair was short but now, after patiently growing it out for over a year, it is finally long enough to wear in a high ponytail. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll share with you that one of the many reasons why I love wearing it in a high ponytail is that it gives my face a natural lift! A natural facelift without having to go to a plastic surgeon! I love it. So most likely these days, when you've seen me, you’ve seen me wearing a high pony tail … but I also hope that I have the strength of character to occasionally let my hair down and to comfortably be with myself and with everyone else without the benefits of a high ponytail.

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TWO BOOKS
There are two books that I’ve recently read that I want to reference in this talk. One is The Great Gatsy by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the other is a piece of non-fiction written by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, titled What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Aside from writing novels, Murakami has been an avid runner for many years. Since the time he was in his 30s, he started to run marathons and then eventually doing triatholons. By the way, a marathon is 26 miles in length. And Murakami was born in 1949 which makes him now 65 years old.

In his memoirs, he describes his running life with irresistible humility … he describes it as an activity that he was dedicated to … not to become a marathoner per se, but to be someone who decided to consistently do an activity that simply put, was suited for him and his personality.

He goes on to explain something that happened to his running. He says that he reached his peak in terms of speed in his late 40s, where he could run 26 miles in about 3 hours and 40 minutes. He says that even on his off days, it was inconceivable for him to not meet his baseline of coming in under the 4-hour mark for a 26-mile run. But he describes that as he was getting older, he was shocked to find that regardless of his consistency and dedication, the time it took for him to complete a 26-mile run started to consistently fall below the baseline.

He realized that though his efforts and sincerity remained steadfast, the effects that age was having on his body in terms of speed was beyond his sincerity and beyond his control. He could no longer beat the time that he could run as a 40-something person when he was now a 50-something person. With the change in season, a new baseline would need to emerge.

I’m not sure if any of us are marathon runners. I know that I’m not. But I do like to do things like running and boxing and other things that suit me, to stay in shape. My son likes to swim because that’s what suits him. My husband likes to run and bike and those activities suit him. And in my own universe of fitness, I do have goals that I set and try to beat. But like Murakami I have also realized as of late, as a woman in her late 40s rather than in her early 30s, that no matter how disciplined I am, there are certain baselines that I need to occasionally reformulate, as I recognize and accept the effects of time, aging, and gravity.

THE GREAT GATSY
After reading The Great Gatsby, I saw the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. I thought both the book and the movie were great.

In the movie, there’s a scene where Gatsy has Daisy over to his home, so that he can show her that through lots of work over several years, he has made something of himself … a house, cars, clothes, parties, servants … fruits of labor that served as evidence that Gatsby is worthy of Daisy’s love. As they are soaking it all in, the married Daisy says to Gatsby that she wishes that they could run away. To which Gatsby responds with confused alarm … Run away?! No, we’re not gonna run away. This is what I’ve built for us. This is reality. I want us to stay. I want us to embrace all of this. I want you to declare that you love me. I want you to embrace what I’ve built and accept it as our destiny.

I won’t spoil the plotline for those who have yet to experience the entire story … but I want to segue from this scene between Gatsby and Daisy to the other big change aside from my ponytail that has happened to me since the last time I was here at art camp.

SISTER TO ONE BROTHER
When I was here at art camp last time, I was sister to two brothers. Today as I stand before you, I am sister to one brother. I have been very open and honest and public about the fact that last Thanksgiving I lost my brother Jinil to suicide.

When that happened, I was so struck with grief and found tears pouring out of me 24 hours a day that I was convinced that I would forever be a person who would be crying all the time. I was convinced that there would never be a day when my heart would not feel completely torn and completely broken.

I was convinced that even though the sun would rise, I would never again feel its warmth. Oh how I wished like Daisy to be able to run away.

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BASELINE
If speed were the only measurement that Murakami the runner would use to value the act of running, he may have thrown in the towel and stopped the activity that so suits him because his declining speed would be evidence of running losing value to his life.

Thankfully, Murakami shares that though speed has been an interesting measurement, it has not been the primary reason that he values running. He values running because of how it makes him feel. Whether he runs a mile in 4 5 6 7 8 9 or 10 minutes, he does so not because of how many minutes it takes, but because he loves how it makes him feel, at any pace.

An interesting note that Murakami makes is about art. He points out that though activities like running require new baselines as humans age, there are certain activities like art with many examples of where the finest and most brilliant works are created by artists in their later life seasons. For example, Dostoyevsky wrote his two most profound novels including The Brothers Karamazov in the last few years of his life. Scarlatti wrote most of his piano sonatas during the ages of 57 and 62. Henri Matisse dazzled us with his masterful paper cutouts also during his later years, something he did when he could no longer keep up with the physical rigors of painting. 

Perhaps all of this is so because it takes decades of running, walking, cycling swimming, cooking, singing, painting, paper cutting, soldering, wire wrapping or dollmaking for us to sincerely build up a beautiful patina of wisdom … a patina that can’t be hurried … a patina where we have the strength of character to give birth to new baselines of discovery where we honestly embrace all of the joys and tragedies of life.  

