Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
I find inspiration everywhere (link). I write it down, sketch it, or sticky note it for further consideration. Eventually the ideas that prompt me to create end up as something very different than the original idea that inspired them. But where exactly do we draw the line between being inspired by something and blatantly plagiarizing someone else’s idea?
For example, in the May/June Cloth, Paper, Scissors, artist Amy Hitchcock provides a lesson on how to make your own assemblage. I’ve been in love with shadow boxes for ages now (pretty much ever since I saw them used in Blueprint Magazine to store jewellery), and have wanted to create my own unique variation of the idea.
from an old Blueprint Magazine
So when I take the above 2 images, I feel inspired to fuse them into one. Now obviously what I create will not resemble either image. Not really. It’ll be my own variation on a theme. And the assemblage article in the Cloth Paper Scissors magazine is essentially encouraging us to learn the skill. But my question is, when does the inspiration no longer belong to the original and rather to the new creator?
I’m all for giving credit when credit is due, especially in the culture of free (see craftypod for discussion or wikipedia for general info) but I have to admit to being unsure of when credit is always due. You see, I’ve worked in education for years (wow, that’s sort of surprising to realize), specifically I’ve spent a lot of time working with students when it comes to writing, plagiarism, and sourcing, and what always comes up in my discussions with others related to these issues are the following: what is common knowledge, what about the free flow of ideas, who owns an idea anyways, the free access of information online, and educating in order for individuals to know how to give credit properly. So when it comes to these issues in craft-land, I find myself just as stumped here as I do academically. I know that it’s important to source, but when does an idea become your own?
The rules of thumb that I use for my students:
- * When in doubt: source
- * Over 3 words: quote
- * Completely not your idea, even in your own words: source
- * You’ve built on an idea: paraphrase, source original, and then elaborate your own ideas.
Based on the aforementioned criteria, then I should always be upfront about my inspirations. And perhaps honestly, there is something intrinsically interesting in learning about the process of going from someone else’s idea, to your own. Because although the internet is awash with tutorials and finished goods, we don’t tend to see the process behind how the creator got there. Maybe because this isn’t an easy process to record. There are a million little steps that lead to any one item, from words, colours, to images, and I’m bound to forget one along the way. I guess the answer is to try to do the best you can, show your inspirations, and link when possible to them, and just go from there. After all, it’s one thing to copy directly and another thing entirely to be inspired by another to create something that is your own. Thoughts?
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I’m still art journaling. I haven’t written about it much lately, but I’m still playing with paint. During my lunch breaks, I’ve been practicing my facial features (it’s been a very long time since I’ve tried to draw lips or a nose). They’re getting better and I’m happy about that. Happy enough to actually try my hand at painting a face. I’m also really pleased that I managed to get a fairly credible skin tone out of mixing white, pink, red, and 2 shades of yellow together! (I accidently had to add more white to correct a fuck up after touch the picture with wet hands so the face has a bit more white than it was supposed to, but shhh… don’t tell).
The text is a modification of Alice Walker’s title: We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting for.
This was something I created during a lunch break. Some people eat lunch while on break, not me. I play with paint.
It makes me happy, so that’s all that matters.
I’m on a lit kick, this time the quote comes from ee cummings.
The picture was inspired by this which is obviously still quite different but what prompted the idea of the blue circles and text flowers. I did what I could with that and the materials I had at hand…
In other news… these are a few other things I’ve been up to:
It’s been busy on my end! Family functions, settling into my craft space a bit more, planting flowers for our balcony, and then enjoying drinks on said balcony. It’s been beautiful and hot here in Montreal. The weather is more like July/Aug than May. It’s going to be another interesting season here. Winter was the mildest I’ve ever seen, and I suspect that this summer is going to be a scorcher!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
- for a lovely list of the green washing sins of enviro beauty brands check this out.
- check out this blog to find out what it's all about and sign up with me to use less than 5 gallons a day, for 2 days. come on, you know you want to!
