Gratitude

February 26, 2009

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I’ve been watching too much news and I need to kick the habit.  It keeps me in negative thinking much too much of the time.

So I need to think about my blessings.  The economy?  Well, the recession will end and eventually I will find my ideal job.  Until then I have my jewelry business and a part time job that will keep food on the table.  No jobs?  I will have a Bachelor’s Degree in May that will eventually pay off, if not immediately. Weight?  Hmmmm.  Too much to eat – many people in the world will never know what that’s like.  Too busy? I don’t have to worry about sitting around bored or lonely. Old van with 196,000+ miles on it?  It’s paid for!!  I’m trying to learn the art of being more grateful.  My blessings may be different and less visible than others people’s, but they are worthy of gratitude and thanks.

The bracelet above is from my “Fiesta” line and is for sale at my etsy site: www.sweetanniesjewelry.etsy.com.  I make quite a few variations and earrings to match – they work especially great with summer clothes.  Check them out and let me know what you think!

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Yamming and Jamming…

February 25, 2009

 

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Sunday after church we had a YAM session.  YAM stands for Youth Art Ministry, and when we have a day we call it a YAM Jam!  My friend Karen and I started the group several years ago.  We wanted to use our own unique gifts to contribute to the Youth Ministry.  It has gone really well, and the teens really seem to enjoy it. 

The kids themselves are like blank canvases.  So many of them have never really done art projects before.  Karen and I like to break rules and shake things up, so I think that surprises them.  We stress that many rules in art are meant to be broken, that there really aren’t any mistakes.  We want them to have fun,  express themselves and get a chance to laugh, gab and learn something new.

We have done altered books, acrylic painting, collage, wire work, creating with corrugated cardboard, duct tape celebration, tattooed clothing, and more.  We like to play lively music and really listen to the kids.  They have a lot to share, and they have ended up teaching us a lot, too. 

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The above shirt was made by Tim, our Youth Pastor, who encourages us and makes it all possible.

Dryer Sheets Repurposed!

February 22, 2009

Some artists blow me away with their ideas.  I love Katherine Sands blog (http://katherinesands.wordpress.com) and am constantly inspired.  This post, however, made me sit up straight in my chair…I throw these dryer sheets out on a regular basis!!  How could I be so blind??  I am newly inspired to get going with my new silk paints – thanks Katherine!  Enjoy her posts and check out her website at http://www.katherinesands.com/ also.

How Many Dryer Sheets…

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…can one collect? For my use, I don’t want a block of color, but just a bit of color and transparency for layering. They can still have paint added to them as well as stamping, and I’m even wondering how they would take a gel medium photo transfer…hmmmm, I may have to try that!

Katherine has many examples of collage and quilting works using these painted and dyed dryer sheets.  Check them out!  I will be following her blog and sharing more inspiring ideas in the future, too.

 work in progress.

