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Renewing My Commitment to a Daily Dose of Fiber

Renewing My Commitment to a Daily Dose of Fiber

This is the time of year when I start reflecting on what I have accomplished over the year. I know it is a cliché but time seems to move much faster now that I am a “bit older”. I remember as a child that the summers lasted so long that I got bored and longed to go back to school and Christmas took forever to get here. Now it seems like I turn around, summer is over and Christmas is here and gone. I try not to take any moments of life for granted. There are many reminders that life is short and taking advantage of the time I have is important. One way I try to do that is to take a bit of time every day, even if it is only five minutes, to create something. Whether it be fiber related, art related or just a fun, creative activity, I think it is so important to always take a few minutes in my busy day to be creative.

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The slideshow is some of the pieces that I created in the first half of 2018. Many times, I might only have time to take a few stitches on a piece or draw a quick sketch for a design idea, but just taking those few moments always makes my day more cheerful. I get a little grumpy if I don’t get to “play” each day. One of the ways I am able to be creative every day is I get up 30 minutes early before I’m off to work and use that time to create in my studio. I almost always have something set up to continue working on so that I can just jump in and start.  That time works for me but might not work for someone else. Do you have time to add 5 minutes of creative time to your day? What if you wrote it into your schedule? What if you put down your phone for 5 minutes or got off the internet for 5 minutes? Many times I have heard people complain that they don’t have enough time to do something. I think if you really want to do that activity, you can “make time”. I am busy like everyone else but I do get lots of things done because I take a few “down time” moments throughout my day to create. I have a project in a baggie to take with me in the car for when I’m waiting or I take along a sketchbook to draw or think out new ideas.

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This slideshow is some of what I created in the last half of the year. When I look back at these photos, I think,”that isn’t much” But a lot of my time this year was for the work I did for my Level 3 Art and Design class that I’m taking. I don’t usually show much of that work here but I do share that over on my personal blog, Permutations in Fiber. If you’re interested, you can click on the link and take a look at my posts over there.

Over on our free forum, we do have a section that is called other challenges and there is a “Daily Dose of Fiber” section each month. Would you like to be more creative in 2019? How about joining our “Daily Dose of Fiber” challenge? What did you do today that was creative? Here is a post that I wrote back in 2013 about Making Space for Creativity. It’s hard for me to believe that I have been doing this for five years. I have missed a few days but not many. And I don’t beat myself up if I do miss a day. I just get back into the groove the next day and carry on.

So I am renewing my commitment to keeping creativity an active part of my life. I want to spend time in my studio, make stuff and share it with all you wonderful readers. What do you want to do in 2019?

Here’s wishing everyone a fiber filled, creative year ahead. And do please share with us what you’re creating, we’d love to see. Just join us over on the forum to share, ask questions and meet other like minded folks! And if you have been lurking over there, please join in the conversations. We don’t bite, we’re actually very friendly.

First Quarter Challenge Drawing to a Close

First Quarter Challenge Drawing to a Close

A Daily Dose of Fiber challenge is coming to an end. I challenged everyone to take at least five minutes a day and do something creative. I personally had been doing this for a while but I wanted to add increased blogging on my personal blog. So I blogged every day during the challenge and I do have to say it was a challenge especially when I was traveling. I don’t own a “smart” phone and I don’t seem to be very mobile when it comes to online stuff. But I got a lot of creative stuff done and creating every day has been fun. Many times when I didn’t really feel like doing anything, I made myself get started because I had to do my 5 minutes a day. Once I got started, I ended up spending much more than 5 minutes because I quickly became involved in what I was doing.

Beaded Book
Beaded Book

So what did I accomplish with at least 5 minutes a day? In January, I spent the first half of the month completing my beaded book and making a beaded tassel for it. I also made three felt appliques, two turned edge appliques, two shadow appliques and a felt applique book. I researched broderie perse, the Bronze age, Kyrgyz design and reverse applique. I made a couple of pieces of flat felt, painted some commercial felt and finished the slipper bottoms for my husband’s slippers.

Applique Felt Book with Hand Stitching
Applique Felt Book with Hand Stitching

February was my travel month so I wasn’t quite as productive since I had to go to the Buyers Market for the store and attend my last stitch class. But I did manage to frame some of my work for a mini exhibition, do a little machine applique, learn some new types of bindings for books including hand stitching and machine stitching, make a machine stitched book page, felt some cat toys, work in my sketchbook/studio journal, do a little Kantha stitching while traveling, finish up the last of the felt appliques, make a shadow applique card for hubbie for Valentine’s Day, try out a new painting technique, carve some linoleum stamps and make some stitched greeting cards.

