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Posts from the ‘Process’ Category

…and I painted

Today, for the first time since I was about twelve years old, I painted. What’s even more, I was lost in painting… swept off my feet in a dance of brush strokes undulating across the canvas. Feeding my heart as the colors mixed and blended and flowed together in ever-changing harmony. It was so refreshing to be lost in the moment of creating a thing – without caring about the end product.

Below are the two paintings I did today. I really have to thank Kelly Ray Roberts for her Flying Lessons e-course and all the amazing, inspiring women I am meeting through our group each day. I feel like I’ve been looking for a creative tribe like this for a long time. Their energy has really helped to put something beautiful back into my daily life as I move through my grief. Thank you lady flyers!

 


Both of these pieces are representative of the loss in my life right now – losing my fiancé, Drew in June of this year. You can read more about the symbolism of each painting here at my other blog our1000days.com

Through the years, I’ve drawn and sculpted and welded and thrown clay around. I’ve made rescued art and photographed and written lovely words… but painting has always been the one type of art I have shied away from. It has always intimidated me. It’s taken a few months of sitting here with paints and canvases taunting me before I finally had the courage to try. I’m glad I did, it was such fun!

I’ve also never really created visual art to express emotions I’m going through… my preferred method has always been words. This definitely opened up a new avenue for me – one I plan to continue with!

Welding: Kayak Rack (almost) Complete!

It’s taken me a while to finally get this posted.. My welding class ended a few weeks ago, and I finally got the chance to photograph the kayak rack I made on the truck yesterday! It works! I am utterly amazed that I was able to create something with right angles and exact measurements that is actually functional. It’s definitely not my natural tendency – I prefer organic shapes and just making things up as I go along. Ok, I admit it, that’s partly because I’m lazy and measuring things and planning them ahead is well, a lot of work! But with welding, I found that I really had to plan ahead, especially with something functional… so this project definitely pushed my out of my comfort zone.


Above: Removeable center piece for carrying two kayaks. Holes serve as tie downs to secure cargo!

Even though I went into it kicking and screaming a bit, once I started seeing this precise, exact thing come together that I made with my own two hands, it was pretty amazing. Something so new for me, and ended up being so rewarding to stretch myself into areas I’d previously defined as “things I just suck at”.


Details, Left: Loop to attach chain for the pin. Right: Vertically adjustable, with pin to secure.

A nice thing we realized when putting one of the kayaks on the rack is that it will be one we can grow into, as we have pretty short kayaks right now, but plan to buy longer ones down the road. It can also be used for transporting just about anything else long, like lumber or ladders… and with a piece of plywood laid out on it, it becomes a temp work table! I still have to get the it all painted, definitely going to rust if we use it like this at all! So painting will come soon! To paint myself or to have it painted? Hmmmm!

Robocop Arm to the Rescue!

Thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement from my last post! It really means a lot to me and definitely encourages me that they will one day go off to new homes and be enjoyed each and every day by their owners – just as I enjoy some of the art toys I have from other artists. I’ve also have a few people interested in commissioned felties – and hoping that will pan out! I’ve still yet to have my first commissioned critter!

I confess I have not been very motivated to blog in the past few weeks – hence the lack of posts. My wrist injury has really been limiting what I can do creatively, so I’ve been a bit restless and spending a lot of time just sorta zoning out reading or watching TV. So this wrist thing – which I originally thought was a sprain from working out – turned out to instead be tendinitis in the thumb joint of my wrist… caused by – you guessed it – needle felting! So no, I don’t burn myself welding or pull muscles in pilates… instead I inflame tendons stabbing wool! Sheesh, who knew this was going to be such a dangerous hobby? =P

As per doctor’s orders, at night I get to wear this truly fabulous Robocop brace that immobilizes my thumb and wrist. During the day, thankfully I get to wear a smaller one that looks more like I got in a hardcore fight and punched someone’s lights out. Not gonna lie, I do pretend that’s the real story just to feel extra badass walking down the street or driving with it on. Hey might as well use some creativity to turn it into a positive, right?

So the past few weeks I’ve stopped felting pretty much entirely, trying to give myself a good chance to heal up. I cannot rock climb, I cannot kayak, and I’m insanely restless to do both! Thankfully, this week the pain has almost entirely subsided – Prednisone dosepack & Robocop arm to the rescue! I think I am only a week or two away from being able to do all of my favorite things again, and am even able to start doing little things this week like open bottles and cans and lift stuff. My god, I never realized how important thumbs are! I certainly have a new appreciation for these digits!

