Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: Time vs. Energy...

Do you ever feel like there's not enough time in your day? week? year? to get everything done that you want and need to?

Do you feel like even if there were enough time, that you wouldn't have the energy to do what you needed and wanted to do anyway?

Do you feel like — in this day and age — the demands on your time and productivity (especially at work) has increased significantly from last year? from 5 years ago? heck, how about from last week?

Moving forward, do you feel like the demands on your time and what you need to accomplish will increase?

Yeah... me too! But guess what? We're not built for all that work. Find out why in this amazingly pertinent lecture by Tony Schwartz: The Myths of the Overworked Creative. I couldn't have said it better myself!

So have a great Thursday everybody. Grab a cuppa. Watch this video. And then have yourself a little recharge session... "doctor's" orders!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Giving Birth to Multiples...

Well, these dolls aren't a piece of cake (okay, well... maybe one is!), but giving birth to multiples has never been so much fun! I made lots of progress over the weekend sewing together the doll fronts, picking out just the right buttons and baubles for facial features and finding coordinating (or not!) fabrics for the backing. All my little ones are starting to show their personalities...

Some of them I thought were.... eh, just okay... but as I pair disparate textiles with coordinating elements, I'm beginning to see how much they are coming to life. This little clown is definitely pointing me in the right direction.

Anyone have a sweet tooth? I have a couple... ooops, looks like it's cracking up. Maybe too many Easter Sweet Tarts. I knew I shouldn't have had so many! Oh... and I love, I love, I love my little calendar girl! Looks like May and June are coming up... well... from 1979 that is... and this burlap wall calendar I found at a church bazaar. How bizarre.

And of course, no children of mine will being going without cake. Sweet tooths run in the family, you know. And hanging out in the back there is cloudy. He's a little off today... but we love him anyway.

I still have a few more rag dolls to sew together, but more pressing work (and I'm not talking about ironing!) has me tied up at the moment. I'm doing a custom Knock Down Doll order for a boardwalk themed wedding and need to create bride and groom artwork. Looks like Tillie's finally getting married!

But, you know all my children will be demanding my attention. They are kind of cutely adorable and very hard to resist. So, I'll keep you up to date as things progress.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: Fabulous Fabric!

I'm not sure what it is about fabric... but I love it! All those amazing colors and patterns! New styles. Vintage linens. Mixing and matching swatches until my heart's content. I must confess though... I collected fabric for years before I even knew what to do with it. All I knew was that if I saw a piece of material that took my breath away... I had to own it!

I had so much fun making those rag dolls recently, that I went kinda crazy. I bought all sorts of fabric from 3 different stores... I rifled through my decades-old collection of vintage textiles... and even ripped up a few pieces of my own clothing!

My whole downstairs became a doll-making factory! The dining room table turned into a pattern station. The kitchen table became an assembly area. And when I ran out of room there, I broke out the ironing board (of course for crafts only, not for actually ironing clothes!), and turned that into a makeshift workstation.

I used combinations of fabrics that worked perfectly together and some that looked rather odd, but in a cool kinda way. I made dolls that looked like people, and turned inanimate objects into funny-faced figures as well. When all was said and done, I had made patterns and cut out pieces for more than 20 dolls!

So I guess I better get on that sewing machine and get some of these guys done lickety split! Craft Show season is soon approaching!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Starting From Scratch...

And then the right brain said to the left hand... I love you more!

Who knew that what started as an artistic exercise in letting go and getting in touch with my childlike self... would lead me to realize so much about what's going on in my subconscious! In practicing mark-making, scribbling and symbol drawing for Mindy Lacefield's Paint Your Story workshop, she encouraged us to use our non-dominant hand (mine's the left) for some of the time. And when I did... oh boy... I fell in love! In fact, I loved my drawings so much more that I did with my left hand that I found myself saying...

...don't practice too much Lefty, we don't want you to start drawing like Righty!

And then I had an epiphany. Why was I being so nice to my left hand who was drawing all crooked and off kilter like a child? And the things I was saying to my left hand kind of felt like I was talking to a child...

It's okay to make mistakes.... you're just starting out. Don't get all wrapped up in the outcome... just enjoy the process. Don't worry if you don't like what you make, we'll just make another one.

But on the other hand (literally!), what have I been saying to my right hand for all these years? Well, it turned out to be things like this...

You suck. You're not good enough. You'll never be good enough. You might as well give up now because you're not capable. You can keep trying, but you're not going to get it right... no matter how hard you try!

Well, how awful is that? I mean... you wouldn't talk to a child that way, would you? Of course not! So I decided to make some changes. I'm going to take a left-handed approach in the way I talk to myself. I'm going to be kinder to myself. I'm going to pretend I'm talking to that enthusiastic young girl in me who doesn't know how to give up yet. The one who might need a little gentle encouragement. And I'm going to be really nice to her. And if I forget... well... I'll just put that pencil in my left hand and start from scratch.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: I Got Your Back!

Did you ever wish you could attach a cute little 3D embellishment to your project but were reluctant because it was hollow in the back with only a very thin edge? I know I've asked myself, "how can I do this and be sure it's going to stay put?" Well, I'm going to share with you my special method! So... here we go...

Step 1: Grab your embellishment and protect your work table with a non-stick surface. Here I'm using Ranger's Non-Stick Craft Sheet. 