Felt Applique with Couched Cording
Felt Applique with Couched Cording

In March I have been finishing up the last of my stitch class homework. I have almost completed two machine stitched cut back applique pieces, I practiced some new hand stitches, I completed my 5 page machine stitched book, I went and picked up 200# of wool and took it to the processing mill, I started reading up on yurt building, I did very tiny blanket stitch around one of the book pages mentioned above, had a painting party at my house, learned new insertion stitches for small book bindings, laced my Kantha bird in preparation for mounting, matted several of my print to stitch pieces and made some grey scale croppers.

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Whew… I think I need to take a nap!

Felt bird houses are coming along and a fun demo.

Felt bird houses are coming along and a fun demo.

Slowly the bird houses are coming along. They are now decorated, wet down.

birdhouse 1 birdhouse 2 birdhouse 3 birdhouse 4 birdhouse 5 birdhouse 6

They have been rubbed and rolled and stuffed into the tops of pantyhose. They are ready to full. With some luck that will be tomorrows job.

Two days this week I was at the Ottawa Valley Farm Show. I was demonstrating spinning with a few friends. I took some mixed batts I made buy collecting my odd bits together and running them through the carder. They have lots of colour and neps.

spinning batts

On day one I spun up 2 very bulky singles and one medium weight single in pinks.

wheel spun spools

Today I plied the 2 bulkies together. My wheel is not designed for such bulky yarn but with perseverance  and a few choice words under my breath I got it plied.

bulky being plied bulky plied

After that I was tired of pink so I switched to my drop spindle and the blue green batt.

sinndle spun blue spoindle spinning

I am afraid I don’t have anymore pictures that turned out. We were right in front of a big picture window that was a very nice spot but not good for taking pictures as you can see from the picture of me spinning.

I think I’ve done really well with working and playing with fiber this week. I hope I can keep it up.

 

 

A Little Stich Practice

A Little Stich Practice

I finally put the free motion embroidery foot on my Sewing Machine.  I did a small sample to see what different movements did.  I used contrasting thread so I could see what I had done better. As you can see I did a few things. I tried to sew down some loopy yarn. this was hard. The yarn moves and you can’t really pin it very well. Its to easy to run the machine over the pins.

machine stitch sample

The solid red, with lots of stitching is a piece of silk  carrier rod. I tried moving the felt at different speeds and having the machine sew at different speeds.  Fast machine and slow hands seemed to work best so far. You can see near the end I was getting better at controlling what I was doing and managed to write my name. I like the way the stitching looks on the tree best, well the green part anyway.

Here is a shot at the back side.

machine stitch sample back

The machine stitching looks so different than hand stitching. I think the combination of the two will be great. But for now I need to practice my machine stitching. Anyone have any tips or suggestions about machine stitching?

Using Your Studio Journal – Part Two

Using Your Studio Journal – Part Two

Have you been using your journal? Have you tried anything new? Here are a few more ideas.

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Paste inspirational paintings beside your to do lists.

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Sketch a rock or shell. Try out black gesso and cover with colored pencil.

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Cut up strips of black paper and make a design. Paste it in the journal.

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If you use paper towels when you’re dying, save them and paste them into your journal. Add more paint as desired.

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Make a collage with various paper or even strips of fabric , add writing, stamps or stencils or paint.

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Paste in inspirational photos and consider how you can use these in your work. Here I was thinking about three-dimensional shapes with machine embroidery.

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Paste in photos from nature and use those to sketch ideas for further design.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHere I made a stamp from the butterfly wings inspiration. Add quotes that are meaningful to you.

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Visit a museum and “copy” a master’s work. Or find a photo of the master’s work online. Here is a watercolor sketch based on Van Gogh’s painting.

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Find different colors in pages of magazines and tear them out. Use those colors to transition from one color to another. Paste them into your journal. I did blue to yellow but choose anywhere on the color wheel.

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If you’re traveling, save brochures, tickets and other ephemera to paste into your journal. Add your thoughts or small sketches. The sketch/doodle in the top left corner was inspired by the tattoo on the neck of the woman in front of me.

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Make rough sketches of ideas for creating. I was thinking about what different shapes could be made from one resist.

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Look closely at items around you and sketch their shapes. These are pieces of bark I found on a walk one day.

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Occasionally a technique you try from a book really turns out better than you had ever expected.  I hope you’ll try some of these ideas in your journal. I really enjoy using mine and then I love to look back and get ideas from years past. All of the photos from these journals were from 3-4 years ago. But they are ideas that I could still use now. Some will develop and others won’t but it’s an excellent way to encourage your creativity.

