119, Envoy: Lisa Call

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Today’s Envoy is Lisa Call, a woman I’ve known for a long while but just met at the World Domination Summit in Portland last July. I’ll tell you about that later. First, let’s hear what Lisa has to say:

Nancy’s drawings and your stitching the drawings inspired me to return to needle and thread when sketching for my postcards from New York series and so I’ve placed her among my sketches and imagine her dancing in the streets of New York.

Nancy Dances in New York

In the second I’ve placed her drawing in the middle of my latest piece – Portals #5 – which is all about opportunity and possibilities and it breaks my heart to think of how Nancy’s opportunities were limited. Which is why I am so moved by your project – you are giving Nancy a chance to make her mark in this world without constraint.

Nancy Meets Opportunity

Thank you for giving her a voice!

[ ::: ]

So there I am, waiting for the session on How To Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed to begin, sitting at the end of the row in the chair nearest the door, stitching one of Nancy’s drawings. The chair next to me remains empty, maybe because I am not making eye contact, what with my head down stitching and all, or maybe it is the sight of a woman working with cloth. Some people see that as something only an ancient grandmother would do, you know. Just as we are about to begin, in walks this woman who heads straight for that empty chair beside me. “Mind if I sit here?” she asks as she’s already settling herself into the chair.

The session starts, and before you know it, we’re doing the dreaded audience involvement activity that requires pairing up with somebody near you to talk about it afterwards. There is only one person near me, and as I turned to face her, I silently vow that she will do all the talking. “So, tell me,” I say to her, “what have you to say about this?” She says something that that’s both clear and succinct, leaving space on the clock needing to be filled. “What about you?” she asks me. “What overwhelms you?” It’s a wonder I don’t have a heart attack right then and there, hearing the words that fell out of my mouth, talking about something I do not talk about. Ever. And you know what she says in response? “Me, too.” SHE HAS THE SAME OVERWHELM CARRIERS. (Or Gremlins, depending on how and when you look at it.)

We chat a bit – a very little bit cause in the time it takes to snap your fingers, the presenter starts talking again. How rude.

The session ends, and we sit there, the two of us, talking more about our respective chronic overwhelmed states of being and the similarities (especially the causes). She asks what I am working on. I tell her, of course, and she says she works in textiles, too, as we both fumbled inside our bags for a business card. “Mine is big,” she says as she pulls out a postcard-size business card to give me – a card bearing the beautiful artwork of Lisa Call. For the second time in the space of an hour, I fell a heart attack is called for. Lisa Call is a woman I’ve followed online (some might say stalked) for EONS, never leaving a message because she’s big and I’m not – that whole what-on-earth-would-we-have-in-common inferiority thing to which I now say “Pfffft” while swatting the air with my hand.

Not only do I love Lisa’s work, I love her approach to it. Lisa treats her textile art as a business. She makes plans, sets goals, does spreadsheets and marketing, AND she sketches, conjures, notices, stitches, and spends time on introspection and reflection. She produces, or as Steve Jobs said, she ships. She is very deliberate and disciplined (knowing that discipline means remembering what you want) in the context of her creativity, and that’s why she is able to be a mother, a friend, have a full-time job, AND create prolifically.

Her medium is textiles, but her methods transfer quite nicely, so go have a look at the workshops she offers. Sign up for her newsletter. Peek inside her studio. Read more about the Portals #5 piece, about her New York postcard series and the kindling behind it. And for heaven’s sake, take your time looking at (and perhaps do a bit of shopping, too) her artwork. Textile paintings, she calls them, and I think you can see why.


She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning


  1. Karen Sharp

    May all your worthy plans find rich and splendid fulfillment in this new years time that we are blessed with. I’m so excited to see what’s in store. I know that we will all be all the more rich and splendid ourselves, for what you will be bringing forth into the world.

    And may the eggs that I spy in your first collage hatch into birds of light and color richer than our eyes even know how to see. We’ll fly with them all the same, simply feeling our way, just knowing our way through the sky, deeper than sight and higher than air. It’ll be wild, it already is.

    I’m so proud to know you, Jeanne, you who are wholly who you are, you who encourage me to be wholly who I am, for the sake of what we all wholly can be.

    Love you, Jeanne.

  2. Sebastian Marshall

    Very cool post. I love having a big list of things to check off and get all those wins. Also –

    > 2011 will be fueled by my participation (and ultimate win, i’m tickled to say) in NaNoWriMo.

    Very exciting. Books are way cool.

    Please drop a line if I can ever be of service. Here’s wishing godspeed, much prosperity, and many shippings and wins this year 🙂

  3. Laura

    I am impressed with how well thought out you are! I am sure you’ll have a great 2011.

  4. Jean Burman

    Wow Jeanne… you’re going to be busy. And now you’ve prompted me to sit down and pen my noble list. Your list will be a hard act to follow and I wouldn’t dare… but I have a couple of my own dreams that definitely need hatching out this year and hopefully [not make that determinedly] intend to get on with it.

    Thanks for this list. It’s an inspiring statement of intent… and I’m sure you are more than up to the task of delivering. Happy New Year… and may all your dreams come true in 2011

  5. Jean Burman

    Um… that should be [no] not [not] and looks like I’m already shooting myself in the foot! (((chuckles))) All the best!

  6. Alana

    First things first – me please (re – face to face, creative retreat thingie). Secondly – you are gonna kick some sweet tea a## this year Ms. Jeanne. Third – I love you, Happy New Year, and call me sugar to my face soon, ‘k?

  7. Sally G.

    Show off!! (Kidding, of course.)

    You know how everyone we meet and connect to holds a gift of some kind ~ and to truly immerse in the richness of the connection, we’re to see what that person is reflecting to us and then get on with becoming the bestest version of ourselves that we can create ourselves to be? (Okay, maybe this ISN’T common knowledge – but it IS one of my crazy theories, and so far – it’s working for me.)

    Well, you often embody all the wonder I can create my Self to be, if I Love and Trust my Self enough to do so. And the times that you’re not mirroring Magnificent Potential – then you are reflecting paths I’ve travelled, strengths I’ve grown, humour I’ve cultivated and love I’ve been smart enough to accept.

    Meeting you in real life would be such a gift. May my own small steps for 2011 generate an income that will allow me to find my way to you at some point. I’m pretty sure it’s inevitable – it is the timing that eludes me.

    Happy New Year ~ and thank you for being such a beautiful and significant mirror …

  8. Elizabeth Marie

    How did I miss you all this month! Oops. I mean last month. You have such an amazing, fun, ALIVE voice. Your lists don’t make me feel bad about my lack of (public) lists.

  9. Danielle

    I am still drooling over everyone’s planners & haven’t found one I want to use yet…time is dwindling so I need to get a move on. This is unheard of for me to not have a planner yet. I’ve got goals. I’ve got plans. But none of it feels real yet without my planner…love your list!

  10. noelrozny

    I get New Year’s anxiety too — January 1 arrives and I have so many things that I want to do and I feel like I have to start them all rightnow or they will never get done!

    Your list is amazing (will you please talk to my boyfriend about #14, as he has a tooth that’s been half-missing for six weeks now …) and I can’t wait to hear more, especially about all these books! (!)

    I love too that you divide your deadlines into quarters. I like to think of each season as a mini “new year,” a time to restart and refresh and evaluate what’s going on in your life. (I wrote about that here:http://frenchchristmas.typepad.com/french_christmas/2010/09/the-fall-reset.html )

    Can’t wait to read and see more of you in 2011!

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