How I Make a Sweater
The 5 Keys to Making Art You Love
My Creative Emergency Toolkit
Getting back to the art journals
Friday 5: Random Pre-Valentine’s Day Love
I suppose you could say I have always had a thing for art. Most of us creative types generally do. Once we are introduces to crayons and the ability to make marks to express what is in our noggin, we are hooked. I have always been an advocate for having some creative projects that are not connected to how you make your living. Something that is not influenced by trends or kudos or profit margins. For me that means stepping outside of the medium that is my income. I started knitting when I was a graphic designer for that very reason. Now that fiber art is my full time work, here are some of the other things I do to keep my creative brain nimble.
The Cary Arts Center. OMG. I love this place. I have never lived in a place with such a beautiful, well funded program for the arts. The community classes that are offered are so freaking awesome. Better yet, once you take a class there are studios where you can dive right into your new found skills and create to your hearts content. AND it is so insanely cheap. AND filled with so much equipment. So far I have take three classes. And have passes for two studios. Here is what I have been playing with
Fused Glass. This is another one of those thing I thought I would never have interest in. But on a whim I signed up for the class, got hooked on the enthusiasm of my awesome teacher, and have been making plates bowls suncatchers and pendants. My latest thing is making glass puddles for pendants. They are super easy and is a great way to use up scrap glass. Pulling these little jewels from the kiln is like Christmas. I definitely have all my birthday and Christmas gifts for the year, yet I just can’t stop making these. I have been researching ideas for windchimes and night lights, so I image those are next. Here is my Glass Inspiration Pinterest Board.
Clay. I have had a lifelong fascination with clay. And this is certainly not my first rodeo with the wheel. But in the studio orientation, I FAILED the wheel portion of the test. It had been 10 years, and I was rusty! AND the glaze room was so large and there are so many types of glazes I was just not familiar with. I am so freaking glad I am working through a refresher, because there is also a bunch of equipment I have never used before as well. I am really interested in making some wall tiles that I can incorporate some fiber with. I also want to make some coffee mugs and gigantic noodle soup bowls. I want to try all the techniques, there are just so many different styles I love. AND THE GLAZES!!! I want to throw a large set of tumblers just to play with the dozens upon dozens of glazes and all the possibilities. I am making a set of pendants that are essential oil diffusers as well. My Pinterest clay inspiration board is ginormous.
Graphic Design. It is funny to write this, but I find myself LOVE LOVE LOVING to work on my website. I love making pretty graphic quotes. I was a graphic designer for 25 years, and now I get to do it without a sales rep breathing down my neck.
Art Journaling. If you have been following me for a while, you know I am a huge advocate for art journaling. It is related to the sketch books we learned to keep in art school that helped us develop our ideas into an actual piece. And for many it was a place to harness passing inspirations for later. I can honestly say art journals have been the glue that holds all of my work together. It is my paper brain. Here is my Pinterest board for Art Journals.
Painting. Painting is not something I do too often, but it is definitely something I enjoy when I do. In 2015 and 2016, I took Alena Hennissey’s A Year of Painting series. It totally changed the way I approach painting and I find it LIBERATING. It is almost like a deeper approach to my work than art journaling, with a little bit of soul healing tossed in. I mostly work in Acrylic, but have found a love for mixed media. My favorite mixed media tools are Inks, paint pens and collage. Here is a link to my mixed media Pinterest board.
So, share with me. Do you have any other mediums you like to work in? Please share in the comment below and by all means! If you have any picture you want to share, do so on my FB page of in the Fiber Art collective.
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I woke up this morning with art on my mind…I was obsessed with potholder looms
You know the kind you use to make those girl scout craft potholder, that uses loops of knit fabric. I imagine for many of us it was the first kind of weaving we ever did. For me it was not so much about the potholders as much as it was about the small loom and all the other possibilities I was imagining I could create on the little 7x7 loom. This has been an idea festering in my head for months now, and I was sick of not acting on it.
Okay maybe it was a little bit about the pot holders…
I love the asymmetrical designs that remind me of Gee’s Bend Quilts.
