Sunday, January 25, 2009

Self-portraits and mixed-media musings

I’m thinking of making a self-portrait collage or quilt to celebrate my upcoming birthday in March. It's a big one and all I can think is "How did THAT happen?" I’ve started with the photo collage here. I’m still trying to find my “ultimate” art style. It’s definitely in the mixed-media genre. I love making collages and other compositions composed of fabric, paper, digital images, and adding all sorts of embellishments…beads and buttons, flaps and tails, ribbons and fibers.

Anyway, for inspiration, I’ve turned to the following books…

Mixed-Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration & Techniques (
by Cate Coulacos Prato (
This is my new favorite book. It’s got lots of great exercises (and I’m going to do at least THREE of them, damn it, per my New Year’s crafty resolutions and my last post!) focusing on making therapeutic self-portraits (I love the "craft to heal" connection there) such as a “new identity” self-portrait and a “choose a new adventure” self-portrait.

Taking Flight: Inspiration & Technique to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings
by Kelly Rae Roberts (
I love the designs in this mixed-media book, and it has a great resource section at the end. Ironically, this author's work also appears in the self-portraits book. I sense a theme here, folks!

Friday, January 16, 2009

2009 Crafting Resolutions

Most of us make new year's resolutions about our personal and professional lives--so how about setting some goals for our craft lives, too? Here are mine...

1. Continue to experiment with this blog and gain readers so we get a dialogue going!
Step 1: I'm reading the Huffington Post's new guide to blogging.

2. Make one art quilt a month.
This is a holdover from years' past. I know it will make me feel good to not only devote the time to new small projects, but to produce 12 quilts, so I gotta do it.

3. Do at least 3 of the exercises in each of the books I've bought over the past year (and not just look at them).
This goal dovetails nicely with goal 2, since I can use the exercises and all the techniques I've been learning over the past few years in the art quilts. There are some great self-portrait exercises I'd like to try, and there are always Zoey (dog) quilts to be made! 

4. Contact an art collective about the possibility of selling some of my quilts.
I've sold quilts before and have a few originals I could sell now.

So, what are your goals???

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stitchers Alert!

I've discovered a simpatico website: It's a UK-based global support network focused on the health benefits of knitting, crocheting, and other needle arts.

I've had some great email exchanges with the director, Betsan Corkhill, who later this month will be talking about the health benefits of crafting at the Craft & Hobby Association meeting in California. She feels, as I do, that crafts are finally being recognized for their therapeutic benefits--something we crafters have known intuitively all along. Crafts are starting to receive attention from researchers and others (even pharmaceutical companies, she says) as ways to improve overall health and well-being, manage stress, and reduce pain and depression.

Betsan is asking visitors to post to the "my story" channel about how stitching or knitting has improved their health. Gathering ancedoctal evidence like this is important to convincing researchers to study the connections between health and crafting, and to discover new ways we can use our crafts to further improve our health and well-being.

Check it out!

Friday, January 9, 2009

January blues

I’ve got the January blahs and blues. Besides the cold weather, a cold in my nose, and the dark afternoons, I find it hard to face the same-old, same-old life every year, despite my best efforts to mix things up a bit. This year I went on a cruise to the Caribbean over the holidays, but I wonder now if that sank my spirits even more than usual!

I find that the only thing that really excites me is making something--or at least the prospect of it, since it’s tough for me to pull myself out of my doldrums to actually DO a project. Sometimes all I can muster the energy to do is a simple task: For instance, yesterday, I sewed a frog closure on a new denim jacket I'd bought and that gave me the biggest kick of the day. I also just like playing around with my fabrics and embellishments, looking over what I've got, leafing through photos and patterns for inspiration.

How do you handle the winter blues?