Thursday, September 30, 2010

Traveling September: Field, Barn, Cloudy Day

Traveling September: Field, Barn, Cloudy Day

I'm a little obsessed with these landscapes. Photographs. Paintings. Pen and Ink.

Perhaps it's the journeying. The feeling of motion, passing through the colors and shapes, light and shade.

Perhaps it's because I can't bear to be sitting somewhere and doing nothing with my hands. If I'm riding in a car, I need something in my hands, I need to be creating, documenting, making, doing. The same goes while standing around waiting at work. Or while watching tv at night, with my feet up. My hands must be busy.

Time is still traveling and I need to capture the moments and turn them into something I can hold with my hands.

I used to turn this nervous energy into my journals. I would write wherever I went, filling a new journal in 3 months. This latest journal, which I am just finishing up, lasted me 9 months. I guess I'm doing other things with my hands. And putting my words into my blog, instead of my journal.

I was going to post today about paying attention to details... but the truth is, my mind is traveling today. I have the day off of work, and have scheduled myself to go down into the basement and spend my work day there, instead, revising my novel.

My brain is already thinking about how I can get through this post and get everything ready to go and write.

Didn't I just post about paying attention to the moment?

But then, maybe this moment right here is not about being right here, but about preparing for the next moment. It's okay if I'm not settled into my spot, but rushing ahead to the next half hour... because that's what this moment is about. Preparing. Anticipation. The next step.

All in all, it just is what it is. And the journey is the living. And the living is the moment. This moment is good, in its presence and in its anticipation.

There is jazz in the background. A little girl doing downward dog on the couch while watching Dora, the smell of eggs cooking in the kitchen, and me thinking... novels, pages, tightening, hot coffee and how I should probably get dressed before I submerge into revision.

What is your moment about?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's Here Now, Are You?

Bookmark: "It's here now, are you?" Bhagavan Das (quote on reverse)
repurposed menus, ink, paint pen, acrylic gel medium, embroidery floss

So another day passed without me writing! Yipes. I picked up an extra shift at work from a girl who has bronchitis, so I came home late and exhausted, watched Glee and then promptly fell asleep. Today I'm not going in until 11am and that leaves 2 or 3 hours to run to the basement and write.

Let me tell you, I'd better do it, instead of procrastinating, because otherwise, I am in danger of getting saddle shy. Is that the term? You know, when you fall off the horse, and then they say, "get back up on the horse again".

Best to get back to it before I lose the flow all together.

I will keep you updated.
In other news, I wanted to tell you guys about the new item I have in my shop. Not one print but TWO. I call it the Prayer for Girl in Flight set. It's a new way of doing things, but I really do feel like these drawings go together with the others. I want to take some photos of framed pieces in a lovely setting and put them on the listing, but I don't have the time or set to pull that together yet, so I thought I'd just put the listing out there, instead of waiting.

Because you see, this is now, and this is today, and it really isn't a good idea to wait until things are all perfect before you try for what you really want out of life. Because this is life, right now, right here.

And thus I have tied in the title piece (bookmark) the topic (getting back to work) and the etsy shop. Woohoo.

Oh, by the way...what are you putting off? Waiting for a day when circumstances will be optimal? Waiting for more time or a perfect photo or your mind to be in the best place, or those sniffles to go away? Waiting for that day when things are right and you can be happy?

Don't wait. Now is the time and this is the living.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feather, Falling and Flying

paper, pen, marker, gold paint pen
"there is an art, or rather a knack to flying. the knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground
and miss. -douglas adams"

So my weekend of no writing was a success. I got art done and mailings and home stuff and work and cooking and I even went with the kids to a cider mill with a hay maze and pumpkin donuts and pony rides and wee hee!


It's Tuesday, and I haven't gotten a lick of writing in!

I am flummoxed by the living of life and how things keep popping up to get in the way of the goals.



Remember how it's all supposed to be in the service of living?

Is it worth it to get myself all up in arms because I'm not getting my scheduled writing done? As long as I am moving forward at a decent pace, does it matter if I am not sticking to my ridiculous goals as written?

