Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009, The Year of the Pen

Or pencil, or marker. Some drawing instrument. I used to love to draw, in high school I would stay home to work on drawings, I was constantly drawing something. This continued for a bit after high school as I took the "hiatus" path, taking two years between high school and college (this was in part because my dad's job moved to Mexico and so he started working at universities; imagine, a 9-5 Monday-Friday year round job instead of the continual afternoon shift he worked as a metal pattern maker in the Detroit metro area; it's a miracle we didn't kill each other), and even a little bit here and there since. But overall I have followed other creative paths, knitting, quilting, beading, even the occasional vision collage.

Through all that time I keep saying (usually every fall) "I want to draw". I love the feel of an Ebony pencil as it slides across the paper, filling in the forms I am looking at or the forms in my head. But somehow life gets in the way and the pencil goes back to the drawer, only a little smaller than it was when I took it out.

However, my intuition, my intention, for the year 2009 is to make this the year where I draw again. To that end I found an old journal that I made probably 10-12 years ago, filled with Strathmore 400 paper, I am sure (I had ordered a package wholesale from one of our suppliers and made a bunch of signatures with it). I spent part of New Year's Eve making a new slipcover for it out of some zebra print fabric I'd bought to make plush animals with. And on January 1st, I intend to start to draw. Whatever takes my fancy. As often as possible.

Some good books for inspiration on keeping a visual journal are:
An Illustrated Life
Everyday Matters
The Creative License
all 3 by Danny Gregory, all very good, filled with drawings and observations about daily life. you can read old posts at his blog as well. Fun stuff!

Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art Jennifer New
A Life in Hand Hannah Hinchman
A Trail Through Leaves Hannah Hinchman
The Decorated Page Gwen Diehn
The Decorated Journal Gwen Diehn
Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists Kay Greenlees

The point of this is not necessarily to work out ideas for in the flesh works, but I know that will be part of it. All of the cleaning in the studio and all of the experiences I have had over the past year are begging to be processed into something new. Components are whispering stories to me, and documenting the process via drawing instrument on paper is the best way I know to help bring these stories to the outside world, where they can share their secrets with others.

Beaded Voyages

After a bit of angsting I was able to "hang" my show at the Athens Public Library yesterday. The person who had been scheduled cancelled with two weeks' notice, and Lanna Galloway, the person who coordinates the exhibits, contacted me about showing in the display cases. I said yes, hoping I had enough work to fill the spots, and knowing I had two weeks to finish anything in progress.

Little did I know Izzy would bring home a cold that basically left me unable to do anything but knit (sounds silly, but knitting for me takes less concentration and fine motor skill than beadwork). I started feeling anxious about the show, not sure that the cases would be ok, but trusting in the process.

Late last week I realized I could merchandise the shelves as if they were display windows. I was inspired by the HGTV annual show on the Christmas display windows for merchants such as Macy's and The Bay, and I knew as I talked it out that it would work. I came up with six separate "windows" and picked the work accordingly. I still wasn't sure it would be enough, but I felt really excited about providing something fun for the library patrons to view.

Imagine my glee when I walked in and realized there were exactly six shelves (even though I have often admired others' work in the cases, I never really paid much attention to exactly how much space is in them). And that the fabric my MIL had sent me earlier this month was the perfect base for the windows. With the help of my children, Aisha and Izzy, we set to work setting up the display.

Blogger is not cooperating, so I will caption from the top: the first picture is "A Walk in the Woods" and is in the bottom of the display case on the left of the doorway. It contains Pink Houses, a bead embroidered piece that I stitched to a canvas that I painted in complementary pink and beige polka dots. The dolls are peyote stitched on a base of a vinyl cake doll which has been painted with Pinata inks , and the trees are styrofoam forms cleverly disguised as trees. Izzy's snowman peeks out from the right hand side of the scene.

