Friday, July 27, 2007

2008 Diary

Next year will be here before we know it so might as well get prepared! A couple of months ago, I came across a crafter who is compiling a diary from pages submitted by artists and crafters who sell their wares online. Not only is this a great project, but a great opportunity to get some exposure and find out about other fellow artists - so of course I jumped right on it!

I have 2 pages that will be appearing in this diary - May 1 (my birthday!) and April 5. Here's a little preview of those pages and you can also read up more on the website page for this diary project. Of course, to see the whole thing, you're going to have to wait and buy it when it becomes available!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm in a treasury!

Actually, I'm in 2 today but I picked this one because it's also part of the Etsy treasury poster challenge. The plan is to choose 20 treasuries over the next couple of weeks, which will then be turned into posters (like this) with 100 of each poster to be made. The posters will then be given away at crafts fairs and so on. I love that I was chosen by someone to be included in their entry! Take a look for yourself, my "Walkway To LA" print is third down on the left. I'm off to create my own entry too...

Treasury title: One of these things is NOT

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thou shalt not abandon one's blog...

Dear blog,

I apologize for any kind of action that may be seen as neglect over the last few days. I hope that you can accept my apology due to extenuating circumstances surrounding my living situation. In that the boy asked me to move in with him last week and we have been madly apartment hunting over the last few days, my time has been somewhat stretched between collecting boxes and calling potential landlords. Of course, I hope you will share in my delight as we got confirmation this morning that the apartment we wanted is ours.

While I wish I could write more, I must resume packing the collection of boxes currently residing in the middle of my living room. I promise to write again as soon as I can and update you soon.


Natalie ("where's the bubble wrap?") Richards

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Etsy Featured Shop - Tinkybelle

After my momentary lapse in getting some new interviews together, I am buttered and on a roll this week! When I found the seller Tinkybelle and asked her to be featured on my blog, I had no clue that she was involved in so many crafts. She currently has three Etsy stores going - one for bags, one for pottery elephants, and the last for owl bags. Each store contains beautiful and unique items, and this seller has a fascinating story to tell so read on and enjoy .
How did you learn to sew?
I started sewing by the time I was 4. My grandmother was a great needle woman, she used to look after us before and after school. She would be doing some sort of sewing, embroidery, tapestry, needlework and we'll all have to sit down and do it with her. Out of everyone, only I remained until the day I left for university when I was 17.

Why did you choose to make bags and do you make other sewn items?
I started making bags in high-school. I grew up in the outskirts of Sydney [Australia]. Back then there were not many shops and when you wanted pretty things you'd have to make it yourself. My mother and grandmother both had piles of fabrics, so I made clothes and bags. Then in High school, instead of getting a job packing shelves or in a clothes shop, I started selling my bags to my friends for extra pocket money. While at university, I was waitressing my way through and hated every second of it, so I started making and selling bags again. Funnily enough it's not the main thing I sell, although there seems to be alot of it! I sew bags, clothes, traditionally jointed teddybears. I also love doing embroidery - crossstitch, tapestry - when I have the time...

What makes you choose a particular fabric?
I choose fabrics for the print design and what I can envision coming out of it. Sometimes I buy fabric for the sheer instant love of it and it can sit in my boxes for years before inspiration for the perfect thing to be made from it comes. Somethings I go hunting for particular weight, pattern, colour to make something I have an idea for.

What do you sell in your Etsy stores?
I sell in my Etsy stores bags, owl bags and pottery elephants. I also have a gallery in Edinburgh [Scotland] where I sell my drawings, paintings and prints. I have my studio here as well and I have a small working bookbindery and screen printing press. I also sell in markets and fairs around the UK.

What do you love about these bags?
I love this range of bags, it's my newest design. I love making things with simple patterns and manipulating it into something original.

How do you come up with the names for the owls on your bags?
My owl bags are named after family members mostly, and some friends. Also favourite characters from books and history.

What do you love about the elephants that you make?
I love that they have a very thrown together look. They seem very easy to make, but in fact the shaping is deceptively simple. I love that everyone of them comes out different although I only use four glaze colours. This is because of the nature of raku firing.

Can you tell me something interesting about this elephant (Andrew)?
The colour results are great. Yellow is very hard to achieve - you need lots of grass materials to create lots of flame. Then when you think the yellow has come through you have to pack the pottery in and let it smoke to get the white crackle effect. Too much smoking you will loose the yellow, not enough and you won't get crackle in the white.

