Sunday, June 14, 2015

I Try And Learn From My Mistakes. After Throwing a Small Hissy Fit.

I'd love to say I'm so patient I never get annoyed and can never be seen grumbling at the art I'm making like it's the ART'S fault it's not perfect.

After all these years I am still learning.

Generally I really am a patient person. My favorite job I ever had was repairing and re-stringing pearls when I was in college. I could sit there hunched over all day placing tight little neat knots between each little pearl. It was meditative and delightfully tactile. I loved it for the same reason I love beads and embroidery.

You gotta be at least a little anal retentive to enjoy that, a little OCD-like, right?

Anyway. So. I HAVE MADE PILLOWS. I made some star shaped pillows that aren't really all that exciting but I find them mildly cute. I also made two hand drawn pillows. Those were fun. I learned the hard way (or re-learned) how important it is to allow for a nice seam allowance.

He was supposed to have a seam allowance all the way around, but I was rushing and sort of forgot that part when sewing around his butt. So he's got a white border around his face but not his back end. But it's ok. I still like him.
And here's the next pillow endeavor. It's a fox. Done late at night, late enough for thoughts of seam allowances to fall right out of my head. But I realized at the last minute and just basically gave him no seam allowance, or very little. At least he's even all around.
This possibly may only make sense to me. Why am I babbling about this?
I'll make the next post more interesting. Promise. Maybe I'll video myself drawing something. That's always fun. I know I love to watch other artists draw. It's like seeing inside their thought process. Always cool. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

I'm Changing My Life. Or, I Am Officially Nuttier Than I Ever Realized.

I've done it.

I no longer have a normal day job.

Confession: I'm not doing this the way normal, smart people do it. I don't have 6 months salary stowed away in a savings account. I am very much not prepared. Like, not prepared one bit.

But I'm crazy. And it hit me that if I don't try, and if I don't start trying RIGHT NOW, my crazy will get Really Crazy, like Really Really Crazy with a Capital C, and that's just no good.

I turn 40 this month. (Oh, you thought I looked 28? Aren't you sweet. You're now my favorite person.) It's not that 40 is old, it's not. It's young. But it's just that in my life, I'm, oh, right about where I thought I'd be when I was 25.

That means I'm 15 years behind, people.

Don't get me wrong. My life has been one crazy interesting ride and it made me who I am now and I wouldn't change a thing.

But going forward, I need to get serious about being an artist. I NEED to somehow make a living from my art. I can't keep working 40 hours then coming home too tired to do anything except daydream about what I want to create.

Part of the reason I'm telling this to the Internet is because I'm hoping it will give me a sense of obligation, and therefore a sense of urgency that's just simply not there when I don't have a boss to answer to. I'm human.

Another reason I'm sharing this is because I know I'm not the only one out there who feels this way. And if only one person can learn or appreciate hearing about my mistakes, maybe even finding my story helpful, well, I'll feel like I'm giving back.

I'm lucky and blessed to have the artistic ability I do. I don't want to take it for granted any more. It has a purpose, and I don't feel like I've been fulfilling that purpose. As cheesy as this sounds, I feel like I have a responsibility to do things in particular with my gift that I just have not been doing. If nothing else, I'm determined to gain a great deal of momentum, so if I do go back to a normal job, at the very least I will have built the strong bones of where I need to be soon.

I've made mistakes in the past, taken on more than I should, under priced my work, and other not-so-smart things. So I've learned a lot already.

But now my gut is yelling at me that it's time to jump in the deep end. The longer I wait, the more dangerous it might be. I've got a house payment to worry about. I may end up having to go back to a real job. But if that's the case I'm still determined to make this precious time I have count. And darn it, it's going to count a LOT.

I'm running on instincts lately, and I can't help but feel this strong pull towards... well, towards something I can't see yet. I see glimpses. One thing I'm sure of is that I need to focus on multiple projects. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, as that saying goes. And I work better when I have multiple projects. Stumped with a little artist block on this project? No problem, I'll go work on this other project for a while instead.

You know what is especially valuable? Mistakes. I plan on sharing my mistakes along with my successes. I think it's important that artists share their knowledge with one another. I feel obligated to share my knowledge. I crave teaching what I know. Even if I only know a small amount.

So. Come along for the ride. I figure no matter what, it'll be an interesting one.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

How to IMPROPERLY Embroider A Fox Onto A Tshirt.

