Category Archives: My Books

Testimonials

This blog post is dedicated to the people who have shared their 100% kind words with me about my newest book: My Year of Separation. Testimonials are so sweet to receive as a creative! I cannot even tell you how happy they make me.

If you wrote a testimonial or a comment on social media and I did not include it here, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I did not go searching far and wide for the kind words, they are already in my heart. They matter. You count, even if your words aren’t shared here!

Thank You!

After I share testimonials below, there are images from my Instagram feed, giving my blog readers a chance to see what I wrote about the book after publishing the work.

I have copies left for sale in my Factory Store here.

So, without further comment, here are some testimonials on My Year of Separation.

Testimonials


Today I finished the book My Year of Separation by Suzanne Gibbs. I’ve been slowly reading it since it arrived because it’s a book to be savored. I’m so touched by Suzanne’s continuing journey of self discovery, some of which I’m doing personally but without moving, injury or pain. She is not only brave in her writing but also in her deeds. My hat is off to her. Do yourself a favor & order a copy for yourself! —Mary Ahern


I loved your raw honesty and the fact that you put into words what a lot of Mom’s feel but wouldn’t say. There is a lot about what a Mom does that feels very thankless and wears you out. It helped by putting into words that feeling that people have. I can’t however imagine everything you had to deal with with your son’s accident.

I go to Ireland each Fall and stay for 6 weeks. It started out being more for work and I still do all that but I have to say I love being alone and relying on myself for this period. I totally understood you wanting to be alone. Nice job! I plan to pass my copy along to someone else and request that they do the same. Hopefully they will read it and love it as I did and then recommend others to buy it. —Margaret Fischer Dukeman


A bold, impressive journey—the journey being the point.
Gibbs’ longtime craving, a hiatus from others’ needs and her own expectations, proved to be bumpy, courageous and raw. Deliberately exposing herself by her determination to journal through it, with candid honesty she revealed her extreme vulnerability, the strength to accept her own imperfections, and, perhaps the most difficult—to allow love in—of strangers, loved ones, and particularly of herself. She bravely stepped through her own looking glass. There’s a saying floating around, nowadays: What others think about you is none of your business. This was a gift of one person’s emergence. Kudos.
  —N. McBride


An small book, deceptively appearing to be a quick read, but instead drawing you in to really thinking about what is being told to you.
As you follow Suzanne through her honest and gutsy pursuit of who she is, and who she needs to be, you search for parallels, and find an echo, while admiring her courage to face the quest so head on. It has not been an easy journey. Circumstances made her face pain and fear, with no chance of avoidance, no choices but to find the coping skills to “get through to the other side”.

Suzanne clearly brings out that no matter where we are now, or where we are headed, the answers are within us, but we have to have the courage to look, and accept the uncertainty and the trepidation that comes with giving space to your inner chatter. Her art and need to write have become her survival skills, but at the same time have become her support and joy while she uses them as tools to clear the path she needs to follow. Insightful.


Take the time to read this. —A reader in Napa, CA


 

Book Bundle Available in Etsy Shop.

Tomorrow at 9AM PST I will read a chapter from the book on Facebook. Be there to hear the author read her words.

Tomorrow morning I will read a chapter from My Year of Separation live on Facebook!

Posted by Silly Girl Factory on Thursday, April 5, 2018

Memories

Step into my world, for just a moment, into memories.

Certain thoughts can still bring up pain. Moments later my thoughts bring overwhelming joy. The image below was drawn in the hospital ICU 2 days after my son’s accident.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2016, Sketchbook image, Boulder Community Health Hospital

When I think back I am amazed that I thought to bring a sketchbook and pen, but not a change of pants!

I remember that while in the ICU, I sat with him for hours coaching him to breathe using the knowledge I had learned during yoga teacher training. We did not know if he could hear us, but I could see that he was breathing with me. Using the squeeze of my hand in his to indicate inhales and exhales we breathed together. He was with me, and yet he has zero memory of these hours. At one point the nurse came in and was amazed that he was still breathing on his own without oxygen less than 24 hours from having his breathing tube removed. She walked away, happy for him and for me.

