Monday, August 30, 2010

YOU MIGHT BE A DIE HARD CRAFTER IF...

Handy Hubby had the week off work last week and it was kind of a long week to be sure, this is how it began...I'd been sitting on the sofa all of 49 minutes when I noticed the restless twitch begin. I turned to see if Handy Hubby had noticed. Oh yeah, he noticed, big time. I returned his cheeky little boy gin with an equally cheeky little girl one with the same air of challenge. I can do this. I can do this. I. CAN. DO. THIS! rolled through my mind as I sat there ever so serenely. I fooled no one, not him and not myself.

I casually got up to his questioning where ya goin' look and said I was just going to get a magazine. One whole entire minute later, much to my horror, I realized that I had packed a magazine I had already read...from cover to cover. Nooooo! This cannot be happening my thoughts shouted. So I sat and thumbed through the pages looking at pictures I had already seen while feigning interest.
This is supposed to be relaxing I kept reminding myself. It is only for a few days, which, by the way, felt like a few years stretching out before me. Why on earth did I let him goad me into the bet? Rewinding the conversation in my mind I pictured myself standing in my studio contemplating what to bring with me to the farm to keep myself entertained. He poked his head in the door telling me to take a break and just leave it. I looked at him like he had two heads.

That is when he challenged me...to go a few whole days at the farm without ANY crafting supplies or projects. Just so you know, this no crafting thing was added to the list of the fact that the farm gets zero TV reception, no cell phone signal, no cable/satellite, no Internet, a radio that gets a scratchy country station, and no people in sight. This was his version of Survivor and for some stupid reason I decided to rise to the challenge...no crafting for a few days, easy peasy!
Jerking back to the present I checked the clock, yep, I'd sure enough been sitting on the sofa a whole 49 minutes...absorbed in silence...looking out the window...when my leg began to bounce...my body started to fidget...and I thought I felt something akin to a full blown panic attack set in. I plastered a placid look on my face as he passed me, tool kit in hand, to fix the plumbing under the bathroom sink and that is when I cheated. Yes, people, I admit it...I CHEATED!

While I was twitching my mind was busy doing a mental inventory of ALL the contents of the house. Scissor? Check! Glue or tape? Nope, dried out, nuts! Maybe I could invent a paste from flour and water? Paper? Lined note pad, old phone book, yellowed newspaper lining hall shelf (might be a good find!), wax paper, freezer wrap, paper towels, toilet paper! Check, check, and check, well, maybe not the toilet paper. Coffee filters! Check! Oh, there might be food coloring, there is coffee and tea...dye! Check!
Think, think, think...B.I.N.G.O! THE BUTTON BOX!!! I did not think anyone had removed the button box! Happy happy joy joy! Happy happy joy! Do you even know what a score a button box is? It not only has buttons but needles, threads, little patches of denim, thimbles, and trinkets of all sorts. And, I knew where some fabric was, nana nana boo boo!

With great stealth I slipped past the bathroom while his head was under the sink. My heart was thudding in my chest at getting caught. Holding my breath I stepped into Granny's old room and there it was, just as it had always been, the black tin with colorful flowers on top, resting on the back right corner of the chest of drawers. Gingerly lifting it from its resting place I cradled it like some priceless treasure while tip toeing over to the big bouncy iron bed.
Scooting to the middle I opened the tin. As I quietly sifted through the contents, I discovered there was almost everything a crafter would need alongside the imagination to create something. I put everything back and slipped into the laundry/mudroom quickly fingering through the "rag bag" as Granny called it and hit pay dirt - old pieces of linen from a worn out table cloth, barely there soft scraps of bleached thin t-shirts, faded prints from sheeting, scraps of overall denim, oh the possibilities! But wait...there was that bet thing.