1. Go for a walk. Draw or list things you find on the the sidewalk. 2. Write a letter to yourself in the future. 3. Buy something inexpensive as a symbol for your need to create, (new pen, a tea cup, journal). Use it everyday. 4. Draw your dinner. 5. Find a piece of poetry you respond to. Rewrite it and glue it into your journal. 6. Glue an envelope into your journal. For one week collect items you find on the street. 7. Expose yourself to a new artist, (go to a gallery, or in a book.) Write about what moves you about it. 8. Find a photo of a person you do not know. Write a brief bio about them. 9. Spend a day drawing only red things. 10. Draw your bike. 11. Make a list of everything you buy in the next week. 12. Make a map of everywhere you went in one day. 13. Draw a map of the creases on your hand, (knuckles, palm) 14. Trace your footsteps with chalk. 15. Record an overheard conversation. 16. Trace the path of the moon in relation to where you live. 17. Go to a paint store. Collect ‘chips’ of all your favorite colors. 18. Draw your favorite tree. 19. Take 15 minutes to eat an orange. 20. Write a haiku. 21. Hang upside down for five minutes. 22. Hang found objects from tree branches. 23. Make a puppet. 24. Create an outdoor room from things you find in nature. 25. Read a book in one day. 26. Illustrate your grocery list. 27. Read a story out loud to a friend. 28. Write a letter to someone you admire. 29. Study the face of someone you do not like. 30. Make a meal based on a color theme. (i.e. all white). 31. Creat a museum of very small things. 32. List the smells in your neighborhood. 33. List 100 uses for a tin can. 34. Fill an entire page in your jounral with small circles. Color them in. 35. Give away something you love. 36. Choose an object, draw the side you can’t see. 37. List all of the places you’ve ever lived. 38. Describe your favourite room in detail. 39. Write about your relationship with your washing machine. 40. Draw all of the things in your purse/bag. 41. Make a mini book based on the theme, “my grocery list”. 42. Create a character based on someone you know. Write a list of personality traits. 43. Recall your favorite childhood game. 44. Put postcards of art pieces/painting on the inside of your kitchen cupboard doors, so you can see them everyday (but not become deaf to them.) 45. Draw the same object every day for a week. 46. Write in your journal using a different medium (brush & ink, charcoal, old typewriter, crayons, fat markers. 47. Draw the individual items of your favorite outfit. 48. Make a useful item using only paper & tape. 49. Research a celebration or ritual from another culture. 50. Do a temporary art installation using a pad of post it notes & a pen. 51. Draw a map of your favorite sitting spots in your town/city. (photocopy it and give it to someone you like.) 52. Record all of the sounds you hear in the course of one hours. 53. Using a grid, collect various textures from magazine and play them off of each other. 54. Cut out all media for one day. Write about the effects. 55. Make pencil rubbings of six different surfaces. 56. Draw your garbage. 57. Do a morning collage. 58. List your ten most important things, (not including animals or people.) 59. List ten things you would like to do every day. 60. Glue a photo of yourself as a child into your journal. 61. Trasform some garbage. 62. Write an entry in your journal in really LARGE letters. 63. Collect some ‘flat’ things in nature (leaves, flowers). Glue or tape them into your journal. 64. Physically alter a page. (i.e. cut a hole, pour tea on it, burn it, fold it, etc.) 65. Find several color combinations you respond to in public. Document them using swatches, write where you found them. 66. Write a journal entry describing something “secret”. Cut it up into several pieces and glue them back in scrambled. 67. Record descriptions or definitions of subjects or words you are interested in, found in encyclopedias or dictionaries. 68. Draw the outline of an object without looking at the page. (contour drawing). 69. What were you thinking just now? write it down. 70. Do nothing. 71. Write a list of ten things you could to do. Do the last thing on the list. 72. Create an image using dots. 73. Do 3 drawings at different speeds. 74. Put a small object in your left pocket (or in a bag), Put your left hand in the pocket. Draw it by feel. 75. Create a graph documenting or measuring something in your life. 76. Draw the sun. 77. Create instructions for a simple everyday task. 78. Make prints using food. (fruit and vegetables cut in half, fish, etc.) 79. Find a photo. Alter it by drawing over it. 80. Write a letter using an unconventional medium. 81. Draw one object for twenty minutes. 82. Combine two activities that have not been combined before. 83. Write about your day in an encyclopedic fashion. (i.e. organize by subject.) 84. Write a list of all the things you do to escape. 85. Cut a random shape out of several layers of a magazine. Make a collage out of the results. 86. Write an entry in code. 87. Make a painting using tools from the bathroom. 88. Work with a medium that is subtractive. 89. Write about or draw some of the doors in your life. 90. Make a postcard that has some kind of activity on it. 91. Divise a journal entry using “layers”. 92. Divise an entry using “layers”. 93. Write your own definition of one of the following concepts, sitting, waiting, sleeping (without using the actual word.) 94. List 10 of your habits. 95. Illustrate the concept of “simplicity”.

Check out more from Keri at www.kerismith.com/blog/

I don’t even think my candle has ends anymore.  It’s more like a molten lump of wax that’s totally used up!

Between my daughter’s doctor visits, work, schoolwork, kids obligations, housework, etc. etc. etc. there has been little time for me, and even less time for creativity.  I have had ideas – tons of ideas – but no time to do anything about them.  The time well is dry.

What can I do?  Well, for now I am writing down lots of notes.  I don’t want to forget some of the inspirations that come to me at off times.  I keep a small notebook with me at all times for this purpose.  It doesn’t matter how random, I write it down.  I have folders at home I stick stuff in like “blog,” “website,” and “inspirations.”  It’s simple enough to slide the notebook sheets in when I get home.  Of course my purse usually looks like a spot hurricane hit it, but I can live with that!  It’s a small price to pay not to miss a good inspiring thought.

Another thing I did while spending some time with my kids watching “our” show, American Idol.  This is something we carve out time for.  We record it to watch when we are all together.  Anyway, I struggle with sitting still without something in my hands, so I started shredding yarn scraps from a knitting project.  It was fun!  And best of all, it didn’t require brain cells.  I kept going (because I never through away those gorgeous yarn scraps) and now I have this big pile of yarn fluff and threads, perfect for some collage/multimedia project down the line.  It really helped me unwind, too, so I think I’ll keep this one as a down-time ritual.  It can all be randomly shoved into a Ziploc bag for later use.

