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Wednesday
Jun202012

Off Hours

I have noticed that those who are insanely successful became that way by not following the flow of conventional thought... they did things off hours and when normal folks would have called it a day. It isn't that these folks had more time to marinate on things or free time here and there given to them just for the purpose of creating no, they worked incredibly hard during normal hours to pay the bills and then, whilst the rest of the world "decompressed" and found leisure, they cast off their indentured servant status and claimed their freedom, choosing to use their time as they pleased. Success finds folks who are seeking it first. 

In off hours, away from the herd of conventional thought thinkers, there is more space to expand, a bigger chance perhaps, a larger opportunity to attempt something daring and huge without a crowd to dampen the magnitude... Like this mass transit tunnel at 3 am, success has no obsticles, no hang-ups standing in the way to slow it down en route to its final destination.

Mass Transit

Monday
Jun112012

Crafting Ray Guns

It is no secret that one of my favorite places to buy crafting supplies is Radio Shack... I know, it sounds strange but, so does assuming that the only place crafters go to purchase supplies for their crafty mayhem involve locations with art or craft in the store name. The reality is, those who create, find inspiration everywhere and see the potential in random objects... they aren't paying attention to the arbitrary assignment or label attached to the packaging hidden in some UPC code. 

This project uses a simple etching kit from Radio Shack, a permanent Marker, and some springs from an old clicking ball point pen. It's a simple project that illustrates the cross pollination between art and technology whilst highlighting those who seek to make using what is on hand. I am hoping to have the opportunity to demonstrate this project while in New York attending Maker Faire in September.

Sarah Hodsdon Copper Etched Ray Gun

Thursday
May312012

Connections

Linking, connecting, being a part of something and it in turn being a part of you... it's called connection and I think more and more in our ever connected world, people are craving a more meaningful connection. As a creator, so much of what I make is in a studio, behind closed doors and in solitude. Many of the makers, the tinkerers, the doers types I am so blessed to have poking around in my world have expressed at one time or another, how isolation itself, the act of creating alone, isn't much of a sparring partner for their inner muse. Creativity, that magical ability to connect the random dots everyone sees in such a way that a picture emerges, is so much more meaningful when one can actually share that discovery with another. 

Awhile back, whilst demoing for an amazing company (Grant Studio) at a industry trade show (Craft and Hobby), I got sidetracked showing a beautiful soul how to make a "gum wrapper" bracelet out of a pile of scraps we had laying around. As it turned out, she spent her entire middle school years wearing braces on her teeth and was never allowed to chew gum... thus, she had never been exposed to the joys of folding the wrappers and MacGyvering them into many versions of wearable lovelies. To create a bracelet, we needed 66 links (the span of about 15 minutes) and something to talk about to pass the time. As we folded, others stopped by and sat down at the table, each having their own story about how, when, and where they themselves had learned to link the wrappers of gum that tended to lose it's flavor much too quickly. As our hands were busy, memories came flooding back and in the re-telling, the moment right then, that connection of strangers linked in a common project, made it's way into each of our creations. The ironic part to the whole story was the fact that this woman had been following me on the various social networks, she was someone I had never met but had "connected" with at some point... it wasn't until we made something together that we were truly linked.

 

Sunday
Dec042011

Childhood

I always savor the moment when I finish the last piece in a collection. "Childhood" has got to be one of my most favorite projects in recent times, calling it complete is happiness wrapped up the smile of good times with a dear friend. 

Friday
Dec022011

Spice

Everything smells of cinnamon. Perhaps the aromas of the season permeate deeper because the cold weather keeps us inside where the 'warm by the fire' thoughts are a bit more concentrated but, December wafts in like spice and vanilla surrounded by evergreen. Yuletide contrasts of fire and ice, red and green, twinkling lights and a matte velvet sky, make up for the shorter hours of day by ushering in extra hours to dream bolder and wish bigger. 

Thursday
Dec012011

Head Up

Ever since I saw the debut of this song at Jeff Pulver's #140 Conference here in Detroit, this has been a mainstay in my studio music rotation. Enjoy

 

Tuesday
Nov292011

Blues

Blue glass sparkles calm out of spite almost. It beckons folks to come and sit a spell, take a sip and drink in contemplation while the rest of the world hurries about. 

Tuesday
Nov292011

Being Tall

My artistic process requires music. I've been told by certain family members and friends that they know when to walk in the studio and when to just walk on by according to the music that pours out from behind closed doors. I suppose I cannot imagine the act of creating without a soundtrack of somesort. Every project I embark on, every book, canvas, invention or collection, has a selection of music that goes with it which can be played in the background for another layer of meaning. The art of composing, creating, building, it all requires layer upon layer, making something, an idea, that starts out flat become multi-dimensional and able to stand tall on it's own merit.

Enjoy one of my favorite artists and a mainstay in my studio... The Tallest Man on Earth

Monday
Nov282011

NaNoWriMo

As November closes, so does the last chapter on the 55K+ words I wrote during this year's NaNoWriMo undertaking. This is the fourth novel I've finished during National Novel Writing Month. For me personally, there is no greater joy than to see the kids I mentor follow through and craft some spectacular stories. My 11 year old son participated again this year typing along side highschoolers night after night and I could not be more proud of his accomplishment. The passion for writing is more than telling a good story, it is setting to ink that which makes humanity insanely unique and special. I can think of no better way to spend a month than in the company of such fantastic characters. Much love to all those who inspire me daily and spur me on to be the better I never thought I could be by being the amazing that they are.

