Art & Soul 2019 — Portland

This past March I spent four days in Portland taking classes at Art & Soul. I hadn’t been in about five years, and it was great to be back. I recognize how fortunate I am in being able to drive to Portland and simply put all of my supplies in the back of my car.

This year I was able to check off some bucket-list classes including the two-day class on using a Dremel and a polymer clay class with Laurie Mika.

I shared this image last time, but imho it’s worth showing again.

The Dremel class was a good introduction to a tool I’ve had for more than a decade but have barely used. We etched glass, plastic and metal. We cut metal and clay and plastic. I think you could layer polymer clay and carve into (or away from) it and get a faux Fordite look.

I know that it’s a poor craftsperson who blames her tools, but my Dremel is so old, that I only have two speeds. I’d like to get one with “medium,” as that’s the setting the instructor most often said to use. Will that make a difference in my work? It’s hard to say. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I just need more practice.

At the end we made a small book for keeping all of our samples. And, our kit fee included a great set of bits and bobs for doing all kinds of things. I need to break that out and play with it some more before everything I learn fades away for good.

On the third day I took the clay class “Miniature Clay Quilts.” I’ve had Laurie Mika’s book Mixed-Media Mosaics for awhile and have always been smitten with her work. Plus, I’ve found a lack of polymer clay classes in this area, so I was glad to get some instruction in that medium.

We started out by making several pieces to assemble.
More clay elements from which to choose.

What I love most about my mini clay quilt is the Harry Frees cat with the basket of eggs. What’s especially great is that Walden loves this piece. We’ll have to find a good place to display it in the new house.

I can’t get into my new studio space soon enough to start using what I learned to make some pendants.

On my last full day of classes I had a book-as-art class. I was originally signed up for a class that would use tin shingles for book covers. That instructor had to cancel, so I opted for the other available book class. I was one of three students, which was actually kind of nice. We made two scroll books and something that is a more three-dimensional bit of book art.

Here’s a top down view of my book. See Sally on the phone on the left? She’s asking her dad for cookies. She’s my kind of kid.
Same book and from the side. Oh, those imperfections are painful.

I can see where I went wrong with this one, but, overall, I’m OK with it. Would I make another? It could be fun to make one for a specific special occasion with a book that lends itself to the occasion or person. I’ll have to think on that.

My last class was an evening class that I did not care for. (I might have even packed up my stuff early and left in a huff.) Maybe I’ve poured too much resin in my life to have an instructor who doesn’t offer any tips for students who have zero experience with resin. They were overpouring. Pieces were set in trays at an angle, which led to an overflow. There was no explanation of best practices for putting resin on the sides of something. I mean: Gravity! Pooling! Frustration!!

The woman next to me had never worked with resin before and said she likely wouldn’t work it again. I tried to offer some tips, but also didn’t want to be a know-it-all.

So, in a fit of frustration, I left early, got my nightly glass of wine and called it a night.

I did start this before packing up and leaving class.

My friend and I headed home the next day. Right away I started looking forward 2020’s week of classes. In fact, the schedule was recently posted online. Now I just need to make some decisions. I feel strongly about bezels and papier mache. I’ll fill in the rest with at least one journal-making class. Maybe one with watercolor and one that gets me out of my comfort zone.

Collage had a “store” at the hotel, and one of my favorite finds was a bunch of jukebox song slips/cards/papers. And this one is the best find of all.

To bridge the long wait, I have my eye on a kiln-enameling class in Seattle. But, in my new space I can play and play and play. It’s hard to imagine that I won’t find inspiration in such a large and dedicated work space.

Crafting on the move

Another year. Another market season. Another move.

Here’s me, slow, slow … just plodding along with the things I have to do. (I don’t want to wear sequins, but this little guy pulls it off nicely.)

While the passing of time and ebb and flow of the market season are familiar companion by now, it’s a little stressful to think about moving again.

I’m glad we kept the boxes from last year. I’m glad we kept some boxes packed. I’m glad I’ve been able to do some downsizing. It’s a shame it’s been counteracted with some acquisitions. But, I’m especially glad to be able to say that the beau (let’s call him Walden; my dad does) and I are buying a house – something I wasn’t sure he ever wanted to do or that I’d want to do again. But living among unhung art, unpacked boxes and the ever-present question of “Where is X?” finally got to us.

