Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
The end of November brought the resolution of a difficult decision for me. I have decided to let go of my rented studio space.
I began renting a studio two years ago. Doing dye work in the home is a risky proposition. Dyes are messy and have a tremendous capacity of finding their way into the most unexpected places. It has been a terrific luxury to have a space dedicated their use that doesn’t have a second function (like a laundry room or garage). I also like to be able to make a mess without guilt.
The downsides to this are the money and time factors. I maintain a room in my home for sewing and all computer related tasks. I work a full time job. The harsh truth is that I haven’t been using the studio enough to justify the expense…and that weighs on me. I’ve been trying to divide my time between the three locations: job, studio and home and the one that keeps losing is the studio. I do artwork at home but getting to the studio, even when I try to make it a priority, doesn’t happen enough to justify the expense.
I’ve also found that all too often I find myself basing my artistic/business decisions on how I will pay the rent rather than on what my true artistic inclination is.
This isn’t the direction I want to head in.
Like most people I have a relatively small amount of time each day to use on my art/business. I have been thinking about the sort of work I want to spend that time on…I enjoy experimenting with dyes, experiments that may not necessarily work out. I enjoy designing new work both digital and analog using the textiles I produce … What I don’t particularly enjoy is huge amounts of production work. I’ve done enough of it over the last twenty years to know it isn’t where my strength or my heart is. I would prefer to focus more on the things I love in the time that is available to me.
I have the choice between a physical space to work in or the mental space I need in order to produce my best work…I’m picking the mental space.
Releasing the studio will free up time and money that I intend to reinvest in the work I love best.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I'm trying meld the textures of the fabrics with the labyrinth design without it getting too busy. I am interested in creating something with a meditative quality. this seems to be the most successful so far.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
bonsai-tree-1 Originally uploaded by alsokaizen
This is a new piece of virtual piecework I've been working on. I have three more companion pieces that are nearly finished. I've been wanting to use the pattern that is on the pot for a while I created it nearly a year ago and never really found a use for it until now.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
I love this stuff and I have been experimenting with it for awhile now. I've successfully used it with archival glues, resin and acrylic mediums so I figure why not share the wealth? My absolute favorite way to use it is in my virtual piecework...
this piece was created as a part of my japonisme design group
So we will see if there is any response!
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Rasta our dog definately approves!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I actually like what I've got here and I want to add some medium range tones back into the piece using actual Maki Age. In order to do this I will need to make the shapes larger so I can wrap them. I'm stitching back into the design following these lines:
Then it is wrapped in a waxed cord:
and submerged in a Procion Fiber reactive dye solution (warm grey color) for 1/2 hour, taken out, left for another 1/2 hour or so and washed out.
Here is the end result:
I really like the look of it. I was trying for a thicket sort of look and I think I achieved it, the addition of the mid tone created a nice sense of depth and added some complexity to the color which you can see in this detail:
The end result isn't very traditional but I really like the effect. I think I got to the place I wanted to go in the end.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
Mokume Shibori Ginko trial
Originally uploaded by alsokaizen
Shibori is teaching me to think on my feet. As much testing and planning as I may put into a piece of work the results are often surprising. Sometimes this is pleasant other times not so much. This is a project I have struggled with. I went into it with a very strong image of what I wanted it to look like, and it did not perform as expected. My original idea was to create a ginko leaf motif using a mokume (wood grain) shibori technique. The results were not what I planned for and less than successful in conveying my original design idea. The line that defines the motif is obscure and the color contrast between the ground fabric and the dye was not as strong as I wanted it to be. I made other attempts at it and remained frustrated with the results there too. I recently shared the project at the All Things Shibori pool at flickr and I am now reconsidering the piece. I think I may have been too tied to my preconceptions of how the piece should look and not as appreciative of how it does look.
