Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Whimsy Yoga designs for people who care

Today I would like to write about my paper company called “I do care designs”. In 2011 I applied for a self-employed business program at the YWCA, a program funded by the government of Canada. I got very excited because the program included an intensive 6 weeks business training  and several months of follow up with a business coach. I wrote a proposal for a paper & gift company and went for an interview. I was happy to be chosen together with 12 more entrepreneurs, who all had very interesting ideas.
I called my company “I do care designs” and I remembered that we had a session to discuss the name of my company and everyone agreed that it was the perfect name for it!
Logo for "i do care designs"

My vision was to create a sustainable company that would produce locally only using recyclable and friendly materials to the environment and at the same time, it would support local charities. I decided to focus on Yoga designs since I love Yoga like many people in this city. When I started this initiative I was not aware of all the experiences I will have and the great people I will meet.
In the beginning I mostly focused on working on samples. I enjoyed being playful choosing Yoga poses and matching them with meaningful quotes. I connected with Elana Epstein, a friend who has been a Yoga teacher, a Reiki practitioner and a spiritual writer for many years. She wrote most of the quotes for the cards.
With Elana Epstein at the Yoga Conference Vancouver Centre

Samples of the Yoga Cards

Great photo at the Yoga Conference and Show, Vancouver

When the collection grew enough to offer a wide range of products, I started networking. Firstly, I connected with local charities in the Yoga industry. A great local charity is "Karma Teachers", an organization that offers affordable Yoga classes to people on the East side of the city. I connected with Emerson, the man with the vision and I take part on many of their events, donating proceeds to the work that the organization does in Vancouver and Toronto.
With Emerson from Karma Teachers
I also met Erin, a wonderful Yoga teacher who organizes Yoga Jams- global Yoga events raising funds for the Africa Yoga Project, an organization that trains youth in risk to become Yoga teachers and then these teachers spread the work and benefits of Yoga to school and young kids. I usually attend her events and set up a small booth with my products in the entrance.
With Erin from Yoga Jams
Another great experience has been attending Yoga retreats where I connect with mindful people, practise new types of Yoga and promote my company.
At Salt Spring Island Yoga Retreat

At Paradise Valley Yoga Retreat

Printing Yoga wrapping paper at a local printer in Vancouver

First booth at the Yoga conference- Vancouver
I worked countless hours thinking, planning, designing and promoting “I do care designs”. The collection has grown into Yoga journals, Chakra dolls, Yoga wrapping papers, Yoga clothing and many more fun items.

Even though my vision was to keep the manufacturing local, I decided to partner with my best friend Gal, from Gal Designs so "i do care designs" could offer funky Yoga clothing. Gal Designs created a wonderful Yoga clothing that was manufactured in collaboration with Israeli Arabs and sold in Vancouver and on-line.
Visiting the studio where the Yoga clothing was manufactured in Israel
                                                 Samples of the Yoga clothing sold in Vancouver

In the beginning of "i do care designs", these products were sold at Yoga studios and stores around the city but now, they mostly sell on line through “I do care design” on-line shop on Etsy. The platform on Etsy allows you to connect with people around the world.
Yoga mini journals at the on-line shop on Etsy

Yoga Invitation at the on-line shop on Etsy

Today, I do care designs sells mostly printables and invitations. You are welcome to visit “I do care designs” Etsy shop at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/idocaredesigns

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Being the Captain of my own ship