What do you listen to when you're making your bags and other projects?
I mainly have lots of old style jazz - Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzerald, John Coltrane - or straight classical - Rachmaninov, Chopin, Handel... I also like putting in my BBC classic dramas DVDs - Pride and Prejudice, North and South, Vanity Fair. Sometimes, I like working in total silence.

What is your favorite past time when you're not crafting?
I trained as a bookbinder in Florence, so I make a lot of books and restore some. I am also a painter and printmaker. I love screenprinting and woodblock printing. I enjoying dancing and I was a classical ballerina for 13 years, but now I just do a lot of comtemporary. I have recently gotten into the 5 rhythms classes and flamenco. When I am away from my studios, I tend to travel as much as possible. I have recently come back from a trip to Pamplona, Spain to see the Bull runs and, earlier in the year, I was trekking through Borneo for a month with my boyfriend. I tend to bring back, materials, fabrics, inspiration and renewed energy to do my creative works.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Etsy Featured Shop - Paul Wilkinson

I found my newest Etsy featured seller while doing an ACEO search. I've just created my first ACEO pieces myself (see my post, "The beginnings of digital art"). I find the concept of ACEOs to be really interesting and I was really drawn to those in Paul Wilkinson's shop, so decided to find out more about the artist. The fact that Paul is from England was also of great appeal to me as it takes me back to my roots!
Energy Unleashed (© Paul Wilkinson)

How and when did you get started with creating digital art?
I started creating digital art about a year ago, mainly for my own enjoyment. My work improved to the point where I began to feel comfortable about the idea of selling my work and letting others enjoy my vision.

What is a fractal image?
A fractal image is basically a visual representation of a mathematical formula. Because it is generated by mathematics, it has a unique ability in that you are able to zoom into a part of an image, and instead of losing detail like you would with say, a photograph, you actually see more detail! Another aspect of fractals is that each one is completely unique in it's design. The only downside to fractals is the amount of time it takes to render one. Even with a dual core 64 bit processor, it can take anything up to 24 hours to actually have a print which can be sold!

How do you choose names for your pieces?
This is an interesting question. The names of my pieces literally pop into my head when I'm working on a piece. Sometimes a colour will remind me of something, other times it's the overall design that inspires me to choose a certain name. I'm a firm believer that when you look at a piece of art, the piece should emanate feelings to the viewer. I can often tell whether a piece of my art has the qualities I'm looking for by the fact that, if I look at it and can't think of anything to call it, then to me it doesn't say anything to my soul and so that particular piece won't go up for sale.

Do you begin a piece with a concept or do you let it develop as you're working?
Both. I don't like to be constrained while working on my art. Sometimes I'll be working on a piece and I'll know exactly where I want it to head. Other times I'll play with something that seems to hold no potential, just to see what I can come up with. I've created some excellent pieces that way.

What do you think are the main differences between creating digital and physical art?
The main difference to me is being able to try different types of media without spending a fortune! Using a computer with specialist software, I can digitally paint in oils, watercolours, acrylics, even pastels. Creating work digitally also means you can mix different media together without worrying about adverse interactions that might happen if I were to use real media.

Choose one of your pieces and tell me, what does this piece say to you?
I think it would have to be Heartbreak. The fractal itself is rather simple compared to my other work, but the design of it spoke to me immediately. It evokes very strong emotional feelings about love, passion, and loss. It's one of those images that grabs your attention as soon as you look at it and doesn't want to let go!

What do you like about selling your art as ACEOs?
I actually stumbled across ACEOs by accident, through Etsy as a matter of fact. I enjoy selling my work through the use of ACEOs because I think everybody should be able to enjoy, and afford my artwork. I love the idea of portable art, and I also think they would be great to put inside a greeting card!

Outside of Etsy, where else can we find your art?
My ACEOs are also available for sale through the website Art Cards Wanted. My larger prints are restricted to Etsy.

What's your favorite thing about England?
Well I could mention the glorious weather! My favourite thing about England would have to be we have the best fish and chips! :D

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Without a doubt it would have to be Italy. All those brightly coloured buildings! I'd love to go there and take lots of photos (another passion of mine) to digitally paint! It's also I suppose a rite of passage for painters around the world to paint something of Italy, it's such a beautiful and unique country.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The beginnings of digital art

As my name, Organic Stills, suggests - I am proud of my unedited photography. My personal take on photography is that the image that appears once the picture has been developed (whether 35mm or digital) is the moment captured in time. Playing with it in photoshop is a different art entirely...a very clever one that has amazing results mind you,
but isn't photography in it's most raw (organic) sense.
Having admired the digital art for a while, I decided to open up Photoshop and try my hand at creating something. I'm not much use with a brush and canvas in the physical sense so perhaps I'll do better digitally. Using my photography as a basis, I came up with a couple of digital art pieces last night which I hope to sell as ACEOs (Art Cards Editions And Originals). As an ACEO has to be 2.5"x3.5", I will be mounting them onto some playing cards I've got, which are that exact size. It'll also help me to number the prints, one print per suit, 13 editions of each card.

