Barefoot Weaver

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Barefoot Weaver: I have been in love with color since my first box of crayons and I fell in love with weaving in the 70s when I watched a girl weaving (barefoot, of course!) in the back of a store in Brattleboro, VT. Here was not just color but dance as well! By the early 90s I had my first loom and there was no looking back. Looms have a way of multiplying and taking over the house (as my family can attest) and now I have four (we won’t count the one in the barn). I am always amazed seeing them warped and vibrant with potential.

Colors live in my living room and cones of thread fill my bookcases. I dye my threads on a big plywood table upstairs in one of my workrooms (did I mention that I have taken over the entire house?) and my clothes line is often draped with skeins of freshly dyed thread. I do my designing on my warping mill and my work now is mostly warp driven which just means that I want the warp to show more than the weft (or weaving).

I started adding more texture to my weaving some years ago as well inspired in part by knitting yarns that have flags and tufts and wraps and shiny bits and skinny and fat parts.

So, I overproduce. And I have three grown sons who really don’t wear my creations aside from a very plain chenille scarf or two. I live on an old farm with my two horses, three cats, one small dog, and a very supportive husband. We heat with wood, snuggle down in the winter up here in the North Country, and I am content.

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • A pincushion for every day
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Gone to Pot
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes

Hypnotized, mesmerized, by what my eyes have seen.

These lampwork beads are fascinating and wonderful to examine.

Michals bio: As far as I can remember I was always fascinated with color and light, so its no wonder that after discovering glass work in 2002 I felt immediate attraction to this artistic medium.

With the kind help of my teachers- Rene Culler and Michaela Moller and my dear friends at The Glass Furnace school in Turkey, I achieved a high level of proficiency in the techniques of fusing and lampworking, which helped me in expressing my artistic ideas.

I realized that through my creative work I wish to create a space for communication- both with my immediate surrounding and with people from all over the world. The artistic work I have done so far has already brought me to new places and introduced me to new views. I am looking forward to exploring and discovering even more.

title: Natalie Merchant, Carnival.
  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • A pincushion for every day
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Gone to Pot
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes

So bubbly

Look what I found in the Gallery!

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Kirameku is glad to offer a nice selection of colorful and sparkling creations, from handmade jewelry to pieces of art.

Kirameku offers different choices of materials to make sure that dreams fit every budget. Please refer to the jewelry descriptions to ensure that everything suits your taste. As for artwork, all is made with the finest materials, from professional pigmentation to acid-free heavy weighted papers.

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  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • A pincushion for every day
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Gone to Pot
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes

Giving Life Purpose: The 100 Challenge.

It’s no secret that I like my handbags. I have lots of them. My husband might argue I have too many, but let’s think about this honestly – can you ever have too many?

My answer would be yes. I literally do have too many bags. And shoes. And generally I have too many clothes. My answer: I need a de-cluttering session. In the far future, of course. It might even benefit me to sign myself up for the famous 100 Thing Challenge.

Not heard of the 100 Thing Challenge? The founder of the movement, Dave Bruno, says that the goal of the 100 Thing Challenge, or 100TC for short, is a ‘way to stop participating in irresponsible consumerism and start living a more meaningful lifestyle that is economically secure and that blesses people.’

So how do we, the Average Over Spenders of the World stop filling our lives with meaningless ‘stuff’? The 100TC follows three nice and easy steps:

Reduce:
First things first this means getting rid of some of your stuff. Not wearing a bunch of old clothes and waiting for the day they’ll fit you? Think again. If they’ve been sitting there waiting and you wishing, they’re better off in another person’s life. Either give them away to another person or donate them to a charity. Books that you’ve read making your bookshelf look pretty but not doing much else? Get rid. With things like children’s toys you should seriously think about doing an inventory of toys. Make a list of all toys, tick off a few loved favourites and ditch the rest. Donation, donation, dontation. Oh yes and a little note: do not take out items of clothing and reminisce over memories if you’re serious about giving these things away. You’ll only get emotionally involved and this isn’t a time for hanging onto ghosts of the past.


