Saturday, October 30, 2010

Let me plant a tree in your honor!

Georgianne Holland's Robin Bird Peace Pillow
Nestle and Soar is the name I've given to my folk art studio near the mountains of Colorado. Like the area in which I live, there are plenty of tree and bird images taking center stage here. I see them in my art, in my home, and in my mind. For instance, my new inventory of Tree Coupons from the Arbor Day Foundation arrived, and I am having so much fun sending them out to my Nestle and Soar customers and friends! When I arrange for a tree to be planted in a national forest in honor of a customer, it feels like I do more than admire trees--I actually add to the greening of our planet.

I'll admit that my own forest experiences are limited; Colorado of course, a few days in Georgia and California, but never (yet) to a tropical forest or the giant Redwood forest, or dozens of others. In the meantime, my radar is always searching for a better understanding of the natural forests around the's what I've learned this week.

REDD- what it is, or perhaps, what it hopes to be.
70 developing forest countries could be eligible for REDD, or specified funds provided mostly by wealthy nations, to help those mostly poor countries succeed financially without cutting down their forests. REDD's ambition is to halve global deforestation by 2020. This unprecedented plan was one obvious success of last year's Copenhagen summit on climate change, I have learned. It happened in Oslo in May of 2009, and there met 58 nations, known as the REDD Partnership, and they negotiated to pledge $4.5 billion by 2012 to those eligible developing forest countries measured in "forest-carbon credits". Global climate change summits continue and this ambitious plan continues in development. For those poor countries who need to fell forests to create funds, the REDD plan gives them an alternative to the fund-supply that keeps these important forests growing and doing their environmentally crucial work.

"...if REDD is unprecedented, it is because so is the threatened climate calamity, and forests have a lead part in that. (Forests) are the cheapest large-scale carbon-sequestration option available: they actually consume the stuff. This presents a big opportunity. one estimate, carbon dioxide equivalent to 40 parts per million could be extracted from the atmosphere by 2050. That would roughly match global emissions over the past three decades." What can we do, I ask? "Natural forests must be conserved...Above all, with the human population set to increase by half over the next 40 years, the world needs to work out where its food is going to be produced."
The Economist, Something Stirs, September 25, 2010.

I am a simple folk artist living and working in the great state of Colorado. As I continue to feel the overwhelm of how our planet, our leaders, and our fellow humans around the globe will react to the real threat of climate change and deforestation, I will continue to make art that captures the beauty of nature. I will also continue to gladly make arrangements to have planted many, many trees in our national forests. [Visit my Etsy shop to learn more.] On my bucket list is to visit all of America's National Forests. On my daydream list is to also visit forests around the world. I would love to hear about your forest experiences as well as your thoughts on climate change.

Peace and Health to All,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Colorful Produce and Time with Laura

Organic Bountiful Harvest!
I am loving the end of season produce from our CSA, Grant Family Farms. It is great fun to take the wide variety of produce I receive every Wednesday and cook for a couple of hours with my daughter, Laura. This Community Supported Agriculture delivers boxes of organic fruits and vegetables, pastured eggs and meats, fresh bread and fresh-cut flower bouquets to convenient pick-up locations in communities throughout the Colorado Front Range, Mountain Communities and Wyoming. I never know exactly what my delivery will include, so the fun of this is in being adventurous when the cooking begins! Laura is finishing her degree in Nutrition and will soon be a Registered Dietician. It is always fun and yummy cooking with her!

Here is a photo of the gorgeous tomatoes I received last week. I cooked them into a sweet pasta sauce, and boy, did that hit the spot! I always know it has been a hit when my husband fills his 3rd plate!

The summer season of CSA deliveries is coming to a close so I need to think about signing up for a Winter Share. I do not want this fun to end!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, October 25, 2010

The World's Forests

Autumn Meadow Folk Art, Georgianne Holland, 2010
I have had a fascination with trees for as long as I can remember. I even bought a mediocre house because the trees on the property were magnificent! Not my best financial idea, but certainly one that proves I can go nuts over trees.

I have teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) to include my passion for trees as part of my folk art enterprise. When anyone orders one of my original folk art designs from my Etsy shop, I arrange with the ADF to have planted, in their honor, a tree in a U.S. national forest. I am very excited that such a program exists to make my work as an artist a small part of keeping trees healthy in this country.

