Monday, May 6, 2013

Crafting What You Like!

When I started my crafting experience, it began as a way to express my creativity, something outside of my work and then later with my own business of graphic design. I loved designing things...price lists, catalog sheets, taking someone's product and making it something that would sell for my clients. It was always challenging as I was often learning how to use the programs while I was creating the product!
Creating A Crazy Quilt Design

But later on, I started to long for something to create for myself. One day, while going to Michael's I picked up a wooden birdhouse on sale, bought a few paints and got a book on Pennsylvania Dutch designs and gave it a try. Needless to say, what I did then and what I can do now is very different. Its amazing how you grow. Well, that is if you stick to it.

I started taking actual classes for painting in 2006. I had always wanted to paint with oils but the few times I tried it on my own, I made mud. I didn't understand the relationship of colors with oils. They are very different from watercolors or the few paintings I made in acrylics. Of course, many artists sneer at "acrylics" so I started with oils. And to be honest it wasn't until the last day of my first 14 class session that it came together. I was able to create in 45 minutes a sunrise on a lake in Yosemite that is one of my favorite paintings still.

That was class. Meanwhile at home, I was still painting my crafts. They were nice but tended to be very two dimensional. I taught myself shading, and was found this gave amazing depth. Baby steps.

During a trip to New Jersey a visit to A.C. Moore was another revelation. I ended up buying a whole bunch of items not seen, at least yet, in California. They have winters and so much more time to do this kind of thing. I still have some of the things I painted there and then had to ship home in a parcel post package I purchased so much.

After the first set of classes at the Las Vegas Painting Convention in 2009, I was really hooked. The number of items grew and I began giving them away as gifts. That remained problematic though. I realized that many people didn't appreciate the time and creative effort it takes and giving them to people who didn't care was discouraging.

My daughter mentioned to me and now and then I would look at the site but just never had the gumption to create a store. When I started with another art teacher, she expressed an interest in selling over 25 years of her painting and decorative crafts and so I used her store as a learning curve for my own. So, she taught me how to use acrylics in fine art paintings and I helped her with her store.

Since I opened my store in Oct. of 2011, I realized that I could create anything I wanted and the cost was cheap enough to "test" the waters. After I entered a DecoArt contest last year with the first of my CRAZY QUILT birdhouse designs and won nationally, I realized that maybe I had hit on something. What I had created was different, nothing like anyone else's. I loved creating them and it gave me, in a sense, permission to create a whole new range of designs and products.

After a trip to Alaska I created several Northwest Indian designs, I tried the CRAZY QUILT designs on trays, boxes, even a notepad holder. Then after a trip to Quartzite, AZ in January and finding some small resin skulls, I created four LAST CHANCE birdhouses, each inspired by those skulls!

For me, at least, creating what I like, successful or not, keeps the juices flowing. I try not to get stuck in a rut and am open to just about any new idea and product to try it on. If you visit you will see exactly what I mean.

Craft on!

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