I'm an admittedly lazy member of the Get Messy art journal community, but of course I had to do something for the past few month's Season of Dreams. My nighttime dreams are vivid and fascinating to me, and who doesn't have real life dreams too?
My pages are sometimes based on the prompts, but since I have a hard time following the rules, not everything is made to follow a specific project. As usual, I veer off into focusing more on color/shape/composition than expressing an idea or concept, but it's all for fun so... whatever.
The book itself was made from pages of an old french textbook that I cut down a bit and folded, then tied together with a simple piece of embroidery thread. No complicated binding techniques for me on this one!
Here we go:
The original collage. I usually start these on scraps of paper so it's not a traditional size, maybe around 8"x10" though?
Second cut! Look at all those little cuties!
And a few of the final applications.
One other thing: after I finished this I was so excited about the results that I started another one immediately... and it was a total fail. No matter how much I cut it up, none of the pieces had that tiny composition magic that can be a product of this technique.
Of course, I always try to learn something from my art mistakes, so I did a little thinking about what I had done differently. First of all, I can NOT start these collages by trying to manipulate the outcomes. It has to be begun with just filling up a page intuitively, and really filling ALL the space up. Another is a variation of scale: there needs to be some larger pieces mixed in with tiny details. Part of the reason I take photos of all the steps is to evaluate what worked or where I might have gone wrong. Being able to refer to that first collage (even though it does not exist in that state anymore) helps me analyze what made this one successful. It's all part of the process (and you know I loooove process.)
Hey! I'm excited to share this project with you. There's nothing better than an idea that just comes about organically and without a lot of forethought and turns out to be exactly what you needed.
A few weeks ago I was interviewed, along with Lauren Caterson, for Caylee and Lauren's How She Creates podcast. Maybe I should be embarassed to admit this, but I haven't actually listened to our podcast yet because the sound of my own voice weirds me out. BUT, when we recorded it, Lauren and I briefly tossed out the idea of working on a collage for only 5 minutes a day. We thought if you set a timer and only allow yourself that small window it might be an easy way of making it to the page without a lot of pressure.
Once the podcast released last week, I started our challenge. I want to shout this from the rooftops: this style of working is an amazing fit for me! I think I stumbled into some kind of magical workflow.
The first day.
Day five. Look at that!
I wouldn't say the end result is my favorite piece of art, but I loved that this process forced me to slow down and reassess my work daily. Lately I've tended to just barrel through things and call it done; part of this is because I do tend to prefer a more minimal look; but it's also because I'm frankly a little lazy. I'm looking forward to working this way for a while and see how it changes my processes.
I invite you to test this challenge too! Feel free to share on instagram with the hasthag #5minutesofcollage.
(continued from this post... this one's more tourist-y and picture heavy)
Even though I only had about 8 non-working or sleeping hours to fill in Nashville, I crammed in about as much as I could and saw a fair bit of the city.
Friday night I walked around the neighborhood I was staying nearby, 12 South, stopping to check out Craft South and go nuts over the BEST fabric selection and all kinds of swoon-worthy textiles. I sort of accidentally went to a super fancy restaurant for dinner and ended up only buying an appetizer & a a glass of rosé because the prices kind of made my eyes pop out of my head but it was so good anyway and plus then I had plenty of room for…. the best ice cream cone of my life, a Brambleberry crisp and Churro from Jeni's.
Then I went back to my AirBnb and watched some episodes of The Office on my laptop and drank a ton of chamomile tea to chill myself out and try to get a good night's sleep.
Saturday morning I woke up early, kinda jacked up for the day, and took a long walk around this residential neighborhood in which every house looked like my dream home. Also I kind of got lost. But that’s fun too.
By Saturday afternoon (after the class videos were filmed) I was kind of mentally exhausted and my flight had been delayed so I had a few hours to kick around and do my very favorite thing: a long walk in a new city. I live for this. I walked from the Gulch to Downtown and back, stopping to drool over $3000 boots, fangirl at Hatch Show Print and totally hit my nacho and blood orange margarita spot at Saint Anejo.
Again... I feel so incredibly lucky for the experience that I had this past August. It's become one of those memories that I reflect on whenever I feel mopey or uninspired.
a flight that was delayed, then un-delayed, then delayed again for some reason?
okay! Here is the story of my trip to Nashville to film the video parts of my Studio Calico art journalling class Cut and Paste. (which is almost over with and has been so great, but that’s a story for a different blog post.)