In a year’s time, my grief for Jinil is still there but it looks very different. By embracing the sadness, I’ve also been able to embrace joy. By not running away and accepting the reality of my destiny and life season, including the highs and lows, I feel that every facet of my life has become enriched for the better.

I am excited to be here as together we share laughs as we pull our hair up if we want to, share tears and let it down when we want to, as we create beautiful art. But more importantly, as we continue to develop a strength of character and beautiful patina of wisdom from where we can honestly celebrate baselines from the past and accept the new and beautiful baselines that have yet to blossom in each of our lives.

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Per the invitation of Terri Brush, I was honored to deliver this speech to Art Camp 13, October 25, 2014, in Lincoln City, Oregon.

August 14, 2014


Memories and History :: Haruki Murakami


As I write this post, I am enjoying a homemade ice-blended banana-cocoa smoothie, and halves and pieces of cashews (much cheaper than whole cashews but just as delicious). Delectable, after having fasted all day to do blood work, in a hot house that'll cool down in a few hours.

Once the post is done, I'll start reading more of my new book that I got at Barnes & Noble today. I was there wanting to pick up another piece of fiction to read after just having finished Karuki Murakami's masterful novel as recommended to me by my daugher: Norweigian Wood.

The fact that I did this (that is, reading a complete novel) is a pretty big deal for me because I haven't read a novel in like 2 or 3 years. Novels are all I used to read ... and then things shifted a few years ago when all that I read became non-fiction (primarily copy for art and crafting books).

I knew that Murakami had just released his newest work: Coloress Tsukuru Tazaki ... and I loved the idea of continuing with a second Murakami book ... but I wasn't sure if now was the time to move forward with his latest or to move backward with his earlier works.

So I sat down in the bookstore and started reading.

Photo 3There's something about his translated words. Each one so crisp and lucid and engaging. No confusion. No complicated tangles, yet with great depth.

I was pretty sure with each page that I read that I was going to buy this book—with gratitude for having found myself back in the delicious world of fiction. But it's when I got to page 44 and read the 10th line from the bottom that I stood up and went to the cashier to buy it.

"You can hide memories, but you can't erase the history that produced them."

IMG_5395I noticed the receipt listed other books that I may also like, based on my purchase. Not sure how long that's been going on but I noticed it for the first time today. Just five titles fished out as recommendations, out of the thousands out there. I know I can't ever read them all, even if I spent the rest of my waking hours reading fiction. This truth sort of bums me out. But I guess that's how it goes. I read what I read. I don't read what I don't read.

How I choose to read what I read is related to who I meet and don't meet, what I do and don't do, who I love and don't love, and ultimately how I allow myself to get influenced and live.

May 06, 2014


Evolution of Stitch Along Book Cover


How the cover of a book comes together is different from book to book. For my latest book, how the cover came together is especially interesting and so I thought I'd share the story with you. At one point, we were all thinking about white back stitches with sans serif lettering on red fabric. But then somewhere during the process, we decided to change it to white satin stitches with slightly different lettering on coral fabric.

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Even before that, my first attempt was making red back stitches on white fabric.

IMG_6221We all knew that the other cover images would fall in place like this ... and we were going back and forth as I tried all of these different stitches and fabrics. It took a lot of time but it was really fun and exciting.

IMG_6238Once it was decided that it would be white satin stitches on coral fabric, they asked me to not stitch the letter O in the word ALONG so that the designer could place a piece of embroidered work right there at the O. SUCH a cute idea!

IMG_6407I worked during daylight and well into the night for several days to get all these variations stitched.

IMG_6353And Scout watched me stitching for those days.

IMG_6361And once the cover came together, we all knew we had a winner.

And that's the story of how the cover of Stitch Along came to be. :)

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May 05, 2014


Announcing My New Book :: Stitch Along!


I am honored and excited to announce my brand new book: Stitch Along!

Photo 110 Master stitchers offer 30 amazing projects in this truly adorable book. The designers are:
Jackie Bowcutt, Liesi Cross, Megan Eckman, Carina Envoldsen-Harris,
Pam Garrison, Mollie Johanson, Charlotte Lyons, Rebecca Sower,
Sami Teasdale,
and Nicole Vos van Avezathe.

This book is available everywhere books are sold, including Amazon!

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March 19, 2014


Announcing My New Book :: Washi Wonderful!


 

I'm super excited to announce my new book: Washi Wonderful!

Photo 1It's filled with projects that you can make using the truly wonderful craft item that we've all come to love over the years: washi tape! The designers who contributed the truly outstanding projects for this book are Ishtar Olivera Belart, Carolyn Garris, Avital Gertner-Samet, Cynthia Shaffer, Anne Stills, and ... yours truly. :)

Below is just a peek at the few projects of mine that are in the book ... gift packages adorned with a fringe flower, hanging tassels, and arrow.

Washi Wonderful will be officially on bookstands April 1st everywhere books are sold, including here on amazon.