So after my day of pot holder obsession, I began to play with some possibilities working yarn on the little loom. Now I know it seems counter intuitive that I am moving away from say a table or floor loom. Here are some of the reasons I am actually looking to go with a smaller loom as opposed to moving to a bigger more complex loom.
I hate warping. The bigger and more complex the loom, the longer it takes to warp. In fact once you get to something like an 8 heddle floor loom, you could easily spend more time warping a loom than actually weaving. Now granted a Saori loom does have a feature that allows one to easily warp their loom by using a rewound warp and changing out the removable beam. And there are also tricks of tying a new warp onto the end of the old and advancing the ties through the heddles. But for the most part. I am just not a fan.
Looms are expensive. Maybe when my profit margins are bigger, I might consider a bigger loom. And in terms of teaching others to weave, it just makes more sense to help others find their art without such a hefty financial commitment.
Art weaving is best in small doses. This is totally my opinion. My short stubby body can not pull off too much lock spun without looking like Fred Flintstone. If I want art weaving to be a focal point, the best way to do that is by surrounding it with a contrast of smoother textures.
Instant gratification, diving deeper into study. My ceramics teacher recently said, “When you get an idea, exhaust it. Don’t just make it once, make it 10, 20, 30 times. Explore it deeply.” YES! This. When you do a technique just once, it remains just that. A technique. When you do it over and over and over again, each time you are adding you own style to what you are making. It becomes your art. Working on a smaller loom takes way less time to to finish a piece than a length of cloth. You can blow through a series in no time. I find myself flush with new ideas when I am working with smaller weavings.
A different approach to construction. Nothing makes me want to drink wine more than having to cut fiber art. And If I am making yardage of hand woven cloth for a garment, that is exactly what I would have to do. In my reference library, most of the garment books specific to hand woven cloth spend a lot of time constructing garments with the least amount of cuts possible. I have been toying with ways to piece a garment as you would in freeform crochet of working with granny squares.
So, this week I am working through the quirks of this loom, exploring different ways to warp, different ways to finish. I am really hating the gap of “teeth” in the corners. But once the square is off the loom, It seems to close up naturally. I can feel this frustration dampening that fiber obsession with my pot holder loom, just a little bit. So I am looking for a win to get me back in the drive. And that is what fiber obsession really is, a drive.
So what is rocking your creative juices right now? what are you working on? You know I love to hear about your work. It inspires me so much. Leave me a comment below, or head over the the FB page and/or FB group(Sign up below!) and share your work.
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Alright fiberista’s Day 31!! woo hoo a month of biz and studio reorganization has come to a close. And while I am so freaking excited to have a newly rehabbed space to start my 2017 strong, there is still quite a bit I would like to still do. But the big news is I can find my shit easily and it will not take an entire day to clear a surface to work. AND I have some new systems in place to be able to approach the admin side of my business with a bit more structure which will not only ease my mind but mack my accountant happy.
So, here it is!! here is my studio:
The Reference Library
So easy to find what I am looking for now.
Mostly Shop Stash
With a couple of others things. Most of this will probably be folded into the working stash throughout the year as I get back to dyeing in limited quantities and rethink how and what I will be offering in the form of yarn and fiber in the future. It will mostly depend on what kind of dyeing I can manage own my new space.
All in one place and organized.
The needles and hooks
Crazy organized by size.
Working Art Journal Supplies
Because I am so getting back in the saddle on the art journaling…
The Art Stuff Cabinet
The other stuff for the other art I make…although this cabinet could be a slippery slope to a small art supply hoarding problem.
The fiber closet
And damn it I just found two more straggling fleeces in a trunk. WTFF? I have a good bit of washing a dyeing to tackle.
WIP, More Yarn and Roving Stash
Although I could probably go through these again…and will…
The drafting table hot spot
Will clearly be a problem spot for me. This is my main work surface.
The work table hot spot
Yeah, this one too. I need to be able to access this space for reading out the big pieces.
