I was asked to join a blog hop -my first- and after seeing the lovely posts already written I thought “why not” it would give me an opportunity to define for myself the winding road that led me to where I ended up creatively.
Before you read this you may want to check out a guest post I wrote for John at Practical Civilization titled 4 Simple Ways to Save the Environment.
Now back to today’s topic: Crafting.
Wendy, (Quarter Acre Lifestyle) invited me to join the blog hop. As you know from last week’s guest post I greatly admire Wendy for many reasons. What more can I tell you about this wonderful woman. If you missed Wendy’s guest post (you may want to stop and check it out), she and her husband live in a home with only a quarter of an acre of land but in that space they have been able to create a lovely home through their love of repurposing and are building towards self-sufficiency through growing and preserving the foods they eat. They even dug up their driveway to feed others.
Don’t those foods make you want to tear up your drive too? But this hop is about crafting and Wendy and Roger have that down as well from the rustic heart lovingly hung on the wall Roger made from barbed wire to the restored finds Wendy has filled her home with. You can read Wendy’s blog hop post and learn more about her.
I don’t think of myself as a crafter, yet when exploring the idea I realized that we are all crafters in our own way every time we make something whether that be a meal or a way to solve a problem in our homes. So maybe I am a crafter. ;-) I have four questions to answer today, they looked simple enough until I gave them some thought and realized there was much more to my journey than I had realized.
WHY DO I CREATE WHAT I DO?
The simple answer is for sanity and practicality, but it’s never simple is it? I always wished I could be an artist. Do you remember those advertizements intended to get you to enroll in an art school where they had a simple drawing and asked you to make a copy and send it to them? I did, I sketched each one I found, I think there were three total images used in their series, but I never submitted them. I told myself I wasn’t an artist and the only reason my sketches looked good was because these were designed to be easy to take my money.
My other dream was to become a hairdresser. I loved creating with hair, especially with color. I began cutting hair at age nine and by twelve had my own clientele and a nicely growing savings as a result. I studied with the best and specialized in specialty and corrective coloring. I also redesigned the way I gave perms. Instead of using only perm rods to wrap the hair around I experimented with everything from rags to juice cans and that need to create was satisfied, for a while.
It turned out that my skin couldn’t handle the chemicals and constantly being wet and I had to leave the industry. I realized I still needed an outlet and found it in interior decorating. Again I carved out a nice little niche for myself and supplemented my meager earnings while in college raising my two boys.
As my disability worsened I found my days of interior decorating were coming to an end when I could no longer climb the stairs to see spaces in clients homes. It left a huge void in my life until a couple of years ago when moving back to the university town I had raised my boys in I grew dismayed by the amount of good furnishings curbside destined for the landfill. My instincts told me to save them purely from an environmental motivation. But once home I found myself excited to try new ideas, give these pieces a new modern twist on their humble beginnings.
HOW DOES MY CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?
I never really thought about this. I don’t intentionally set out to create until I have spotted something needing a function. I don’t just have one craft, I’m more the jack-of-all-trades where I can do many things but am not an expert of any one. Working on furniture, it’s usually the cleaning/sanding process in which ideas start to come to me. I let the piece talk to me, show me its lines and personality then I try to show off the aspects that make it uniquely different from other pieces. I work with color, a natural progression from my days of hair color.
My projects start either with a need that needs to be met or an item needing a useful purpose. It might be extra fabric I want to use up, which was the case with the children’s aprons.
Or as with the case of an older entertainment center, a new purpose to continue its usefulness now as a place to store toys with a reading nook to relax in.
In either case, I envision how the item could be useful. How can I make it fill a need in a way not thought of before.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF IT’S GENRE?
First of all, everything I do is self-taught as I have had no training, formal or otherwise. When it comes to furniture restoration the biggest difference I’ve seen is that I use no strippers to remove paint or varnish, everything I do comes from my love of the planet and my desire to use the simplest tools and the least amount of chemicals. I use sandpaper instead of strippers, I will cut up old blankets to use as batting in new quilts, and all the paints I use are given to me by people who would have thrown them in the trash. In the garden, I needed trellises for some of my plants but didn’t want to buy new. I used pieces of furniture being trashed and created my own. I work within the constraints of what I have on hand at the time. Does this make what I see mostly as my hobbies different from others, maybe some.
WHAT AM I PRESENTLY WORKING ON?
I am currently working on several things at once. The children and I are making new birdhouses for next spring from items saved from the recycling bins; I have a desk chair I am recovering; I finally have all the materials needed to reupholster the loveseat I saved for my home; and I have a dining room table and four chairs being delivered today that need work and a new look. Finally, I’ve been asked to create a sleeping nook for my grandson to give him some privacy in his new apartment with his father.
Here’s the fun part of this blog hop, sharing some of my favorite crafters.
I think I have pretty much ruined the hop from continuing as the bloggers I contacted about participating are so busy right now they aren’t able to participate. I was so focused on these three bloggers I didn’t think past that to who else I could invite. I decided I would share them with you anyway.
Katherine, blogs at Pillows a la Mode and lives right here in the US. Katherine had to be included here based on her series called “What Can You Make With A…” In this series Katherine takes old clothes and makes completely new items from the material. From an environmental point by sharing her ideas and inspiring others to think before they throw out or donate their old clothing we can reduce our trash and fill a current need without using new resources. My absolute favorite repurposing post was the wedding dress she cut up to make a child’s first communion dress.
Janette (The Green Dragonfly) lives in New Zealand and is a mother and all round busy woman who’s creativity knows no bounds. From her about page she describes herself this way: “Mama. Maker of stuff. Crocheter. Closet Hippie. Creative. Hugger. Artist. Musician. Cook. Greenie. Painter. Drawer. Driver. Chief kisser of booboos. Photographer. Writer. Inventor of boredom busting games. Gardener. Poet. Dreamer.” And it’s all true.
Head on over to the Green Dragonfly where you will be amazed by the free projects Jeanette offers. You will find tutorials for crochet projects, kids crafts, sewing and even her own handmade coloring sheets you can download for your own little ones -they are way more beautiful than anything you can find in mass produced coloring books. If you enjoy cooking don’t miss her recipe section. One note, I have not added any pictures from Jennette’s creations because her images are copyrighted and I didn’t obtain permission to use them prior to writing this.
Finally, an artist whose work I have hung on my own wall. Jennifer (Winter Owls) is a mother, teacher and one very creative individual who lives in Australia. Along with her lovely prints, Jen uses vintage and salvaged materials in her creations such as this owl pillow created with vintage chenille and doily.
We all have a creative streak what is yours?
Don’t forget to head over to Practical Civilization to read my guest post.