I also recall simply sitting. The hospital room had a window seat. So I sat. I breathed. I relied on every moment of meditation practice that I could summon. Being frantic, upset, crying uncontrollably was not going to help him heal. Being  there was all that mattered, for him and for myself.

These are the happy-sad memories.

The sounds of an ambulance made my heart rush for many months post-accident, even though I was no were near his ambulance and there was no way I could have a real memory of the sound of his ambulance. What I had was empathy for the other families about to go though what inevitably happens along with the sound of an ambulance.

Sometimes I still jump when the phone rings. The phone brought me the information about his accident.

Now there are new moments replacing these older memories and thoughts.

When I walk, breathe deeply, and spend time outside I can easily find myself overflowing with gratitude for the beauty in my life.

When I looked at the calendar today and realized that he is almost 21 years old! How exciting! He will get to celebrate this birthday! He lived.

In my book, My Year of Separation, I did not share the image above. I did not share these tougher memories. I spent the year writing and looking for hope and healing.

If these thoughts and details stir something in you, consider buying my book. Or share this email, story, blog post with someone that you think could be helped by what I’ve shared.

Soon, I will have moved past these memories. In their place will be new adventures and most likely further pain. The yucky moments are a part of a life lived fully. How we deal with our emotions is what creates either more pain or opens us up for further joy than we ever thought possible.

I choose joy. When I hit send/publish on this post I will go outside. Breathe deeply and know that I can share moments of meaning. Ideas that helped me, and that might help another fellow human.

I would love to sell you a book, but more than that I’d love to share the idea that even in pain we can look for and notice moments of joy. I believe it IS OK to be silly even at inappropriate times, but also to be reverent. A constant balance of good and bad. Happy and sad.

Memories are in the past, the now matters.

 

Where did the name Silly Girl Factory come from?

I’d like to explain where the name Silly Girl Factory came from. Even though you may not have wondered!

The idea for the name simply popped into my head one day. I liked it because Silly has the same initial as Suzanne and Girl has the same initial as Gibbs. SG! Ta da! + Factory

I am a factory worker rather than an artist in a studio or atelier because this just “feels right.” I tend to work often and diligently. Like any good factory there is a fair amount of output.

Sure sometimes I produce duds, but I think even the finest company factories in the world have a failed project from time to time.

OK and let’s get to the nitty gritty here: I am silly—I love to laugh, I tend to interrupt, dance, skip, and color with crayons! At Silly Girl Factory not all art needs to be fuddy-duddy and precious. Some art work is done to process feelings and emotions or to practice new techniques and styles (this stuff stays in the factory, usually). A lot of work is me dumping onto the page ways in which I see the world or ways in which I wish to combine stuff that intrigues me.

And here goes…the elephant in the room! I am a girl! You know, I live life with curiosity and I question everything, similar to how young children approach life. Here is a book I wrote about being consciously curious (click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the page)!

One more fact: I create, draw, write, and make stuff every single day! Every-single-day, for real! I am my own silly girl factory, literally!


Me imitating my illustration which was drawn from an old picture of myself. How is that for a mouthful of words and ideas?

Below is a list of the projects that have come to life in 2018 and are currently available for purchase. All you need to do is click on the links and you’ll be shuttled all over the internet—like COSTCO shopping but in cyber stores!

  1. The Silly Girl Factory Etsy Shop opened for business in January of this year
  2. My year of Separation, a second book (zero copies left, more are on order—I am taking early requests please email me Suzanne@sillygirlfactory.com)
  3. Business Cards with a funny illustration (see image above this list)
  4. New Yoga Classes that I instruct—we laugh, have fun, and do asanas with pranayama! (Sanskrit words for poses and breath work.)
  5. Dorky Doodle Darlings ^prepare to Visit NYC a Sketchbook mailed to NYC for The Sketchbook Project and I turned it into a silly booklet for sale
  6. Reassemble Series of small paintings added to Etsy Shop
  7. Number 5 above added to Etsy Shop once the printing was finished
  8. Doodle Coloring Pages added to Etsy Shop (see Ruffle Clown below) more will be added as I create them!
  9. 222 Faces Series (but not all 222) has been added to my website and tomy  Etsy Shop—special pricing when you purchase multiples!
  10. Silly Girl Factory Zazzle Store is now open for business (I have been meaing to do this for about 8 years!) Sheesh… not factory speed!