I heard the metallic clink of tool hitting tool as they were being placed back in the tool box. Scooting through the kitchen to avoid being detected I whoosed back into my spot on the sofa just in the nick of time. As he passes he asks me if I have figured out what I was going to do yet while giving me a look as if he suspects I have been up to something but he can't quite figure it out. I ask him if I can borrow his little work computer from his truck. He wants to know why. I simply said I felt a blog post coming on.
Two hours and seven minutes later I have not actually cheated, unless thinking about it and sort of planning for it counts, a blog post is born and saved to WordPad, it is almost time for a big night out on the town, a trip the local Daisy Queen, serving the community since 1966, for a fish basket, with only 59 hours and 53 more minutes to go...until I am back in the studio!

You might be a die hard crafter if you can't go more than 49 minutes without withdrawal symptoms showing up...jonesing for glue gumming up your fingers, the sound of scissors snipping, or doing a mental supply inventory that might even include the unlikely supply of toilet paper!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

P.S. Funny note to tack on to the end of the story...We were supposed to stay for a few days at the farm...resting and relaxing, at Handy Hubby's suggestion, right? By 10:00 AM on day two of said resting and relaxing trip...HE had had enough of doing without all his modern amenities and was rushing me to pack and head home! Probably saved me from really cheating but lets just keep that between us, shall we? So, technically, I won the bet!

Friday, August 27, 2010

CLOTH PAPER SCISSOR ARTISAN SEARCH 2011...

I just recently found out about this fantastic opportunity and had to share it with you! Cloth Paper Scissors is searching for 25 semi-finalist with five of those being chosen for winners as their Artisans of the Year! I only wish I had known a little sooner to give you more time to meet the September 13, 2010 deadline. But, there is still time to enter if you are interested.
Here are the RULES and FAQ's:
rules

To enter, simply choose one of the five Artisan categories (Mixed-media Stitch, Art Journal and Book Making, Printmaking and Silk Screening, Mixed-media Jewelry, and Collage and Assemblage) and upload low-resolution images (72 dpi) of three different projects/art pieces to the appropriate Artisan gallery at clothpaperscissors.com. In the description section of each upload, include a description of your piece of art and up to two detail images. Send an email with the same three images and detail photos (72dpi) to Artisans@clothpaperscissors.com with “ARTISAN SUBMISSION” in the subject line. Include in the email: your username (the one you use on clothpaperscissors.com), full name, address, phone number, and the Artisan category you are entering. You must complete both the email and the upload to be entered in the competition. You will receive an automated response acknowledging that your email has been received.

All entries must be received by 5:00 P.M. EST on September 13, 2010. Entrants must be U.S. residents and 18 years of age or older. Interweave employees are not eligible to participate. You may enter more than one category, but only one submission per category will be accepted.

Twenty-five semifinalists (five in each of the five categories) will be selected by Cloth Paper Scissors® and Interweave staff and announced on September 27, 2010, on Editor Jenn Mason’s blog at clothpaperscissors.com. All 25 semifinalists will be contacted by email and required to ship their original art to the Cloth Paper Scissors offices by October 15, 2010. Artwork will be kept for one year, with all art returned to artists by November 2011. The semifinalists’ artwork will be judged by a special panel, and the Artisan 2011 winners will be announced October 22, 2010, by Editorial Director Pokey Bolton and Editor Jenn Mason on their blogs at clothpaperscissors.com. For more information and to obtain a CPS community username, visit clothpaperscissors.com. Artisan search 2011 Calling all artists—the search is on! By entering the Cloth Paper Sciss ors® Artisan 2011 search, you are authorizing Interweave Press LLC to publish your art in upcoming publications and promotional materials, on our website, and in other Interweave e-media, as well as possibly display it at shows. Interweave Press LLC will not be held responsible for loss or damage due to circumstances beyond our control.

FAQs

Q: Can the art I upload be work that has been previously published?

A: No; it is important that the art you upload has not been published anywhere else.

Q: Can the art I upload be previously posted on my blog or website?

A: Yes.

Q: Does my art need to be free of any images which may be under copyright by another person?

A: Yes; it is important to respect copyright. Unless you have the expressed written permission of the person or party that holds the copyright, do not include any copyrighted images in your work.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for photographing my artwork?

