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:
- Every day for a month, spend at least a few minutes art journaling. You get to decide what that means for you – part of the fun in doing this together is that we’ll get to see all the different, hugely varied things people make in their journals!
- Post about it every so often. Tag your social media posts with #dailyartjournal so we can all follow along (and feel free to tag me at @kpwerker!).
- There is no number 3.
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. :)
CLICK HERE TO GET MY CHEATSHEET: 7 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR CROCHET SHINE!
If you read my Weekly Digest, you know I returned from my Craftsy shoot last weekend sick. Sick as a dog. Sick like we usually only get sick when we're kids. Antibiotics sick.
So it seemed like as good a time as any to gather together all the larger bits of scrap yarn and odd balls I've had hanging around, and start a new ripple blanket.
I made my first ripple blanket back in 2007, over several months that happened also to involve an ectopic pregnancy, eventual surgery, and health-related calamities from a variety of other family members. That ripple blanket was like my therapy. That and several seasons of binge-watched Buffy.
This new ripple started with strep throat, but I'm hoping the rest of the blanket will be made in relatively good, healthy times.
I'm using a variety of worsted weight yarns, a 5.5mm hook, and the same pattern I teach in my Next Steps in Crochet class (there are seven double crochets between increases and decreases, if you're into knowing those kinds of details). I'm making the blanket roughly twin size, thinking my son might use it on his bed, and it'll be good for sleepovers and camping trips.
The only thing is, I'm not entirely convinced I have enough yarn to finish it. Only time will tell...
Here's the project on Ravelry. Follow along!
The night I was asked to pitch a new crochet class to Craftsy, I literally dreamed it up an idea. When I woke up the next morning, the whole class was sitting there, fully formed inside my brain. I filmed the class two weeks ago, and soon it will launch. Click right here to enter to win the class!
Crochet in the Round: Basics & Beyond is a study of making circles in crochet. Which means it’s kind of a geometry lesson (we’ll totally talk about pi), and it’s entirely fun. It’s super crochet-nerdy, too. Like, you know how when you’re taught to crochet a circle, what you really end up making is some kind of straight-sided shape like a hexagon or octagon? We’ll explore that in class. And I’ll also teach you how to make a totally perfect circle, no straight edges or corners to be found.
I designed five projects for this class, all involving circles. (If you’ve followed my crochet work for a long time, you may know I usually do not enjoy designing at all. Not one bit. I’ve always preferred to work with designers rather than to be one, myself. But this class involved solving problems, and, as it turns out, solving problems is the key to my design mojo. I loved designing the projects for this class.)
Not only will you get all five patterns with your class registration, I’ll also teach you how to make them. There’s a basic hat (which, with a bit of imagination, could be made into a million different hats), a beret, a mandala, a floor pouf and a pillow.
We’ll explore finding a good rhythm when working round after round of increases, what to do if your circle starts to warp or ruffle, and what to consider when you crochet projects that will be stuffed.
As with all Craftsy classes, you’ll be able to slow down any parts of the video you want to see in more detail, you’ll be able to put sections onto a 30-second repeat so you can easily watch them again and again till you get it, and I’ll check in regularly to answer any questions you have as you go.
Click right here to enter to win the class when it launches in a few weeks!
M.K. asked the Maker Concierge about making postcards, specifically, but this information will help you get started eco-printing on paper of any size (and, in some cases, on fabric). Just apply what you learn to postcard-sized paper (or cut larger paper down to postcard size) to make pieces to send to all your favourite people!
Eco-Printing Tutorials Online
Books & Magazines
Tips & Notes
I’ve read mixed reports on what people think of using watercolour paper for printing, and some people say that any heavier weight paper will work. My impression overall is that there’s quite a lot of trial and error involved. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to experiment. Try cutting down larger pieces of paper to keep your paper costs low.
From what I can tell, the process of eco-printing on paper and on fabric is much the same, with some minor differences in preparation. I see a slippery slope here, is what I’m saying. :)
In the Honolulu, HI Area
I’m not finding anything local that’s specific to eco-printing, but you might check see if The Green House could be a resource.
Over the last week or so, I’ve remembered why I fell in love with this city when I first came here.
Fourteen years after moving here, I tend to see more flaws and frustrations than awesome aspects to living here, but weeks like this – with gorgeous, warm weather and family visiting and touring around – are a good reminder to keep my attitude in check so I can enjoy the good stuff.
Yesterday, Greg and I had our first pottery class. I was so caught up in it that I didn’t take any photos (also, my hands were covered in clay), but check out the view from my wheel. Not too bad.