What are you gonna do about it?

Consider your circumstances. Look at the daily situations in which you find yourself. Think of the people in your life. Notice the thoughts that you regularly entertain.

Is everything the way you thought you wanted it last week, last month, last year? Everyone has problems, challenges to deal with.  What are yours?

Welcome to Farm City Studio
I want to welcome you to Farm City Studio, a website dedicated to the mosaic artwork of December Lauretano-Haines. That’s me, December. Some friends call me “12.” You can, too.

I started creating mosaics in 2000. Actually, it goes back quite a bit further than that, but we’ll get to that later. For now, let’s just start with those tiny pebbles I collected in New Zealand.

It was a fantastic trip in 1997 sponsored by some very gracious friends.  We started from home in the California Berkeley Hills. The main destination was a journey on foot across the Mackinnon Pass, and we carried everything we needed in our packs.  Along the way, I was determined to later recall the glory of all the little moments: sunrise over green hills, spectacular views of snow capped peaks, afternoon tea and biscuits at the various lodges where we stayed overnights.

I wanted to carry those memories away with me, so I did. Breaking the rules of responsible eco tourists and trail users, I did a bad thing.  I left only footprints, but I took more than just pictures.

I took pebbles.   Dozens and dozens of them, possibly even a hundred or more.  All tiny, mostly about the size of peas, they were grey or brown, some smooth, some rough, all beautiful to me in their diminutive completeness.  I collected them in an empty Godiva chocolate box our group had laid waste to before the start of the trekking adventure. It was light, and empty, but I filled it. And carried it.

For years, actually.  In the literal sense, I carried it during the 5 days of the hike, adding to its weight and eventually having to find a way to bind it to keep my treasures from spilling out into the bottom of my pack.

I was still carrying it 3 years later when I landed in another place completely.  Back in Florida, I had carted myself and my belongings into the old and the familiar. Home with my folks, who were also gracious enough to have me.

Finding Martha’s Cottage
Bored and seeking to entertain myself, I wandered into a crafts store and spent hours browsing, trying to decide on a project to fill my time.  I landed squarely where I was meant to when I found myself in the section of that aisle where the few mosaic products were on display.

I began that project with little clue of where it would lead.  I had bought a few tools and materials at the store, but when I sat down to CREATE, I realized the design had to have some meaning.  I had to care about it.  Before I tried that idea on, none of the sketches I thought of were good enough.  The tesserae I picked up at the store were pretty, but alone they were…lacking. Still holding on to the life I left behind, I dug my little box of pebbles out of the closet and examined them, sifting through carefully to find ones that matched, that fit together nicely.  I chose 20 or 30 and incorporated them into a design with the tiles and beads I had selected.  The remaining pebbles went back into the box.  MAYBE I would find a use for them later on. Maybe not…

I created that first mosaic as a tribute to the family I’d been blessed to know and be part of in California. I thought the results were lovely. You can judge for yourself.

Since then, the art form that is Mosaic has infiltrated my life.  For some artists, their work is a constant. Something they do no matter what else is going on. For me, it comes and goes.  I go into a creative frenzy and turn out some pieces, then lay it all down for a while until inspiration strikes again.

What I’ve noticed though, is that life is very like a mosaic.  I take the random bits of things, work and family and wonder and sadness, and create the reality in which I live.  Every day.

Sometimes it looks beautiful. Sometimes–not so much. These days, success is something I measure by the past decade and where it appears to have gotten me.  I haven’t been too happy with what I’ve been creating.  It shows.

Piecing Together the Pebbles
Seeking inspiration, I began taking out those little pebbles again–figuratively.  I started by noticing the thoughts I have and the beliefs behind them.  What’s amazing is how much negativity rules the conversation in my mind 24 hours a day.  As I go about my business, I have a constant stream of arguments with just about everyone. And victim-y little fantasies that I can play out, chapter and verse, complete with dialog my mind actually rehearses!

Even in my sleep, I’ve been so focused on what I DON’T want, and it comes to life in vivid, horrifying detail in my dreams.

It comes to life during my days, too. In predictable vignettes, my experience nearly mirrors the situations I have imagined.  The slights and insults at work, the instances of bad luck. Most incredible, the more I concentrate on how things could go badly, the more they seem to do just that–in Technicolor!

What do you think–coincidence? I wonder if there really is such a thing.

I dug out the collection of memories and ideas I carry and started making selections about which ones I can use and which ones aren’t right for the design I’m seeking.

I’ve begun looking at the future, at what I’m making every day when I wake up with the blank canvas of a new day in front of me.  I’ve allowed my vision to open up and include as possible things I only fantasize about.  Why couldn’t these dreams come true?

Playing with Power
Some truly creative thinkers have recently helped me find some new ideas to play with.  This is fun! I spend a small fraction of time, maybe five or 10 minutes a day, deliberately dreaming up the stuff I DO want to have happen.  The more details I can insert in the picture, the better.

And things have started to change.  Just slightly, but I feel it happening.  There’s a little less war in my heart, a little more love.    A little less fear and frustration. A tad greater sense of power.

The power I have.  To change the picture. To create a new design. One that I can live in and love.

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