Saturday, May 31, 2008
The month of May has not gone at all the way I expected. I had this design worked out early in the month and was ready to start stitching when my sewing time started to dwindle. By the middle of the month I was so involved in family issues that there was NO stitching time! Add into that a wet basement - and workshop - and I'm feeling pretty good about what I DID manage to accomplish!
So, this post is about the Take It Further challenge. This month, Sharon asked ". . . what do you call yourself and why?" in relation to your creative activities. This question has raised a lot of discussion of the old "artist" versus "craftsman/woman" controversy. My feelings have agreed with many of the comments of my fellow challengers. Deb commented that she has resisted calling herself an "artist" and she has a pretty good statement of what an artist does do. I really like Kay's discussion of the word amateur and how the root comes from love. And I really love Jocelyn's choice of a butterfly because she "flits" from one thing to another!
But . . . what do I call MYSELF? I have always planned to be an artist when I grow up. (DH would jump in here to point out that hasn't happened yet!) I studied many different art subjects in school and have taken classes in several others since leaving school. BUT - apparently I am conflicted about what is an artist. I realize that one need not be a professional (ie, make money) but I hesitate to claim the title without the income. Does that make sense? No, of course not. On the other hand, I have always felt that "crafter" and "craftswoman" are not quite professional enough. After all, I DO have all that training! Well, I guess my prejudices pop out every now and again. I have tried recently calling myself a "fiber artist" but it is not a comfortable fit.
So, when someone asks me what I do (now that I'm retired), I usually say "I'm a dollmaker." If they are interested in hearing more I might talk about fiber arts and figurative arts, but most people are happy with Dollmaker and I like the fit. So this piece is called The Dollmaker. It is hand embroidered on 22 count Aida. I'll post more pix when it is finished.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
This was a scene in my college dormitory - obviously a rainy day. I don't remember the umbrellas being very colorful. But, of course, if I use them in a fiber design they will be a riot of color!
A self portrait at the ripe old age of . . . seventeen! I don't dare try that nowadays. LOL!
Ideas for a library poster. I saw a dragon character in a book or something (it was a very long time ago) and did several sketches of this dragon with the idea of a series promoting the local library. I don't remember actually using any of them, though. Rats!
I hope to be back in the studio before too long. Stay tuned.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Coming up - pictures of the last two lessons:
In Lesson 4 we learned a faux leather technique. Quite interesting! I used a map from a calendar for the insides and it made a nice, masculine journal. My brother has it now.
The Lesson 5 journal was a good "list" journal, so I kept it for myself! I am an incurable list-er. And by the way, I love shoes! Ya think?
I was having so much fun, I had to do an extra journal - like for extra credit? This one was to keep all the lessons - and the wonderful tips and inspiration from my classmates and so forth. It will be easy to add to this journal, because Sue is working on a follow-up class. Can't wait!
Last, but not least: I had so much fun making the faux leather that I had to do more! Some of these will be Mother's Day gifts. They are all very similar - and all very different. Had a ball using up stickers and rub-ons and pretty papers.
I think I am journaled out for the time being. I'm sure I'll come up with some ideas later on. For now, tho, I am ready to start May's TIF challenge. More to come later.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
How am I doing: Not as well as I would like, perhaps, but meeting the minimum goal at least. I dithered around with the April concept and finally went with the color challenge because it was faster!
Lessons Learned: I started April too late to do what I really wanted to. This is what happens when you put it off. This is my number 1 goal and it should take a higher priority than I’ve given it so far.
Next Step: I’ve made some sketches for the May challenge. It is coming together in my head – just need to get it onto cloth.
Goal #2: Participate in the Stargaze Tome group’s Tome Page-A-Month project
How am I doing: I am pleased with the work I am doing on this project. April is not quite finished (see the front at right), but it is getting quite close and I am ready to start May. (You can see March's page here.)
Lessons Learned: I need to plan better for the unexpected (?). Being sick for almost two weeks really upset the apple cart!
Next Step: Finish the April page and start on May
Goal #3: Complete the Hatmaking class I took four (!) years ago
How am I doing: On target. Still working on getting more elaborate and ornate, but I am comfortable with the way this project is going.
Lessons Learned: I tried making two hats one right after the other last month. Hatmaking takes a degree of concentration – it’s a different type of art – and it is easier for me to make two or three while in the mode - or mood or whatever.
Next Step: Hat for May is a turban style. There’s opportunity for lots of ornamentation!
Goal #4: Use a book or tool to explore new techniques or refine un-mastered skills – preferably incorporated with the other goals – at least once a month
How am I doing: In April I used the Square in a Square ruler to complete the TIF piece. I am using lots of design ideas from various books I’ve collected. The Journalmaking class helped me use up quite a bit of fabric and paper stash.
Lessons Learned: This is actually proving to be harder than expected. Perhaps a case of “too much input.” I am struggling a lot to decide what to do next!
Next Step: There are some more quilt templates to try. And LOTS of books and magazine articles!
Goal #5: Keep doll making as a focus for my creativity
How am I doing: Finished Iris for my doll club’s Over the Rainbow project. Also prepared and taught a “class” (pretty informal) on making puppets. Mr. Toad is sewn and stuffed and almost ready to dress.
Lessons Learned: I am enjoying learning new skills with my online classes, but there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of a finished doll! I guess I really am a dollmaker.
Next Step: I’ll finish the Toad and then start looking for the next doll project.
Goal #6: Enter the Hoffman Challenge – and any other appropriate challenge as they come up
How am I doing: I have sketches and fabric for the Hoffman Challenge. Just found out I won second place in the Doll Crafter & Costuming magazine hat challenge! See the July issue - cover illustrated to the left. You can see the hat above at Goal #3.
Lessons Learned: The next step needs to be better defined when doing these reviews. Last one was pretty vague and I have not progressed very far with this particular goal.
Next Step: Time to ramp up on this project. I will be sewing a test muslin this month.
Goal #7: Review the above 6 goals every 6-weeks and blog about my progress
How am I doing: This is the third review. Oh, um, yeah. It’s a day late. I DID start yesterday – does that count?
Lessons Learned: Watch the calendar! I lost a day there somewhere and spaced on when this one was due. Jeez – old-timer’s disease!
Next Step: June 17 – almost halfway through the year. Hope I do better!