The second image is "Summer Day" and contains my bead journal piece from last July, titled "Waiting for Harvest", two beadwork popsicles that I made just for fun (well, as part of a larger beaded picnic scene that is still in the theoretical stage ), bead embroidered fairies, and more of Izzy's wonderful sculptures.

The last image for this post is the full view of the right side case. It contains, from the top "Back to School" which has a beaded baby dress I made after coming across a wonderful yellow and black striped button while cleaning the studio (sometimes chaos does facilitate creativity), the beaded pencil purse which was in last year's Beadwork competition, some beaded pencil earrings (also at my Etsy shop), a larger beaded pencil, a peyote stitch pyramid vessel, and my beaded milagro pins. "Under the Sea" with a bead embroidered and peyote "Water's Edge", multiple beadwork corals, a beaded coral necklace, Izzy's volcano and a scuptural peyote fish necklace. The bottom shelf on the right hand side is "Wearable Fantasies" and has a selection of beaded necklaces and a little purse that I have made over the years.

I will upload an image of "Space Odyssey" in my next post. It is the top shelf in the left hand case and contains the moon I posted earlier this month and other fun pieces.

It is funny, but I am grateful for the cold Izzy brought home because the show worked out perfectly without any extra finished pieces, and I really had a lot of fun with the knitting (which is a whole new post, probably after the new year).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Drive By

I was surfing earlier this week and found this wonderful site creativeliberty Lots of good inspiration and motivation for us creative types (and everyone else too ;) Check out her links as well!

In Between

I have been gifted with a last minute show at the Athens Public Library so the theory is that I've been sitting on the sofa madly finishing up beadworks in progress. The truth is that I started out madly beading work, but then Izzy came home with a cold and generously shared it with me, so I've been lying on the sofa madly knitting. I hang the show on Tuesday, and hope to have some photos of the process up soon afterward, but for now I should head back to the sofa and see if I can madly bead for a few more days. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Word of the Year

I had a guest blog post over at Christine Kane's blog earlier this week. The premise was to choose a word (or two in my case :) to help focus intent during the course of this year. I chose permission and persistence, both words I have struggled with over my lifetime. Having those two words in the back of my mind helped me keep going when the road looked tough, and at the end of the year I am pleased to say that I saw many many good results as a result of following this process. I won't repost the blog here, but welcome you to go read it at her site, stay a while and be inspired by Christine and her readers .

Saturday, December 6, 2008

May 2009

This book won't be out until May of next year, but it looks really cool and is edited by Marthe LeVan who has done wonderful books in the past. I have a 3D lotus choker and a set of earrings in it. It's already available for pre-order at Check it out! Thanks!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

If the Moon Doesn't Come to You

You go to the moon!

Sometimes the most fun pieces come from simply cleaning in the studio. I came across these white buttons while straightening up the mess ("creative chaos" ) from a previous project, and I wanted to do something that was a bit more button than beady. This started on a 5" square piece of Peltex (heavy duty interfacing available at JoAnn fabrics with the regular Pellon interfacing) that I covered in some sort of batik cotton. These are perfect projects for those small pieces of fabric that may not fit in any other project, and for something special that you know is beneath the surface, and can function as an underpainting does in traditional oil painting. I also found that the Peltex does not shrink as much with heavy beading as the 30 or 40 weight Pellon does, an important consideration if you are making something to fit in a specific space. I found this out the hard way, when doing my shrine for the Anticraft book.

We missed out on the alignment of the moon, Jupiter and Venus the other night because it was snowing and overcast. I will just have to make do with this for now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

CHA Indie Craft Display

I have been chosen to display at the CHA show in Anaheim CA, January 25-28 2009 with this hat! I am over the moon with this and currently working on my promotional material that will be available at the display. My goal is to end up with a book deal or a design opportunity for a yarn company (Noro or Cascade would be really cool!) or a book and design opportunities, I am open to everything at the moment. I'd like to send a big shout out to Kathy Cano Murillo for posting about this opportunity.