Spirit of the Season

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In the spirit of the coming light, following these short days and long, cold, dark nights, I’d like to take a moment to wish that all of our artistic endeavors lead us to more goodness and joy; for ourselves, our families and all being.

Seek the truly practical material life, but seek it in such a way
that it does not numb you to the spirit that works within it.
Seek the spirit, but not out of spiritual lust or spiritual egoism;
seek it rather because you wish to become selfless in the practical life of the material world.
Turn to the ancient principle:
“Spirit never without matter, matter never without spirit!”
And say to yourselves:
We will do everything material in the light of the spirit,
and we will seek the light of the spirit in such a way
that it enkindles warmth in us for our practical deeds

Rudolf Steiner

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Star Craft

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Routines and schedules seem to go out the window this time of year, but some art is still being done! Art Play Days yesterday saw Andrea get her nativity scene finished (a woman of efficiency!). I spent time showing some visiting small hands how to make decorative stars. One type is often called “window stars” and is made with kite paper. It’s one of those crafts that gets associated with Waldorf education. The paper can be a bit tricky to find, but everyone should have one (or several) of these colourful creations in their window !

stars

The other type of star is a “German paper star”. These can be a bit difficult, but after making a couple you get the hang of it and they can be a bit addictive. These are relatively clear instructions. Of course, you can buy all sorts of really cool paper to make these. Take a peek here !

German star

Next up, I might add to our collection of star lanterns. Or, make a few of these favourites in Christmas colours. It’s a crafty time of year. Happy Holidays !

An Idea Flowers

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I’ve finally got a start on the felt part of my collaborative project with my son. He, of course, has his end of things well in hand.

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My first idea for the water lily was several nested layers of petals like this:

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But, for some reason I felt like I wanted something a little more abstract. Inspired by this project, I   decided to try attaching several bowls together to create more of an essence of a water lily (including a green lily pad).

Stacked and ready to roll…

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… and came to the conclusion, that this wasn’t going to work. Too many layers, and the thickness of the resists kept the pieces from attaching together. Plan B ! I’m making each bowl separately and will attach them afterwards.

I really need to get back to this, but now it’s December and that means holiday craziness. I can hope …

Dolce Domum

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I have a thing about houses; imaging them, designing them, finding the perfect location. All in my head of course ! So, when the latest magazine from Cloth Paper Scissors landed in my mail box, with a front cover photo of wee block houses, a plan for an Art Play Days project was soon in place. Here’s the original photo:

houses

I think I’m going off in a bit of a different direction. We did start out with wooden blocks (once upon a time my children played with them, but now they’ve put away childish things. Sigh). I’ve got a woodland fairy house thing going, and Andrea has an ambitious plan that involves lots of tissue paper, and is heading toward an abstract “nativity scene”. I’ll try to take some photos as things progress more. House building takes time!

PS This magazine was a substitution for this magazine which went out of print, which was a substitution for Living Craft which went out of print (still online). I really liked Living Craft. What’s up with the magazine business ?

Art Play Days Reboot

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Things have been a little off schedule lately. For Art Play Days two weeks ago I was distracted by my upcoming workshop at WomynSpirit festival (more on that later). I didn’t really accomplish much, but Andrea made great progress on a card she’d been working on. Here’s the finished project:

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I might have to try out colour on some new doodle art of my own ! Lovely !

Coming home from the retreat, I promptly got sick, so I’ve spent the week being kind to my liver and hopefully I’ll be good to get back on track this Thursday. Hmmm maybe some felting ….

An Idea Takes Root

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lily

Ok, collaborative project update. Still very much in the planing stage, but I wanted to share the process. I’m into making sculptural felt pieces, and my son is passionate about making electronics. I have in my head the idea of an interactive piece of felt. I love how tactile wool is and how much people like to touch it. With this in mind, I want to make something that responds when you pick it up. For some reason I though of a water lily set in a wooden base that you would hold. The center would be hollow glass with LEDs. The light would change based on different inputs.

I set my son on a hunt to find a micro-controller that would fit our size requirements and could be programmed with my son’s knowledge. This is what he came up with : the Lilypad Arduino.

Hey, the name even matches ! When I talked to my friend Natali about doing the glass piece for me, she mentioned she was quite into water lilies for a recent project; a very cool collaborative collection of art for producing a Tarot deck.

So everything is coming up water lilies. I think we’re on the right path!

Steal Like an Artist

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I stole that title from here. I think I can sum up the talk in a couple of phrases (but you should watch it anyway; good talk): nothing is original; not imitation, but transformation is flattery. I think I get much of my inspiration from nature, but I also love looking at all kinds of work from other artists. Not just felt artists, but all mediums. This past Thursday for Art Play Days, I was on my own, so I thought I’d try out an idea for adding surface texture to felt. I can’t remember where I saw this, and it is a simple technique. It just involves adding lightly felted balls cut in half to a layer just below the surface layer. Again, not having much time I added this to another little tea light bowl/holder. I wasn’t particularly found of how it turned out, but it’s a technique worth considering for future work. Experimenting without worrying about the final product is something I should do more of !

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A few links for inspiration :

Teapot

Wall art

Felt

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Finally, a bowl for my workshop done in under two hours !