Archive | October, 2009

Point #8-Just Move to the Junkyard NOW, or “Damn You, Regretsy!”

29 Oct

I am not an efficient person by nature. I really truly have to force myself to organise and declutter, because my natural instinct is to firmly believe that come the revolution, the only thing standing between me and complete chaos and annihilation is my collection of vintage baby food jars, or perhaps my priceless toilet paper rolls circa 2008. Therefore, it was with a heavy heart that I sadly, but ruthlessly denuded a box of “craft supplies”, or “crap”, brought recently to my newish apartment from my storage locker. Anything that I couldn’t think of a good use for and had had for some time was due for the bin. Insert frowny face here.

It was thus with great sadness that I finally divested myself of a tremendous prize to which I had clung for many years: a sizable collection of AOL CDs taking up a narrow drawer that was going to need to house different stock in my new, more organised system. I stared longingly at these shiny little discs, trying desperately to find some use for them. CDs melted in the oven made gorgeous pieces similar to dichroic glass, but the fumes were apparently epic, and so I had no interest. The ubiquitous CD clock was always a favourite, and yet recently I saw them blasted mercilessly by the magnificent “Regretsy” site and I couldn’t risk my beloved discs ending up fodder for the jaded. Better to see them in a landfill first! With a heart wrung dry, and a trembling hand, I tossed them in a bag, and thence to the garbage bin, never to be seen again.

Well, fuckettydoo.

This was mere days ago. Damned if TONIGHT I didn’t come across the CUTEST idea for old CDs to be made into sweet little peppermint candy ornaments with the simple application of Sharpie brand permanent marker in what I will now dub “Regretsy Red”. Forgetting my rash toss of a few days ago, I dashed excitedly to the storage drawers in question to find…organised, neat, sterile rows of a craft supply I can not even now remember. Poop. Double poop. Much shaking of fists and beating of breast.

So as is usual for my little posts of something falling far short of wisdom, I leave you tonight with a lesson. Damn you, Regretsy. No, not that, for you brought us poultry feet and vulva jewelry. The lesson is this. Never, EVER throw anything away. Ever. As long as you live. Living in filth and squalor is preferable to living with regret…sy.

Jessica

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Point #7-Halloween Costumes Suck, and Wedding Dresses are Exceedingly Comical

26 Oct

I am busily working on my sooper sekrut awesome Halloween costume…if by “working on it” I mean “thinking really hard about it”. It’s always been hard to get really excited about something I will wear once and then dismantle, throw away, or forget about. That’s why I never buy one, because it’s a total waste of money to me; at least when I make it, I have created something that I won’t feel bad about ripping to shreds and changing up later.

I couldn’t even get too aerated about my wedding dress, lo, these many years ago. I went by myself, utterly sans the huge rock star sized entourages most brides are packing. I fairly coldbloodedly picked out something that met my precise requirements, which is to say, “fit me”…well, and was froofy and lacy enough to double as dessert topping…got basic alterations and called it a day. I like the show “Say Yes to the Dress”, because I can experience that deeply special emotion that is a combination of crying like a big gay monkey at the heartwarming tales, scarcely restrained glee at some of the consultants’ bitchiness, and a nice soupcon of “WTF?-the natural reaction to seeing some numbnuts spend more on a dress than I have ever dropped on a car-nicely giving the whole thing savor. But I, myself, found a deeply discounted confection that was roughly what I thought defined a wedding dress for me, little thinking of the hilarious effect it would have years later.

I’ve been divorced for five years now, but as my ex and I are still the best of friends, and I didn’t feel the need to destroy the dress in a fit of temper or pique, I still have the thing. I have visions of using it as a costume or gown for something someday, as long as fairly drastic alterations are made. I pulled it out one day recently, and my boyfriend (who is also friends with my ex and things are nice) said, “oh, that’s the wedding dress…let’s see it”. Wanting to give the full effect, I actually slid the dress on (as far as it would go, at least) and presented my enormous white form to him. He looked with horrified fascination at the large, puffed, slightly off the shoulder sleeves and said, “Are you hiding the sweatshop kids who made that thing IN the sleeves????”. I offered my counter to that remark in the form of a very special finger and said, “Yeah, it gets worse…don’t laugh”, whereupon I turned to reveal the horror of my ginormously bowed backside. This bow was large enough to shelter whole villages and be seen from space. It was the UberBow, a creature renowned in song and story. I had been told in wedding magazines-clearly as an elaborate prank-that an “interesting back” of the dress was preferred since that’s what the guests would be looking at through the ceremony and that for a girl with a broader beam, a bow was concealing and flattering. All it really did was make my ass look like the world’s saddest, most unwanted gift. Socks from Grandma had nothing on opening a present and finding my Big Bowed Butt inside. Needless to say, I think the most interesting thing about the guests getting to watch the Big Bowed Nightmare waft tantalizingly in front of them were the hilarious gales of laughter they were no doubt sharing at the sight.

So the moral is, kids, watch what you wear on your wedding day to avoid that charming “what the fuck was I thinking” moment ten or fifteen years hence. And make your own Halloween costumes. I have this big bow I can let you borrow.

Jessica

Point #6-Blogs Are More Interesting With Pictures

24 Oct

And before too long, I will remedy the sad, sad lack. I have quite a few pictures of various projects, but I wanted to get a few posts under my belt before working on pictures and explanations and tutorials and apologies and recriminations and a good rationale for why exactly I asked the sheep to do that.

Point #5-There’s Always Another Time Suck

23 Oct

::sigh::

I always swear that I am Not Going to Start Learning a New Craft. It’s a fully capitalize-able mantra that lasts for as long as it takes for me to find an Utterly Awesome New Craft that Really Won’t Take Long and I Can Totally Learn. This, of course, always turns out to be Horse Shit.