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February 26, 2014


Save the Date :: Cerritos Library Book Signing


Untitled-15I'm looking forward to talking about trends in handcrafted weddings and signing copies of my book, Stylish Weddings.

If you're in the Cerritos area, hope you'll come by and say hello. :)

January 28, 2014


Seeing and Speaking Out Loud


The post I made today generated lots of people chiming in ... here, on FB, texts, and email. In particular what seemed to hit a nerve was #9: my point about the comment "I love the colors." Turns out there are artists who also feel the way I feel and artists who don't feel the way I feel.

One of my closest artist friends is one who does not feel what I feel and we had a series of robust, honest and respectful back-and-forths today about the topic. As robust as it was, I feel we just scratched the surface of how much I really want to delve into the topic and talk about it some more. I think it's challenging to really talk and consider topics such as these and easier to silence challenging topics.

Jerry SaltzI've been reading a book titled Seeing Out Loud—the collected columns written by Art Critic Jerry Saltz. Every single column is filled with the courage not to silence difficult topics as they relate to art but to actually talk deeply about them ... clearly and out loud. I actually fell in love with Jerry Saltz when I saw him on Work of Art and listened to the criticisms he'd offer the contestants. I still re-watch the episodes just because I learn so much from his masterful criticisms.

I think it's interesting that many critics of Saltz try to dismiss him as "an art snob" who cares more about fancy art school stuff than "real people" stuff from the real world.

What is it about the very act of discussing art or being an art school graduate that agitates some people? Why is the act of pondering concepts within art considered by some as elitist?

Based on that logic, then would it be correct to view the pursuit of math and science by mathemeticians and scientests as elitist? When we are in need of accounting services, do we say "Let's go to the one who didn't go to accounting school ... the one who just rounds up or down when the numbers don't add up"? Or when we are really sick, do we say "Let's not go to the one who went to medical school because that means he's a snob"?

This post is not about how art people should go to art school. There's a part of me that wishes I did but I didn't. And Jerry Saltz didn't either. (By the way, the juxtaposition of the last two sentences in no way means that I compare myself to him. Hardly.)

So what is this post about?

It's about how I really enjoy the Out Loud part of what a free society affords us ... which is to think, discuss, and have robust back-and-forths ... and how we can champion rather than silence topics ... no matter how challenging.

December 30, 2013


Announcing My New Book :: Stylish Weddings


I'm thrilled and excited to announce my new book titled
Stylish Weddings
50 Simple Ideas to Make from Top Designers

Stylish Weddings

Six top desingers provide projects and ideas that can help you prepare weddings and receptions in their signature styles. They are (in order of appearance):

  • Serena Thompson: The Farm Chicks Wedding
  • Minna Mercke Schmidt: Natural and Organic Wedding
  • Tiffany Kirchner-Dixon: Vintage Glam Wedding
  • Heather Bullard: Romantic and Pretty Wedding
  • Corey Amaro: French Inspired Wedding
  • Tracy Schultz: Rustic and Elegant Wedding

Stylish Weddings 2

Stylish Weddings 3

Stylish Weddings 4

Stylish Weddings 5

Stylish Weddings6

Stylish Weddings 6

It is a dream come true and a deep honor to have worked with these designers to bring you a book that will inspire and empower you to create DIY touches for the wedding of your dreams.

Order your copy of Stylish Weddings here.

October 30, 2013


Announcing :: Craft-a-Doodle Book Club!


Announcing :: Craft-a-Doodle Book Club!!!!!!

STEP 1: Enroll in one, two, or all three of the Craft-a-Doodle Book clubs here.
STEP 2: Get a copyof Craft-a-Doodle (also available at Studio CRESCENDOh if you want to buy it at the studio.)
STEP 3: Doodle, doodle, doodle!

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Easy peasy.
A time to have fun, learn to doodle, and make friends.
Hope to see you in Studio CRESCENDOh! :)

Enrollment is open here.

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October 07, 2013


Announcing my New Book :: Print Collective


I am thrilled to announce my NEW book titled Print Collective!

If you've ever wanted to dive into the world of screenprinting and printmaking, it's the book that will provide you with a comprehensive Basics section, followed by projects from some of the most exciting  artists in the industry.

print collective
The contributing artists are (in order of appearance)

  • Nick Sambrato, Jesse Adams, and Brooks Chambers of MAMA'S SAUCE
  • April Nemeth of LITTLE KORBOOSE
  • Hilary Williams of HILARY AT THE CIRCUS
  • Yuriko Iga of BLIM
  • Anneke Kleine-Brüggeney of BOMBINA
  • Amy Fierro of BRIGHT BEIGE
  • Patrick Edgeley of ANTI GRAPHIC
  • Kat Jackson of HEART AND CRAFTS
  • Ruth Bleakley of RUTH BLEAKLEY
  • Matt Shapoff of HANDMADE ON PECONIC BAY

I am honored and grateful to have worked with these fine artists.

Print Collective is available everywhere books are sold, including right here on Amazon.

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Disclosure:

Some links on this blog are affiliate links for which I receive a small percentage of any sales generated by the link.
 
   


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