Sunday, August 23, 2009

a little bit about how animals are made

this lamb is my favorite critter from the week.

I was back in the studio doing animal production all week. There are three major days to a big run of softies.To make sure I had new buddies for market on Saturday I pushed a half dozen ahead and will go back to finish the second half of day two and day three over the next week. This is a constant juggling act for me, the efficiency of larger production runs and the weekly needs of a market booth.

Day one: I process felted sweaters by cutting them into their future parts. This is actually where the most creativity is used, looking at a v-neck and seeing a rhinocerous and cutting its basic shape. The day ends with bundles of parts rubber banded together in my wall organizer.

Day two:Sewing arms,legs,flippers and wings.This is the mindless sewing day,just sewing around all the pieces. It can be the most enjoyable because what I need to do is very clear. I begin to trim,turn, stuff and assemble the body parts. This process ends with critters who are machine sewn to their completion with stuffed appendages but empty bodies.

Day three: Hand finishing. Bodies get stuffed,side seams are stitched by hand and faces are embroidered and attached.This stage is quiet and a little magical as the floppy fabrics become recognizable creatures. it is a good stage to have visitors or listen to a book on tape since I am not starting and stopping my machine.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

results from art camp: a clean kitchen table

(cake topper from matthew and emily's wedding yesterday. delicious inspiration.)

I'm ready to get back in the studio after my week off. Art Camp turned into clean-the-house-week. Considering the state of affairs around here, it was necessary. And there is something pleasing about clearing the way for new ideas. That Zen emptiness out of which anything can be born. Not that my house or studio ever approaches Zen cleanliness,but you know,having neat piles instead of mountains of stuff. Just having a kitchen table with room at it can inspire an activity. For example, I have been thinking about how to make hat stands out of corrugated cardboard. One day this week after I cleaned the kitchen I pulled out boxes from the recycle pile. There was actually space to lay out the cardboard and trace shapes and mess around. I didn't have success with the project but I made tangible mistakes that I can keep developing. I even cleaned up after myself.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

art camp?

About a month ago I was feeling stuck and bored with moth and squirrel(this is usual in the month or so before a big show when I go into huge production mode and the end is no where in site.)I craved a creative vacation like an artists' retreat or a summer camp for crafty grown-ups. I know these things exist and I have read about them on line with much envy. But they usually cost a lot of money even before the airfair to north carolina or maine. So I looked at my calendar and found a week that could conceivably serve as my own stay at home art camp. A time to refill my creative well without business deadlines. Giving myself the space to dream about the future of my business without having to stop the dreaming to run errands or sew on pin backs.

I woke up this morning and realized this is the week. And I thought,"But I have to sew more baby whales. I can't have that kind of non productive unstructured time this week!"And I was too busy to plan any inspiring activities and I even had to schedule some meetings for the week. sigh.

Then I took a deep breath and a sip of coffee and realized this art camp week is exactly what I need. And maybe not having any planned art dates is exactly what I need. And maybe all I will do is write blog entries and clean my room and bake granola, and maybe that is exactly what I need.

I just saw this (somewhat posed)picture Steeb took of me while we were picking raspberries at Margie's.Usually I am very focussed and efficient in my berry picking with jam quotas in mind.But it was so hot and I was feeling so tired, I ended up sitting in the shade of the canes and picking from the ground and being so delighted by it all. There weren't as many ripe as usual so we just gave the tender berries to friends and ate them all week. I want this photo to be the feeling I carry with me this week.

do more of what you love.
do it slowly.
share it.
fill all your senses.
this is enough.

Monday, August 03, 2009

employee of the quarter

Our long running joke is that Steeb is moth and squirrel's employee of the month. But seriously. He helped out so much with the Urban Craft Uprising,I upgraded the joke to employee of the quarter. He performed all driving duties including awesome parallel parking, carried the heavy tables and bins, went out in search of lunch and coffee and held down the booth for bathroom breaks and general sanity. Most importantly he lives up to his nickname Coach and helps pump me up for production and marathon customer service while keeping it all in perspective. We had the smoothest set up/breakdown ever,just keeping our cool and our humor.

Lately I've overheard him talking about his support role with my crafting and referring to moth and squirrel as the family business. It makes me proud and warms my heart to have a man that is truly invested in my success. I'm a lucky crafter. Whether it is your husband, your mother or a superstar friend, we all need these people to help us do what we do,especially at the big events. So here's to all the supportive friends and family in the craft world. Thank you.