A: Try shooting your art in indirect natural light. Turn off the flash. If you have a small piece, try using the “macro” setting on your camera. Always shoot against a white or neutral background. Remember you want these pictures to show us your art in the best light. If you don’t think the photos are good, we probably won’t either. We’d hate to miss out on really great art because we only had dark or blurry images to look at.

Q: Where do I put detail shots of the image I want to upload?

A: When you upload an image there is a description field where you can add additional photos and text.

Q: If I win, what would I receive?

A: Each of the five category winners will receive the title of Artisan 2011 and with that all the rights and privileges that accompany such a distinction, including: a feature in On Our Radar artist spotlight, recognition in all Cloth Paper Scissors® social-media outlets, potential editorial opportunities for the 2011 calendar year, and a fabulous prize package filled with wonderful mixed-media and collage products from our sponsors.

Q: Can I enter in more than one category?

A: You are welcome to enter a complete submission to more than one category. You can only win in one category, and you can only enter each category once.

To check this out visit the Cloth Paper Scissors site HERE and then click on "events & news" and then click on "Artisan Rules & FAQ's" where you will find the information I have listed above.

Under the same tab of "events & news" you will also find "readers challenges" with some fun possibilities. These constantly change so you will want to check in on this tab frequently and you might just find yourself published between the pages of this fantastic publication!

I am entering and I hope you will too! Have a super wonderful weekend!

Blessings,

Miss Sandy

Thursday, August 26, 2010

WOOD YOU LOOK AT THIS!

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful.

-Alice Walker-(Wood Texture Photo above courtesy of Free Background Wallpaper)

This past Friday my friend, Pam, came over for a craft day. As she was leaving I walked outside with her and we stood talking. I looked down and saw this wonderful piece of wood. Wood you look at this, a perfect bird shape!I love the grungy back side too!I so have plans to use this in a future art piece. I want to make a cast of it first as I have a couple of ideas for its use.

Sunday afternoon I was walking down to the barn when I saw this...A perfect swans head! With a little sanding and paint I feel another theater character coming on, sort of in the fashion of the stone headed Shakespearean Raven I made last year...I see the swan as more of a storybook type character, wings splayed, like a marionette. Now do you see why I have such a hard time getting all my projects done? There are always so many ideas cropping up from so many places.

I wood hope that when I get to these that they come out as I envision and not quite as scary as this poor little guy did...I think it quite amazing that nature grew these shapes.

Can you also tell that I am scraping the bottom of the post barrel for subject matter? I mean really, how low can you go when you start taking photos of sticks from your yard? On that note I think I'll go and see if I can find something that wood be a bit more interesting to share with you next time. I hope that you are enjoying a wonderful day!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

KEEP YOUR CREATIVE SPARK ALIVE...

Whether you are an artist full time, part time, or just for play time the inevitable will happen at some point in your creative journey...you will suffer a momentary loss of interest or ideas. This is not a catastrophe but an opportunity to step back, regroup, and renew your passion with fresh ideas. Sometimes all we need is a simple break in our creative routine. Below I have listed some ideas that help me when I find myself floundering for whats next. I hope these will help you to keep your creative spark alive too.

* STEP OUTSIDE YOUR STUDIO *
While where we work or play can be very inspirational and motivating, whether in decor or supplies, there is still a familiar sameness to it. Take yourself on a field trip to some place that inspires you. Visit another artist friend, bouncing ideas off one another can get the creative juices flowing. Visit a gallery, museum, or my favorite, local art shows sponsored by our public library. Visit a favorite haunt to find new supplies, art store, flea market, etc. Sit by the seaside, walk in the woods, feel the vibrant buzz of the local coffee house, do something where people, places, and activity are going on. You never know what will inspire you, a colorful scarf draped around a storefront display, the beaded jewelry of the lady next to you in line, the feel of wind and sun brushing your skin. Inspiration abounds, just go out and look for it.

