Crafting in this age of social distancing

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Today marks two weeks since we started working from home and practicing social distancing. You’d think that staying at home would spur on a creative surge, but the pressure and adjustment to our new normal has not been as smooth and seamless as we thought . It wasn’t easy the first week. I often ended the day both physically and mentally exhausted.

During the second week, though, I had to do something with my hands before I drove myself totally crazy with how busy work had gotten. I just randomly strung glass crystal beads into a spool of cotton crochet thread and then stitched away. No rhyme and reason to it really except that I decided I would string together 100 beads or so and separate it with 3 stitches. It came to 6 feet in all which can be doubled or even worn as three layers around your neck.

At first, I was thinking of clustering the beads by color, and then my hook slipped and the weight of the bead caused the crocheted chain to fall and become undone. Then the thread somehow got entangled and I tried but was unsuccessful getting the thread straightened. So I decided to start over and with my beads in a cup, went for random.

I am an advanced crochet crafter — I didn’t work with any pattern and simply used existing pins on pinterest as guide. I figured out my own way of attaching a double jump ring at the beginning of the project and then worked from there. I was trying to decide whether or not I will attach the lobster clasp the same way at the end — via a Jumpring, and I don’t know what possessed me to just thread and stitch through the clasp. Ta-dah!

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I like to crochet because the repetitive motions of pulling the thread through the hoops and stitching through the loops has a calming effect on me. There’s something about how I can go effortlessly through the project and see its end result that I find gratifying. Even when I’m reading a pattern as I stitch, each stitch is like a sip of wine at the end of the day that brings me back down to a sense of calm.

It seems this new working arrangement will be in effect for longer that we all hope it would, and I think I’ll be picking up my crochet hook again. Perhaps.

I actually sewed three face masks in one evening, hoping to “extend” the life of the masks that I have. But that’s another post. For now, I’m looking for enough beads to crochet my next lariat with.

Stay safe, everyone.

A Weekend with my Art Journal by

I’ve spent the better part of this past

weekend working with the second signature of my art journal, so indulge me. It’s been a difficult week and I needed to sit down and be quiet and just be. I needed to find a quiet place to retire to and just try and unwind.

Work in progress

Several years ago, I picked these images in magazines that somehow called out to me. This signature shows copies of these images which I resized and used as elements in my art journal. I printed a copy of this dancing image from a perfume ad onto card stock and watercolored around it to create a background. Nothing fancy.

Work in progress

This layout covered the connecting rib between the sheet before it and the next, so I covered the spread with pages from a dictionary that had been printed with an old watercolor sheet I had done almost a decade ago. (I have to find the original sheet but am still searching.).

I have two smaller spreads within this layout which you will see on the right side. I cut out these magazine letters

Work in progress

I had done a gesso experiment on ad postcards a while back, tucked them away and just rediscovered them a week or two ago in my attic. I. attached one of these to the spread beneath it with a printed adhesive backed paper you will see below.

Work in progress

This set has been decorated with pieces from what I call my paper garden — pieces of layered doodled flowers I originally did on matte magazine pages. I have found doodling a very good way to relax and had drawn many of these flowers over a period of time. I spread them out over the three layouts within the main one to create a unifying theme. I did it in all except the gesso-ed postcard which I’m thinking might be a frame or matting for a focal graphic.

Work in progress

The graphics on the right are two separate magazine clippings that I just decided to compose as a personal statement. I used another watercolor background copied into a dictionary page that I tore for some dramatic effect on the left side.

The next layout shows how I joined this signature together, and I haven’t gotten to the last three spreads yet beyond how I initially assembled this group of pages.

Below, I used the graphic to hold two spreads together. It actually served as the “spine”.

Work in progress

I painted the left side with gold acrylic and orange watercolor on the right side. The layout looks seamless because the graphic holds the two together.

This held the suceeding spread, where I decided to do a fold out. Below is the folded soread:Work in progressAnd here is the fold out:Work in progress

Again, I used dictionary pages over the watercolor I painted around the graphic. Extending the page was easier with a back to back print of my watercolor backgrounds which I attached to the left page. I love the reveal and having a bigger space to work on, even if I don’t know yet what’s going to be on this spread.

I did the same thing for the connecting layout between the previous and the next with a graphic serving as the spine below.

Work in progress

It’s part of a series of fashion spreads I took these graphics from, then I used watercolor and then silver acrylic paint for the rest of the spread.

Work in progress

I wanted to end with this celebratory layout — so full of life and positive energy. I played around with watercolor to create the spread above. I’m going to doodle a big “Yay!” above her raised leg and haven’t quite figured out whether or not I will further embellish the rest of the layout. I actually quite like the watercolor background as is, so I might not touch it at all. We’ll see.

Art Journal in the making

Two months since the year began and I’ve made great strides as far as the art journal is concerned. So while I write about the journey in my other blog, I’d like to share the actual method by which a non artist like myself creates the various pages.

I have decided to make my journal with card stock like paper, so I have relied mostly on using upcycled manila folders. I wanted my journal to be a good size for layouts and journaling, and I decided a 5.5×7.5 layout fell nicely within my main paper medium. So far, I’ve also used other card stock in larger formats to help me with my fold out layouts which I will show you later.

I’m hoping to make a basic video tutorial on binding together Manila folders by simply using a glue stick and at times, double sided tape for reinforcement.

The way my art journal is structured, I have made separate signatures that I will combine together at a later time, or as I go along. For now, I am heavy at work doing my 2019 recap and beginning my 2020 entries.

As a teaser, here’s a video I made a few weeks back showing the original look of that first portion before I started journaling on it. I’m going to work on an update video soon and you will see that I’ve made changes in the binding and added a lot more content. Pending the video, I will post snapshots of my layouts identifying the elements used or the methods I used to create the pages themselves.

A lot of the pages are simple water color backgrounds, and there are some book pages printed with color and pasted on the Manila folder. I’ve summoned all my creative juices to the fore and have been discovering elements I have all but forgotten about as I went through my art supplies. Excited is an understatement.