I feel like maybe we could all use a bit of this today?
I feel like maybe we could all use a bit of this today?
I had so much fun talking with Sandi for her Crafty Planner podcast!
Sandi is a quilter, and we first met when she took my Mighty Ugly workshop at Craftcation last year. During the interview, we talked about that workshop, and also about what I wanted to be when I grew up (at various times when I was a kid), how I finally came to think of myself as a creative person after denying it for most of my life, why I’m focusing so much on the fun of creativity after going deep into the feelings of it through Mighty Ugly, the trajectory of my crochet career, and more.
Our chat is really fun, and I love how we managed to go all over the place while pretty much staying on topic. Have a listen!
“But, it’s not even how much you achieve, it’s what you achieve. Does it matter that we spend all day finishing tasks if those tasks do not significantly contribute to the realization of our company’s goals, or our personal vision? Is having a hand in every little thing more valuable than making sure that a couple of key projects are done in time and thoroughly? I would say no.”
I brought Mighty Ugly to UBC Maker Camp for the second year in a row, and it was a blast! The weeklong camp, associated with Make Media’s Maker Camp and supported in part by the Vancouver Maker Foundation, is for girls entering grades 7 or 8, and it’s the only exception I make to my adults-only rule for Mighty Ugly.
It was such a great group of kids, and I had almost nothing to do while they made their creatures. No prodding or prompting needed! Within a few minutes, they’d even invented a whole society for their creatures to belong to, complete with a supreme ruler, royal children, and a hierarchy of dignitaries and servants.
I love that there’s a girls-only Maker Camp in town, and that the organizer, UBC prof Dave Ng, includes crafty pursuits alongside the mechanical and coding projects.
Camp, man! So much fun!
I mentioned in my email last week that this month has been bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Not in a tragic way, thank goodness, but in a many-things-on-fire-all-at-once way. It’s left me little time for play, and even less time for rest.
Last night, Greg shoved this photo (from our road trip last year) in my face, and it was exactly what I needed. (That, and some whiskey, The Americans, and a few minutes in my art journal before I collapsed into bed.)
It would absolutely figure that just as I got into the groove with my month of daily art journaling, urgent things would come up that would demand my full attention to the exclusion of everything outside the most basic of necessities. I missed a few days of art journaling, you guys.
Such is life.
It happens, and I didn’t beat myself up about it. Anyway, I didn’t have time to beat myself up about it even if I’d wanted to, such was the crazy week I had.
But as soon as the dust settled and I could grab just a few minutes to myself, I opened that book back up again and made a new mess in it.
I don’t know why I waited so long to do collage in there, since I’ve wanted to experiment more with collage for a very long time. (Probably that’s the reason right there, eh?)
And then it was finally the weekend, and I’d put out most of the fires, and the kid and I spent an absolutely blissful hour making a total mess on the dining-room table. He made a collage for his teacher (I can’t believe he’s finishing kindergarten this week!), and I messed around painting over the collage, and making another one on the facing page, and painting over the paint wash, and generally just playing and playing and forgetting my own brain and happy happy happy.
It was especially fun doing this alongside the kid, because he loves – loves – glitter glue. So there was glitter glue everywhere, and he kept wanting me to use it, so I totally did. I definitely love using materials and media that are just hanging around. This is probably why I’ve never been even remotely interested in scrapbooking, at least in the super-merchandised way. I’m not at all turned on by using packaged stuff to create new things on paper, but I’m absolutely blissed out using scraps I’d otherwise recycle, or grabbing tissue paper that’s been lying around for ages, or sticking my finger in the blob of glitter glue my kid accidentally squeezed all over the place.
I’ve mentioned before that my relationship with art-making has been complicated since I was a kid. Well. I think abstract art is the way to my heart, my friends. I really do. I can’t wait to finish up my work today so I can rip and glue and paint some more stuff.
For the first time, over three weeks into starting this daily art journaling challenge, I think I’m starting to really get it. And I think that once my month is up, I’m going to want to stick with it. Maybe in a book that doesn’t have a spiral binding, so I can make a proper spread. In fact, I may pull an old book from the shelf and repurpose it. Because why not.
If you, too, want to see what this art journaling thing is all about, you should join us!
Last year, we were on our big road trip when the annual Vancouver Mini Maker Faire was held. It was the fifth annual one, and the first I’d missed. I was especially excited, then, to bring the whole fam to the event this year.
