Thursday, July 31, 2008

Whoops where did it go?

I can’t belive July is already over. I feel like I just got here. Come to think of it I seem to have missed June as well… my time during the past couple of months has been consumed with:
A. preparing for and attending 2 craft fairs (including doing production runs of some of my more popular items)
B. Working on the garden
C. Trying to get my Etsy store into a highly functional groove, spending time creating listings, photographing, retouching, and creating a database to track my inventory
D. Avoiding doing C.
I swear I don’t know why I have such a difficult doing this sort of thing. But I do.
My original plan was to have the Etsy store all set and to have the computer insanity sorted out by the end of July… well that didn’t quite happen. I have a long history of overloading my to do lists and no doubt my goals were a bit lofty however I probably could have done a bit better.
Time to focus on the positive here… There has been a great deal of progress on the listings, My actual inventory has been counted and reorganized so I can find everything and I’ve gotten a pretty slick little inventory sheet made up for myself. Having a clear snapshot of what, where and how many at my fingertips makes me feel much calmer, and makes deciding what needs to be done next that much easier.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blue Trials

I have often experienced frustration when dyeing shibori because even after binding the resist until my eyes pop out of my head when the dye is applied it seems to ignore that there is a resist at all and blast its way through leaving very little evidence of my work. I have fought this problem by manipulating the application methods (judicious application, thickening the dyes etc)It was suggested to me by jaja that wetting out the fabric prior to dyeing could help to tighten the resist thus creating the effect I'm after. I tried it with these discharge pieces and it seemed to help but I wanted to see if the method would really help with the Procion dyes. I did a little experiment to compare methods

Each of these three were done on the same fabric, same size area resisted and dyed in the same dye bath

this one bound dry and put into the dye bath dry

this one was bound dry, wet out, and put into the dye bath

and this one was wet out, bound, then dyed (still damp)

You can see a tremendous difference in the result. It makes me wonder how it is that I didn't know this before and very grateful that I know it now!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Long Slow Road

The nice thing about a slow day ( or weekend) at a craft fair is you get a chance to stitch and stitch and stitch... Here is a little detail of the work I'm doing on one of the discharge pieces I did a couple of months ago.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mokume Landscapes

More will be done with this piece of mokume but I couldn't resist taking some photos of it. I like the way it becomes a landscape,
a river, plowed fields, a terraced hillside. It feels wonderful as it wraps around the hands or stretches between the fingers. Oh yes more will be done.


Here are a couple more pics from the class in Harmony library. It really was a fun day. I went into it not really sure what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised at how fun and rewarding the experience was.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Box of Bugs

WA is one of my favorite stores in Provincetown. It is full of wonderful antiques from all over the world, as well as modern design work that is similar in aesthetic. It is quiet and dark and the sound of table fountains ripples through along with the smell of incense. It manages to be exotic opulent and a bit zen all at once which is quite a trick if you think about it. All of the items in the store give the impression of being rare and treasured.
When I visited it I fell in love with some shadow boxes that contained beautiful specimens of dried butterflies and beetles arranged in mandalas or patterns. They cost hundreds of dollars up to a thousand. Don’t mistake me, I desired them deeply but there is no way I could spend 1000.00 $ on a box of bugs, even if I did have it … I think my head might explode (and I’m really sure my Lar’s would)
I didn’t buy much there just a strand of sandalwood beads but this store got me thinking about the power of presentation and the value it imbues on its subject. This is something I understand intellectually but have resisted applying to myself. I rarely frame my work somehow in my mind its not good enough yet. As a part of play night I pulled out a shadow box and tried this

And this

When framed and lit it changes. This seems to go from being an interesting piece of fabric art to being Art… does anyone agree or am I just kidding myself? Does this begin to look like something that might be seen in a gallery?
Which background? I think I like the pale background, it becomes about the sculptural qualities of the piece. Lar likes the black better, which I think makes it more about pattern.
I would deeply appreciate any feedback anyone can offer.

