Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Art Journal Swap for Inspired workshop

So I am hostessing an Art Journal Swap for Inspired. I am so excited to see what all these talented ladies put together. I started on the front page a few days ago and completed my template yesterday.

I have 10 of the sketches done - they just need paint and detailing. I have no idea what I'm going to do on the back yet - I'm thinking about doing something edgy.

I have also been working on a design for the charm swap. I know I want to use the Inspired logo in some way. I used epoxy to make these.

I will print the images on photo paper next time because the colors ran when I sealed them with craft glue. The charms I made of my kids will make cute key chains.

This was my first time working with epoxy so I wasn't quite sure what I was doing. t was a learning experience for sure. I may just use a soldering iron and put the image between glass. I am not sure yet but am having a blast experimenting!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It takes a village... sustain an artist.
I have learned that community is the key to happiness. The best times of my life have been when I am surrounded by people with common interests and I feel a part of something larger than myself. Playing softball, going to collage, the Peace Corps, studying abroad and parenthood have all offered a sense of belonging and enabled me to blossom because I have had support, guidance and a stronger sense of self.
Today, I feel that same sense of contentment because I finally have an art community. I now see that over the last five years, I have unknowingly been trying to manifest a tribe. I realize that my scrapbooking kit business, the store last summer, my studio, teaching at Michaels, etc. were all efforts to bring my passion into the forefront of my life. To legitimize my need for artistic expression. I was using my business ventures to make me feel like I am an artist. Despite my efforts, I still felt turmoil about my artistic abilities and my "place" in this aspect of my life. I had security and stability in my marriage, as a parent, colleague and friend yet the indescribable va-va-voom derived from creative expression was shadowed with a loneliness I could not understand.

Today, this is not the case. Today, I have a tribe and I feel more at ease with my craft than ever before. My abilities have not changed that much and my arsenal of tools and materials remain the same but I finally feel REAL - just like the Velveteen Rabbit - and it is all because I have my peeps. :o) I have a village of creative souls and they have loved me REAL.

This tribe did not just appear over night but it was just last week when I realized that I was a part of it. Let me tell you why...

One of the dearest friends I have in the whole world is Corvus. Our friendship began because we both love to play with crayons :o). So last week she came over to do some "show and tell" (every few weeks we get together to share what we have been working on and any new techniques, tools, products we have discovered). It was an incredible visit and I was in awe of how her work has evolved! I couldn't show her what I've been up to because I had been working on her birthday present (below).

A few days later I arrived home to discover a RAK from my inspired goodie bag partner - as if she hadn't already given me enough! She had sent me a mini album in a tin and a class kit of a project she loved! Hello - I was feeling the love from across the continent - Thank you Amiee - I can't wait to meet you!!
All the while, my Simply Obsessed design challenge partner and I were working on our layout together via email. We were asked to each create one side of a 2 page layout from the provided sketch. The goal was to achieve cohesion. Here is what we did (I still need to add my journaling)

And finally, I met with my Valentine swap partner from Studio Calico. We are both local so we got together for coffee which was such a wonderful time! She spoiled me ROTTEN - check out this goodie bag:

Thank you soooooooooooo much Lisa. I can't wait for our scrapbooking date in March and I REALLY hope you consider going to Inspired!
I feel so much gratitude for the generosity and fellowship I have from so many talented people. I love sharing, learning and exploring with all of you. I hate to sound like a goofball but I can't help myself - you complete me.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Charmed, I sure...

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been emerging myself into the world of jewelry making. I participated in my first ever charm swap via 2peas - a Valentines theme. I posted pictures of my charms a few weeks ago on this blog- frankly after I completed all 65, I was really proud of them but after receiving the incredible charms from everyone else, I was totally embarrassed. I even hesitated putting my charm on the bracelet I made. Everyone starts out as a beginner so instead of feeling "less talented", I opted for "less experienced" and have been obsessed with this art form ever since. I have a few favorite charms from the valentine swap and am determined to learn to make my own versions of these.
This is the bracelet I assembled with all of the charms I received from the swap. I love it! I put it together on wired ribbon and attached a magnet clasp so I can take it on and off easily without the help of a third hand. I inserted large spacers between every three or four charms to ensure even distribution throughout.
My absolute favorite is this soldered charm. I have been checking out various blogs and sites to learn about soldering and the tools needed. It appears this is a "learn by doing" craft. Michael's sells soldering kits for about $16 so next 40% off coupon I'm going to pick up the kit and play.
This is another charm I adore- it is made of epoxy. I have spent a lot of time looking into this medium - it intrigues me because there are so many things you can do with it. I found a great article for making epoxy charms and am planning on doing this project over the weekend. I have the epoxy, molds and release spray - I just need some kid-free time to experiment because the chemicals are dangerous and rather stinky. If all goes well, I will make epoxy charms for the Inspired charm swap. I've sketched several designs but from experience, I know what I imagine and what actually happens are often two very different things.

I have also been stringing beads into bracelets and necklaces and learning about the world of "findings." I went to to learn what all the tools and elements (findings) do. It has been really interesting researching the techniques, products and industry. There is so much to learn, try, buy. I'm exercising restraint. I've got a stack of photos to scrap before I become a jewelry maker.
The kids and I have been beading together. I made this fun necklace and have been wearing it everyday. I get so many compliments on it!
My daughter, Eva, who is two, made this all by herself. I bought a bag of this big plastic beads at Michaels for about $4.00. There are enough beads to keep both kids busy all year! It is very relaxing to bead with kids and I think the focus is really good for them. The only mishap occurred yesterday when Eva proudly shoved a bead into her nostril. It was really lodged in there. I had to get really creative to remove it. I used my embossing tool to get into the bead hole and pull it out. She is quite a character. Just another page in the adventures of art, parenting, life.