I was impressed and delighted by how many varied activities there were for kids. For adults, too, obviously, but it was just so much fun to be there with my kindergartener.
We came home with a couple of robots – one of the light-seeking ones shown above, and another that involves taping markers to a solo cup, which I’ll pull out on a rainy day.
There was a Textile Village featuring the Modern Quilt Guild, weavers, spinners, knitters, paper-dyers, and screen printers. Unlike at other maker events I’ve attended, where fibre people are sequestered away in a small back room, this area was prominent and inviting. I was so happy to see it.
I’m resurrecting my ridiculous dream of making a huge animatronic crocheted robot/statue, and I’m determined to participate in next year’s event as a Maker again!
Do you have a major Maker Faire or a Mini Maker Faire in your area? Have you participated as a Maker? Enjoy going just to play? If you’ve never been, I urge you to check one out!
I had an idea last week when I was writing the Weekly Digest, and the idea was about art journaling. I’ve been wanting to really commit to giving an art journal a shot, and I don’t want to let my cluelessness about how to actually do it get in the way anymore.
I’ve heard from quite a lot of people recently about how they, too, want to give art journaling a try, but also don’t really know how or where to start. So it became really quite obvious to me that we should do this together. And what better way to do something new together than to commit to do it together every day for a month?
Of course right.
I’m starting today, along with several dozen people if the number of clicks from my newsletter is any indication. Want to join in with us? Here’s the gist:
If you’d like to get occasional emails over the course of your month with encouragement, tips, and prompts, sign up right here.
I took a one-night pottery workshop a few weeks ago, and left knowing that I wanted – that I needed – to learn more. As it happens, Greg has long wanted to learn how to make pottery, too. So we did what any couple with unusual work schedules would do: we signed up to take an eight-week pottery course on Wednesday mornings.
It seemed like such a good idea at the time! I figured I’d catch up on missed work on Wednesday evenings, no harm no foul.
I have to say, though, that this class has been totally stressing me out.
It’s not that pottery is hard. I mean, pottery is hard. But that’s not what I find stressful. I’m totally comfortable with a steep learning curve, and I enjoy being humbled by my inability to catch on quick.
Part of the stress comes from my lovely situation of having lots of work to do. I’m in the midst of a freelancer’s dream: I have lots of work – not too much – and it’s all enjoyable. And that means taking off every Wednesday morning is not the grand stick-it-to-the-man adventure I’d thought it would be. It’s more of a when will I get all my work done aaaaaaah kind of thing.
And part of the stress comes from my desire to work at my own damn pace, thank you very much. Halfway through the course, more than half of our class is behind. I skipped out on class this morning because I needed to work, and the lesson I missed involved making handles. Only thing is, only one or two people in class actually have mugs made to stick handles to.
If I were to do this properly, in addition to every Wednesday class I’d spend an evening or two every week in the studio practicing. But since Greg and I are both taking the class, and we have a kid with an early bedtime, it means we’d have to manage for each of us to be out for an evening or two each week, and not on the same nights. It makes my head spin. And anyway, I usually want to be in my pajamas within five minutes of my kid’s early bedtime anyway.
It’s more than that, though. This class has reminded me of the way I prefer to learn how to make things. That way being: try, try some more, fail miserably, try some more. At my own pace. I want to get started on something and push the limits of whatever that something is, and only then, once I understand the limits, do I want to learn about the next step to take.
I’m a pain in the ass student is what I’m saying.
And I know it. It’s why I love teaching myself how to do so many things, in the comfort of my own space, without someone else telling me how I should proceed.
I joke that I have an attitude problem, and I’m sure it sometimes seems like I do. But really, I just know how I learn how to make stuff, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to allow myself to proceed in the way that works best for me.
In an ideal world, I’d have my own personal pottery studio five steps away from my house, and I’d make some magnificent messes in there and learn from all sorts of sources, and mostly play around until I come up against limitations I can’t overcome on my own; then I’d seek out help.
Given that it’s unlikely I’ll have a pottery studio five steps away from my house anytime soon, it’s quite possible I’ll set this pursuit aside till I have a far more flexible schedule. Maybe when I’ve retired.
One stripe at a time...
See that lone purple stripe a couple from the top? Yeah, with this blanket I'm not sticking to a strict two-row-stripe scheme, in the interest of using up smaller bits of yarn. I thought I wouldn't like it when I gave it a shot, but I do like it. I like it a lot.
Something else I like is taking photos of the blanket as it grows. :)
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