via Brain Pickings
Timidly posted my first design on Society6 last night. Sea Urchins & Mermaid is available as an art print (gallery quality Giclée on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks), a framed print, or as a print on stretched canvas, in various sizes. No other products, yet, as I will have to re-size and crop the image file for it to fit on tote bags and coffee mugs and all those other things.
There are so many people on society6, and a large proportion of them are really, really good—professional designers and so on. I’m intimidated. But it costs nothing to post a design on the site, so I thought I’d give it a try and see if some of the things I make can be “repackaged” this way. As Kris often says to me, “Оно не ест.” (i.e. you don’t have to feed it)
Hmm, so there isn’t really all that much left to show for this Part 2 except what I did with the finished painting/embroidery: a simple handbound coptic journal.
A quick shlip-shlop of blue-green paint on the back cover, and some fine lines of gold paint made with a syringe and hypodermic needle, sort of echoes the front cover design. Stitching of the book was done in DMC soft cotton yarn. Endpapers in teal. That’s all there is to it, really.
In other news, tonight I impulsively bought flights to and from Manila, departing at he end of January, returning in mid-February…in the hopes of catching my Mom alive one last time. Hopefully she will live that long. I’m due for a visit back, anyway.
That means I’ll be spending my birthday and Valentine’s Day in Manila. Should be a good trip, actually…good to catch up with my dysfunctional but fun family, and I have really missed my friends. Can’t wait to see them.
That means I’m dead broke again…by the time you pay the taxes, add some checked-in baggage, pick a window seat…what was an incredibly cheap couple of flights nearly doubled. I came within 10 dollars of my total bank account balance. Was feeling like such a scrooge as I neared checkout that I actually clicked “Remove” on the options “Travel insurance” and “Donate $2 to change a child’s life”. LOL Someday, maybe, I’ll change a child’s life; right now I’m just trying to keep my head above the water. You have to laugh at the things life throws at you…laugh or go crazy.
Rubbing my hands together over the next handmade gift…I have tonight, tomorrow night, and a few hours on Saturday. Unlucky co-worker # 5 may end up getting an origami boat. Not even a crane, but a crappy origami boat. Out of newsprint…
*this is how it always happens with me: I make a casual joke, and then ask “How can I run with that idea, and still make something awesome?“* Origami boat, huh? Hmmm…….
As my weekend comes to an end, with two handmade gifts yet to make before Saturday night, I started to play dirty. Took a small painting I was never happy with (green, hairy lump of Lord-knows-what)…
Took it off its stretcher and punched tiny 1 mm. holes all around the outline of the shape, and then randomly punched holes inside the shape, too.
The punch is a Japanese drill or screw punch…the smallest hole punch I’ve found, yet. I got mine from Hollander’s. (Crafting is such a delight when you have the right tools for the job!)
Then I started to “connect the dots” with lengths of variegated DMC Perle #5. No plans, no sketches, just running up and down and inventing the paths as I went…
Couldn’t resist and added some dots and filled some areas with gold or glitter paints. Probably shouldn’t have, but what the heck, I’m leaving it in. (Running. Out. Of. Time…*gasp* Must. Keep. Crafting…)
The piece will go onto the cover of a simple coptic journal. I started binding the book today, but it got dark before I could take photos, so this post will be continued tomorrow…
Hope this has given someone some good ideas…
Taking UPPERCASE magazine’s advice to heart, I threw myself at some new projects on Monday: making Christmas presents for the people I work with (our informal Jacksons holiday party is in four days’ time).
Decided on a mermaid-themed present for the first project, because my manager collects mermaids (and doesn’t surf the internet, so I think this post is relatively safe to put up) and is pretty much a mermaid, herself.
I picked that ubiquitous craft and design saying: Always be yourself. Unless you can be a mermaid, etc… You’ll probably groan and argue that there are too many versions of this “Always be yourself” saying floating around, and that it’s shallow and twee. And I would agree with you. But I am pretty sure my recipient hasn’t heard it yet, and it fits her perfectly. So that’s what it’s going to be. I promised her a handmade gift; I never said it would be urbane.
