Thursday, May 30, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 5-8

Week 5: Continental Knitting

Knitting has become a major passion of mine in the last two years. My dear friend Laura taught me and I am obsessed! The problem is, I want to knit ALL of the things but my pace is not helping me with this goal. Obviously I have so many passions that it is hard to find enough time for all of them which is part of the problem but I'm also a slow knitter! On one hand, I don't mind being slow because I really do enjoy the rhythm of the stitch, however, I wanted to give continental knitting a try because it is supposed to be a faster way of knitting.

On a recent bus ride to NYC, I brought a practice project and some yarn and spent the entire ride practicing the continental style of knitting. I feel like I got a good handle on it however I know that my gauge was loose. I did enjoy the change and it was fun but I think for now I will keep with my slow but steady predictable pace of regular English style knitting.

Week 6: Encaustics

I spent a Sunday afternoon crafting with Margaret Hluch during an Encaustics workshop!

Week 7: Art Journal

Nothing gets you into a state of flow faster than art journaling. I turn off my brain, grab whatever strikes me and put it in my journal. Later I look at it and add to it with collage, stamping or words. I just keep going until I get something I love. Pure art therapy right there.

Week 8: Decoupage

I remember my mom crafting back in the very early 80s. Two things that really stick out in my memory are woodburned keyrings and napkin decoupage. Specifically, she used beautiful napkins to embellish candles and create decorative soaps. I remember being fascinated by how the airy top layer of the napkin just soaked into whatever it was adhered to. I tried the same technique on a glass vase.

If I am being totally honest in my reflection of the last four weeks, I feel like a lot of my "play" was project based. Its hard to turn off my never ending list of projects that I want to try to make. Even thinking ahead to various weeks, I feel like I am trying to incorporate this project into something on my project to-do list. Currently I am in week 9 and I am doing garment sewing. It does not feel as much like play to me. The art journal was pure was the most rewarding and the most therapeutic to my soul. Going forward I am going to try to do more of that and worry less about completing projects....even if that just means my result is a little sample. Its hard to fight our own nature! It's hard to resist the urge to multitask or check a box off the to-do list but that is exactly why I chose this challenge. I want to explore and play!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 1-4

Week 1: Water Soluable Fabric

I have always been curious about water soluable fabric after seeing the work of Amanda McCavour. Amanda creates environments with her thread painted installations that are breathtaking and all encompassing. See her work here.  I have tried the technique in the past with no success but I decided to give it another try! By experimenting, I learned some tricks and was happy with the results! I think I will come back to this again in the future!

Week 2: Freestyle Embroidery

Since I was working on a piece for a collaboration project that had a deadline, I decided to incorporate my "play" into my piece. I used embroidery to free draw flowers into the piece. The flowers were not pre-drawn so  I just trusted my stitches.

Week 3: Abstract Painting

I am definitely not a painter but I love working with painted backgrounds.  I have been playing with abstract painting to create some interesting bases for collage and stitch. Some have turned out better than others, these are a few of my favorites so far...

Week 4: Gel Plate Image Transfers

I love playing with Gelli Plates to make monoprints but I had recently seen artists using their plate to create image transfers! I decided to try it out for myself. While I had some success with it, I think it will take more experimenting. There are a lot of factors which can affect the outcome such as the best image to use, the amount of paint on your plate, rubbing pressure and the surface you are transferring to. Since I like to work with fabric, I was trying various fabrics and all of the artists I had seen use this technique were working with paper.

It has been a fun first few weeks but I need to remind myself that the goal is play. The goal is not finished results. Since my last year long challenge was all about creating a finished piece each week, I need to remember that the focus this year is process. To try new things, to explore things more fully. My true reward from this year is hopefully adding new skills to my arsenal to pull from when a piece I am working on needs it.