This flower picture received a watercolor filter, followed by color spot treatment.

These other pictures were originally photographs of handcarved wood doors, taken in Singapore. I inverted the colors and adjusted the color curves to create this effect.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm in print!

A few weeks ago, I was asked to contribute one of my photographs to a literary arts magazine, Words Dance. This is a compilation of poetry and original artwork and put together by Etsy seller, prettyfnmess. I just received my copy a couple of days ago and may I say what an honor it is to have been included in this collection along with some wonderfully talented artists and poets.

You can purchase copies of this magazine, as well as previous editions, here so stop by and check it out.

My print, titled "Childhood Memories" is on Page 5! This is also available as a notecard in my Etsy store.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Eat my shorts man!

Kwik E Mart opening in a neighborhood near you? I am lucky enough to be able to say it did in mine! Has to be said I was pretty thrilled to find out that the 7/11 right up the street from my office in Burbank was one of the selected few chosen to be converted into a Kwik E Mart in honor of the Simpsons movie being released later this month. Of course, I immediately had to grab the boy and go on a field trip with my camera to buy some Buzz Cola. I snagged Apu and Mr. Berns bobble heads while I was at it. I then realized that I just spent $30 in a 7/11!!

Best trip to the store...ever!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

As promised!

My Magic Yarn Ball arrived today, which was a much needed pleasant part of my day, given that my work computer was doomed and told me that my hard drive was "pending iminent failure" (the computer's words, not mine).

I have been truly spoiled by my swap partner as she included a huge supply of items for me, including two contrasting balls of Paton's Merino Wool (strangely enough, the same type of yarn I sent her!)

When I pulled it out of the box, it was housed in this beautiful silk drawstring bag.The first color was "denim" and will be the body of the tote bag pattern that was sent to me. My partner also sent me some circular needles that are needed to make this project. The second color was "paprika" which will be the contrast color for the bottom of the tote and the handles.

As I unwound, I kept finding more and more things and was truly amazed by how much was fit in there!

The final list of items in my MYB is as follows:
A beautiful handmade apron, a needle guage, pedicure kit, foot scrub, cute lipsmackers set, iPod armwrap holder, a bracelet, an amazing beaded flower (which will probably go on the outside of the tote), mints, a candle and votive, jewelry cord, headpins, a bunch of sewing supplies, a set of gorgeous butterfly magnets, a charm bracelet kit, a crochet pouch with scissors, a beaded pen, a dragonfly pin, trinket box with matching frame, earrings and a first aid kit (containing a selection of the best sparkly band-aids ever!)

What can I say? I'm thrilled, excited and will be signing up for many more swaps in the future!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Magic Yarn Ball...

Magic Yarn Ball (noun, abbr. MYB): A ball of yarn filled with most excellent goodies wrapped within, to be found as the ball is unwound. Also comes with knit/crochet pattern for the yarn to be completed.

If you haven't been on, I highly suggest it. It is a forum website for all things crafty, where you can share ideas, ask for help, show off your new crafty accomplishments and so much more. My friend turned me on to the craft swap section of the forum where swaps are arranged based on a theme and you are paired with a fellow forum member to do the exchange.

For my first swap, I did the Magic Yarn Ball swap, (as defined above). I sent my partner some denim color Patons Merino Wool, as she said she wanted to felt her project, and the pattern was the Sophie bag from Magknits.

My partner received her MYB this weekend and posted pictures to share. Included was a keychain, 2 CDs, a foot pampering set (toe separators, nail polish and foot scrub), a selection of teas, princess soap, a lollipop tea light candle, Skittles lip balm and an index card/coupon organizer. The handmade items I included were a crochet coin purse, a knit pouch with flower, a peach cat's eye bracelet, gift tags, bookmark, photo note card and a pink accent crochet flower. I also made a word search for these items, with the key in a letter that was only to be opened once the yarn was unraveled!
I'll be putting up pics of mine once I have it in hand. I'm still deciding whether I want to knit the project as I unwind or whether I'll just get over excited and feel the need to unwrap everything at once. I guess I'll decide once I get it! In the meantime, I've signed up for my next swap - this time around we're making and exchanging stitch markers!!