And the hallway
Oh look a new hot spot… yeah I need to be able to actually get in and/or out of the studio to really get the work done.
So you see…less than perfect. But i am now able to start the new year with a working space. So part of my intentions was to be able to set up my space that is more in line with my main art goals: growing a sustainable business and body of fiber art.
This year I am going to keep on top of this space and do a reassessment quarterly along with a new purge(to keep from letting the languishing materials clogging the feng shui. I have also restructured my daily schedule to be a little more balanced, I tend to get lost in the admin crap leaving the art to be back-burnered.
So Happy New Year y’all. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you guys. Your emails sharing your work and inspirations saw me through some major changes and stress of a move across state. YOU drive me to be a better artist and to do what I can to be a part of a tribe that honors each artist for their unique visual language no matter where they are in that journey to find that voice. Here’s to 2017 and all the possibilities to build lofty fibery dreams. Thank you for letting me be a part of yours.
The last task I have for the studio revamp is migrating the newsletter to a new service. So I will be back in a couple of weeks with a whole new newsletter. Don’t worry it you have been on my list, you should be migrated automatically, but if you are not on my list and would like to be, sign up below. See you next year!
One more day to go y’all.
It is hard to believe I have been at this for a month. And I am not gonna lie, I don’t feel like I will be finished. At least not in the sense of a perfectly organized studio space and business. It is something I am coming to terms with. For the most part the best laid plans for me usually fall apart in the execution. I can be quite the systems girl. And can create some killer work flows with forms, schedules, spreadsheets, and files. However I find I need a bit of flexibility to really find something I will stick with. And there is also a fine line between A clean studio, a packed studio and one where my materials are available in a way that I can see them and be inspired yet comfortable to hang out in.
So this evening I am taking inventory of my accomplishments and what is left to do. First what I got done:
- Organized the resource library
- Organized the needles and hooks
- Organized the notions
- Donated a ginormous box of needles and hooks to a local knitting charity
- Cataloged and purged the WIPs
- Organized and purged the spinning add-ins
- Organized and purged the plying yarns
- Consolidated the fiber/fleece stash to one closet
- Organized and purged the Mixed media supplies (journaling and painting)
- Began the news filing system
- Found my new bookkeeping system
- Found and began migrating new email newsletter service as well as new opt-in and lead page integrations
- Reworked my studio schedule to reflect my new business goals
- Reassessed my inventory management system
- And the one thing I really wanted to achieve this month, manage a daily blogging schedule with email notifications.
As I mentioned, there is still a good bit I need to do. And I will continue to work on as I begin my new work flow next week.
- Inventory the dye blanks
- Inventory and catalog finished work
- Go through the stash yarn one more time(I have already gone through it 4 times in the last 2 years, letting go has been..um.. a process)
- Organize office supply shelves
- Tackle the nightmare that are my computer files
So there is is! Like I said not perfect, but done to the point where I can focus on next years business goals. And that my friends I am going to share with you tomorrow along with pictures of my studio!
3 more days y’all
At this point I am down to the Plowing through to make a deadline phase. When I started this challenge 29 days ago the intention was to get my shit together so I could start the new year with focus and boundless creatively. And to blog daily…
Aside from the blog part I have tackled the studio challenge totally and completely imperfectly. As I look across my room, It is still a hot mess and I have a lot to do in the next couple of days. But the hot mess has a definite direction and I do not feel at a loss looking for my stuff.
One of the things I am definitely going to do is schedule a monthly check in to go through the stuff, and make sure my set up and stash is still serving my business. If there is one thing I learned about this studio purge and reorganization, it is I tend to overlook a lot of supplies and tools out of habit. Things that I have hung on to because they had always defined some part of my work. But my work and business has changed so very much over the last 10 years. And it seems for some things it has taken having to look at them objectively more than once (sometimes 5-6-7 times) to really be able to let them go.
I know it is all just stuff. As an artist, stuff represents a path to visual language.
Alright off to bust it out! Tomorrow I am taking inventory of all that I have done.