Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What I’m Up To Lately

I have not made any art since getting back from vacation.

I am busy with planning out my children’s homeschooling year for 2007-2008. That is taking many, many hours.

I'm also on a house cleaning spree. I'm trying to keep things uncluttered. I am busy packing then unpacking. The laundry seems endless.

In the last four weeks I’ve been book hunting. I’ve held a homeschool curriculum tag sale at my home and bought stuff from other people. I’ve attended a huge used curriculum sale in Massachusetts. I have visited two used book shops which also sell rare books, in two states. I have been to a gigantic library sale here in Connecticut. So I am up to my ears in “new to me” books and am busy sorting them, cataloging them, and organizing them/putting them away.

I also have been having summer fun and spending lots of time playing with my children.

I am in a bit of an art lull.

I have even resorted to not reading art books since getting home. I am in a mode of doing a lot of living real life not immersing in books.

The only creative thing I’ve done is I’m writing more and blogging more on my other (main) blog.

I am a bit burned out of ATC swapping and am fed up with problems with “problem swappers”. I go through cycles of feeling annoyed with the problem people then rebounding. So now I’m in that funk where I am feeling let down by swappers. Frankly at this point in time I have no desire to swap art with others. Right now I am hosting two swaps and those will end in August. I must force myself out of this art lull by the deadlines. But whether I’ll sign up for new swaps to participate in or to host is unknown to me at this point in time.

Creatively what is on my mind is this:

I am itching to try lino block cutting. I do own a starter kit and want to use it. But frankly I’m too busy right now.

I want to do more rubber stamp carving but right now have no new, uncarved rubber to use.

I am itching to try woodcutting but am putting that off until I use the lino cutting starter kit I own. (Side note: I have found it easy to experiment with designing and cutting my own rubber using a book as a guide. However I looked into a nonprofit art instruction place near me and they want nearly $500 for a beginner class on woodcutting and the same for a beginner class on monoprinting. Wow.)

I have been interested to try monoprinting. I worry that right now I don’t have a proper press. Buying one is not in the budget, I am pretty sure they cost hundreds of dollars. I guess I could start with simple prints that use a brayer (which I own).

In May I found this old book at a library sale for 50 cents, Printmaking by Henry Frankenfield.

This little book outlines everything a person needs to know to make prints. It covers everything from linoleum (lino) cutting to woodcutting. It covers lots of stuff, from printing on cloth to printing letters, printing in one color or multiple colors. This is the more old style book that keeps things simple and covers a lot in few words. This book left me feeling that I could most certainly do this and even do it without taking a $500 class.

I also suspect that if a new book on this topic were to be published the author would drag out the subject, take up a lot more words and they’d increase the word count and make the whole process seem harder than it is.

Anyway this old book left me thinking that the most important thing to do is to just TRY IT and as a person works with the tools and the materials they will learn by DOING. I think that is true of every art form but really I think lately it is not stressed enough. Instead we are led to believe that to try something new is SCARY and requires a lot of up front information and they assume we are all needing to be led by EXPERTS. Well, Mr. Frankenfield, your book was published in 1964 and you are still influencing people like me to JUST DO IT. Thank you!

Metal Crafting---
Again I want to try my hand at working with metal. I have been re-reading Metal Craft Discovery Workshop by Linda and Opie O’Brien. This book outlines cold fusion techniques, that is, you don’t use heat or a solder to seal the metal. I don’t know anything about making my own jewelry but I am tempted to make some funky metal jewelry with using old metal cans and cookie tins and such as the base material (free stuff I have on hand already).

I also was looking at a book on metal called “Metal Mania” by Lisa Vollrath. This book is self-published and is a soft cover with a comb binding. The book is only sold through the author/artist’s website, Ten Two Studios and it retails for $15.99. The thing I like about this book is that Vollrath makes learning to solder seem easy. She gives step by step instructions with photographs for each step. I appreciate that she gives her tips along the way.

I was speaking to my husband and he said that we already own some of the materials necessary to solder. Additionally since my mother used to do stained glass I am going to ask if she has any unused copper tape cluttering up her house that she’d give to me.

I am getting the itch to try to make some charms for necklaces or pins.

I think that the ability to solder would be a good thing to know.

Who knows maybe if something I made comes out decent I can sell it on etsy and actually make a few bucks.

So that is what is on my mind lately. I am pretty busy and trying to have some summer fun this summer. It is ending up to be an “out of the house and having fun outside with friends and family” type of summer rather than a “stay inside and make art and crafts” type of summer.

I hope your summer is going well!

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