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The 2018 Bag

 

The 2018 Art Bag

It was time for a new bag. I wanted one with lots of color, lots of fun things. The great thing about making something for myself was I didn’t have to think about pleasing anyone. There was freedom to put in anything I wanted without having to explain how or why. I knew what I wanted inside the bag, too. Pockets for cards and cash so I could do away with worrying about the size of my wallet, maybe something to hold a pen too.

When you stop to consider all the things that have to be in a bag, it makes the whole process a bit daunting. I’ve been listening to audiobook versions of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series and in one of them, Anita says something about how it takes no less than 10 minutes (or was it 15?) for a woman to go through her bag when she’s looking for something.

Brings to mind an incident with my dad. He had had his stroke and was using a cane but offered to hold my bag so I could lift my toddler out of the van. My dad almost toppled sideways when I handed him the bag. In fairness, I had a toddler. That means carrying almost half of the nursery in the bag and then some.

Well, the toddler’s taller than I am now and cooks lunch.  Anything in the bag now is mainly for myself. The only communal item that goes in is the hand cleaner. So unless they were for traveling, the bags I’ve been using have gotten smaller.

A friend of mine once called the bags I made “happy bags” because of the colors I tend to use. I love color. My favorite is actually white which is supposed to be the presence of all colors. However, I do tend to keep reaching out for oranges when I’m painting. Then when I’ve got the orange down, I feel like I just have to have a few pinks in as well. Then the pinks tend to call in other colors. You get it, right?

Anyway, the new bag. I went on Pinterest and did the Google image search before deciding on a shape I wanted to try. When I was ready, it was just a matter of preparing the substrate. In this case, it was leftover canvas that I primed with gesso.

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Then I traced the pattern onto the primed canvas. I knew I wanted to sew the bag the way I did the stuffed figures I’d made for the Christmas Fair. Since the bag was small, I didn’t want to worry about having to turn it inside out and all that. I trimmed the canvas allowing a quarter inch excess from the traced edges.

The next bits were the best. I painted, glued, stamped and sewed to my heart’s content. My collage didn’t really have an actual theme or story. I just picked up what looked like it belonged. I used Mod Podge to glue papers down though I did sew on the ticket from the Met just in case.

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It took me a while to decide on the strap. I didn’t want to spend unnecessarily. I wanted to use up whatever I had in my stash. I had enough of the cotton woven strap you see in the picture. I was hoping I had one in a darker color but I’d used those up.

Then I decided to add embroidery and bits of fabric to the strap. I sewed a strip of ribbon that must have come with a gift on the back of the strap to hide my knots. I was quite pleased with myself and even more pleased that the serendipitous ribbon was the right length !

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I sewed up the lining as planned and added a kind of strap to hold the bag closed. I didn’t want to insert magnets mainly because I was lazy. I just embroidered on the leftover piece of strap and made a heart from Paperclay. The cords you see were made using a Kumihimo loom and embroidery thread.

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If you already sew and you’d like to make a bag of your own, I made a PDF of the bag pattern. The strap is about 45 inches long without the inch and half allowance on each end (I’m about 5’6″ and the strap is meant to cross the body). The hanging strap that keeps the bag closed is about 6 inches with 2 inches extra for folding under.

I may do a step by step in the future but this is all I can do for now. Here’s the link to the pattern:

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If you do decided to give it a try, send me pictures of your work! If you have questions or need help with your bag, send me an email!

 

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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!

classes · Facebook · Illustration · newsletter · projects · The Pink Net

Newsletter!

Summer’s almost over and I’m looking forward to cooler days and bursts of color. There’s lots of winding down to do and a few things to get going.

First bit of news is that The Pink Net Newsletter is finally in the works. I had been doing some major assessments of the things I’ve got on my overcrowded plate and finally decided that it’s time to consider a less manic and ambitious approach. Time to simplify and organize. Of course simplifying isn’t quite as simple or as easy as people make it out to be. There’s lots of posts on Facebook about it–on Pinterest as well. Simplifying is a whole  project in itself.

Moving on. I decided my website needed paring down. I enjoyed creating the illustrations that link to different pages on and off the site but I realized it was done because I wanted to share so many things other than just my work. But if the website is supposed to function as a portfolio, then it’s just too busy. Hence the Newsletter!

The Newsletter is where I can share my finds with anyone interested. For instance, I’d love to be able to recommend Dr. Melissa West’s yoga site but it has no real place on my website. Then there’s the Picture Book Academy run by the wonderful Mira Reisberg who has an equally wonderful laugh. How do I tell you about Michelle Fifis’ classes on textile and surface design? Or about the books and audiobooks that you simply can’t miss? And because as a diabetic, I tend to obsess about finding the right food, how can I not share my finds with others who have health-related issues? And has anyone tried Annmarie Gianni’s natural skincare line?

You might say I could do it right here and I really could. But I’d have to remind myself that I started this mainly because I wanted to push myself to keep illustrating whether I had a project or not. Of course when the projects came, I lost the real raison d’etre of the blog but that’s now part of my simplifying process.

I’m hoping you’ll consider being part of my mailing list. I promise not to crowd out your inbox with newsletters. You’ll get a newsletter once a month, twice at the most but that should be rare. Most updates will be on The Pink Net site on Facebook. If you want to give it a try, send me your email on the contact page of this blog or my website at http://www.monettestudio.com. There’s always the unsubscribe option in every newsletter so opting out is easy!

I mentioned the picture book course in the last blog. It was a blast! There were so many resources provided by Mira, it took a while to digest it all. I’m not sure if Mira will be having another course on illustration now that she’s put on another hat as a Literary Agent but I do know she’s having one on writing children’s books.

One of the best parts of the course was being part of a critique group. Every week, we had assignments and posting/critiquing schedules. The illustration I’m posting here is just one of a couple that I did during the course. I haven’t had the chance to edit it as suggested by my classmates, but I’d like to post it anyway. It’s based on a former student (thank you, Pat!), who so generously allowed me to use her pictures as reference.