* TRY SOMETHING NEW *
Is there a new technique, media, or supply you have been wanting to try? Do it! Give yourself permission to play without the pressure of creating an entire piece of finished art. I have been playing with fusion-dyed collage and textured backgrounds for collage. I want to learn how to give my work more depth through layers. You can find lots of new ideas through books, special publication crafting magazines (many of the Stampington & Co. are my favorites), blogs, and even You Tube crafting videos.

*CHANGE YOUR STYLE *Sometimes something as simple as working in another color palette can recharge your work. While I adore working in sepia tones and neutral colors every so often I go for more colorful choices or I experiment with how I can add a pleasing pop of color into my favorite tones. Flip-flop your technique, if you usually work in paper with a little cloth, try something with a lot of cloth and a little paper and vice versa.

* CHALLENGE YOURSELF *(What is with Blogger flipping my photos sideways? Grrrr! Sorry about that, just tilt your head for correct viewing.)

Sometimes all we need to get back in the groove is a good old fashioned challenge with a deadline. Participate in an art challenge or swap.


Mary of Green Paper hosts a free challenge the first of every month using free images from her collection.

Lenna of Creative Lenna hosts wonderful swaps in a variety of media. I have participated in one from each of these ladies and it really did get me thinking and creating.

One on one swaps are a great idea too! Never be afraid to approach a favorite artist and ask if they would like to do a swap, sometimes it is a yes and sometimes it is a no but you never know until you step out and try. I did a great one with Diane Knott, we sent each other an unfinished piece of art we had started and then let the other finish it and return it. I was amazed by what we each saw as an ending vision to the other ones beginning.

My friend Pam and I often swap supplies. This can get the creative juices going by having something new to play with that is also free of cost. You could host a formal swap with a
group of people or just do a one on one swap with a friend.

Another thing I like to do is challenge myself with limited media or supplies. To do this type up a list of media and supplies think of things under the categories of things like; paints and ink, pens and pencils, glitter, rubber stamps, stencils, paper punches, surfaces such as wood, paper, etc. Just look around your creative space and list as many things as you can that you use to create with. Print out the list, cut it apart, fold each word in half, and place in a jar or basket. Draw out three slips of paper and challenge yourself to use those media to create a piece of art, (no cheating!), only use those three.

* TAKE A CLASS *Learning a new technique is a certain way to fire up those creative ideas. Through personal experience, whether online, DVD, or live, I find a certain sense of refreshing after watching another artist at work and start generating new ideas of how I can incorporate what I have learned into my own work or style. Check out local classes in your area through an arts center, artist league, local collage, or craft store.
I can personally vouch for KC Willis Collage Camp online or through her DVD series and have heard that her live classes are awesome.

Mary Green (Green Paper) has two fantastic classes being offered at the moment, Your Vintage Glue Book, which is totally amazing and I highly recommend it for a beginning collage artist. You get some really great design perspective from this class using minimal tools and supplies so there is not a huge investment going in. Once you learn this technique it is the perfect take along craft!

She is also offering a new class
Collage Coterie which embraces skill levels of all sorts since it is based on technique as well as images and prompts.

Karla (Karla's Cottage) and Beth (Gathering Dust) are co-hosting an upcoming online class called Romantic Gothic Ghosts, Which is based on the ideal of old romantic Gothic novels like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights with a Halloween twist of Gothic arches, sepia tones, and fun technique. There are a variety of projects with 12 days of instruction, lots of images, a few quick videos, and lots of tips and tricks.

Check out the DVD's and Downloads at the Interweave Store. There are some really great and affordable mixed media classes available by some fantastic artists.

If you know of a great class, please list in the comments section so others can check it out too!

* SIGN UP FOR SOME INSPIRATION *
(Oh no! Not again!)

Newsletters are also a way to glean some inspiration from. Some of my favorites are Quilting Arts , Cloth Paper Scissors , and Post Script (Stampington & Co.). These newsletters keep me up on tips, techniques, new products, and so much more, plus, they are loaded with inspiration.


*START A SKETCHBOOK/JOURNAL *
If you already have one, look back over it and get inspired by what you have written, drawn, pasted, painted, penciled, etc. Use a simple prompt to inspire a page, but remember, this is for play. I keep a couple of these journals that I don't play in nearly often enough.

