Monday, April 20, 2009

What's happening in the studio?

..... cleaning, for the moment. The second go-round of Howard Street Handmade was this Saturday, so much of the past week invoved late nights peparing a few things and prepping some better ways to display my wares. The balance has been spent in eyeball-crossing math and layout for one of the other projects on my plate at the moment, and I really ought to know by now *exactly* how to figure the necessary amount of fabric for making bias binding strips.

There's a decent explanation (if you've ever spent some time with scissors and a sewing machine) here, although I'd like to put together my own version with a fabric that has an easily visible "wrong" side. So that's in my immediate future. I've brought my old machine up from the basement, where he's been boxed up since the move a year and a half ago, to get a clean-up and trial run with the heavier weight fabrics I'll be working with in the coming weeks. While my much-loved Pfaff is supposed to be able to handle all sorts of chores, it's a bit too precious to me to take any chances. The old Kenmore is like a sewing machine equivalent to a pick-up truck from the 70s... battered, some things don't really work, but it's made of real metal and will crash it's way through just about anything.

Several new small pieces were finished just in time for the show on Saturday, and those will make their way into the Etsy shop in the next few days, when the camera battery gets recharged. The tree that made an appearance here a week or two ago was sold at the show, and I neglected to take any pictures first (kicking myself for that), so I want to be certain I've covered everything this time around.

I've also finally gotten back on track with wedding planning, which makes it's way in and out of the studio and everything I'm working on as I keep an eye out for inspiration. There's some great ideas and eye candy on the Etsy Wedding site, and I'm starting to get excited about the whole process again. I'm doing my best to not lose focus here, but it is, after all, a wedding....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I wasn't too threatened by the warnings of snow for yesterday... but this is what we woke up to this morning.

Last fall I planted hosta, lily of the valley, and one beautiful peony, all of which were happily making their way, and I'm glad I decided to cover them up last night. I realized this morning that I missed a few out front, which are now under an inch of snow.

The sight of those snow-covered pots is jarring something in my sketching brain-- that part that makes me squint at things and cross my eyes to see it in a different light, and grab whatever scrap of paper is available to make my visual notes on what I'm seeing. Sometimes it's the way light hits an object, or an angle that makes me think it bears an uncanny resemblance to a totally unrelated memory. Sometimes it's just the pattern of lines on the back of a truck, or the side of a building. I feel a pang when I read articles about people with sketchbooks and journals full of ideas and colors-- mine are scattered into pockets, coats from last summer, under the seats of the car, on the grocery list, and a hundred other places.

But then I have the pleasure of coming across a scrap months later, and the idea is new to me all over again. Maybe I see something different than I did the first time; maybe I have no idea what I'm looking at. It's especially nice when there are notes involved. "numbers. circles in washers and coffee mugs. arc upwards on frame." Obviously I had a plan there, and I might eventually remember what it was, lol.

My stack of new wrappers got sidetracked yesterday when I discovered I'd lost my wallet, but there should be some posted to the shop later today or early tomorrow in new fabrics.

I also have a few smaller pieces in the works, including some new trees. It's one of the nice things about this combination of being surrounded by woods and the trees still being leafless, every time I look up from what I'm doing, I'm staring at those overlapping bare branches. It's an endless fascination for me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

After a beautiful weekend, the weather's about to turn nasty again-- 80 degrees yesterday, and a forecast of snow for tonight. Aside from needing to cover a few of my plants, I know what this means for me:

Sketchbook, maybe some watercolors and textile paints on muslin scraps, and lots of charcoal. With a drop in temperature and clouds rolling in, my mind turns inward and starts to wander, and that's a great thing for the creative engine. I get that holed-up-for-winter feeling. Out comes the file of pictures for fodder, and hopefully by the end of the week there will be a few new pieces making their way onto frames and boards.

While all that is going on in my brain, I'll be working on another batch of those sweet potato burritos and trying to keep my hands off the cupcakes we picked up from Short Street Cakes yesterday.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

oh yeah....

The great big piece has left the building, and is settled in its new home.... It's funny how appropriately-sized it seems hanging on the wall, when it was taking up most of my little studio and spilling out into the next room. I've been doing so much smaller work that I had forgotten what a pain it can be to squeeze things through the throat of my machine, having to continually stop to reroll. I wish I had photos of me cramming queen-size quilts through that space; I know I've done it, but I can't picture it when I'm sitting there.I'm happy, I'm proud, and I'm wishing for a good massage to get all those knots out of my shoulders before I start the next project.

confessions of an overthinker?

Okay, I'll admit it... blogging, for me, is not an easy habit to develop. I am not, by nature, the type to chat up folks I don't know, or to talk when I'm not sure what I want to say. As a student, I dreaded classes where I was required to turn in rough drafts and outlines for papers-- I would write the paper first, then go back and create an outline and change a few things to create a rough draft.

What does that have to do with blogging?

I find it difficult to post when I don't have anything fully formed and ready to go. When I think (like now) that I'm probably rambling. When I'm convinced that if I give it just a little longer, I'll come up with something more interesting, or helpful, or just a bit more fleshed out. Like many people, I want to get it right the first time, and that often leads to procrastination and avoidance.

I cannot count the number of times I've come across something that was truly inspiring, and made me think, That's right! You just have to jump in and do it! Just make that decision, take that first step! The world won't end! And yet, it seems that's a lesson I will spend my entire life relearning, every few weeks. When I was painting regularly, one of my coworkers would occasionally come up to me (as I stood staring in frustration at the mixing table, or drafting table, or in front of a drop) and say, Gwen, it's only paint.

So, note to self: it's only fabric. It's only art. It's a beautiful day, my family is- mostly- healthy and happy, and it's time to go make something.