Friday, August 31, 2012

Fabric prints, crocheted lace and other fabric scraps - I'm back sewing

This time I‘ve grabbed the fabric pieces, that I‘d printed from linocuts at the beginning of the week. This early morning I‘ve finally found the layout that features them pretty well – free motion stitching on appliqué, free motion decorative stitch around corduroy borders, and a piece of a lace, that I‘m currently crocheting from linen-cotton mixed yarn. For appliqué motif I've simply repeated a couple of elements from the central printed piece. I‘m thinking about making another couple of mug rugs / pouches with‘em.

I‘m happy this time particularly, because I‘ve finally managed to integrate crocheted something into my textile works. Have I mentionned, I love knitting, crocheting, and I collect little crocheted items from flea markets from time to time. I‘ve actually wanted to use them like I find them, but just cannot bring myself to cut all these vintage lace/napkin pieces, that I store – they seem to me way too precious for that. That‘s why I have to decode the pattern and crochet them myself.

This weekend I have to continue preparations for the exhibition – finish framing pictures, driving, hanging – looks like I won‘t have time for anything else, to be realistic….

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Work in progress - hand printed cards

Today and yesterday I was busy lino carving. Yes, I‘m happy that I‘ve finally got back to the cards, that I‘ve once made, listed on Etsy and then pulled them back. The latter experience of carving book markers let me discover some interesting ideas, that I wanted to apply  to the card set that had been already made. In this case it meant – re-do completely. All the four of them. I‘ve sketched the new layout quickly and spent this last week moving back and forth – starting one more time from a zero point was a bit difficult in this case, because I was absorbed  elsewhere - new projects, new cards, new ideas. Anyway, it‘s done/cut now, and now I‘m thinking about how to print them best – trying different papers, varying shades of my black print ink (now it has been rusty brown) with other colours. What I share today, is a print draft on a simple newpaper, I'm still in research for final match.

Now I‘m planning to get back to some fabric printing/sewing and making further cards, that I‘ve already sketched and hoping, I‘ll get some sunny weather this week for my pillow cases photo shoot. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New drawings - DAHLIAS

Well, well…. As much optimist as I suppose I am,  I can‘t help but admit, that yes, the summer is gone. That means, I‘m steadily stopping drawing flowers outside. Maybe there will be another couple of them, maybe not. I‘m glad, that I‘ve had this amazing opportunity to be able to make many of them this summer in our garden and around, and now I‘m gonna think about what comes next… The fall is coming with surely beautiful colours – maybe that will be my new theme – I‘ll keep you posted.

And this week I‘m planning my first EXHIBITION in Finland, Rauma, and I‘m so excited about it.

It‘s gonna start the next week, September, 3rd, at the Public Library of Rauma. I‘m thinking about taking appr.15 flower drawings, and they will hang in the entry hall. The exhibition lasts two weeks, till September 16th.

Most of pictures will be for sale.

I‘m thinking about dropping in and giving a short demo of how I work, maybe on Saturday morning, around 11 a.m., September 15th, but this is still an idea I‘m playing with. I‘ll announce it separately and mention this on the paper, that I‘m preparing to explain shortly who I am and what I do and hang it out near to pictures, so that anyone who gets to the exhibition, could get a little peek in this part of my artistic self. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Go beyond boundaries - Affirmation #6

It has been a long time since I‘ve posted an affirmation. And despite the fact, that I do sketch them regularly, I‘ve not had that state of mind recently to get myself to think of texts that I usually put in and around those affirmations. Most of time I think, that it‘s pretty easy for me to sketch an idea, but not to write about it. So I‘ve sketched a lot, and done/carved/printed/sewed a whole lot of different/similar things during this month. Well, now it‘s time to think in words.

Unfolding the ideas, meeting and inspiring other people, sharing, going beyond boundaries, keeping eyes and mind open, stepping out and looking for new opportunities, exploring, making, working hard, making new steps each and every day, the lil‘baby steps towards what I feel I need to do – these are things that I‘ve thought of while sketching this flying bird.

I wouldn‘t be able to verbalize what a dream, my dream, or whatever, is, or would be. Not that I‘m scared to say it out loud, I just somehow feel that it‘s cloudy, it‘s all nebulous there, where a dream might be. I love being creative in a way I am now – crafting with fabric, painting abstract here, more figurative there, sewing, lino carving and printing, knitting from time to time, sketching. And sometimes it feels right, and sometimes not. At those moments I may stuck and hold on asking myself what is missing. What else can be done/changed/explored to get back that state where I‘m like really happy with what I do.