Suzanne Gibbs ©2015-18, Dorky Doodle People, Ruffle Clown, ink on paper

Last week I promised more information on the Doodle + Ladder + Word Project.

The news is: I am continuing to work on it! I spent a full studio day last week making patterned paper. I have no new art to show, but the factory IS in gear. Obviously, the factory has been busy! See list above. 🙂


Hey! You know what? Thanks for reading my blog! If you have continued to enjoy the information I present, feel free to forward this post or any of my ideas to a friend or many friends! To support the work I do, please buy a book or my art!

Maybe you are not in a spending mood? Follow me on Instagram, tee hee… I do monthly giveaways—but you’ll only know about them if you follow me on Instagram!

What Wakes You Up?

An alarm wakes me up!

A few days ago it rained here so much that the septic system alarm for the building I live in roared to life in the middle of the night. Sometime between 1AM and 2AM the alarm began to blare and never shut off. As I understand it, the ground was so saturated that the system was on overdrive. The alarm is a precaution for users to, well, not flush…  This alarm woke me up!

The alarm kept ringing all night, the rain kept coming down, there was no respite from the noise. While it was still dark out, I put my headphones on and went into the factory studio to work. Only one building away. I could still hear the alarm, even through the headphones and music. At least now I was using my time productively instead of lying in bed in anger!

What wakes you up?

For some, this question might provoke worry, for the kids, finances, a lousy boss, health issues, and all sorts of other normal life moments. For others, the question, what wakes you up, might stir up wonderful passions and ideas!

Lately, I have been waking up excited to greet my day. I have a deep desire to get all sorts of ideas and projects out of my head and soul and onto the paper and into the world.

Sketchbook of Dorky Doodle Darlings, inside cover, on Etsy for $13

Last month I awoke eagerly each day to fill a small sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project in Brooklyn New York.

Awaking early each day to greet my studio practice. This time with my iPhone alarm, not the septic system, I enthusiastically created work as a factory worker would—unafraid of repetition and productive labor. My factory studio is a laboratory of labor and love. While a painting a day, a sketch a day, or a journal page a day may get finished, my work is never done.

Capturing fleeting moments in paint, ink, crayon, marker, or whatever tool sparks ideas is the joy in the business of putting the moments that capture my attention into place. Lately, my work has landed on sketchbook pages and watercolor paper. Simple squares, circles, dots, and lines nod to rivets, parts, and pieces of repetition and the building blocks of something bigger. Weaving these basic motifs into patterns and texture I invoke the viewer to look and wonder. Creating curiosity.

With the sketchbook project I added these motifs onto dorky doodle darlings—characters, if you will—creatures of my imagination.

This booklet is now available for sale in my Etsy shop. The end product is a bit wonky, rough around the edges, and not as polished as my usual work. Somehow, this seems right for this project.

However, the raw unfiltered nature of the end result kept me up at night! The evening after I hit “order now” I was already in the zone of, ugh…it is not good enough! No one will want it.

The order arrived and the booklet is ready for an audience.

I ought to allow the audience to decide if it is “good enough.”

What wakes me up at night?

Knowing I may now have inventory that will never reach the consumer. Yet, I have already begun my next project! While hoping there is an audience for the last one…

Along with the Dorky Doodle Darling Booklet I have also added coloring pages to my Etsy site! Be sure to check them out!

Here is Hipster Hiker! Just one of many!

©Suzanne Gibbs, 2018, Dorky Doodle People, Hipster Hiker, for sale as Original Art for $48 or as a coloring book page download file for $2.50 on Etsy.


Tune in next week for more information on the Doodle + Word + Ladder Project.

