Inspire Your Heart With Art Day

January 31st is Inspire Your Heart With Art Day. The last day of January is designated as a time to elevate the heart and soul through observing and/or creating works of art.

How serendipitous. I was just marveling at the new Spring/Summer show from Alexander McQueen and the brilliance of building an entire collection inspired by wasps. Haute couture is more than fashion; it's high art.

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I finally put together two shadow boxes filled with goodies from my visit last fall to the Alphonse Mucha exhibit at the National Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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This weekend I will be attending the opening of Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: Highlights from the Detroit Institute of Arts at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts. I'm very fortunate in that my local museums often host wonderfully interesting and important exhibitions.

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I sorely miss being able to create art. I'm hoping that my hand will soon heal sufficiently for me to resume my 3D artwork - even if it's slowly and steadily. Don't get me wrong, I'm thoroughly enjoying being creative with the blog, and the fellowship with all the wonderful ladies I've met since I started Spashionista Report nearly a year ago.

What will you create today?

Exploring New Places

After the wonderful time I had at the National Czech and Slovak Museum's Alphonse Mucha exhibit, we still had an entire day in Ceder Rapids before our return to Nashville. We decided to explore some of the surrounding area and ended up at the Amana Colonies. My new friend Deb Brown suggested that we meet there for lunch but I decided that it was high time to do some serious shopping before the noonday meal

The Amana Colonies are similar to the Amish and Mennonite communities you may be familiar with one big exception; they enjoy all the same modern conveniences that we do. You can read more about the history of the Amana communities here.

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It was really lovely to see all of the old buildings and the specialty shops. Alas, only half of the buildings had access for wheelchairs, but this is understandable because there are historical guidelines that have to be adhered to in the modification of any of the buildings to make them accessible. Instead of being upset I was thrilled to take in the scenery and I decided I was going to patronize the shops that did have wheelchair access!

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We went into the Amana Woolen Mill and saw the looms used to weave cotton and woolen items. There were all manner of blankets, scarves and other items available for sale, all of which had been made right there. As you can see from the picture I decided I could use a few scarves. I also found a wonderful white wool blanket with my initial monogrammed on it that was on clearance because it had been custom-made for someone who did not pick it up. image

I also went into a cute little clothing boutique called Yana's. I picked up this red and pink stone bracelet which my husband actually pointed out to me and a headband with a beaded flower on it. The headband, which seems fairly unassuming, makes quite a statement. image

The weather was perfect. I wore my purple pants with a white shirt and my grey studded oxfords. I also wore my big purchase from the previous day - a silk scarf from the museum featuring one of Alphonse Mucha's decorative patterns.

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All in all it was a lovely day. Next time I will show you where we stayed and the new friends that I've made.

A Date With Inspiration

Inspiration; a word that gets tossed around a lot. What does it mean to be inspired?

For me, inspiration requires action, otherwise it's just an empty word. So, thanks to my friends Glenda Watson Hyatt and Deb Brown,  I found myself in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit The National Czech & Slovak Museum's latest exhibit, "Alphonse Mucha; Inspirations of Art Nouveau".

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If you've been paying attention to the blog you know that I'm an artist - or, at least, a reasonable facsimile. I have modern technology to thank for my being able to express myself artistically (albeit a hand injury has forced what I'm hoping is a temporary hiatus from artwork). I have Alphonse Mucha to thank for being a huge inspiration in what I do.

‡ Images pictured are as follows: Top Left - Princess Hyacinth, Bottom Left - Bieres de la Meuse ©Alphonse Mucha; Top Right - Princess Hyacinth Redux, Bottom Right - Giselle ©Alicia Searcy @ Gallery Celesta.

To have had the opportunity to experience his life's work in photographs, lithographs, posters, jewelry, interior design elements, and paintings meant the world to me. I spent just under 4 hours marvelling at a body of work that changed the world. What I witnessed was no mere collection of pretty pictures but rather a testament of purpose-driven, nonverbal storytelling. It opened up a whole new level of understanding about the process of translating inspiration to execution. It changed me and the way I approach the creative process forever.

So what does one wear to a life-changing event like this?

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How about a dark lavender Vivienne Tam dress, my trusty grey ankle boots from Shi, a wide grey belt from Target, and some Art Nouveau inspired jewelry from The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, which is my local museum. The forecast was for rain and it was raining through the early morning. I came prepared with a lightweight black windbreaker and purple hat but as soon as we arrived at the museum the rain stopped altogether, the clouds parted, and the sun shone. It was...perfect.

Are you inspired yet? What are you going to do about it?