So, even though my wick is  burnt out and my well is dry, I am like a squirrel before hibernation – storing up the things I will need when the time comes.

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I found a fascinating and fun website tonight and I wanted to share an article I enjoyed with you.

10 Ways to Infuse Your Work With Your Personality

1. Document what you are responding to regularly. *journal/sketchbook, blog, listmaking, photo journal, bulletin board collage, internet bookmarks, Allow yourself to go deeper into an idea. Find influence outside of your field. Consider that you are ALWAYS working for yourself.

2. Start to challenge yourself on a regular basis to try new things, (not just for work. *i.e. new foods, colors, processes, classes, travel, become a guerilla artist, etc. Your hobbies are your greatest source of play.)

3. Go back to your childhood, (the formative years). What were your favourite things to do? In this lies some clues as to where you want to focus your energy as an adult. What makes you burst with energy?

4. Do something that is not for money. For your own enjoyment. (Your greatest work will come from here!)
*examples…
-newsletter
-zine
-website
-x-mas card
-product concept
-toys
-gifts for friends.
Design for yourself. *See handout on guerilla art.

5. Use sources that are based on your daily life. Your life IS your art. What are the things that are most important in your current life?

6. Become a collector. Collecting allows us to look at one thing in a contemplative & mindful way. Giving you new insights and perceptions. Examples: Maria Kalman -purse contents, Steven Guarnaccia -shoe sole
rubbings, Ian Phillips & Grant Heaps -Lost & Found pet posters, Mark Ulriksen (former art director) -misspellings of his name, Charles & Rae Eames -toys from other countries

7. “Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain.” Ignore what other people are doing. It has no bearing on your existence or vision of the world. The times we feel the most discouraged are usually due to the fact we are comparing ourselves to others. Most times reading awards annuals, and industry mags only serves to make us feel inadequate. Try cutting it out entirely. Designer Bruce Mau recommends not entering awards competitions. His reasoning, “Just don’t do it, it’s not good for you.”

8. Don’t promote to target your audience. By all means send things out into the world, but don’t think in terms of “promoting to get work”. Send stuff out because -you’re proud of it, -you want to share something with the world, -it’s fun to get mail, -to have good karma, -you want to spread your germs, -you like licking stamps. Try sending a postcard of something you made for fun, (i.e. directions on how to make a finger puppet). When thinking of subject matter for promotions look to your current life. If you deal with topics that are important to you a piece will have much more life to it.

9. Take a lighthearted approach (Don’t take yourself too seriously). If you feel stuck, you can always reinvent yourself, (re: try something else).

10. Study other artists or creators who followed their own vision. Research.

 In response to #10, check her out at www.kerismith.com/blog/

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I admit it.  I am a total bead shopping junkie.  If I can’t get to a bead store, I’ll be on a website looking for my next big thing.  You  know, that thing that will inspire you, drive you to creative heights you’ve only dreamed about, make you rich and famous…THAT next big thing.

So what do you do when the economy pinches your pocketbook?  When a new bead order is just not in the stars for you?  How do you stay creative in times like these? 

Today I had a creative awakening when I took a new look around my studio.  There are drawers I haven’t opened in months.  There are piles of idea sheets I haven’t gone through in years.  Stacks of old bead magazines with sticky notes hanging out are piled in the filing cabinet.  I literally have hundreds and hundreds of dollars in beading supplies just existing all around me while I always gravitate toward favorites.

But what if this economy forces us to take a second look?  What about that bead strand that looked so cute in the catalog but wasn’t what you thought it was once you got it?  What if you took another look with new eyes?  As for me, I have a huge bin of tarnished and broken jewelry that only need to be cleaned up, taken apart and sorted.  Voila!  Beads again!  I have a treasure trove of tarnished silver that would probably pay for a year of college just sitting around unused because it’s – gasp! – tarnished.  Well, this bead chick is getting out her cotton gloves and getting down and dirty!

What about a new line?  What about that technique you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t take the time?  What about incorporating the beads you already have and aren’t using into a new type of craft project?  I’m looking into incorporating my collection of old jewelry into some new purposes – collage, sculpture or wire working.  I took a basketryclass once and loved it…can I somehow use that?  How about practicing soldering like I always planned on but never took the time to do? 

And, with those things I can’t use, I can always bag them up and sell them on Etsy or eBay, because I’m sure someone else out there can use them.  Then I can use the extra cash to put gas in the tank or something. 

I will keep you posted on my new visions, and I’d love to hear about your ideas for stretching your beading budget during these tough times.  We can all share and help each other out, which is what makes the tough times bearable.

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