The finished piece measures 36 x 46 cm (14″ x 18″). It took me nearly two days to make the whole thing, but I dawdled a lot, and did other things, besides. The drawing/painting took up the whole Monday, but all the embroidery was done before lunchtime the following day.
I used a pre-stretched and pre-primed canvas. Made the letters and doodles in acrylics using brushes and a mapping pen. The font I used (just as a guide…freehanding, and then painting the letters, has changed it a lot) is Le bain au milieu de la fin d’apres-midi vers by T N 2. Used only yellow greens, turquoise, and blue paints and inks.
All those greeny-blues and lime colors needed a little bit of red-violet for punch, so on a scrap of pink marbled fabric (our recent marbling show has left our home littered with bits of marbling everywhere) stretched in my smallest hoop, I painted in the dots and squiggles of a sea urchin.
While waiting for the paint to dry, I stitched a small starfish straight on the drawing’s canvas, just weaving back and forth between two laid threads that formed each arm.
The urchin was ready to be embroidered. I used stranded cotton embroidery floss, working buttonhole circles, eyelet stitch (when I got tired of buttonholes), french knots, and backstitch.
Not shown are the steps where I cut the urchin out and placed it over a thin circle of card with some pillow stuffing, gathering the edges of the urchin fabric at the back using running stitches and pulling tight (sort of the way I finished the back of this embroidery in a hoop…) I was too excited to see the thing made. I stitched a button to the center of the urchin…again, pulling tight to form a dimple in the puffy shape. I stitched the base of the urchin to the canvas.
And these are just close-ups of the embroidery on the finished piece:
A big thanks to everyone who dropped in last Friday night (and the following Saturday, as well) to see our marbling show, Throwing Stones for Fun and Profit.
It turned out to be a huge weekend…we never expected so many visitors over the two days, nor such an enthusiastic response to the things we made. I left Kris to handle the sales (less confusing if just one person does the accounting) and it seemed to me as the night wore on, and I stood talking to visitors and pulling on my drinks, that the walls around me were breaking out in a severe case of Yayoi Kusama red dots!
Of a dozen marbled Bananafish there is one left…ditto one handmade card out of 60, and one embroidery out of the six I managed to finish in time for the show. The mind reels!
Still incredulous at the success of the exhibition, and glowing all over from contact with all the lovely people who came and showered us with love, friendship, and affirmed the belief that when one does what one loves and enjoys, others can feel and appreciate it.
These few desultory pics are from Wednesday, when we set up…I didn’t take my camera to the opening, because neglecting friends who’ve made the effort to drop in while you are busily trying to get good photos is just plain rude, and distances you, besides, from the special environment of art and artists that is unfolding all around you.
That was so much fun, and turned out to be profitable, too, so Kris’s title for our show worked like a self-fulfilling prophecy! I have a couple of group shows locked in for next year, but other than those, this was the last exhibition Kris and I planned to mount before leaving Darwin next year…though we’ll be back after we’ve re-stocked our creative wells with some travel and new experiences!
It doesn’t have to be something complicated, just something simple showing your recipient that you took some time. Time is precious; showing someone that you took time out of the busy season to make something heartfelt is powerful and will be appreciated.
It could be a handwritten card, a little embroidery on a hankie, some cookies made from scratch, a simply sewn pin cushion, an ornament made from found objects, a collage of pretty pictures, a finger-painting made with your child, a snowman in the yard (Instagram him holding a message for your friend!), a crocheted granny square coaster, a handmade notebook of blank pages with a found-paper cover… these are just a few little ideas that pop into my head.
These days, it is too easy to get bogged down into the perceived perfection of Pinterest and the tyranny of step-by-step craft instructions. Today’s the day to unplug from these distractions. Comparing yourself to others and following directions can be so detrimental to genuine creativity. Use your own ideas, your own resources, your own ingenuity… you will make something that is from you and your heart.
Be experimental. Be silly. Creativity comes from letting yourself go a little bit. If you worry about stitching a straight line, today’s the day to zigzag. Just gather up all your creative supplies onto the table and see what emerges.
I think every day should be Make Something Monday.