Spring Craft Boutique

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Past Life

So, I was visiting How About Orange  the other day, and was inspired to share some of my artwork from what seems like a lifetime ago.  Believe it or not, I used to be a painter/illustrator.  It’s what I went to school for, although I don’t think my talent ever reached anywhere near her’s… but if you check out her blog, you’ll see she’s in a whole other league as far as talent/success goes.  So jealous!  But so inspiring 🙂 

Anyway, I couldn’t find anything from my high school days or earlier– must’ve shipped that stuff off to MOBA some time ago… so I guess I’ll have to start with the college years, which isn’t quite as pathetic humorous as the earlier stuff, but hey, it’s whats I gots…

Up in the Sky

This is still one of my favorite projects from college– it was for a hypothetical coffee table book entitled, “Up in the Sky”.  There were size & layout restrictions, but other than that, the content was completely wide open for interpretation.  Yeah, “WTF” was the general consensus, but I still like it…

 

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Sorry, poor photo quality here… I think this was supposed to be a poster for a book/story/play? entitled, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”…. I can’t remember anything about it, other than it somehow involved a melancholy polar bear and the wind.  I really wanted a pale, simple background with foreground features that stuck out… I also wanted the shape of the polar bear to mimic the shape of the mountains– I guess I thought that was somehow clever…

 

Umm… “g” is for tomato?  What?!?  No, I didn’t smoke pot in college.  I used to love to get caught up in all that fussy rendering…  reflective of some deep-rooted control issues, no doubt…

 

After college, I farted around with a couple of different jobs, waitressing, one at a gallery, one at PAFA (oh, they just LOVED all my fussy realism…. snobs.  Seriously, though, I still loved working there… ) before I decided to form The Painted Tree, where I, well… painted on trees:

These are all 2″- 3″ square tiles- tiny-  that are mounted in a frame behind glass, hence, the bad pics again– I was too lazy to remove them from their frames before photographing.  I used recycled wood from my karate school.  I gave up this biz in 2001 due to lack of money and the sawdust was making me sick…

How did I end up sewing, you might ask?  Good question– it’s amazing how a life can change so much in a relatively short amount of time.  I used to make little painted & woodburned decorative boxes for The Painted Tree as well.  They actually sold a lot more than the tiles did, and they were all lined with pretty fabric.  I found that I really enjoyed picking out the fabrics for the interiors.  I still had a stash left over when, in 2003, while preggers with Max, the desire just sort of came to me to start sewing with it.  My mom had given me a sewing machine one year, thinking I could use it for The Painted Tree, and it had sat, since then, untouched (well, there was that one disaster hemming Bill’s pants, but we won’t go there).    Slowly I started making curtains for the house, and small gifts for people (and a quilt!) and I just became hooked.

As fate would have it, when we lived in Florida, my neighbor, who worked for an interior decorator, fed my fabric obsession by bringing over countless discontinued and duplicate samples of decorator fabric, and so I ended up with an incredibly giganto fabric collection (not that that has ever stopped me from buying more). 

So here I am, married, two kids, a bedroom-sized fabric collection, and a small little label called gigglepotamus.  I got my invitation to join Spoonflower the other day, which is running a beta program for artists/crafters to design & print your own fabric. I totally thought I’d be on the list for at least a month or so before I got my invite… I’m so excited at the prospects, but I’m completely stalled out because my circa 1996 Adobe Illustrator skills aren’t exactly going to help me with the design process nowadays… if anyone has any suggestions for any cheap/free & user-friendly software programs, where I can create graphics in a tile/repeat, please! I am open to any suggestions/help you might offer!!  I am totally shamed by this, as *technically* my degree says Graphic Design on it…. shame, shame, shame….

Imitation

Last night I braved my way through Kensington to attend a class for sellers on Etsy.  My dear friend Liz accompanied me, and we managed to make it there in one piece and (almost) on time.  It was informative, although much of the time was taken up with instructions on how to list an item, which I already know how to do.  There were a few tips shared, although I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for more “insider” secrets to selling.  Liz is always good for some interesting conversation, and since we share the same opinions on a lot of matters, she’s always a pleasure to be around.

Anyway, I’ve been pretty happy with the amount of orders I’ve gotten just from the blog, and special requests from people who’ve seen my stuff on flickr & etsy.  Not that I wouldn’t be more than happy to get more, of course, but it’s been nice & steady.  I realize I have not had a shop update in quite a while, and, all I can say is, I’m sorry!  Anyone who clicks on the links to my shop must be so bored by the same old pictures that’ve been up there since Easter….  I do have an update coming, I promise! 

The good thing about taking the class last night was it got me motivated to get my heiney in gear & pump out some new stuff.  I’ve had these ideas floating around for so long, it’s time to make them materialize.  I’ve always been kind of in awe of the fact that we as humans can take something intangible and abstract, like a thought, or an idea, and make it into something real.  Something that can be touched, listened to, read, admired, or even criticized by others.  You can offer someone a little window into what’s inside your mind.  I guess it’s a little like imitating God… pretty cool.  After all, isn’t imitation the highest form of flattery?

Brain Pain

Has anyone caught that special they were running on PBS , the “Brain Fitness Program“?  I find myself completely fascinated by it.  I haven’t been able to catch the whole thing in it’s entirety, but it basically supports the whole “use it or lose it” theory.  They claim that as adults, we get to a certain level where we feel we have learned enough to get us through life, and we stop learning new things, and just apply the principles we’ve already mastered to get us by.  This, they claim, is the exact reason why the brain degenerates as we age, and we become more forgetful, our vocabulary decreases, etc.  They also claim that by continuing to learn new skills as an adult (like playing the piano, etc.) you can slow the brain’s degenerative process.   It is like a whole other universe within ourselves that is waiting to be discovered, and at this point, it seems we’ve only begun to tap into it’s amazing capacity. 

Also, about a year or so ago, there was a special on NOVA about string theory.   I can’t even begin to explain it (or understand it, really),  but, through quantum physics, it basically explains the possibility of other spatial dimensions (going on at the same time), and our minds’ power over the world around us.  These are scientists, not philosophers.  This stuff will make your brain hurt, but it’s exciting to think that there’s so much out there on which we’ve really just scratched the surface…. 

What’s exciting to me, is that in this ever-expanding universe, no matter how many discoveries we make, no matter how many technological advances are attained, there will always be more…. Whether we go to the far reaches of the universe, or within our own human bodies, we are truly only limited by our own imaginations.  Take another step back and I realize that in my own little world and day to day life, there are a million new experiences and discoveries to be made every day.  It’s as simple or as complicated as I want it to be. 

 I’ve pretty much been drawing, painting, or doing something else “creative” my whole life.  Over the years, so many people have said to me, “I’m just not creative like that”.  It doesn’t really matter if you can draw or paint, play an instrument, or write a novel.  We are all creators of our world, and we are therefore all creative.  Start up a converstation with someone, prepare a meal, play with your kids- you just changed the course of your day (and someone else’s).  It’s a beautiful thing.

Have a great day- go be creative (just don’t hurt yourself 🙂  )