Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fall Activities

Gravy once again finding my work table, and all the projects I'm currently working on, a pleasing place to nap.

Hey everybody! 

I have been up to a ton of stuff this fall and am very pleased to say that not much of it has been freelance work-for-hire crap. I am whittling it out of my life and it feels great! Still got a couple loose ends I have to finish up before I can state that I am completely free. And I'm serious when I say free. Doing work for others comes with a level of stress -- knowing that someone else is holding you to a deadline, the need to live up to others' expectations, etc -- and those things had a way of weighing heavily on one's shoulders. I think that's why school wasn't such a great fit for me. I work a lot better holding myself to deadlines rather than to be pressured by others, which I have recently realized about myself. AND it is a very crucial thing to have some insight on when you are attempting to work for yourself.

See how much the original lining had disintegrated?

I recently finished up a project that I was somewhat stressing about, so much so, that I put it away and promptly forgot about it (psst for a whole freaking year!). Ok, ok, lemme explain. It was for a friend, someone who had done favors for me in the past and I was wanting to do it for free for him. What happens when you lack financial compensation? You put it off.

Of course, that all seems so silly now because was it not nearly as difficult or time consuming as I had dreaded it to be ---- re-lining a leather jacket including all the pockets. It actually was kinda fun! Well, after the tedium of seam-ripping the whole thing, and trying to do a clean job of it so I could use the original pieces as guides to cut the new fabric.

And what I was dreading the most was if my sewing machine could handle all that leather. It worked so well it blew me away. I do have an industrial machine but I don't have a walking foot. Sweet relief! And I'm now thinking that I have some room to ask him for another favor... 

I met a herd of knitters in Greensboro, working on a large yarn-bomb intended to cover the whole Walker St bridge. They were very relieved when I showed up with my bulky hobby knit machine (did I mention someone gave me one? As in fo free??). I let them borrow it to help with the boring stuff. We met in the back of Shelf Life, a new, independent art supply store in town, and how great is the atmosphere? I just thought these pictures were fun and colorful.

I was able to donate some practice knits that I didn't want to throw away. Those green-and-white swatches forming the "H" were from when I was just learning how to use my fabulous standard gauge knit machine.

Speaking of knitting machines...

Did I tell y'all I got picked to be a pop-up artist-in-residence at the Greenhill Center?? 10 days in their ArtQuest space, to set up whatever work I wanted to do and to interact and engage with the kids and families that came through the space.

I attempted to try and get the kids to draw their own knitting designs on graph paper, with an emphasis on drawing houses, since I've been making a lot of houses this year. It failed miserably but I had a back-up plan consisting of using those pot holder loops to teach finger knitting and a bag-full of pom-pom makers. Isabella did draw her guinea pig and I was thrilled to use the machine to knit it for her.

So maybe I wasn't able to get the kids to directly interact with a project that I was working on, but I at least promoted the name of fiber arts. And who doesn't like pom-poms?? 
If you can see in the earlier picture of my knitting set-up, I had that bulky hobby machine out (bottom right) for anyone interested and during my time there I had 2 groups of kids that got really into knitting on the machine. As in, one group (consisting of 2 brothers and a grandpa) came back the next day just to work on the machine! It surprised me, I wasn't sure how they would take to it but the older brother especially (probably 9 or so) could use it with minimal help from me. And they were able to knit an entire scarf to take home with them!

At the end of my time, I had done more socializing, networking, and playing with the kids, rather than making any art. It still felt like a success though. It's always exciting to share activities with kids that engage them. As in...

 ...this one little girl that came to family night was finger-knitting, and I was basically putting the loops on her fingers for her. .. and doing the knitting part ... she was pretty much just holding her hand there. Then slowly she started taking over for me, one step at a time, to the point that she didn't need me anymore. And every time that she would finish a "row" of fingers, she would hold it up for me to see and just beam with joy and satisfaction. I got a lot of enjoyment out of watching her.

Family time out in the backyard.
This photograph is titled "How to keep the 2.5-yr old entertained and outta trouble". I am jealous of that full-split, Susan! Talk about open hips! She must be made of playdoh :)

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