Step 2: Tear up small pieces of paper towel. Paint one piece with a gel medium on both sides. Make sure it's nice and saturated, but not drippy. I'm using Claudine Hellmuth Studio Multi-Medium, also from Ranger.

Step 3: Next you're going to take your gel medium-soaked piece of paper towel and "stuff" it inside your embellishment. You can use a toothpick to make sure it's pushed into all the little nooks and crannies.

Continue painting your pieces of paper towel with gel medium and pushing them into the back of your embellishment until they are even with the back edge of the charm (you can even turn it over onto your non-stick surface for one final "push" to make sure the paper towels are nice and even). Let this dry overnight.

Step 4: So now your embellishment is ready to securely be added to whatever surface you like. Here is the necklace that's waiting for it's little brass kitty cat. Put a glob of gel medium onto the backside of your "stuffed" embellishment and put in place. Don't press it all the way onto your piece too hard. Place it so that there is just a wee bit of "breathing room" for the medium. You'll get a much better hold that way, as all your glue won't all squish out from underneath your charm.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this process as I know I did when I tried it. Opens up a whole new set of possibilities!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On The Rag...

You know how you get something in your head that you want to try and it won't get out of your head until you try it and then once you start, you just can't stop yourself until you finish... but then when you finish you want to try more and more possibilities until you've exhausted them all... but then you realize that the possibilities are endless and just exhaust yourself in the process of thinking about it? Yeah, me too!

Well, that's exactly what happened when i decided to try my hand at creating some fun and funky rag dolls from my vintage scraps and new bits of fabric. Having been inspired by doll artist Junker Jane, I thought I would try my hand at a few creatures of my own. I loved every part of the process, too! Picking out and matching fabrics was so much fun. I love mixing all kinds of funky prints.

Okay, well... maybe I'm fibbing a little about loving every part of the process. I realized that I really do love sewing... it's sewing machines that I dislike! Maybe I got a bad apple, or maybe I just don't know enough about them (quite possible), but mine keeps jamming up. But I move on and adore my fabric creations anyway. Hey... he looks pretty cool inside out though! Just don't pay attention to those extra loops of thread!

Distressing is a must for me. It really completes the folk art feel of the dolls and gives them an aged appearance. Always fun to get messy and dirty with brown acrylic paint!

Add some odd-length arms, embroidery floss hair and a puffball nose and he's all set. This orangy clown looks like a Herman to me. He's almost two feet tall! I didn't mean to make him that large, but what the heck... I went with it. Bigger is better, right?

Pinky here was actually my first (of course I started with a monochromatic pink palette!), but I didn't take too many pictures along the way because I wanted to get lost in the process.... which I did. In fact, my mind was racing with so many ideas about other dolls, that I couldn't sleep. I gave up, got out of bed, and finished her up around 2 a.m.!

She's a cutie pie and I had so much fun making her! I can definitely see more of these rag dolls in my future... as my mind is still racing and the sketchbook is filling up with lots and lots of ideas! If you're looking for me... I'll be at the fabric store!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter to My Peeps...

Hi everybody! Just wanted to pop in to say I hope you have a wonderful Easter and that it is filled with soft, gooey, sugar-coated marshmallow. Only kidding! I hope it's filled with close family, wonderful friends and good times. Have a happy holiday!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: Play Time!

As an artist sometimes you want to take a break from doing your own work... add some new techniques to your repertoire... and, well... just have a little fun! And that's what I'm going to do. Mindy Lacefield — an artist I've admired for some time now — is teaching an online class entitled Paint Your Story. In it, she'll show you how to paint from your uninhibited 7-year-old's perspective. To let go... to be free... to play!

I had actually entertained taking the class when she first wrote about it. Funny thing is... she ended up in the Jesse Reno class I recently took! Seeing her work in person and getting to know her a little better made me think... oh yeah... I need to learn these playful techniques. Classes start on April 9th and I'm so excited!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Check It Out...

Whew! In the past 8 days, I've been to three different venues to sell my work. That's a lotta places! And they were all different.... the Art Vendor Fair in Ocean Grove had a nice, roomy 8 foot table, while Made In Monmouth (above) had a shorter 6 foot table, and then there's the Rumson, NJ Oceanic Library, where my jewelry will be featured for the month of April... I get a whole case to myself there! But I have to say it's been challenging and fun to figure out how to merchandise all of the different art, dolls, jewelry (and more!) that I make. And, it's weird but... I think I'm getting the hang of it!

Although, I must say... the space at the Oceanic Library is a dream!! I get an entire round case all for myself! Having sold my work mostly at art & craft shows, it was a bit strange having lots of time to set things up right, merchandising with fun props, and making everything look pretty and inviting! Usually I'm just throwing everything on a set of tables in a two hour span before a show begins. This was a relaxing alternative.

So much space and so many ways to display my work. And having an interesting way of accessing the space, led to some unusual, but kinda cool solutions... like with this earring tree...

The lovely ladies that run the library were very helpful and encouraging, and were fawning over my upcycled vintage jewelry creations. They think I'll do really well... and added that most of the jewelry artists do in this location. And 20% of all sales go toward this non-profit library... so that's a bonus!

Oh, and I even got my name on the marquis! How cool is that? Double bonus!!

If you'd like to stop by and take a look at my jewelry, I'll be at the Oceanic Library in Rumson, NJ for the entire month of April. So go ahead... check it out!