Art for the Organized & Free-Spirited

Some wares from Resi*he(ART).

Many writers describe themselves as either a plotter or a pantser. Plotters carefully chart their course with outlines before starting a novel. Pantsers (as you may have guessed) fly by the seat of their pants. As a paralegal and a blogger, I’m definitely a plotter (particularly if you count having 4 calendars to run your life). As a writer, I’m a pantser. While I concede that outlines can be valuable planning tools, they’re just not for me.

The great thing about Artown is that it’s set up to satisfy both the highly organized as well as the free-spirited. Held during the month of July, Artown is Reno’s city-wide celebration of the arts. Orderly souls can review the Artown calendar and plan their month accordingly.  While certain events are ticketed and require some planning there are plenty of activities that are free for drop ins.

There are too many amazing exhibits and activities to pack into a single post, but I wanted to give a shout out to a couple of events:

Resi*he(ART) Open House: Sip some wine while meeting some of the creative minds behind the works featured at Resi*he(ART).  171 Los Altos Parkway, Sparks, NV      July 1, 15, 22 & 29 from 4:00-8:00PM. 775-741-4521.

Create, A Space for Arts and Crafts: Stop by between 11:00AM-3:00PM and create your own piece of art. 20 Hillcrest Drive, Space A. Reno, NV. July 8 and 15th. 775-686-6551.

Musician Interview-Russ Dickman

russ_roasterHow did you get into the coffee roasting business?

In my experience, some hobbies remain hobbies for rest and relaxation.  Other hobbies can easily be turned into businesses.  It was like that for me both with coffee roasting and photography at different times in my life.

Specifically with coffee, I acquired the taste for good coffee in my travel agent days while visiting countries like Italy and France, the bean was planted then.  Through the years I found few places that could offer that same taste. Eventually there were roasters and stores that at least offered roasted whole beans.  Since I had a demanding photography business, I settled for buying roasted beans at local stores.

Still thirsting for a fresher cup, I applied myself to researching what it takes to deliver that great cup of coffee; I decided it was time to practice.  I started with a small window roaster and shared some samples with others.  My friends loved the freshness and different tasting origins, so the venture was successful.  With crafting each roast to its specific region and origin, we were able to share the world of coffee with others, no passport needed.

When the opportunity arose, we were able to purchase a commercial roaster, remodel an area for roasting and we started the High Sierra Coffee Roastery business (www.highsierracoffee.com). The timing was perfect as the photography world was rapidly changing with digital cameras.  So a couple of years after the coffee roasting business started, I closed my photography studio in Reno and freelanced from my home, along with coffee roasting.

My experience as a travel agent and having my own photography studio offered me the education of small business skills which was vitally important to beginning this new venture.

How do you balance your day to day commitments with your creative pursuits?russ_tuba

Prioritizing is the main key when all of the pursuits fall in the same week.  Most weeks are normal consisting of roasting and delivering coffee along with necessary home projects and maintenance of 3 acres of land.  On other weeks, life revolves around rehearsals and concerts and sometimes a photography shoot.  So although balancing can vary each week, I try not to schedule or commit to projects on the concert weeks other than roasting and delivering coffee.  I do have to add that I have a very supportive wife/partner who not only is the second leg of the coffee roasting business, my assistant on many of the photo shoots, but also runs the demanding home commitments on my busier weeks.

With music, it has been part of my life since seventh grade, joining the Reno Philharmonic in 1969 (as tubist) which I continue to play with, along with the Great Basin Brass Quintet that I have been a member for over thirty years.  Coffee roasting can keep us pretty busy, but being a part of music with the symphony and the quintet is the steady underlying creative pursuit in my life.  I still play, I still love it.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers, musicians and entrepreneurs?

If a seed has been planted or you know what you were born to do, pursue it, learn as much as possible in that area. You will soon figure out if it will just be a hobby or a hobby turned business.  If you feel you can make a living doing what you love then focus on that and don’t give up. Have courage and resist discouragement.  The challenge is to maintain focus above all the big and little trials that may come along.

 What’s next for you?

 I’m always ready for the next adventure and I never want to stop learning.  At this time what I’m doing might be enough as far as businesses.  I have always wanted to be a beekeeper and maybe have a few chickens.  So who knows, I remain open and available for another seed to be planted.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Find a way to make a living doing what you love, what you were born to do or what you are most interested in, whatever it takes.  Educate yourself in that area either in school, travel, or researching on your own. Recognize what will remain a hobby and what could become a business.  If you feel led to venture out and start a business doing what you love, then I would recommend learning some small business skills. If you are not suited for business skills then find a partner that is.

Writer Interview-Laurel S. Peterson

Tell me about your latest book.Do_You_Expect_Your_Art_to_Answer Cover

My latest book is a collection of poetry based on artwork: Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (Futurecycle Press, 2017). My husband and I love to travel, and we look at a lot of art. The book documents my perceptions, interactions, and ideas about the works I’ve seen, including Chadri (burqas) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; a horse painting by Picasso in Madrid; and a handwoven Navajo rug in Santa Fe.

