Where did you go Cat?

…just over here.

A change in website hosting combined with a growing sense of unease about separating out my process from its products has led to seeking greener pastures via tumblr. I’ve been back-posting my portfolio up until now, but more writing, research and in-progress shots soon to come.

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This is for you: Children, art and gifting.

I had originally intended to share this work along with some thoughtful musing about the natural way children give art as gifts, the specialness that soaks into mundane objects when labored over or given with love and the ways in which working with children and experiencing this gifting first-hand have me thinking differently about art, exchange, gifts, gift-economies, value and the gallery gig-

But I’m having one of those weeks where a rare lull in studio work AND work-work have allowed me to get excited about new ideas, and now there are too many thoughts about too many things happening all at once in my head for me to do anything other than mull. Also it’s Friday. And warm. And now a cat is laying on my arm, greatly reducing my capacity to type.

 

:A collection of spontaneous art-gifts from children, generously given and joyfully received over the past year (an incomplete list)

a boat caring loved ones on an adventure (L) attached to an illustration of said adventure (R)

a boat caring loved ones on an adventure (L) attached to an illustration of said adventure (R)

A double gift: both a creature and a new interesting way to think about puff balls as a starting point.

A double gift: both a creature and a new interesting way to think about puff balls as a starting point.

Another gift that's many gifts: A custom-made wand that came with a) a tutorial on how to make more wands for other friends b) the power to transform the classroom into rainbow colors and c) an invitation to make magic and play together.

Another gift that’s many gifts: A custom-made wand that came with a) a tutorial on how to make more wands for other friends b) the power to transform the classroom into rainbow colors and c) an invitation to make magic and play together.

A first edition hand-made book by Chiara.

A first edition hand-made book by a new friend…

An explanation of Easter rituals (bunny, kids and EGG)

…withn explanation of Easter rituals (bunny, kids and EGG)…

...And interesting and inexplicably hilarious juxtapositions (as seen here with 'Ice' and "ice cream'.)

…And interesting and inexplicably hilarious juxtapositions (as seen here with ‘Ice’ and “ice cream’.)

On Silence.

I’ve been practicing mindfulness for a while now.

I say ‘practicing’ because, like anything else worth doing, it’s a practice that requires practice. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Sometimes being mindful means going deep, eating slow to savor flavors, really listening to a song, or a student or the way my cat purrs- sometimes mindfulness is turning fully On.

But just as often, I’m finding out, it requires negation of some kind.

Sometimes this means not rushing to fill space or silence, narrowing my focus or actively choosing not to do more things in favor of doing one thing well.

‘Stay narrow to go deep’ is quite possibly the most important lesson I learned in school (especially in that it was really two lessons in one- ‘stay narrow to go deep’ and ‘everyone has wisdom to share, even people who may seem at first to be mean or rude.’).

As I’ve worked towards being more fully present, especially with the people I love, this tendency to ask not only ‘what do I need’ but also ‘what do I not need’ has started to bleed into unexpected places. Like pencils (which is a story for another day), and social media. A few months ago, I deleted my facebook account, fueled by a mixture of indignation/disgust at their shifting shifty privacy policies, mixed feelings over the record of my early college days, morbid curiosity to see if I could really do it and this creeping tendency to ask ‘Do I need this?’. The result: An embarrassment of newly freed empty time and, more surprisingly delightful a mental weight lifted. What was happening with every person I’d met since high school? What was the trending meme to see and share? Did I accurately convey the depth of our friendship via a Happy Birthday wall post? Turns out, I didn’t know and I didn’t need to know.

This is not to say that the internet, or even social media is ‘BAD’ or unnecessary for everyone. It’s a tool, and like any other tool, if it’s the tool you need it’s useful to have it. But if you don’t need it, keeping it on hand costs resources you don’t need to spend. A cement mixer, for example, is an amazing tool that makes driveways, foundations and roads possible in a timely manner. But for me, personally, to store one in my garage is an unnecessary burden.

The reason I mention the facebook break-up, is because The longer I’m away from facebook, the more I’ve been thinking about this space as well. What is this space? Online portfolio? I have a website now that I invest time and a bit of money into to maintain in a professional manner. A sounding board? I have friends family and colleagues with whom I feel comfortable practicing ideas and thinking outloud. A way to document process? I’ve already been documenting processes in the garden via instagram and really enjoy the quick, limited format (mainly as it discourages long winded, rambly navel gazing, much like I’m doing now)…Couldn’t I do the same with my studio work? And really, how much of this do you need? I’ll let you decide for yourself- Whether you’ve been along for the ride, or have stumbled upon this site for the first time (maybe via a search for ‘weird armpit scab*”) please, look around, read, enjoy. I won’t delete the blog, I won’t say good bye forever, and I certainly won’t be giving up the internet (because one thing I do need is videos of goats screaming like people) but I am walking away, at least for a little while.

This space has been incredibly useful over the past five years- it helped me to find my voice, gave me a safe space to rehearse ideas, and even once fueled dreams of internet fame.  Several times here I’ve given myself permission to try things out, and now I’m giving myself permission to let it go.

catlynch.com to see the big ideas
@cat_digs_dirt to see the little ones,
and crlynch2(at)gmail(dot)com to ask about either.

all the best,

Cat

*to date, the most popular way visitors find this blog