Monday, July 18, 2011

A bit of Japan, some good music and . . .

Greetings on a lovely summery Sunday!

It has been another wonderfully busy week.  I am afraid that I have been spending far too much time in my studio and neglecting to do a few other things that really needed some attention.  However, I can happily report at this time that the refrigerator has been wiped out and a fresh assortment of fruit, vegetables, along with some other grocery items, have been purchased.  I tend to forget about shopping when I find myself immersed in artistic pursuits and consequently found that I needed to get my act in gear.  I have prepped a container of fresh vegetables so that I can grab a handful along with some hummus to snack on preventing me from gazing longingly at a container of ginger snaps that I like to indulge in with a cup of tea.  Feeling that I should strengthen my quest for healthy snacks, I also found a container of cranberry tea in my cart.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy sipping this beverage and so I am trying to quell my taste for diet colas with herbal teas in addition to the green and white teas that I enjoy.

It has been a week of discoveries for me.  Making beads from tissue paper and paper towels has been interesting.  I warn anyone planning to try this that it is a messy endeavour, but definitely worth the effort.  Planning ahead pays off in spades when you work with a messy medium and so I was pleased that I thought to cover my work table with waxed paper before dipping into the acrylic semi gloss medium that I used to hold the wrapped tissue that was being formed into beads.  By using the acrylic medium, it acted as a glue to hold the bead formation and also gave it a nice glossy look.  Once the beads had dried, I again used the medium to hold a contrasting colour of thread wrapped around the bead in place.  The tissue paper beads were definitely more delicate to construct since the paper wanted very much to stick to my fingers.  Patience prevailed and by wrapping the tissue around a drinking straw and cutting it so that a piece remained deep in the tissue, my bead held its shape and my fingers although still sticky, let go of the delicate formation.  Leaving the newly formed beads to dry overnight, I was able to go back to them and put the contrasting thread in place.  I have posted a couple of pictures of my home made beads off to the side of this post for you to check out.  These are not perfectly formed beads by any means.  These are rather rustic in appearance with their imperfections being part of their charm.  I will work to make these into necklaces and or bracelets over the next few days and let you see how these work out hopefully, by next Sunday.  I am also playing with clay to make some medallions to accent the paper bead necklaces.  More on that as they are baked, painted and some other little accents added to them.

What else have I been doing?  For some reason, I have been connecting with a lot of music over the past few days which in turn has been making me open up the acrylics and play with some ideas that keep rolling around the corridors of my brain.  Lord of the Rings and the music from the videos has been a reoccurring flash in my mind and I am trying to capture the graceful flow of a cape on a mysterious feminine figure in the night.  I wish I knew why these thoughts keep flowing through my head, but maybe it is best that I am not aware of what draws me to these darker places.  Sometimes when I find out why I am following a certain path on my journey, I lose my way and my muse abandons me in frustration.  I think the lesson in this is to follow my muse down pathways and allow ideas to form without needing the answer to the question "why" to hinder the progress of my journey.  I am still working on the flow of these paintings and will get pictures up as soon as the paintings progress a bit more.

I have also been wandering through online stores and have found a wonderful place called Omiyage at . Check out this shop for lovely Japanese paper, fabric, stationery, washi tape and so much more.  I find the prices for the items very reasonable and did I mention how tempting all the items are?  You will find yourself thinking of the many ways that you can use these lovelies and you might even want to pick up some bento boxes, origami paper, wonderful Japanese balloons and so on to have on hand as gifts for upcoming birthdays or other occasions.  The owners of this store also have a blog at which they update with news of new items in the shop and intriguing DIY projects that will have you involved in making some treasures of your own.  Make yourself a cup of tea and take some time to read through their blog posts and wander through the shop and immerse yourself in the joys of Japanese imported gifts and craft item necessities.  I promise you that the time you spend will be time that you will enjoy immensely.  Bookmark their blog/online store and visit often for updates!

So, at this point, I am making jewelry, making the beads for said jewelry, playing with making kanzashi flowers out of paper/fabric and then pulling out the paints to get some ideas transported to canvas.  All this makes for a busy studio and a messy one.  But, the mess is part of enjoying myself and so I am not upset by the sight of the chaos.  While I am not progressing at the pace that I would like to, I am learning a lot of new things and that knowledge is being put to good use.  I can see that the kanzashi are going to be part of my life for the next while as is the making of beads and jewelry.

Oh, yes, the exhibition piece is still in the process of development.  While I am actively working on a template, the actual submission will look quite different in the end.  I am finding that I need to vary the textures more on the paper in order to get the look that I am striving for and yet, I cannot say exactly what it is that I am trying to put down on paper.  That elusive quality is visible in my mind, but translating it onto the etchu hagaki is difficult.  I will find a way, it is just that until I finalize the actual elements of the scene, I cannot decide on what textures need to be tweaked or changed completely.  Again, the journey to finding the solutions is challenging, but very enjoyable.  How can I not enjoy a journey that involves working with Japanese paper and other art supplies that I would not normally find myself working with?  I love a challenge and I am loving the way the journey is unfolding right now.  The rapid change from one art form to another is keeping me on my toes and changing my perspective of each piece.  How can making beads change my thought process regarding painting the folds of a cloak?  I guess it would be in the attention to detail and the process of changing my mindset from all things Japanese to add a dash of the fantasy world of art along with a good selection of music to find myself deep into Lord of the Rings via Loreena McKennit and then work my way over to some brightly coloured beads made to the sounds of the Beach Boys.  Add in some REM, Enya and Sarah McLachlan, stir gently until well mixed, but do not shake lest something become detached and you can imagine how my mind is going into overdrive.

I hope your upcoming week takes you to a few countries or through a few mental journeys of your own.  Take the time to enjoy the tour and make a few notes, mental or otherwise, to pull you through the inevitable dry spells that come along when you least expect.  But, not to worry, even the worst dry spells come to an end if you allow yourself to be open to some new ideas coming to you when you least expect them.  You may find that you have too many pots bubbling away at the same time, but really, more projects on the go is definitely better than not having any.  I will hold that thought and endeavour to complete a few more of the current projects on the fly at this point.  That is the plan, but how it plays out is any one's guess.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

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