Monthly Archives: January 2014

Creative Experiments: January — Down to the Wire


It’s been a while since I pulled out the carving tools — it was almost as hard remembering where I’d stashed them as getting used to using them again.  This was my second try at a signature stamp — the first one fell victim to a few unfortunate slips of the blade.  It’s close to the handwritten signature I like to use but, at an inch by an inch and a half, a little larger than I would like. I think if I practice some more, I might try making another smaller one.  Until then, it’s this one or my old reliable handwritten sig. (CE #3, 2 points)

As planned, I’ve been squeezing in the Coffee-Stained Papers Challenge (CE #6, 1 Point) into odd moments at work.  Here’s the truth of it — my company provides a never-ending supply of free coffee, gallons and gallons of it, and all of it so weak it’s supremely unsuited for staining/printing/painting. The coffee stains are there, but barely visible. But I liked the idea, so I will drag out the espresso maker (after I remember where it is) and try again. 


Pink Reaction


I have negative reactions to PINK — I don’t wear it and I tend not to use it in the things I create. It’s probably mostly a reaction to the way so many other people think of it — the whole pink-is-for-girls thing that makes it pretty much mandatory and predominant in the wardrobes of so many underage females.  It’s not pink’s fault, which makes me feel foolish for not liking the color itself when it’s really other people’s ideas about it I have a problem with.

This journal page has a background of circular spots of pink cut from swatches taken from magazines.  There are many variations on pink in it, and I like some of the spots better than others. When the background was first completed, my first thought was “It’s like pink crystals in a geode” but the next was “or an open wound.” I played with words to add to the page and in the end cut what I wanted to say to a single statement that was about my own reaction, without placing any blame on pink itself.

Creative books for 2014 (CE 5, 1 point)

I was originally trying to winnow down the selection of creativity-related books I’ve downloaded to my Kindle over the past year that I’ve poked through and returned to the library in favor of a steady diet of I-need-to-escape science fiction, fantasy (non-epic, please), and Scandinavian murder mystery. Then my Kindle started to malfunction, which caused me to take a look at some additional options in the bookshelves around my house (average one per room, courtesy of husband with woodworking business) until I get that figured out.   Here’s what I’ve come up with, from all sources:

  • Creativity is a Verb, by Patti Digh (workroom bookshelf)
  • Raw Art Journaling, by Quinn McDonald (workroom, somewhere)
  • Jewelry Lab: 53 Experiments, Explorations and Explorations in Metal, by Melissa Manley (currently on living room coffee table)
  • Art & Fear, by David Bayles and Tea Orland (Kindle)
  • 365: A Daily Creativity Journal (via on-line lending library at work — a pleasant surprise)

The voracious reader in me says “Only five for the year?” but I know several of these include creative exercises and experiments, which means that reading them will involve more than just reading. The Jewelry Lab book is a planned joint project for myself and my husband — something we’ve been talking about for a while.

Creative Experiments: January Update

Update on CE #1: {1 point} Make a plan for making art this month. It’s been a challenge to implement my plan to get in 4 solid hours dedicated to art per week.  I’ve ended up shoehorning art in whenever I can — 15 or 30 minutes of fully-focused art time here and there, plus time spent ripping color swatches and inspiration images from magazines while catching up on Grimm and Sleepy Hollow on TV, and drawing index card mandalas during conference calls at work.  Sundays are catch-up time for a lot of things in addition to art, but I do usually get a solid hour or two of art time in all the same. 


CE #2: {2 points} Do a new-to-you creative technique or project. I did some printing with paint and bubble wrap (among other things). Considering the amount of bubble wrap I’ve saved up over the years intending to print with it, I’d never actually done it. In the pages shown here, I used it 2 different ways — one page brushed in red first with the bubble wrap pressed into it (now barely visible under marks made with other things); another using the same bubble wrap to transfer its load of red paint to a blank page, then spraying with a fine mist of water to loosen things up.  I think the first will be used in pieces added to other pages, and the second will be used whole as foundation for a journal page.

I’m working on a list of creative books to read in 2014 (CE #5 {1 point}). I have an entire bookshelf of hard copy books in my workroom, and a bunch more on my Kindle. I want to come up with a short list of 4-5 books: some that get me thinking more about process as well as some to sharpen my skills or experiment with new ones. Also on the agenda for this week:  Carving an eraser stamp (CE #3 {2 point}) and the start of an official inspiration journal (CE #7 {2 points}).

And messing around with brown caffeinated beverages (CE #6 {1 point}) — could anything be more perfect for my art-at-conference-call time?


Creative Experiments Challenge: January #1

I’m ba-ack (finally) — and I’m joining Daisy Yellow’s Creative Experiments Challenge as a way to jumpstart my creative energy!

This month’s Creative Experiment #1  (for 1 point) is to make a plan for making art this month.  Between my more-than-full-time job and the time I already sequester for my writing, making time for art can be a challenge. But when I don’t do it, there’s an ache and an elusive emptiness I can’t get rid of any other way. I’ve made a lot of plans over the years, and followed through on maybe 10% of them. Lately I’ve gotten better at figuring out plans that make sense for me: Not crazy ambitious, but enough that success feels good. Flexible enough to give me options, but enough definition to keep me focused.

So here’s my just-ambitious-enough, flexible-yet-defined plan:  I will devote a total of at least four hours a week to making art. That could be at least one hour on one weekday evening a week plus at least three hours on the weekend, or an hour a day four days a week, or a half hour for six days and a full hour on the seventh.  If by Sunday I haven’t spent at least four hours on art, I will get the rest in then, even if it’s the whole four hours — before I can go to bed.  (Actually not a bad way to spend a Sunday evening, now that I think of it…)