(Image: One parent from the 100 Thing Facebook has had a major clear-out of their children’s toys.)

Refuse
This one is perhaps the most difficult. Refusal is taken offensively in Western culture. This won’t be easy, but the best route is to be relaxed with people who try to give you ‘stuff.’ Don’t preach. Just calmly explain you’re having a bit of a clear-out of stuff and you really don’t need whatever this person is offering. If they are really insistent then think of someone who would benefit from whatever you’ve been given and donate to them. There is always someone who will benefit from the things you’ll never get around to using or don’t really need.

Rejigger
I suppose this sounds easy and as a last step you should be well on your way to your de-cluttered nirvana, but readjusting your thinking and habits you’ve acquired over your life time are not going to be easy. Take this last step in small increments. Don’t make it an all or nothing scenario. But question little day time habits;

Do I really want to spend money on snacks that I could have easily prepared at home?
Should I walk more rather than rely on my car?
How can I cut down on my weekly food bill?

Make it fun and if it helps, remind yourself with visuals as to why you’re trying to achieve this balance in your life; a photo of your family or loved one or even a photo of yourself when you were at your happiest.

The best thing that the 100 Thing Challenge has created is the self motivation in others. They want this change, too, for their own very personal reasons. And living in a World where borrowing and buying on credit is increasing I can’t help but think we’d all benefit from adopting some of the 100 Thing Challenge principles in our life.

As one person on the 100 TC Facebook said;

Quote of the day: Too many people spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.

For myself there are happily not a lot of changes I need to make; de-cluttering is my only issue. Debt isn’t a feature in our lives and we are more than aware of our incomings and outgoings. We don’t make huge spends on worthless items we’ll rarely use and barely need.

How different would our World be if credit cards didn’t exist? If debt was never a consideration? I see so many people around me getting into debt when they really can’t afford too; the truth is that you can never afford debt so you shouldn’t make it in the first place. Let’s all start living within our means. Let’s plan and prepare for the future rather than party in the present. Let’s take care of our basic needs and think about our wants more carefully.

Ponder this article. Question if you’re giving your life purpose right now and ask yourself if things could be different for the better if you did something a little bit different, every little day.

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • A pincushion for every day
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Gone to Pot
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes

Interview wth Renée Parker, Artspell

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Renée Parker has lived in Atlanta since ’89 and loves it, with maybe the exception of the traffic, and also likes to travel. She has a tiny goldfish named Milagro, an Inca Gold Snail called Esteban, and an Algae eater called Scooter. She hopes to adopt a puppy sometime soon. Renée describes herself as quirky, optimistic, inventive, resourceful, and a hungry-for-knowledge dreamer. Check out her shop here!

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What do you surround yourself with?

Books, mostly about art, craft, artists & history. Things torn from magazines and catalogs because I get inspiration from shapes, colors, and textures found everywhere. Journals and sketchbooks – I have several that float from room to room, one or two that generally stay in my car and one or two tiny ones that fit into purses – ideas happen everywhere. Things that have pretty or unique textures and colors – I often buy paper, paint, jewelry components, yarn and other objects simply because they jump out at me and I know they’ll become something beautiful later, when the inspiration hits. And good, positive people.

What are some of your favorite things?

I love nature, history, artifacts, travel, learning about other cultures, DIY, inspiring other people, and of course, all things creative.

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When not painting, what are you doing?

Sketching, sculpting, sanding, planning, measuring, cutting, designing, beading, wiring, knitting, reading about techniques, talking about projects with friends and family, and dreaming about the next exciting artistic adventure.

How long have you been crafting?

I’ve been creating since I was very young. I started at approximately three years old, according to my mother.

Why did you start?

It was exciting for me – there were always limitless possibilities before me when I sat down to draw, paint, or even color in a coloring book.

