yesterday was a busy day

I finally got out the paints . . .

Grumpy Mud Men

Grumpy Mud Men

And then a needle and threads, some unbleached calico, a few washers and, most important, a paint stained baby-wipe.   It all just started from there really.

Once there was a baby-wipe that had aspirations of being on the cover of a journal . . . her dreams are coming tru.

Once there was a baby-wipe that had aspirations of being on the cover of a journal . . . her dreams are coming true.

sailing . . . but where?

I love the vessel I’m sailing in, it’s sound, tested as sea worthy, and I’ve come to realise that I can land at any number of ports . . . thanks Quinn . . .  Quinn McDonald is a very astute life coach with a mind like a steel trap, ears that miss nothing and heart, lots of heart.

Spring is a time of change, particularly when it comes to wind direction here in New Zealand.  There’s not a lot of land out there to shelter us and the Roaring 40s are well named . . . we expect it but I have to tell you I am OVER IT!  I would like some nice settled weather to get out, walk the beach and think, I think better when I’m walking.  I used to think best when I was running and I had up to 64 kilometres/40 miles a week of thinking time!

I’ve thought so much about what I want to do, which direction I want to go, that my head hurts, and my good-sense-self says “if it hurts, stop doing it!”  So I will, I’ll stop the thinking and just do, do whatever I like, when I like and how I like.  Oh such luxury to be in this place . . .  but I am spoiled for choice. An apt expression, it’s that word spoiled, it brings to mind rotten meat or milk that has soured, eggs that have sat out for far too long, citrus fruit mouldering in the bowl . . . spoiled.

Yes indeed, a plethora of choices is not necessarily the easiest thing to manage.  It’s that whole, ‘to choose one thing is to shut out a lot of other things’ conundrum . . . a very black and white way of looking at it I know.  So like the Lord High Executioner, I have a little list,  sorry about the Mikado reference but it always echoes in my head when I say “I have a little list,” and I don’t even like most musicals!

Sometimes lists are great, you get a wonderful feeling crossing items off upon completion, keep you organised when times are stressful and they help sort out what’s important, especially when the items are arranged in the form of a PMI (Positive, Minus, and Interesting).  I wrote down everything I liked to do, as well as everything that needs to be done, on little bits of paper so it’s not technically a list I tell myself.  (How picky!)  I then shuffled around the bits of paper into the different PMI categories.  After that I put shuffled the items according to my level of enjoyment or lack thereof, and began to see that some of what I get the most satisfaction from work well together.  Of course there is no way to wrap everything into a neat package however a lot of things fit into bookbinding.

I looked at satisfaction level more than what I’m good at . . . I have learned that just because I can do something well doesn’t mean I have to.

Just some of what I like to do . . . before sorting.  The 'after' will be evident in what I produce.

Just some of what I like to do . . . before sorting. The ‘after’ will be clear in what I produce.

So there won’t be a change in what I do, just a slight shift in direction towards yet another destination.  I started small yesterday by refilling a notebook cover I made ages ago with stained sketch pad paper . . . I just felt like hoisting sail and going off in that direction.

A3 sketchpad paper, stained with blackcurrant and apple tea, salt crystals on the puddles, dried and repeated on the reverse.

A3 sketch pad paper, stained with blackcurrant and apple tea, salt crystals on the puddles, dried and repeated on the reverse.

And while I am allowing myself to be propelled by impulse for a time, there will come a point when I know I will need a goal, something big to work toward, because I know me, and I know the NBG (Next Big Goal) is not going to come while I’m thinking . . . I need to be doing.  Direction does not come in a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) as an adult any more than it does when you’re a young adult starting out in the world, you find your way through finding your way . . . somethings don’t change.

And the Christmas market? Not a raving success up on the school stage away from the throng. While a little disappointed I’ll try again, sell everything off, recoup my outlay, and then give away or donate what is left to charity.  And think again?  No, no more thinking.  As much as I enjoyed some aspects of the preparations, I don’t like the feeling of being on a production line so I shall make ‘one-offs,’ bespoke items, and then decide what to do with them.  Maybe take the odd request, but I shan’t use the word order, I don’t take orders at all well . . . it brings forth a strong rebellious streak.

On the positive side, my work was much admired at the market and I received many encouraging comments although one child was rather bemused that I had already painted the pages of the small notebooks . . . he thought they should definitely be white.

There’s just no pleasing some people.

Acrylic on sketch paper, recycled manila folders as covers.

Acrylic on sketch paper, recycled manila folders as covers.

And the winner of my giveaway? Using a random number selector Jo’s name came up!   Congratulations Jo, I’ll rustle up a box and have it ready to send as soon as I have your address.

Cheers everyone . . . kia kaha . . . stand strong!

a shift in the wind . . . and a giveaway

At one time I earned a living working with cloth but it was work and not love although the reason for doing it was love . . . now I’m returning to it, slowly.  I can still make things to sell but it’s ‘work’ and not so much pleasure as satisfying seeing the results.  There’s a shift in the wind though and I think it’s taking me to places I have only sighted, landed lightly and not explored . . . in my mid 60s this is exciting.  Jude Hill‘s recording on Small Journeys is an echo of how I am thinking . . . something new, or master one thing I do now . . . I think I’m about to be blown off on a tangent.

I should be content dabbling in all the crafts that give me some satisfaction but I want something more and I think it’s excellence or perhaps a way of drawing everything in together.  Rather than being, as I was labelled when a child, a ‘Jack of all things, master on none’ I want to master something . . . but I have no idea what.   There is a rant in that ‘Jack . . .” phrase but I’ll save it for another time.