All Work and No Play

Yes I’m still doggedly working on the Great Reorganization of ’08. It maintains its place as the #1 goal of the month and I will say that it is working to help me to really hone in on the projects that really resonate with me. However this past week I found I had to loosen up just a little bit.
I had my very first teaching experience! I spent Tuesday evening leading a tie dye workshop at the local library for 30 kids. It was a really fun for every one. I haven’t got any pics of the kids yet but I will post them when I can. I’ve never had an opportunity like this but now they seem to be coming out of the woodwork I’ve had two other friends express interest in having me run workshops (these for adults) in the last three days. This is a direction I‘ve had idle thoughts about it before but never really perused it, definitely something to explore.
I seem to be slowly getting to an understanding about what I want to do with my life and how some of the paths I have been taking are in opposition to my needs as an artist.
I have a long standing habit of being a real task master with myself which is probably the reason that every so often my artistic self just goes on strike and refuses to do anything.
One of the things I really want to do is to create a body of work that is just about art, not selling or marketing just something I want to explore. I have been letting myself dabble in this in the last year and it really feeds me. I tend to push off any thing that I can’t see a potential payoff coming from. The problem is that if I constantly do this I get a dull and hopeless feeling and become very needy. Pretty much the opposite of how I want to be feeling. This past week I gave myself a play night, I spent some time stitching and just let myself have a bit of fun, I’m planning to keep that night free from now on so that I can fulfill some of my less goal oriented needs.
One of the things I played with was this…

Yup more heat setting

Saturday, July 12, 2008

10 More Things to Love About Summer

I’ve been thinking and I’ve come up with a few more things for the list
1. Wild Blueberries, I don’t know why (maybe it’s the thrill of the find) for some reason they just taste so much better than the ones from a store.
2. Rope swings, The kids in the neighborhood just put one up at the pond I haven’t indulged… yet.
3. Wild Blackberries, these are growing in the woodsy bit at the side of our yard, yum!

4. Salads, they do seem to taste their best on the hot days. This is a riff on the idea of tabouleh*

5. Gin and Tonic, a good one is very refreshing on hot days

6. Going barefoot, never gets old!

7. Hearing wind chimes through open windows

8. Perfect blue skies

9. The sound of warblers echoing through the trees late in the afternoon, liquid beauty
10. Contemplating the garden, preferably as I indulge in #6 and #5!

* One can chick peas drained and rinsed, 2 C grape tomatoes halved, 3 stalks celery finely sliced, 3 carrots grated, 1 bundle fresh parsley chopped, ½ small onion minced, tossed with ½ C lemon juice. Served with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Tastes strong ½ the parsley could be replaced with another type of green. Would work well with goat cheese

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I am not a tremendous fan of summer anymore. Once upon a time I looked forward to summer, it was an unstructured time of outdoor fun and freedom. As a kid there were beach trips, swimming pools and the lure of the woods where I would spend hours catching frogs and building forts. It was a joyful time.

Now I have spent too many years of loathfully hot summers stewing in my own juices while wrapped in rubber accoutrement's as the temperature on the factory floor soars into the 90s or above to look upon the season with much besides dread.

This has ruled me, made me tired, hateful and victim like. I decided a while back that I would no longer complain about it, (I consider complaining about the weather pointless anyhow) and it helped... it also helps that I don't have to spend quite as much time out in the factory anymore and since I know how much worse the folks out there have it I try to be properly grateful for my improved conditions.

But this year I want to go one better and relearn to love this season, I want the joy back!

To that end I've started to think about things that are a part of the season and a part of my life that I genuinely love.

These roses are one of the first things I thought of... we call them the Monty Python Roses

(cue Liberty Bell By John Phillip Sousa) because you can almost see them grow as you watch them just like in the opening credits. They are the one plant I can count on in my gardens to shine in a big and impressive way.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Desire Intention Action

As I continue to sort out my mental/physical space I am trying to really tune into what I want to spend my time doing, and how it fits into what my intentions are for my life.
I have been looking back on the past few years of experiments, craft fairs and ETSY and I find that the time I put into some aspects of it are out of whack with my desires.
I presently do a great deal of tie dye, I take pride in my work and I really appreciate the enthusiasm others have for it, however I have been doing this for a long time and I’m personally much more excited with the results of more intensive shibori techniques and my design work. So now I find that I am invested in a direction I want to change. I have an inventory of the tie dye that I need to sell, and not much of anything else to replace it. So how do I make this shift? I don’t think I can just quit the tie dye yet so for awhile I will continue to maintain this inventory and do the fairs and so on.
I’ve decided to start by streamlining the inventory, organizing it so that the day to day tasks of maintenance take as little time as is possible, and to make sure everything that is available for listing to ETSY is prepped and ready. I can begin to slim it down as I go. I hope that this framework will also serve the work that follows as I make the shift away from tie dye to something else.
I’ve managed to get some of this task done. I started by organizing my physical inventory, recording it, photographing most of it, and writing copy for a whole bunch of it (still a lot more to go on that task)
This isn’t a very fun chore since it’s a big effort in the service of something I’m not too interested in but I do feel really good about getting it done. So for the time being creative projects are on hold until I think that I have cleared enough space in my life to make the shift I desire. I will keep my actions in harmony with my intentions as well as my desires and see what happens