Friday, January 25, 2008

Etsy love!!

I haven't been in the forums on for a while. Tonight I messed around there for an hour or so and found several new favorite shops to add to my wish list.

StonehouseStudio makes amazing transfer art polymer jewelry of all kinds. I didn't even know you could put designs like this on polymer! Etsy artists teach me something new all the time.

Rheta creates little works of art for your body. I'm totally in love with this little pendant,
but this ring is like the cute guy across the room... it's got my attention too. I love the organic feel of these pieces - they look like something you'd find growing in the woods, under a fallen log... tended by fairies.

Another jewelry maker - but one that works with softer materials, is Soleilgirl. I have a thing for pins and brooches and wore them all the time to dress up jackets when I had a job where I had to wear jackets... I'd like to have ALL of Soleilgirl's little felt flowers and a few of her birdies for my collection.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Here I am....blogging

I'm blogging and I should be jogging. Well, actually it's 11:08 P.M. and what I really should be doing is sleeping. I'm blog-challenged so it took me the last 2 hours to get to here.

As I've already been 'sort-of' introduced by my daughter I'll just say 'That's true' to everything she mentioned. Seldom do I go looking for just seems to find me. Now that the business is an actuality and not just a "we're gonna do someday" discussion, I may start doing more looking. Right now I don't have far to garage is crammed to the hilt with junk, closets are stuffed over-capacity, the shop is a collection of 'one of these days' items in various stages of repair....well, that's not exactly the right word. When you're planning to re-purpose (a new buzz word that is popping up everywhere these days) an item, it's condition is immaterial....just that it exists is enough. And, exist they do....cabinets that look like fire wood, chairs with and without seats/legs/backs; and if what we're adding on a regular basis isn't enough, cleaning out the stuff left from my father's wood working/furniture building days isn't going to happen. I thought it would and I would be able to 'lighten my load' but then, along came Junque Rethunque...and now everything, I mean EVERYTHING 'may' have a life beyond what it is today. So, who am **I** to stop the transformation and life going forward of that rusty bolt, nut and washer I found in the dust layered box sitting right where my dad left it 12 years ago when he shut the door to his shop for the last time.

The shop is once more open for business and Junque Rethunque is resurrecting the dead!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Narrowing it down

Yeah, we all have things we need to narrow down. My waistline, for example. And the number of activities we volunteer for, for some of us... What I'd like to know is this: How did you narrow down your hobbies and your artistic interests and settle on the thing you're doing now?

As I was growing up, and in my early 20's, I dabbled in floral arranging, decorating tee shirts, creating greeting cards, making jewelry... pretty much whatever came along. I took watercolor classes, thought about becoming a graphic artist, made my daughters sweet little baby clothes, hand-decorated baby onesies with fabric paint. It seems like I don't run across a craft idea that I don't like.

For me, the biggest filter is time. I don't tend to want to do anything that will take hours and hours to get from start to finish. If I'm sitting down at my craft table, I want to pick up some stuff and make something and have a finished product to show for my time when I get up. I think that's what draws me to sewing. Although I sometimes have to leave finishing bits for later, when I'm making my Snowfolk or tote bags I can get quite a bit done in one sitting.

I'm going to be getting started on some collage and assemblage art pieces in coming weeks, and I anticipate a lot more time spent on these. I work best by just sitting with my supplies and getting inspired - but there will be a lot more detail involved with collage work, so it will likely take me a while to complete one. But that's okay, I'm looking forward to something new.

What made you choose the craft or art you make? Or how did it choose you?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hearts and more hearts

I've spent the last few evenings getting some things made in preparation for my shop being featured by a lovely blogger named Denise. She's a fellow member of the Aretsy Street Team, and features a crafter every week. I'm so flattered!! She's an awesome artist as well - make sure to check out her shop!

I have used some of my scraps of fabric and sweaters as well as embroidery thread and buttons, and made some hearts-on-a-stick. The way I figure it, if food on a stick is always popular, hearts will be as well.

I've also made a few tiny bags out of scraps. My thought is that someone will buy them to put little Valentine gifts in. They are made of flannel and denim, and have been decorated with colored thread, sweater scraps and lace. I think they're darling, and I hope you will too - when I post the pictures.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cheap materials

I know a lot of people spend a considerable amount of money on their craft materials. tThere are jewelry makers who buy sterling silver wires and semi-precious stones, fabric artists who collect beautiful designer fabrics to create bags and accessories out of. But I get so much satisfaction from finding materials for pennies, or free. In fact, I think I am more inspired by thinking of creative ways to use castoffs and odds and ends than I am by walking down the aisles of any of my local hobby stores.

Today, for example, was an exciting day for me. After picking up a couple of things at a flea market for a few dollars, I found the mother lode of cool books to be harvested for my ventures into collage and assemblage art. I was wandering around the store next to the flea market, which is filled primarily with furniture, and wasn't finding much of interest. Then I went upstairs. They have shelves and shelves of fabulous old books. Some legal tomes - Arkansas statutes and the like - lots of American Heritage books and World Book Encyclopedias, but then there were just tons of quirky things. A huge Gray's Anatomy, a book about husbandry and animal breeding with great old black and white photos, old yearbooks, a book full of photos of the Earth taken during the Gemini space flights...

I picked up the animal husbandry book, another one (an incredibly un-liberated piece) called "Always Ask a Man" by Arlene Dahl, and - the best: The Complete Guide to Illustration. It's a huge book full of black and white illustrations created from a collection of volumes originally published in 1850. It's a real treasure in terms of being useful for my art. I can copy the pages, use the illustrations I want and alter them with color... I'm so so so excited about it! I need to go back for the Gray's Anatomy and do some more looking. The hardbacks are only a dollar each. I can't afford NOT to go back.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Thrifty goodness and Etsy supplies!!

Thrift stores are the greatest, aren't they? So many wonderful odds and ends and cheap sources of inspiration! Today I discovered an even cooler thing about my favorite thrift store that's around the corner from my house. Outside of the store they regularly leave a few grocery carts on the sidewalk which they fill with things they have decided to remove from the shelves for one reason or another. The stuff is there for the taking... all free of charge!

I stopped to peruse the goodies and came away with a shirt and a pair of pants made of linen, a jacket made of washed silk, a little metal candle thingie (hard to describe), a beat up plastic baby doll, and a few other odds and ends. Lovely! The linen will be used in some pillows or tote bags, the silk will be made into some little drawstring bags and handmade roses... I think the metal thingie and baby doll will be put in the supply drawer for when I start making my assemblage art.

I'll be looking forward to receiving today's Etsy purchases to put in my supply drawer as well - some pages from a book all in Greek, and some little playing cards with illustrations of young women, and a nice old photo of a bearded man with a little more going on in his head than you think at first glance.

Just in time for the goodies I've started to gather, I picked up Altered Curiosities to provide some inspiration and some lessons in the craft of making art from trash. Jane Ann Wynn has the most amazing way of turning things most people throw away into precious little trinkets and special altars of quirkiness. I can only hope to be half as creative.

Now if my craft area were a little warmer in the evening I'd be a bit more enthusiastic about spending time there...