Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Decision, Decisions

Hello Friends!
I've been a bit absent for several reasons mostly aren't excusable but I thought I would tell you anyways.  My older brother for some reason thought it was a smart idea to take my 4 years old netbook instead of his snazzy new macbook with him on a business trip to Korea so my photo uploads have been bunk.  Usually I would upload photos as I watch dramafever and knit on the couch (it's still multitasking even if they are all fun things).  My wonderful husband has also updated my computer which is amazing!  More memory updated programs for my Macmini but it also put my scanner out of commission because it is so out of date it won't install the drivers so once again none of my snazzy fun fuiji instax (polaroids) have been scanned or uploaded (major fail).  Lastly these video submissions I have been working on have been gobbling up more time then I had expected.  It's tough to film something and then try to edit or even upload some 2 hours of footage. 

The image at the beginning is a new piece part of my "delicacies" series that I photographed for my current portfolio.

Aside from giving you all this amusing excuses that isn't what I really wanted to talk about here.  I've been working on another Graduate School Application and this time it was for CCAD where I teach Continuing Education. I had a long talk with the current President of Enrollment Johnathan Lindsay about the state of the school and it's goals and a lot about that fashion department which is my end game goal here.  This application is slightly different then other MFA's.  Instead of asking for a letter of intent they want a project proposal.  This sounded like a fun idea until I read more into the details.  They wanted examples cited and pictures, materials etc etc.  It sounded just like making a proposal that you would make as a working artist for a grant or gallery submission.  This got my wheels turning a bit faster then normal and then to a halt.  As I began my outline of different projects I could possibly propose I thought to myself I don't really know what I am doing and this is kinda what I wanted to go back to school for, to learn how to write a proper proposal as an artist.

Taking a break for a few days I met up with a friend at a coffee shop who has been helpful in my grad school applications and just shooting the shit artist to artist.  He formerly worked at CCAD which is how I knew him.  We discussed the CCAD program which is very exciting and conceptual.  Basically every semester you work on a project for which you proposed, it is an interdisciplinary program so you are free to take classes in any medium.  This also allows you to choose a different mentor/professor to work with each semester as well.  From what I've heard, a majority of these students are also teaching undergrad fine art classes, which I think is excellent. I agreed with my friend that I think this is a great MFA program for someone who is aspiring to be a fine Artist full time.  For majority of artists if they are going straight from undergrad into a grad program this would be useful before they are flung into the real world as it seems they are always able to show their work at the end of the semester.  As my friend pointed out it will enforce people to make their own schedule and deadlines, teach them how to source and network as well as gallery presentation.  As useful as these things are I have been out of school for about 9 years, these are things I have already mostly learned and would rather not learn by trial and error at my stage in life.  After this conversation I found more that it isn't the fit for me in terms of grad school.  As fantastic and open and it is I feel like I would not be getting enough of out it for myself.

On the flipside is OSU who I am still praying that I get accepted.  If not this year I will try again next year.  I look through the coursebook online and I see the potential of things I could take to make my education a cut above other artist and fashion instructors I know. I see learning about practical business skills because let's be honest a fine artist is still a business, you have taxes to pay and deduct you advertise yourself and your work.  You are a merchant for your art.  There are possibilities in getting to critique and discuss with a wider audience of people as majority of the campus are not fine artists but their insight is still critical.  I was discussing with another friend how silly it is sometimes when artists don't branch out to get critiqued by others.  How can you compare yourself to yourself?  I know how to write a proposal but still to take a class to help me make a more powerful or concise artist proposal and statement is what I need.  Perhaps OSU won't have the same close mentorship program that CCAD does but my education does not just stop on what is available on campus. 

Outside of Grad school there are also a plethora of opportunities that I can take advantage of.  I am a committee member now of the Ohio Art League and they continual have Art Informal, which is a meeting of members and free talking/critiquing of the arts in our community.  Through Ohio Art League I know that I could find someone willing to be a mentor for me in my work and it would be just as personal as someone assigned or chosen from school.  There is also no harm is asking a fellow teacher at CCAD to look at my work as a friend and give me a little guidance here and there.  My education is certainly not limited to going to a school but in the end for what I want it is necessary.

End game I want to be a fashion instructor/full time faculty as my JOB.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Back in the Day

Once upon a time I was a sculpture student.  This was my passion before fashion.  I actually tricked myself into thinking of fashion as sculpture to make it less painful when I switched majors.  Funny that I went into fashion thinking it a better future career choice when I didn't want to go into the full industry but ended up wanting to work for or as an independent.  I could of just stuck to sculpture.  I used to have these huge marvelous dreams about creating marble fountains for parks.  Probably didn't help that I was at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago at the time they were building Millennium Park.

