Sunday, January 31, 2010

Valentine Inspired Art- 2009

The act of creating amazes me. Sometimes I have to really work to create something. These pieces seem to develop over time and take a lot of thought and questioning. I consider each decision I make carefully. Then there are the other times when the work seems to flow effortlessly and I hardly know what I'm doing. I just do it. Those are the pieces that to me seem inspired. Then I'll have to slog through 2, 3, or more of the first experience to reach the place where everything just flows effortlessly again. This can get discouraging. It's like reaching the peak only to have to go down and start all over again. I want the peak experience every time. I've come to realize though that art, like life, takes a commitment to work on through the difficult places. You have to be willing to create bad works of art in order to create a great one.

With Valentine's approaching I've been thinking about love and when I had the chance to create on Friday I did a light, sweet mixed media piece with lots of hearts (above). The entire process was a struggle. Nothing seemed to look just right. I think I painted over it 2-3 times at least. Finally I decided to give it a rest and I slapped a bunch of paint on some recycled canvases I had. Slopping paint is purely therapeutic and really that is where it's artistic value lies. But I was going to use these as backgrounds and really didn't care much about how the slopping went. Then the painting started to develop and became "true love..."This piece just flowed. It seemed to create itself- it was also a true reflection of how I see love now. The first piece was fun and sweet. This piece has a darker side to it. The text says: "true love comes only after we make the choice to be true to the one we love". I've been married for ten years to a wonderful man and I know now what I didn't know in the beginning. Marriage takes work and commitment not just sentiment and chemistry. It takes making the choice once those fade, and life gets rough to commit and be true. When I fell in love it was involuntary. Later, I made the choice to love truly.

So be willing to work when you don't feel like it. Be willing to make truly awful art. Trudging through those valleys, committing to the path, and then making that climb upwards is the only way you will reach the peaks.

Note: This was originally posted February, 2009- Enjoy!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Local Craftiness: The Studio at Rush Creek

Last Monday I walked into the place of my dreams. Seriously. I've dreamed of a place like this. Fortunately for me it actually exists and get this, is only about 10 minutes from where I live in Plymouth, MN. It's called The Studio at Rush Creek and is an art studio, boutique, AND makes a mean mocha. I was contacted by the Studio via Etsy last week and on Monday brought in some work to place on consignment there.

It's a fabulous place. I had a great time looking around and with that lovely coffee smell permeating the air I think I could sit and sip for hours- especially if I can create at the same time. I took a look at their class schedule and they offer all sorts of classes. Painting, jewelry making, an intro to encaustic, and lots of lovely sounding stained glass and glass fusing classes. Slumping glass is one of those projects I've been interested in trying for some time but haven't taken the time to search out an opportunity to learn. The price is right too with the average class taking two hours and costing only $24 plus supplies.

When we met we worked out a class which would introduce my wire and fabric techniques. Pretty exciting! I'll be teaching the techniques for sculpting wire birds and stitching fabric to wire to create a hanging wall display on Thursday, Feb .25th from 7-9 p.m. These are simple techniques and once you've you tried them I know you'll be hooked. The wire work satisfies that need we creative types have to "make stuff" with our hands. Stitching the fabric to the wire is repetitive and promotes a feeling of meditation. Similar to the feeling you get when knitting or embroidering. It's a wonderful craft to try with no experience necessary!

I've done some teaching in the past but this will be my first class teaching these techniques and I am so excited! I would love to have any of you that are local to join me! If you have any questions about the class, please contact me. To register, just click on the class schedule above. Happy Crafting!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tutorial: Wired Love

Love. It's a word we use to express emotions- both deep and light. I love my sweetie husband and super cute little boy. I love the smell of varnish and oilbars. I love the Pogues. I love places like the Yosemite Valley in winter and standing next to the waterfalls in Glacier National Park in the summers. I love coffee nights with friends and of course, I love art.

At this time of year, with Valentine's Day right around the corner, I think of the word "love". Love is an emotion, it's also descriptive of a feeling of great like or enthusiasm. It's also a promise. What do you love? How do you use the word throughout your week? Who do you love?