My last project was a book. My Year of Separation is the title. I mailed copies of it to customers all over the world this past week! Super exciting! If you are interested in the book: My Year of Separation, please order soon! Go to the Factory Store to order. I only have 2 copies left in the factory and I am not sure when I will order another print run.

sweet territory of silence

Allow me to repeat.

sweet territory of silence

I wrote the words—sweet territory of silence—in my “system” for tracking and keeping ideas for books, blog posts, and essays. I even wrote to myself: This would be one hell of a story if I can find the words to write it.

Then I did. I found a way to write.

In 2017, I took a year off. A year that I called My Year of Separation. My intention was “to get away from it all” and to “remove myself from the rut that was my life.” Of course, we all know that did NOT happen! I never got away from it all and I did not remove myself from my life. How naive I was that I thought that I could!

As humans, we live in community with one another and need other people to stay alive. I wasn’t thinking of this at the time. I had recently suffered from a traumatic family experience, and I had just read Walden a few months prior.

I was dreaming that the idea of a sweet territory of silence and being alone was possible.

I ought to have remembered that even Henry David Thoreau admitted to needing people while he went out of convention and built a cabin by a pond, lived alone, listened to silence in nature, and wrote a book on his personal musings.

I was inspired by Walden.

Years earlier I had read A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson. She too, left her “normal” life and went to live alone, in search of her own version of silence, I assume, and a way to reinvent her life. She wrote a book about her experiences.

I was inspired by A Year By The Sea.

I was ready to look for that sweet territory of silence. Alone. By a sea or a pond, either one, sure. A forest would work as well. I wanted this mostly so that I could hear my own voice. Also so that I could rest and heal. And like I said, to find a new path in life.

The cabin I retreated to was on a lake, the lake is steps from the ocean. In fact the ocean often crashes over the sand dunes and spills into the lake. I was, in effect, reenacting both Thoreau and Anderson. Instead of a pond and the sea I was on a lake near the ocean. Although, I did not really think of this at the time, how I had copied those that inspired me.

I was searching for the sweet territory of silence. A time for my brain to get quieter and feel more at peace.

(more…)

I Goofed, Sorry :(

Hello! Suzanne here—artist, author and instructor at Silly Girl Factory

Image of the door of Silly Girl Factory in Langlois, Oregon

For the past few weeks I have been attempting to figure out how to “revive” and “grow” my email list in order to tell more people about the new stuff I am making and selling. In the process, I accidentally added personal contacts to my current blog subscriber list—you may not have asked to be here!

What I really wanted to do was make a separate list to invite new readers to join my blog list. But I am a bit of a newbie doing the technical work in Mail Chimp… and…

I goofed, and I am really sorry.

Now you are on my blog subscriber list. This is how I initially got your email address: Once upon a time we have met in person, worked together, or I have admired your work via social media links (yes, I am a website snoop). We may or may not remember each other or where we first met! But here I am, in your inbox!

Because of my goof, I decided to just go ahead and tell my whole new list what I am up to!

I love to stay in touch.

I invite you to view the new work going on at Silly Girl Factory via my website. My factory makes art, writes and publishes books, and teaches both yoga and creative art workshops. Silly Girl Factory may be a new brand—however making art, writing books, and teaching are not new to me, and you may know me as Suzanne Gibbs or Suzanne Gibbs Studio.

Suzanne Gibbs and new puppy Zoie.

When I paint or draw my art is idealistic, plural, and impractical. I make the work in a spontaneous and direct manner. I call upon a viewer’s understanding of daily production and repetitive work. The strength lies in my art’s elegance and confidence. I paint reassembled patterns as seen on quotidian objects, spaces, places, and people. Culling ideas and inspiration from my own painting and drawing as well as popular media and a plethora of other inspiration. I flatten the hierarchy of all that I see. Making meaning out of meaninglessness.

Yep, basically I draw and paint while staying silly and having fun doing the serious business of making art.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2016, Alive! LOOK, paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75 x 4.75 inches, $65

When I write, I dive into my own life and I record, represent, distort, fragment, distill, celebrate, challenge and evaluate all that I know—blurring the boundaries between what I think I understand and what I wish to understand. Then sharing what I write via books and blogs.