So this time I‘d like to talk about what is important for me in those sitiations - like keep on going, working, going beyond boundaries. Right now I feel it‘s time to get started with a couple of projects, that I‘m thinking of since awhile, but somehow keeping telling to myself, that it all needs a bit more warm-up/start-up/inrun, or whatever. And I keep myself exploring the „within‘s“ of already existing projects, but not the „beyond‘s“ – to keep me busy, like „sorry, no time, have to finish this or that first“, and not leaving that creative comfort zone I‘m in right at the moment. But I want, and I will, it‘s just a question of time, that‘s why I‘m here today writing „Go beyond boundaries“.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Work in progress - still making pillow cases

Another step of work in progress – making pillow cases and hoping to get them done by tomorrow. Changing colours, playing with new ways of stitching around the borders as long as my sewing machine is nice to me. That's what I like about free motion stitching - you can change it any time right in the middle of the process, experimenting and following that sort of spontaneous intuition and inspiration that comes only during the work process - it's just so flexible. This weekend I plan to post some of my new affirmations. Stay tuned.

A vintage found for lace making

And here's the lace loom - I don't know whether the word "loom" is right, because it's actually not a loom, but sort of upholstered support with rotating brayer.

Isn't it beautiful? Anyway the only thing left is learning how to make lace, and it's a must-do since the town we live in, Rauma, is known for its lace tradition and many handicraft shops are exposing absolutely awesome lace creations - it's a lot about patience, but it's so beautiful, I could not not have tried. Now, that I have a loom....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New pillow cases coming soon

Now I‘m preparing new pillow cases – using the desing, that I‘ve recently shown in one of my previous posts. And it was supposed to be almost finished today, if only my sewing machine had been a bit more cooperative – it‘s like having a crazy day, making crazy seams, breaking needles, so that I‘ve spent more time unraveling and searching for possible reasons for bugs as actually sewing. 

Besides I‘ve got another pile of vintage table napkins, as well as knitted and crocheted little treasures from one of the local fea markets, and a vintage loom for making lace – not a fancy brand new one, but a nice old loom with that yellowish caramel patina, upholstered with fantastic vintage fabric – couldn‘t pass by. Even if I may never get to practice it in a way that would justify getting a loom of my own, but I‘ll definitely give it a try - love my new loom :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Work in progress - fabric printing

It‘s been many months since I‘ve done lino carving for printing on fabric. Not that I avoid it, but the lino blocks I've made recently just did not fit into that technique. And it's very unpredictable, because of another viscousness of fabric paints, which just do not adhere that uniform and smooth to the brayer. But I somehow like that unevenness, I wouldn‘t trade it for perfection of screenprinting. I‘m actually more into block printing, have always been and maybe will be.
That lino block was actually carved for cards. I‘m making a set of cards based on my recent inspirations while walking, and it‘s about beach findings, wild flowers, trees. I've started yesterday with it and messed it up. Today I‘m better off, and found out, that this very print is doing well being juxtaposed and building a bigger surface (even eight times bigger than here on photos). So as long as I‘m thinking what could be done with big prints, I'm experimenting with fabric - for new pouches.
Here a peek preview from what has happened in my studio this morning.

Monday, August 20, 2012

When the creativity stucks (Part I) .... WORK (Part II)

... and I‘ve miscut another lino plate later this morning. And another one… I‘m stubborn, but four miscut lino plates on one day is way a bit TOO much.. And I‘ve accepted that my hand just does not have that cutting vibe now (thanks, Allison, your yoga lesson has made me sensible for that), and that I do not come to those spontaneous decisions, that give that something special to a print. And I‘ve abdicated the process, but not the idea.. The fifth plate would be another miscut.

I‘ve had one cup of tea, another cup of tea, and another one, walked through my garden and thought. Played with my little girl, made some collages with what she's found during our bike ride, and thought. I've worked on other projects, but somehow felt, I should go back and on with that printing failure and do something with it. I got a bit trepidant and determined at the same time with good portion of enragement, sort of fretting and fuming deep inside. I've got back to the garden and brought some leaves back home.

So here we are with what I‘ve found to print today. I‘ve made these backgrounds with leaves, rolled the brayer over‘em, covered with another sheet of paper, pressed and felt myself MUCH BETTER. I think, I have to give it another try with different shades of ochre-green-brown and more over-lapping, like different colour layers, well, maybe this evening.

When the creativity stucks...