We kept joking that we needed a small living space with two big studio spaces. Well, we found it. Or it found us. Or, we met in the middle. The kitchen is small. The closets are not quite closets, and I’ve never thought so much about closets in my life so much so that it feels like an obsession! But, but … the glorious outbuilding in back is huge! It has power and ceiling fans and is 100% nicer than any she shed I could imagine. I mean, it’s an honest-to-goodness building that will make for a fabulous studio space for both us. I will have a series of stations for the following: painting, book binding, resin pouring, jewelry making, photography and more. I will be able to set up my easel. I can’t even get my head around that. Having order in my craft world seems like too much to ask, but it’s a goal.

Plus, running the width of the house is a workshop meant for tinkering. Walden hasn’t fully unpacked his tools in nearly half a decade. Now he’ll need more tools to do that space justice.

And the deck … oh, the giant deck. I like to say that it’s “ri-deck-ulous. It, too, runs the width of the house. It will be perfect for morning coffee, afternoon reading that leads to naps and evening dinners and can easily accommodate us and 50 of our closest friends.

We also like to talk about having a library of sorts. We have a double-door room, which has evolved into the Dumbledore room, that gets a lot of natural light. I think it will be a great spot for reading when it’s too hot or too cold outside. For me that’s between 68-74 degrees.

I admit that the house isn’t perfect. It needs some love (don’t we all), but we’re excited to pick out some paint colors, make some changes and call it home. Our home. I have to smile.

Until we’re moved in, I’m working around stacked boxes, disheveled supplies and cluttered spaces. Hey, that sounds—and looks—like the same-ol’, same-ol’.

Until I can document the new place, here are some bits and bobs that have taken up my time since my last post, which was far too long ago.

I made this at Art and Soul in March. Why didn’t I do a post about that?!
Bullseye “Fordite” from a Corvette plant. Ohh …
Oh how I heart this journal cover. I like how two different sprays create the look of off-set printing. Sadly, the finished product keeps giving me fits. And, I have a hard time setting the sprays so that they don’t run when I want to seal them.

The future is in the past now

Earlier this week someone told me: Your past is your future.

It really stuck with me. And, I get it. I think. It was prefaced by a comment about “without a major change. …” Regardless, it makes me wonder why bother? I mean: If our past is our future, is our fate sealed? Will I end up back in Indiana putting that German degree to use? Getting boys to help me with power tools. Can I get a do over on a gap year?

Because I don’t think that any of that is going to happen, I have to think how it applies to my life now. Is my past really my future? Am I ready to embark on a non-predetermined path to make my future my future. There’s certainly more to mull over, even .. dare I say it … ponder.

And all the while, I keep thinking of the song “Winter Girl,” with the line “You future is in the past now.”

In the meantime I’ll keep dabbling and scratching that creative itch. (Most of the scratching involves slow, but steady progress on a cross stitch piece for my sister’s birthday. )Here’s a peek.

Here’s the top right corner. It’s been so long since I’ve done any cross stitch. It was my first big craft love!

I’ve been wanting to make a hedgehog like this for more than a year. I’d like to do them in different colors — maybe even a rainbow striped hedgie.

This past week I took a Polaroid Emulsion Lift class with Thelma Harris. It was a lot of fun, and I’ve been taking a lot of Polaroid pictures to do more emulsion lifts. Studying up on how to get better photos is my next challenge.

I know I need to “make” more keycaps. In the meantime, here’s one that just needed some resin. But, maybe it needs something on the sides? Yes? No?

I bough a plain water bottle, and put some vinyl decals on it — Bigfoot (autocorrect says the capital B is necessary. Oh, what a world!), hedgehog, squid and a seahorse. While I had my Silhouette out I cut out a few more things. My Silhouette and I need some more alone time together.

That UW Surplus sticker really adds to the hedgehogs, don’t you think.

In addition to work and making things, we made a quick trip to the Bay Area. We saw SponTourCo as part of SF Sketchfest. And, I don’t even want to talk about Spontaneanation being over. Oh, what a stupid world.