Let's go back to drawing at the top and the fabulous quote. I'm not quite sure how I am going to go about throwing myself at the ground and missing the ground... but I'm going to keep trying. Perhaps it's the risking of yourself that counts as throwing yourself at the ground?

That makes sense. Taking the RISK of failing, and throwing yourself at that risk. Taking the chance on your dreams on the fail
ure of your dreams, and probably failing... but perhaps maybe not failing and instead actually reaching your dreams and learning how to fly?

How does that sound? Does that sound like what Douglas Adams is talking about?

It's a worthy risk, I think.

What do you think about taking a chance on failing at your dreams? Just saying, 'what the hell' lets go for a massive failure! I'll survive.'

I think it's the 'I'll survive' that is the difference here. It's trusting yourself to make it through even the brutal failure.

On a separate note, I just realized that my design blog, which I haven't tended since the Spring, really, gets as many hits as this blog, that I work on daily or every other day. What would happen if I DID tend that blog? Would I get a wider readership? Would it be good for this blog? For my etsy shop? For my 'internet presence'? Of course it would! That's only logic. It's audience that makes one a success on the internet, the great Democracy. Perhaps there is a limited audience for a personal art/spirituality blog. Perhaps the larger audience is in the sharing of pretty things. I like pretty things. I don't mind keeping the inspiration board that is small & heartfelt.

I'm thinking that if I go with the flow-- and take that updraft of designy blog stuff-- maybe
the little feather that is my 'brand' can fly away on the breeze. (yes, yes, I know it's a corny metaphor... but maybe there's something in there.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Black and White Traveling, or Breathe

Black and White Traveling, or Breathe
9/24/10 ink and repurposed menus, acrylic gel medium

I took Saturday and Sunday off of writing and blogging because I felt myself getting more and more anxious over everything undone and everything still to do.

Taking the writing break meant I could take care of some other business and it meant I could relax a little.

When I went to work, I found myself happy, instead of stressed.

I realized that my goals of revising 100 pages a week, 20 pages a day (not including weekends) was unrealistic. Especially since I was totally planning on working through the weekends which I had actually planned to use as a break. (Did you catch that? I planned a break for myself, and then I was going to ignore that wisdom, and push myself to keep going without a break.)

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to be productive, to do it all, to conquer the world (whatever world it is we want to conquer)?

I'm being crazy productive, but I still see all the things I am not doing and how far I am from my long term and short term goals.


You know what this means for me?

I have to start doing my To Do/Did Done lists again.

That's where I keep a normal To Do list, breaking things down into small tasks, and then I also keep track of everything I have taken care of, done, achieved or gotten through in any given day.

When I start paying attention to what I have actually done, whether it was on my To Do list or not, I start to realize that I am doing more than I thought I was doing.

When I had babies, my Did Done list often had things like, "showered, fed everyone breakfast, got dressed, checked email, nursed 6 times."

Now however, perhaps I might have, "got everyone dressed, made lunch for boy, walked boy to school, blogged, made xx$ at work, drew bookmark, had meeting, revised 10pp, made dinner, watched Mad Men."

It's good to put things on your list that you look forward to or that are about taking care of yourself, not just things that are weighing you down. I know that when I am busy, I quite often forget to take care of myself.

That, my friends, leads to burn out.

So take care of yourself. Take some (limited) time off of all you want to have done. Pay attention to all you do accomplish, even little things, even things that are not on your list, even things that are about having fun.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fear and Mushrooms in Michigan

It has been suggested that I should share my writing on my blog. By which I assume they mean my fiction writing.

To that, I say....

Here's a picture of some mushrooms we found on our walk to school. See the school bus in the background? I timed that shot. But don't worry, it wasn't our bus. This was on the way back after we dropped G off at his school bus. We spotted the mushrooms on the way there, but being a responsible mom, I made sure to send the boy off to school on time before doing a photo shoot.
Oh. Okay. That's not fiction writing.

It's very hard for me to share my fiction writing. I have a couple of novels stuffed in a trunk in a different state that no one has ever read. Well.... one person has read one.

But I have been working on my novel. Work work work. Even while I am at work, if it is slow, I am working. Look what I did on Tuesday.... I sketched out a 6 Week Goal Planner. It's pretty tiny, so that it can fit in my little folder. Actually, it's probably more like a writing log, so I can see my progress.