Today is one of these days when anything I start feels like a mistake. I‘ve miscut two (!!) lino plates, every single line/cut felt just wrong. I could not work on drawings, it just felt like I had no idea what it should look like, I was unhappy with every correction, and had no connection between my hands and whatever. The sketches felt wrong, all the lines I cut, or miscut, to be correct, the whole concept of that set of cards felt wrong, and I wondered if these card designs would ever make sence. It feels strange and empty. And it distresses at the same time. I wanted to make these linocuts today and hence, feel myself sort of reluctant towards moving to anything else, as long as the sketches for lino were still laying undone. 

I‘ve always pushed myself into work at the very start, and a couple of minutes later felt that connection, that sort of joy and melting into the process, feeling nothing else but pure pleasure and enjoying the advancement, enjoying the process, finding new possibilities that only work, and no paper concept would ever  unveil, and embrasing them, working on despite of stops, slow-downs or re-makes if there was a mistake. This morning it felt like nothing, no joy, no melting into the process, the whole project looked like wishy-washy, and life- and purposeless. So now I find myself writing these lines instead of working in my studio - maybe that helps.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Helsinki - new inspirations, new experiments

We‘ve been in Helsinki the two past half-days (substracted the eight-hour road round trip ). And I got back full of inspiration in my head and in my hands. Short overview:
  1. Happily plundered in Eurokangas-store (fabric stores all over Finland with children play corner and kids‘ books). I never plan to buy any more fabric and somehow I leave every single time with bags full of, well, fabric piles. Sure, it's pretty typical for any textile crafter.
  2. Found some vintage shops and bought a pile of vintage napkins, lace coasters and other beautiful stuff – stitched, woven, knitted, in nicely altered colours. Gone with‘em! Discovered ceramics of Stig Lindberg and fell in love with his designs.
  3. Grabbed a couple of interesting books about childred illustration from fifties-sixties-seventies, hence got in touch with works of Stig Lindberg, Ulf Löfgren and Lasse Sandberg, just to name a few. Noted the names and searched them online to find TONS of inspiration about and cross over.
  4. Put my hands on Cloth-Paper-Scissors magazine for the first time in my life – yes!!!! Gone with it!
  5. Spent countless and priceless minutes in Menita wool store and gone with a couple of NORO-balls. God, was it expensive, that‘s the most expensive wool, I‘ve bought so far, but I‘m sure, any knitter out there can relate to my joy – the colour blends are just a-w-e-s-o-m-e!
  6. Eaten a delicious tarte-au-citron – it has been a year, since I had it last time, in France.
And that‘s what I‘ve been doing this morning – playing around with my beautiful findings from Eurokangas, vintage pieces, arranging and photo-shooting them, and later re-constructing, re-thinking, experimenting. Result is a joyful digital patchwork – I‘m trying out new ways of patchwork. I like how it feels – less rigid, more spontaneous and more vibrant, with modern touch. It has been sort of digital pattern exploring and putting my own twist on patchwork principles so far.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New drawings - BINDWEED

Everything I‘ve been making recently is about shades of blue, shades of green, ochre. And there has been also that treasury, posted recently on Etsy with one of my products featured among the others under the theme of Northern Autumn, and it's all about these colours. So maybe the changes in the nature subtly influence what I‘m doing (and what do all the other crafters featured there). 

Here the bindweed drawings, encore et toujours in blue-green-ochre. I brought it recently from the farmer market. I'm still thinking how to paint them best, so I hope, there will be a couple more of them.

And I‘ve also listed today a couple of my new pouches on Etsy – go check them out here and here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kid's room deco - new pillow cases

And here they are – the pillow cases for my little girl. I've enjoyed making them – I‘ve just spent a bit more time searching for appropriate border, as I‘ve expected (simply because I haven‘t planned any border at all starting them) and chose finally that wonky triangle shapes. And I love them. And it was fun leaving for a couple of days more „arty“ projects, and just playing with simple shapes, recognisable figures, that children appreciate a lot. Doing something that does not have any flowers, though I have to admit, I've thought about putting a couple of them, at least on the backside. Backside is pure heavy linen, embellished with only three buttons, that are covered with fabric in matching colours to close the case. Now I have to get back to lino carving of all the card sketches I‘ve made recently and finish the affirmations. 

