Monday, November 18, 2013

The collage challenge lives!


I haven't given up on my 365 collages in 2013 challenge.
I've made 294 so far, which really only puts me 28 collages behind schedule.
It's not impossible.

Here are a few recent ones that please me.






Some days I push the same five scraps of paper around for an hour and come up empty.
Other days I'm on fire and knock out 10 in a row.
Here's hoping for a few more "fire" days.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday night is killing me

You know your life is good when the toughest decision of your day is whether to spend your evening making art or knitting.

I can get totally overwhelmed by the number of projects I want to work on, and get downright anxious about using my time efficiently.
This usually takes the form of wandering aimlessly around the house, picking stuff up and putting it down, and compulsively checking my email every five minutes.
I want to make sure the thing I choose is the best use of my time - the most fun, the most fulfilling, the most important.  
The need to choose the "right" thing keeps me from choosing anything.
I can waste hours trying to not waste my time.

Seriously, K?
Get over yourself.
There is no wrong answer to this question.
Pick up something.
anything.
take a deep breath.
start doing it and shut up.


Part of it is Christmas.
I've got a million ideas of gifts I want to make.
Where should I start?
Maybe I should try to sell stuff this year?
Why didn't I start last January?

and there's all the mail I need to answer.
 postcards and letters have been piling up, unanswered, since August.

and I'm weeks behind in my journal.
I need to glue/write/draw before I forget what happened.

and let's not forget that idea for a series of paintings.
I don't spend enough time on "serious" art.  I need to put a stop to all this other frivolity and immerse myself in it.
or maybe I need to spend an hour reflecting on the reasons I don't take my art seriously...

But then again, I could walk away from the art room and knit.
Every year when it gets dark and cold the knitting bug bites me.
I've got bags of yarn and dozens of bookmarked patterns and 138 more episodes of The West Wing on Netflix.

So many possibilities, and an evening free of commitments,
and yet here it is 10PM and I've got nothing to show for my night.

I've decided to forgive myself.
After all,  there was.....
 chocolate, and wine
an early birthday present and a phone call with my sister
the sound of Max laughing with a friend
fuzz therapy from Jake
scanning 33 bird postcards for the current MMSA swap
library books (full of knitting patterns!) to peruse
songs for singing out loud
the anticipation and planning of an art date tomorrow
AND
a ridiculous blog post.


Lest I leave you without any pictures,
there was also this collage from the other day, finally dry and ready to be trimmed:

 
Nothing to complain about.
All is right with the world.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It all started with an index card back in July.
That mysterious unnamed (but righteous) animal, perched on his funky green chair.
Innocent enough, yes?

But it didn't stop there.
More strange critters found there way into empty seats in September.  There may even have been a Stoat in a chair at one point.

One would think I would have it out of my system.
One would be wrong.

I can't take all the blame.
Mandy egged me on by hosting an "Animals in Chairs" swap in October.  Hence the sloth and squirrel cards pictured below.


Still, there's really no excuse for the next two:

 
Will it ever end?
Never fear, dear readers, there's relief in sight.
The chair section of this particular furniture catalog is nearly depleted.

Though there is the entire untouched "bed" section....

Monday, November 4, 2013

Glue book

I seem to attract collage fodder the way Pigpen attracts dirt.


 Even when I'm not trying, it finds me.
In addition to all the things I clip from books and magazines, rescue from recycle bins, and pick up off the road, I get oodles of wonderful things in the mail from pen-pals and MMSA swappers.
It comes in at a much higher speed than it gets used.
And I won't even talk about the "I'm saving this for something special" mentality, and the "this is too good to use" line of specious reasoning.

BUT, drawing on the endless inspiration I get from reading Green Glass, and seeing all the creative ways Liz turns her ephemera into books, I got serious about diving into my stash this weekend.

I grabbed the most recent bits of stuff from my inbox as well as favorite images stored in a cigar box "for later" and spread them on a folding table, imported to the art room for this very purpose.

Thanks, as always, to Jake for his assistance with this critical mission.
My primary goals were to treat nothing as precious, and to use as much as I could in one weekend.

I started with 2 old file folders, rescued from the recycle bin at work.  I cut them into quarters, and then folded each of the 8 pieces in half.
This gave me 32 surfaces to cover.
Here are the results.
Some I love, some I hate, but all were fun to make:

#1

#2-3

#4

#5 The brown part is a half-page with blue circles glued on top, and holes that show the green page below

#6 & #7: Here's what it looks like when that half-page is turned.

#8

#9 & #10: Painted tag taped into the middle of a two page spread

(Same spread with the tag flipped the other way)
#11

#12

#13

#14: I've been saving that electrical-outlet-with-eyeball image for years

#15

#16:  found poetry

#17: It's possible I never throw any scraps away.  Ever.

#18 & #19

#20

#21

#22: This one kept going from bad to worse, so I went over the top

#23

#24

#25

#26

#27

#28

#29

#30

#31  

#32
It took the better part of three days, but I managed to cover every surface.
 And what did I do with them?
Stitched them together into a book, of course!
At first I thought I'd just make a Diana Trout-style duct tape journal and hold it together with rubber bands, but I upped the ante on myself last night and used the long-stitch binding method (also learned from Diana Trout!) to make this book:

CitraSolv papers grace both the inside and outside covers.
I may or may not add more collage to the cover surfaces.
 
This makes me so incredibly happy. 
 

 I wish I could say this project used up all the scraps on that table, but not even close.
Guess that means I'd better start another one right away!

journals for a cause

I made these two journals and donated them to my friend Judah's Etsy shop.
Judah's partner, Charlie, suffered a debilitating stroke in August, and as they struggle to rebuild their lives they are raising money to defray their ongoing expenses.

These two journals, along with over a hundred other gorgeous items, are for sale at Charlies Spot.
It's the perfect place to start your Christmas shopping - there are original paintings, affordable prints, hand made jewelry, dolls, books, ornaments and more.  All proceeds go towards their medical bills, cost of ongoing therapy, and the remodeling of their home to make it more accessible for Charlie.  You get a beautiful work of art and you get to help a fellow artist.  Win!

Here are some close up shots of the journals I made.
They are both about 4"x5".
The covers are handmade "fabric paper" embellished with more of my hand-painted papers.
They have hand-sewn bindings, and are filled with about 40 pages of blank Stonehenge paper (suitable for watercolor, printmaking, drawing, and mixed-media.)

This one has an elasticized cord to hold it shut:


Nice deckled edges on the paper:

Long-stitch binding with waxed linen thread:

This one has actual dried ferns adhered to it:


View of the back cover:

Another fern on the inside of the back cover:

Close up of the crazy stitched circles on the cover:

I love making books.  Every time I finish binding a book I wonder why I don't do this all day every day?  Why did I wait almost a year since my last book-binding session?
Unanswerable questions.

If you'd like to own one of these for yourself, head on over to Charlie's Spot.
They are a mere $25 each.
Maybe while you're there you'll find treasures for everyone on your gift list!

UPDATE: As of Monday night, the blue one has sold!  Thanks, Vicki.
Another update:  The orange one sold too!