#handmade · #wearableart · art · artwork · crafts

Wearable Art

I have a thing for creating art that’s wearable. Don’t get me wrong–I have nothing against art that’s hung on walls or that’s set on a shelf. I do those too. But art doesn’t have to just be there.

Just look at those designer clothes that have prints taken from an artist’s watercolor piece. The patterns on fabric that are used for quilts and clothes are made by artists too. Take a look at all the beautiful work on Spoonflower or Patternbank! Just recently, I discovered VIDA and uploaded some of my artwork on scarves and tops.

But this is a website about paper and for quite some time now, I’ve been thinking about putting the odd bits of paper I’ve stashed to good use. I don’t know about you but I have a habit of thinking twice before throwing cuttings from a project into the recycling bin, particularly if the pieces are big.

The best way to find good ideas about projects is to do a search. Nowadays, I find that if I go to Pinterest, it’ll be rare for me not to find something. So that’s what I did. And, I found lots of pins about paper beads!

I remember making paper beads years and years ago. In fact, it was one of the projects I had my preschoolers do. Ours were big and clunky beads, perfect for little hands. But the pin that caught my eye today was this video tutorial.

The beads used here are fair trade beads. You can certainly make your own and then use them to make this Memory Bracelet:

If you’d like to give your support to the Kenyan women who made the beads, you can order them from The Bead Place where they sell the kit. Individual beads are also available, I think, and there are several Easy shops that offer them as well.

If you need tutorials and more ideas, there’s a wealth of them on this page on Pinterest.

For now, I think I’d like to try my hand at making less clunky beads from my paper scraps. It’ll be a good project to do while watching a video or two on Netflix, I think. More on that, by the way, in a future post.

art · cork trivets · doodles · Ikea · ink · Inktober · Instagram · just start · Lahla Smart · projects · showing up · Uncommon Goods · Walt Disney quote · why not you

Getting Things Done

I’m going to move out a bit farther on the limb and say that I’ve surprised myself by sticking to the Inktober routine. This is not to say I like the stuff that’s been churned out on the sketchbook I got (because it was cheap and on sale) at Michael’s. The whole point was to come up with something in ink every single day. I missed a couple of days and I even started late but for the most part, I’ve been showing up.

Showing up was today’s theme. It was the last of three that I’d been doing on cork trivets that had been one of my very first purchases from Ikea. The set of three sat on top of the fridge for a couple of years before I decided to bring them to my work area. Then they sat there for a few more months where I ignored them the way I ignored the junk mail that I swore I would use for collages. That’s how one becomes a pack rat. It’s seeing possibilities in junk and then saving them for a project that might never see the light of day that have the people you live with wondering if one day they’ll have to dig you out of stuff that should have been in the dumpster many Wednesdays ago. Wednesday is when the garbage truck comes in.

I’m not too sure when it was that the trivets made their way to my work table. I just know that when I was telling my husband that I’d have to get a new sketchbook because there were two pages left for Inktober entries, I found myself staring at the trivets.

What do draw? There are days when I already have an image in mind even before I pick up a pen. There are days when I sit there blankly staring at nothing wondering how the other Inktober participants can come up with such beautiful entries.

The day before, I clicked on an Oprah newsletter item because I felt I needed some encouragement. I’m one of those artists who’s highly suspicious of his or her own abilities. It must be because I’m at a mid-life stage where most of my peers are highly accomplished and about to retire whereas I’m still trying to start over. Anyway, there was an image that stayed with me in that newsletter. It was the picture of a mug with the words Why Not You. Those are the words that made it on the first trivet.