 

The book previous to that is a mystery novel, Shadow Notes (Barking Rain Press, 2016). Shadow Notes Cover compressedIt’s about a landscape architect, Clara Montague, with terrible mother issues, who has to come home after fifteen years away because she has a dream her mother is in trouble. A few days after her return, her mother is arrested for murder. Did she do it? And what does the mother’s history with the local politician have to do with anything? The book is set in wealthy Fairfield County, Connecticut, where it’s all about how shiny your new ___________ is.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently acting as my town’s poet laureate, in the second year of a two-year term. That’s the highest creative priority at the moment. I’m lucky to have a job teaching, so I get my summers off, which gives me space to write. I am working on a book of poems about piloting and the stars, what it means to float up there in the sky, and what it means to land. I’m also finishing my second mystery novel, which also features Clara, above. Given the number of projects I get myself involved in, I’m a little behind.

Who are your writing role models?

What an interesting question. I have writers I admire, but I’m not sure I ever thought of them as role models, even though they most assuredly are. I admire Sara Paretsky because she interweaves political issues with strong mysteries and an intelligent female P.I. I admire Sue Grafton for her incredible productivity, and for trying new forms and approaches in each of her Kinsey Millhone novels. I love poet Mark Doty for his language and his attempt to connect with life on a deeper level. I  love travel writer Colin Thubron for his gorgeous depictions of the world he’s walking through. I love poet Billy Collins for his wit, poet Claudia Rankine for making me think about race, mystery writer Jo Nesbo for scaring me half to death. And I love Jonathan Franzen for going on and on and on, because he challenges me to look more closely. So many wonderful writers out there to make me think about things in a new way.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?www.utechristinphotography.com

Balance? What’s that?  A friend of mine once commented that we were rarely in balance; it was more about getting into and out of it over and over, like a see saw. I tend to see my life more in those terms. I write a lot in the summer, from two to six hours a day, depending on where I am in a manuscript and how much work (play) there is to do in the garden. I can maintain a fairly regular writing schedule into early October, and then the college essays needing to be graded start to pile up.  I’ll write on and off until the end of the semester, and then write over the Christmas break, mostly in January and February, until the semester heats up again.  “People” say one is supposed to write every day, but I just don’t have the time or the mental space when the semester is busy.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

My husband is a Francophile, so we’ve visited France a number of times. We have family in Australia and Canada, and we love Central Coast California wineries. We also have a house in Vermont where we spend time on weekends and in the summer.  We live close to New York City, so we maintain memberships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; we like films, hiking with our dog, botanical gardens, hosting dinner parties, reading (!), drinking coffee on the back deck on summer mornings, gardening… Life has so much beauty to offer, and we are so lucky to be in a place where we can enjoy it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t put off doing what you love, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Find things in the world that bring you joy. Listen, even to people with whom you don’t agree. Read things that make you cringe—in order to understand and to think. Never stop looking for something to challenge you. Act from love, rather than rage or fear.

And thank you so much, Susan, for hosting me on your beautiful blog. I am so honored to be here.

Come find me on Twitter @laurelwriter49, on Facebook or at my website: www.laurelpeterson.com.  Thanks for dropping by!

Keep Calm & Read On

British researchers asked people wSundance Booksho were feeling stressed to engage in one of the following activities: reading, listening to music, taking a walk or having a cup of tea or coffee. Of the entire group, the readers demonstrated the most reduced stress levels with heart rates lowered by 68%.

It’s always gratifying to discover that one of your favorite pursuits is actually good for you. Now if only researchers could prove the health benefits of watching classic films…Since today happens to be Independent Bookstore Day, it is perfect day to pursue new literary horizons.

“There are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity.”  indiebookstoretoday.com.

Real serendipity seems like a distinct possibility at Reno’s own Sundance Books and Music. Imagine spending time in an elegant white two-story home that is all library. Not only do they have a helpful staff, impressive selection of popular and local titles, they also have a frequent buyers program.

Like local indie stores during this one day celebration, Sundance Books & Music will have exclusive literary swag unavailable during other times of the year. After you’re re-stocked with good reads, you can stop by Bibo Coffee or Too Soul Tea. After all if reading is good for you, a cup of coffee or tea with a good book has to be even better for you.

Sundance Books and Music-121 California Avenue, Reno, NV 89509

Hours-M-F-9 to 9, Sat & Sun: 9 to 5

775-786-1188

Sun Dance Dragon

Will the dragon be there? I don’t know, but if you don’t go you’ll never find out!

Where the he(ART) Is.

resiheart-storefront

Resi*he(ART) Come in and make yourself at home

 

For many visual artists today, being “seen” can be a challenge.  While online sites like Etsy offer a limitless reach, it can be difficult to stand out in such a vast forest of artists. The nomadic path of craft shows can also be burdensome particularly if one has to pack an abundance of unsold wares for the drive home.