- and read why Haitian farmers are burning the company's so called donation of seeds
Monday, May 24, 2010
I was reading the May/June issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors the other day and the article Joseph & Me by Amy Hitchcock really spoke to me. One of her ideas, using a sketchbook to jot down creative ideas, really hit home because I am a huge sketchbook/journal believer. I carry one with me almost always (and cringe when I forget it and inspiration strikes).
In the article, she mentions that when she first started creating that she used to fear that one day she’d run out of ideas. I think for me, the fear wasn’t so much when I would run out of ideas but rather that I would never really have any ideas.
But now that I’ve let go of those fears, I’ve come to realize that I’m full of ideas. Always. I find inspiration everywhere I go, with everything I read. From lit theory, to an article in an art magazine that prompts a blog post (see stickies on page) to other blogs or projects on etsy, to well, just about anywhere. What I’ve come to realize is that this journal/sketchbook is priceless to me because otherwise I’m forced to resort to penned comments in the margins, sticky notes, or folded pages to indicate that the page had something on it worth considering. (As you might imagine, the latter is particularly frustrating when it comes to memory retention). In fact, I believe in my idea journal so much that I have multiple copies (you know for wherever inspiration strikes or when I forget mine and buy a new one—shhhh, don’t tell my husband).
Sometimes I stuff them so full of print outs and various inspirations that they burst at the seams, other times I spice them up with decoupage of whatever inspires me at the moment. But regardless of what they look like, they are are always a font of ideas, full of my own, or others, rough sketches, jotted down ideas, plot elements, outlines for art journal pages or longer projects.
For example: various inspirations and my comments to to with them (for those of you getting them, you can expect to see your xmas pressie wrapped up like this, this year):
Scrapbook page inspiration:
Art journal outlines:
To ideas for an appliqué quilt that I’m working on. Even though I’ve never quilted before!
Years ago I started (though never finished, actually 2x) Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. In it, she advocates taking a certain amount of time (can’t remember the exact time) to write in a journal every morning in order to stimulate your creativity and nurture your soul (check in, see where you are, etc). At the time, despite my love of journaling, I found this task quite daunting. I didn’t necessarily have 3 pages worth of stuff to write every morning and thus, failed to see the use in the exercise.
Now, I start to see the merits in the process, albeit in my own way… As odd as it may sound, these little books (or not so little tomes) are vital to me. They nurture me and record my crafty evolution. Flipping through them, I see the ways my crafts have grown (I'm not going to say art because well, I don't buy into the high/low art BS. I'm happy down here in the low culture of crafty-land). It's like these journals are part of me finding my own voice and forging it into something that moves beyond being inspired by others to finding my own inner muse/inspiration. I highly recommend them to anyone. They can be like mine, all over the place, or they can be all your own. Anything goes....
Friday, May 21, 2010
Disclaimer: the colour of this photo is a little off because I took it at night with the lights on and it has picked up on the yellowish tones from the light.
The page itself is fairly simple. I inked it with black and burgundy (Holtz distressing ink in Victorian), stitched one of the flowers by hand and added 2 buttons. The frame for the picture is made up of 2 stamped images that were embossed and cut out.
It's a simple page but I wanted the focus to be on the 3 of us and the fact that my baby brothers tower over me.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
For example, I think I have dyslexic fingers. No seriously. I'm not being trite and I'm not belittling dyslexia (I work with dyslexic students). I'm actually serious here. I can't type my name if my life depending on it. Usually it comes out as Mayra (not Marya) and .com comes out as .como. Maybe my fingers are Spanish? O maybe they're Italian, after all I did move into the Italian hood of Montreal (see the official St-Leonard dictionary)
In fact, the problem is so bad that if I start thinking of another word I start typing it instead of the word I need to finish. For example: Iact, them probblem is sob bad thaI staring of...
You may think I'm exaggerating but I assure you that I'm not. I really do this more often than I care to admit. Me and the backspace key are VERY good friends. I type fast but with so many errors that it's insane! Whenever I'm working with a student I end up laughing at myself because of my millions of typos and backspaces. (Secretly I think they like it because it makes me seem more human and thus breaks down the barrier between teacher/student for them and they feel more comfortable showing their own weaknesses in writing... I kid you not, I really think this is true).
