Sunday, November 17, 2013

Long time and a light touch

Well, it has been quite a while. I've been meaning to post something for a long time now but time seems to keep getting away from me. I prioritise other things and my creative pursuits gather more dust in the corners of my study, and my mind.

But I feel the time has come for a little spring cleaning and dust removal. I was kicked into gear by the wonderful Brooklyn Art Library and one of their projects. The Print Exchange. 500 printmakers from across the globe create a run of 12 prints. 2 for the library, and 1 each for 10 other print makers. How exciting, I could not let an opportunity like that slip by.

So, to my first creative project in quite a while. Hopefully it is the beginning of many more. Reduction lino printing. I love printing. I don't really know what I'm doing most of the time but I really enjoy it. Maybe it is something to do with having to think in reverse, or the process of simplifying an image.

The theme of the exchange was "On the drive home." I ride home most days. And I think the pace of it, slower and by a more scenic route than driving, let's me see more of what's going on in my town. And I admit, after signing up for the project I paid extra attention to my rides home. The seedpods and leaves that had fallen on the bike path, the houses and shops I ride past, other people using the path to walk their dogs or carry their groceries home.

I thought of and tried at least one other idea... but ended settling on what I saw a lot of over the winter. The headlights of other riders. And I'm talking about some seriously heavyweight head torches... the lights they make nowadays are blinding.

I turn in a bit of a rabbit... blinded by the lights, but unable to look away. And left dazed for few seconds after the rider passes. They are a blindingly bright puddle of light that moves along... and when it's gone all you are left with is the white spots that are slowly fading as your vision is restored. And you have no idea who is behind that light, they are anonymous... sometimes only their breathing, a glint of light off glasses or stripey mittens gives away some sense of the person.

I now have a bright white head torch. I wonder what part of my personality sneaks past the light's beam.

One day I think I'm going to do a course in printing, because I really felt hampered by my skills (or lack thereof) with this project. the final print wasn't as slick and smooth as I had in mind, but I was still fairly happy with the results. I managed to think 3 layers ahead! Ánd I completed my first ever print run. That was very exciting! I like the original photo very much too... maybe because it is slick and sharp and dark.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Self portrait #1

So, done. Self portrait from my creative drawing class is finally complete. And I think it is the first picture that I started several different times, from several different angles before settling on this one. I'm not sure why, it just felt right.

I have to admit I'm quite pleased with it. It does feel like me. Not sure what on earth I do with it now though. For the meantime I think it'll go back into hiding under my bed.

Pastel on orange Canson paper. 55 x 37cm

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Finish something I started... really?

This month at the Creative Collective is Time to finish July. Which means... finish something you started!! So, after much deliberation, because I have so many unfinished projects to choose from, I have chosen 2 items to finish this month. The winners are:

1) A pair of handmade rabbit fur mittens, started in the summer of 2004.

When passing through the tiny town of Nenana, just south of Fairbanks, my parents and I ducked into the supermarket to get some drinks and poke around. Amongst the newspapers, pencils, beef jerky and Ice Classic paraphernalia there was a pile of white rabbit skins. My father and I were immediately drawn to this pile of super soft, glowing white gorgeousness. These puppies were seriously singing to us. Nowhere in my life had we been to a town where furs were piled high between the stationary supplies and snacks. We began to dig through that pile to choose the two softest, whitest skins. Half an hour later, drinks and skins purchased, we exited that store victorious. Now, what to do with these things?? The answer was pretty obvious. Mittens.... wonderful, toasty warm, silky soft mittens to keep my hands and my heart warm over the winter.

I found a instructions to make mittens (with a PROPER thumb gusset) and after much trepidation cut out my mitten pattern. I went so far as to consider which direction the fur needed to be facing so that when you slid your hand in it went "with" and not "against" direction of the fur. I sewed up those glorious thumb gussets....

and then true to form got caught up in work, study and play and never finished them. Although, when my hands were cold, I always thought of how much I wished I had finished those mittens.

Brown paper bunny
had a 4th of July crafternoon last weekend and I thought that was an absolutely stellar moment to get to work on those mittens again.