1. Agree to cat sit for brother.
2. Decide on a whim I need to embroider something onto a piece of clothing.
3. Grab closest article of clothing.
4. Consider for brief moment ironing said article of clothing. Immediately dismiss that idea out of laziness and apparent need for immediate gratification.
5. Pet cat while deciding what to embroider. Can't decide. Decide on fox for unknown reason.
6. Remove cat from lap. Look for transfer pen.
7. Sit back down after NOT finding transfer pen.
8. Remove cat from lap. Wander around looking for interfacing since chosen clothing is knit tshirt.
9. Sit back down. Begin to get grumpy since apparently there is NO interfacing in house.
10. Notice cat is giving me the side eye. Remove cat from lap anyway.
11. Gather supplies that ARE in house. Decide firmly that current motivation level is enough to complete project, but not enough to actually leave house to get missing supplies even though missing supplies are perhaps very important.
12. Eyeball placement of fox on shirt. Start to free hand embroidery. Tell self interfacing and patterns and transfer pens are for chumps and totally not needed.
13. Embroider fox. Notice mistake. Rip out 60% of stitches.
14. Learn JUST HOW MUCH cat loves and hates embroidery thread.
15. Keeps cat from killing and eating thread.
16. Finish fox. Be pleased with self. Show cat. Cat unimpressed.
17. Congratulate self for ACTUALLY FINISHING a project since a finished project in my house is about as rare as a sasquatch sighting.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Tiny Embroidered Fox, Or, Art Can Be Dangerous.

I made a thing.

Here's a picture.

Tiny embroidery. Of a fox. (Obviously.)

I had forgotten how much I dearly love embroidery. The very thing about it that would drive most people batty is what draws me to it. It's so meditative.

And seed beads. I'd forgotten how delicious they are.

I'd also forgotten how sharp needles were. But I did good! I only stabbed myself 57 times.

I might need to force myself to get used to wearing a thimble.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Have A Greasy New Year And All That Crap. Also, I Might Be Crazy And I Don't Know Who The Hell I Am. And I Want A Cheeseburger.

First of all, thank you, dear auto correct. You're absolutely right, of course. I wasn't trying to type Happy New Year, what kind of nonsense is that? I was trying to type Happy Greasy Year! Thank you for correcting me!

Happy Greasy Year!

I think my smart phone is a dumb phone. What does that even mean? A greasy year? Lots of fried chicken? Greasy cheeseburgers? Lots of bacon? French fries? That horrible dive of a restaurant everyone goes to anyway because the greasy food is just that good?

Yeah. Actually that doesn't sound so bad. I could take a cheeseburger right about now.




So apparently I'm going to have to just act crazy in order to figure out if I'm actually crazy.

I KNOW. That totally makes all kinds of sense, I'm sure. You're totally following me, nodding in agreement, as I swiftly change the subject like that.

Ha. Haha. Hahaha. Hahahahahaha.

But seriously, here's the thing. I had a real bad few years. And for a while I faked it well, even though I was a just barely functioning human being. I faked it SO well. I went to work, acted normal. Went home, acted normal. Faked it like I was sane, like I wasn't this close to falling into a deep depression of all out, oh my gosh, what am I gonna do, I can't crawl out of this hole God help me how am I supposed to freaking live like this it's too much to ask from me to even be in this body and this head and my brain won't work and dear Lord do other people go through this how do they survive I feel so sorry for everyone the world is SO SAD I'm just going to stop getting out of bed and stop using commas or any other type of punctuation and abuse the hell out of being able to type really long run on sentences because THAT'S HOW BAD THINGS FEEL. I FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS AND ALL THE FEELINGS FEEL BAD AND SAD.

You follow me so far? Keeping up? Good.

Things weren't so good. Then some Actual Bad Things happened. That, like, normal people would have a real hard time dealing with.

And obviously I kind of wasn't in a good place, and obviously I did not have the mental or emotional capacity to deal with Very Bad Things and Very Real Important Grown Up Things in even ANY kind of way that was even remotely healthy. Apparently there is chemical depression and then there is situational depression, and of course good old anxiety problems and when you throw all those together and then throw in a couple of fun fancy acronyms ALL KINDS OF FUN ENSUES.

So. All that happened.

And now here we are.

And I am healing. At the risk of sounding completely cheesy, I'm finding myself again. Well, finding out I don't know who the hell I am.

These are the things I do know:

I am getting better.

I sort of wasn't "good" for way longer than I realized.

I don't know exactly who I am or what I want to be.

I'm slowly starting to find things, or re-find things, that bring me joy.

I am an artist. I have to make art. I'm not totally clear on exactly what I'm supposed to be making, or precisely how I am supposed to be creating.

But I know, without a doubt, that I'm an artist. That part of me keeps me on the safe side of the Crazy Line. The other side is dark and bleak. And hard to come back from. I know, I've dipped a toe in there a time or two.

And I feel like there is something I'm supposed to be doing as an artist that I am currently not. And dammit I wish I knew what that was.

That feeling grips me every day. Every hour. It SCARES me.

I'm weak. I've been very weak in many ways the last few years. I'm only human. I'm great at procrastination. I'm awesome at not finishing things. I'm excellent at shushing my brain and just going to boring work and going to boring home and crawling in my safe bed until I have to wake up and do it all over again.