I started to think about forests around the world, and know that national forests in America, while close at hand, are not the only forests in a suffering ecology. I want to learn more about the world's forests and the ecological miracle they demonstrate. I will be posting my findings as I come across them, along with beautiful tree images I find along the way!

"Across the world, forests and the soil beneath them absorb about a quarter of all carbon emissions. This is an indispensable contribution to life as we know it, and forests offer many others, too. They house more than half the word's species of animals, birds and insects...Forests are also the source of most staple foods and many modern medicines. They provide livelihoods, wholly or partly, for about 400 million of the world's poorest people." The Economist, September 25, 2010.

My fascination with forests and trees is personal as I feel a connection to the earth whenever I look at a tree. Beyond the personal, forests and trees are a vital part of the earth, and I would love to hear about your feelings about, and experiences in, the forest.

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beginning the Folk Art Design Process

Sheet wool felt and pillow back fabrics in my studio.
Sometimes I begin the process of designing a new folk art item by sketching at the park or while visiting the Botanic Gardens in Denver. Sometimes I am inspired to create a bird needle felt after seeing an episode of Wild America or National Geographic on television. Today I began the folk art process by looking at my supply of felt and fabric in my studio.

I am motivated by the feel of fabric. When I was 16 years old, I worked as the sample sewer at our local fabric store. They would hand me a pattern and fabric and tell me what they wanted sewn. They had a little sewing corner in that store and I would love sitting back there making their pattern sample! But mostly I loved walking around that store and touching all the textures of fabric that they sold. Nubby wool and slick silk, the softest fleece and the stiffest denims; I loved them all!

In my studio today I was mostly inspired by the colors of my wool sheeting supplies. I order often from the nice people at Prairie Point Junction in Cozad, Nebraska. From them I can buy 90 colors of wool felt in sheets or yardage. Once I ordered their Wool Felt Sample Pack which included a 6"x9" swatch of all 90 wool colors! What a treat to play with a huge color variety---now that really did get my creative juices flowing!

I am working today on a series of pillows that I will embroider on my lovely Bernina sewing machine, instead of embroidering by hand. It feels kind of naughty saying I will make something without complete hand work! As I practice making machine blanket stitches, I realize that I am much better doing that stitch by hand, but the machine results are starting to look pretty darn good! Using my machine, I can create 3 pillows in the time I normally spend making 1 using handwork. If I can make the machine-sewn designs look good enough, I will be able to charge less for each pillow, and I hope that will make my folk art attainable to a new group of folk-art lovers.

The bottom line for me is that I am so happy when one of my items is sold and I can mail it to a specific person who is excited to receive it. The energy there is one of the most satisfying parts of my life as an artist.

Well, I'm off to the studio again. I came upstairs for another cup of coffee, and before I knew it, I was chatting with all of you! Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Encouraging Words

They don't look like they need any more encouragement!
How often should a person hear encouraging words? Is it needy to want to hear them every day? What is so hard about giving encouragement? When is encouragement sincere, and when is it manipulative? Hmmmm.

I would like to hear encouragement more often than I do, and I suspect others feel the same way. As a self-employed person, there is no annual review. As a mom, my kids are raised and living life large on their own (see evidence photo), so I don't get the chance to say "You can do it!" as often as I once did. And don't get me started about my cooking! I am married to a man with a healthy appetite, and if food could be described as edible, he's happy. So when I take a lot of time preparing a meal, he's just as happy as when I plop a bowl of cereal in front of the guy!

Maybe I need to think about this encouragement thing in a different way. Encouragement is not really like praise, which is a complement. Encouragement is more like telling someone that indeed, they do have what it takes, even in this time of uncertainty or struggle. Perhaps I don't hear encouraging things often these days because, frankly, my life is pretty set and simple. The hills I climbed in the past, when I care to look at them, are a vista in the distance. My daily life (with that easy-to-please husband) is comfortable and healthy. Being self-employed is a blessing in so many ways, and if I really want to hear how I'm doing, it is easy to look at things, like my customer's feedback or my checkbook.

