Inspiration

I thought I’d share a book that was given to the kids by their grandmother some time ago, and I’ve since fallen in love with it.  The Secret Seahorse, by Stella Blackstone.  It’s a cute little story that has an added element of a hidden seahorse in each full-page spread.  Even though the boys have read it enough times that the little seahorse’s secret is out, they don’t grow tired of it.  Neither do I.

  More than the story, however, I find that the pictures are what keep me coming back time and time again.  As a child, I wasn’t much for reading, but I loved getting lost in intricate illustrations of sea life, forest life, anything nature-oriented.  I guess not much has changed! 

All of the illustrations are done in felt and vintage fabrics, buttons, trims, and stitched by hand.  The bright colors, the rich layouts, and the intricate detail are just fascinating to me.  I guess being an artist who also fell in love with fabric, this is something that I find wildly inspiring.   

The artist, Clare Beaton, clearly has some skills.  Not only is it obvious the woman can draw, but her stitching is impeccable.  Her work, to me, is the perfect marriage of the two mediums.

If you check it out, I hope you find it as charming as I do.  I’m curious… what’s inspiring you lately (doesn’t have to be a book)?

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I just bit it…

It’s official- I’ve signed up for a craft show the first weekend of October.  I haven’t done a craft show in about seven or eight years.  It’s a small show, with just a table, no tent, but I’m still a little freaked out since there are so many details that you don’t normally need to worry about when selling stuff online.  What’s my display going to look like?  I dunno.  How am I going to package my things when I sell them?  I dunno.  What am I going to sell?  I dunno.  What other non-craft items will I need to bring?  I dunno.

Seriously, I do have ideas for a lot of these questions, but my head is still spinning.  I did make a few of these to sell, which will also be available in the shop later today (as long as I can get some better photos):

 

I’m a big supporter of imaginative play, and the boys love to wear these play crowns while pretending to be woodland princes and kings of the garden gnomes, etc.  Wyatt also “eats” the mushrooms, since I won’t let him eat the real ones in our backyard.  He still thinks they’re cupcakes.

I’ll have more details about the show in the coming weeks if anyone is local and would like to attend.  Wish me luck!

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….