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.

another obsession?

Over the weekend I attended a Journey Journal workshop with Carole Brungar and 9 other women, two of whom were friends who stayed for the weekend . . . what a lovely way to spend my birthday!  Carole will be posting more photos of the wonderful creations from the weekend on her blog in the near future.

I’ve made some small journals, usually with blank paper or lightly printed for someone else to write or draw in but not a journal such as we were making. Mine morphed into a journal for one of my grandhearts and another is going to be made to celebrate the passing of the older grandheart’s first decade.

The girls are wonderful as all children are especially when they have received conscious parenting, are not overly indulged but loved unconditionally. They’re intelligent, inquisitive, creative and a constant source of pleasure and pride: they are my muses.

At 7 Jeanne described her little sister as “awesome” and “definitely as cheeky as a monkey with a banana full of extremely funny medicine” so the book I deconstructed was perfect for Meg. Some pages in progress . . .

The cover has been embroidered in much the same way as the knees of her tights are repaired.

The cover has been embroidered in much the same way as the knees of her tights are repaired.

Monkeys are intelligent, playful, curious, thoughful, creative and endlessly entertaining . . . just like Meg

Monkeys are intelligent, playful, curious, thoughful, creative and endlessly entertaining . . . just like Meg

Hasn't every little girl dressed as a fairy?

Hasn’t every little girl dressed as a fairy?  And sometimes they pull faces to show their monkey side as she did in the photo inserted in to the pocket above.

Ready for images and text.

And in Brazel the say, “If you like bananas, you are a monkey.”

Some more pages ready for text and images.

Some more pages, pockets and flaps ready for text and images.

time is of the essence

This morning I was reading a post on Diana Trout’s blog about Golden sending her nine of their new QoR watercolors.  She also talks about her recovery from her first eye surgery . . . it must be a very fraught time for an artist!

Any way, I started rabbiting on in the comments that I’d like Golden to send some paints to me as well but a little voice says “Don’t you think you should use some of the paint you have first?” And I agree, but I can’t sew,

More mended knees for Meg

More mended knees for Meg

and weave,

Dyed harakeke container

Dyed harakeke container

OC Detail

Detail of shredded harakeke, dyed flowers, beads and silver crimps.

and make thingies (very technical term that) out of shells and rocks

A beginning . . .

A beginning . . .

A shell mandala . . . a temporary sculpture, unfinished.

A shell mandala . . . a temporary sculpture, unfinished.

Centrepiece, prior to decorating with pearls and crimps.

Centrepiece, prior to decorating with pearls and crimps.

Plus small green pearls and silver crimps.

Plus small green pearls and silver crimps.

IMG_2580

A beach is to walk on.

and plant some veg and walk on the beach, AND paint . . . something’s gotta give!

Remember when I bemoaned a lack of time because of the day-job? Now that I am gainfully unemployed, it’s got worse, not better!  I shall simply have to rise earlier because Baby, as a fully fledged, pioneer Creative Leisure Consultant, I have plans!  LOTS of plans starting with sorting out all my travel photos, from the quirky,

Taken at the end of my street in Tokyo. Dispensing machines for anything and everything are everywhere but the advertising on this one got me every time I walked past it.  Smoke and you'll turn into a muscled westerner?

Taken at the end of my street in Tokyo. Dispensing machines for anything and everything are everywhere but the advertising on this one got me every time I walked past it. Smoke and you’ll turn into a muscled westerner?

. . . to everything else.

Children of the Mekong

Children of the Mekong