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artist dates 6 & 7

March 24, 2013


The very first place I thought of going for an artist date was RadioShack — for week 6, I finally got there. And it was awesome!

I looked at every single thing in the store. There were so many things I liked, it was hard to choose. And because I’d been so intimidated for six weeks, I treated myself, spending about $50. I bought:

  • a jumper wire kit;
  • a wire wrapping tool;
  • one package of 4 fuses;
  • a round PCB kit;
  • Science and Communication Circuits & Projects, Vol. II; and
  • a Green Science Solar Mechanics kit

That was the most fun I’ve had in ages!


This week, I had problems. We returned from our long weekend at an undisclosed location late Tuesday night. I ran a bunch of errands on Wednesday, planning to go to JoAnn Fabrics for supplies for my artist date. Instead, I found myself sitting in my car in the library parking lot, reading, until it was time to go home. So maybe JoAnn’s wasn’t right for this week. What should I do instead? I drew a blank. (Strike one.)

Three years ago, at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, I saw a necklace that looked sort of like beads caught in a net. The colors weren’t right for me, and it was pretty expensive, so I didn’t buy it, but maybe I should have. Ever since then I’ve been trying to figure out how it was made, so I could make one for myself. While at the Delaplaine in Frederick recently, I saw a similar sort of necklace — this one in pretty greens, and affordable — so I bought it. This Friday, I decided I’d spend my morning figuring out how this necklace was made, to give me ideas for making my own. Instead, I could not figure out how it was made, and after 10 minutes of scratching my head, I was bored with the whole idea. (Strike two.)

Friday night, I decided I should spend a few hours on Saturday in my studio, advancing several interesting projects that I’ve been neglecting. I planned to be playful with them, not in a “work” mindset. Perhaps that could be my artist date! Saturday I woke up with a blinding headache. It was hours before it felt like doing anything, and then I mostly watched the NCAA basketball tournament. (Strike three.)

I was starting to wonder if I should extend Week 7 into this-coming week, just so I could make an artist date happen.

While writing my morning pages today, I realized I’ve been avoiding my studio because there’s too much stuff piled on the table where I normally work. Since I would first have to clear the table off — and then have to try to figure out where all that stuff would go — it’s too much bother to get started.

Beyond that, our long weekend put me into kind of a funk. I haven’t seen Hibby in a long time. I’ve been trying to work on my poetry for weeks now, getting nowhere.

As I wrote, this morning, I thought: maybe I need to do something like musical scales, to get me warmed up to be creative? Something portable, for days I’m avoiding my studio. Something I could take with me when I leave the apartment. How about a travel kit?

I started brainstorming ideas for what could be included in that travel kit. I came up with seven ideas in short order. Then I started thinking about what they could fit into (how big would it have to be? What kind of box or bag should it be?).

I didn’t even finish my morning pages because I was so excited about starting right in on Idea #1: cutting out words from magazines, to make poetry with. (Like the magnetic poetry kit, but without the magnets, and without having to buy anything new.)

Before I knew it, I’d blazed through 1 catalog, 3 magazines, and 1 local newspaper (all from my To Read pile), assembling a pile of 283 words and phrases, in 15 categories. All while standing up for 2 hours. Win-win.

poetry words, perched on microwave



250+ words in 14 categories




Almost all of them easily fit into a compact cardboard box, 3” x 2” x 1”, which I found in my closet. The box will probably hold another several hundred words and phrases of varying sizes, which is good because some of my categories are a little meager.


While they sat on the microwave, I came up with ~


Walls and black light pathways

exploring friendly blues


Once they were in the box, I came up with ~


oyster quickly creating soutache

the joy of trees and forests


I also clipped words and phrases to anagram, which may then be used in poems.


I was intrigued by how easily and unconsciously I collected words and phrases that would tell someone else a lot about what I value.

Here are my categories (in no particular order):

  1. fiber and fabric
  2. colors
  3. emotions/spirituality/psychology
  4. places
  5. the Southwest
  6. phrases
  7. connecting words (and, to, from, was, in, etc.)
  8. ecology/plants
  9. animals
  10. verbs
  11. nouns
  12. adjectives and adverbs
  13. social
  14. water
  15. names

Here are some examples of my verbs:

Sharing, building, learning, exploring, discover, healing, learning, choose, communicate, practicing, becoming, designing, embraced, engage, develop, try. . .


Adjectives and adverbs:

Scrambled, irresistible, joyful, friendly, lost, at the cellular level, tantalizing, labyrinthine, insouciant, deep in the, living in the heart of.



panes of glass, perspective, life, cake, students, circle, bridges, art, pathways, variety, survival, sunset, writer, spice, motif, sunrise, neurons, serenade, lattice.



we build more, seek blue sky, dudes everywhere, family heirloom, more than chocolate, something bold, the joy of, on the blog, the world of, finally figured out, your favorite color.


Plants and animals:

vegetation modeling, gladiolus, zinnia, daisy, budding, oaks, wildflower, magnolia, trees and forests, rose, web, the wild pea, tune a fish, eagles, happy sheep, desert rat, bear, fox.


I foresee many happy hours amusing myself in a low-tech, low-cost way, that exercises my creativity.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2013 11:38

    I went on my first artist date today!

    • March 25, 2013 15:19

      Where did you go? What did you do? Did you enjoy doing it?

      • March 26, 2013 15:48

        I went to Hobbycraft and also another little art shop, it was nice because I havent done anything for myself since before Christmas


  1. bricolage poetry 1 | Fiadhiglas muses and capers

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