As I type, I am attempting to learn how to make French beaded flowers. They are not really difficult, merely fiddly, and the end result is sufficiently stunning to be worth the effort. Or so I am guessing. I am working on loading teeny weeny seed beads onto thin copper wire and then forming petals in between typing this post. It is not a fast or efficient process. I started writing this post (and making the damn flower) when Barack Obama was President. President Britney Spears has just entered her second term and my flying car is in the shop. The only reason you are reading this in your present is that I used a time machine to post it. Gambling tip: the Cubs still haven’t won a World Series.

So i am told that a bead spinner will help this process and that is awesome, and I am really enjoying the actual beading part. In addition, if I ever get around to tying the knot (as in marriage, not another damn craft discipline), I want to make a bouquet of beaded flowers to carry. This is kind of a craft just for me, and I haven’t done that in a while. If only I actually had that stupid time machine.

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Jessica

Point #4-I Hope Cleanliness is Not Close to Anything but “Not Smelliness”

21 Oct

Otherwise, I am in troooouuuuble.

I have noticed something in my months of, shall we call it, “self” employment: namely that showering is something that happens considerably less when one does not leave the house. Before I am lambasted for my smelly hippytude, let me preface all of this by saying that I do not stink horribly, I am not going anywhere of importance, and I know enough to bathe myself regularly when I venture out into the big wide world.

But I was amused to realise that unlike the regular routine of nightly (or morning..er, ly) shower and washing of hair, I must motivate myself in some fashion. I have managed to justify purchases of new and exciting bath products in this way. Soap and Glory is clearing out their Peaches and Cream shower scrub at Target? To the shower, Jeeves and damn the lights! Ah, now I smell like peaches…

And NO baths. Yuck. They are fine when one is having a glass of wine and a book by candlelight moment, but if I am dirty, a bath is just soaking in Me Tea and that is full of fail.

I guess the bottom line is this: if you have to wonder how long it has been since you showered, it’s been too long.

Point #3-Art vs Craft and the Explanation of my Persona

21 Oct

The whole art vs craft debate has gone on for a while and I am sick and tired of reading about it. I am sick of pretentious namby pamby art farts arguing that unless it “soars” and means something and is part of some big “vision” it is not art. And I am just as sick of people who stitch a few half-hearted rainbows on some plastic canvas and try to tell me how “artistic” they have always been. Shut up, both of you. You both suck.

Then there is the third category, and I was one of these myself, and that’s the apologists. The folks that are good at what they do, and may be very skilled in a particular or various disciplines, and explain that they realise it isn’t “art” per se, but that folk art and craft have been hand and hand through the years and thus they are artists as well. I will never be one to tell somone how they can label themselves, but as for myself, I am proud to be a craftswoman, proud to be a crafter. To try to persuade someone that what I am doing is art as opposed to craft is to somehow concede that craft is somehow less…less valid, less creative, less marketable, less important. And while we are at it, yes…craftswoman. Not “-person”. Woman. I am proud off that, too. My femininity is part of me and I don’t think I need to apologise for that either.

So I “take back” craftswoman proudly. I am, for the most part, not an artist. I like crafting and I like making things people can use and admire. Which brings me to The Accidental Artisan. If you’ve read my about page, you know where the accident part came in. As for artisan, I like that word. It implies someone who works with her hands, who is a worker as well as thinker, who knows her bread and butter will come from creating some beautiful and functional. What is created goes beyond the basic tool or vessel, and becomes, if not art, at least a thing to be revered for its workmanship. It doesn’t rely on temperment or vision. It evokes days of guilds and apprenticeships. It straddles the beauty of art with the function of craft.

I strive to be an artisan.

Point #1: In which I appear fully formed upon the web!

21 Oct

Greetings. I could write a long winded introduction and explain what I am about, or I could hit a few main points and let you get on with your day.

This is a blog about craft. Not just “crafts” as in “arts and”, but the act of craft, of crafting, the meaning behind it, the wonder of popsicle sticks and the joy of pipecleaners, art vs. craft, crafting spirituality…any number of things that have to do with why crafting is something I don’t just want to do, but rather need to do. Three things to remember and that will be recurring themes in this blog:

1. I like to make stuff out of shit. And shit out of stuff. In other words, I am a trashionista and like to reuse, recycle, upcycle, etc.  I am as likely to make a pendant out of a bread tag as beads or other jewelry making implements. Seeing the next step of usefulness in an object destined for the bin is not only green and cost conscious, but fun as hell.

2. I don’t do it by the book. I don’t think I have ever taped off a damn thing in my life, and if I measure once, cut once, and it turns out to be too short, I find a different way to use it. Which is not to say that I don’t admire folks that are technically precise and skilled- I do. But this is what works for me, and I know I always wished I could find someone with the same fly by night approach.

3. I am Pagan. The craft world used to be dominated by folks that didn’t think, act, or craft like me. This is not wrong or right, it is just the way it was. It was frustrating, though, to never be able to find a cross stitch pattern with a Green Man or Moon Goddess featured, or scrapbook supplies for a big ol’ heathen like me. Nowadays that has changed, and it is fantastic. I think it helps bring people closer, too, that may not have had much in common otherwise. I don’t say any of this to alienate Christians or people of other religions here; rather I want people to know right off that is something that makes me who I am, and that I have always thought that crafting is something that can take you closer to God, whatever form you believe Him/Her/Them to take.

So that’s me. Other stuff about me will make itself known, like mice sneaking out when the lights go out, as time goes on. I look forward to shocking, awe-ing, and occasionally horrifying you.

Jessica

The Accidental Artisan

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