Using Your Studio Journal – Part One

Using Your Studio Journal – Part One

I use my studio journal for lots of different things and I thought some of you might be interested in seeing how I use it. I discussed some of the different uses in my last post so I thought I’d show you a bunch of different examples.

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Practice your lettering and fonts.

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Make a color wheel with paint, colored pencils or markers.

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Here’s another example of when I got new markers and pencils.

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This was a fun exercise. I used walnut ink and then tried marking with a variety of things such as a twig, a feather, a sharp rock and whatever else I could find around the house. It makes you realize that you can make marks with anything, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a pencil or paint brush.

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Document useful information that you find online. This is about using a value scale.

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Make little squares and then fill them up. The ones on the left are just doodles. the ones on the right are a study of values.

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Record useful information you find in library books. This is more information about design and value studies.

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Play with left over paint or dye. Whenever I have any color left over, I put it in my journal. Sometimes I just paint the page and then use that as a background. Other times, I leave the paint as a color study.

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Glue down rice paper in a different size pieces, let dry and then paint.

There are more ideas coming next week. Do you know of any fun “exercises” to try in your journal? I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

A Month of Fiber

A Month of Fiber

It’s been a month now since I offered the Daily Dose of Fiber challenge to our readers. I have managed to get in at least five minutes of creative activity every day even on the day I cut my finger and had to get six stitches. I thought I’d do a quick review of what I’ve accomplished this month.

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The majority of the month was spent on the beaded book. I spent my allotted fiber time for 18 days working on the beaded book but it is finished. I also made seven different applique samples for my stitch class and an applique book cover and binding. In other spare moments I learned a little crochet, did some research on the art of the early Bronze age, wrote a book report about applique, did a small study of reverse applique, painted some acrylic felt and finally finished the soles of my husband’s felt slippers. I have also been working on obtaining enough local wool for my yurt. I need 200# and I’m up to 150#.  I have also found a wool mill that will process the wool into big batts. Another fiber related activity was filling out the paperwork for teaching a felting class at the local community college.

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What did you accomplish this month? Are you using your spare moments in being creative.  Once you get in the habit, you can really get a lot done.

Learning to See More Creatively

Learning to See More Creatively

I hope everyone is cruising along with the first quarter challenge of a Daily Dose of Fiber. Lyn, from Rosie Pink, has been doing the challenge and I really liked her comment recently on the forum about how the challenge was working for her. Lyn said that she got home from work and didn’t really feel like doing anything but because of the challenge, she decided to go into the studio for five minutes to get her “daily dose”. She was only planning on getting a few things set up but three hours later, she had completed felting the outer portion of the vessel that she is working on. That is usually what happens to me as well. I might not feel like doing any creative work after I get home from work, but if I just start, I end up enjoying what I’m doing and I get tasks done that I might have put off.

applique

The challenge is going in to the third week now. How have you been doing? Have you been able to get in five minutes of creative time per day? Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t. You can start this challenge any time. You didn’t have to start on January 1. It is really more of a decision as to how you are going to prioritize your time and what is important for you. For me, it is important to use my time wisely and I have a hard time now, just sitting around without a stitch project or something to keep my hands busy.

OK – enough of that. What I really wanted to talk about today was some fun things to try that will help your “creative” eye to see more clearly. There are inspiring things everywhere you look whether it be in nature or walking down a city street, you can find inspiration anywhere. But you have to look. Most of us rush through life, not taking the time to examine what is around us. Take a few extra minutes and look at the textures, patterns, colors, lines etc. around you. One way to do this is each day is to look for something specific. For example, today you might look for anything orange. The next day it might be crisscrossing lines or lines in broken pavement. Or maybe you want to look for certain shapes such as circles, squares or triangles. Carry your camera with you and take photos of things that interest you. Or better yet, take a notebook and draw/sketch what you see.

I know, I know, “you can’t draw”. I used to say that too. But drawing is a learned skill. It’s like playing the piano, you aren’t born knowing how. You can learn and with practice you will improve your drawing skills. I highly recommend this book:

This book teaches you about looking at the edges and shapes of objects. Instead of seeing a “bottle”, you are looking at the different shapes that make the bottle.  You are learning to really see the bottle instead of just seeing a generic bottle. Learning to draw trains your creative eye to see more clearly. Whenever I take the time to draw something, I always remember more about that drawing than if I took a photo. Even if I look back at the drawing much later, the memory is much more clear. (And that’s saying something these days!) That’s because I took the time to really look and see what I was drawing. I can’t say that I spend enough time drawing but I do enjoy it now and I no longer say “I can’t draw”.

