Studio Musings

Friday, March 29, 2013

Focus on Life 13/52 - Having Faith

Starting to unpack into my new studio space

This week was moving day for my art studio. 

Finally!  A part of me cried happily, while the other half wished for a couple more weeks to prepare.  I'm not good at moving!  One of my goals in life is to move as seldom as possible.  I love traveling, hate moving.

Still in my old space, I tried and tried to sort and purge.  Some stuff left, but mostly I organized.  Wednesday I moved into my new, much smaller space.  With everything in boxes, the space was almost completely unnavigable.  In one move, I'd become a hoarder, slipping through the narrow passages between the boxes as I tried to figure out where to start the unpacking process.

It was like one of those tile puzzle games where in order to move one tile you have to shift and slide all its neighbors.  I set my cutting table up in one direction.  Nope, didn't work.  So I decided to rotate it ninety degrees.  An hour later I had rearranged everything else enough to manage the switch.  Good thing there wasn't a fire alarm during that time - I'd buried the door!

When I left Wednesday evening everything sort of fit.  Maybe.  My main work table is still leaning folded against a wall.  I have space either for it, or for my second big shelving unit and the mini-fridge, but not all three.

Could I fit the little fridge somewhere else?  Should I just get rid of it (I don't use it much)?  Which do I need more - the shelving, or the large work table?  Which would make me most productive in this space?  I have fifteen foot ceilings; how high should my other shelf go? (the two shelving units are both modular, so I could scavenge the one to add to the top of the other like playing with tinker toys).  I already have to stand on a step stool to reach the top shelf.  If I only stored light stuff up high, could I bring in a ladder?  But then where would I put the ladder?

Other work kept me from the studio most of yesterday and all of today, but I'll be back there continuing to purge and sort and play real-life Tetrus tomorrow. I keep reminding myself what a wonderful, exhausting problem to have - designated space to create my art and too many possibilities in the form of tools and supplies. Even if the space is currently as bland and sterile as my picture indicates. 

Right now, I'm going entirely on faith.

Faith that it will all fit.

Faith that I can make this work.  

Faith that I can transform my new space into a creative haven.  A colorful, bright, productive workspace. 

Because without faith, it's all too overwhelming.

So that's where my thoughts are regarding Sally's Focus on Life prompt for this week.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone elses' interpretations.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fancy Fish Redux

The fish are checking out sample pages from my new tutorial
This week has been a flurry of sorting and purging to move my studio and renewed work on my Fancy Fish Tutorial.

Our Destash Sale last weekend was a bust in terms of finding new homes for our old inventory.  Turns out it was openning day for ticket sales for the Mariners and there was a Sounder's game, so the few people who did try to come couldn't find parking.  Ouch!

The hours spent in the studio waiting for visitors were productive time however, as I continued to sort through my stash.  It's really frightening how much I've collected over the years.   I'm looking for new homes for much of my fabric collection from when I used to do costume design, wearable arts and crazy quilting.  (Thanks to a link I found in my inbox this morning, I may try consigning some of it through Our Fabric Stash.  Talk about timing!)

While sorting through tubs of fabric, buttons, lace and who knows what, I also came up with a better way to organize my Fancy Fish Tutorial and ideas for several additions.  Luckily, the kind souls who'd purchased my tutorial were willing to wait a couple of days for delivery.  So it was back to the the drawing board and several more rounds of edits.  I finished it up Tuesday evening just before bedtime.  And sighed with relief.

The latest edition topped out at twenty-four book style pages.  This is my most detailed tutorial yet and the diagrams are the prettiest I've ever created.  I showed my newly refinished tutorial to my husband (who had been out of town for the past week) and my best friend yesterday and got a tongue lashing from both for underpricing my tutorials.  Chatting via email with one of the people who'd purchased my tutorial, she agreed that I'd underpriced it - especially since my license allows the purchaser to sell items they make with my pattern at local craft shows and galleries.

Bowing to their wisdom, I raised my price a little on Etsy.  However that didn't seem fair to my blog readers who knew the old price.  So, through the end of the month, you can still purchase my Fancy Fish Beadwoven Friends PDF tutorial for the old price by using the coupon code BLOGFRIENDs, which will take $3 off at checkout.  This coupon is only good for my Fancy Fish tutorial, please!  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Focus on Life - Schools of Fish

a circle of Fancy Fish beadwoven sculptures by Karen Williams
Sally's Focus on Life prompts often assume a meditative quality that helps define my week.  This week's prompt was "Possibilities are Endless".  Amongst the myriad possibilities, my mind took two very different prompts.  Once I detailed in my other blog post from today - relating to my upcoming studio move and this weekend's Destash sale.  This is a bittersweet time for me, as I've loved my studio, but I'm looking forward to having a space totally my own as well.

On the other hand, this month I picked back up on a project that's been sitting on the back burner and finished it!  Drum roll please!  Hot off the presses (if you can't already guess from the pictures):  I have just finished up the instructions for my Fancy Fish tutorial.

I designed and stitched my first fish back in 2008 and have been in love with the Possibilities ever since.  It's such fun playing with color combinations, different tail and fins, even different ways of creating the eyes.  So many fun little details and possibilities, the hardest part is deciding when enough is enough.

Last Spring, I started work on the tutorial, writing directions and creating most of the Illustrator diagrams.  Then I got side tracked by other projects.  Last month, I resuscitated the project and since February I've added several new fish to my happy little school as I tested and fine tuned the pattern.

Here are a few more pictures:

Stripey Fish,  blue and teal by Karen Williams
My stripey fish
The Fish Conclave
A fish in the hand

I've listed the pattern on Etsy, and will be adding kits early next week.  This weekend will be crazy busy with the Destash Sale so I'll be doing my blog surfing and any other computer work come Monday (that includes mailing any PDF tutorials).