Friday
Nov252011

Handmade Wishes

And today, after all the giving thanks has been distributed into the take home containers and refrigerated properly, black friday deals usher in the holiday bruises and tales of must have listed wishes procurred at great lengths...

My wish is for something handmade. I normally do not go on at length about supporting the arts, the crafters who craft or the makers who make but, this year is different. The times are different, the economy is different, our values are different, our tastes are different. 

Once upon a time kids were fed scratch cooking all the time, "food" didn't come from a box, salad did not come from a bag, toys were made so one's grandchildren could enjoy them in the future. There was a taste for quality, something that would last rather than be replaced. Somewhere boxed mac and cheese started tasting better than the kind that took a whole afternoon to prepare and when fed the "real" stuff, kids turned up their noses and asked for the processed versions instead. 

Watching the spectacle of people in line for more hours that the items they wanted so desperately would entertain, I started thinking about the quilt on my bed... how many hours were sewn up in those stitches, how good the the feel of handmade felt to wrap up in. When I was young, handmade Christmases were a necessity. I never dreamed that they'd ever be considered a luxury yet, here we are today. It is cheaper to buy a disposable plastic toy than a finely crafted set of wooden blocks and, because our society had been fed a steady diet of boxed, manufactured, processed, and kitted, they've not only lost the taste for handmade, they've also been trained to see price rather than the cost of a person's time spent on hand crafting.

My wish, the one I'll hang on the tree and impress on those I love, do not buy a gift for the sake of tying a ribbon upon it and having it to open Christmas morning. Invest your holiday dollars in those who make things from scratch. Give the gift of education by teaching those around you to remember the taste of quality, to see the value in something that takes time to create, and to not discount the talents of those who have chosen invest their lives, their sweat, blood and tears into mastering a passion. We collectively, as a culture, need to reclaim the art of being human from a disposable mindset by investing in generational gifts, the handmade stuff built with the intent of lasting longer than we can.

This is my wish I hope you will share. 

Thursday
Nov242011

Give Thanks

Perhaps Nature lavishes us with colorful squash each Autumn just so that we may see in the many seeds within the varied shapes and sizes the hundreds of thanks-filled givings they can produce when given a place to grow.

Happy Thanks-Giving.

You may find the directions to the project and many others here.

Tuesday
Nov222011

Kid's Table

The kid's table is where stories are told and legends are built, it is where peas can dance on the end of a spoon and gravy migrates beyond the borders of mashed potato-land. Before Vegas stole the slogan, whatever happened at the kid's table stayed at the kid's table... unless squealing first held it's advantages or could negotiate a later bedtime. A tablecloth was spread over the card table Grandma had played bridge on last week with her ladies, the napkins weren't linen but, neither were our shirts. We used the silverware that had long lost it's matched partners, like socks in a dryer except in the silverware drawer, and the only china we sipped from was in form of a threat that straving kids from there wouldn't think twice about the lime green and cottage cheese concoction no one voluntarily put on their plate.

The lesson every kid learns after enough seasons in the kitchen is that growing up isn't something that can be stopped. The places left vacant by relatives that aged out of the system always needed to be filled at the "grown-ups table", and no one gets to stay at the kid's table forever, it is reserved just for childhood it seems. Later on, with napkins on one's lap and too many forks to keep track of, that laughter comes back, the whispers from the kitchen ride out on wafts of turkey dinner and stuffing and the kid's table becomes a part of the conversation at the grown-up tables... in that brief moment of past and present, two worlds collide and all are thankful.

This is a place setting made for the kid's table. Using decorated craft paper from the dollar store, a pencil, some white acrylic paint and a tan Bic Markit Marker, you can easily make everyone feel special and welcome.

Sunday
Nov202011

Splash of Red

 

Friday
Nov182011

Granny Squares

The rhythmic beauty in a hook that knows it's own way around the yarns told from youth, the fabric of our lives, a series of stitches fashioned by heart row by row, generation to generation, we are bound and swaddled in the blanket of humanity

Thursday
Nov172011

Recipe Cards

There are two 'works in progress' projects in my studio that have taken on "legendary" status over the years. Truth be told, they are not that epic, they are personal journey type projects that I seldom share outside of the sanctuary of my home studio. The Book of the Dead (a leather bound, handstitched tome of projects gone terribly wrong) is a catalogue of my studio discoveries, formulations, methods, and 'recipes' not to be followed again. The other notable, is an unnamed cookbook filled with doodled pages of old recipes I've managed to hoard from family members and friends over the years.

Recipe cards are one of those things I think everyone keeps, hands down to generation to generation, gifts to others, and treasures in one way shape or form. It's hard to think of the holiday season without having a recipe book of somesort on hand. I wrote a blog post about recipes here and showed the process of how one can easily decorate their own recipe cards below.