Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blog Hop: My Art and Process

I was tagged to participate in a blog hop about my current artistic endeavors, and I wrote the post below a few weeks ago but wasn't able to post it due to being on vacation with only my not-at-all-trusty iPod Touch with me. So, without further ado, here's my belated entry:

My friend Robyn, who is an amazing artist and all-around creative genius (evidence here, here, and here), recently blogged about her current work and inspirations and tagged me to do the same. I'm feeling a little bit daunted by putting my post up next to hers for comparison, because she is always attempting amazing new things and I'm, well, doing the same old, same old in between diaper changes. But here goes.

1. What am I working on? I've been making more of my story bracelets - wooden bangles onto which I decoupage selected lines of text from vintage books - to prepare for an upcoming [edit: now past] show, the Rockford City Market. I'll have a few of my items on display there alongside Robyn and our friend Ann as part of the Lucky Penny Collective, the name we've given ourselves for our joint ventures as crafters and (fingers crossed!) art market creators. Anyway, it's been a year since I've made any of these, so it feels good to get back in the saddle.

I've also been hoarding vintage fabric lately because I have a vision for a slightly new direction for my shop: I'd like to sell, in limited quantities, some purses, clutches, scarves, and headbands repurposed from vintage sheets and handkerchiefs. It's an idea I've been working on since last summer, but I haven't had the time to bring it to fruition yet, especially since experimenting with a new idea takes so much longer than churning out more of what I already know how to do. I have visions for some vintage book page buntings made with vintage lace and ribbon, too, but I haven't gotten farther than just collecting the raw materials so far.

As far as writing goes - since that's the other part of my "creative self" - I have slowly been getting caught up on a small, private blog I keep just for close friends and family with updates about my two daughters. I consider this my public writing space, but the other blog is just the quiet, ordinary details of our day-to-day life that I try to keep for posterity purposes. My ultimate goal is to publish the blog entries as a series of "yearbooks" for the girls - a virtual scrapbook printed on actual paper that they can keep just as they would treasure a photo album. I'm really behind on the entries, though, and it's overwhelming trying to edit photos and write the little stories that accompany each entry. I'd like to be up-to-date with it by the end of the summer.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? To be honest, I don't know that it does. I often feel that what I create is derivative. I do think that, with my English teaching background, I tend to be pretty particular about the text I use in the jewelry I create, whereas some other Etsians who make similar items don't seem to be as choosy about the words they feature. I've also noticed that a lot of book jewelry out there is actually made from good quality photocopies or scans so that the artist can make multiples of a great segment of text that works well for a pendant, for example - and I'm just not willing to do that, which means I spend a lot of time poring over the books I've collected to find new pieces to use.

3. Why do I write/create what I do? It's pretty obvious if you've been a long-time blog reader, but I'm a bibliophile and I desperately need a creative outlet of my own while I'm at home with the girls. I certainly have to be creative coming up with activities to keep Lorelei and Phoebe busy, but I find that if I don't have a mental and psychological space of my own, I get very restless and resentful.

4. How does your creating process work? In fits and starts, because I don't ever have long blocks of time any more. These days, I work faster than I'd like, and so sometimes things don't turn out the way I've been picturing in my head. Maybe in the future I'll have time to linger over the creative process again, but for now, it's mostly hurry-hurry-hurry. I do spend a lot of time envisioning future products while I'm awake with a baby at 3am, so at least things are percolating around up there! When I do have a chance to work, it's usually in front of something on Netflix - I like to have noise on in the background while I'm creating. When it's clean, I like to work in my craft room, but it's also a guest room and - to tell the truth - a dumping ground for lots of kid project materials and other random things, so I find myself at my dining room table more than I'd like.

I'm tagging three other artists/writers/creative types - hoping to read all about your own creative processes on Monday, July 7th if you choose to share!

Manda of Captain Apricot
Meg of Boho Mama
Stephanie of Adventures of an Artist, Wife, and Mom


  1. I feel like the reason being a stay at home maker and mama has worked for me for so long is because of how flexible I can be with my workspace, materials and environment. I'm currently transitioning to full time work outside of the home though, flexibility will soon be a thing of the past. Love your ideas for new products, can't wait to see! X

  2. Our creative process sounds very similar at this point...when you have a chunk of time and the energy, it's go go go and then take a few days off. I'm trying to be a better time manager and set daily goals for myself which is challenging when all I want to do is park on the couch with some ice cream and So You Think You Can Dance. I actually moved my sewing machine downstairs to the dining room table so I could "hang out" more with Andy at night and didn't feel like I had to go be isolated, because I could sew with my eyes shut nowadays :) I'll share on the 7th! And I love the intentionality of the words you choose. It feels special. Can't wait to see what you do with the fabrics!