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
So without futher ado, welcome to my new craft room. Please ignore the chaos, I’m still arranging and sorting (though let's be honest, there's a good chance that chaos will always be on the verge of bursting out). But for now, I've convinced myself that all I need is some sort of shelving and better organization and then order will come in good time!
As you can see, I’ve done nothing with the walls yet. All in good time. I have plans and visions of what will be! But for now, I have my own comfy chair:
While I love the blue and white, I do plan on adding a pop of colour (inspired by my time in India). What do you think?
That’s it for now, I’ll keep you updated once I have the final version up and running!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
So far, our options seem to be the following:
- A local nursery (carrots for supporting local business, and hopefully though not necessarily, local planting)
- Our neighbourhood Home Depot/Loblaws etc… (Cheap, cost effective way of greening our living space. Carrots for greening, Sticks for toxic greening)
- Costco (we just purchased a membership—which comes with problems: hello over consumption much? However I justify it because bulk purchases of goods like flour and sugar (which my brother consumes like a fiend) are more sustainable than smaller containers and more packaging). Plants on the other hand, don’t strike me as being a sustainable choice
- Going to our local market (Carrots for supporting the market, but sticks for not knowing where the flowers are coming from, whether their sustainable, organic, etc, etc)
- Finding a local, ethical nursery in my surrounding area (Major carrot points here but a quick google search hasn’t offered up much in the way of information—I can find seeds, but nothing already grown)
Saturday, May 15, 2010
It's a simple page. I think it's sort of funny. I love busy pages, but find myself making simpler and simpler pages. Go figure!
No gold to be found on this page. Just a simple black and white palette so that the colours in the photos could stand on their own.
When I was making this page, I was struck by how much everyone was unintentionally colour coordinated. Grandma with her purple tied in with Mom's teal and purple and Dad's light purple shirt. Rebecca's blue matched with Mom and Grandma. What makes it even more ironic is the fact that Paul's Mom managed to match up with my family too! Her dark blue pulled into the colour coordination quite well! How on earth did 4 women, in 4 different cities, (and not related), manage to pull that off?
Friday, May 14, 2010
So this page gets no journaling. I was journaled out by this point!
However, that said, on some level the page tells a story just for me because the colours represent my mom's favourite colours and the colours in the kitchen we grew up in. That, paired with my mom laughing at the wedding makes this page really speak about family for me. Something about having my not so little, little brothers, my parents laughing, and the colours makes this page feel very much about all about my side of the family. I know that doesn't get translated to others but it's there for me.
(oh yeah, the red looks crooked, but it's not, it's just the angle that the page was photographed and the curve of the page).
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This page, is to some extent, a scraplift. I saw the page inspiration ages ago, printed it, added it to my journal of crafty ideas, (with no credit of course-I really need to work on recording that information in my personal stash) and I thought that I would give it a try on one of my wedding pages.
The inspiration page used yellow splattered paint on the left side of the page with the photo and stickers on the left with it. (The original had hearts). My photo woudl have been cut off if I'd chosen to mimic the page exactly, so I flipped the page. I also flipped the title/journal locations based on open space and the title I wanted.
I find myself using a lot of gold in my wedding album. I don't know if this is going to be a trend in my scrapbooking in general (which would be strange since I never wear or use gold anywhere else in my life). But I find myself constantly drawn to the gold. Maybe I'll gold myself out by the end of the project, who knows!
The flowers are embossed in silver (which ended up getting lost when heat embossed) and then coloured with a white gel pen to make them pop more.
I love that one of the elements that appeal to me most, the cut out letters in the title, is actually a fix that I made based on a stamping error (brought to you by the letter b in the word anb). I couldn't just add a square in the one word and leave the rest cause that would draw attention to the mistake, so all the words got a revamp.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Another wedding scrapbook page. Just you wait, you think you're tired of seeing them already but there are oh so many more to go!