I still enjoy being encouraging to others, however. And I'd like to be that for you. Whatever is a struggle for you today, know that if you take a moment to reflect and center yourself, you do truly have all the talents and required personal power to make it through. I send you a pat on the back, a thanks for that great meal, and a job-well-done! Pass it on!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Review: Handmade Nation, the Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design

Okay, so I look just like my sister Mary here...Hi Mary!
 I had the fun of writing a book review for the nice folks at Handmade Spark this week. The book I chose was Handmade Nation, and if you are into DIY, making things with your hands, or the crafts movement in general, I recommend it! You can check out Handmade Spark at the hot link below...

Book Review: Handmade Nation, the Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design

Today I am travelling to northern Colorado to see my darling daughter, Jessie. We have a few baby gifts to buy (congratulations Emily and John!) as well as food to eat and wine to drink. Tough duty, but I am up for this task!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bright Birds and a Healthy World

I am a big fan of brightly colored birds! I have found images of a purple bird, a rainbow bird, and a yellow bird (this one I made), and each image makes me smile! Birds undeniably add to our pleasure and brighten our day when we see and enjoy them. In addition to giving us something to smile about, birds reflect the health of our planet. Those who observe and record bird populations create an awareness of environmental changes, and that is important to all life on earth.

Because birds and the environment are important to me, I have compiled a list of organizations that work to preserve, record, and share the beauty of birds. Perhaps some organization on this list will become part of your life today...

American Bird Conservancy;
BirdLife International;
The Nature Conservancy;
National Audubon Society;
Defenders of Wildlife;
Roger Rory Peterson Institute of Natural History;
National Wildlife Federation;
World Wildlife Fund;

Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology;
Ducks Unlimited;

Yellow Bird by Georgianne Holland

  Information as found at the World Wildlife Fund
"Birds in every U.S. region will be impacted by climate change, says new report

Published by Lynn Englum on Sat, 03/13/2010 - 13:12

A new report, released from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, highlights the troubling decline of bird populations in the U.S. over the last 40 years. The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change is a report, released March 11, 2010, about climate change imperiling the nation’s birds."

Please join me in keeping an eye out for backyard birds this winter as well as lending a hand to these popular environmental organizations that merit our support.
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Let's Celebrate Wool Week

I learned that beginning today through Oct. 17th is Wool Week, as instigated by the Prince of Wales. He is calling this event The Campaign for Wool. I have found a wonderful article about this celebration which also explains what wool growers from England are experiencing today.  Wool Week Article Link

I make my living thanks to wool, so perhaps I am a little obsessive about the stuff? I do thoroughly enjoy working with wool, and often think of the saying I heard once: "If you don't like your work, you are doing someone else's job." Well, I definitely like my work with wool, so I will be celebrating wool week! Will you join me? Do you knit, needle felt, or embroider with wool? I'd love to see a photo of what you make!

This adorable earflap baby hat can be found on Etsy at KuDum. This gorgeous handspun yarn can be found on Etsy as well at LeafGreenHandmade. I may need to add to my celebration of wool by making a purchase with these Etsy is almost gift-giving time.

Thanks for stopping by,
Georgianne Holland

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Abundant Joy Starts with a Belief

Do you believe you are meant to thrive in abundant joy?

This is a question that I ask myself every day. Over the years, when I asked this question, I have answered "No Way!" or "Life is so hard right now!"

Lately though, as I ask myself what I believe I deserve, abundant joy is often the answer. When I believe this is what I am meant to experience, it sets the tone for my day. It seems providential to say that abundant joy is how life was designed. Struggle, pain, and feeling at a loss are learned behaviors, I tell myself. Of course, I understand that pain and disappointment are part of life. But think of a little do you believe kids are meant to thrive? Abundant joy is the natural state for youngsters. This is not always what happens for them. For example, I sometimes see my grandchildren look at their parents after a scraped knee, kind of searching for information in their parent's face. When the look in their parent's eye says "You are fine!", then they smile, brush themselves off, and run along. When the look in their parent's eye says "Oh my gosh, are you hurt!?", then the same child begins to feel worried, and often begins to cry.

I believe that I am meant to thrive in abundant joy. I believe that you are, too! And I also believe that when I believe this, I experience more joy. I also count myself lucky to surround myself with people who will look me in the eye and say, "You are fine!" I believe them.

What do you believe?

Peace and Joy,