A Victorian Mermaid's Cabinet Of Curiosities: {Show Your Work}

My mother has the whole set of blue Danube china, and she knows I love tea, so she gifted me the teapot and two cups. She said I'll receive the whole set when she passes. 
 My dear friends,

Pour some tea, and let us have a visit. I had such a wonderful response to my previous post about stealing like an artist by Austin Kleon, so I thought I would share a wee bit about another book of his called, "Show Your Work", which you can find {here.}

I think that one of the biggest struggles that I had when I first left my previous marriage was that I was now an older woman. I was 44 and felt quite old. I remember precisely being young and knowing with certainty that I desired to have all of my children by the time I was thirty. I had all four of my children by the time I was 28. I wanted to have my children while I was young so that I might have a career for myself after they were on their own. I left my marriage when my youngest, Zoë Kennedy was 16 and in the middle of 11th grade, she was the only one left at home and chose to stay in Oklahoma for her senior year.

 I truly believe that we all have an innate knowledge of what our lives were meant for. Today I know that my perceptions and beliefs were somewhat distorted, and that is something I have learned with great clarity. It does not matter if you are beginning and you are 70 years old. Age is just a number. I feel it is very important to express to women that they can do anything they put their minds to.

You know I love a great metaphor and anything Victorian or old fashioned themed, so I thought I would pull from chapter 4 in "Show Your Work" entitled Open up your cabinet of curiosities. Don't be a hoarder.

In the 16th and 17th century if you were wealthy and educated it was fashionable to have a "wonder chamber" or a "cabinet of curiosities" in your home.

A room filled with rare and remarkable objects that served as a kind of external display of your thirst for knowledge of the world. We all have our own treasured collections.
"One day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn't easy: It requires incredible support and fastidious structuring."~Russell Brand
I try to sketch a little something daily aside from my books that I'm working on. I think it's important to share my imperfect and unfinished work as if I am documenting everything. I will one day be able to look through my blog and it will be like a portfolio. 
"Make no mistake: This is not your diary. You are not letting it all hang out. You are picking and choosing every single word." ~Dani Shapiro
I think too often people are so concerned about showing too much of what their process is. I believe this is derivative of a fear and scarcity mentality. We should be able to view ourselves as amateur. We are all gathering and collecting our ideas from all sorts of locations and people. That is nothing to be afraid of saying. 
"In order for a connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen~really seen."~Brené Brown
I think I have mentioned this previously in another post, but when I first began sketching again, it was just a few years ago. I was an artist and a writer all through my teens, but as the years passed I forgot who I was. I remember my oldest son which is an artist, would ask me so many times to draw pictures for him, and I would always reply, " Baby doll Mother doesn't know how to draw."

In 2014 my son was on a mission for our church at the time and sent home a huge box of his belongings for me to store until his missionary service was complete. I left the box on the dining table for over a week. I'll never forget the day that I opened that box and saw the whole box was full of spiral notebooks of drawings. There must have been over 50 notebooks. I opened and began thumbing through them, sat down on the floor and began crying.

I called my mother and told her I wanted to talk with her about my childhood. I had forgotten all about my constant love of writing and painting. She began to remind me of all the times I would sit in my room painting, writing and even the time I was 18 and was offered a 4-year scholarship to an art school. I turned down that scholarship as I was frightened that if I moved away I wouldn't end up getting married to my ex.
I was seriously considering buying this stove and putting it in storage for a later date. Isn't it delightful?
I get so much inspiration when I visit little shops chocked full of antiques. Find and seek out those places that bring you inspiration. If you don't live in your dream home yet, go take pictures of lovely little places that you dream of living in. I say that most distinctively because that is what I do. I used The Outland's photographs that I had taken on my visit to Carmel, California and then implemented my story, The Tale of MerryMaid Scarlette Rose around it.  I ponder and dream up places that spark my imagination. Just as Beatrix would visit places with her family during the summer, she would paint those places and use them in her stories. She went to the location. If you can't be someplace, you can always create it right where you are. Too often people find excuses for not being able to accomplish something when everything is always figureoutable. I know that's not a real word but I heard it somewhere and it has always stuck with me. 

Where do you get your inspiration? What type of things do you fill your head with? What do you read? Do you subscribe to anything? What sites do you visit on the internet? What music do you listen to? What movies do you see? Do you look at art? What do you collect? What's inside your scrapbook? What do you pin to the corkboard above your desk? What do you stick on your refrigerator? 

Your influences are all worth sharing because they clue people into who we are and what we do. 

I am an avid collector of quotes. I have a quote wall right when you walk into the cottage. I hang all sorts of things that speak to me. I also have little scraps of paper and an instamax camera for when I have visitors. I ask them before leaving if they will leave a tiny sentiment for the quote wall. They will sometimes share a recipe, a quote, or say thank you for a nice visit. It's such a delight to read the notes once they left. It makes me so happy to see such beautiful words upon my wall. 

Credit is always due. I remember there was a time that I was friends with this gal and I found some of her techniques lovely and started using them on my own artwork. I told her how much I was inspired by her, but she immediately was threatened by my copying. She unfriended me and blocked me from all her social media. I was a little taken back as I was not hiding my copying her, but I think she chose to look at it differently. Remember when artists share their work with us, we are getting the best of them. 

There was also a time that I wrote a beautiful metaphoric piece about being a mermaid and shared my viewpoints from the perspective of a real mermaid. I shared it on Instagram and a mermaid with a much larger platform than me shared it on her page. She put my name in the very bottom and didn't use a repost or my handle. I thought that was a bit sligh on her part and I didn't appreciate it at all. She basically buried me; the original owner of the piece. It made me quite agitated as I felt she didn't want anyone knowing me and was fearful I would take some of her followers. We love people for so many different reasons. I am more of a mermaid that has now put my fins away to a degree, but my life is consumed in mermaids from dusk till dawn. 
I remember I wanted to share a photo once and I spent an hour finding the correct creator. You become very aware of always giving due credit if you've ever been robbed. 

If I share the work of others, it's my duty to make sure that the creators of that work get proper credit. It can seem like a bit of work to give credit but it's well worth the effort. We should always share the work of others as if it's our own, treating it with respect and care. Always point back/hyperlink to the website or the original source. If you want to share something and can't find the link then its best to not share it at all. Find the credit or don't share.  

Have you ever had anyone be a bit sneaky with regards to your work? 

Most affably your til my next swim, Raquelxxx


  1. A cabinet of curiosities… Exactly what I need for my collection of random curios! Had never thought of that before. Thanks for passing on an old Victorian tradition!

    The Hunts, a group of sibling singers and songwriters, have an album with similar artwork to that quote about Energy Flows, called Those Younger Days. Not sure if it’s your genre at all, but perhaps you’ll enjoy Lifting the Sea. My favorite is This Is Love. �� https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZ2y-EtLFbCeXvmXH2RLxLc-7aNWY8Fll

    1. Hello there Timm! I am just now seeing your comment. Im going to have to do some investigating on that link. Thank you much for sharing. I am so glad you're here!


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