Tuesday, January 27, 2009

T is for Tessa, C is for Cathie

One of the ideas I had before Christmas for useless but beautiful things to impose on my family was these 3-D letters (there was also a "J" for Jim, which I didn't get a chance to photograph). Not really sure where it came from, but I guess I thought it would be fun to build something and to draw on letterforms. And of course I had to work my bright inks in there somewhere, because I love them still.

What I underestimated was how much time I was going to spend hunched over my cutting mat, ruler and knife in hand, coming to terms with the fact that measuring things over and over is not my favourite activity. Thank goodness I had Michelle watching over me to interject repeatedly with, "Wait! Don't you want to score that on the other side?" I made it through, but the shapes weren't quite as straight and perfect as the ones I had sketched out when planning these. Hmm, oh well. In the end I kind of grew to like the slightly wonky lines of the "T." And it was fun trying to figure out where to string the fishing line to create the right tension to hold them in shape.

Somehow they seem right hanging in the backyard, chillin' in the trees...

I really want to have more regular crafting days and nights to do this kind of thing, not just for Christmas. It's a good kind of release to make something beautiful but useless, to counteract days spent designing with such focused purpose. To try out new ideas that then filter into other things...

Friday, January 23, 2009

IF – Climbing

So these two turtles were originally seen in the Darwin exhibit at the ROM, slowly cavorting around behind glass. Here I've imagined that the have escaped and are navigating the back alley obstacles, seeking their fortune – one more enthusiastically than the other.

The background is a photo taken with my new Holga camera. Michelle and I went out on an expedition Wednesday night, putting our faith in hand-holding and long roughly counted-out exposures, and it worked! You can see the rest of the images on my flickr. Oh foggy city nights, I love you...

Monday, January 05, 2009

I dream of card-making

Now that Christmas is over and all the cards have long since arrived, I can tell you how much I love making Christmas cards. For the past few years I've had friends over in November or early December to make a mess, try out any of the crafty ideas that have been floating around our imaginations all year, and get a head start on the Christmas eating and drinking (the mulled wine is as essential as paper and ink...).

I love it because it's a concentrated afternoon of playing and making, and although we're each working on our own card designs, it feels collaborative. For one afternoon, my apartment is like a studio for that design collective we never quite formed.

Well, one-half design collective and one-half preschool – when it comes to card designs, I like to go back to the basics. And nothing's more basic than potato stamping! Cutting into a potato, coating it with ink and stamping away... you definitely can't be precise. Given that messy, spontaneous, intuitive art is my favourite kind to make, I love it. Here is a sampling of potato-stamped cards I made over the past few years (not the best specimens, as these are the leftovers, but you get the idea):

This year though, I didn't buy any potatoes. I had recently been to Urban Source on a Main Street scavenge with my sister and a friend, and had filled a bag with totally random stuff which seemed destined to end up on Christmas cards somehow. I sat down with no plan and ended up making these:

An army of dreams – castles, houses, buildings, each living in their own bright, windy, blue sky world. I started by tearing and folding a piece of the coolest textured foil, from Urban Source, pink on one side and green on the other. Then I scribbled some blue ink on paper, placed the castle over it, and stenciled dream above. And then replicated it 30 times. The castle and sky felt dreamy, I was dreaming of holidays, and wanted to send everyone sweet dreams for the year. This fit with my pattern of making cards that are bright, fun, hopeful, usually minus the red and green and super-Christmas-y stuff.

I really got down with the Christmas crafting this year, making some other fun stuff for presents too – a mobile recycling old jewelery, 3D letters, etc. – which I'll post about soon. Happy New Year!