Saturday, April 25, 2009

How do you know if you're an artist?

Autumn Leaf Card
4 3/8” x 5 ¾”
Blueberry leaves, handmade paper

For my Blog Triage class, my latest assignment involved reviewing a previous blog post, and as I looked at one of my earliest posts, I started thinking about how I've gotten to where I am now as an artist. I'm wondering if you've ever done that.

For me, I see mundane "random" pieces that have somehow come together.

First, feeling like I made a huge mistake after my first child was born. I didn't think I was cut out for being a mom, and I kept feeling this overwhelming desire to "create." I didn't have a spare moment to myself, but all I could think about was having a few minutes to make something beautiful for my home with my own two hands.

Second, one dreary January day while folding laundry, I watched a TV show about making handmade paper. It seemed really easy
. Later I watched a show with a woman pressing flowers in a microwave. I was amazed at how colorful they were. Maybe I could combine handmade paper and pressed flowers?

I did. I sold my handmade paper pressed flower cards and pictures at craft fairs, and made enough money to pay for all the flowers and garden supplies I needed. I had a nice hobby going.

Then one afternoon, at a noisy Holiday Craft Fair, a stern looking older woman stopped to look at my cards. She wasn't the usual friendly faced craft fair shopper, and she made me uneasy. Finally she held up one of my cards and said, "This does not belong here. This is art. You are an artist." I didn't know what to say, but I thanked her as she gave me a business card for a local art foundation.

I joined that art foundation, got to know the artists there, and eventually during the last few years I have given myself permission to call myself an artist.

For me, being an artist has been an unexpected journey. Isn't it amazing how God graciously gives us seemingly random experiences, and uses them to make us who we are? I am thankful.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Blogging Goals of a Botanical Artist

- noun: 1.the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end. 2. finish.

My blogging goals:

1. Ultimately, to bring my art work out of my home, into the homes of others.
How? By giving my art words: Describing it. Revealing its origins, motivations, and inspiration.

2. To make connections:
- with others who appreciate the simplicity and beauty of the plants God created.
- with other artists

3. To document my journey as an artist, by having a visual record of my art to look back upon, along with the comments/reflections of others.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Striving Bee Balm

Striving Bee Balm
Bee balm, handmade paper
8" x 10" Acid-free mat

Unframed pressed flower art

I’m striving a bit.

In order to bring some new energy and relevancy to my blog, I’ve signed up for an intense four week long “Blog Triage Class.” I'm really looking forward to the weeks ahead, and learning how to have a more vibrant blog!

Apparently most of my homework is to be completed on my blog, so hopefully you may end up learning right along with me. Today’s assignment is to blog about my “ideal visitor.” With detail. Quite honestly, I am thankful for absolutely anyone and everyone who takes a moment to visit my blog, but here’s what I’ve come up with:

* My ideal visitors would first and foremost love and appreciate the beauty and wonder of flowers, leaves, and all things botanical. They would also have an appreciation for the One who created them.

* They would tend to be past, present, or future gardeners.

* Other pressed flower artists – who learn from my techniques and share theirs with me.

* Previous customers – who have purchased my art, and are interested in getting to know me as an artist as well as a person.

* Previous customers who have bought flower presses or handmade paper kits from me, and are seeking inspiration and new ideas for their own botanical art.

* Other artists who are on the same journey I am – to get the art they create “out there,” into the world beyond their studio.

Coming up with this list has caused me to slow down and think really think about the readers of my blog. I am thankful – what a neat way to connect blogging can be.

By the way, the Blog Triage "doctors" teaching our class are Cynthia Morris and Alyson Stanfield.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Purple Crocuses - Unframed Pressed Flower Art

Purple Crocuses
Unframed Pressed Flower Art
For an 11 x 14" or
8 x 12" frame
Pressed crocuses, handmade paper

We have had such a long winter here in Wisconsin, so I find myself unusually reluctant to press my crocuses this year. I just want to leave them in my garden, so that I can look out the window and believe that spring really is here! Despite myself, I have managed to press a few.

This "Purple Crocuses" pressed flower picture could be framed in either a standard 8 x 10, or 11 x 14" frame. In an 8 x 10 frame, the mat would neatly cover the edges of the handmade paper, and the 11 x 14" frame would allow the interesting deckled edge of the handmade paper to show, for a more organic look.

I will happily include an acid free white mat for either size frame (8x10", or 11x14") upon request. Just state your mat size preference in the "comments" section when ordering, or email me.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Going Green Earth Day Journal Project

Two weeks from now will be Earth Day, a day set aside to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment.

I like to put my own spin on it, and focus on the beauty and wonder of our earth. More importantly, I like to reflect upon the awesomeness of the God who created our earth, with gratitude.

This Earth Day Journal project is a great activity for kids and adults alike, and is made from 100% recycled paper! The cover of the journal is made from recycled junk mail, using the Going Green Paper Making Kit, and the paper earth is made from scraps of blue and green paper, and believe it or not, tin cans!

I will be making this journal with some of the kids in my life, and I will be encouraging them to fill their journals with expressions of thankfulness for the world around them, as well as ideas about how we can take better care of the earth God gave us.

Here are your instructions for making the Going Green Earth Day Journal Project. Enjoy!

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Pressing Time

Finally, finally, FINALLY I've been able to begin pressing my crocuses, in between the rogue snow storms and spring deluges we've been having here in southern Wisconsin lately. After "tweeting" that I was pressing crocuses this past Saturday, I received a number of emails asking me about how to go about pressing them.

So, for my new readers, here's an update of a tutorial on "How to Press Crocus Flowers" I wrote a few springs ago. Enjoy pressing and capturing the beauty of your crocuses. They are such a welcome blessing from our Creator.

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