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Where to you get your materials?

I’m fortunate in that my area has at least one each of most of the major art and craft suppliers planted around town. I also order online, from time to time. The thing I’m proud of is that I’ve been finding more and more ways to upcycle things and to incorporate recycled materials into many of my projects. That began when I was a child and developed an interest in making things from objects around the house, and refurbishing things.

Do you come up with your own designs for your items?

All of my work is my own original design. I rarely work from patterns or plans – they make me restless. I do sometimes find a project in a book or online and tailor it to my own design/style/specifications, though.

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Can you tell us a little of your process?

Basically, I always have many pieces underway. Some will be paintings, some sculptures, jewelry, mixed media, etc., all at different stages of completion. My projects overlap naturally because I have an ongoing stream of ideas. I usually jot down notes and/or sketches as soon as new stuff develops in my head and either initiate the project soon thereafter, or allow time for the idea to develop further, while I work on other pieces. In between getting new projects started, I spend time here and there on various pieces already underway, moving each along at whatever pace they call for. I’ve learned that rushing a piece never gets me the end result I pictured in my mind, and that is another reason why it works for me to have numerous pieces going at once. Sometimes they surprise me and several are suddenly finished. It probably seems like madness to some, but my work is better and I’m happier with the end result when I let the pieces flow like this instead of following some regimented way of working strictly on one piece, nonstop until it’s done. I would probably lose interest very quickly that way, anyway.

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How long does it take to complete an item, like your everyday mache?

It often depends on drying time and how anal I want to be about things like texture and color. Having had years of trial and error and being familiar with how a medium like papier mache behaves under different conditions makes a difference. A large bowl, like the Paper Scissors bowl usually takes about 4 hours of active studio time to create, not including drying times for the paper pulp and the acrylic paint.

Do you have a dedicated work area/room?

Yes, I have a studio space at home.

Is this your full-time job? Hobby? Fun?

I do create full-time, and am working on making it my main source of income. And it is fun!

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Do you have a best seller?

My sales are all over the map, with most in jewelry, the recycled paper beads I sometimes offer, and greeting cards. I enjoy offering items at different price points because I like the idea of “art for everybody’s budget”.

What is your favorite?

My favorite things are the new things I’m working on and can’t wait to share!

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Do you do other kinds of crafts not showing in your store?

I think there’s a little of most of the things I do featured in my shop, in one form or another. I’m looking forward to offering more of my paintings, including my watercolor work. And I’ve been working with soft goods made from upcycled t-shirts, for a line I hope to launch before the end of the summer.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

In 5 years I look forward to having expanded my work to feature recognized collections of art and design in different mediums, some in boutiques and galleries, some licensed, and some sold exclusively from my own online entities. I hope to have completed a small collection of books (a childrens’ book and books on creative techniques and inspiration) that have been chewing on me for a few years now, and to have done more television appearances to promote my work (I would love to appear on Martha Stewart and possibly Oprah!)

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What have you learned since you started running your own business?

Oh so much – I could almost write a book on that, but since I don’t have time, I trade experiences and things learned with other creative business people. The most important thing, I think, is how much focus and attitude matter. Small business owners have to allow themselves time to learn and make mistakes, but keep moving. They must be very resourceful and creative, artists or otherwise. Being willing to constantly look for ways to grow and improve helps a LOT.

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Do you have any advice for people trying to start their own handcrafted business?

Just START! I’ve learned that whatever you want to do, you just have to get started. No, it might not look or work like your fondest dream at first, but everyday is an opportunity to tweak and hone things and move them closer to what you envision. Then one day you wake up and see what you wanted in the beginning, or perhaps even better!! Look at people who are doing what you want to do and figure out how they got there. Be a total sponge. Seek out every spec of knowledge you can about your specialty, ask questions, then put your own unique spin on what you do. Be inspired by others’ work, then go do yours!

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • A pincushion for every day
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids
  • Gone to Pot
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes