Sunday, February 27, 2011

These Just Make Me Smile

No art was created today, but my workspace is shaping up. Lots of things went into the trash can. Don't worry. They were things like a coffee can filled with scraps off the floor, dried up pens, empty wrapping paper tubes, and a rose-scented candle that reminded me of a truck stop restroom air freshener every time I burned it. (It was a gift and I feel huge guilt throwing out a gift. I did try to like it.)

My daughter even got into the act and cleaned out part of her craft closet. Her craft supplies are classic little girl. Looms to make pot holders, pony beads, pom poms, feathers, and pipe cleaners. 
Little kid art is so much fun. Since I have no art to share tonight, I thought I'd highlight a few pieces from one of my favorite artists.

 Notice the ipod.

She has never visited a laundromat, but she thought it would be an interesting setting for this pig. I have to agree.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Diligence Please

Sometimes my best teacher is an 8 year old girl that lives in a pink bedroom upstairs. My daughter and I were having a social studies chat the other night when she told me that all the great people she was studying had a very important quality... diligence.
As some of you might have noticed, my blog has been quiet this week. That is due to a large pity party I have been holding for myself. I have spent much of the week wallowing in frustration with my lack of direction. I have also managed to find many ways to procrastinate effectively. I finished "The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo." I gave myself a pedicure complete with blackberry polish. I ate an entire box of Girl Scout Samoas. I also cooked a lovely beef stew in my new pressure cooker. I did not put a toe in my studio. I think I was mad at it.
Then I heard a little person tell me all about diligence. And I realized I was on my way to giving up.
So, today I got back into my studio and decided that part of the problem was the studio itself. It will never be completely neat. But I have to draw the line when I can't find the supplies I need. Then frustration sets in. Then I start the pity party back up. And the whole cycle starts again.
Today I decided to get back on the path I am supposed to be walking. I started small, by tackling one thing that is driving me crazy. Today, it was the ribbon bin. This was the current state of the ribbon bin. If you pulled one ribbon out, a mound of other ribbons would come out with it. The ribbon bin also contained about 15 empty cardboard ribbon spools. The entire thing took up half a shelf.

I spent a good part of the afternoon pulling out each ribbon, winding it into a neat bundle and placing it in a small zip-lock bag. Once done, I arranged all the bags by color and loaded them into an antique Pepsi bottle crate. Ahhh. Pretty to view. Easy to use. Easy to keep organized.

It took a while. It was not exciting. But if I really want to make art a crucial part of my life, I need to make it easier to do the work. I need to set myself up for success. It matters.
It is worth the effort.
Diligence:  constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken. 
Cue the Rocky theme.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Charming Confession

I must make a confession. 
I know I made a commitment not to buy any new supplies, but this weekend I broke my promise. 
I just needed a rut buster. 
I got inspired by watching Julie Fei-Fan Balzer making these cut tape transfer charms.
The only had to purchase two new supplies: Tim Holtz Fragments and silver foil tape.

The process is quite easy. The charms are just plastic and are going to get scratched up over time. But they were silly fun to make. And sometimes I just need a little silly fun.

Now back to more serious fun.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Off the Cuff

While searching for something this morning, I stumbled upon a project I started working on about two years ago. Fabric collage cuff bracelets. Totally forgot I had made these! They are really just fun and easy ways to use up scraps, vintage trims, buttons, and stuff from the doo-dad jar. Back then I did not have an Etsy shop, so I quit making them because I wasn't sure who might be interested. Now I know there are all kinds of people who like handmade everything. I think I might ramp back up on these and do a shop makeover. The cuffs look great with sleeveless or short-sleeved clothes, so they'd be perfect for spring.

These are the bracelets I have on hand.

The gears are turning.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Paint Some Doodles

Today I just needed to use my watercolor paints. 
It's been too long. 
I scrounged around and found some small doodles that needed color. 
Not sure what I'll do with these mini pieces, but they were a great Friday project.