If you look, I've planned out a goal to revise 100 pages a week. So I should be done revising in TWO weeks. Yipes. I am not sure this goal is possible. I've been assuming that I will only be able to work 5 days a week, with all my other responsibilities, so that means 20 pages a day. I have not been averaging 20 pages a day so far. But then, it is revising, and revising is not as neat and tidy as just simply writing new prose. I could zoom through 60 pages one day, and then go back and do close work and only get 2 pages done. Oh, greadness goocious, I have no idea how far along I will be able to get.

It's a good thing I keep a log. It helps to be able to see my progress, especially on a larger project like a novel, because otherwise I feel like I am not getting anywhere. So I keep a log of what I have done, and then I can see the numbers slowly rising. I have another log that I keep on a file on my computer that is more detailed. But I like also being able to carry the planning around with me, so that I can remind myself of my work as the day is going on.

Because you know, when you write a novel, you really have to live in that novel. It has to be living with you.
And here is what my novel looks like. Or at least the first third of it.

I am afraid to look through it in hard copy.

Afraid I say.

And you know what that means?

That means I have to do it.

You've got to face up to the things you are afraid of, because those are the things that matter most to you.

Think about it. Those things that you have been avoiding, are you really avoiding them because you don't have time or because other things are more important, or are you avoiding them because they scare the bejeebers out of you? Be honest with yourself. If the first, then maybe you can let them go, but if it's the second, then you have to face the fears and do it anyway, or the person you will disappoint is YOU.

Oh no.

I think that means I have to share my fiction writing, too.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Change of Seasons

One of the first red leaves of the season.

Now that I am done with my 100 days of creativity challenge, what shall I do?

I won't stop being creative, although I did find that yesterday held a shocking lack of painting, crafting or drawing. Although I did make chicken and come up with a delicious chile-lemon gravy off of the top of my head. I also did some revision and got so caught up in the re reading of a couple chapters of my book that I barely changed a thing. I think that's a good sign. Although there are quite a few chapters that I have to go over again and take care of, I think I'm in a place right now where the story and characters really came to life.

Actually, I should be doing that now, revising, in the hour or so I have to spare before work starts.

Yes, this last 100 days I've learned that I can't wait until I have a whole morning or afternoon free. I have to grab whatever spare time I have in order to do my work.

In the future, will I look back on this time and see how much I grew as an artist and a writer, or will I only see the struggle of trying to fit it all in, manage living and dealing with finances? (That's mostly what I see while I'm in the middle of it.)

What are my goals for the next 6 weeks or so?

My main goal?

FINISH MY NOVEL. Finish that draft. Polish the first few chapters (which need the most help, to be honest) Start looking for an agent.

That is my main goal.

What do you think? Can I let the art slide a little in order to take care of the writing? I feel weird about that, like choosing one child over the other. But then, I suppose I have done it the other way, ignoring the writing for the art. But that's mainly because art for me is an easy going, well mannered child and writing is a VERY difficult child. But that's no reason to neglect her. Actually, the more attention I give my writing child, the better behaved she becomes. (Kind of like real kids, actually.)

I'm not quite sure what I will write on my blog if I spend my time writing instead of making art, because I usually use my art as the impetus for my blog. Honestly, I choose the photo first, then use it as a freewrite, almost. Hey, it works for me.


I guess I should stop avoiding my difficult child. No I don't mean Ivy. (ha ha)

Back to the novel.

Any suggestions on how to structure my blog if I DON'T use art for my subject matter?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cloud Travelling, and 100 Days of Creativity

Cloud Travelling
acrylic paint on found board, approx 3.5"x 12"
100/100 days creative challenge

I did it! 100 creative works in 100 days!

And I think I actually did it within 100 days.

I was not nearly as organized this time as I was the last few times I've done this. This time I just wanted to be creative and I counted food and plants and clothes. The first time it was just paintings that I allowed myself. I enjoyed having all those paintings, enjoyed the journey my paintings went on over the course of those previous 100 days, but this time, I needed a different journey.

