Thursday, August 26, 2010

Plush You! LA Revealed

Today is the opening of Plush You! LA at Munky King Gallery in LA. I really wish I could be there! If you go, please take lots of pictures to share!

The three pieces I sent were inspired by carnivals, circuses, and fairs, if you haven't guessed already.

We've got Boris the Strong Man, with his handlebar mustache, old-timey uniform, and nautical tattoos:



Bartholomew the Juggler, with his bald head, chevron 'stash, and dapper vest:

And Beatrice the Bearded Lady / Trapeze Artist, with her curly locks, pencil 'stash, and dainty heels.


When I first settled on my theme, I knew I wanted it to involve mustaches. Originally, I was just going to make little imps with 'stashes, but then I started thinking about the State Fair coming up, which made me think of kitschy carnival and circus stuff, which led to these guys. I was a bit daunted by my idea, since the only "people" I had made before were Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and a tiny Alice, but I knew I just had to do it.

I'm happiest with the strong man. He came out the closest to what I had envisioned, and I had so much fun sewing on his facial and chest hair, shaping his muscles, and painting his tattoos. Bartholomew's juggling was a challenge. I was ecstatic when I found his vintage bowling pins and balls on Etsy, and I knew I wanted to string them in an arc to make it look more like he was juggling. But I didn't have the correct wire gauge on hand, and had no time to run out for the right stuff. So it's flimsier than I would like.

Beatrice, oh Beatrice. Her bosom was a huge problem. I thought just doing shaping darts would take care of it, but the stuffing just did not want to stay. I ended up having to gently needle-felt some ball shapes to fill out her bustier, but even those didn't quite do the trick. And saddest of all: I had the perfect little feather boa made for her, but forgot to drape her in it before I snapped pictures and sent her off to LA!

Ah well. I'm glad I took on my own little challenge, as I already have valuable lessons for the next set of carnies. . . .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sneak Peek

I just put the finishing touches on my Plush You! LA pieces. Whew! Here's a sneak peek. Can you guess what they are?

Boris sneak

Beatrice sneak

Bartholomew sneak

Friday, August 6, 2010

August Goals

Goal banner

Oops. Looks like I fell off the wagon again with keeping track of goals. I didn't post any June or July goals, but I'm happy to say I completed all but two of my May goals, including the much overdue cleaning of my craft room (you can read all about the clean-up and see picture proof that the deed is done). And I'm happy to report that the space is still clean!

Fall is almost here (yay! And hurry up already, please), which means the busy holiday season is right around the corner. So I have quite a lot to accomplish this month:

  1. Submit application for the Craftland Show. Deadline: August 31.
    This is a month-long holiday sale in Providence, RI, held in a cute little shop of the same name.

  2. Submit application for No Coast. Deadline: August 31.
    The uber-awesome annual Minneapolis craft show that I've had the pleasure of vending at for the past 4 years. Here's hoping this will be my 5th!

  3. Finish three zombie plushies and submit to Stuffed Magazine. Deadline: August 15.
    I've wanted to submit some of my plush to this magazine since it's debut, but never seem to get around to it. I plan to send three zombies—a frog, a giraffe, and a yeti—along with their normal counterparts. Wish me luck in getting them published!

  4. Finish my pieces for Plush You! LA. Deadline: August 24.
    I'm super excited to be participating in both the LA and Seattle locations this year. If you live in the LA area, be sure to check out the show August 26-September 19 at Munky King.
    It took me a while to decide what to make for the LA show, but I've finally settled on a theme. Hint: it involves mustaches. I will be starting on this project in earnest this weekend, but here's a little teaser to whet your appetite.


I better get crackin'!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Winter Dreaming – A Window Into My Creative Process

I'm going to warn you right now. If you like summer, you probably do not want to read this post. If you live for summer, adore the heat, and abhor the cold, you REALLY do not want to read this post.

It all started last week on the Twatter.


And although today was much cooler and refreshing than yesterday was (heat index: 104. GASP! Air consistency: thick jello), this summer has been altogether way too hot. And, well, the fantasy that we built on Twitter was just waaay too appealing to let go of so easily.

So I Googled "igloo village." I'm not kidding. And you know what I found? Gorgeous hotels and resorts on the edge of the Arctic Circle.

Like Igloo Village in Switzerland and Germany. Look at the carved interior! Wouldn't it make a fantastic great room for our little artist colony?

Phoca_thumb_l_bar image © Igloo Village.

And a dining room. . . . Looks like it even has a bar. Perfect!

Phoca_thumb_l_DSC_0139image © Igloo Village.

Or for a more sophisticated igloo, the Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland has glass ones, guaranteed not to frost over so you can view the Aurora Borealis from your bed.

79 image © Hotel Kakslauttanen.

I can see us, crafting away in such a place. Abundant inspiration in the natural world readily glimpsed beyond the glass.

And check out this Ice Hotel, rebuilt every year from scratch.

Sigh. I'm feeling cooler already, aren't you? If I could only encapsulate that feeling as I swim to the bus stop this evening on my way home. . . .

So much about winter is appealing. The snow crunching underfoot. The gleam of the snow-covered trees in the morning light. Warm fires and cozy blankets and hot cocoa. Snuggly dogs.

I feel more alive in winter. More inspired. Is it because working with fiber in the middle of summer is a sticky, sweaty, uncomfortable mess? Is it my northern European heritage? A little of both, I think, and much more.

The cold sharpens your senses. Draws people indoors together, next to fires or under blankets. As an extrovert, both being aware and fully engaging with other people are integral to my creative process. In the summer, I too often get caught up thinking about how hot and sticky and cranky I feel. Which means I am super fun times to be around. With all that focus inward, I am not taking in enough of the world around me. I am not feeding my creativity.

It's funny how this post started out as just a fun winter fantasy, but led me through some important introspection. The lesson here? For me, that I need to try harder to focus my senses, even when I feel miserable. I need to nourish myself creatively, especially at those times when I least feel like doing so. And that I probably appreciate winter all the more for the awful (to me) weather that comes before.

What about you? Which season makes you feel most alive? What feeds your creative process?