Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 56 - Wednesdays Are For Sharing

I've been addicted to wire crochet ever since I saw my first piece. I think that what I create is pretty darn wonderful, however, there are so many people out there who are more talented than I. I thought I would share some of those wonderful artists with you today.

Over at Etsy, one of my favorite artists is PreciousMeshes. She combines crochet, pearls and stones in such a lovely way. Some of my favorites are:

The Protozoa earrings

The Captured necklace (it also comes in a bracelet)

And the Bird's Nest necklace.

Arline Fisch is one of the premiere jewelry artists in America. She has used textile techniques such as weaving, knitting and crochet in her jewelry using metal rather than fiber. I have several of her books that I often look to for inspiration. I recently discovered that she would be teaching a 3 day workshop at a museum an hour from my house. Needless to say I am thrilled at the prospect. Now I just need to work out how I can attend.

Finally, here is the completed piece I showed yesterday. I've been doing these for a while but this time I sewed it closed using seed pearls. I love how it turned out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 55 - More WIP

The beginnings of a crocheted bangle.

Monday, February 23, 2009

51, 52, 53, 54

Yes I did craft over the weekend, I just didn't blog. So here is a peek at what I did over the weekend:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 49 - Wednesdays Are For Sharing

I've decided to share my favorite things with you on Wednesdays. Its a nice little break between posts about baby sweaters, jewelry and ATCs.

I am obsessed with planners and journals. I am constantly buying small little books with blank pages, hoping that these little treasures will help me on my quest to get organized. They never do, but I still cannot stop buying them.

I currently carry the native herbs journal by Jill Bliss. I absolutely adore her work and this journal is beautiful. Each page has little flowers that look like the user had doodled them herself while deciding what to write. It makes me happy to write in. It doesn't make me organized, but it makes me happy.

Every year I always pick up a date book/ planner that I can keep in my purse. I am really bad at writing things down and I never remember to check the planner anyway. But again I always buy them. I used to get them for free when I worked in an office, some vendor or client would hand out these utilitarian, pre-printed pieces of junk. They worked but they were ugly. One year I bought this lovely bright green leather planner. I stopped writing in it around February but I still carried it in my purse and would occasionally pull it out to look at it.

I didn't get one this year. I don't really have all that much going on. The standard wall calendar at home can handle the play dates and library story times just fine. But I still look for just the right book, when I'm at the book store, on Etsy, or any where for that matter. Because maybe just maybe the next book will be the one to get me organized.

So imagine my delight when I was surfing new blogs and came across these beauties from Implexus. They are everything I could possibly want, planner, journal, sketch book. They even have places to store my ATCs and other art work. They are beautiful and handmade. And they are refillable and expandable. I couldn't ask for anything more. So of course I had to buy one.

Note - no pictures of the sweater today because I completely over-estimated my ability to get things done yesterday. I worked on the sleeve I started the day before and its still not done. Too much other cr*p to do.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 48 - Sleeves

So I have vowed to finish the baby sweater this week if it kills me (and it just may). I started on the sleeves yesterday so there isn't much crocheting left to do. I should be able to finish them tonight. Then comes the big test, assembly. I've never done that before so it should be interesting.

I'll post pictures tomorrow of the finished pieces before assembly.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Catch-Up Post Days 45, 46 and 47

So yes I did craft over the weekend. I did a lot of stuff, just none of it at the computer so I'm going to throw it all up here:

Friday - I worked on the baby sweater. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong on the skirt of the sweater, I had to switch needles to get the right gauge. I may actually finish this one.

Saturday - I decided to make myself yet another skinny scarf. Yes I know I only have one neck but I do love scarves so I make them all the time.

Sunday - This was the tastiest of all of my endeavors. Vegan chocolate truffels. I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian but my husband is allergic to cream so when I make deserts I tend to look for vegan options. These were super easy and super delicious. I can't find a link to the recipe but if you want it mention it in the comments and I'll post it here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 44 - Ritual

Every morning I go through a little ritual. I clean off the little white table. I carefully select a clean sheet of paper and place it on the table. I slowly open paint pots, one by one, until the rainbow of colors is ready to be used. I grab the brushes, paper towels and water, ready to clean up any messes that may occur. Then I sit in a tiny pink chair and wait.

The master approaches the paper. She selects a brush. She peruses the colors. She pauses over one before moving on to another, to the right color. She grasps her brush. Wielding it like a weapon, she stabs it into the paint pot until it is covered in her chosen color.

She turns to the page, looking for the perfect place to make her mark. The brush slowly touches the paper, one stroke maybe two. Having served its purpose, the brush is discarded and another is selected. The ritual begins again.

As the master's apprentice, it is my job to clean the brushes. To make sure that all traces of paint are removed so that the colors remain bright and true. An errant splash of green in the white paint would be a catastrophe of epic proportions. The paint must not mix in the pots, it can only mix on the paper.

So there I sit in my tiny pink chair, wiping the brushes on the paper towel. Rinsing and wiping until no color remains. I repeat this task many times, waiting for the masterpiece to be complete.

When it is finally done, she hands it to me so I can marvel at her talent, her brilliance. There is no denying it, what she has created has no equal. It deserves to be hung in the Louvre, the Prado alongside the other masters. I am humble in her presence.

The menial task of clean up falls to me, the master cannot be bothered. So I slowly, carefully close the lids on all the paint pots. I gather the brushes. And then I glance down at my own work. The simple paper towel used for wiping the master's brushes appears to have been touched by her genius. There is no way that I, her lowly servant, could have created something so wonderful. But there it is, a reflection of her work and of my efforts, a thing of beauty has been created.