Sara Sifre understands the spirit and the challenges of the creative journey. During college, she took every art class TMCC offered. “I’ve done just about every kind of art, but I always go back to jewelry.”

Sara Sifre’s store, Resi*he(ART), is the culmination of a ten year dream.  She yearned to  build a community of artists and once considered a coffee house featuring local art, but felt that “it had been done”.

sara

Sara Sifre-Yes those are chairs on the wall.

Sifre explained that she’s looking to make a connection between the artists and what they’re trying to say and the person wanting to have art in her home. The store’s name is a combination of Resident Artist +Art That Resides in Your Heart.

“As long as they’re creating something that makes their heart happy, I want it to be in the public eye,” Sifre said.

img_0526

A trio of Sifre’s necklaces

Over 30 artists have their work ranging from photos of Nevada’s wild horses to soy candles in Resi*he(ART)’s well-lit space.  Jewelry and clothing are displayed on re-purposed doors, even plastic chairs allowing wares to be seen not crowded. Many of the artists Sifre found on Etsy and Facebook as well as through her daughter, Dahlia’s Girl Scout troop. She notes that Sparks artists have been really receptive.

Creativity is a family affair in the Sifre household.  Sifre’s husband, Sean, has his drum sets in the garage and art room.  Six-year-old, Dahlia draws while her little sister, Lillianna is into music like her dad. Sifre wants to show her daughters “You can follow your dreams and make other people smile.”

In step with building community, on second Saturdays of each month from 4:30 to 7:00  Resi*he(ART) hosts a Sip and Shop an opportunity for people to enjoy a glass of wine and meet the artists and browse. The previous Sip and Shop included a scavenger hunt with clues about the featured artists with a drawing for a door prize.  With a variety of artists bringing in work regularly, each visit to Resi*he(ART) will be an opportunity to discover something new.

Details:

Resi*he(ART)

171 Los Altos Parkway, Sparks, NV 89436 (Next to Michaels)

Regular Hours-Monday-Saturday: 10:00am to 6:00pm-Closed Sundays

Sip & Shop-Second Saturday of the month-4:30-6:00.

More Art…Less Stress

heart image“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”  Twyla Tharp

Drexel’s College of Nursing & Health Professions ran a study in which 39 adults ages 18-59 spent 45 minutes making art with paper, markers, collage materials and modeling clay. Cortisol levels (that’s the stress hormone) were measured before and after the art exercise. 75% of the participants showed lower cortisol levels after their art making endeavors.

Doesn’t it make you wonder about the remaining 25%?  Were they too Type A to get into it?

In a former life, I worked in foreclosure department spending long hours on the phone with miserable souls with very limited options…pay or get out. One of my colleagues (I’ll call him Harper) would slip away to an empty cubicle to spend his lunch hour working his Sci-FI novel every day. I don’t know if Harper ever published his novel. I believe his lunch hours spent in an alternative universe was beneficial since he was a calm presence in a department of the often-frustrated dealing with the usually-desperate.

While certain artistic pursuits might not fit well in a cubicle environment (especially anything involving clay, paint or welding), sketch pads, colored markers and notebooks are portable and office-friendly. In my work tote, I keep a spiral bound notebook handy for flashes of inspiration (like this one) as well as a small knitting project. So even if you can’t completely transform your cubicle into an art studio, find a way to keep your creative pursuits within reach.

Can a Basket Save the World?

img_0426Whether you’re a glass half-full or half-empty type of person, most people would agree that there are many problems in the world.  Any attempts to solve the problems are sometimes overlooked in the ongoing debate as to cause or fault.  Sometimes our own daily challenges with life make it seem impossible to take on one more problem particularly one of global magnitude.

At a women’s retreat I agreed to contribute a prize for the raffle table and searched for a basket and items that would pair well with Ever After.  I had fun hunting for fairy tale-themed items suitable for a grown-up princess, a sparkly crown ornament, a coloring book filled with fairies and dragons, herbal tea and Godiva chocolate.  The wand proved to be elusive; all likely options were either too short or cheap looking. Then I found a glow stick topped with a butterfly and it was perfect.

When I saw my basket among the raffle prizes I was stunned.  Four tables of baskets, gift certificates and original artwork lined completely lined one wall.  During breaks women “shopped” the raffle table, perusing their choices then distributing their raffle tickets for a chance to win their favorite prize. The raffle was held the final morning among much cheering. Thanks to some ingenuity and craft, a group of 60 women raised $1,700 for Awaken, a Reno non-profit  which has done so much to restore lives damaged by sex trafficking, a global problem with a local presence that is disturbingly close to home.

Faced with overwhelming odds, many people would hesitate at the idea of taking up a sword and charging off to face the world’s battles. Many of the world’s problems are complex and rarely solved with a quick solution. A basket may not be the right choice solving for all of the world’s problems, but it’s a good starting point for some of them.