But just because I'm going to be delayed, doesn't mean you can't take a look at all the other Possibilities discovered by everyone else. 

Manic Monday Seven Days a Week

I'm behind the times again.  Seems like I'm in a constant rush to catch up, rushing through my days with the Bangle's Manic Monday as my soundtrack.  At the beginning of the month, my studio mate announced that she was breaking her half of the lease and moving her studio back home.  Which launched a frantic search on my part to find someone to take over the lease and find a new space I could afford on my own.  I found both, thank goodness.  But now I'm in the process of preparing to move.  I hate moving!

I've been in this space since 2008 and have accumulated way too many wonderful possibilities.  Too many to fit into my new, smaller space.  Seems like all I've been doing this month is sorting.  Some of it has truly been fun and I've rediscovered any number of forgotten treasures. 

But it's taking so long.  And I'm supposed to have it done by this afternoon because tomorrow Leah and I are hosting a Destash Sale, so others can add to their cache of possibilities while helping us pare what we have to move.  To top it off, my day job ramped into overdrive earlier this week as well.   

Every once in a while I think Leah has it easy - she's getting rid of most everything.  Acyrlics, lots of papers, watercolors, pastels, crayons, a flat file, stamping blocks and inks, even finished art work.  But no, I'm not ready or willing to divest myself of so many possiblities, so many dreams all in one fell swoop.  So I'll keep on sorting. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tracey Nanstad - Beadweaver and Photographer Extraordinare

I'd like to take a moment to introduce Tracey Nanstad of A Beadiful Mess.  Besides having a really cool name for her blog, Tracey is an extraordinary nature photographer and an accomplished beader.  Better yet, she's my Bead Soup partner this time around.  Yep, I couldn't resist the siren call of Lori Anderson's Bead Soup party and came running to sign up once again.

In case you're not familiar with the Bead Soup Party, Lori pairs beaders from around the world.  Each set of partners then exchange special packages, containing a focal bead/pendant, a clasp and any other little beady goodies they want to stick in the package.  You can see the lovely package Tracey sent me above left, including the organizing tray and vials!  And a roll of wire - looks like I have some wire working in my future. 

Here's a closeup of some of the lovely goodies.  The Bluebird focal is her original design.  The 13 is a reference to this year - I had to ask then felt really silly once I heard the answer. 

With both silver and bronze components, I could go in so many directions.  Need to make some decisions soon and get stitching, because our reveal is April 6th.  That's coming up fast, now!

But before I let you go, here are a few examples of Tracey's work to support my earlier claims.  Tracey's nature photography:

photo by Tracey Nanstad
photo by Tracey Nanstad
Aren't they gorgeous?  I just chose two of my favorites, but her blog is filled with her amazing photography.

And a couple of her past Bead Soup projects:

design by Tracey Nanstad

design by Tracey Nanstad

Now it's time for me to start cooking!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Focus on Life 10/52 - Packages in the Mail

This week's theme is All Wrapped Up, but what I'm thinking about right now is unwrapping.  Specifically, tearing open wonderful packages that arrive in the mail.  Isn't it the most wonderful thing when you arrive home after a long day to see a package waiting for you, tucked into your front door.  Sitting there, patiently waiting for you to come a long, claim it and find out what's inside?

I've been most, most lucky recently! 

First, I received a wonderful package from Jeannie Dukic.  I was the lucky winner of one of her wonderful blog give aways where she was giving away several of her new polymer clay pendants.  Jeannie does an incredible job with packaging.  Opening the box, I found the tin in the back right, with a a beautiful polymer clay lid.  Inside the tin, I found her wonderful packages, including the cutest little envelope for her business cards.

I haven't had the heart to take the pendants out of their clever packages yet, but I promise to share pictures when I do.  In the meantime, here's a close up of her papercut decorations.

Thank you so much Jeannie!  I already have plans for the hot pink/orange Half Lotus charm.  Just need a wee bit of time in my schedule to finish putting it together. 

This week, two more packages arrived in the mail!  One from my Bead Soup partner, Tracey Nanstad, which I will share in a separate post.  And the second was COOKIES from Sarah of Saturday Sequins, one of my bestest blogging friends. 

Homemade Peanutbutter Chocolate Oatmeal cookies, along with a little note saying they were Mr. Sequin's favorite recipe!  Now wasn't that a wonderful package to unwrap?  Yum!  Thank you Sarah! 

This immediately makes me want to turn around and send someone a package, because it's almost as much fun to wrap and send as it is to receive and unwrap.  So, if you'd like to potentially get a small package from me (it might just be a decorated letter, or it could be cookies, or beads - who knows?) leave a comment saying so and I'll randomly pick several of you to send something to. I'll do the drawing next Wednesday. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Queen Anne Book Company

 Just before the holidays our local bookstore closed its doors for the last time.  The old owners had sold the store earlier in the year, and the new owner had seemed really excited.  And then maybe six months later, closed the store.  Everyone in our neighborhood was stunned. 

Towards the end of January rumors began to circulate that some of the employees of the old bookstore were banding together to open a new one.  A countdown appeared on the paper covered doors - changing every day - to the elation of the community, with conversations about the new bookstore popping up at the coffee shop, the bank, the grocery store.  I may live in Seattle, but Queen Anne is very much it's own neighborhood, like a little town in the heart of the big city and this was big news.

Yesterday, Queen Anne Book Company opened its doors for the first time!  When we arrived yesterday evening it was packed inside.  I should have snapped the picture then, as opposed to when we left some time later.  In this age of Amazon and Barnes & Noble, it was great seeing the community support for a small, independent bookstore. 

Welcome to the neighborhood!