At this point its pretty obvious I won’t be making my June deadline for the art market, but you know what? That’s okay. Even if I don’t get selling at an actual market this year at all, this project has jump started some great stuff for my Etsy shop. I hope to start photographing everything soon so that I can get a bunch of it up in my otherwise barren shop in the next few months! Woo! Even if it’s not the outcome I originally desired, it’s progress! And it’s still making things I love and moving forward with my overall goals of making some money from doing what I love. =)

Weeks 3 & 4: I Hate Wool and All Wool Related Things

Yup… here I am, at the end of weeks 3 and 4 and completely off-schedule. The theme for the past two weeks has been “I hate wool and all wool related things and will find anything to distract myself from having to do any more of this!!!” Distractions of week 3 included early birthday celebrations for my boyfriend, since he was out of town for his birthday… as well as movies, facebook and Pocket Frogs – the most gloriously addictive game I have on my phone. It’s very clear that resistance has come to visit. By the end of week 3, I thought it might just move along and go bother someone else. Not so. Week 4 was more of the same. oof…

My goal for weeks 3 and 4 was to make five bodies each week, 10 total – including arms and legs and tails… yeah that may have been a bit too ambitious. I only got 6 torsos done, and a whale on accident. (I got a little carried away on a torso for a fox and decided I had to turn it into something else… and started to make it a weenie dog… which also wasn’t working, and so then it became a whale. Whale to save the day!)


Five of the completed torsos for various critters! Getting closer!


The accidental whale! Still needs some eyes, but he’s looking cute!

I jumped off into random land last week and started a dinosaur just do some different and interesting shapes – since another problem is that I’ve been getting really bored making the same shapes over and over. Also experimented with an ADORABLE tiny snail a while back that I never posted! How cute is he!

So even though I could have done more, I guess I didn’t do too bad considering the level of resistance to felting (It’s been pretty much code orange or red nonstop). I suppose the most important thing about these weeks is that I got SOMETHING done and explored a great deal about self motivation and what gets in the way of it.

A few notes on getting past Resistance and Stuckness and staying Motivated…

Keep a Creative Balance: Focus is good, but not if you go overboard!
I’m learning that striking a balance between your various creative outlets and interests is very important. I figured this out when I went on a little road trip to go photograph wildflowers Sunday afternoon. I came home from that trip totally energized and ready to felt. For a while now I haven’t been allowing myself to enjoy my other creative outlets as often as I’d like… I think after doing that for too long, part of me just lost motivation because I wasn’t giving my soul what it wanted. I learned these past few weeks that all that other stuff is actually very important in keeping me recharged and energized throughout this project. In the next few weeks, I’m going to try to keep a balance of felting and all the other things I enjoy – and hope that keeps the energy flowing a little better.

Do NOT play Pocket Frogs for hours!
I’m positively addicted to this game on my phone. If you are a collector of things, do yourself a favor and NEVER start playing this game! I suppose that goes for any addictive games out there ;) haha

Have all the materials you need
I never realized before how hard it can be to be motivated when you don’t have everything you need. I have a limited variety of colored wool on hand right now, and this has really added some frustration to my process! Some nights I may get to a point where I would rather switch from doing the base shapes in white to adding color to more finished pieces for example. Since I don’t have the colors that I want or need yet, so I just keep going with the plain base stuff… bored out of my MIND. So last week I finally ordered a big multi-pack with 40 different colors in it and it should be arriving any day now. Opening up that box I’m sure will just cause an explosion of inspired energy about which critters will be which colors!

Give Yourself a Break… And Schedules are Made to be Broken!
I’ve definitely been too hard on myself for not meeting my goals the past few weeks. And I’m learning that being unhappy with myself about this is only making things worse. It’s only making me less motivated to keep going. I need to stop being a perfectionist about staying on schedule. A schedule is great to have when it helps you get somewhere, but not when you attach yourself to it so tightly that it starts to make you struggle even more! Nope, that’s not what schedules are for!

Instead of beating myself up over the fact that I didn’t get everything done I wanted to, in weeks 5 and 6 I’m going to practice relaxing a little and giving myself a break. I’m going to remind myself that a schedule is just a loose framework to start from, and nothing more. And that this is not a rigid process, but an organic and flowing one in which I may not get to my end goal, but I WILL get somewhere I wasn’t before! I’m going to replace moments of berating myself and being attached to one specific outcome with moments of trust and openness about where this will go. I hope this will help flip things around… because I need to rid myself of this intense disdain for wool and get excited about this project again!

I hope you enjoyed this lesson-packed post! lol. I look forward to updating you guys in the next few weeks – hopefully with a lot more learning to share and a whole little hoard of felties that are complete or close to it! I would love to hear from you all about your experiences running into resistance or lack or motivation on creative projects. What always seems to get in your way? How have you approached it differently or mixed things up that has helped your process?

