I am going up North eh.... Like many of the other projects I work on, I can't divulge too many details but, looky here, Suzanne at PageSage has written a bit about why she is coming to Michigan and well, just about what she will be doing here ------> ..... I going with her :)
Here is a sneak peek of one of the three projects I will be teaching at MegaMeet this year....I am giddy. It is hard to imagine that this is actually felt..... amazing what a few scraps of paper, fabric strips and white out correction tape can make huh?
I am tired of wings and skulls as a fashion statement/fad. Separately, I find wings fascinating and the pure science behind how they work as just plain cool. Skulls, well, I am thankful mine is thick and protects the very little brain I have left I suppose. A good friend of mine once said trends commonly go along with things folks find easy to draw.... butterflies, dragonflies, wings in general and the basic skull and crossbones in it's basic form are things kids can draw relatively easily..... BUT c'mon now, haven't we seen enough already? I remember back when I was in highschool, kids hanging out on the hill in back of the school preaching anarchy and relishing in the fact that they would intentionally be anti-establishment. Isn't this recent personification of the punk movement of the 70's and 80's the anti-thesis of what it all stood for in the first place? Just a thought.
This is where a picture of a winged skull would have been if I gave in to the man and fed into the commercial machine....wink.... feel free to print this entry and draw something cool in it's place.
I LOVEMythbusters- it speaks to my heart.... physics, science, blowing stuff up, thinking out of the box and figuring out how stuff works.... It is also one of those shows that makes me think and embodies so many truths that can easily be applied elsewhere in my world...... like art.
I love the quote, "I reject your reality and insert my own"... it comes from the show and ends up on a t shirt or two here and there. Why do I love this quote? I cannot tell you how many folks come up to me in class and tell me that they "can't do art". (Enter the "Myth", stage right wearing some hot little number rejected by Heidi on Project Runway (another guilty pleasure of mine).... My question to those misinformed myth believing folks is usually okay,where are the handcuffs or the ropes that bound you and where is the kidnapper that dumped you in my class (I need to go find that person and say thank you....I am glad you are here)....? I have various cutting instruments, a blow torch, a heat gun and other things we can MacGyver here and there to get you on your way.... yes, I am a bit of a smart mouth but, it illustrates a point. I reject the reality they have allowed themselves to believe- the one put there by the peanut gallery in their head (thank you to Bev who coined this phrase) that says what they make is unimportant or that they aren't "talented" enough to create.... There is a deep need and curiosity about making things with your hands and it is almost a primal need to leave our mark on our world in some way.
So, here is my soapbox speech for the day.... "You are unique AND, there is NOBODY on this planet exactly like you (to all the twins of the world, my sister-in laws included.... you may look alike but, you have your own thoughts and experiences which make you totally and completely unique! Snowflakes, remember snowflakes.....no two are ever the same and they are made up of the same exact stuff too) We give in to the myths without even testing them. The myth that we can't "do art" is....WRONG WRONG WRONG. Granted you may not be an "artist" but, your handiwork has value just as much as what it is you are trying to say through the process and learn by creating whatever it is you are making. To deny yourself the opportunity to create because of some myth in your head is to spit in the eyes of every other person on the planet who shares this moment with you on the time line of history- you are denying them the opportunity to learn something amazing, gleaning a new perspective, sharing a moment, with you ( even if it is about laughing at the whoozit glued on the wrong side of the whatzit). Art and the act of creating are things that transcend language barriers and cultural differences and bring folks together around the mutual human experience. So, the "I am incapable of doing art" Myth....BUSTED.
Life is so short, so random, and full of unexpected things. Today I got word that my dear neighbor died of a sudden heart attack. News of his passing hit me like a ton of bricks. He was too young. My children adored him and always looked for reasons to go over to talk to "Mr. Bud" about their day. This world is made up of people, crazy amazing and special folks with a story to tell to those willing to go out and listen. Bud was a very special guy and he is survived by his wife Kathy (a sweet woman who let me call her Sandy rather than correct me for a full 3 years mind you.....LOL). It is so very important to tell the people in your life everyday what they mean to you because, well, we never know when the day will come that we no longer have the opportunity to do so.
