Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Conscious Thinking // Working on my Hippie

Have you ever had one of those moments where a thought pops into your head, then everything around you starts to fit into the theme of that thought, and you find yourself swept away into a ball of synergistic energy when your thought turns into an idea which turns into a game plan that turns into an action?

You follow me? You know what I'm talking about!

I had that happen to me this week, or has it been a month? It started with a sudden sinking feeling when I realized that I needed to make more money to sustain myself, and decided after 2 years of attempting to be a full-time freelancer, to look for a job. Something part-time, just to supplement the freelance work I've been fortunate enough to get. The universe shone their blessings on me that day because, literally, 30 seconds on Craigslist produced exactly what I was looking for. Gaia Conceptions, a business that I have greatly admired (and spoken-of on this blog here) was looking for a seamstress for 2 days-a-week. PERFECT! I started work the next Monday.

Check out my next desk!! Window and all. 

Now here's where the thought started. 

One of the reasons that I was really interested in working with Gaia Conceptions is their incredibly sustainable business practices, in regards to the environment. All the fabrics for their garments are organic and consciously manufactured, dyed in the studio using natural or low-impact dyes, and made-to-order, eliminating unwanted stock. With an emphasis on quality craftsmanship and made-in-America, Andrea basically built the business that I would want to build. It's still fashion, we're not saving lives here, but she's thinking responsibly about every aspect of doing what she loves doing, designing and making clothes. She's not compromising.

I feel like as I get older, I slowly become aware of ways I can apply my morals into every action I take. I think the Slow Food Movement has been great to bring awareness to food choices we make but we need to start bringing awareness to all aspects of our lives. Every thing we put on our body, in our mouths, in our environments, and what we choose to spend our money on. 

Some small knittings that are finally getting framed this week. I start by stapling them to plywood painted in a complimentary color. I learned the hard way that I don't like seeing plywood through my knittings, painting them first looks so much better!

SO, working at Gaia gets me thinking about the materials I use in my art and where they come from. And, as crunchy as I am already, I hate to admit that I haven't considered it much. My focus is color then price, and where the yarn comes from or who's making it hadn't even been a thought in my mind. God.....I'm a monster!! Not to mention, the tools I use. I do gather the wood I use for my frames in the off-cut bin at work (aka Skram Furniture), so that's good, but the plywood is usually Home Depot new. How do I rectify this situation??


-- listening to this podcast ----> Woolful episode 1  (if you are interested in brevity or not a total fiber nerd, I'd say pass on listening to this)

...which introduced me to...

-- Ton Of Wool, a new company based out of Australia that is providing to the commercial market an ethically and sustainably produced yarn.

They only sell their yarn in the natural color of the sheep's hair (white, grey, black) so this got me thinking about the possibility of buying their yarn and dying it myself. This would change my color palette significantly. I would say that a signature of my work is bright color and there's limitations if you're not using powerful chemicals or synthetic fibers. Am I willing to make that change? Well, if you think about all aspects of the modern American life, there's very little of our habits that are ultimately sustainable. That means to create real change, we have to either use our amazing brains to figure out how to have it all in a sustainable way, or learn to reduce. Live with less. There's no time like the present for me to start to adapt more environmental practices into my art and, who knows, maybe it could push to an even cooler place with my work. The greatest place I could find would be to create the product I want and maintain the sustainable habits. No compromises. But, I'll never know until I start.

The studio table this week. My figure skating poster competition entry got mounted (left) and my first art commission in progress (right). Can't wait to share the finished project soon! I do love those bright colors...

The second episode of Woolful brought even more ideas for converting to a sustainable art practice. In this podcast, Ashley discusses methods for recycling yarn from unwanted garments with Jerome Sevilla, aka Grid Junky. What a fabulous idea!! I love recycling!! I'm totally in love with this idea. There's a possibility here to find more color options outside of what is dyeable in the domestic studio if you're good for the hunt. I'm certainly willing to try.

I was so amused by this giant mall in town (Greensboro), titled Destiny, accompanied by an empty parking lot. What is this? I almost don't want to know. I love living in the weirdness of a run-down city, lacking in revitalization. They just have so much character.

So what's your destiny?

Are you hoping it will find you or are you willing to cultivate it? To mold it into exactly the person that you want to be. I want my destiny to be an environmentally-conscious one, a destiny that can fulfill my creative dreams and stand by my ethical morals, and I'm starting now to make that happen. And maybe it will lead me to something that I never even knew was possible. I can't wait to find out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Art as Therapy

This past month has put me through the ringer in ways that have led me to feel very out-of-control of my own life. The worst kind of unhinged that I just can't handle. The first being total annihilation of my backyard. Where once there was secluded woods, filled with wild daffodils and fox families, now sits a most aesthetically-jarring solar panel farm.  You can find a good before shot here.

That means there's been loud noises, construction, and workers crawling all over since the end of August and, even though the work seems to be finished, they have yet to completely depart.

It's led to me avoiding my studio in favor of hiding in my house, and become a general distraction to all else.

On the plus side, it did inspire this art piece. I made it before construction started as a way for me to face the inevitable and force acceptance. The worst part of all of it is, when things happen so close to you, you feel like there may be some way to have some power over it, and when you can't change it or prevent it, you partially blame yourself for not trying harder. And the fact that I'm only renting really provided a feeling of helplessness.


- chain myself to trees (obviously)
- pour malicious ingredients into the gas tanks of their construction equipment
- go over to their office (hideous trailer parked in front yard) and scream every evil comment I know
- slash tires
- bitch to my landlady incessantly (actually did that) truth is, I think she lost her control over the project as well, at least she acted like that was the case

And moving still is an option, even though at one point we seriously were considering buying the house. For now, we're still here. I put a decent chunk of money into building out my home studio and I'm just not ready to walk away from that investment yet. BUT I digress.

The greatest ending, at least the one I'd like to focus on, is that the art piece (filled with all my hatred and frustration) was donated to the Carrack's annual fundraiser and this amazing guy bought it. He and his family will enjoy it for what it is and not the negative feelings I've attached to it. I can't help but think that this is a good ending to my self-applied therapy session.

OK so that's just the first part...

Several different types of meltdowns have followed as a result of the backyard changes. Second being the crisis over what I call "home". Suddenly this house that I had described regularly as being "magical" became a place of hostility. The desire to own a home prioritized itself in my thoughts, and I used the fuel to work on building my "dream home". Therapy Session Round 2.

 The Tiny House series started with the Love Signs show, all original 5 sold, which obviously meant that I should make more! So now became the pertinent time to continue with them. As you can see, I've been having fun getting creative with my architecture.

The final stressor, that I'm most currently in the process of coping with, is feelings of general offense towards modern society. I abhor construction, I feel like everyone's priorities conflict with my own, the world is backwards, and we're destroying the earth, and no one is smart enough to make a change because everyone only cares about money, and it all compounds into a deep hopelessness towards mankind and the world around me. How did I get here? It hurts so bad, how do I come out of this hole?

For starters, I'm working on fixing my thought patterns to at least keep from destroying myself but I don't know yet how successful I will be. It looks like I need to think of a new art project.