I look forward to tomorrow so our ritual can begin again.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 43

Its warm, but it won't last. Winter will be back. In fact its coming back as I type. But I can't go back to the warm, comfortable winter clothes I own. I can't handle winter and cold anymore. I need to have spring colors, pretty short sleeved shirts and pretty ballet flats with no socks (ok maybe I'll hold off on the last one for a while).

Can something keep you warm and remind you of spring at the same time? I don't know if its possible but I gave it a try.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 41

Monday, February 9, 2009

Days 39 and 40

I'm begining to rethink how I'm approaching this blog. I'm still crafting every day. I'm still experimenting with different media. I'm still loving what I am doing but the blog is feeling a bit flat.

Should I continue to blog every day, no matter what I have to say?

Should I post pictures of my days creative activity every day and then type an entry when I have the inspiration to say more than look at this?

I take pride in my writing. I've begun to limit my posts on my other blog and I think the writing is better for it. But here the every day thing is affecting what I have to say. There are days when I'm just playing around and there isn't a whole lot to say. I'm finding it hard to come up with something to write about on those days.

What do you think?

(The picture is some experiments in cutting paper from day 39)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 37 - Proud

For the first time in my life, I sat down with a paint brush, scissors and glue and made the exact piece I was envisioning in my mind. Well maybe not exactly the same, because I think it actually turned out better than I imagined.

So many times I've sat down and the piece I was working on didn't turn out. I think that is the reason I've always said I can't draw, that I'm not an artist. Because I have high (sometimes impossibly high) standards, I can never measure up. But then I did.

I saw an ad in a magazine using several levels of cut paper. That intrigued me and I wanted to do something similar. I drew out a design and cut out the template. I had some scraps of mulberry paper which I used for the stems. I had some of my own watercolor paintings that I used for the flowers.

I planed on having a base layer which I would cut the flower shapes from and lay the stems on top. I had an idea for the way I wanted it to look but I didn't know if it was possible to achieve. I'd never done anything like that before. But I bravely grabbed some acrylics and got to work. I layered the paints, hoping that it would turn out. Each time I added a new color I was scared, would it work or would it ruin it? I held my breath when the brush touched the paper. If I could have closed my eyes I probably would have. When I finally put the brushes down and really looked at what I had done. I was amazed. It looked just like I hoped it would. It looked good.

When I assembled the piece it looked good too. I got goosebumps thinking that I had just made art. I wasn't just goofing around. It was art and I was an artist.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 35 and 36 - It Was Bound To Happen

Sometimes life is filled with the best intentions. I intend to do something but life gets in the way. That happened yesterday. I intended to blog last night but I fell asleep at 8:00. I felt just like a little kid but it was something I needed. I needed sleep more than I needed to blog so I don't feel that guilty.

But life did not get in the way of crafting. In fact I've been very productive. I managed to finish (well almost finish) my entry for the Anti-Valentines challenge at Dabbled. I say almost finished because I seem to have misplaced my hole punch so I can't turn it into a pendant yesterday (so I guess life did get in the way a bit).

Edited to add: I found the hole punch and this is what the finished piece looks like. I think its pretty cool.

The pendant is going to have two sides. The first is for when you are happy and in love. It shows a red heart with the words love, joy, happiness and bliss. The second side is for when you "have fallen out of love". I has a breaking heart with a black core and the words pain, anger, heartbreak and betrayal. You can wear which ever side depending on your mood.

I also started a new project yesterday (shocking) that I am finding very fun. I hope to show some pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 34 - Sticking To It

After yesterday's post about how I have a pile of unfinished projects, I realized that I have to stick with more projects and see them to the end. Part of this challenge is moving beyond my comfort zone and growing as an artist and a person.

So to that end, I am almost finished with my entry for the Dabbled anti-Valentine contest. I've been having so much fun drawing hearts, its almost like being in high school again. I've come up with a concept I like and am working on ironing out the details. I hope to have it finished tomorrow or the day after.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 33 - Starting Is Good But Finishing Is Better

So I am 33 days into this little project and I've learned a few things about myself.

First I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to my crafting. I fit the definintion of a person who collects things widely and indiscriminately. I flit from project to project. If it strikes my fancy at the moment I will follow where it leads. Its like every day I see something shiny that distracts me, which leads to my second discovery . . .

I can start projects with the best of them but I don't always finish. Sometimes its because I get distracted easily. Newer is always better. But its also has something to do with my perfectionism. If I can't get it just so, if its not right or perfect, I toss it aside in frustration. I started this sweater for my friend's daughter but for the life of me I cannot get the skirt of the sweater right. I have worked and reworked it but it just does not come out like its supposed to. So it sits there taunting me in a pile of other unfinished projects.

Maybe bigger isn't better for me. Maybe I need to work on small, discrete projects so I can actually accomplish something. Or maybe I just need to follow that shiny muse to see where she takes me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 32 - Plarn

Plarn? What do you mean you've never heard of plarn? Plarn is what all the cool chicks are crafting with these days. Plus plarn is way cool to say.

Plarn for those of you who don't know is yarn made from plastic grocery bags. The bag is cut in strips. The strips are joined into a ball of "yarn". You can then crochet or knit with the plarn.

Yesterday I was at the grocery store when I saw a girl carrying a bag made of plarn. I did something I never do, I stopped her to talk about her bag. Sure enough, her mom had crocheted it out of old plastic bags.

When I go to the store I always bring along my reusable bags. If I have too many groceries I get a little upset that I have to use the plastic bags. But not yesterday. Yesterday I was glad I got those bags because I wanted to make some plarn.

So when I got home I got out my trusty scissors and went to work. I went through three bags but I don't think I have enough to make anything substantial yet. So I'll be working on the plarn for a while. But I'm excited to make something from it.