Thanks for stopping by!

Welding: It Takes Forever…

So if you’ve been reading along with my quarterly project of welding, you know that I announced that my first project in the class would be a truck bed extender/kayak rack. It’s been a while since I’ve posted progress on this so here we go…


These pieces will end up creating something similar to the image below, minus the pivot point.

Tada! Yes… sadly this is as far as I’ve gotten in like two months of class. With only about a month left, it’s beginning to look like my first project will become my ONLY project. I’ve learned that there’s a lot that must be done before you can actually get around to welding pieces together. You have to plan and design, purchase metal from steel companies that are only open when you are at work (of course), measure measure and re-measure, cut all pieces to size, grind down cuts so they are nice and smooth and safe to handle, drill any holes or do sandblasting or any other thing you might need to do… and THEN… FINALLY… you can start welding shit together! Sheesh…

So this past Sunday I spent grinding and smoothing out a few remaining cut pieces, and then… I got to try my hand at the giant drill press!


Drill press… this thing was at least 6 ft tall
. Machinery bigger than me = effin scary.

I was surprised that drilling holes into metal was nothing like I’d imagined (I had conjured up images of sparks and very loud, jarring metal-on-metal screeching and grinding sounds). The trick is to use lots of oil and drill slowly… (refraining from dirty joke here). To my surprise the process was really quiet and smooth… like butter folks, like butter. My fear instantly dissolved as I drilled holes where holes needed to go!

Next week I plan to finish drilling a few holes I didn’t have time to get to Sunday, and then at long last I can finally start welding the thing together! Man, I better not eff this up… over $70 and endless hours of time already put into it! Here’s hoping that in 1-2 weeks I will have a totally completed kayak rack… just in time for the paddling season!

Two Weeks & Ten Little Heads

Two weeks into the project and I am on schedule with 10 felted heads completed! It’s been a lot of work and a lot of fun to see all these little critters coming together! I’ve felted all over the place – from a lunch table at work to my friend’s house… even on the road traveling down to San Antonio and back this past weekend. My wool and needles now go pretty much everywhere with me!

So for my first 10 large felties in the picture here, I will have a mix of foxes, cats, dogs, lions, and possibly some other random critters like moles, bears, or rabbits. Each head measures approx. 2 1/4″ in diameter. Foxes are my personal favorite, so I’m really excited to see how they come out!

I’ve started to figure out about how long it takes me to make each head now… The basic round heads are taking about an hour – maybe a little less if I really hustle. The ones with snouts and ears take around an hour and a half. The trick is actually being mindful of working fast. Since felting is actually pretty relaxing to do… it’s find myself slowing down a lot without realizing it!

This week I will be starting in on the bodies and adding color to the heads! *excitement!*

Operation Art Market: The BIG Plan


Completed five large felted heads last week.. here are 4 of them, Approx 2 in diameter (Dog, Fox, Cat, Lion)

So now that I know what I’m making and how much time I have, I’ve broken out a detailed plan for how to actually get all this done! This is where my 12 Month project from last year has become really helpful… I think I got pretty good at making detailed lists last year in order to make SURE that a project got done and got done on time. So below I’ve broken out a full schedule of all things to be done before the Market date:

Market Date: June 16th, 2012  /  Total Work Time: 12 weeks
Items to Sell:
Felties & Wire Critters

Critter Breakdown:
Large Felties – 10  /  Small Felties – 20
Large Wire Critters – 8  /  Small Wire Critters – 15

Types of Critters: (this took some brainstorming with friends to nail down, and still may change some)
Felties – Cat, Dog, Fox, Lion, Owl, Snail
Wire Critters – Frogs, Lizards, Snails, Turtles, Bugs

Schedule:
To keep things doable and interesting, I’m focusing on large felted critters and small wire critters first… and then switching to small felted critters and large wire critters. I don’t really have much rhyme or reason other than wanting to get the large felted ones done first, since they are the most time-consuming of all.

week 1: 5 large felted heads
week 2: 5 large felted heads, Make 3 small wire critters
week 3: 5 large bodies, Make 3 small wire critters
week 4: 5 large bodies, Make 3 small wire critters
week 5: Finishing touches on 5 large felties, Make 3 small wire critters
week 6: Finishing touches on 5 large felties, Make 3 small wire critters
week 7: Make 5 small felties, Make 2 large wire critters
week 8: Make 5 small felties, Make 2 large wire critters
week 9: Make 5 small felties, Make 2 large wire critters
week 10: Make 5 small felties, Make 2 large wire critters

weeks 11 & 12: Make business cards, get booth design nailed down and buy all supplies, Make price tags for all critters, and other misc items to be ready for the market!