The next day, I knew what I wanted to put on the second trivet. I’d read them over and over again on so many blogs and articles and books. Show Up made sense to me and the words struck a chord. It was like the Aha! moment for me. To get myself out there, I first had to show up. 
You might think it’s the easiest thing in the world to do but it’s actually not–at least for me. I don’t want to get into the details of that one. Let’s just say I’m working on it. 
Then today I read another newsletter, this time from Uncommon Goods. I clicked on the tour to find out more about a couple of artists from the UK who were putting their art on tea towels which I find myself obsessing over lately. I like tea towels. One of them, Lahla Smart of The Food Guide mentioned the Disney quote: The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing
The thing about that quote is it’s the same quote on a Kim Klassen image that I started using as my computer wallpaper just last week. I don’t believe in coincidence. 
So now I have three trivets with messages that for the most part, must be meant for me. Inktober (and Instagram) forced me to draw every single day and to be accountable. I even made up for missed days whenever possible, kind of like when I miss a day on a Novena. 
There are four days left of Inktober. I’m probably going to miss it and at the same time feel some kind of relief that it’s over. I’m working on illustrations for a friend who’s starting a business and I’d like to get started on a project that I’ve had brewing for a while now. It’s time to show up for that one and I’ve got that pegged for November. Wish me luck and send me good thoughts!
And to those who have taken the time to “like” my Instagram entries, a huge THANK YOU! Those likes helped to keep me at it!

art · collage · Fine Art America · Lisa Congdon · mixed media · painting · prints · searching · sewing · style

In Search Of

My son Josh gave me Lisa Congdon‘s book, Art Inc. for my birthday. How did he know about it? Well, I’ve taken to putting things I like on my Amazon Wish List. Saves on guesswork and both son and hubby seem to appreciate the simplicity of it. On my end, I get what I actually want!

It took me a while to get back on track after the MATS Bootcamp, the MATS GTS, the MIID Summer School, and even the Spoonflower 30-Day Challenge were all over. Suddenly there were no real deadlines, no design briefs or prompts. I was on my own.
I did learn a great deal from having gone through the assignments and challenges. I also realized that it was time to try and put a finger on what actually defined my style. Lisa Congdon talks about this in her book. She also talks about how having access to so much artwork by other artists can both inspire and discourage. She got that bit spot on.
Seeing the work of other artists on the bootcamps and contests was inspiring but it also raised doubt on my part about my own ability to create art that was not only good but that was truly mine. At my age, I feel as if I should have gotten that straightened out by now, but I also recognize the fact that it’s not that straightforward for someone like me. I like doing too many things and trying everything out. There are dolls to sculpt, stories to illustrate, totes to paint and sew. There are techniques old and new to try my hand at, media I’ve never used and just discovering, and even scraps hold promises of artwork that could prove to be exciting and fun. All of that make for a really busy mind!
Once in a while, I do find some moments of quiet and when I do, the words of friends come to mind. More than once, the art I do when I’m not not aiming for any kind of look or style, had been described as sweet, as innocent, and even quiet and comforting. And then I look back to my earlier years when I would draw for my grandmother (whose birthday is today) and see, in my mind’s eye, the silhouettes of children that I drew with a black marker and how I tried to put in color by adding hearts using a red marker! There were others with more color though I think I thought I was being sophisticated by limiting my color palette to just red and black!
But these memories seem to be reminding me of what my art is really about. I grew up making art largely influenced by Holly Hobby and Joan Walsh Anglund. Along the way, there have been elements picked up from other artists and it was good to be able to try new things. But now it’s time to step away and take a good, long look at where I want to go.
This is why when Lisa Congdon began to explain how to make a Vision Map, I tore out a page from my sketch pad and followed along. I got rid of the doubts. I got rid of realistic. I wrote down what adventure I wanted waiting for me. I wrote down my Values and Intermediate Goals.
Today I scanned three of the artwork I’d been making with my Gelli plate and put them up on Fine Art America. They’re not sweet or innocent but I think of them as fun. I’m going to revisit the days I spent making art for my Grandmother and see what comes of it. With any luck, I’ll finally come up with artwork that will truly be mine.

Here are the prints:

Art Prints

Art Prints

Art Prints