Part of my brain is a snotty bitch looking down at me asking, what in the world are you thinking? You've suddenly got five hundred art projects whirling around your brain and you somehow think you're going to finish them all in one day? You'll be 40 in 6 months. You need to do responsible adult things. Like re-start a 401k and think about retirement and crap.

And the other side of my brain is like a nutty hippie all decked out like she's a crazy damn homeless Gypsy running around creating even MORE ideas for things to make.

And so I think I'm going to hang out with the Homeless Crazy Gypsy Hippie for a while. Be selfish. Selfish for the first time in 10 years. And act crazy. Do what the crazy ass hippie wants to do. Screw washing those dishes. Forget cleaning up that mess. 401k what? Making art is more important right now. I don't know what the hell I'm doing but, what will happen if I ACT like I know exactly what I'm doing, and follow this new feeling and follow what I find beautiful, and therefore act like a crazy person? What would happen if I follow and engross myself in what I think is beautiful?

I think I'll do just that. No structure for a while. Just go with the creative flow, make what I want to make, when I want to make it. Actually put that first. Show some reverence for the process. Respect these crazy little idea tunnels my brain wants to go down. Flip my life inside out. Not worry about the outcome for a while. Maybe the outcome isn't my responsibility right now. Maybe what IS my responsibility is to just show up and do the work.

And we'll just see what happens. If it doesn't work, we know I'm crazy. If it does work? Well, I'll still be all kinds of crazy but at least not crazy when it comes to the most important part of my life.

I want that passion back that I had when I was a child.

And I firmly believe that's not too much to ask for.

So. I intend to act crazy to determine whether or not my crazy is REALLY crazy.

This is the new plan.

Starting now.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Well, Hello, 2013.


I just sat down at the computer to say Happy New Year's and all that jazz, and to type something I thought was funny and amusing and appropriate, and then I was distracted by a little... something... floating around my head.... a little dark thing I couldn't focus on.

I thought it was a furball floating on the drafts from the heat vents in this room. So I grabbed it.

Nope. Not a furball. A spider. Hanging from his or her LONG web thread hanging from the ceiling? All the way down to my face? Really?

Hello, little alien thing with 8 legs.

That's good luck, right? Especially on New Year's? That's gotta be good luck, yeah?

The Spider-Creature had good luck because it got saved, not squished.

So. Yeah. I say that's a sign of good luck for 2013.

Happy 2013, ya'll.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Articulated Paper Animals! Embroidery! Too Many Things!

I have always loved embroidery.

I have always loved the textile arts. Actually when I was in college (um, a long time ago) (sort of) (FINE, a long time ago) I had a split major, metal arts and textile arts.

I love anything thread, anything fabric. Knitting, felting, crocheting, tatting, quilting, sewing. If it involves a needle of some sort, or fabric of some sort, or yarn or thread, well, basically, I'm pretty much going to love it. Because I think it has a certain element of magic.

It's all just made up of little itty bitty pieces that make up a part.

It's just stitches. That's all. Just little stitches. But then, it's 15 stitches. Then, it's 100 stitches, and then, it's suddenly a little piece of art. Made up of nothing but small little ordinary moments in time. That end up all being kind of important, because they're all little bits of little seconds of someones life that's all gotten together and formed this really cool, beautiful, special, extraordinary thing.

And that's pretty damn magical in my book.

And here's the thing about embroidery that makes me especially love it:

It's really forgiving.

It's REALLY forgiving.

Did you forget to count your stitches? Forget to measure twice? Just not do whatever math thing was required for your project?

It's ok. No, really. It's all good, because embroidery will forgive you.

Embroidery is really kind in that way. Seriously. Did you make that last stitch a little too long? It's ok. It's totally ok. Embroidery says you can make the next stitch a little shorter and everything's going to be good. Embroidery says it'll all even out in the end. It's all just little pieces that make a part.

Embroidery's like, man, it ain't nothing but a thing. It's all good, man. You just keep doing your thing, I'll just keep doing mine. We'll work it out.

And THAT, Dear Internet, is why I dearly love embroidery.  

Anyway, I have too many ideas for embroidery patterns and too many half drawn embroidery patterns. And like, 157 other non-embroidery related unfinished art projects. AND, like 111 other Things To Do Before Next Week. AND, another 129 Things To Do Before The Week After That. OBVIOUSLY I do not have enough on my plate, yes?    
SO, I opened another Etsy shop. You know, because I'm perfectly sane. Heh heh. But, I figure, if I'm not going to ever get around to actually embroidering all these patterns in my head, why not let other people do it?    

Teeny Tiny Happy Things - Embroidery Patterns by Jenny Baughan. 

Everything in the shop is digitally downloadable immediately after payment.

There's also downloadable DIY paper dolls and toys. These 3 shady sneaky little woodland critters are probably the most popular.    
Fox! Raccoon! Owl! DIY cuteness!