October 30, 2011

To Etsy or Not To Etsy?

When I left my full time job at the hospital a whopping three and a half years ago, many of my co-workers expressed concern for my sanity. They know that I'm a social beast and inquired about how I would occupy my time and fulfill my need to interact with real people. My expectation, as silly as it seems now, was that I would create art during the hours my son was in school and be super mom and carpool queen when he was home. I had discovered etsy.com and wanted to open a shop within six months of having left the job, sure I could do that with nothing but time on my hands. That is NOT what happened.

What did happen was that I discovered that as a family, we have way too much stuff. That stuff is constantly being left where it doesn't belong, or it's dirty and needs cleaning, or that it needs to be repaired, returned, or replaced. I live the life of an around-the-clock personal assistant to the clan and spend too little time making art.

Yesterday was my birthday. My husband asked me now that I had reached the age of (choke) 51, had I any grand words of wisdom to share about what I felt about life, what I had learned, or some other silly thing. Actually, I had been thinking about it. My mother died at age 63, my younger sister just days before turning 47, my paternal grandmother in her late 60's, along with a few others that have rattled my emotional cage. I've spent too much of the little time we get in life planning or thinking about what I wanted to do, but not really doing much. It's time to revisit plans for the future.

With the success of the sale of the rocking chair and quilt, I thought again about the possibility of opening an etsy shop. It's incredibly inexpensive, the site is so well known that marketing isn't an issue (for the site as a whole, not for an individual shop), and I wouldn't have to be wed to a single type of art. I haven't made up my mind yet, but I have given it serious thought and spent a ton of time looking at prospective "competition." What I see are thousands of people who did more than talk about it and who are enjoying creating and selling their creations.

Here's hoping for just a pinch more courage.

October 21, 2011

The Jacked Studio

I'm sharing space that is too small to actually share. The studio has been jacked by my daughter. I'm still trying to figure out the source of the sand on the desk given that we live 30 miles from the beach. Sigh.

This week has been chaotic trying to juggle the Mom stuff and the artist stuff. On the mom side, my son's German teacher organizes and chaperones a trip to Germany every year during Spring Break, taking high school students from two schools. The parent meeting was not permitted on the school campus this year (new laws regarding not being able to discuss money that isn't an official school fund raiser, blah blah blah, and it's not an official school trip), so, of course, we volunteered our home. That was before we were notified that the electric company would be shutting off power for the day. It wouldn't have been such a big problem had the electric company not run into complications, extending the "power back up" time from 4 p.m. to a predicted 8 p.m. This with about 20 parents expected at 6:30 and the curbs on both sides of the entire block coned off and marked "No Parking." Oh, and having no lights. Ack! Thank goodness the power was restored an hour before the meeting. I had just enough time to bake cookies (yeah for frozen dough blobs from a school fundraiser!) and entertain the parents while we waited for the habitually-late teacher. He did not disappoint, showing up about 1/2 hour late. What a day.

This was topped with the chaos (an increasingly frequent condition at home) of getting my son and his friend registered for Blizzcon and get the name on my ticket changed to that of his friend. Moms who hear screams of, "For the Horde!" and other World of Warcraft of StarCraft blabberings from their teens know what I mean. I was surrounded by gaming geeks and nerds for hours. It was most amusing. But it's done, they're gaming their brains out and I have the sandy studio desk to myself for a while. To top it off, all these geeks get to enjoy a closing concert by the Foo Fighters. OK, NOW I'm jealous!

On the art side, I have to admit that I'm suddenly obsessive about the idea of generating more quilts. I'm exploring techniques for incorporating images and/or paint and other medium in an art quilt, plus looking at just fun modern quilts. I always wonder, what do the more prolific artists and craft-persons do with everything they make??? I'm still working (slooowwwly) on my art journal that I'm going to swap with my sister for completion and return. We know what we're doing with those. But what do people do with their art journals when they make dozens of them? Or paintings to numerous for the limited numbers of walls in the house? I picture the most colourful episode EVER of Hoarders. It's funny, I haven't seen a single episode that included the home of an artist or crafty mama. Hmmm. We must keep the studios well hidden. ;-)

Time to make a mess and enjoy a little solitude!

October 17, 2011

We should all be so colourful!

I found this video on Rice (I can't figure out how to type the "e" with the umlaut over it) Freeman-Zachary's blog and will assume that the option of embedding the video allows for sharing it along with credit for the source! What inspiration for creativity!

SUE KREITZMAN - Artist Profile - Short Documentary from Pat Grimm on Vimeo.

What do I do now?