I am beginning a new design for the Maki-age shibori challenge this month and I’m going to try to keep in mind that flexibility is a virtue when it comes to this art form. I have already had to change my initial concept due to the unexpected performance of one of my materials! I will be posting on this project and the ways I’m having to adapt for the results
Friday, September 28, 2007
The upshot of these three very different experiences is hard to define but I think I am learning to trust my gut a bit more with regard to what I want to pursue. I know I am most excited when I am talking about my piecework weather it is virtual or sewn and that excitement is conveyed to others. This affirms for me that those are the paths I should be focusing on.
Here is my booth (my dog Rasta and Larry are on the right)Another good experience for me.
The first was the Pawtucket Open Studios. During the month of September the city of Pawtucket has a month long Arts Festival featuring everything from Dragon Boat races to theater openings. Many of the old mill buildings in Pawtucket have been converted to artist studios and an Open Studio weekend is a part of the Arts Festival, this year I attended as a visiting artist (my studio is in Woonsocket, close but no cigar). A few of us offsite artists got to set up in a unrented room, it was a terrific opportunity to meet other artists and people who are interested in the arts in Pawtucket.
It was hot for September so turn out was light on Friday and Saturday many thanks to the intrepid who made it up to the third floor! Sunday was cooler and we saw a few more people come through.
My roomates for the weekend were Anne Cerullo (gorgeous wheel thrown pottery) and Norma Anderson (scupture and cool stoneware whistles).
This was my booth:
Some of Anne's Pottry:
Norma's WhistlesThis is the whistle I got for my husband we have named him Oscar:Overall it was a good experience for me, I am still developing my creative identity and attending these sorts of events seems to be helping with that process. I received positive feedback on my cards and my piecework and that means alot to me since those are the things I do that are closest to my heart. I also got an invite to become one of the artists represented at Mia's Gift Shop in Scituate another affirmation that I am on the right path.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Its also the first sale I had on Etsy!
Saturday, August 25, 2007
I found a link to this article on Robert Genn's website through Lisa Call's blog.
First let me say I am in awe of Lisa Call, not just for her work which is extraordinary, or her productivity which is humbling, but also for her thoughts on creativity and process and well, lets just say I admire her as an artist and secretly deep in my heart I aspire to be just like her (except y’know me)…
Anyway these posts got me thinking about how well I do or do not guard my energies… I have come to the conclusion that its not as well as I would like to think.
I talk far too much about my plans for projects and my business and I write about my plans in my morning pages ad nausem. Now yes morning pages are a dumping ground for whatever is clogging up the brain, but to quote Professor Farnsworth (Futurama) “ Oh no! She’s caught in a closed loop and he’s an idiot!”
I’m seeing a loop in my behavior, my MPs are the same every day, and I haven’t been getting much done…which leads me to the 30 day experiment.
I’m changing this behavior for 30 days to see what happens.
The Ground rules are:
· I may not discuss or write about future plans
· I may jot down ideas or sketches for my own use
· I may use a to do list (because my head might explode without one)
· I may catalog the experience as it happens, daily observation is encouraged
· I may discuss or write about completed work
· The future is mine; I don’t talk it or write it I realize it.
· 30 days, if it sucks I’m allowed to let it go and resume old ways
Today I completed 2 sets of paper Shibori making a total of 3 altogether. I really love the results I’ve gotten. It was also the very first thing I did when I got to the studio. Opening and heat setting the rice paper is so exciting because the results are so unpredictable, like little presents! Some are more special than you ever thought they would be and others are like the ???? Gift from a secret Santa (who thought I would want this?)
Here are a couple of pictures of the process from my first set
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Tonight: How do I upload an image directly from my computer??
Hey I did it! Sweet!