Last weekend was the last big workshop for the raranga/weaving course I attended.   It was a wonderful experience that has left me with stronger hands, new skills and new friends.  Wednesday night is the Christmas Cottage sale at my grandhearts’ school that I’ve prepared for (still preparing for) and then . . . what next?

My question is, how do I bring everything together?  How to I muck around to my heart’s content and tie it up into a package . . . yes, it’s true, I want to be appreciated as an artist and not just a clever creative woman to seems to be able to do pretty much anything but is sometimes overwhelmed by variety that she can’t make a choice and just get started.

I just noticed that this is my 100th post so I will give away one of my kete to someone with a thoughtful response . . . this one I think . . .

Dyed harakeke container with dyed dry flowers and beads. 16 x 19 cms

Dyed harakeke container with dyed dry flowers, silver crimps and beads. 16 x 19 cms

A decision will be made on Sunday (NZ time).  I have already successfully sent one overseas (USA) and there didn’t seem to be any problem with customs as everything has been processed in some way and I’m sure I can package it so it doesn’t get crushed.

almost ready

I’ve made 12 school book bags and 15 pencil cases.  Cut out, I have another 6 book bags and 16 bigger pencil cases.  There are also about 40 little critters that will be looking for a new home.For the Xmas Cottage

IMG_0555Just some inspirational words to go on some of the super-sized pencil cases and I’m done!  And while I’m at it, a shout out to Alisa Burke as without her book Canvas Remix, I wouldn’t be making these things.

busy getting ready for christmas

I’ve decided to take a stall at my grandhearts’ school Xmas Cottage sale.  I have a few things to sell, somehave been hanging around the house for a while, some are being made especially for the event.

These pencil cases all have homes so I'm making more . . . some are a regular size at 25 cms/10 inches and others are bigger at 30 cms/12 inches long.

These pencil cases all have homes so I’m making more . . . some are a regular size at 25 cms/10 inches and others are bigger at 30 cms/12 inches long.

These wee guys , and their friends, are looking for a home.

These wee guys , and their friends, are looking for a home.

Ukelele cases . . . this is my grandheart's one.

Ukulele cases . . . this is my grandheart’s one.

I have some handmade cards.

I have some handmade cards.

And some bookbags.  This one has lasted all year whereas the commercial ones wear out in a term or so.

And some book bags. This one has lasted all year where the commercial ones wear out in a term or so.  I can, for a small fee, put names on them.

I may make some notebooks and of course I’ll take prepaid bespoke orders for everything above on the day!  Dominant colours and child’s name.

Busy!

but is it art?

Hanna Andersson’s blog iHanna is one I enjoy dropping in on and today she asked the question “What is art and who has the right to call themselves an art?”  I think the questions “Is what I create art?” and “Can I call myself an artist?” occur to most of us at some stage.

Recently someone has called what I do “your crafts” and another referred to “your art” and I guess they’re both right in some respects.  When I was buying some art supplies at a big stationery shop I was asked if I was an artist and I said I was just to try the label out for size and for me, I don’t think it fits yet. If someone else considers my work art, fine and I’ll happily accept it but really, what I do is just muck around with art supplies (and other bits and pieces) because I can’t not . . . it’s in the blood.

If I know what I do is rather mediocre compared to what I envisaged or some (achievable) pinnacle to which I aspire, it’s mucking around . . . but sometimes, just sometimes, I am well pleased. So I’ll continue with the crafts and create a little art from time to time as well but as for calling myself an artist? I’ll leave that to others and continue to be gainfully unemployed and make lovely things. Like this wee gem.

I am well pleased . . .  even though my perfectionist self is saying "Damn, why didn't I notive I hadn't done it up straight!"  Kudos to me for not taking another photograph eh?

I am well pleased . . . even though my perfectionist self is saying “Damn, why didn’t I notive I hadn’t done it up straight!” Kudos to me for not taking another photograph eh?  Made from harakeke/flax, dextrals dyed two tone turquoise and green, driftwood closure, 12 x 14 cms or approximately 4.5 x 6 inches.

when at first you don’t succeed . . .

I was rudely awakened in the early hours of yesterday morning by an earthquake.  The epicentre was some way off but here on the sand and with a house built on a concrete slab, it was noticeable.  It reminded me once again how, despite our best efforts to build a secure home life, everything can change in an instant.  It brings into  perspective that most of what we think are disasters are merely annoying and that nothing we do can withstand the forces of nature . . . wind and rain will triumph.

Recently I created some maṇḍala out of shells, raised a tepee of flax/harakeke stalks weighted down in the centre with a  net-covered stone that weighs about 7 kg or 15.5 pound.  I thought it would be strong enough to withstand the wind and rain until the flax stalks gave in to time.

Local stones, triangle shells/kaikaikaroro, horse mussels/hoemoana and flax/harakeke flower stalks.

Local stones, triangle shells/kaikaikaroro, horse mussels/hoemoana and flax/harakeke flower stalks.

One night the winds came in from the sea and moved the lot . . . again!   Some of the horse mussel/hoemoana shells and feather have since blown away as well.

IMG_0341So what do I do now?  Plan C, it’s idiocy to repeat plan A or B.  I need to splay the ‘legs’ out further, secure them to the ground (tent pegs perhaps) and bring the apex of the structure closer to the ground and replace the hoemoana shells with stones.

Hardly an earth-shattering disaster, nothing of that magnitude (puns intended), just annoying because I expected it to last the summer . . . when it gets here.