On the artists side: I'm finished.  The quilt is finished, the rocking chair is finished and all that's left is a lot of mess for me to clean up, paints to put away, and a dining room to return to its original purpose.  The house is quiet and there is nothing to do but clean.  Oh joy.

Finishing art projects can come with as big an emotional let down as finishing a fantastic book.  I feel a sense of  melancholy at the conclusion of a big project or deadline that makes me grumble under my breath and resist starting a new project (or a new book, for that matter).  Is it just me?  At least it's only mid-October and I have time to plot holiday projects for a change instead of waiting until Thanksgiving and freaking out about how there just isn't enough TIME to plan and execute any handmade gifts.  Shame on me for feeling grumpy about having the luxury of time with no hectic schedule. 

On the mom side:  My teenage son has an official girlfriend, as in he introduces her by name, followed by, "My girlfriend."  I am seeing less of him, more of her (and she is quite the cutie whom I've know for a couple of years, so I'm just find with that), and more of his peck pecking at the tiny keyboard on his cell phone when he's in his room.  Now we begin the battle of getting him to turn off all entertainment devices during homework and study time which should last longer than the entertainment time.  I won't hold my breath.

In addition, my adult daughter has semi-moved back home and occupies the studio when residing here.  We are so delighted to have her around more and happy to be available to help her during a difficult transition in life, but it does make for real challenges in being creative.  What the heck, I went years and years without a formal studio.  The real challenge is in figuring out how to get to my art supplies without stepping on her calculator or on the cell phone charging on the floor, in addition to figuring out what the heck the sand on the desk is all about.  As I said, I've got time to clean.  Sigh.

This would be a good time to take a cup of tea out on the deck, grab a few magazines,  and maybe plot a few holiday gift projects before I get out the vacuum cleaner and shovel.  Yup, I think I'll need a shovel.

October 12, 2011

One Down, One to Go...

The quilt is finished and turned over to the Boys & Girls Club for the auction.  The boss lady happened to be there when I turned it in and she loved the front.  Then she flipped it over and exclaimed, unfiltered, "Ooh, I don't like the background fabric.  Not my style." and flipped it back to the front.  I laughed and told her no worries, just don't bid on it!  I was pleased with myself for blowing off a negative comment and was completely unaffected by it.  That's a huge step for me!  What the heck, it wasn't my design, so I just didn't take it personally.  The workmanship was FAB if I do say so myself ;-)

Now the rocking chair is all I have to finish.  It's actually coming along and I think I'll be finished within an hour.

What am I going to do with myself with the projects complete?  Time to return to the art journal.  Next!

October 2, 2011

Learning On The Job

On the art side: Trying to improve on basic skills is fine, but waiting until I'm in the middle of a project that will be donated for the auction wasn't my best plan ever.  I found a book with the simplest tip ever for improving the appearance of the back side of the quilt (doing the free motion quilting for the first time - eeek), but unfortunately I found that tip after I finished the quilting.  Oh well.  Live and learn.

The chair is what is giving me nightmares right now.  Once again, I struggle with the expectations of those who will receive the chair versus my own preferred style of painting.  I think I'm going to just stick with my own style and, again, encourage my girlfriend to tell me it sold for a bundle ;-)

In the meantime, I'm about to take a bunch of paint and just start whacking away at the chair, knowing I can wipe quickly or cover over it if I feel the need.  We'll see what it looks like at 5 p.m.  This is Phase II so far, on pause for a while since I used a glazing medium and it needs to dry before I paint more.  Let's just hope I can keep the dopey cat off of it!  Where is my air horn?

On the mom side: At least I have the house to myself today.  My charming son planned an outing for his high school German Club, but didn't plan well enough.  They arrived at the museum to see the Tim Burton exhibit, not taking into account that it's October and the show closes at the end of the month.  The parking lots are full, and they can't get in to see the exhibit for more than two hours.  Imagine a bunch of high school kids cruising the fine arts museum to kill time.  I've chaperoned these trips in the past.  I've never seen so many boys giggling about all manner of anatomy in various forms of art.  It's most amusing.

With my daughter living in my studio a few days a week, I'm back to having art supplies from one end of the house to another, working wherever I find space.  Yesterday I was sewing at the kitchen table (which is agonizingly high for sewing).  Today I'm painting on the dining room table.  With my buzzer phobia, painting outdoors is just not an option for me.  I spend more time screaming and running around and looking like a lunatic, getting very little painting accomplished.  How embarrassing that all the neighbors know when I paint outside just from the girly screams coming from my deck.  Dumb buzzers.