The word Joy is a noun.  According to Webster’s dictionary Joy is defined as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; the expression or exhibition of such emotion; a state of happiness or felicity; and a source or cause of delight.

Think about that for a moment.  Joy is a noun.  It is an emotion.  It is an expression of the emotion joy.  It is a state of happiness.  It is a source or cause of delight.  Joy is.  Joy can be an expression and a state of being.  Joy can inspire.  Pretty amazing and powerful word.  Just think of all that these three letters JOY can do!

Instead of listing out my goals or resolutions for the New Year I have this wish…. I wish you Joy.  I wish that you have, be and experience Joy in the full definition of the word.  May you have peace.  And may you have JOY!!!!


Franconia Sculpture Park

My sister-in-law, knowing that I am an artist and creativity coach, always tries to find an outing, museum, and/or experience that speaks to me when I visit.  This year she hit a grand slam (home run while the bases are loaded)!  Franconia Sculpture Park is an experience that is not to be missed.  Located in Shafer (about 50 miles from Minneapolis), I highly recommend this sculpture park.

Art has the power to move us….. to inspire us….. cause us to ask questions….. cause us to question authority…….. open our eyes to injustice……. see beauty in a whole new way……. and so much more.

The sculptures at Franconia Sculpture Park address a wide range of social issues and topics.  They were in all shapes, colors, materials, and sizes.  We were there in the fall when the colors were changing.  I think to see the sculptures during each season would be an interesting experience.  Some were created to be seen at night.  I have chosen just a few to share with you.  (To put this in perspective for you, I took over 400 pictures at the Franconia Sculpture park.)


Vascular Form V, “Orientation” 2015 by Foon Sham made from Pine Wood

According to the information card placed next to this sculpture, the artist wanted to build a large vessel that invited human interaction.  Made from 1,180 pine wood blocks, I think the artist was successful.  This artwork invites all of the senses to experience it: the scent of the pine wood blocks, the change in temperature when you go inside the sculpture, the weaving pattern that captures the eye, and the view of the sky through the top.


View of the sky from inside Vascular Form V, “Orientation”


Navigation 2015 by Asako Nakauchi made from Fabricated Steel and Fabric

The following text was taken from the information card next to this sculpture.  “Originally conceived as a tribute to the 20,000+ Tsunami victims who lost their lives in Northern Japan in 2011, the sculpture gradually transformed to be about my hope for the future of people and the planet.  Incorporating the abstract imagery of a constellation, the steel frame design evolved into a wave meeting the night sky, and I named it ‘Navigation.'”

The fabric pieces move with the breeze, giving one the feeling of movement.  Whether by air or sea, this sculpture invokes the idea of going on a journey.


Labyrinth 2004 by Stuart Nielsen made with Fabricated Aluminum

This piece was such a pleasant surprise along the woodland path.  I stopped and looked up.  There sitting among the trees was this beautiful silver sculpture.  It looked to me, to be an idea in a tree.  It was sitting waiting to give inspiration to any passerby.  The Artist describes the piece as “linear and meandering ‘drawing in air’ tracing a symbolic path of exploration and seeking.”

The following text came from the information card below the sculpture.  “Labyrinth was originally commissioned to hang in the entry atrium of a Public Library.  Midway through the project membership of the library board changed and new members terminated the project.”

Following a visit to the Artist’s studio by John Hock, the Artistic Director of Franconia Sculpture Park, it was suggested that Labyrinth might find a home there.  They scouted sites and discussed how to install the artwork.  “The result was its sitting aloft among the branches and leaves adjacent the meandering woodland path.”


Mi Familia 2007 by Robert Ressler made from Cherry, Red Oak, white Oak and granite

To me, this sculpture looks like a captured moment between two people dancing the tango.  I expect at any moment for the dancing to resume.

This Artist is described as having a sensitivity to materials and natural forms.  His work is also described as playful and representational in subject matter.


Barn Find 2017 by Neal Cuthbert made from Cardboard, Wheat paste, reclaimed corral and backyard fencing, found plywood and other wood, chicken coop and other fencing, birdcage, plaster chicken, bicycle seat and handlebars, license plates and architectural drawings

My photo is a close up of the sculpture.  Paraphrasing from the information card next to this piece, the Dune Buggy was originally created as part of an exhibition that explored the Artist’s upbringing in Detroit, Michigan.  The Dune Buggy was an imagined, idealized project between the Artist and his father.  The chicken coop is reminiscent of the Artist’s Grandfather who bred and raised chickens.  The Dune Buggy is partially exposed to the elements and is meant to weather and decay.

The creative use of paper in this sculpture is what drew me to it.


Johnny Appleseed 1992 by Mark di Suvero made from Fabricated Steel and Stainless Steel

Large and industrial.  I did not think the title of this piece worked.  And then I read what the artist said about the work on the informational card next to the sculpture.  “The title references the legendary American pioneer Johnny Appleseed, and imbues the sculpture with the same sense of adventure that marked a period of westward expansion in American History.”  If you notice all of the pieces of this sculpture are from equipment that moves earth or soil.  The title completely makes sense.

Minnesota is a large state, but if you should find yourself in Minneapolis and have a day to go and explore, I highly recommend the Franconia Sculpture Park.  It is a visual and creative feast.

East Indian Cooking Class

As some of my readers may know, I really enjoy East Indian Cuisine.  Over the years I have learned how to make a couple dishes from the Kashmiri region of India and a variety of different curries.   I have even made some of my favorite East Indian dishes for friends and one of my creativity classes.  I am by no means an expert in East Indian Cuisine.  I read, research and enjoy trying to make East Indian meals in my own home.   Sometimes they are successful and other times I end up eating cereal for dinner.  And when visiting a place that has East Indian restaurants, I like to go to them ordering new treats and old favorites.  When a friend invited me to take an East Indian Cooking Class with her, I was thrilled by the opportunity.

As with many things in life, there are many preconceived ideas about East Indian cuisine.  East Indian cuisine is so much more than Garam Marsala and Curry.  Different regions have different specialties and dishes that they are known for.  Some dishes are prepared for holidays and specific celebrations.  Certain herbs and spices used in one region may not be used as profusely in another.


During this class we learned to make a refreshing drink with mangos called Mango Lassi, a rice dish (that tastes like dessert to me), kebabs, mango chutney and a cooling sauce made with plain yogurt and cucumbers called a Raita.  I learned several new things during the class.  This did not surprise me.  In fact, it delighted me.  India is a large and diverse nation, with so much to learn and explore.  And for the purposes of this post, I am just talking about the cuisine.

There is always an opportunity to learn more.  Even if you think you are an expert in a certain area.  Open your mind.  Climb down from your Ivory Tower and try looking at something in a new way.  You don’t have to take on a completely new project to learn something new.  Sometimes pushing the boundaries on something you think you already know can expand your creativity.  We cannot stretch and grow, unless we are challenging ourselves.

This week I challenge you to push yourself to learn more.  Especially in areas that may seem comfortable to you.  I bet you will surprise yourself.