A Year in the Life of An Art Journal is a fun site with art journal prompts and fun free tutorials for your pages.

How would you like to make an art journal that went on tour and then became a part of a permanent art collection at the Brooklyn Art Library? Now that could get your creativity flowing! Check out The Sketchbook Project. The rules to enter a journal can be found HERE, be sure and read them carefully for all the details.
Sign up date is by October 31, 2010, Completed book must be postmarked by January 15, 2011, and the tour starts on March 2011.

Just google *art journal prompts* and you will have a host of sites to choose from to find the type of journal you might be inspired to keep.

* CLEAN YOUR WORKSPACE *
I know, you are all groaning over this one, but, sometimes freshening up our environment can be inspiration enough in and of itself. Set yourself up a small display of things that inspire you, a small shelf, tray, or table top filled with visual goodies can inspire creative moments. Rearrange supplies in handy containers to have ready a moments notice when inspiration hits. Sort through your supplies, it seems when we start sifting we find things we have forgotten we had and the ideas start rolling for what we can do with our found goodies. Hang or rearrange an inspiration board, again, visuals can spark a creative moment.

* HOST A CRAFT DAY *Getting together with other creative people and seeing what they are working on can really get the inspiration flowing. This does not have to be a formal event with projects, kits, tutorials, etc. Keep it simple. Have everyone bring a project they are working on. If you decided on having a meal or refreshments, have everyone bring something. This is not necessarily about learning something new but about fellowship and refreshment of inspiration.What about you? What do you do to revitalize your lagging creativity? Did I leave something off the list? I'd love for you to share how you keep your creative spark alive in the comments section. Happy Creating!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

Monday, August 23, 2010

FABRIC COLLAGE, NEW ARTWORK...

Cherish: To treat with tenderness and affection; to embrace with interest; to hold dear; to nurture and care for; to protect and aidI first met her on a chance encounter. She was milling around in a box full of strangers. She looked to be no more than 16 years of age. There was an air of sadness hovering around her. The faraway gaze in her eyes as well as the unique perspective of the photo drew me to her.At the time, I wondered who she was. What was she thinking when this was taken? At what far off point did she fix her gaze? What was the occasion for this photo? What was her story? Photos are generally taken to commemorate an occasion or to preserve a memory. It made me sad that she had slipped from someones memory and ended up in a dusty box.Wishing to honor this young girls memory, I chose her as a center piece for a new work of art. While working with the photo I made a discovery. On the back of the photo frame in the faintest of faded scrolling script was a name, address, and city. It was too dim with age to make out with the naked eye. Using an LED jewelers loupe I was able to identify her. Excitement mounted with each discernible letter.Her name was Cottage...Cottage Bealle. Her address was 985 N. W(smudged out and unreadable) Street, Danvers, Illinois. I googled to no avail, I could find no trace of her or even her surname. There are several other spellings of Bealle and I wonder if through the years it was changed as so often happens. I only wish there would have been a date or that the street address was not smudged away. The photo is mounted to the frame so no luck there either.Here is what I think is the wonderful part of her story. I began gathering the fabrics and elements of this fabric collage before I made this discovery. The piece was almost complete and I was ready to attache her when I saw the writing. The entire piece has a cottage feel to it with the faded lightness of fabrics and fibers. How perfect is that?The foundation of this collage is what I learned from my Collage Camp DVD's taught by KC Willis. I love this technique, it is so rich and layered. I can't wait to try out some of her other techniques in future pieces.I tried to use mostly vintage pieces for embellishment; glass, metal, a precious stone, handmade lace, vintage photo and vintage paper frame, and celluloid pieces.I confess that I usually pick apart anything I make and am never quite satisfied. I also have to confess that I really kind of really love this piece. I hope that Cottage, who ever she was, in some way knows that she is now cherished.I embrace with interest little reclaimed pieces from the past for use in my art. I cherish the instant ancestor photos that find themselves cast aside. I hold dear the little bits and bobs that were daily parts of peoples lives in the past. I feel that by using these things in my art I am giving them new life while treating them with tenderness and affection. Protecting them in this manner is my preservation effort. I find nurturing and caring for these abandoned objects an honoring enhancement to my artist process.