The above picture is from my first 3-D class.  I think it was maybe the second or third project into the class.  We had to make these miniature forms from wood scraps and then double them.  I got excited and went a bit bigger I think I went 400% bigger.  The finished sculpture from wood, chicken wire, burlap bags and plaster was 8x6x5'.  It made it into the freshman gallery presentation but there was no way to move it.

These are polaroids from when I was doing visuals with Anthropologie in NYC after college.  That was one of my favorite jobs ever.  This was a project where my boss said "the theme is Alice in Wonderland, here are books, make me a jacket".  What could of been better then combining the two things I was passionate about sculpture and fashion. 

These were just some old photos I found while going through stuff for another competition/audition what have you for yet another reality TV show type thing.  I've already been through the Project Runway loop, this is for something different.  I made it to round two the video submissions so we shall see if anything pans out.  I'm not holding my breath too much though.  I'm still intent on Grad school and getting two more applications out.  Cheers!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brown Paper Packages

 About two weeks ago I got in multiple packages from Amazon!  I had used up the last of the Christmas money and my new Amazon Prime free trial from my Kindle Fire to get some much needed (coveted) items. To be practical I got a new USB drive to replace my originally lost one (which was found after I had already made this order), Screen protector with glare reduction for the Fire (which came with this free handy touch screen pen), tortoise shell tatting shuttles, the best Entrelac book I've ever read and my Fuiji Instax in piano black Mini camera.  My brother in law also gave me the last of my Christmas presents which was this Japanese tatting book (which I already reviewed).

This camera is LOVE.  I like how slick and small the body is compared to the older models and first generations.  I thought it would annoy me with how small the mini's were but it is actually more convenient.  I like the size because it can fit more easily in with cards, as a book mark and multiples in my wallet for little love reminders.

I also am in the like about how it has a little bit of adjustment to the shutter time.  You can set it for normal, lighter or darker exposure which makes for some great tinkering.  There is a timer function which I have yet to use but you can bet I will try it out.  The camera is surprisingly lighter then I thought it would be as well.

Yesterday I got a few new things in the mail as well.  Just some books to read but most excitingly were my Warby Parker Glasses from Milk Bar Boutique.  No I don't wear glasses or have a prescription, no I didn't get them to be trendy or as an accessory.  I got them because I have very sensitive o UV eyes and I wanted something to wear on these overcast days that didn't make them seem more dark and dreary then they already are.  I also wanted something to help keep the computer glare down while I am work.  Let me tell you they have been FANTASTIC, my eyes are less tired and irritated since I have been wearing them at the computer. 

 Super Quick Delivery

 Beautiful and simple packaging

I got the Sibley in a matte tortoise shell frame.  The gentlemen at Milk Bar were extraordinary per usual in helping me find frames and telling me the truth about what looked good and what just looked goofy.  It is hard to find glasses of any sort for my face since I have a super small nose arch, usually they all just sit on my cheeks.

The best part if you aren't aware Warby Parker does a promotion similar to Tom's but instead of giving a pair of shoes for every one sold they are giving a pair of prescription glasses.  It's a very hard deal to beat with the frames + presciptions costing $95 or $90 if you get them directly with Milk Bar.  Milk Bar also has the entire collection of Frames on site so you can try them on to your hearts content as your browse their garments. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tatting Lace Lesson Book - Book review

Sorry about the wonky photos.  I wanted to get something up today and realized I didn't have any photos previously taken so I used my phone which isn't such a bad job, just a wonky size.   This Lace Tatting book is really great, it was one of my Christmas presents.  It has beautiful and clear photos of the projects, unusual patterns that I haven't seen before in other tatting pattern books (but I must admit I haven't looked through a ton of books yet). 

I'm itching to try this one out next.  I think they will make really pretty appliques on clothing and on dish towels for presents.  maybe if I get my hand on some glass coasters I will make some small lace designs to go inside of them. 

I like how it showed photo lessons of how to do some of the projects and tatting but also having the below instructional guide for how to do things.  I think this book would be decent for any level of Tatting experience.  If you know the basic idea and how to start it then this book is a breeze to understand.

The charts are also clear and easy to understand telling you which direction you need to be working on with the arrows.  They also don't get overwhelming by marking up every stitch, it only shows what is necessary and the stitch count. 

Currently I am working on my second heart. I haven't decided if I'll make a chain of them or just keep them separate to put on V-day cards.  Overall I'm very satisfied with this book.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Weekend Crafting

Over the Weekend I was a big slug.  I ate too much, played video games and crafted much.  I started off going to Sew to Speak on Saturday with my friend Claire.  What started off as innocently taking her to the fabulous fabric store for the first time ended up in me spending $35 I didn't need to on fabric to make an Amy Butler Gumdrop Ottoman. It was a quick and easy project took me just a few hours on Saturday night and about 8 bags of fiber fil stuffing.

