a little self-exposure?

I’m very quick to say “Yes!” or “Why not?” and when Natasha White asked me to take part in a blog hop I didn’t hesitate and fortunately, I haven’t suffered from cold feet even though the questions haven’t been particularly easy to answer.

What am I working on?   As usual I’m working on a number of things . . . or should I say I have several projects on the go but like most people with one pair of hands I can only work on one thing at a time: more and more I am convinced that multi-tasking is a myth put about to make us feel like we should be producing more. I cannot do one thing well and be thinking about something else . . . maybe I can think about something else while painting the house or pulling weeds or hanging out the washing but I cannot weave or paint or sew without concentration.

So while I have a quilt started, a set of Inner Hero cards on the go, been messing around with watercolour for a workshop with Tammy Garcia, exploring soft fibre sculptures, darning knees in tights for my youngest grandheART and me, knitting a jumper for my oldest grandheART, painting some terracotta pots for the garden, assembling some driftwood sculptures for the garden, have a project from Jill Berry’s new book Map Art Lab started (buy the book it’s fantastic!), my main focus is designing a pattern for the taaniko weaving on my whatu tauri. The translation for that is, I am designing the taaniko (Maori twined weaving) on a sampler. The sampler is part of a weaving/raranga course I am taking. I need to choose a major focus for the rest of the year and thus far I have at least 6 wonderful ideas recorded! What am I working on indeed!

There is no 'give' in this fabric!

The unfinished Chinese silk quilt

Exploring soft sculptures

IMG_2958

A kete waikawa for my daughter-in-law’s birthday.

Recent postcards

Recent postcards – sorry about the focus.

Creatively darning knees in tights - why not?

Creatively darning knees in tights – why not?

Flax/harakeke boiled and drying . . . still to be dyed and woven into . . . who knows what?

Flax/harakeke boiled and drying . . . still to be dyed and woven into . . . who knows what?

The question assumes I’m working on one thing . . . not possible!  And have I mentioned I have a day-job?  That’s a whole lot of creative problem solving too!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?   A genre? Me? Yeah, unless ‘making/painting/weaving stuff’ is a genre, nah. I do too many things and admire wildly differing styles to settle on one thing . . . and I like it that way.

Why do I write/create what I do?   The answer is easy . . . I can’t not create. It’s simple really, and you either understand the urge or you don’t. I love that feeling of taking raw materials and making something out of them that is useful or beautiful or, joy of joys, both! I get a buzz out of seeing something rise up out of my hands and particularly learning a new set of skills.

How does your writing/creating process work?   I’m not sure I have a process but if I do, it starts with and idea bursting forth in a rush and a roar, a fit of spontaneity and enthusiasm, and I immerse myself in the project. My internal clock is disregarded until I suddenly realize I’m hungry or thirsty or, even more inconvenient because I can’t ignore it, I need the bathroom. If I can’t work until I drop, sleep and then rise and throw myself back into a project because the day-job calls, I might lose focus or worse, the inspiration to do something entirely different might strike.

Does that sound undisciplined? I guess I am but that’s okay.

A question not on the blog hop is what do I want to achieve? That, for me, is by far the hardest question to answer. I love to learn new things . . . for me learning equals fun. That joy of stretching myself and trying a new activity, of mastering the skills without becoming highly competent is fine by me. And I’d like to use my teaching skills to share this joy of making something from almost nothing. I think most of all what I want to achieve is to show my children and my grandheARTs (my muses) that creativity in some form is a life-long, joyous, satisfying, essential ingredient in life.  And one day perhaps, I’d like to take part in an exhibition of some kind . . . even if it’s just a local café.

And now, to whom do I pass on the blog hop baton? I have asked three wonderful women who are not only wonderful artists in their own right but also generous women in their encouragement of others.

Violette Clark’s blog Creative Juice was the very first I began to follow . . . I felt as if I knew her although we have never met.   Her book Journal Bliss started me off on a journey. Violette is an artist, author and an Idea Factory/catalyst who loves helping women brainstorm creative ideas for their business. She lives in a purple magic cottage in B.C. Canada.  Yes, really, you can check it out here on You Tube

Diana Trout is highly creative and generous artist, instrumental in my late start as an artist. Her book, Journal Spilling, began my exploration of watercolours.  She has wonderful workshops and one day, I am determined to attend one in person!  Diana’s blog is another favourite.

And third? Coffee and Quinn Creative starts my day! Her blog with its wise commentary on life and creative adventures provides a venue for community of wonderful people to come together.   Quinn McDonald is an outsider artist, writer, and certified creativity coach. Her book, The Inner Hero Creative Art Journal touches on all those identities.