You see, I've also spent this 100 days in a brand new house. While doing my 100 days, I was also setting up the house and the new routines, and then starting my son in kindergarten. Life has been very much in the living these past 100 days and I'm glad I did the creative challenge, or I might have let the creativity slide and just never taken out my paints at all or pushed myself into other media.

My challenge kept me in the creative conversation.

Yay 100 works in 100 days creative challenge.

This piece itself was a momentary inspiration... after seeing a painting in a gallery, a landscape with a long horizontal orientation, I all of a sudden realized I didn't need to stay in the square or moderate rectangle format that I'd been using. And then I realized I really wanted a long format painting for my gallery wall and that would fix the proportion problems I was having. And then I realized I had a bunch of scrap wood in my garage.
And then this was the piece that I found and I realized I loved the detail of having the red painted cut end and could allow that to inspire me. And I decided I wanted the grain to show through, so I put the gesso away before I could cover the ground.
Gallery Wall in the works

And after painting it, I sanded it and then put the piece up on the wall (this is my new cat, we think her name is Fanny Moon) and decided I didn't like the way the knot showed through the paint-- it just looked like a splotch, so I added the cloud. And Ivy told me to name it "Cloudie" so I named it "Cloud Traveling."
By the way. Here's Ivy. She is sad because she took Gabriel to school this morning and is having her Monday morning blues missing her brother.

So that's my creative process on this piece. But you know, you kind of have been in on a lot of my whole creative process... since every piece we do is also informed by everything we've done before, all the things we've seen before, everything we've learned before and, you know, our entire lives.

So for the last 100 days, I've been sharing the chaotic, confused, this and that direction of my creating. Some good, some not so good, some finished, some just an amorphic blob of intention.

The most important thing about being creative, about being an artist, I believe, is to just keep going. Whatever it is, writing, painting, dancing, singing, acting, playing music, cooking, sewing, whatever medium... just keep going. Explore, learn, practice, create.

If you've ever seen Finding Nemo, Dory said it best...

"Just keep swimming."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Water Drop Charm

Water Drop Charm
felt, cotton, embroidery floss, silvertone jump ring
99/100 in 100 days creative challenge

This is a charm that I whipped up. My mermaid was the inspiration. A drop of water from that ocean. Whatever ocean you're swimming in.

What have I been doing lately?

I'm trying to get back into my writing practice.

It's really hard to build up that kind of habit when you have lost it. When you let life take you away from the discipline, as life so often does.

But this week, I have attempted to take my laptop down into the basement, after the boy has been taken to the school bus, and before I have to go to work, and write.

It hasn't always worked, as other things have gotten in the way and momentary emergencies pop up... but I've made it 3 mornings out of 5, so that's farther along than I was before.

I am getting there.

I don't know that I am going to be able to have that steady writing practice anymore, now that the boy is in school and has an unrelated schedule, and now that I have a job with a different schedule every week.

I have to adjust my writing according to the needs of the day. And some times I miss my writing time. And sometimes I don't get to run off on my own, but have to work while the kids are watching Phinneas and Ferb in the living room and I am sitting at my desk in the corner, fending off requests for gold fish and candy and such and impromptu performances of rock airbands.

But I do what I have to. I keep going. I attempt to revise and am interrupted. I sit down and focus and pound out a chapter. Then go on and do mom duty.

Keep going. Try your best. Don't give up, even if you don't meet your goals every day. Start over. Keep trying. Sit down and start. Sit down and start again. Remember your ultimate goals. Remember to do the things you love. Remember this makes you a happier person. Remember and keep going.

Drop by drop, you fill the ocean.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What He Loves

Animal Bookmarks
repurposed menus, ink, yarn
94-98/100 in 100 days creative challenge

Today is my son's first show and tell. He's been shy still, in Kindergarten, and hasn't made his friends yet. I tell him to talk about the things he loves, to ask people about things that that they love. But he is still shy.

I suppose it is normal.

But when his weekly scheduled show and tell came up, I told him to pick something that he loves to share to the other kids. Maybe they will love it too.

He picked his HUGE book of animals. It barely fits in his backpack, and there are hundreds of animals in it.