It turned out much bigger then I anticipated (I hate to do the dimensions on pillows before I start them).  You can see it is about half the size of our new couches.  Granted the couches we got are smaller then conventional couches but still it is unwieldy.  It is working out better as a spare chair and cat throne.

 In other Craft news I continued to work on a second Sock to this one I had finished before Christmas and simply lost my interest in.  Since my scaled crochet project is finished I felt the need to pick up and finish the sock.  Wisely I am using the already complete sock as my yarn guard/holder whilst I make it's mate.

I also got into my Japanese Tatting books!  Very excited for this because their charts are so easy to read and I completed several small flowers and a lace heart for valentine Cards. I'll post pictures tomorrow and perhaps a book review.
To end my wonderful weekend of relax and craft I started another Entrelac cowl out of this luscious silk/wool/cotton/nylon blend of Noro in sweet pastel colors.  The colors just make my heart flutter and the silk makes my fingers sing in the softness being worked in my hands.

Amazing what amount of things I get into when I'm not stressed out with a grad school application.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

DIY Wallet

As a Christmas present for my friend Beth I remembered that she had been looking for a new wallet.  I thought being the crafty person I am i would take a crack at it.  So this is my step by step photos of my process.

First and most important was getting the basic size down, I used a combination of my current wallet and several cards to decide how many pockets it needed an the size.  The tricky part is to take into account the bulk each layer would add.  I decided it would be best to work larger and trim it down as needed.  I made my paper templates for the sizes and started to get to work.  I decided on 3 rows of pockets making 6 total then a full pocket for cash and putting in some thick interfacing to help it hold the rectangular shape.  It was for a folding wallet.

After cutting my pieces with the rotary blade to ensure I had the most straight lines I sewed down the tops of the pockets to keep them neat.  Using my teflon foot to glide easily over the sometimes sticky cloth laminate I chose. Ideally if I  had my walking foot I would of used that instead since the teeth would of sandwiched and pulled the laminate cloth evenly despite the stick.

After all the pockets were stitched down I lined up all the pieces to check on the bulk against the wallet cover which would need to be the largest so I could sew over the edges to bind it all in.

All lined up before the interfacing and the middle line stitch where the wallet will fold.

Testing the size before I make the final middle seam stitch.

This is a place where I messed up.  I sewed the middle seam stitch directly onto the entire wallet minus the outer portion which you see hanging here.  I thought I was being brilliant then found I was not, since I also seamed up at the same time the open full pocket that is supposed to carry the unfolded cash. That was probably one of the most annoying seams I have had to rip out  I had to do it carefully as to not rip or mess up the integrity of the laminate.

This is after it was all squared away, with the full pocket unhindered by a needless seam.

Final test with some cash money and cards before I make the last binding seam.

The project is done!
To help keep the fold/crease with the interfacing in I folded it and waited it down for a week. You could also carefully score the interfacing kind of like you did for your foam board science project presentations.

I did normal inside out seams for 3 sides and left the bottom open where i folded the excess fabric over and top stitched it down to enclose everything.  That was one of the hardest parts with the laminate sticking and it being so narrow.  I used a good amount of low residue painters tape to hold it in place because I didn't want excess punctures from pins.  Small binder clips work well for this also just mind that they don't get caught on your sewing bed as you are doing it. 

The inside of the full pocket I lined with fabric as a contrast and to help stiffen up the laminate fabric. When you have two facing sides of laminate that can be bad news because they will want to stick together and depending on the quality they might stick to the point where it tears the laminate off of one of the sides.


Post New Year's Eve OOTD

Now that the graduate application has been officially submitted and off my plate I feel a huge weight lifted.  I can now concentrate on my other endeavors and projects, such as this blog that I love. This year it didn't even cross my mind to make any sort of resolution, I'm just going to crack on being as active in my art and in the community as possible.

For New Year's Eve the hubby and I were bouncing around town spending time with old friends mostly.  We started the night out at a friend's parents, as they were visiting from Atlanta and finally got to meet their sweet son Jackson.  After that we hopped over to see my Ladies of the Columbus Crafty Cotillion for a party at Arcade Super Awesome

 Just before midnight we skipped to what we though was our final destination to a friend's house, then ended up walking to Barrel 44 to do the midnight toast with friend's we met up there and a girlfriend that was working the bar.

Ok, ok, now that I made you sit through my personal spiel here is the entire outfit that I wore that night, minus the rabbit fur.  Thanks to the rabbit fur coat I was thoroughly pet the entire night everywhere I went, I'll leave that for you to decide if it was a good thing or bad thing (ha).

 I didn't buy anything new this year.  I happily scrounged it all up from my closet.
Earrings - Express
Dress - Plndr for $15
Side Triple Buckle Belt - Target year's ago
Herringbone footless tights - Express
Silver Heels - Michael Kors
Baby Blue Swatch Watch- Swatch
Stitch Necklace - Tragic Stitches

 A close up of my makeup for the night, complete with false lashes.  I am also hardcore rocking the reverse ombre hair and I don't mind it at all.  Better then saying I am lazy or cheap right now, which are also true but come on I had a lot of going on this past month.

 Close up of my "party" necklace that I LOVE because it has Stitch on it.

 I curled my hair first and then swept it up to a chignon with the extra hair curling out of the top.

 You can see the myriad of colors in my hair best in this photo.
Soon I will be dying again to it's bright blue/green glory now that I have time again.

 This is just me playing with my wide angle lens Christmas present, this on top of my already wide angle setting on my lens gives it a semi fish eye effect which I am loving.

I hope you all had a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve as well.  
My advice this year is to not get bogged down with unrealistic expectations or resolutions, live it day by day, take a deep breath and move forward but challenge yourself.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Recently I started to watch this PBS series called Art21 that my friend Jessimi told me about.  It is FANTASTIC!  If you are into art and want to know more about 21st century artists and what makes them tick these mini documentaries are the ticket.  I was especially moved by Ann Hamilton, she is a bit of local legend in art but I was never really motivated to learn more about her until I saw this.  In the first five minutes of her presentation I was floored with how similar our artistic views on fabric and fibers were connected as well as our influences by word and thread.  She basically put into words all my feelings for my artwork.  I am the kind of person that avoids mass popularity and opinion in all things, I believe in experiencing it for myself and making my own judgement.  This has been in all things from music, food, art and movies.  That is the reason why I never explored the genius of Ann Hamilton previously.  Now even if I don't get into grad school I still want to make it a goal of mine to meet with her and perhaps participate in one of her projects.

Her video work reminds me a lot of one of the directions I want to follow with my own work.  Recently while doing my new portfolio I made this raw video of the creation of my Neuron time based piece.  This was after all the stitches were sewn, where I am slowly pulling out the supporting threads and had no idea of the end result and if it would even stay together.

I am very excited for the possibilities in my future artwork.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

DIY Photo Studio

One of my favorite things I learned during this portfolio process was how to solve some of my own problems.  With the deadline being shortly after the holidays I could not ask to impose on any of my photographer friends to help me with my portfolio images.  I had to get inventive.  I got some advice through e.mail from several of them and went through a lot of trial and error. The best looking thing would of been white foam board.  The hard thing was finding it large enough to be useful as a background without awkward seams.  Then I tried a fabric tarp but the wrinkles in it made it useless.  Finally on a hunt for larger foam board I bought a roll of extra white background paper from Midwest Photo Exchange.  I was a little wary to spend the $30 but I figured if that is the most I need to spend to make these photos amazing then it won't be that bad.

 It worked flawlessly after I set it up with some ingenuity.  I hung the paper across another longer tube on the inside so it would roll along easier and the cord wouldn't catch the edges of the paper to tear it (which I learned after attempt #2).  On the far Wall I nailed in large headed main on each side giving about 3-4" of space from the end of the paper to allow it to have some drape.  I also put folded pieces of paper between the string and background paper where it would rub and possibly tear.  This helped to make it easier to move the paper over the line and keep it from tearing.   Being able to have the white background on both the top, back and bottom essentially made a light box so my clamp lights had a much more dynamic effect.  I used my too small foam boards as deflectors on either side to help direct the light onto the garments and items while I was taking pictures of them.

For light I just used two clamp lights with ultra bright white fluorescent bulbs which I clipped to various areas to get the lighting and to bounce them off the white foam boards.  I also took all the photos with the flash off (I'm not a fan of using flash anyways).
In this photo you can see how I suspended the background paper.  I used small screw hooks.  Eventually I would like to replace the cord with Chain so that I won't have to worry about it all collapsing on me as it did one time.  That way it would also be easily adjustable.  The other main thing I did was used a tripod for taking all the photos and a shutter release controller.  No matter how stead your hand is you don't wan to take chances and in the end it will save you more time having the most stable pictures as possible.  Even triggering the release by pressing the button on your camera can cause it to be slightly out of focus of move it off center.

You can see my results in this photo. Not too shabby for a beginner photographer.