Both of these are images of a Daffodil piece I did that is on exhibit at Day One a counseling center in Providence RI. It is made of hand-dyed fabrics, fused and stitched with contrasting threads, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out especially considering how quickly I had to turn it around for the exhibit. From pencil sketch to finished piece it took about 36 hours.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Shibori fabric covered buttons
Originally uploaded by alsokaizen
Shibori dyed Fabric covered buttons, not completly happy with the result, next time I will use fabrics with a more complex pattern and some sort of base fabric, the metal button kind of shows through the thin cotton. all the blue and gold fabrics were made for Fresh Purls
latest garden pics 008
Originally uploaded by alsokaizen
This bed was dug and planted last fall, I'm pleased with the contrast between the plants, features: Purple smoke tree, 2 kinds of weiglia, coriopsis "moonglow", basil, and varigated sedum (sp?) I'm hoping to make the one I just dug resemble this someday
latest garden pics 001
Originally uploaded by alsokaizen
Started digging this garden bed back in April, finally finished it last weekend, all those rocks from the bed made a nice border! Eventually I will put plants in but I may wait until fall and hit the sales.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Sat- Bought 6 plants for entry garden
Sun- Sold Sheep piece and Heart Triptych
Discussed possible contract fabric dyeing job for Fresh Purls
Began topstitch on 2 Labyrinth pieces
Mon- Continued topstitch work
Tues-Dyed sky blue fabric for future sheep pieces
Continued topstitch work
Dug 3 buckets of rocks out of back garden site
Rough draft 1st Blog post and prepped picture for same
Weds- Initial Blog post
Continued topstitch work
Matted and framed 3 prints of Owl drawings for retail outlet
Thurs- Visited Its My Health and delivered prints
Discussed possible project development ideas
Studio time: Began working on dye work for Fresh Purls
Continued topstitch work (almost done 1st color!)
Fri- Karate Class
Dealt with icky IRS stuff
2nd Blog entry
There that’s a week of Kaizen acts for me…
June has been a good month. I’ve managed to keep chipping away at some projects, finished some and even sold some pieces. I now have work in 2 venues on the East Side: Day One and Fresh Purls and 1 venue in Natick: Five Crows. All of this feels like its pointing in the right direction.
When I look at the list up there it strikes me how powerful this tool is not so much because of the accomplishments but because I avoided Overwhelm.
When I started using Kaizen I focused on 1 small creative act a day, now I usually manage 2 or 3 depending on the circumstances. Previously I would head home from work wanting to do something to achieve my Big Goal in an evening,
(As well as a great way to end up playing Freecell all night)
So nothing would get done at all I’d end up feeling guilty and like a failure and then I would gather myself up and start the cycle all over again
Pressure to succeed-Impossible goals-Avoidance behavior-Guilt and recrimination-Resolution to do better-Repeat cycle until dizzy or sick.
I am now breaking free of that cycle. I am now actually achieving some of my goals. If I find I’m getting overwhelmed then I just have to break it down into smaller bits. My ego wants the Big Goal but for me to function with any consistency its gotta be the little bits. It’s a balancing act I have yet to master but I will keep chipping away at it!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
The BIG GOAL is:
To become a fully functioning artist who is self-employed and able to support a comfortable lifestyle as good or better than the one I enjoy now.
This goal of course requires that I make money through art, craft or concepts, enough to quit the full time job I maintain now. I’ve been at this job for twenty years and I do believe this fits the definition of “Lifer” AKA “Hopeless” I could spend some time here beating myself up for this failure but life is too short…
As it stands at this moment I don’t have what it takes to make the big leap my goal requires, I’ve struggled over the years to find a means of escape. I have repeated the same comfortable actions to very little effect (I’m a champion Cont. Ed. Class taker) still there is a wall around my comfort zone that I have been unable to scale.
“Leap and the net will appear” is a wonderful idea but I’m not built with such faith innate to my nature. Enter Kaizen the idea is to break the large problem up into increments so small that they don’t trigger the overwhelming fears that hold one in stasis, so small they are painless and success is guaranteed.
To that end I’ve instituted the Small Act of Creative Realization Each Day (SACRED) a commitment to manage one small act of creativity each day.
Sometimes that is studio work; sometimes it’s about the business aspects of being an artist: networking, promotion, or finances and sometimes it is about play because that’s important too!
On this blog I want to share the process, the small acts and the big accomplishments and explore the ideas that are a part of it
Feel free to with your own goals, big or small, or just to lurk at will!