I asked him which animals he wanted to show, and he picked Shark, Snake, Whale, Platypus and Fire Fly.
Indian Cobra
repurposed menu, ink, yarn
94/100 in 100

Then I realized that in that big book, he was never going to be able to find the pages to show at show and tell, and he can't read yet, so pieces of paper with words on them would be meaningless.

And being me, I thought, I have all those scrap menus. I'd already thought of making bookmarks. Why not make him some animal bookmarks so he'd know which favorite was where.

(Full disclosure. I don't love this cobra. But I didn't have time or the reference photo for something better. But I like this cobra enough for it to serve the purpose.)
repurposed menu, ink, yarn
95/100 in 100

I really like the way they turned out.

I thought first that I might make them clip on bookmarks, but when I drew them out, I thought simplicity was best, and to just leave them uncut.

Besides, just the black and white pen is interesting, and graphic enough.
Duck Billed Platypus
repurposed menus, ink, yarn
96/100 in 100

I punched little holes and threaded color coded yarn through. (White for the white shark, blue for the whale, because there are blue whales although this is a sperm whale, green for the lightning bug because bugs are green although a lightning bug isn't, purple for the platypus because Perry from Phineas and Ferb is purple, okay he's blue, but I used blue, and pink for the snake because I didn't have black and green was used. Okay. There's no code. But go with it.)

I photographed them lined up. If you turn them over, they still say things like "cherry wood smoked salmon salad," and "chicken club sandwich" but I didn't have time or extra scraps to cut out more paper and glue it to the back to make them smooth and stronger.

If the bookmarks come back from school in decent shape, I might do this. I might print them out and make reproductions, too. That's how much I like them. Or perhaps I'll make different versions. I don't know, but I am pleased with them.
Sperm Whale
repurposed menus, ink, yarn
97/100 in 100

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say.

I had a need. I needed to fill it. I created something

Sometimes I am glad that I do not have the unlimited funds and/or freedom to just go out and buy stuff for every need.

Because of those constraints, I have learned to look around me to find something I can turn to my solution. If I was used to just buying everything when I need came up, would I even be practiced enough to make it instead? Or would my first impulse be to purchase it? So then, when I had no time for the searching or the buying, like last night, I would end up just using the library bookmarks and the strips of paper.

And honestly, they would have served the purpose just as well.
White Shark
repurposed menus, ink, yarn
98/100 in 100

But these are special.

I think it goes back to my last post, about bliss.

It also goes back to my advice to my son, about finding something he loves and sharing that with his new classmates.

It's all about the love. It's about following your loves, your bliss. It's about trusting that those loves are lovely. It's about trusting that YOU are lovely, and that other people will love you, too.

Do what you love. Create what you love. Share what you love. Love those you share it with enough put care into it. Love yourself enough to accept your flaws. Love what you've got. Love where you are. Love who you are. It's not just about romantic love or familial love, but all types of love, and is both the hardest and the easiest thing you can ever do. But this is where bliss comes from.

Love. Love. Love.

I guess John Lennon was right.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Art in the Service of Living

I Carry Your Heart Within My Heart (front)
upcycled menus, ink, gold paint pen, acrylic gel medium, embroidery floss
92/100 in 100 days creative challenge

I cut some old menus into two inch squares and then I started drawing on them. I started them while at work, and I finished them at home. Writing the text for the back....

I Carry Your Heart Within My Heart (back)

And coloring them and gluing the two pieces together, punching the hole, threading the floss, all at home.

I was inspired, not only by my small amount of nothing to do time, but also, well, because I want to work on being happy, being positive, being fulfilled.

I don't always want to feel like I have to work harder to be successful, or get something else to be happy, or fix that to be whole.

Want to live in this moment and honor this life. The one that I have right now, not the one that I'd like to have someday but don't so have to kill myself trying to get.

In fact, I think it might be time to change the focus of my blog slightly.

I really started getting involved in my blog, back when my kids were both under three and I needed something to help me rediscover my creativity. I wanted to be creative again, so I used this blog as a tool to keep up with myself, to document my journey, to push myself.

The truth is, I've achieved that goal. I am now just as creative as I was before I had kids, although it's changed some. I've even accomplished some things that I was afraid of or never managed to do before I had kids, like opening up a shop and selling art to people who didn't know me.