In honor of the word," love", I've a short little tutorial for you. So take a look and give it a try. Then give it away to a good friend or sweetheart that you love!
Wired Love Tutorial

Tools and Materials
16-gauge steel wire
19-gauge steel wire (optional)
Heavy Duty wire cutter
Needle nose pliers- jewelry sized

1. Start by pulling a length of wire from you spool, wiping it with a rag as you pull to clean off the oil residue. Then using your needle nose pliers, bend the end of your wire in.

2. Using your hands, create a loop to form the letter "l".

3. Continue to shape with hands to form letters, "o", and "v".

4.Next shape another loop to create "e".

7. Leave 8-10" for a tail and then cut. Make a smaller decorative loop if desired, and then using your needle nose, bend the cut end of your wire around until it is flush to itself. If desired, you can use the 19-gauge wire to secure the wire where it overlaps by wrapping it around the juncture. Use the needle nose to shape or smooth your wire to finish.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Welcome Challenges!

It's been over a month since my last post. In that time I did finish my book manuscript (BIG WHOO-HOOO!) and managed to do a birthday party for my now five year old son as well as submit some mini quilts for the next Sew Somerset publication. It's been all about getting it done this month. Here are some of the other new challenges for this coming year.

New Challenge #1-Remodel our Basement! My husband and I ripped out the carpet in our lower level and had hardwood floors installed. This was a project that we hadn't planned, it came as the result of some pretty nasty allergy problems we were all experiencing, but I'm still excited by it. We took the opportunity to cull our book collection, the piles at right are what's left (I took them out of the bookcases to vacuum the dust off them). We are also going to get rid of the nasty old hand me down furniture we had down there. I think that some of it was my husband's parents first furniture. When we were doing the newly married- don't have anything- thing it was great to have any furniture at all but now we'd like to update. So a basement redo is in the works. I'll keep you posted!

New Challenge #2- Back to LIFE! I had a bit of a crisis when I realized that I didn't need to spend every waking moment on the book any longer. It was the set task every day and at the end everything else in life was put on hold. So the moment I emerged from that task I was faced with a large array of others that needed my attention- NOW! I've been trying to find a balance again but it's been difficult. When I was in kindergarten I had major surgery that kept me in a hospital bed for several weeks. I actually forgot how to move my muscles to walk during that time and to learn again I tried hard to focus on the action of one foot in front of another. Learning how to do something again that was first learned naturally and taken for granted is hard. We want to think it all out but that's not how we learned in the first place.

Emerging from this book project has been somewhat similar. I know I used to know how to plan all the meals, balance play dates, shopping, exercise, time with the family, cleaning and laundry during my day but for the life of me I can't remember how now. It seems daunting. So finding balance again is going to be another challenge to meet. If I figure out any tricks I'll let you know- we could all use the help right? If you have any advice on this I'd love to hear from you too!

New Challenge #3- Getting Crafty! Before the book releases I want to have a website up and running and a kick-ass blog. I'm envisioning lots and lots of tutorials as well as some of the personal writing like I love to read in others blogs. I've also just signed on to teach a class locally at The Studio at Rush Creek. I'll post more about that soon. They'll also be carrying some of my work on consignment. The thing I'm most excited about however, is getting back to work! Spending time in the studio and getting to follow a few of the mad thoughts that plague me (like what if I tried combining a wire bird cage, a vinyl decal of a bird, and an old metal tray). I developed some projects for the book that I've just been dying to play with and take a little further as well. PLUS I'll be adding a lot of new products to my etsy site in the next month or so and I can't wait to see what you all think!

Life is grand- don't you think?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Almost There!

Whoo-Hoo!! Thought I'd post an update and get back in touch with my blogging self. On New Year's Eve I hit "save" for my last chapter and today I sent in the first four chapters and the intro to my editor. The book is almost done and I can't believe it. The last few weeks have been all up hill as I did a balancing act that would do a Cirque du Soleil performer proud. Without giving you all the gory details I did want to mention that I have a new laptop that is not compatible with my camera and because we did an emergency eviction over Christmas while some repairs were made to our home I can't access my old computer files/art/camera stuff so until I get computer savvy I'll be limiting my time on blogger.

I'm also 1o days away from my manuscript deadline and while I have it half sent, until I can yell "DONE" I'm going to be a complete recluse. I can not wait to return to all of you and I have lots of plans to share. So have a wonderful wonderful few weeks!!!