A tour of my studio. In black and white.

I’ve been waiting for the moment I clean everything up and put everything back in place, but I am one of those people that destroy in order to create and putting it all back together takes precious time away. Not to say I never clean up, I do, but it never looks “amazing” and like those awe-inspiring artist’s studios various organizations feature. So I took pictures on a normal day in black and white, because that felt more forgiving;)

IMG_0629.JPG
Where all of the bookbinding and photo shoots take place. On the left is my bookbinding table (it’s ALWAYS a mess) and on the right is my photo shoot setup (it actually remains somewhat organized). In the middle is where my journals/leather/book sculptures are stored, strategically placed by energy-efficient curtains so the sunlight doesn’t warp the pages.
studio4.jpg
This used to be my center of operations because that’s where my laptop goes. Since we rearranged our house the tv that was near my studio is gone, so my youngest gets to watch shows here instead.
studio5.jpg
My paper station. I’ll sometimes bring my journal supplies to our tv room so I can watch the kids while I work, and here you see how I “cleaned” it up (I dumped it right here;).
studio6.jpg
My shipping station. I keep all cardboard boxes and filler that I receive and I reuse the bits that have no logos on them. I also keep a supply of USPS priority mail packages, all other packaging supplies, my tea stash, and my scent warmer.
studio8.jpg
Here you can see the influence of my youngest. Apparently spilling water all over the floor and shredding bits of tissue paper into it was amazing fun;) To the left is my printer station, although I had to move my professional printer closer to our router because it was stopping in the middle of printing. Hopefully once we get a booster I can put it back.
studio9.jpg
A closer look at my photo station.
studio10.jpg
This is why I have a hard time finding all my tools, this desk really does get messy. Also note my stack of textbooks: when you don’t have a bookpress you improvise:)
studio11.jpg
And this is where I work. I didn’t have enough of a lovely mermaid-ish leather to make a larger journal so I’m preparing a shorter piece to be sewn with another glittery piece so I can utilize every last scrap.

And there you are. My studio in all its messy glory (although all products are treated with gloved fingers once they’re completed).

Art On, my friends!

Spring is coming.

IMG_0627.JPG

I’ve noticed that now we live in an area that experiences the four seasons we’ve become cyclical … during the winter our activity slows down, we tend to watch more shows and read more books, and we both tend to pack on a pound or two. But once spring starts showing up we dust off our running shoes and start living outdoors more, that pound or two drops off, and we glory in the nature that is all around us.

I think the seasons affect my artistry as well (effect? I have trouble with that one). I’ve had visions flash through my head but it’s cold, the weather is dismal, I don’t want to draw. I made journals instead, journals that you can hunker down with beside the fire and a steaming cup of coffee. But even that is changing: I bought bright spring-y fabrics this week and introduced a new line of colorful journals into the shop.

So today I’m going to bask in the sunshine and delight in the flowers making their shy appearance and let the inspiration flow.

Art On, my friends:)

I did not “Art On” this week.

I hesitate to proclaim on social media that we’re sick, because that could put off potential buyers -but- the simple truth is we have been sick for over two weeks now. I succumbed last Friday with an awful, head-in-the-vise sinus something that also felt like flu and I’m still weak and prone to lying on the couch. I can assure my customers that I did not handle anything without copious amounts of hand-washing and glove-putting-on, and actually my orders timed themselves well-I had nothing on the worst days (it did not occur to me to put my shop in vacation mode).

I had no desire to create anything. I wanted to be on the couch with my warm drinks, ibuprofen, blankets, and a book. I managed to re-read the entire Amelia Peabody series (I read fast: there are around 22 volumes in that series I think) and am left with the feeling that we should leave everything behind, buy an RV, and start exploring/solving mysteries (Amelia Peabody is, along with her husband Emerson, an Egyptologist who manages to stumble on dead bodies every year). I don’t actually want to do that, but 22 volumes does a number on one.

Yesterday I did make it back into my studio and I set up another shelving unit for my copious amounts of leather. I finished two journals that had been languishing, and I listed one. I will list the other today (it had to dry). After those efforts I once again collapsed on the couch in the warm sunshine and thought of Egypt (which led to a wikipedia smorgasbord) and sipped my Throat Coat tea (the best thing ever, look in the herbal aisle at your local supermarket).

