Monday, September 29, 2014

Beginnings are always messy. — John Galsworthy

Most of my life, I have been told that I am messy. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of my mind. So I spread things out and leave them out to remind me to take care of them or to inspire me. A bag of clothes to donate will sit out until I have time to take them to the donation bin; a scrapbooking project will gather dust until I have time to get more blank pages; the ingredients for a new recipe will hang in a little cluster until I have time to dig in, reminding me of what I want to make. I recently read somewhere that this type of “mess” actually fuels the creative mind. And it’s true. When I leave my projects scattered, I can look at them in new ways. The only problem is that I have so many projects and so many tools to make them. I looked around my studio the other day and realized that I have every art-producing tool known to man:

a table loom (a small version of a loom for weaving that sits on top of a table); a book press; a photo enlarger and all the darkroom equipment to develop black and white photos; book binding cloth; a sewing machine; jewelry pliers, wires and beads; everything to make stained glass windows, from a glass grinder to a soldering iron; wood-carving tools; embroidery hoops, thread, needles, embroidery scissors; quilting fat quarters, a self-healing mat, a rotary cutter and years of collected fabrics; rubber stamp carving tools and blades and rubber; a gocco printer; supplies for making dollhouse miniatures; brushes, paints, stencils, bone folders, paper cutters, a paper scorer, all kinds of glues and tapes, paper punches, glue guns...

A few years ago, I got my hands on some dirt cheap miniature gourds. (I think they are called jewelry gourds). They were interesting and fun and I had to make them into something. I happened to lay them down next to my wood-burning tool and they sat there for a few days until I suddenly saw what I could do with them. I assembled everything I needed from my stash and made these Santas — with wood-burned faces — into Christmas ornaments. If I hadn’t been “messy” and dumped the gourds near the wood-burning tool, I may never have seen the possibilities in those little gourds. Bring on the mess!

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Hope you like these sweet plantable paper frogs. They're new and listed in my shop! I originally imagined them for a little boy's birthday party favor, but then I started thinking out of the box. I can see them as a really cute place card at a wedding, with the message: "I kissed a lot of frogs but now I found my prince."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Quality control check

Just doing a little quality control to make sure the seed bombs are up to my sprouting standards. Everything looks good!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rolled paper art

To the layman, marking art seems to be a spontaneous process, a burst of creativity that is transferred from the artist's mind onto the paper, canvas, clay or fabric. I remember the moment when I realized how thought-out art has to be in order to be successful. I was taking my first 100-level college art course, and was exasperated at the planning stages that the professor was describing we had to complete before we could even begin the project. It is against my nature to be a planner (which is probably why I love making handmade paper so much: very little planning and measuring involved!). So when I come across a piece of art where you can see the patience and planning that went into it — but yet it is so whimsical and simple — I am inspired to slow down. This process has never hit me as fully as when I have looked at the art of Laurie Brown. The genius of her art is that it looks so entirely effortless. But when one examines the details of this artwork, you can see how she had to roll a piece of paper not only in order to capture a color but also to capture the line with a curve in it so that the line would fall in the right place to complete the curve of (in this case) the elephant's back. As a self-proclaimed rolled paper artist, this work blows my mind. Go to her Etsy shop, zoom into the photo and really check it out. Truly remarkable work. I hope she sells a lot of it and keeps making many inspiring pieces.

Thursday, September 4, 2014