I found this fun idea on the Create Mixed Media blog. It’s an idea from Margaret Peot. The photo above is from Margaret’s post. She does some really fun inkblot sketchbooks. This idea though is a variation on her usual inkblots. What she suggests is to take photos of clouds, sidewalks, old walls, anything with fun texture or line. Then you print the photos out on to regular printer paper and draw into them whatever shapes that you see. You can see her full post here.

Those are just a few ideas to get you started seeing more creatively. Do you have any other suggestions for others to try? Things that you do to get your creative brain working? I’d love to hear what they are. Leave a comment or join in our forum discussions.

A Daily Dose of Fiber Challenge

A Daily Dose of Fiber Challenge

I have been thinking about what I would choose for the first quarter studio challenge for quite a while. I’ve waffled around with the idea, wasn’t sure I could do it and wondered if anyone else would even want to try. But what the heck… This idea is a bit different from our previous challenges but I hope you will all be inspired to give it a go. Since it is a new year and we’re all thinking about new beginnings and what our plans are for the year, I thought this challenge would be a little bit of a push to emphasize your creative side. I challenge you to do something creative every day and get your daily dose of “fiber”. I’m sure I just heard a loud groan from the audience but this doesn’t mean that you have to felt a seamless garment every day. All it means is that you make creativity a habit and do something every day, even if it’s only 5 minutes. I have actually been doing this for quite a while now. I work on something related to my fiber art every day even if it’s only for a few moments. I haven’t actually tried to document this in the past, but for the next three months, that’s what I’m going to do. I will be blogging daily on my personal blog about what creative thing I’ve done that day. Once a week, I’ll do an update here and give you some ideas of what you could do for the rest of the week if you need a bit of inspiration.

Fiber Tools and Goodies

I know that this challenge sounds a bit daunting but it actually isn’t that hard to do. I lead a busy life just like everyone else but there is a lot of time that gets wasted if you aren’t paying attention. Just a small amount of planning and preparation allows you to be ready to be creative at the drop of a hat. For example, I always have a small stitch project in a plastic bag ready to work on. The bag holds the base fabric marked with the design (if there is one), my needle case with scissors and the matching threads. I take it with me in my bag and if I have to wait or I have a spare moment, I stitch for a bit. You could do the same with small needle felting projects, beading, knitting or if you use a journal or a sketchbook, you could draw or write your fiber art to do list for the week.

project bag

I’m sure that it would be very easy to come up with many excuses why you couldn’t possibly do this challenge. ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I’m too busy’, ‘I have family responsibilities’, blah, blah, blah… Really? Do you want to be creative? Do you want to make more art? What is stopping you? Give yourself permission to do this and give it priority over things like watching TV, cruising the internet and seeing what’s new on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter and even doing housework. Life will go on even if the house isn’t perfectly clean, ask me how I know! Let your family know that you need this time to yourself, set boundaries and then reinforce that this small amount of time that you are setting aside is for you. Then do it, be creative and make some art, even if it’s bad art. Just do it. Every. Day.

Some people say it takes 21 days to form a habit, other studies indicate it takes longer than that, perhaps greater than 60 days. But I think if we can do this for the first three months of 2013, we might have developed the habit of being creative every day and getting our daily dose of “fiber”. It really isn’t a chore, it’s what we like to do. You certainly don’t have to blog about what you do everyday. But I’d love to hear what creative activity you do each day so please leave comments here, post photos on our Flickr group and join us in the forum where I’ll start a topic about the challenge.

This first week of 2013 why don’t you take a few minutes and look at what you do during the day. How do you manage your time? What do you spend your time doing? Are there times during your day that seem to be wasted? Can you schedule a time that could be spent being creative? Grab a notebook and write down your thoughts about being creative and how you can make time for creativity. What are the impediments to spending more time playing with fiber (or whatever creative thing that you do)? Write about them. Take 5 minutes every day to do this and we’ll count that as your daily dose of fiber. Or if you want, just dive in and start the creative habit.

Now we all know that life happens and sometimes things don’t work out as planned. That’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day. Put a favorite art related book or magazine by your bed and read that for a few moments before you go to sleep. Then the next day, you can get back on track. Adding more creativity shouldn’t be a huge pressure and chore, it should be fun. Once you get started, you’ll be surprised how much you can get done. I get asked frequently how I manage to get so much artwork  done and the answer is “5 minutes here and 5 minutes there”, it all adds up.

So are you up for the challenge? Get your daily dose of fiber with me, it will be fun, I promise 🙂

Oh and by the way, Happy New Year from all of us here at The Felting and Fiber Studio. All the best for 2013!

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