Category Archives: Music

Give Yourself Permission

Anyone who knows me for more than 10 minutes knows I have just a slight obsession with Billy Joel. OK, a giant obsession. I have been a fan of his since I was a child. I have every album, every box set, and have spent tons of money to see him in concert. I played those albums over and over and over as my cousins will attest. I still have a t-shirt from the River of Dreams tour. So I was in heaven last night when there were two separate television shows on that included my favorite piano man. First, he was on the celebration of Carole King’s receiving the Gershin Prize. Second, he was on American Restoration to have Rick Dale work on a motorcycle for him. Talk about television watching perfection!

While Rick was walking Billy around, he shows him an old Steinway spinet in the boneyard. What does he do? He starts to play like it’s nothing. Amazing!

Like many, I took piano lessons when I was younger. I liked it, but it wasn’t what I had hoped for. I didn’t mind learning classical, but I wanted to learn how to improv. I wanted to learn the concepts of sight reading. It never happened.

Most of my time in high school was spent in the music department. Band, chorus, orchestra, marching band – you name it, I was involved in it. My schedule was developed around those classes. Even though I loved spending time in the music department, I knew early on that I just didn’t have what it would take to go to the next level.Still, it gave me wonderful experiences and most of all, it led me to my wonderful husband – a band director.

So why am I telling you all this you might wonder? Watching Billy Joel just play a tune on the Steinway like it was nothing made me think of the first time I attempted to do free form crochet and my experience playing piano.

Um, what? I’m sure you are wondering where this is going. Welcome to my thought process…

Growing up, we are all taught to follow the directions. Color inside the lines. For me, I learned how to read notes on a page of music, but I never learned how to interpret music. I never learned how to lift the notes off the page. My crochet experience was similar. I learned how to follow directions in a pattern, but that was it. I wanted to play. I wanted to sing!

Easier said than done.

Well, luckily, I had some wonderful guidance from four specific free form artists: Prudence Mapstone, Myra Wood, Margaret Hubert, and Melanie Gill. They taught me an important lesson which was the basis for all my creativity. Give yourself permission.

What might that mean you ask?

That means to give yourself permission to NOT color inside the lines. Lift the music off the page! Don’t think about what you are doing, just do! And most of all, don’t worry about how your work will be judged.

While these may sound like straightforward concepts, they have been very hard lessons for me to learn – in my fiber arts as well as in life.

It may take time to unlearn the early lessons of childhood in order to unlock your creativity, but don’t give up.  I haven’t.

Upcoming Arts & Crafts Event!

On September 23rd, I will be a part of a unique event in Denville. The Image Forum. This event is sponsored by a physicians group and will be a lot of fun!

The Image Forum will be held 11 AM Sunday, September 23, 2012 in the Urban Auditorium inside Saint Clares Hospital on 25 Pocono Road, Denville, NJ. The event includes a light brunch, chamber music, several medical lectures, and an arts and crafts show. The best part is the entire event is FREE to the public! Simply register in advance (so they have an accurate head count) by calling 973-994-2484 or emailing Lmichaelson@nj.rr.com. Please tell them you are my guest.

The medical lectures include understanding thyroid cancer, today’s use of cosmeceuticals, what’s involved in permanent makeup. Additionally, there will be a presentation by the non-profit Center for Food Action and music will be provided by The West Essex Chamber Players. A variety of medical professionals will be on hand to answer questions about skin health, breast health, and plastic surgery.

There will be LOTS of artisans, crafters, and unique shopping opportunities, including home decor, unique accessories, custom made table cloths, couture clothing, jewelry, scarves, shawls, hats, Lia Sophia jewelry, Longaberger baskets, and more!

I am very excited to be a part of this event! I hope you will consider joining in on the fun!

A Creative Project and a Wonderful Cause

Since 2006, the International Freeform Crochet Guild has conducted an annual project focused on fiber arts creativity. Over the years subjects have included fairy tales, mythology, the four seasons, earth – air – fire – water, and more. This year, the challenge was to interpret a work of art or music.

Inspired” includes artwork from fiber artists from around the world. The pieces inside are just beautiful and show the creativity of all the different participants.

The best part of the project Inspired is that the book highlighting all the artists is supporting  Doctors Without Borders and Souls of Somanya. All profits from “Inspired” will help these two worthwhile organizations. Doctors Without Borders works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. Soul of Somanya, Inc. is a small organization staffed mostly by volunteers, headquartered in Mobile, Alabama in the U.S. Soul of Somanya, Inc. is working hard to develop sustainable employment opportunities there (currently in the field of jewelry-making and other bead work) for disadvantaged youth whose job prospects are very limited by their lack of family support and/or limited levels of education.

I hope you check out these amazing works of art!