I also hope that each of you know how I cherished you and your constant encouragement, friendship, and support. Blog friends are just the best! I am gearing up for a little give away that I'll be announcing in the next week or two. I want to show my appreciation for the sweet support I always receive here. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy a free image of one of Cottage's friends from the box she came in for use in your artwork. Enjoy!Align Center(FREE IMAGE)

Have a wonderful day!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A BIT OF A RAMBLE...

RAMBLE: An aimless amble on a winding course with no particular destination in mind
The above definition just about sums up this post and my state of mind lately. I think it must be the intense heat here but I can't seem to stay the course on anything lately. I thought today we would just stroll along together through this post path and see where it takes us.

The first fork in this winding course takes us to a ranch, Lipstick Ranch to be exact where cowgirl artist extraordinaire, KC Willis, is having a fantastic give away! I recently posted on her three DVD set, KC in a Box, and sadly this product will only be available for one more week. But, the good news is that the DVD set will be available in a new form of KC in a Bag! As a last farewell to this wonderful piece of art and its contents KC is giving away a $200.00 Art Shopping Spree at Lipstick Ranch! While you are there finding out all the details check out her live workshops as well as her online Collage Camp. Mosey on over to enter, the drawing will be held on August 25, 2010!

One day last week my friend, Pam, and I decided to brave the heat and hit a few flea markets. We made it through two but by the third we wimped out and went home looking like two wilting magnolias with heat exhaustion but not without a treasure or two in tow. I found three tiny bottles...I really love the one with the label still in tact...A sweet little match box with a thin wooden bottom and a great graphic label...A stack of small linen draw string bags, 80 in all...I have already dyed some of them...And a pocket watch...Friday afternoon I took Clara Scarlett back to the place of her humble beginnings where she was parts and pieces of cast off items for sale. Its kind of weird when you start hanging out with your art and taking it on field trips to see where it was born...must be the heat.

Anyway, one of my favorite flea market ladies finally got curious enough to ask about all the odd stuff I buy and wanted to see exactly what I was doing with it, so, that is really why Clara Scarlett went to the flea market with me. I mean its not like I don't have real live friends who want to hang out with me or anything like that, they just don't want to hang out with me while I am hauling around my art doll showing her where she came from.


Since I was already there I thought I might as well take a look around...you know where this is going right? I found the most adorable pair of tiny high heeled doll shoes ever in a dollar bin! And they are green! (My favorite color) How cute are these?I practically pounced on a bundle of crochet pillow case lace that was marked down to $2.00! This stuff is getting as scarce as hens teeth around here and usually when you find the really good old wide stuff you have to open your wallet pretty wide to buy it.

I also stumbled across four of these brand new ephemera books. They are full of vintage images from the collection of Beth Cote, a wonderful collage artist, and will be prefect for future projects.

By then Clara Scarlett was getting impatient to leave, especially with everyone lookin' up her skirt. But, we did not leave before she bask in the bidding war that ensued when customers and clerks wanted to buy her. She is not for sale yet. Clara Scarlett...Along with this DREAM sign...These hand sculpted paper collage birds...And these HOME TWEET HOME pieces...Are all candidates for the mixed media collage/assemblage competition I am entering. Clara Scarlett and the DREAM sign are completed works. The paper collage birds need an assemblage nest to rest in and the HOME TWEET HOME pieces need a back ground to be mounted and then need to be framed. I just recently found the kind of frame I wanted to use to finish the piece. I have two more pieces in the works and then I will decide between the six of them which three I will enter. Actually, I was hoping that you would help me out by voting for your favorite three once I get them all done. I'll be doing a special post on that at a later date.

Well, it took forever to get this post done since Blogger kept giving me a bad request error this morning and I could not post it, I'd better end my ramble by stopping in the studio and get some work done. I hope your day is a bright one!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy
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