Kinder Cardigan Cop forever!

(Seems like as good of a sign off as any.)


2018–My year in review

2018 will be over in less than 12 hours. Like so many previous years, I’ll wake up and not much will feel different.

That said, this year brought at least one big change. The boyfriend and I moved in together and we’ve both lived to tell. Not just that, we both agree that we quite enjoy cohabitation! Yay. To seal the deal, we even had/got/acquired a little Monkey. Meet Muncie.

Muncie ready for Halloween.

While in Muncie, I stayed in a house with the *best* wallpaper ever. And, we got to play putt-putt. The beau and I are up to five states. Only 45 to go!

Beautiful wallpaper, right?!

My brother, sister and Mutti’s arm.

I continued to make things. Like my first pair of sock with random bits of sock yarn.

These were gifted for Christmas and have already been worn. Yay!

And, I made more journals.

The innards of a junk journal. Oh, those pages make me smile.

I love this cover. I’m both sad and pleased that it’s found a new home.

The Christmas Story Monopoly game was a great Goodwill find.

I sold close to three dozen keycaps.

Of course there were random pieces of jewelry, too.

Lavender is one of my favorite plants to embed in resin.

All of these cats sold right away. I must make more before May.

I finally used crystal cup chain in bead embroidery. The results are really lovely.

I think this piece will stay with me. I love her so. I need to finish it though.

Look, I even started making kombucha with a scobi given to me by a friend.

I signed up for some Art & Soul classes and a workshop with Seth Apter in Port Townsend next year.

I even got my hands on some lovely fordite cabochons. Thank you Fordite Fix! Expect to see some photos of worked up pendants soon.

And here’s to a 2019 filled with my fun, adventure and fulfillment!

Beading, die cutting and keycaps

Happy Halloween! I hope we get some trick-or-treaters tomorrow. (That anchor between the signs really cracks me up! So spooky!)

I’m on day three of a four-day vacation. It doesn’t hurt that a weekend gave me an extra two days. In that time I’ve said farewell to the 2018 Redmond Saturday Market season, made jewelry, broken out my die cutter and dabbled in keycaps.

The great thing is that most of the projects have made me stretch myself.

First I was sorting through my bead stash looking for beads to re-home, and I found these bright, candy-like beads. I tried pearl knotting and a few iterations of stringing before I remembered some shiny pastel spacers I had on hand. Once I worked those between the beads with some clear glass spacers, I ended up with something that I don’t hate. It’s very Miami/summer. I’m such a Seattle/autumn.

These tiny elephants weren’t really challenging, but I think they are adorable. Elephants, plus the word “love.” Swoon.

Next, the beau commissioned a keycap. Although it’s not complete, how to get the image on the keycap really caused me no small amount of concern. Once again, I remembered a product that I had on hand (and that seems to be no longer available) saved the day. Preliminary results show that the technique is indeed promising.

As for die cutting, I hadn’t done much in ages. It always feels like an event to cut out a bunch of small pieces of paper — even though the machine does most of the work. I’m excited to try something with vinyl. Unfortunately, I only have white vinyl on hand. Unless I’m going to print out an image of go-go boots, I’m having a hard time imaging using it. That feels like another personal challenge.

Of course I had to make a Bigfoot card. I hope the “bare” spots give him dimension, not the look of mange.

I’ve wanted to make card after card lately. I’m not sure why the embossing powder fell away at the bottom of the word hello, but I like that distressed look.

While marbling doesn’t stretch my skills, per se, it’s still fun to see what kind of results I get. Who knew I’d fall in love with the medium.

Again with the Bigfoot?!

Of course a cephalopod had to be marbled. The swirls create a good sense of movement.

While looking for something yesterday, I found these papier mache pieces that I’d created in molds. Why did I move them? Anywho, some of them kind of begged to be marbled.

Here are some of the papier mache pieces. The gray of the original background really dulls the colors.

It’s a bummer to think that tomorrow is the last day of vacation. I could use another month of this. I mean, holiday shows are coming up, and there are Christmas gifts to make. No rest for weary/wicked.