In a few short weeks I will have my second book, My Year of Separation: A collection of essays examining the impossible task of separation from self, complete and ready for an audience—the first published shipment is already on it’s way to my factory. I am hoping that you might be one of the people interested in this project.

My Year of Separation, book cover, written and illustrated by Suzanne Gibbs is my newest creation.

Now, back to my mistake. I Goofed

  • If you do nothing. You’ll stay on my e-mail list and receive regular notifications.
  • Additionally, you may decide to go over to Instagram or Facebook and follow me I post images of the projects I am working on, almost daily.
  • Lastly, there IS an unsubscribe button, and you are free to use this option at any time, no hard feelings, after all you may not have elected to be here, but you are now due to my mistake!

Except, you might miss out…

I want you to hear about when my second book is being shipped!

Also, I am currently working on my next project—another book— this one is being done almost entirely by hand, I will go digital when I scan the sketchbook, but the creation of this new work is paper, pen, ink, watercolor, crayons,colored pencils, and glue in a sketchbook. I am creating drawings, writing, and doodles—oodles of doodles. I am creating this project for The Sketchbook Project in NYC. The working title of this little gem is:

Dorky Doodle Darlings ^prepare to Visit NYC

I am over the top thrilled to have found a way to have my art on display and available for viewing in NYC! This is a dream come true! Many many years ago (1982) I wanted to attend art school in NYC, but I didn’t. Now my art can go to NYC to live in The Sketchbook Project library, and I can go visit the work andy time I want. Seriously, very hugely exciting!

Let’s do the Happy Dance!

Well, I will happy dance once I finish this next project! And… of course… since Silly Girl Factory IS a factory and in high production mode, there will be other projects announced later this year. You want to know about these, right? Sure you do!

I may or may not have your permission to email you in this way, and because of this I appreciate that it is a privilege to write to you today. Thanks for reading!

I adore my FANS! Hugs and Kisses and Happy Dances!

Happy Valentine’s Day too!

Toodle-loo! Until another time!

Suzanne at Silly Girl Factory

The Finish Line

I am almost to the finish line… just a little bit more effort and I will order my first set of books!

Honestly, there is no way to contain the excitement of FINISHING a big project! …and I’m not even finished yet! So you’re stuck with me telling you about it!

My second book looks at my own beliefs and behaviors, one essay at a time. Written from the perspective of a year in my life.

My Year of Separation, book cover sample/not the final product!

My Year of Separation is a book containing a series of essays about the year I moved out and lived on my own for the first time in 25 years, and successfully stayed married and connected fully to my children, friends, and family—while healing from the near death of my eldest son.

My Year of Separation will sell for $15 plus shipping. However, pre-orders from now until February 28, 2018 are $12 each. What a deal! Simply email me and I will send you an invoice and I will also let you know as soon as the first shipment arrives to Silly Girl Factory and when it will be on it’s way to you. These will be signed editions. You may request special notes, if you like.


You know what? Thanks for reading my blog! If you have continued to enjoy the information I present, feel free to forward this post or any of my ideas to a friend! To support the work I do, buy a book or my art!

Not in a buying mood today? OK! I’d love more followers on Instagram or Facebook…tee hee…

Sharing Excitement

I am too excited to contain my excitement! I need to share more details about my newest book.

But before I do, you could buy my first book. I recently ordered a select number of re-prints. These will be signed copies!

Then you could move onto reading my second book! …When it is ready!

My Year of Separation is 95% finished (I think). Ninety-five percent is very likely an overestimation, but every time I begin to see the end of a project I always get excited to start my next project.

The life of a creative…

Sometimes, I forget about all the little details that go into finishing a project. Then I get excited about sharing my work with the public, and you, my cherished and loyal readers. And, hinestly all those little details seem so mundane!

I say, Phewy! On details! Let’s just get this thing out into the world!

Today, I am feeling the need to share and tell you where I am at with this new book.