A note about Nenana. I'm not into gambling at all, never interested, but The Nenana Ice Classic is one of the coolest things ever. Nenana is situated next to the Tanana River, biggest river in the region. Every winter the town places a big big tripod out on the ice out in the middle of the river. The tripod is linked to a clock on shore. The locals, and many (many!)others from all over, then place bets on the exact day and time (to the minute) that the ice will melt enough for the tripod to fall through.... indicating end of winter and the beginning of the fun summer time. You'd think it'd be impossible to get the time right but this year with a prize pool of over $300,000 dollars there were 22 winners. Incredible.

2)Self-portrait, started July 2010.

I took a creative drawing class last year. It was great class where I met lots of really talented and interesting people. Our last project was to do a proper picture. One we thought about and would work on over a few weeks. I decided to do a self-portrait. I'd never done one before and thought it would be a good project. I tried lots of different angles but none of them suited. In the end I got a friend to take some photos of me from various angles to get one I like, I then photoshopped it to pieces. What resulted is the photo on top right hand of my blog. And here is how far I got with it....

Apart from these two projects I also have the following going on:
Knitting a dark fuscia crop cardigan (MUST be done by late August)
Weaving a gray cotton and silk scarf
Pondering patterns for my first lino reduction print (down to two ideas..)
A couple of sewing projects

Wish me luck... and think of my fingers - hand sewing leather is a bit tough on the hands!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Versatile Blogger

The wonderful Brown Paper Bunny nominated me for a Versatile blogger award.... thanks BPB, much appreciated. So, the rules of the versatile blog award are that I write 10 things about myself and nominate some other blogs that I love (and are versatile)... so here goes.

1. I've always wanted mermaid hair. Unfortunately I seem completely incapable of keeping the same haircut for more than 3 months. Coupled with the fact that my hair grows excruciatingly slowly I have had short hair most of my life, and I seem to have been "growing my hair out" on and off for the past 15 years.

2. I adore yarn shops probably as much as I love yarn. I love the atmosphere created when the yarn is pile highed in baskets and on wooden shelves...where there are people milling about chatting and knitting and perusing books. The ability to pat and drool over luscious yarn is time well spent in my opinion. Favourite shop ever would have to be Churchmouse Yarns and Teas in Bainbridge, WA. I am also a total yarn snob - I am most drawn to hand spun or hand dyed yarn or gourmet mixes of silk, alpaca, cashmere, mohair etc.... Here is a pic of a friend of mine at the wonderful Gypsy Wools in Boulder, Co, choosing yarn for a hand woven scarf.

3. I luuuurrve good action spam movies (especially martial arts movies)... some all time favourites include Aliens, Hero, 28 days later, and Inception.

4. I get huge joy from mismatched and bright and colourful crockery... look what was on my dish rack this morning.

5. When it comes to reading I'm really fickle, and I'm really sick of forensic/private investigator/murder stories. If I get through the first sentence on the back of a book I'm doing well, and will most likely read it. I've had a lot of luck in recent years choosing books with some kind of art or fiber theme the title. ... for example, Grass For His pillow, The Weavers Daughter, The Perfect red, and The Sacred Art of Stealing.

6. I wish I had more time (and space) to sew, especially given the amount of fabric I am hording. Here are some of the fabrics in my stash. Now.... to get sewing and get those fabrics out into the sun!

7. My most prized possessions are hand me downs or found most treasured possession would have to be the trunk my grandfather made when he was in the army during the Second World War.

8. I'm a bit of a techno skeptic and I'll only reluctantly bring new technologies into my personal life. I think I'm a bit old fashioned and really do like doing things the "long way" and get a great deal of satisfaction from it. At work I'm the opposite.... my current occupation is as an instructional designer.

9. I have been building my dream farm (and house) in my head for about 10 years. I daydream about digging up potatoes, keeping chickens, picking raspberries, jam making, rammed earth walls, grey water recycling systems, bread baking and recently... piglets.

10. I've had half done self portrait hiding under my bed for the last year. I think it's time to finish it.

My nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award are the wonderful...

Hybrid Handmade
Do a bit ....everyday

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Illustration Friday: Duet

This weeks IF theme was a like a word association game for me. IF: Duet....Me: Yellow!! IT took me a while to figure out why yellow jumped straight into my head. I've been a bit fixated on it of late, but, I thought my reaction was more that just my favourite colour of the moment. It wasn't until I went to bed that night that I figured it out....and so I have drawn my bedside table, a duet in yellow.

Some things and colours sing to me, and yes, yellow is one of them.