I am not sure why I am drawn to toasters, tvs, and clocks, but they keep showing up in my doodles.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back on Track

I'm back. 
Thank you blog friends. Sometimes a girl just needs some advice. I took it!

I started cleaning up the studio a bit. 
Touching my supplies makes some sort of brain connection and the lightbulbs start coming back on. 
I also looked for colors I don't normally use. 
For me, this would be neutral tones. 
I love them, but am naturally drawn to red, purple, and turquoise. 

I haven't made a quilt in a while, so I decided to start a new one. 
The last one I made was a baby quilt for some friends up in Brooklyn. 
I think I will make another. 

Wonderful therapy... cutting strips.

When I sew a quilt, I just start sewing. No plan. No end in mind. 
I love to paint, but get a bit nervous when putting the paint on the canvas. 
Mistakes are sometimes tricky to correct. 
Not so with my kind of sewing. 
I love to just start stitching things together haphazardly. 
I always have my good friend, the seam ripper, standing by just in case.
I made a rectangle ladder from an old muslin curtain panel and a dish towel.

I sewed tucks into plain muslin. Great texture and visual interest.

I like to make interesting patches for imaginary holes.

After I piece the top, I will add text and images by embroidering with black thread.

" not a mere absence of colour; 
it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black."
G. K. Chesterton 

My next project will probably be a return to bold color, but I am enjoying the peaceful look of white. 
The lack of bright colors forces me to look at my design in a different way. 
Looking in a different way is always a good thing.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Unlock the Block

Now what. 
I finished a new piece (no pics yet.) And I just had great news (see February 11th.) 
Now I am sitting in my basement studio, surrounded by paper clippings and thread pieces 
and scraps of anything that can be made into scraps. 
No ideas are brewing, no images are flooding my brain. 
What will unlock my block?

Any suggestions?

Friday, February 11, 2011


Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine just announced the winners of their 2012 calendar contest and my name was on the list! I don't know which month will be mine, but I don't care where they put me. I am so thrilled to be in it! I will keep my piece a secret until the calendar is published.

For now, I will share an artist trading card I made several years ago. It is called "stay busy." 
I've found that staying busy with art has kept the snakes out of my head and the happy in my heart.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Imagine a Moment

Imagine a moment in the future. A dark classroom. The sound of a small motor running. 
You are listening to a lecture. The presenter is using an ancient machine called a slide projector. 
The images on the old-fashioned roll-down screen? Clocks. 
Someone finally figured out how to live life without counting the seconds as they tick away. 
The clock is a historic relic. 
The concept of time is obsolete.

Today I just needed a little science fiction fantasy.

Thank you for your patience.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Get Out of Your Zip Code

My friend Kelly and I got crazy on a school night and took a Valentine card printing class at Atlanta Printmakers Studio. This required us to drive down to 30310 on Super Bowl Sunday night. Nutty gals.

We got lessons and had a chance to print on Chandler and Price Old Style platen presses (one from 1899!) and two different kinds of Vandercook presses. We also had a quick lesson on lining envelopes to match our newly printed cards. Margot Ecke was our kind and patient instructor, while four other artists helped us operate each press (and kept us from pressing our hands instead of card stock.)
This machine was built in 1899!

1890's Stair Master


Now we are both itching to take an 8 week letterpress class with Margot Ecke. Anyone interested?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Even Big Girls Like to Cut and Paste

Some of my sweet friends came over this week for a Valentine-Making Night. We crafted valentines to send to Etsy's Share Your Love 2011 valentine drive. These cards will be delivered with Citymeals on Wheels to elderly New Yorkers on Valentine's Day.

We had a potluck buffet upstairs and a craft supply buffet in the basement.

We gathered supplies on trays, then came upstairs to craft at the dining room table.

I work with these ladies and love them so much. They are teachers and I have a super soft spot in my heart for all teachers (my mom is one.) They are resourceful, practical, and have the ability to make almost any situation fun. We had lots of food and a variety of beverages and craft supplies. But I think we would have had just as much fun sitting around with tap water in dixie cups and a bag of feathers.