Saturday morning my nephews came up to visit and we played with auntie Marya's stamps. In keeping with their stamping pleasures, I thought that I'd stack this page with fun stamps, just for them. I think they'll like seeing themselves with all those stamps!
One of the things that I find difficult is the journaling aspect of scrapbooking. Coming up with titles and journal pages is really tricky for me. I think I might be over-thinking the process. I want the info to be relevant to the picture, but also something that my kid will enjoy reading one day, and I find that really hard to figure out. I mean, what details do you add when you've either talked a subject out, have created several scrapbook pages on the event already, or are looking for something pertinent to one particular photo? Therein lies my conundrum: too much thought going into choosing the right words!
Here I opted to talk about our show stopping cute nephews. Some thought it was strange that we had no flower girl but honestly, given that we have no nieces, we felt that having both our nephews was more fitting. They were so nervous that they had to be walked down the aisle, but they were adorable in their little suits. Crap, I should have written that too!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
It's a good list, though I'm not entirely sure about the logistics of pouring vinegar on your oven door, waiting 5 mins, and then rinsing. Last time I checked, vinegar was pretty liquid and prone to not sticking to things...
Maybe the door is supposed to be open? Not quite sure how you get grease stains on the inside of your oven door, but then again, I'm vegetarian and carrots don't sizzle or produce much grease.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
I used some new K&Co stickers that I received from my secret sister (via Simply Scrapping) and various pages that I had in my stash. I should keep track of these things for blogging purposes, but honestly, the fact that the pages are even somewhat organized is miracle enough! I cut the brown page shorter so that I could add the green backdrop for journaling.
The ribbons on the page come from leftover wedding supplies (cream from my bouquet and the floral ribbon from the ring books I made). I felt like the page needed some pop so I cut out flowers from another page and layered them onto this one (some are flush with the paper, others raised on 2 different level foamy stickers).
In order to make the photo pop more, I sponge painted the cream background (behind the photo) with gold ink and water and added gold to the paper trimming around the background. Paul thinks the photo still blends in too much but I was kind of looking for a more monochromatic effect so it doesn’t bother me that much. What do you think? I could go back in and add a second sponge colour or pull up the photo and add another contrast paper colour (probably the same green I used for the top and bottom).
The other problem with the page is the way the ribbon gathered. I think I pulled one part tighter than the other and now I need to go back and loosen it so both gathers look the same. Ironically, the gather that you see in the photo above looked nicer off the page than the one on the left (see top photo). But now I’d like both gathers to look like the left hand one. But it was the first time that I tried to gather a ribbon, based on my guesstimation of how it would be done, so it’s not terrible. It actually photographs worse than it looks.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
It’s a bold colour, unlike anything I’ve ever chosen for myself before, but I like it. It’s bright and lively and our living room feels homey so it’s good. Yup, I did it. Thumbs up for my apple green martini paint (aka green apple splatter according to my husband). Now, if only the paint companies could come up with a whole series of paint colours inspired by fun drinks… every room in my house could have a fun name!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
So it’s official: I’m going to the Squam art workshop in the beginning of June. I’m very excited.
I’m not really sure what to expect, but I’m looking forward to the adventure. I’ll be learning how to block print, make a book, and story catching.
All while staying in a cottage along the lake. Lovely!
photo from Squam website.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
• Turn your lights off: check
• Wash in cold water: check
• Use enviro shopping bags: check (in fact, when I was searching my house during our recent move for a plastic bag to wrap our cooking oil bottles in, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I couldn’t find one).
• Hang your clothes to dry: check
• Eat less meat: check
From buying sustainable laundry detergent to detoxifying my medicine cabinet, I’ve crossed all of the basics of environmental awareness off my list. So what is a somewhat green friendly girl to do now? You know, once I’ve covered all the basics? It feels like the internet is awash with a lot of rather basic starter info about going green, but honestly, if you're not already on board with the ideas above well then honestly I'm at a loss as to what to say. Because those ideas, well they've been around for ages now, it's time to really start stepping up our actions. Washing in cold water isn't enough.