I believe in Providence. Some folks call it Karma, some, Kismet, Fate, Happenchance....whatever. I call it Miraculous, Calculated, Meant to Be and completely on Purpose and for a Reason. In my world, I am blessed to meet crazy AMAZING people everyday. They are like wonderful gifts especially created for me- not the store bought, gift certificate, staff it out type trinkets.... the real deal- something deliberate and well thought out- designed to make me think and learn something. It is not hard to be thankful when you ponder all the folks who enrich your life daily (yeah, even the guy who cut you off while he was chit chatting on the cell phone (he taught you patience), the lovely woman who forgot napkins at the drive thru (she forced you to be creative- ketchup on a white shirt isn't easy to hide gracefully), and the 6 year old toothy grinned little boy who ate the glue....)- I do not poke fun here, it is just we always tend to remember the folks who give us warm fuzzies and we forget about those who actually forced our hands and pushed the envelope- those were the folks who showed you the reflection you see in the mirror when nobody is looking- I'd take those folks anyday..... This guy did not know I was following him this morning as I drove the kids to school but, he taught me a valuable lesson....you see, I was in a hurry and was considering passing him but, noticing his license plate made me laugh and just at that moment a big rig turned the corner and hit the black ice, fish tailing a bit. Had I passed him, it most likely would have not ended well....
Hey, in case you missed it, my husband took this awesome pic of the lunar eclipse this evening. We will not be seeing another one of these for 3 years....weird I know. Life is all about taking advantage of moments as they happen....about dropping whatever it is you are doing and bundling up with the kids way past their bedtime to experience the stuff life is made up of. The night was crystal clear and the snow just sparkled like a bazillion diamonds. We all stood out there freezing trying to count the countless stars. My sons wondered if they would be able to see the spy satellite our Government will be blowing up sometime soon..... It was about then when we realized that we could continue to observe the moment from the warmth of the kid's bedroom.....Embrace the moments.
For folks involved in the Arts and Crafting Industry, this is the busiest time of the year. New products, *the* convention (CHA) and following up with all the folks you met in that sleep deprived state at the show. I say almost normal because the day I am ever "normal" is the day I hang up my paintbrushes and find something else to do.
The discussions on the various boards today are all about what to do after a big convention and how to capitalize on the contacts you made and maximize the potential profits (both in networking and in dinero on the ole' balance sheet in the plus column). Creating for a living is no different than any other business. There is an exchange of products or services of value- be it ideas, actual art, products, or valuable alliances. One thing of perceived value for another. I find it fascinating that folks tend to forget sound economic principles and business basics 101 when it comes to the designer world. Put on your customer hat for a moment....what makes you tick, what are the things that keep you coming back to the places you spend your resources (time or money, don't forget that time IS an asset too), what is it that makes you feel special and that your have a good return on your investment? Yup, it is about the people- not the product, not the sale, not anything else you can think of. At the end of the day, it is about the people who invest in you and your business, the people who help you, and the people who you have in your quiver of friends that tell you like it is.....(yes that bathing suit makes you look fat, no you should not date him, and no way is that even remotely smart- you are just joking about that time share in the Everglades right?) Write thank you notes, be prompt, help folks and remember to Pay It Forward.
I am grateful for my daughter- she makes me laugh. We were walking and she noticed the most amazing little doorway. It made me think about how we train ourselves to think that new doorways have to be big and showy but, that in life, we really must take the time to look for new opportunities in unexpected places. It isn't the size of the door that matters, it is where it leads to and our ability to see it as such. I see all too often folks who are lured by the big deal, the signature whatever, the license dream that seems just too amazing to be true and in their eagerness to become huge, that they miss some incredible opportunities- projects that had the potential to become larger than they could have ever imagined had they just seen it. I think about all those actors we hear about that were offered an amazing role but, for some reason they passed it by only to figure out down the road that that role could have taken them to the next level. Just a thought.
Every year I go to CHA with huge massive crazy wonderful expectations. This year's event took the proverbial cake!
I am always humbled and in total awe of the stuff folks come up with and the amazingly talented folks that happen along my path. Truly, I do not know many folks who can wake up and say, "Wow, I cannot believe I do what I do and actually get paid to do it...." Walking the show is a surreal experience when you think about the time and energy that went into making the samples and handiwork showcased in and around the show. My friend Crafty Chica and my new friend Candace (read about their handiwork on Crafty Chica's blog- she does a much better job of 'splainin' things than I do....) made drop dead GORGEOUS aprons- which totally fell in line with the whole fashion vibe on the CHA floor. I cannot imagine how much time went into some of these things. (yes this is polymer clay)
One of the most AMAZING things I saw was a complete dessert banquet completely crocheted but, alas, I was chased off by the VP and told that ABSOLUTELY no pictures were allowed at any costs (I should have just snapped one when he wasn't looking because seriously, I have NEVER seen anything so cool) but, I respect them and the designers who worked on this thing. Take a peek here to see the kind of stuff I mean.... now imagine a complete table COVERED with goodies and a 3 tier wedding cake- it was AMAZING!
Now, there were so many other things I got all hot and bothered about but, the folks at EnviroTex were speaking my language. In addition to their world of incredible resins, they had a new mold medium that had me at hello....seriously, I cannot wait to play with this stuff. Marie Browning was demoing the wonders of it and I was in awe.