So thats it… my big dream for 2012 and my big plan for achieving it! I’m actually a week in already, and on schedule so far with 5 large heads done. I’m sure this is going to be a pretty tall order and I may not make my total goal… but at LEAST there’s a plan to stick to! Off we go to make this thing happen!

Turning 30 and Chasing Dreams

I’m turning 30 this fall.. and since last fall I’ve been wanting to do something BIG with this year. I’ve struggled with just what that thing would be for a many months now. I started with a year-long photo project shooting barns, which was fun, but not something I could work on daily. I guess i started to realize that I was really missing that daily creative project like I had going on last year. It became such a part of my life. So, while I still plan to continue shooting the barn series, I’ve moved it to the back burner for something new. And in the last week of February I found that something… the big thing! Thanks to a chat with a few fellow creative friends who inspired me to be brave, and the Nike-licious advice of my boyfriend to “just go do it!”- I now have a plan!

Operation Art Market!

Since I was a little girl, I have always had a dream of selling my art at a festival or market. For years and years I’ve replayed the same tired pattern. Going to art festivals each summer, flitting from one inspiring booth to the next in total glee… knowing in my heart of hearts that “I should be doing this.” And every year like clockwork, I talk myself out of it. “I don’t really have a cohesive body of work” or “I don’t even have a style” or “No one would probably even buy my stuff” and of course the ever popular “How would I ever have the time to make all this stuff?” Oh the powers of self-persuasion. Within a day of a festival I’d have already managed to cloud my vision and totally squelch the burning fire for this dream. Ah! No more! I will fulfill these dream before I am thirty years old!

Just Do It Anyway!

That’s it. My whole mantra and answer to each of the above self-defeating questions is “Just do it anyway! (dammit!)”. No more of this talking about it and overthinking it. I don’t have a cohesive body of work… that’s still true. But I’m going to do it anyway. How the heck else will I ever GET a cohesive body of work if I never get my stuff out there? (and do i even need one anyway? lol) I don’t have a style (at least not that I’m aware of!) and I really like to dabble in anything and everything from photography to crafts to sculpture to design. Too bad, we’re doing it anyway woman! Not getting out of it this time!

Picking A Date & Deciding with Simplicity

Ok, so now I’m doing this… no way out. Fortunately I’ve already known of (and daydreamed much about) a local art market here in Dallas for over a year now that is small, inexpensive to rent at and a great place for budding artists to start out. AND they have a market day once every month until December! In order to get all the work done, I’ve picked the market on June 16th, 2012 to start. This will be before the Texas summer gets too insanely hot – so I imagine a strong turnout if the weather is nice. This gives me 12 weeks of production time. Now to decide WHAT to make.

Going by the old Keep It Simple Stupid philosophy, I picked the first two things that my gut said to do. And the gut said to go with making needle felted art toys and small wire/metal sculptures. I started needle felting last January for one of my projects and have been in love with it ever since… making small art toys here and there in my spare time. I’ve been doing wire sculpture on and off since early college..in particular small frogs and lizards with found objects like spoons and old screws and bolts incorporated into them. They’re both things I love doing and I think the two could go well together.. I’m even looking to try mixing the two into some wire and felt combinations.


Barry the Cat (needle felted from hand-dyed wool roving, March 2011)


Wire lizard (Dark anodized steel wire, bolts, spoon)

My mind kept whispering on for about another week “are you SURE you don’t want to include some photography? And maybe some other things…” I am standing firm with the gut’s decision. “Nope, two things only. And the two we picked are doable in the time we have and we think very marketable. There will be time for the rest later.” Phew, what a relief it can be to just tell your mind that there will be time for it’s concerns later! Quieted right down. =)

So that’s the big plan! I cannot express how exciting it has been just this past week to be working on something that I have dreamed of doing for so so long… to be truly giving myself permission to chase this dream without worry of how successful I will be or if I make money off of it. It’s made my soul so happy to finally be allowing myself to be deserving of doing this, no matter the outcome.

I’d love to hear from anyone else out there about your dreams. What sort of big things have you accomplished and how did you get up the courage to commit to them? What dreams are you still waiting to give yourself permission to chase? And what is it that always seems to stop you from starting?

Resources:
Time Lapse Tutorial on Needle Felting – by Laurie Sharp
Needle Felting: Basic Shapes Tutorial – by FeltAlive
22 Secrets to Discovering Your Dream and Living It – by Leo Babauta on DumbLittleMan.com

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