So for me, the next steps are: buy less (I don’t really need it anyways); buy clothes that are local, or organic, or come from sustainable companies; plant my own garden; recycle my bath water (water the plants or flush the toilet with it); and can my own goods from local produce.
Monday, May 3, 2010
So this is probably going to come out all wrong but I’m going to try anyways…
Although I feel in a place of plenty, full of energy and gratitude, I feel as though my world is filled with the energy of wounded souls. Not broken, just battered. I know that it sounds flakey, but it’s true. I feel like I’m surrounded by people battling their own demons, in need of succour, or trying to make life altering decisions but are filled with uncertainty and confusion. And it’s weird, because I would normally say that that is the space that I inhabit but for once, I don’t think it’s me. I’m not lost, or confused, or uncertain about what I want anymore.
I feel filled with spirit and joy, and creativity. And even though writing that makes me uncomfortable because I can just hear the eyes rolling and the west coast hippie comments flowing, I also feel comfortable enough to admit it. I am blessed and I feel like the universe has unfolded her arms and cradled me in her embrace.
Maybe it’s because I feel so balanced for the first time in my life that I can finally look past myself long enough to see outwards? (And no, for the record, I’m not saying that everyone I know is wounded and filled with chaos—if you recognize yourself in this description it’s because of what you feel, not because of what I’m saying because I’m not talking about anyone specifically). My point is that I feel like I’m looking out of my own inner turmoil for the first time in ages, to really see how people around me are suffering. And part of me wants to reach out and help, but another part of me wants to zealously guard my hard won sense of equilibrium. This of course makes me feel selfish, but I also recognize that my sense of contentment is something that could be quite easily thrown off kilter and I really don’t want that!
I’ve written quite a bit recently about wanting to find/build a community of people who nurture this side of me, and I still do. But I also want to walk into such a project with an awareness of the negativity that can come with community because these days I feel that it is especially important to protect myself from melodrama (cause hello, I’m very guilty of the melodrama)! The point is, is that while I want to nurture the people around me, I also want them to be pro-active about creating the world they want for themselves. I guess it boils down to wanting for them what I want for myself.
It’s funny. For all that I think that I can really blog on about personal issues, I think I rarely open up my heart and admit my greatest desires publicly. Oh sure, I’ll vent and bitch, and complain about the world we’re living in, but I don’t open myself up to the possibility of emotional ridicule when it comes to my dreams. Disagree with my politics, fine. But my heart and my deepest desires, not gonna happen. I’m not going to give anyone the opportunity to go there, not if I can help it. The thing is, is that I’m realizing that I’m never going to build that world unless I start fessing up to what I really feel now am I?
I’m tired of looking in on other people’s lives with envy, wishing that it was me who was in that space because you know what? It’s an illusion anyway. I’m tired of thinking that I’m not good enough, talented enough, skinny enough, smart enough, or liked enough to get there. For years I’ve been hiding behind my jealousies and insecurities and you know what? I’m exhausted. And I think that for the first time in my life, I’ve finally started to let go of my imposter’s syndrome fears that one day you’ll all find these things out. I don’t need to be more or to be a great artist. If my writing isn’t enough, that’s fine cause it’s not about the damned goal, it’s about the process. And watching the world around me, I’m realizing just how much of myself was stifled by these insecurities and fears, and my wish for the people around me, is that they find their own place where they can let go of what everyone else wants for them and allow themselves to just be themselves.
I know, I’m living in an idealistic bubble, but fuck that, if you can’t dream of a better world filled with better people, striving for their best selves, what’s the fucking point?
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Oh the cards I have made…
So I bought myself some Distressing Ink and have been busy playing with it. Can you tell? Which then prompted a whole series of distressing/inking experimentation! Fun stuff.
Embossed, crumpled, stamped….. oh my! Which do you like best? You know, just so that I can get a sense of what others like best.