So what should be the new purpose of my blog, if it's no longer about rediscovering my creativity?

Here Comes The Sun (front)
upcycled menus, pen, gold paint pen, acrylic gel medium, embroidery floss
93/100 in 100 days creative challenge

I think that it should move forward to being about the purpose of art in my life. Or the main purpose, for me. It's not really about making pretty paintings. It's not really about commerce. It's not really about gaining facility or even exploring new artistic media.

For me art is, and has been for a long time, about the personal journey. Art is about growing as a person, exploring my self, and finding bliss.

Sometimes that means, like here, that I make myself little pieces to remind myself of things I need to remember. Sometimes it might be more about the process of creating that helps me reach this bliss. Sometimes it might be about taking stock of the beautiful things in my life. Sometimes I might use art to interpret the lovely things. I really can't get away from art and creativity, it is an indelible part of who I am, but right now, I want to put living at the forefront. I want my art to serve my life, not the other way around.

Here Comes The Sun, (back)

Is this really a transition? I mean the title Warriorgirl has never actually been about war, but about being a spiritual warrior.

It clarifies something for me though. Maybe part of being a warrior for me is that I am daring myself to enter the larger world of the creative marketplace, showing my work and becoming economically viable through what I have to share, but for the most part, right now, it's about finding bliss where I am.

So perhaps from now on, you will see a subtle shift away from just creating new stuff everyday towards creating stuff with the specific goal of being at home in myself. Just the way I am.

I'd love it if you guys would come along, share your own moments of bliss, your own creative journeys or journeys of the self. In the end, I think it's all the same journey, more or less.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Orange Dinosaur for a Boy

Orange Dinosaur for a Boy
91/100 in 100 days Creative Challenge
felt and thread on backpack

My boy wanted a dinosaur backpack for his first day of school.

Why are there no dinosaur backpacks to be found?

Perhaps I just did not leave myself enough time to do the exhaustive research and perhaps importation of said dinosaur backpack.

In the end, my boy and I made a deal. He would get a plain back pack, and I would get him a bakugan to clip onto the backpack, and then I would sew a dinosaur onto the backpack.

So. Dinosaur backpack achieved.

First week of school achieved.

All I've got to say is, I think it's harder on me than it is on him. Drop off. Pick ups. Forms to fill out. Lunches to make. Lunch boxes to clean out. Outfits to lay out for morning. Children to get out of the house on time. Plans to be made for back up picker-uppers. Early morning alarms to rise for. Piles of papers to sort out. Homework to supervise.

He just plays all day.
I'm concerned that I'll be having to do this for the next 15 or so years. But by then, they'll be able to get up and get dressed and off to school by themselves... right? Right?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Turning An Ugly Sweater Into A Cute(r) Sweater

Altered Fleece sweater w me in a silly model pose (although I was really just trying to see over the fence to the street)
remade 3/4 length sleeves, v-neck

Zoom! I've been so busy, what with the beginning of school/kindergarten and all the regular work/duties/projects.

However I did sew up this old, chunky, boxy yet cozy fleece sweater into something slightly less dowdy.

Here it is with the v neck, three quarter sleeves and buttons. I'm not sure, but I think I may have to cut off all the buttons and sew a pretty ribbon at the neck, instead. That would play up on the lace laser cut bottom, and I think having the buttons be the only part of the sweater that is hemmed and heavy makes it look off some.

I have already learned that I am going to have to take of the sleeves and re sew them next time, not just sew the whole thing narrower from hem to sleeve. Because the shoulders end up having extra bulky fabric that bunches weirdly. But anyway, not so bad for the beginning of my re-fashioning adventures. And practice to the tunic I want to make when I find the right tshirt to repurpose.

Speaking of repurposing and the start of school... I have a little cold, yet I had to go pick up the boy from the school bus, and it's definitely feeling like fall here, so, quick, while my hot tea was boiling/steeping, I took the end sleeve scrap of the fleece sweater, and stitched it up with orange embroidery floss, and turned it into a cup cozy. While the tea brewed. Really?

