Sunday, April 25, 2010

A few experiments with paper cloth

I've been a little ordinary old paper lately, and I've been taking an interest in cloth instead.  To this end, I've taken a few basic sewing and quilting classes - not with the idea that I'm going to become a real quilter (not sure that I have that kind of patience - I think quilter would turn into quitter fairly soon.) Not really with the idea that I'll become a real seamstress either - I am perfectly fine with purchasing my clothes.  There is no such thing as anything being "sew easy!"

I never learned to sew at my mother's knee (I can't recall her ever sewing other than when she complained about having to sew my brownie patches onto the uniform).  So to make up for this lack of prior training, I've been taking classes at my local Joann's Fabric with the patient Miss Brenda. Me and the other eight year olds that can outsew me any day.  I'm still pretty intimidated by the women at the fabric counter, the bobbin on my machine still makes me feel a bit uncertain, but I'm slowly learning the nomenclature and thinking of small (very small) things to make.  My goal is to make an art quilt - something nicely impractical. What's the difference between art and craft - how useful it is!  Well, no, that's not really my definition, but it's funny.  In the case of an art quilt, however, by the time you've got all that stuft stuck on there, it would cower in front of a washing machine.

Anyway, to that end I've been reading the book Stitch Alchemy and have found some inspiration in the idea of making "paper cloth" which is basically muslin or similar cheapie fabric saturated in gluey water and then covered in paper strips.  You let the stuff dry overnight, and then collage and embellish - just like regular paper.  This I can deal with.  You can see a couple of examples of what I've been up to with this in the pictures.  I think this has distinct possibilities!

I'm a little concerned that this is definitely in the impractical for regular use category, as I think the dye/ink/paint will most likely run right off the second its exposed to water, but I'm going to experiment with covering it with spray-on sealant, and with sticking gel medium on it, and maybe decoupage medium.  See what sticks, so to speak.  It's some fun, very non-intimidating to make stuff though.  And it's almost like paper - paper I can deal with!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nesting and stitching

Nesting and stitching

Swimming through the sea of reeds and murk

Watching and waiting

Listening in limbo

Wondering if the sleeper is going to awaken

Hello friends - apologies that I haven't posted to this blog in months.  I really am here; I've just been on sort of an art hiatus.  Its not to say that I haven't been doing a few things in the background here, I redecorated my studio, made the 12 days of jewelry at Christmas (guess what were given as gifts this past year?), danced around the edges of art, was fortunate to spend an art playdate in January with my good friend Sarah Whitmire . Heck, i even made a creation for submission to Somerset Studio for an Impressionists idea if it will be accepted, but at least I submitted, right?  The issue comes out next month; haven't heard anything, but I'm viewing it as no news is good news, right?

As a note, still waiting for "Queen Isabella at the Frost Fair" to appear, this was a piece I submitted probably two years ago for Black and White challenge.  I was very excited to have my first published piece of artwork in SS, but due to outside factors beyond anyone's control, (the economy) it's publication was put on semi-forever hold.  It is supposed to be appearing in this Summer's upcoming Somerset Gallery, so hopefully it will and then will wend it's way home.  I'll be happy to see it again!

But all that being said, I haven't been feeling inspired to jump back in to art for me for months. 

I do experience these creative recessions every so often; my muse just goes into sort of a long winter's nap.  She and I normally have a very cool and groovy relationship, in which she spins and dances and keeps me up at night. But, sometimes she just needs to be the introvert like me too.  The bigger me (that's the one the rest of the world sees - has been feeling pretty introverted too.)  I have a long list of correspondence that I need to return letters to, a long list of to-do's that I need to accomplish so I'm less of a feral friend to the folks that send me letters and attempt to keep up with me.  Lord love em!

I feel a bit (a lot) guilty for not making art, but then there's other things that I also really enjoy, like genealogy, and bicycling, and gardening, and so for a while now, I've just done those instead.  And then of course, there's all that boring "real life" stuff like holidays and Christmas cards, and post-holiday hangover (not a real hangover, but I swear I don't recover from December until the end of January) and family matters and a six-week stretch of cleaning out our entire house of nicknacks and junk that have been a bit time and energy consuming. A dear lady on one of the bulletin boards that I read described this sort of thing as "nesting" rather than flying, and that made me feel a bit better about the whole thing.  The guilt and so forth.  Made it seem less lazy, and more necessary.  The creative flow stopping to pick up sticks so to speak.

But as the months have gone on, I have been waiting and wondering and listening to see if the muse is done with her nap.  Beginning to wonder if this hibernation is going on a little too long.  I listened to the very inspiring podcast by Rice Freeman Zachery (notes from the voodoo lounge) on "10 Ways to Jumpstart Inspiration" and followed her suggestion of "try something completely new" so I did a few quilting and sewing classes - way the heck out of my comfort zone.  I'm a paper artist, darn it!.  Overall I quite enjoyed them (though very stressful!  Argh! So much math in sewing!)  and I do want to get a bit more into art quilts, definitely, but I'm not sure that they are the whole answer either.  I redecorated, and I sewed a sofa cover (not artsy, in fact of all things, it's beige, but my dogs seem to love it.)

Which all brings up to today; I was out for a bike ride with my beloved, and we were talking about the-rest-of-our-lives (hey, we're middle aged, the span of time suddenly seems a little less elastic) and he suggested I really do need to get on with this art teaching and getting my art business going.  And with the conviction that spring and sunshine and birds and orange blossoms bring, it suddenly seemed like an awfully good idea. Ideas are beginning to churn around

Am I over the long winter's nap yet?  Jury is still out, but I'm feeling a bit of creative fluttering.  I hope so.

Do you have any muse nap wake-her-uppers?  Any suggestions for your fellow artist(s)?  Bring em on!