Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What I've Been Doing

Easter was a no-art day due to celebrating the holiday with family.

Monday was busy with a science class for homeschoolers at an Audubon Center, a dentist appointment and a few errands. One errand was to pick up some embossing powder from Michael's craft store.

Monday night my older son and I tried the cloisonné method of rubber stamping such as Michael Strong does. I used two rubber stamps that a Freecycler gave me which are not Michael Strong's stamps, but they are similar. I took a few pages from mail order catalogs which I had saved prior, to use as backgrounds. So I did embossing for the first time ever last night. My son was simply amazed at the embossing and the way the gold color changes to metallic.

Tuesday morning both sons spent time doing rubber stamping on dark colored card stock with some space themed stamps, stars, planets, and moons, then embossed them with the gold embossing powder. They were in seventh heaven. I didn't get a chance to do any as I was busy helping them.

Then the phone rang, it was my sons best friend asking to spend the day here for a playdate. Our public schools are on vacation this week so I decided it would be a play day for my kids. I rushed upstairs to shower. I guess rubber stamp play time was over.

The doorbell then rang and it was the visting grandson of a neighbor who wanted to play. So the day was spent with me loosely supervising the two guests and my children. They had fun together and other than some inability to negotiate and compromise on who wanted to play what, the day went fine. A highlight was a hide and seek game in which even I could not find one boy. We all suspected he was sneaking outside to hide then popping back in when we weren't looking. We were wrong. I finally did find him, laying out flat on the dining room chairs, concealed by the tablecloth, pretty funny. Then they could not find me when I hit behind an easy chair in the corner of a room. It was nice playing like a kid for the hide and seek. (I did not play with them all day!)

I wanted to make some ATCs but couldn't concentrate with the kids running in and out of the house, making normal kid noises, etc.

I spent the day reading a book for people with food allergies called "The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook" by Cybele Pascale. I did this in my role as a book reviewer for La Leche League International. I then wrote up the book evaluation. I also caught up on emails and wrote a blog entry for my other blog.

The only thing I've done so far today with ATCs is to put a coating of Golden Acrylic Soft Gel Medium on the backs of a lot of my ATCs. This will seal them so that oxygen cannot penetrate them, to stop any oxidation that may occur due to papers with acid having been used in them.

I am going to see if I can squeeze in some time before bed to work on the ATCs for the Spanish text swap.

Also I want to work to upload ATCs for trading to some of the ATC lists that I am on to see if anyone wants to do some private trading.

Right now my husband is downloading some photos from my digital camera. Perhaps there will be some that I can share with you. I can't wait to see how the photos of the magnolia blossoms came out.

Today I had some interesting chat with some other homeschooling parents who are trying to fit in their artistic pursuits and their desire to write books in along with homeschooling their kids. I understand what was being said such as it is hard to concentrate on serious writing and to get into the flow when the kids are underfoot (and young and needing attention). At times we feel that we are doing very important work by homeschooling our children yet we also feel that our time is being 'robbed' from pursuing other creative endeavors which also, by the way, could earn us income. Sometimes it feels that our children are in the way of us fulfilling our dreams (writing that book!), etc. It doesn't help when we feel pressure from working mothers that we should be doing something more 'worthwhile' with our time, meaning, to put the kids in school so our time can be free to work and earn money. I am feeling frustrated lately that some people feel that there is more value to doing work that pays money than to do volunteer work or to do something like raising children or homeschooling them. I am tired of being put down by others for my choices.

Today I also read a long thread of emails about what is collage and some talk putting down what one person called "mish mosh" collages. Well that is exactly what I have been doing lately, I guess! Oh well! I had to laugh when this very nice person (who I've chatted with for months online) asked "Where does one see 'mish mosh' collages?", implying that because they aren't in current craft magazines that they are not 'good enough'. I had to post to say how about the "Museum of Modern Art" and I mentioned the name Kurt Schwitters and the Dada movement, and Picasso and also one can read some books on the history of collage and see lots of 'mish mosh' collages.

One person on the list had shared an image which was a painted background of sky and other landscape features then he added paper elements to make up a wonderful landscape, as one other person called it, a bit like Eric Carle (I agree with that). Someone on the list said "that is not a collage" and that anything that makes up the shape of something is not a collage. Well, technically it is a mixed media collage, and no, colalge CAN and DOES sometimes make a shape. I replied that Picasso's guitar collages make up a shape of an object. There are many collage artists who use pure paper collage or mixed media collage to make a landscape or a face or other 'things'. For that matter, look at any book by Eric Carle, or even look at the less famous children's book illustrator Chiara Carrer, such as in the book she illustrated "A Boot Fell From Heaven".

I am reminded and just so grateful for Art and Life zine by Teesha Moore. I am going to email her in a few minutes to thank her again. I really appreciate how the writers all focus on creativity in general and how the big message is 'do what you love' and don't worry about trends or what others say about your work, just do what you like. This is where I am at now. I am having fun making mixed media collages and I frankly really don't fear what others think, if someone thinks my collages are 'mish mosh' then that is fine. I see things other than 'mish mosh' when I look at them. I have made some ATCs and offered them up for trade and so far only two people have expressed an interest and only one has actually gone through with the trade. I could be offended by this but I am not. I am doing what I like for my own reasons and that is what it is all about. I don't want to be in a little club of people all copying this current fad or that. I mean it is one thing to have fun making some Claudine Hellmuth's Poppet style people and things like that, but it is another to really do something that one wants to do that is not guided by a book's step by step directions to copy exactly what someone else has conceived. It feels very different to me when I have an idea all of my own and I try it and it feels good and makes me feel happy doing it. Hooray! THAT to me is fun! It is different when a person does what comes naturally to them even if it is not in fashion or what a bunch of others are doing in a group. I can use all the fun and stress relief that I can get right now so I am going to keep doing what I love to do even if someone thinks it is 'mish mosh'.

So that is what is on my mind tonight.

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