Crazy mama. Crafting while the tea brews. Does no one else find that a little wacky? And I sewed the little star burst while S was standing on the porch, saying, "Hurry up, we have to pick the boy up from the bus stop." (we were on time, just so you know.)
Here's the only before picture I have of the sweater. I forgot to take a picture of it, and I wouldn't have taken a picture modelling it because it was super dowdy and I only put it on for warmth out of desperation for cozy. You can see I've already cut out the high button collar. You can also see how boxy it was, and the long arms with the heavy seams.
Sketch for repurposing

Here's the sketch/notes I made for planning the repurposing. It gives you an idea of the boxy proportions, never mind that the page isn't wide enough for outstretched arms. Pretend they are long.

Let me tell you, planning improves your work, very often. Because you end up thinking the whole process through and deciding which way you'd like to go-- before you take the scissors to the derned thing.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Of Concepts and the Creative Process

Obsessed with feathers.
crayola crayon, watercolor on paper
86/100 in 100 creative days challenge

When I first started making my felt feathers (mostly so that I could have one to put in my hat) I wasn't quite sure what feathers looked like.

I mean, I knew what they looked like, but you'd be surprised how little details can change the end product when you are not exactly reproducing a thing.

Now, I like to draw from life, and draw exactly what I see in front of me. I think I probably found some photos online to serve as references, but I also like to create a representation of the IDEA of a thing. Not any particular feather, but the concept of a feather. And that is when I ran into trouble.

In fact, this page of feathers was done before I got the reference. That was when I realized I didn't know enough of feathers to speak of feathers with my art. I'm still in a learning process. I'm still discovering what makes a feather look like a feather rather than, say, a leaf.

Actually, I think I'd like to make a leaf, too. Oh, well. I guess the journey continues.
Ideas for repurposing old tshirts
ink on paper
87/100 in 100 days

Speaking of ideas. I've decided I want to make a long sleeved tunic out of an old tshirt. I don't have an appropriate tshirt yet. I'm planning on haunting the mens tshirt section of the salvation army when I get around to it.

But I thought I'd do some planning before I get to the thrift store, so that I know what I am actually looking for.

The large sketch is my least favorite. To the lower right is a sketch of Ivy, because she demanded to be in the drawing. But the other three give me some ideas. It's a lot of original sewing, because to get the length of tshirt I want, it will have to be huge. And that means I'll have to resew the shoulders and arms. I don't know if my pattern making and sewing skills are up to that kind of task.

You see, while my grandma taught me to hand sew when I was 7, and my year of fashion design in High School taught me the basics of pattern making and construction, (as in, we made one miniature muslin sheath) I'm really just figuring this out as I go. I kind of enjoy that, but it makes for some undependable results. In fact I altered an old dowdy fleece sweater, but I'm not sure I did the best job. I'll show you what I did tomorrow. It's a little... well, let's just say I'll have to do some fixing.

As for the tshirt tunic, I'm still considering whether I want to leave it a simple bodice with a scoop neck, or do an empire waist. Or if I want to find a smaller long sleeve woman's tshirt and add the lower part of a larger tshirt. But I do know that mainly I am looking for a tshirt with good heft and good color, maybe two coordinating tshirts so I can add the flower details.

Well anyway, as for the developmental process from concept to finished product? Who knows how long it could take. Gotta just keep going, and trying new things.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A Feather With Which to Fly

Gray Polka Dots, Felt Feather Brooch
felt, acrylic paint, acrylic gel medium, embroidery floss, thread, metal pin backing
85/100 in 100 days creative challenge.

I made another felt brooch.

For some reason I am obsessed with feathers, wings and stars lately. What is that about?

Could it be because my first child is going to kindergarten this morning?

Fine, it's only an hour or so, but he's got his backpack and his lunch box. A teacher and a classroom and pretty soon he'll be making friends with new kids in his class. Tomorrow he'll ride the school bus. He'll learn how to read and write and all about the world at large. He'll learn how to be capable and be independent. He's growing up.