  • Recently an editor was hired—wow was that a lot of work! And the work I did with her made the essays stronger.
  • I have a few illustrations to draw.
  • The cover needs to be designed and doing this part is always a fun way to use my graphic design skills.
  • An ISBN number has already been ordered.
  • AND, I plan to self-publish as soon as possible.

I need to share with you that—hopefully by February 19th—I will have published this second book! BUT this is a huge PUSH goal! Huge!

Please cheer me on! Or tell me you’re excited to buy a copy… or that you are excited for me, just because!

 

Silly, synonyms—because I sometimes wonder if I am silly to share the deeply personal and make my thoughts public!


You know what? Thanks for reading my blog! If you have continued to enjoy the information I present, feel free to forward this post or any of my ideas to a friend! To support the work I do, buy a book or my art!

Not in a buying mood today? OK! I’d love more followers on Instagram or Facebook…tee hee…

New Book Coming in 2018

As many of my readers are already aware, our family lived through a traumatic experience in 2016 that extended into 2017. To deal with this trauma I resorted to my tried and true emotional helpers: making and moving. I wrote, drew, scribbled, and made messes in my journals and sketchbooks almost daily and with great urgency during this time. From these pages a new book emerged. I also practiced yoga and went for long walks outside, even in pouring rain and sometimes snow.

My Year of Separation is my second book and will be self published really really soon. The plan is to have it in your hands by May 7—just before mother’s day…

…OR EVEN SOONER!

I hope you are excited! I hope you will want to purchase a copy of my newest book!

There are words of comfort and certainly some unpleasantness in the stories I share in My Year of Separation: A collection of essays examining the impossible task of separation from self.

crayola crayon box pattern, created in my sketchbook during my year of separation, NFS

I have a theory that there are many people attempting to separate from our true selves going on in the world right now. Including myself. Some indicators are: drugs, alcohol, prescriptions, broken relationships, violence, and the list goes on…

I am not saying that I was doing drugs or being violent, but there was disconnect, for sure…

Some indications of the desire to separate from the self are more subtle. My book aimed to look at underling root causes of separation from self in myself, one essay at a time. By sharing my inner journey I hope that others can relate to the journey and intentionally find contentment and joy within themselves as I have been able to do as a result of this journey.

The book is little and not very long—just over 100 pages—so I will not tell all here. I can share that the following quote from the Dali Lama strikes a cord within me having just finished my manuscript and sent it off to an editor:

Outward attainment will not bring real inner joyfulness.
We must look inside. —Dali Lama

While you wait for my much anticipated (ha ha) book, may you have a most glorious and joyful day today—knowing that I care about you, even if I have not yet met you in person. Hugs and Namaste.

F-n Good Article

Amateur vs Professional. Can anyone really define the difference, the grey area, the line in the sand between these two categories bestowed on creative people? Artists? Authors? Well, maybe and maybe not.

What I like is that this article tried to draw the line and define the difference. At times the article is gut wrenching. At other parts, I find myself nodding my head in agreement. Yes, yes, so true…

Do you want to know for sure if you are an amateur or professional artist? Do you already know? Read the article here.

This is a fu–ing good article because each time I read it, and I’ve read it many times over the past three years I see more wisdom and I also recognize the lies I tell myself.

In my most recent reading, the advice in warning number 7 gave me prickles on my spine and at the base of my neck. Ugh, yes I tell myself… ugh. Number 7 – “Amateur artists never finish their work.” There are several projects I promised myself I’d complete this year (2016) and they are still on the table. A second Conscious Curiosity book for the self – yep, not yet started, but I said I would. A Dorkey Doodle coloring book that I created – yes, almost complete, yet stalled…. Then there is a set of postcard designs I made initial sketches for… another stall… and I could go on. and on.

I guess I’m still in amateur stage, but this saddens me to say, because on another level I feel like I AM a professional. I have given myself to making art and writing for so long that I cannot even imagine myself doing anything else anymore.

Enough lamenting. Professional vs Amateur. Who really cares? Why label? Why categorize?

Anyway, if you’re interested, it IS a very good article: 9 Warning signs

I dearly hope you are kinder to yourself than I am to myself.