Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stitched Journal Project - November

The Stitched Journal Project is: Makers from around the world creating one "page" or piece of work per month and sharing. It is a project to get the ideas flowing, to process the days in a creative way, to try new techniques and to push past fears that keep us from making something.  It isn't about perfection, or getting it "just right," it is about process and perspective.

November - fabric collage

I am so late in getting this post up! Apologies. We went out of town for the Holiday and I've just had the chance.

I've been stewing on an idea for a story piece, a fabric collage about my family; a small story of us. This month I worked up a little practice piece; to get a feel for what direction I'd like to go, to use some of my thoughts and see what might evolve.

You'll no doubt see an homage to "Pa's Shirts" that I have been messing with. Old lace, an antique mother of pearl buckle, a well worn bit of hankie and a copy of an old letter envelope.

The envelop is from 1947, sent via Air Mail from The Southern Pacific Railroad... addressed to my grandparents from "Granddady". The letter inside begins:

Dear Children, 
While mother is getting ready to venture out shopping I shall write a few lines so that she may drop it in the mail...

The handwriting is a lovely old-fashioned script that one just doesn't see anymore. Of course, we don't see many actual letters anymore either.

I'm pretty sure the bit of lace edging was made by one of my female family members.  

I think when I finally get to making the story piece that I have in my mind, I will be taking quite a journey into the past.

Below you will find links to the wonderful makers and their Stitched Journal Project pieces for November Please keep your eyes on this spot in the next couple of days as more add their links. Be sure to visit them and leave comments!

If you think you would like to join in as well, it's not too late!  We will be sharing our pieces the last Friday of every month at least until the end of the year. We'd love to have you.

All of you wonderful Stitched Journal Project participants please link up below! Remember to add your photos to The Stitched Journal Flickr Group! and be sure to share with Facebook, Twitter, etc!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Creative Blog Hop

I was invited by Lindsay of A Wooden Nest to join in a creative blog hop to talk about my creative process. I have been given a list of 4 questions that I will do my best to answer. Creative process is one of those tricky things that can be hard to explain, but I'm happy to give it a good try.

What am I working on?
Sewing: I have been throwing myself into a project of refashioning, up-cycling, and re-imagining men's old work shirts that are no longer usable for their original purpose. I've been calling the project "Pa's Shirts." So far I have made 3 new garments for my daughter out of 2 shirts. This project speaks to my "mend and make do" and re-use philosophy, while at the same time challenges me to upgrade my skill set in alteration, pattern drafting, and creativity.

Mixed Media: I am continuing my work on The Stitched Journal Project, A year long endeavor that I have been so excited to share with other artists. The Stitched Journal Project is: Makers from around the world creating one "page" or piece of work per month and sharing. It is a project to get the ideas flowing, to process the days in a creative way, to try new techniques and to push past fears that keep us from making something.  It isn't about perfection, or getting it "just right," it is about process and perspective.
When I started this project I had no idea how it was going to influence me and my work. It has become such a valuable experience. It has freed me and taught me so much about my own creativity as well as being inspired by the work of other artists!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmmm... do I even have a genre? I'm joking. Reading the other blogger's posts in the hop, this seems to have been the hardest question to answer. It's no different for me. While I am not sure exactly how to answer this question, I do know that my work is always changing, my color ways, my interests and my techniques are always evolving. Like I said earlier, I do love incorporating formerly loved pieces into my work, giving new life to old things, finding new ways to show the tradition of handmade.

Why do I create what I do?
Most simply put, I create because I have to. That may seem a little extreme, but the truth is, I can't imagine my life without creating. It is part of who I am, what fulfills me, challenges me, excites me and makes my life bigger and brighter.  

I have always loved working with my hands, stretching my imagination and making things. It is a passionate affair that has been going on as long as I can remember. It helps me to keep in touch with myself, to slow down, to feel empowered. Whatever the creative endeavor; be it stitching, writing, making music, etc. it lets me express myself and be myself. 

How does my creative process work?
It all starts with a tiny seed of an idea. Sometimes that seed sprouts quickly and makes it's way to a full fledged project right away. Other times, it takes ages for that seed to germinate. Sometimes I am making my weaving way stumbling through it all. I find myself walking into my studio picking up the strangest pieces, working on the small, the details, creating laborious techniques, exploring funny ideas.  It's about textures and color and... imagination.

The ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. A song on the radio, everyday chores, an overheard conversation, the way someone is dressed on the street, and of course, necessity is the mother of invention. I'll often make a list in my creative journal, sometimes a drawing or five and then work those things in my head until they become more concrete, and take shape.

If I'm feeling stuck I love to get out into nature, go for a walk or hike and just keep my mind open and free. Listening to music can jump start my creativity as well.

I don't have a strict creative regimen to my process, it often happens more organically and spontaneously. I am endlessly inspired by my daughter, my family and my community. 

Thank you Lindsay for inviting me to participate in this blog hop, I am honored. Please go visit Lindsay, Kristina, and Ness, to read their inspiring posts and follow their links to others on the blog hop!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pa's Shirts

As I finally started tucking into the collection of the Mr.'s old shirts that I've been collecting for ages, I began the imagining the endless possibilities to refashion and upcycle them. I unpicked pockets and ripped out collars trying to adjust to the new development of reading/stitching glasses slipping down my nose. It's been cold out with an icy wind so I sat by the fire and I had to laugh, I suddenly had a vision of Little House on the Prairie. Here's me, "Ma" making clothes for the child out of Pa's old shirts.

It started a while back with this skirt...

Yesterday I finished off this shirt made from a shirt. Should we call it a Tunic instead? I'm unsure. I do know that I was helped by my young assistant who suggested the addition of lace. She was quite right about that I think.

Since I last posted about my 6 (and a half) shirts, I uncovered 2 more shirts hidden in the mayhem of my studio. So, I have many more chances to re-imagine and turn them into something else. I think perhaps a dress will be next.

What have you been up to?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

3 Easy Pieces

Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it's done right. Even a pancake. - Julia Child

Recently, Pony Girl started attending a cooking class. Oh man, what a great thing! She loves it and comes home so excited to tell me all about what they have made that week. She tells me all the the ingredients they used and how they prepared the food. 
It has even sparked a new trend of her and I cooking together with me teaching her some of the classics. Our lesson on French Toast was a delicious success!

My girl told me she needed me to sew an apron for her, "something special," she said. "Of course," says I! I had just the inspiration, this little vintage apron needed recreating Pony Girl style. The apron is just 3 easy pieces, plus straps and handy dandy pockets.

Basically, I sort of simply traced the lines of the the original pieces along the seams. One center piece and one side piece that you cut twice from the fabric. Then I made adjustments in width and length to fit my girl and added seam allowances.

Since I was at it, why not make it reversible? 2 aprons in one is the best! So, happy retro polka dots on one side, and cheerful hibiscus and hula girls on the other.

Yes, an apron with plenty of drama... just like my girl! I love her new passion for cooking and I'm looking forward to many years of spending time together in the kitchen!