So, here it is a few full days home and fully rested and my head is still swimming with inspiration. I am looking forward to spreading all my loot and literature out on the floor and sifting through it all.....more on that later.
Most definitely the highlight of CHA thus far has got to be, Art Unscripted Live with Carol Duvall.....
Seriously, let me set the stage...
12 artists, 4 teams chosen at random, 10 minutes per heat to accomplish random tasks while decorating a wooden mannequin in front of a live audience. There was cheating (only if you did not get caught), stealing of art supplies, panic, mayhem, chicanery and, the Queen of Crafts herself.....Ms. Carol Duvall. To say fun is an understatement!
So, it is official..... I am tickled pink to be able to finally announce what I have been working on down in the studio- FUNCTIONAL ART!
Many years ago, I met Suzanne from PageSage. It involved losing a bet, asking the most outlandish request, meeting up at CHA and well, the rest is history as they say. When it came time to do my DVD, I knew it would be for kids ages 13-20 something. My passion has always been about bringing art to the teenage demographic in a real and fun way. My heart breaks everytime I see a kit that dumbs down art and refuses to equip kids with the techniques that will give their creativity wings. I have always told my students that because I value their work, I am letting them use my best stuff (my best paintbrushes, my best paints, my best tools) and that all I ask in return is that they give me their best work. These kids make AMAZING things AND, they never wreck my stuff....
Functional Art is about taking the things we find in everyday life and putting our own artistic flair on it. It isn't about altering something inasmuch as it is about teaching folks new and innovative techniques and equipping them with the ability to make their world bright, vibrant and uniquely theirs. Yes, technically this DVD is for the younger crowd BUT, the young at heart will love it too. My hope is that parents, grandparents, caregivers, mentors, teachers and siblings will all create side by side with their teen and that crazy amazing things will be made in the process! I never wanted this DVD or the book series to take up space on some shelf, I want them to take on a life of their own- there is still so much to share but, for right now, thank you to all the kids who have participated in this project along side me- your voices will be heard and I could never be more proud of you all!!!
I should return in a few days from now totally inspired,massively tired and dying to sleep in my own bed :) Yup, I am off to Anaheim to explore the wonders of CHA. I am hoping to have posts live from the show direct from my iPhone but, having never tested this thing fully, I do not know. I have been reading about the pre-show spoilers over at the Scrap Genie (Hi Becks!!!!) and well, I am excited about the whole thing. Art Unscripted Live is this huge nervous energy thing in my head...seriously head to head craft off with all the famous folks really has me geeked and scared stupid at the same time- I know it will be a blast! I just got the brochures announcing my book in the mail today and well, it all just became real....
Snow days are interesting in my house. My children LOVE LOVE LOVE school and the concept of "snow Days" ranks right up there with commercials.... do not compute. Because we watch very little television around here, when the kids see a commercial, they think the program is over and simply turn off the television. I know that this will not last long but, I still savor it. Snow days in our home are also a bit whacked according to societal norms. Our kids refuse to accept snow days and the tears and arguments and 1-800-justifies I hear from their mouths about wanting to go to school, about worrying about the teachers they think live at the school, about their friends who are undoubtedly at school because their parents let them go, to the "I will shovel all the way to school for them (all 15 miles)" to the, I will continue to ask every 15 minutes if the television has made an announcement because they changed their minds.....sigh. I am so grateful they love school but, c'mon, sledding rocks the flippin' universe. Making snow balls that can no longer be pushed because of the massive heft are plain cool and snow forts, I mean how can snow forts and snowball arsenals just begging to be unleashed possibly be all that bad? I am going out to play- I hope they have hot cocoa waiting for me when I get done :)
The best feeling in the world is getting rid of all the stuff you have been working on for weeks on end. There is a huge relief when you send all those things out the door and for the first time in weeks you can have a breather. Press Kits....gone. Samples..... gone. Heavy Stuff there is no possible way the TSA will be kind to in my luggage....gone. This is that calm before the storm moment where all you can do is just pray that it all gets there in time and relatively in tact (I always bring a basic fix-it kit...duct tape, heat gun, chewing gum and string....)
The cool thing about this post is that, we have all been there...the moment where a huge task is off your plate and a feeling of accomplishment comes over you. It is like getting rid of all the winter clothes out of your closet and having a big open space in your closet for all the new and wonderful finds that greet Spring. I think folks need to also do this with the clutter and things bogging down the ole gray matter in your brain- it is a good things to let things go and send them away to make room for new stuff and fantastic crazy wonderful things...So, yeah, for the record, 50 press kits weighs a bit over 25 pounds (all recycled steel); a human brain, well, about 3 pounds (minus the brain cells that just got up and left a few weeks ago)- clearing them both, PRICELESS!