"Keep in mind that more most of history people just made things, and they didn't make suck a big freaking deal out of it."
~Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
My classes at the community college don't start until tomorrow, so I've been logging in a lot of studio time, preparing for ACC and chipping away at my Halstead Challenge piece, since both deadlines are rapidly approaching. The Halstead piece was giving me some trouble. I felt like I had to have the *Perfect* photograph before I could get started. I've been using a variety of vintage papers and found photographs, but I'm getting more and more to the point where I'd like to have more control over my imagery. But I don't want a slick, new digital print. I want the aged look of the vintage pieces I have been using. I'm not sure what the solution is, and I don't really have the financial resources to devote to figuring it out at the moment, so I'm working with what I have, and kicking around some theoretical alternatives. For the Halstead Challenge, I finally settled on this old photo of a cemetery. Or at least a small portion of it.
Since I haven't has access to a fully equipped studio for a few weeks, I've been doing a lot of bench work: sawing, filing, cold connections, etc. I've been working on some necklaces inspired by my "Chain of Events" piece I wrote about a year and a half ago. I'd like to have 4 or 5 of these ready to go for ACC in February. These necklaces are appeal to my short attention span, as I can change gears and materials as often as I like, and they're great for using up scraps and other odd, but interesting bits.
The extra studio time has been nice, but I am a bit anxious to get back to work. Having somewhere to go at least a few days a week grounds me, and makes me feel like part of the world. Especially since due to the weather, I haven't left the house for 2+ days. Hope you're spending your time being warm an productive!
Thanks for reading!
Here I am, yet again returning to this blog after a long hiatus. After a stressful end of semester and holiday season, I find myself feeling restful and reflective and with an annoying head cold. I've faced a lot of personal challenges over the past two years, and I'm finally feeling like I'm in a place where I can focus on becoming the kind of person I want to be, instead of focusing my energy on not bursting into tears or flying into a rage. I've been treading water for too long, and am finally ready to move forward.
I'm setting my sights relatively low: setting goals that will hopefully make me more disciplined, while not feeling overly burdensome. My main focus will be on getting organized, practicing gratitude, practicing kindness, learning calligraphy, maintaining and expanding my reading practice, and, of course, pouring my efforts into my studio practice. This will take the form of starting a gratitude journal, trying to complete one small act of kindness everyday, spending one hour a day minimum in studio, filling out one calligraphy practice sheet a day, and keeping a bullet journal (without getting wrapped up in the fact it's not Pinterest pretty. . . .yet). I plan to read more art books, do more research, and read a broader range of works.
I want to make more and strive less. The work is in this interesting, yet delicate flux right now. The book making and the metalsmithing are starting to converge. The aesthetic is shifting, and I'm still trying to figure out what it's all about. Now that I'm back in the south, I'm surrounded by it, but I still can't quite articulate it. I intend to focus on the work, and not so much the results of the work: getting into publications, getting into shows, getting invitations to things. In other words, what feels like the "popularity contest" side of things. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't make work because I want people to like it, and therefore me, but to connect with the most authentic version of myself.
So that's the plan. Happy New Year.
A few shots from College Night at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
"He had to displace his desires onto the landscape, that great, blank, green field, that cannot love you back, but cannot hurt you either."
~ Helen MacDonald, H is for Hawk
" Falling in love is a desolating experience, but not when it is with a countryside."
~T.H. White, England Have My Bones
Making a big ol' pendant.
"In every nook, I find little things that tell me about her. She was a noticer,. . . . , like me, for all the shelves are lined with shells, bird feathers, dried sea grasses, pebbles, eggshells, and the skeleton of something that might be a bat. They're just bits that were lying on the ground, that anyone else would step over or on, but she saw they were beautiful and brought them home."
~Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Some post Hurricane Matthew shots from Sunday evening.
I'm a couple days behind on the my Process Shot of the Week, but I did finish up my Book a Day Challenge for the month of September. The last seven books were all the same style/stitch, and all had hand painted watercolor papers. Towards the end, I did start to get a little tired of the book making, so I think I have it out of my system for the time being. I don't really have a whole lot to say about these, other than I'm trying to stretch my 2D skills and the range of materials I use.
I don't have a specific plan for October. I'm participating in a small, local art market this Friday, and the the week after I'm heading to Omaha, NE, for the ACC Present Tense Conference, so it's shaping up to be a busy month.
I challenged myself last week to incorporate natural objects in my book making. I used a variety of items, some I collected specifically for these books, some items I had collected sometime in the past. Sometimes using the found object meant simply gluing down, sometimes stitching. I'd like to develop some more sophisticated ways of using these types of materials without just sticking them down to the cover.
This week I'm working on incorporating papers that I've hand painted. The papers I'm using for the covers are already leading to some interesting sizes. I'm starting to feel the pull back towards metals, so this week will be the last of my Book a Day Challenge. I'm thinking about doing a jewelry a day challenge of some kind for October.
I spent most of yesterday in Little Washington and Goose Creek State Park. I've been going to Goose Creek since I moved to NC the first time, and it's been one of my favorite places ever since. Yesterday was perfect, not to hot, and there was hardly anyone at the park. I guess people are still getting in that last hurrah at the beach. Here are a few photos from my adventure.
Here's this weeks results of my Book a Day Challenge. I started the week off by using some old intaglio prints, and then I got on a glitter kick. I've had this glitter for years, and now that I finally decided to use it, I'm totally hooked. I also started playing around more with altering or painting my own papers. I spent a while working on a mixed media sheet that I'm pretty excited to use. Needless to say, these other distractions and experiments are taking time away from from book construction, and I don't feel that all of these are as successful as they should be. But the point of this exercise is to make a book everyday, not make a perfect book everyday.
I do think this particular hardback book turned out pretty well, because I spent more time on it, and I went ahead a made a similar style, using text, mica and natural objects. This has inspired me to up my challenge for this week and incorporate more found objects in ways that I'm unfamiliar with. I'm pretty excited to make some weirs stuff, since I think that's part of what's great about these challenges: room to make mistakes and try out the unfamiliar.
At just over half way, I feel I've already gained a lot. There's something to putting my own personal touches on to a paper, instead of relying solely on the printed pattern. I'm not really learning any new stitches yet, but rather taking the opportunity to become more familiar with techniques I've only tried once or twice.
I did dip my toe back into metalsmithing as it were, since I began teaching classes at the Pit County Arts Council at Emerge this week. I haven't done anything too crazy, but it did feel good to touch metal again. It's almost time to go back, but not quite.
Thanks for reading! Happy weekend!
" My mother said the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you"
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar