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They Just Keep Coming

The sticky note art project continues. As I contemplate my position in life and reexamine my priorities, I find myself with a need to MAKE MORE STUFF. Unfortunately I have a day job and can’t spend an entire day in my studio painting, sculpting, and generally coming up with art out of thin air. I have to make do.

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Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body!

I started with pencil and added ink. I don’t like using text in my compositions, but I’m not trying to be original here. My only requirement is that creativity flow from my brain to my fingertips through the tools I have at the time. I am inspired by whatever seems to be on my mind at the time. When I can’t come up with a composition I will force the issue by eavesdropping. Or finding something ridiculous on Facebook.

Bikini Body is my own. I’m not a slender woman at all, and that has created some problems in my life. This piece is me trying to convince myself that what I’ve got is worthy and beautiful. While I enjoy the result and the sentiment it did nothing for my self-esteem. Is it a self-portrait? I don’t know. The girl on the sticky note sure is cute whether she is me or not.

I recently did an acoustic show at The Mix in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood and took my sticky note pad and pens with me. I had recently discovered a set of watercolor pens I thought might be fun to work with and brought the black one out of the set. Shows are rarely one act, and I think it’s rude to avoid other artists’ sets, so I will often bring something to do with my hands. I figured something would inspire me and it did.

Irene Peña moved to Seattle from L.A. and has been making the rounds with an acoustic set of songs. Like most non-Seattle people, she’s warm, friendly and very likeable. She’s also a little nerdy – something I figured out just by looking at her guitar.

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The sound hole guard had a ThinkGeek sticker on it. Heh.

The guitar image was the first one I tried to use the watercolor pen on. In this case, I drew the bubbles on dry and added water later. To create the shading on the guitar I took the still-wet brush and used the residual color to create the shadow. Over on the right where it looks like something went wrong? Well, something went wrong. That is what happens when you draw on wet paper with a watercolor pen. Whoops.

Lesson learned, I moved on to the next idea a couple of days later.

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Don’t tell me you’ve never done this.

Oh the curse of being moody — it’s great for art, not so great for everyone and everything else. God forbid something truly terrible actually happen when a major mood swing is going on. I rode out my last major mood swing with this little composition, complete with Rage Comic rageface. For the wash I ended up using the marker on another sticky note and using a water-dipped brush to get the desired tint. I find this wasteful and am experimenting with alternatives. Until I find one, I think this worked out okay.

There are more sticky notes, but I am out of steam for today. Check back later and I’ll have more stories for you.

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Everybody’s Doing It

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Sticky notes. Everyone uses them. Mostly functional as a blank slate for random reminders and occasional practical joke, I have seen a handful of artists use them as doodle pads, giant pixels for decoration and animation, and as impromptu anonymous public inspiration. Just my luck I have a day job that provides these in multiple sizes along with 30- and 60-minute pockets of time to come up with random thoughts to draw on them.

Will these become something bigger? I’m still trying to figure that out. Of the ones I posted here I have one already on canvas. We’ll see.

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Yeah, it's weird. I like it.

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I suppose I could have used different language here. ...nah.

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I felt like this yesterday. Then I took a pill and got some sleep.

Following Some Trends

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My local craft stores and boutiques have full displays of text-as-art decor. You’ve undoubtedly seen them in one shape or form, if not in person you’ve seen them on Pinterest captioned by the sorority-girl pinner as “I’m SO going to do this!” They were humorous at first, then clever, then someone decided to turn it into a list of rules your kids and everyone else in your house will ignore. The list goes on. I have one of these in my living room posted right next to the cats’ favorite perch titled “CAT RULES.” It’s not very imaginative, and I think I hung it because I secretly hope my cats can read English and will get the hint.

In other news (and I swear it’s related) my current BF has kids. Kids are great, but his kids are weird. Maybe I just grew up around too many uppity Southern women, or maybe I listened to my Dad too much in my formative years, but I don’t believe in sheltering kids. At all. Stay age-appropriate to avoid scarring them for life, but you have to let them fuck up or they won’t learn anything. Today’s kids are a mishmash of niche sensibilities and medicated personalities. Whatever it takes to keep modern parents from killing their offspring, I guess. My BF’s kids get bent out of shape when I say “crap” “hell” or “damn.” I never considered these words profanity and never will, but they flip out on me. I could go on and on about the discussions I’ve had with the 9 and 11 year-olds on the topic, but it always ends up with me saying this: Get used to it, it only gets more colorful as you get older, so be sure you use it correctly.

Context is everything.

Context is everything.

These two things have resulted in creating text-as-art rules of my own. Only one rule per artwork, because grouping rules into a list will cause young eyes to glaze over and we don’t want that. I pay the mortgage, I get to use whatever language I want. The first one is “Cussing allowed, but only if used properly.” Why? Because “what the shit?” doesn’t have the same impact as WTF. Context is everything, people.

My process is kind of primitive since I don’t own a fancy vinyl cutting machine or stencil. This is on a 6″x6″ wooden canvas sealed with black gesso, transferred old-school with a chalk-backed printout of my design, and letters filled in using white acrylic. No tutorials here. It’s not difficult. At least I think it isn’t. If it truly is then I’m an arrogant jerk for believing anyone is capable of creating awesome things with whatever imagination they have on them. Sorry.

Orb of LightOrb of DarknessSince “trends” in my post title is plural, I should probably add another trendy craft I experimented with recently. This one was on display at my local Ben Franklin crafts right next to their faery diorama and mist-once-a-month succulents. I’m not going to pretend this was cheap to make. The glass and the sand were pricey by my standards ($12 and $5, respectively). Everything else I already had in my supply cabinet, from the fake flowers to the tiny glass bottles. I guess they turned out okay, but I might end up hanging them in better light. These photos kind of suck.

I like what I made but probably won’t make more unless new rules become necessary, and definitely won’t make more of the sand globe dioramas. Those just aren’t me. I’ll stick to the little faces and masks because I truly enjoy everything about them. Don’t let my experience keep you from experimenting, though. You never know what you like or what you’re good at if you don’t experiment.

Disaster Not Averted

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This is embossing powder. I do not emboss much, but keep this stuff around in varying colors to knead into polymer for a variety of effects. Not long ago I had this particular bottle out and sitting on my dining table as I stood and multitasked around my chair.

I was so focused on what I was doing with my hands that I forgot two huge rules of crafting. One, do not wear bulky clothing, and two, always keep the lid on bottles of tiny things. Powder counts as a tiny thing. LOTS of tiny things, actually.

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This is not easy.

I used to blog all the damn time.  I had a LiveJournal blog, and I made a lot of friends over there.  Now all my friends are on Facebook, and pretty soon I’m sure that will get old, too.

Thing is, if you want to blog nowadays you have to blog about SOMEthing.  For instance, this blog is about my crafty stuff.  I started it because I wanted to have some kind of “hey, lookit me I’m doin’ stuff and being interesting!” presence online other than the Etsy store or my Facebook band page.  I wanted to be present online (as you do).  Have I done that?  No.  And you know what? It’s from lack of trying.  I’m not really trying here.

So here I am wanting to set up a bona fide web site for my band and looking for someplace other than Google sites to do it.  My band has a Google account setup with domain registration and such that is pretty nice.  We all have email addresses with troublefakers.com in them.  If I wanted to build a website, Google has these tools that would let me build and host it.  This would be really great if it wasn’t such a headache.  Anybody remember GeoCities?  Well, right now troublefakers.com looks like a friggin’ GeoCities page.  It used to have more stuff on it but I took it down.  Unless you are a web developer and/or have the patience of Job, Google sites is just going to frustrate the shit out of you.

I used to be pretty good at web dev and design.  I even used FrontPage and GoLive to construct sites.  I didn’t do a lot of fancy stuff, just text and pictures.  It was blogging before Blogger, Tumblr, and LiveJournal.  Then I started a band.  I needed a website and so I threw something together until MySpace came along.  After using that a while I set up Facebook, and now I also have a presence at ReverbNation.  After many years of having web presences ready-made for me, I’ve forgotten how to create a page of my own.  That, or I just simply don’t want to.

I reached out to fans of my band for suggestions and the first one that popped out was WordPress.  I’m using WordPress now, and I can’t even deal with it as a blog for my crafts.  How the heck am I supposed to figure out all the bells and whistles to create a band website?  Even the templates are clunky — there’s shit on most of them I don’t even recognize — how do I take a blog engine and turn it into a website host?  I don’t know.  I give up.

I’m looking at wix.com right now because they’re much cheaper to deal with than HostBaby.  Both Wix and HostBaby will give me what I want with simpler controls.  That’s all I really want — simple controls.  I want to be able to say “I have a domain,” “I need a host,” and “I’d like to use this layout and these colors” and be done.  I want it to be a website with pages to look at and music to listen to and maybe a calendar.  I don’t need a blog for these things.  I just want a site to go with my domain.  Why does it have to be so complicated?  And here I was thinking FrontPage was horrid to work with.  What a pain.

So.  If you’ve skimmed down this far I’ll tl;dr it for you.  I need to make a decent band website with my registered domain, but the choices are either expensive or complicated.  Something tells me sticking with WordPress isn’t going to get me what I need.  Suggestions welcome.

Wayward Clay on Etsy (link)

Wayward Clay on Etsy (link)

I don’t think New Year’s Resolutions should be limited to the change of my wall calendar.  When you need to pick up, reevaluate, and resolve yourself to change, waiting for the traditional time to declare your intentions is like not changing at all.  My Whenever Resolution is this:  Recommit myself to my craft business, starting with my Etsy store.

This means renewing listings for everything I have posted but never sold, and clearing it out to make room for the new items I plan to sell for the holidays.  I’m not a great jewelry designer by any means, and I don’t think I’ll make any more pendants for a while.  So, if you like the necklaces you’ve seen in my store but didn’t want to pay full price for one (even with free shipping), I’m having a sale through October 4, 2013.  Use coupon code WAYCLAY13 at checkout to get 20% any item originally priced at $12 and up.

After that, I will retire everything and start over.  I hate to see a bunch of great stuff go to waste, though, so go check it out.  Buy a necklace or a magnet set.  Share the link with your friends.  At 20% off, many items become a steal.

Inspiration by Deweys

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Creatures sculpted by me

A bakery on the East coast (probably one of the Carolinas) features a similar cake on its Facebook page. I live on the opposite coast, which is why I attempted to recreate the cake myself.

It’s a bit warm to be firing up the oven in Seattle so I ordered a tree stump cake from the local Safeway.  What they created based on my drawing and description didn’t quite hit the mark – instead of using chocolate frosting as the bark they used white buttercream and airbrushed it “brown.” Not quite a fail, but a disappointment. I told them it was awesome, paid for it, then brought it home to fix.

Grocery store bakeries use a LOT of frosting no matter what you ask for, so my fix was easier than expected.  I scooped off the frosted sides into a bowl, added cocoa and some gel coloring with a hand mixer, then piped it all back on.  My pre-made figures were added later.

I did this in the interest of time.  Safeway would have happily re-done the cake for me had I asked, and their cakes are delicious (the prime reason I went there), so the initial product was not technically at fault. It looked EXACTLY like the picture I drew for them. I only wish I’d used a darker brown marker to color it.