When I decided to start writing a blog about the life of an artist, I committed to write a post every week and to be honest with every single thing I say.
As a young child, I was always very independent and self-driven and of course, very creative. It was clear that my life would be built around art and design. I paid attention to every single detail, loved nice and cute things, collected Hallmark’s letterheads and stickers (I kept them with me till today). I also developed a great sense of fashion, mostly wearing unique dresses and long skirts.
 I once read a book about past lives and in every chapter there were exercises teaching you how to discover who you were or where you could have possible lived in your past lives. Most of the exercises taught  how to pay attention to our childhood and what we enjoyed playing with. It also taught how to figure out possible places we lived in and foods we used to like. That book fascinated me. I am not trained to understand such thing as past lives, but with only looking at my close and vivid childhood, it is obvious to me that I was born to be the Captain of my ship. Luckily I had a young brother to boss around and practice how to become a Captain!
As time went by, I found myself making decisions and steering my ship to places, people and experiences that shaped my personality and my journey. As an adult, I have chosen to live fully as an artist, a decision that comes with many challenges on the way. In a society where Art is undervalued and over flooded, making it as an artist is almost impossible.
When times gets challenging, I help myself by practicing meditation, practicing visualization and finding the right affirmations to read and read all over. It is not always easy and clear, but I think that having these tools definitely add wisdom and self-direction to my everyday life.
But what happens when dreams don’t go the way we wanted to? What happens when life has other plans for us? Lately, I had to face the fact that a dream was not going the way I wanted it to go. A control-freak of a person like me that is the Captain of her own ship, the outcome of such thing is devastating. In my dream, I went to a beautiful place, a colorful, exotic place filled with sunshine and rainbows, filled with a vast blue ocean and the sounds of crickets. It was a place where you got easily drunk from the smell of the flowers. A place where I dreamed I could paint in a studio filled with natural light. A place where I dreamed I could fully become a sustainable artist. Last week a door to that dream closed and with this outcome I felt sorrow and confusion. Luckily I have been steering the wheel of my ship long enough. When a Captain sees stormy waters, the Captain has to make decisions. It has been a long time planning and inquiring into the route that will take me to my dream. This is a good reminder that ships are safe in harbor but that’s not what ships are for. To reach the next port, we must set sail!
"The stories you believe to be true are the ones your life will become" with love, Jazmin
Visit my website at Jazmin Sasky

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

When Art turns into Lifestyle

Painting is my passion. A white plain canvas, acrylics and brushes, different mediums and textures, using my fingers to blend it all… the music in the background. Magic. Pure magic.
Through the years though, I realize that many people love to see my paintings in different mediums and materials, especially in fabric. There is a magic to fabrics that is hard to explain. I think it is the fact that fabric is soft and people love to feel things with their fingers, in comparison to looking at a painting. Or maybe the fact that fabric moves and wraps things around that makes fabrics so appealing.
For one of my exhibitions I decided to print tapestries in order to use them as  promotional banners. I chose two of my favourite paintings and took them with me to the exhibition “Hawaiian Sisterhood” that took place last October in Maui.
A view of Tamara Catz Boutique in Paia, Maui. October 2015
Getting ready for the exhibition 

The minute I took the tapestries out of the envelope, people were touching and putting them around their bodies as sarongs and ponchos. It caught me by surprise. I was planning to have them hanged as banners to promote the exhibition but people started asking where they could buy them as beach blankets or sarongs.
When I came back home, I decided to listen to what people where asking for. I ordered new samples and on my second trip to Maui last January, I hired Amy to model for a new line of Hawaiian lifestyle products.
"Deepest Secrets"

"3 Friends Sitting At The Beach"

"Hula Dancers At The Beach"

All the blankets tell a story of bravery, courage, community and friendship. All the blankets are the reflection of a woman’s story. It is a collection of collective memories.

                                                               Tote bags, blankets and sarongs.

I love to see how the stories of women leave the finished canvases and give life to many other lifestyle products, so people can enjoy them in their everyday lives.

"A Welcoming Lei"
"Hawaiian Sisterhood"

"Sleepless Nights"

I chose the beach at Paia in Maui for the location of the shots. The day we were at the beach, it felt like the designs blended perfectly with the Hawaiian background. The colour of the sea and the sun light matched the stories told by brave women. You can get these unique lifestyle products at my new Etsy on-line shop: JazminSaskyArt  All blankets are SIGNED like an original work of art.
"The stories you believe to be true are the ones your life will become" with love, Jazmin

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cancer, Color & Community

April is Daffodil Month, A National Cancer Fundraising:

Last week I had to take my son Yoel to an appointment at the BC Children`s Hospital. As we walked through the hallway, we ran into my artwork that is on display in front of the Oncology Day Unit. The painting was donated in 2007 by many families in my community. Yoel and I remembered the day we came to deliver the large artwork. It was the end of the summer and Yoel was 5 years old. As we entered the Hospital, I remember looking at my son who was tanned and bare feet. His long curls were naturally highlighted by the sun and he looked cheerful and healthy. On that same day, we saw many families entering the Oncology day clinic for another day of treatments. We felt very sad for those families. This sad feeling ruined the excitement we had upon arriving to the Hospital to deliver the painting.