Today I am back in the studio, typing this up (obviously;), taking listing photos, and pondering what I “feel” like making. I might not make anything, since I’m not getting any “sparks”, if you will, and my workout this morning left me exhausted. But I’m well enough that the thought of spending the day reading does not bring warm fuzzies … I want to be doing something. But I don’t wanna. But I really do. So maybe I’ll go out into the sunshine and fend off the deer that want to eat all of the green things in my front yard and seek inspiration from nature. I hope that come Monday we’ll all be feeling well and that the creative spark comes back and that I’ll have pretties to show you.

In the meantime, I will still say “Art On”, unless you really need to be on the couch lazing in the warm sunshine.

Pink and Mermaids.

Do bloggers still do Wordless Wednesdays? Back in the day that was a thing, so I co-opted the idea, but I have the feeling that I’m lagging behind with the dinosaurs.

No matter.

We drove down the mountain this weekend so I could buy supplies from all my stores in one fell swoop (the bead store, Staples, Michaels, and Tandy’s). By the time we got to Tandy’s I was completely worn out (I don’t like shopping …) but I had enough energy left to peruse the sales and I ended up buying a lovely pink shade and a clearance piece that I’ve been describing as “crinkled white leather with green sparkles”. I haven’t gotten a good picture of the white leather-I actually ordered another backdrop with it in mind, it’s a bit darker so I hope it’ll contrast better-but it really is shiny and pretty.

You can find the pink here, and the mermaid journal here. I currently buy my vinyl backdrops from PixelPerfectPrint; I looked at several different shops before settling on them-they had both reasonable prices AND solid reviews, and they are US-based. I don’t mind ordering internationally but I tend to get impatient about my supplies and want them here yesterday;)

I’ll be submitting journals this weekend (hopefully) for a local art gallery’s jury … I need to compile a photo shoot so I can show them off. I also am kicking around the idea of attempting a Kickstarter campaign for my next coloring book … I need to make sure my timeline corresponds to other timelines, so on and so forth. And then I need to make sure I apply for upcoming local shows-just four this year, I don’t know that I have the wherewithal to attempt more, but of course we’ll see.

A busy spring for sure.

So Art On, my friends-always keep moving forward!

On The Oscars and Viola Davis

“I became an artist and thank God I did … because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” -Viola Davis

While I think she may have gotten swept up in the moment when she made this statement (you could make a strong case for other professions celebrating what it means to live a life), she makes a fair point: artists across the spectrum do bring things to life. Sometimes it’s making colors dance, others it’s a humorous little vignette, others just celebrate beauty in all manifestations; and then you get the whoppers: the deep stories, the political commentary, the ones that make us squirm. I believe all are necessary, especially when all seems dark (which is pretty much all the time if you pay attention to world events).

I was thinking about this because my work isn’t deep. It isn’t political. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t make you squirm. I make pretty things, things that catch the eye and make it linger for a moment, but there’s no deeper meaning, really. And that can be discouraging, in an age that values the drama over prettiness and light (although apparently La La Land was pretty … I don’t like musicals so I didn’t watch it). It’s the movies that wreck you that are called “great”, Oprah’s Book Club usually spotlighted an incredibly depressing story … and so on and so forth.

But then you have cathedrals.

A cathedral is a massive undertaking. It could easily take decades to complete one, gobs of money, and those who started or envisioned the project would not necessarily see the end of it, but still they were built. They were built for various reasons; you could say they were built to glorify God, and that is true, but there were also political motivations … and then there was the motivation of simply making something beautiful in the midst of the darkness. A cathedral rose above all other buildings, it could be seen from afar, and both the outside and inside were master accomplishments, drawing the eye with every aspect. I think they were on to something … beauty lifts the soul, delights the senses, encourages and inspires us. It reminds you that there is something to hope for, something to strive for, a reason to lift our eyes from the everyday and the muck.

And that is why those of us who make the pretty things, the beautiful things, the things that don’t really touch upon the drama of life, must continue. We serve our purpose, just like those who delve into the darkness also serve their purpose. Combined we remind humanity of their darkest secrets, the painful truths, and also give them a reason to journey onwards, a reason to get up in the mornings.

And I will now ruin what was a lovely thought-stream by confessing I don’t know how to end it. I stayed up far too late watching the Best Movie (Best Picture? I actually don’t pay much attention, I watch because my brothers both enjoy the film industry and I like to have talking points) debacle and then reading what other people thought of it so the brain is not firing as quickly as it usually does and I have had far too many cups of coffee this morning so I’m at that stage of not caffeinated enough but a bit shaky so I really should not have any more but I really really want more bah humbug run-on sentence.

So Art On, my friends. We need all the beauty we can get.