"Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment." -- Claude Monet
I rarely start with a sketch. I start with a swatch. You don't know how a yarn will behave until you knit it. The same is true with color. Yarn isn't paint. It has an immediate texture which will cause one color to interact with another color in manner often unexpected. Small hairs of one color with twist and blend with the fibers of another color.
Obviously these days my color choices at Enjolive lean toward vibrant. I love color that "sings." Winters can be long, dark and dreary. I want color that acts like a beacon.
The Steph Purse is an example of my jelly bean approach to color. The inspiration is literal given I have a small bowl of jelly beans on my studio table. You never know when you will need that little jolt of sugar to put speed to the knitting fingers!
The Steph Purse is named for fellow artist Steph of vlaDtHeBaT's aTTiC. Each item I make is given a name, frequently of the friend who inspires it. I also look into the meaning of names for the work I make. The Bonnie Purse is named for a friend who lives near Lake Michigan. We met while working in the shadow of a lighthouse. The colors are of the lake in late afternoon. The name is of Scottish origin and means attractive. Scarlett O'Hara's daughter in Gone with the Wind was Bonnie Blue, so a Bonnie blue purse it is.
"Don't doubt the dream, it's the best you can be." -- Anonymous
The brain is on overload. Yesterday I attended an Artists-At-Work Forum on the subject of artists making a living beyond the traditional gallery structure. The key word I picked up is - diversify. It was good to hear as that is exactly what I've been doing. I'd been feeling hesitant these last few months, so yesterday was just the kick I needed.
Diversify your studio practice. The reality is that very few artists make money from gallery sales alone. Ironically, at one time I actually did live off of my gallery sales, but I was 20 years younger without a daughter and a mortgage. My financial requirements were less. Diversify for me means continue pushing forward with my Etsy shop Enjolive, and while I'm at it, go ahead and open two more - one for the jewelry and one for my smaller, lower priced artworks. I've been thinking about it, but have been hesitant. Don't ask me why. I don't know.
Seek out online galleries. Okay, this was a new one for me. I've always gone after brick-and-mortar galleries, places where I know folks can physically walk in to see my work. But why not online too? I need to do some research to find the online galleries that I think will be most compatible. Just like with a brick-and-mortar gallery, they aren't going to represent your work if you do textiles and they only show photography.
This brings me to my next thought - seek out and create an even larger network of artists with similar work, whether medium, style, or content. I am always reading blogs, Twittering and frittering around on the Internet, but I'm not so good about sending an email or leaving a comment. When I have, the communication has generally led to an alliance of some sort, whether through feedback on new work, a lead to a show, or a trade in materials. The magazines make it easy too. Fiberarts has contact information in the back of the magazine for every artist featured. Not all mags have this feature, but isn't that why they made Google?
Art consultants. I admit it, I am on foreign territory here. I've never researched the possibility of working with an art consultant. It's time I did.
Make your wish list public. Wow! What a simple thing to do. If I make that list public, maybe, just maybe, my wishes will come true. Isn't that a lovely thought! At the top of my list is a bulky bed knitting machine. Anyone have one? I can provide a good home for it. I will barter art or jam. Your pick. Of course, if you just want to give me one, I won't say no.
Bartering. This didn't not come up and I was surprised. A professor told me she traded one of her weavings for the legal fees of her divorce, since then I have bartered art (and occasionally other items) for website development, photo shoots, and even dental work.
I don't have to take a day job to keep food on the table, I just need to continue keeping to my budget, diversify a bit more of my practice, get those exhibition applications submitted on time, and keep on, keeping on.
With that, I'm off to knit.
"Old age ain't for sissies." -- Gammy Derrick Gam didn't believe in old age. For her age was a mindset. "You are only as old as you feel," she would frequently say, often followed by "Screw the golden years!" But when her friend 'Arthur' (as in arthritis) came to visit, it was, "Honey, old age ain't for sissies." Every week I visit with some folks living their golden years in fixed income housing. George is turning into the star knitter. His longest scarf to date is 148 inches. He makes at least one scarf a week, sometimes two. All of them feature tassels or fringe and many come with bells, so "...people know when I'm comin' and goin'." He never sells a scarf, but he frequently gives them as gifts to family and friends.Joan lives in the same building. She's the Come Back Queen. You wouldn't know that just a few years ago she had brain surgery given all her talk about dance classes and workouts at the gym. She wears me out just listening to her. Joan learned to knit the same week as George, which if you can believe it given George's production, it was just a year ago. She may not be as prolific, but so far she's made several hats and scarves, a sweater for herself, another for a granddaughter and a bedspread. Others have joined the group and just last week I can proudly say that every seat in the room was taken. Folks brought food. Laughter was infectious and good times were had by all. What pleases me most is that those who don't have the energy to get out made their way to the group. Some knitted, others sketched while a few just hung out. More push in services are required in my humble opinion. Recreation and creativity keep one active in body and mind and if those days that 'Arthur' comes to visit are more frequent than not, having a time and space near to home can make all the difference. PS - If you would like to see your extra bits of yarn find a good home, let me know. If you live in the Chicago area, I would be happy to pick it up or you could drop it off for me to collect at Loopy Yarns, 47 W. Polk St.
"A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." -- Bernard Miltzer
Cathy the Corn Lady delivered a gift from The Girls - a gorgeous 1/2 dozen eggs.
The Girls are hens sharing quarters in her backyard. These are urban chicks living in the middle of Chicago. I love the concept of urban farming and am thrilled to see it taking root in my home town. The other day I bought honey from a co-op down the road. The city of Chicago even boasts an agricultural high school! My own garden is lush, bursting with green beans, tomatoes, hot peppers, cabbage, winter squash and over a dozen herbs.
As pretty as these eggs were, I had to make a quiche. The crust is a yeast dough, very light and flavored with just a little lemon zest. The custard was ad hoc - summer squash from Vera's farm, basil from my backyard and some caramelized onion with a sprinkling of grated mozzarella.
"My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet." -- Edith Wharton
Look carefully. There. Under the squash. Josie is keeping watch. Half the time I look out and can't see her. She's my Josepheeny, the Teeny Weeny. At only 6 pounds it's easy to lose her in the wild prairie, formerly known as my garden. The native black eyed susans stand at 5 feet tall. The plant I planted and cannot name is over 6 feet. The acorn squash is something straight from "Little Shop of Horrors" with it growing at a rate of nearly a foot a day in all directions. It's Josie's idea of dog heaven as there is always a rabbit to chase, a butterfly to observe, an herb with which to perfumes one's fur. She loves to lose herself in the green splendor.
This afternoon I found myself taking cues from her Ladyship. I had a break in teaching and rather than racing off to run an errand or pulling out my knitting needles to add another inch to the project at hand, I pulled over to the curb, rolled down the windows and listened to the wind rustling the leaves of trees. A moment of beautiful peace.
"So many wonderful opposites: darkness and light, peace and chaos, subtlety and directness, intensity and muteness...." -- Matthew Higginbotham
The fuzz is flying as I gear up for fall at Enjolive. Clickety, clack, clack go the needles.
Inspiration- the Bauhaus, seaweed, carnivals, and fall leaves twirling in the crisp autumn air.