Yoel at The BC Hospital last week.

April marks The National Daffodil month. The Daffodil Month is a national fundraising campaign for the fight against cancer. People in Canada wear yellow daffodils to show that they are or were touched by the fight against cancer and to show their support to this important cause.

The Daffodil month, the fact that my son and I saw recently the painting and that my family was touched by this awful disease, brought up many emotions so I decide to write about a beautiful art project that came to life from my personal story and the power of a community. This project was called Color & Hope.  A project that, despite my personal circumstances then, still makes me smile and symbolizes the power of belonging to a community.

In 2007, my family had to deal with 2 members fighting cancer at the same time, my dad and my eldest brother. My dad was diagnosed earlier, and while in treatment, my eldest brother used to come and assist him at the hospital unaware that in a few months he would be facing the same destiny. There were very hard times for all of us, especially because a few months before the diagnoses, I was living very close to my dad and brother but unfortunately I moved and I found myself living miles away. I was desperate to be closer and help them deal with the challenges. But I couldn`t be there for them because my children were very young. A very wise friend of mine suggested that I should organize an art fundraiser to help them financially and of course she knew that this campaign would also help me emotionally. She suggested that I should use my talents to contribute in the best possible way to the unfortunate circumstances. Vancouver Talmud Torah School, Jennifer Shecter, Yael Shamir-Elron and amazing families supported this art initiative. We called it Color & Hope. At that time, I was painting whimsical illustrations so I decided to make a sample and show my community the kind of work I had to offer. 10 families commissioned whimsical portraits for their children and the goal was to send all the funds to my dad and brother.
Commission for Vancouver Talmud Torah School

It was fun to receive a new commission every single day. Families told me about their children, pets, hobbies and their favourite colours. It was very easy for me to connect with my inner child and create whimsical portraits for other children from a place of love, playfulness and meaning.

Commission for Yael Shamir-Elron

Commission for Jenn Shecter

Many more families wanted to be part of the campaign so we collected smaller donations and when we reached a final amount we decided that a larger painting would be donated to a public facility around BC. Yael Shamir-Elron looked for opportunities and BC Children`s accepted her proposal. At that time, a new wing at the Hospital was being added and the Hospital Foundation found the perfect spot for the painting. Because of the nature of the project, the artwork would be displayed in front of the Oncology day clinic.
Color & Hope was a fulfilling art project. From all the art initiatives I have done, this initiative has been the most meaningful to me. The project helped me realize that there was a community around me that supported, understood and embraced my personal circumstances as well as my art style. I felt loved and contained. The initiative also helped me feel closer to my family while being busy painting all the coming commissions. Doing what I love also helped me relieve the pain.

A playful photo of Magalee Blumenkranz

After Color & Hope concluded, commission kept coming in and I did many more commissions for children. It was fun, especially when I got to see  photos of the children and their portraits in their rooms! I am currently focusing in a different type of style of painting but every time I see the whimsical side of my work I feel happy. Even though I am not at the Hospital to hear what people have to say about my work, I am sure that the painting makes others feel  happy too.

As for my family, my dad is healthy and cancer free. In 2010, my brother passed away from complications due to a bone marrow transplant. I was his bone marrow donor. It is hard to write how devastated and frustrated I felt. I was sure that I could save and give my brother a better life.

Fooling around with my brother while donating Bone Marrow to save his life in August 2010.

Last photo together in August 2010.

All the love I felt for him was not enough. Life had other plans. It took me years to overcome the tragedy and sorrow of losing my brother to cancer. Art making was and still is a helpful tool to channel my feelings. I feel very lucky for having this powerful tool.

This is an illustration I made a few days after my brother passed away to express my pain.

On the way out of our appointment, Yoel and I walked by the painting again. It was mid-day and the clinic looked busy with families and children, like it looked many years ago. I can`t imagine how many families have gone through the doors of that clinic and how hard it must have been for them. Yoel is 13 years old today. He reminds me a lot of my brother, who he loved dearly. I feel very blessed for having so many loving memories with my brother and for having a community that supported me when times were hard, thank you!

My brother and my son Yoel

During Daffodil Month, you can make donations to help cancer patients and their families. There are also many events around the city. Please go out and support.

"The stories you believe to be true are the ones your life will become" with love, Jazmin
Visit my website: Jazmin Sasky