How quickly we fall in with the advertising imperatives...shopping big box stores at malls for mass produced stuff to give. Well, with few exceptions, I REFUSE to give in to the commercialization of Christmas.
Are you feeling overwhelmed, short on time, short on temper, short on energy?
Here's a studio tip which may help.
Go to sleep with a list prepared of people whom you wish to give a really personal gift.
Wake to a NON RUSHED day.
Linger over a luxurious slow breakfast, with Christmas music playing softly in the background.
Dress in your favorite clothes. Donning your gay apparel on Christmas day simply isn't enough.
Sit quietly in the place where you create (from the kitchen table to the studio, you already have a space in your life where beauty happens.)
Consult your list, and write after each name a shared experience.
1. In writing, using a smooth pen on smooth paper, so it glides, describe the experience. Imagine that you are a biographer. Start with the magical phrase "Once upon a Time". It doesn't have to be an epic. Think how children's books are laid out. When writing like this, less is more. It becomes more like poetry than prose.
2. Either create a notebook by sewing sheets of paper together, or purchase a small notebook. Small is better for this project. It implies intimacy. The spiral bound kind are best for this project. Allow for an extra page for the front, for the title and dedications and date.
3. When you are satisfied with what you have written, carefully hand write it into the notebook. Take your time, make your letters lavish and lyrical Leave every other page blank for illustrations.
4. Take a break. Eat. Eat your favorite food.
5. Troll through magazines and newspapers and the web to locate images which enhance the story. Enhance, not illustrate. Don't be literal. Be intuitive. Be instinctive. Have fun. There is no right or wrong here.
6. If you have the option, photocopy the images shrunk or enlarged to fit the space. Paste them in where appropriate.
7. Think of a Title. Don't be literal here either. This is not a report on how you spent your summer vacation.
8. Paint the cover and back with gesso. Write the title on the cover, and your name. If yyou have an alphabet of rubber stamps, use them, Or print a small title and author with your computer. A few visual elements can be included. Own this. This is your memory. You are the author.
9. If you have used a commercial spiralbound notebook, carefully remove the extra unneccessary pages.
This is a really precious gift. It will be cherished for a long time. It is a testiment to your friendship, and your friend will treasure it, and love you for remembering.
This project can take about two or three hours. It costs under $5.00. The price tag is measured in time, the most precious commodity we have.