P.S. One of my products has got featured on the seasonal treasure list of Etsy-group Finland handcrafters team - go check't out, there are LOTS of cute items!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New projects and some random facts around

After I‘ve spent the last week printing and sketching, (well, also finishing some sewing projects) this week I‘m in the mood for sewing something new. Since a long time I‘ve been making sketches for pillows for my girl‘s room, but have never brought them to fabric. Of course I might not be that happy about the design or layout, but seriously one of the main reasons was, that I was never happy with having just one piece, I always started the design expansion: sketching  little bags, garment pieces and ended up wanting to make SOOOOO much, that I realised it will never happen, because I felt bored and wanted something new. At those moments the whole work ended up looking very trivial and over-exploited, and I was tired to pursuit. Yes, not very fruitful and I‘m actually working at changing that and try to start a piece every singe time I feel inspiration coming. Well, ALMOST every time, because I still love the concept of some Leitmotif and yes, I do start fast now, but the idea needs to have that kind of development potential to be applied in different sorts of things, I do not just take any and every  idea that comes along the way.

That‘s the reason why I still do not list this pencil case for sale, that I‘ve created lately, with the rainbow pencil pattern, on Etsy – because it will be sort of outsider among other projects that I‘m doing for sale and continuously presenting in the shop – it needs a couple of compagnons with similar style.

Today (actually yesterday, if the sketching counts) I‘ve just launched that pillow case project and gonna show up a couple of them tomorrow. If I match the colours/shapes of them, pencil cases and something else, it would be worth to list them in my shop.

It feels good to make something other than sketching/drawing on paper, and I‘m deeply in love with the free motion stitching – sort of drawing, again, but on fabric.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Seeing a zebra

A strange form, isn‘t it? Well, it‘s a zebra, and this is my little girl‘s work. And this is what I haven‘t had in my mind while giving her a couple of cards of recycled cardboard to embellish them with all the paper scraps she produces during a day, and she produces like tons of scraps to put or glue'em  later everywhere. She has made scraps of the cards (what else should I have expected actually?) and then there it was - the zebra. 

I‘ve spent that day elaborating my recent sketches and her drawing reminded me about some simple things– about discovering new perspectives, about using what I have, and not what I think I should have to use. About playfullness. About expressiveness and freshness with just a scrap of a cardboard and some pencils. It is interesting and insightful what a child can see and create  in something that would otherwise land itself in a wastepaper basket.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Preparing new items for sell

Now I‘m gonna share what I‘ve been making last week with my sewing machine – new pouches from the patchwork pieces, that I‘ve finished some days ago and put back because of print projects. I‘m done with the photo shoot and here's a peek with a couple of photos from it. I‘m going to sell them on Etsy the next week after I've finished processing the photos and descriptions.

And besides I‘m working on new affirmations (currently four (!) pieces) with lots of birds – now then what could that mean? Since quite a while I do not plan these drawings any more, as I've proceeded at the beginning of the blog, they just come out while I'm sitting, sipping my cup of tea and doodling with no idea at all in my head  -  I think this bird invasion is gonna be about take-off towards recognition of, well, dreams/wishes/fears/hopes/ourselves (first that comes to my mind) – I‘ll post them up soon.

Have  a nice weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Katja Tukiainen at Lönnström Museum in Rauma

It‘s been a long time since I've been in an art show. I‘ve always loved-and-hated art fairs (last time Lille Art Fair this spring), because it‘s so easy to find TONS of inspiration and leave with overdose of ideas and never get to process it all. That's why a one-artist-show is welcome from time to time, though you never know, if there will be something interesting and appealing to you. 

Katja Tukiainen show at Lönnström Musem was definitely of that „never know“-category after I‘ve seen the short description of the event including words girly, love, pink - in my opinion not that ground-breaking. I‘m not that much into pink, or girly, and love in that context could be nothing else as profaned – so far as for expectations.

I was smitten. It took a bit to let all the candy-bonbon-coloured pictures unfold. There was LOTS of pink. Girly, yes. Love – well, may be, but these are so NOT the words I would have taken to speak about what I've seen at her solo-show.

It‘s subtle, and strong at the same time, it‘s sensible and tender, and quirky. It all has a very special sense of colour. It‘s skillful and expressive, yes, it‘s very expressive. And well-considered - consciously or not - but it feels strange and right. The pictures give insight in sort of parallel world filled with more or less imaginable constructs immerged in that surreal light with neon flashes here and there. Her works are authentic and plausible.

Internet searching does not bring it up (Google image search swarms with quirky doodles and really girly girls or tatoos ). And that‘s not what I‘m talking about here. So it's about taking time and going to see the real painted works: with gloss of oil paints, with all the nuances, that no photo can ever catch, with canvas texture and paint layers shining through, all the brush strokes smudged to create a hint of a shape that is just right in place. My favorite is „The white house“   and there is so much to see in it. In the real picture, not on the photo. 

Great work. Chapeau!

I‘m SO inspired and finally got a sence of research direction for another project that has been haunting in my mind since awhile.

In the meantime – my work in progress for new layout of greeting cards.