Of course there are more artists I could have asked because of the role they played in getting me here on the web . . . the creatively prolific, enthusiastic and generous Tammy Gracia is constantly being referred to at the Late Start Studio and her quote is up there on my header. . . Jill Berry who pushed me to explore some colours that I thought I wouldn’t want to use when I took a week-long workshop with her recently . . . and then there’s . . . oh!   I do hate limiting myself.   I had just three choices.

Check out the blogs now and especially again on Monday the 19th of May when these three lovely women will answer the same questions . . . perhaps not the last one though . . . that was a challenge I gave myself.

I’m still here

I know . . . it’s been forever and I will explain it a little but just not this morning.  This is the teaser:

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading – Lao Tzu

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined – Henry David Thoreau

Put your ear down to your heart and listen hard – Anne Sexton (via Quinn McDonald)

Each is true and each is what I am thinking about . . . as well as working full-time and spending an extra 2.5 hours a day commuting in my car.

A recycled jersey, now a dress for my granddaughter – a little hand-sewing (so unlike me) and thinking (too much like me)

Now . . . I’ll be late for work!

a pair of bears

There is a small bear on the couch complaining that it feels neglected – such whinging you never heard from a bear!

I washed both bears’ clothing and started darning the moth holes in one bear’s pants – before I knew it I was running amok with embroidery thread.   I managed to stop myself short of adding beads and sequins as I think the bear, formerly referred to as he,was about to undergo a gender reassignment operation for which I don’t have signed consent.   It now looks decidedly androgynous.

Well, the mended bear has a friend who is feeling out-of-sorts – I am being accused of neglect!  He(?) has very plain clothes and is beginning to insist on a make-over.   He doesn’t mind his worn face and paws, however he feels a little bare and would like to have some jazzy clothes to wear just like his friend.  I though at first he said he felt a little bear and told him to leave his friend alone but he soon set me straight.  He says that just because he’s getting older, that’s no reason to be drab and I must admit I feel much the same way.

Small bear - as a boy

small bear number 1 – before, as a boy bear?

after being mended – with friend

The pink arms are the fabric the body is made from – I seem to have misplaced the green jacket that, although stained, is to be replaced along with that stunning, perfectly matched, pair of buttons in the photo.  If I can’t find the jacket I will make some wonderful sleeves out of the same blanket ribbon I used for the bow.  The second bear, as you can see, is looking a tad grumpy.

These bears could both end up without an identifiable gender but I’m sure they won’t really mind too much.

how I darn moth-holes – is there another way?

I set out to do a sympathetic restoration but somehow . . .  I’m reasonably sure my mother, who made the bears just over 35 years ago, would approve.

the first week back

It feels a little strange being back at work full-time – I’m tired too.  Living in a different city, good trains running nearby in the night (although I know I’ll get used to the sound very soon), having to work out where the best supermarket is, the petrol station, where can I get a decent coffee and a sandwich for lunch etc.  And then there’s the art supply stores – I guess Lynette from All of Me will help out with this as it’s her city and she uses a wide range of materials!

So what would you take with you for a few nights away, when you know you’ll be tired in the evening and need to just wind down a bit?  I took a small watercolour Moleskine, black pens and watercolour pencils and crayons.   I only used the first two items!

Doodles 1What would you take away with you when you know you’ll just have a small amount of time?

wobbly spirals I like my deliberately wobbly spirals, I have to fight being too tidy so these were fun – maybe I’ll add some colour.

Next week I’ll repair the bear my mother made for my daughter – at about 35 years old and much loved in his younger days, he’s looking a bit worse for wear and somewhat moth-eaten as well!

Poor Bear

According to my grand-daughter I am only allowed to do minimal restoration work - there's to be no new clothes or updating of his image!

I’m really chuffed (very pleased) that Jeanne has a sense of history and that at 7 years old, she values this little bear as something her great grandmother made with loving care so just restoration work it is.

A pincushion

This one’s for you Diana,  thanks for the post today!my Thai pincushion

Whenever I hand stitch anything, I invariably lose a needle somewhere and you can guess how I find it.  Pretty predictable eh?  So I now use a pincushion – and not just any pincushion.  This one is from Thailand, I bought it in a local market from a woman who spoke no English (and my Thai is somewhat limited).  It is made entirely by hand out of recycled materials and I love it.  It reminds of my years living there, the wonderful friends I made and the travelling we did together – just by looking at a pincushion I know I’m truly blessed.