Sunday, July 23, 2017

Creative Blog Resurrection & Trying New Techniques

I started this blog to give me a place to ramble about and record my various creative works. I'm sure there are many reasons I quit posting as much, but I think one of them was the idea that my posts had to be perfectly worded with optimal layout and multiple angles of photos of the same thing - you know, like every other crafting and recipe blog out there. But see, that's not the point of this blog, and I don't need to let some internalized imaginary standards keep me from this. I want this blog to be a record for me, and secondly, a way to share with those interested in my art.

So here goes. I've recently spent a little time experimenting with new techniques in some of my favorite mediums. In sewing, I tried out 'confetti quilting' which I had seen in some art quilts a while back. It's often used to create leaves on landscape quilts, like in this image from craftsy:

I wanted to try something a little different with mine, so I decided to use it as a background for applique. Then I just needed to find the right image for it. I scrolled through tons of my digital photos and finally settled on this one from my garden a few years ago.

I don't have a green thumb, but bulb flowers are pretty easy.

I traced out that front flower on freezer paper and used it as a pattern. I gathered a bunch of earth-tones to cut tiny pieces for the confetti background, and found some butterfly print cotton in my stash to use for the flower petals. The finished result turned out better than I'd hoped and became my dad's Father's Day gift once I found a mat & frame for it. Those gold bits in the middle to represent the stamens? Those are part of the butterfly wing print. I positioned the pattern pieces for each petal to put those in the right spots.

The next new thing I tried was 3D collage. Now, I've done some 3D collage before with fabric and thread. The only paper involved were some tarot cards I attached. (examples below)

and I've done collages that were just paper and glue, like these:

But I wanted to do something in between, and had the idea of creating art around a photograph of a person. I started with a canvas and some paint. I had no real plan in mind here, but I wanted a background for the finished product. I did a few messy, blended layers of acrylic paint, trying out different things to get a splotchy, interesting background. Then I started gluing on texture. Some torn bits of text from old books and magazines, pieces of sheer ribbon, a few bits of old lace doilies, even random snippets of frayed cotton thread. Some of that got painted over again. I pulled out the hairdryer to dry parts of it faster.

Now here's where I wish I had taken process pictures, but I didn't. Once the background was dry, I cut out the photo - this one happened to be my cousin because I had 2 large prints of this photo available. (How and why my mom ended up with 2 16x20 prints of my cousin's 1 year photo is beyond me, but is not the most confusing thing I inherited.)

So, I cut out the photo, attach it to the canvas, and start covering the edges with flowers I cut out from various magazines. There are random bits of ribbon, some paper flowers by her head, a collection of buttons and shiny bobbles, and a few tiny mirror squares. I found the quote "you've come a long way baby" while searching for flowers and decided it was the perfect thing to put  on here, too. 

Response from the cousin in question when I sent a photo was "wow" further clarified as "good wow with a little wtf?" I know it's a little unusual, but hey, so am I. I think I like it, but I'm still considering. And like, what other ideas could I use here? I think I want to make some more, with different materials, but that's the trouble - finding materials for this kind of work isn't easy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I've made a lot since my last post. I'm working on a novel (or maybe novella, we'll see). I've written more poetry, and even got one published! I've completed a Sith robe, a certain impending grandchild's nursery, and several smaller projects that I'm hoping to add to my etsy shop soon.

I make Food!
blackberry cake w/ cream cheese frosting
chicken tacos
peach upside down cake  

strawberry parfait
pasta bake
pulled pork arepas

This is just a sampling of tasty foods I've made recently. I really enjoy cooking, and would love to find a signature dish. I watch the food shows and people talk about their signature dish and I ponder it and I think, "Man, I can't narrow it down. There's so much I love to make." And then I realize how very much that applies to me in all things creative.

I make Photos!


I got to play with a nice digital Nikon while visiting friends, so I got goofy/creative with it at times. From top left: antique bookshelf in an old plantation house we visited, blueberries, a flower, steampunk art installation outside a Memphis club, dragonfly (there were dozens of them in this one area, I managed to zoom and crop the photo to get this), random license plate I saw, museum Texaco sign (my grandfather used to own an old Texaco), and petrified wood. 

I made Friends!
I already knew all these people, but some of them didn't know each other and now they're friends and it's awesome. :)

I make stuff from Fabric!

Basic tote bag with interior pockets and stabilized bottom. I'm planning a small quilt (baby or lap sized) to match this and hope to sell them as a set. The bag was fun, especially since it's from a book with a lot of variety and flexibility in bag options. I look forward to making more of these.
Sith Robe - a commission
This was interesting - a learning experience in creating patterns from instructions, but I made it work and it came in at the estimated budget and the customer is happy, so all is well.

Baby Quilt - for sale

I loved working on this baby quilt because of picking out all the fun, colorful scraps. It was originally going to be my first hand-quilted item bigger than a pot-holder, but I soon learned that my hand doesn't like that grip + motion, so I'll keep machine quilting things instead.

The back of this quilt is a soft, light-flannel type of fabric. I bought it so long ago I can't remember what it was called, but I think it would be lovely for any baby wrapped in it.

Large carry-all bag

Funny story - about a decade ago when I first started sewing, I decided to make a funky patchwork/strip skirt for Heather. I picked out all sorts of fabrics that probably "shouldn't" be used in the same garment, but I was using my artistic eye, not any kind of sewing knowledge.

The skirt turned out okay, got worn once, and then we realized it was fraying too much to continue being used. I didn't have a serger back then, didn't zigzag the seams, (again, still learning). So I made it into a bag - created a lining for it, to hide all those raw seams, attached some handles, stiff interfacing in the bottom for a little stability. It reminds me of a Mary Poppins bag in a way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

But I don't write poetry

My wife grins at me when I say that, but it feels so true to me. I don't write poetry. But apparently, once in a blue moon, a poem falls out of me.


wind blows too cold to stay out
but home blows too loud to stay in

water mutes noises, calms nerves,
turns harsh lights to mystic glowing skyscrapers...

But they're upside down

like the World when you can't go home

sounds both inside and out
then turning in again
fighting and roaring
screaming and pounding

wishing for resignation
    to end the battle