Fly fly, little bird.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Wishing Star

The Wishing Star
Mixed Wool and Poly Felt, Silver Embroidery Floss, Floss and Thread, acrylic medium
approx 6 1/2" x 9 1/2 "
84/100 in 100 days creative challenge

It figures that after the August Challenge where I attempted to create and post every day in August (I only missed a couple days) that I would collapse and not do anything for a couple of days.

Actually, that's kind of normal. Everybody needs a break. When you take on a big project you need to remember to relax, to rest, to rejuvenate.

You also need to remember to celebrate the accomplishments that you have made.

Now, I'm not actually done with my challenge. I still have 16 more pieces to do before I hit my 100 days. Hmm. I need to check those dates again to see where I am again. (Come to think of it, I want to make a new date book as one of those challenges, because I am just about done with my old date book.)

But back to my Wishing Star. I spent all day yesterday sewing it.

I'd been thinking about doing a piece of textile art for my gallery wall. My slowly growing gallery wall, that I want to be large and inclusive, but which I can't seem to finish with just any old thing. Nothing seemed to fit until I started thinking about wishes and found my silver thread. I have also a piece of cross stitching canvas that I was thinking about, but I decided to stay with a medium that I was comfortable with, since I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, exactly.

So I took out my gray felt and measured it up against the small painting on my wall, wanting it to echo the size, at least of that piece. Then I started sewing my star. And sewing some more. And some more. Building up the piece thread by thread.

Then I came up with the idea that I wouldn't just put it up there plain, but I would create a kind of mat and frame out of thread. I stitched the gray felt to the white felt with tiny navy stars. I stitched the word "Wish". Then I stitched the white to the black. And between each layer, I added gel medium, so that the piece would be stiff and wouldn't rumple. I had to do the stitching while the gel medium was still wet, or it would be really hard to sew. I know that from experience.

I also trimmed the layers of each fabric before adding the next layer, so the ovals would be relatively even. I did consider a rectangle square and mat, but decided I liked the oval better on the wall. Oh, lastly I blanket stitched a plain piece of gray felt to the back. And that really gave it a finished edge, made it look even more like a frame.

When I finished this and showed it too my kids, they said, "Wishing Star! Wishing Star! Put it up!"

So I did.

Here's my tiny gallery wall. I'll have to come back and fill in who did the lovely trailer and guitar man prints. The landscape is my own. I might also come back and add a hanger to my wishing star. What should it be? Black embroidery floss? Silver chain? Some sort of colored ribbon?

Anyway. I must go and run to work now. So no more jibber jabber for me.

Happy Holiday Weekend.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Dandelion Wishes

Dandelion Wishes Brooch
Wool Blend Felt, Acrylic Felt, Embroidery Floss, Thread, Pin Finding
83/100 in 100 days creative challenge and Day 31 August Everyday

This would count as my last day of August. I'm kind of glad August is over, even though it means that now I have figure out all the rules and routines of sending a boy to school. I think I'm more nervous than my kindergardener.

So I finished off this brooch finally. A little woodland wild land scene of dandelions and ferns. What took me so long? Perhaps it was Spring and Summer that kept me away from the felt. It is a rather wintry medium. But now I'm looking at my basket of unfinished pins and dolls and gewgaws.

I would like to see more wishes. Dandelion fluff and first stars. I'd like to do more linked pieces, like yesterday. Like hearts and birds. Maybe a house and a star or moon. I just can't get away from telling stories, and when you put two images together, the human mind starts making stories about them. I like that.

Sometimes I wish that I could just get myself a set up that would have me making these things like I was a human assembly line... but I've never managed to do that. Even if I trim down my crafting time, I seem to be unable to just do the same thing over and over again. I can't stop experimenting. I can't figure out how to simplify the craft of a thing because instead of going deep into one aspect, I am continually looking for new directions in which to take my medium.

Oh but that's not really a wish. I don't really wish I could do more assembly line. I want to be careful on this post, since I have that dandelion going on. I wouldn't want to accidentally wish for something that I don't actually want.

Hmm. Since we're on wishes, and since we're on the new school year, I wish that I could spend more time with my art and writing... I wish I could develop my finished output. I want to take myself seriously as both and artist and a writer. I want to make it real.

What are your artistic wishes for the school year? What do you wish you could develop and grow over the next nine months?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...