First I want to say: I adore traveling alone. I realize this is primarily because I spend most of my life surrounded by people, mainly children who have a lot of needs and tell super long stories constantly. Plus I’ve lived in my town for so long now I always seem to be running into acquaintances, which I usually don’t mind but sometimes I like that invisible feeling you can get in a new city. The quiet and the freedom is refreshing.
Also, I love eavesdropping in airports and it’s so much easier when there’s no pesky friends or family around.
This summer had been a transitional time for me and looking back, the class filmed at the exact right time for me. I had spent a lot of this summer working a TON in my art journals, hashing out ideas for the class and getting accustomed to making a lot of work at once. It wasn’t unlike training for a marathon, really, in that I tried everyday to spend considerable time with my scissors and glue in preparation for one really big day of cutting and pasting. And I had a lot of pending changes in my life and lots of thoughts to hash out, which can be annoying in real life but works out pretty well for my art life. You know?
warm up journalling for the day of filming
I had been so apprehensive about being filmed, but it mostly went away as soon as I started working. Like, how could I be nervous when I’m doing one of my favorite things in the world? And I tried to just talk through my processes naturally, without pretense or pontification, and I think it shows in the class.
Okay, well, now I’ve written three paragraphs and not approached anything close to what I wanted to tell you, guess I have to split this into two parts.
So before I start on part two, I want to give a huge thanks to Studio Calico, especially Lisa Truesdell and the videographer Joe Gomez, for making this all happen. Sharing my work, filming my processes, and having my own space for making art for a day (this adorable AirBnB in the 12 South Neighborhood of Nashville) was an amazing experience.
HELLO I HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS.
Okay, maybe you've seen this on my various social media outlets, but I wanted to post a bit more about my upcoming art journalling class: Cut and Paste, with Studio Calico. My friends, I could not be more excited and honored to be sharing this with you! There are six lessons in the class, plus a whole group of great contributors... I'm stoked I get to share this experience with some of my BAFFs (Best Art Friends Forever) like Robyn and Natalie. The content is based on my unique techniques, thought processes and workflow, but I hope there is something that everyone can learn to really make art journalling your own & get some new inspiration.
I'm really hoping the class will be super interactive. I plan on being involved as much as I can in the message boards, answering questions, and interacting with students on Studio Calico as well as on Instagram. I want it to seem as much like an in-person class as possible with lots of chances to get to know your fellow classmates and all share with each other.
Also, hello, how cool is this promo video?
This is really a dream come true for me, and I hope you'll join me. Thank you friends!
some observations on July's themes: distinct palette shift from warm to cool; quotes with little scrappy patchwork borders, fixation on that starburst/fat asterisk shape.
I think I'm close to completing the 100 day challenge I set for myself; it has been SO eye-opening about how my art changes when I'm working on a regular basis. I just feel so much more confident & intuitive in my decisions. I'm going to keep it up for sure.
I pulled these colors together a few days ago and have been making collages from just these scraps for the past few days. I only document some of my work on my instagram (project hashtag #katies100daysofcutandpaste); not every collage is a winner and sometimes I'm working out a new idea that I'm not interested in sharing yet.
I've been anxious this summer, and it's not just tragedies and other dismal things in the news. I'm preparing for some life transitions soon and it's become oh-so-clear that I am NOT good at going with the flow and accepting new things. I guess the one bright spot in all of this is that my art journal always gets more attention when I'm in a less than content state of mind. As seen here.
Even though it was more than a month ago, I still want to post a recap of my first zine fest! Chicago Zine Fest was held this year at the Plumbers Union hall in the Near West neighborhood. It was a really nice venue & the event ran super smoothly & felt very well organized. I was really glad to have been accepted to table this year.
Overall the day went really well. I didn't have any expectations about what I would sell or even how many people would stop to look at my stuff (this fest is HUGE, over 200 tables, which is easily overwhelming to anyone visiting.) But I was pleasantly surprised. Advice for Modern Life was my biggest seller; it was really neat to watch all kinds of people pick it up and read it and laugh or smile to themselves. I was glad that the people at other tables nearby were friendly and interesting to talk to when there was down time. It was a lot of hours but it flew by, really. A short but exhausting day.
I had stressed out a bit beforehand about having enough merchandise or how my table would look, but in the end I had plenty of everything and my display (a simple tablecloth with my zines held in vintage dishware) was more than adequate. I probably brought 15-20 of each of my zines, and a few each of my letter prints. This event did make me think I should branch out a bit as far as my range of products goes; pins and patches were big sellers at a few booths near me, I saw some neat postcards and stationery too. Just another item on the to-do list of "things to find the time to accomplish."
I did have one puzzling exchange late in the afternoon. A younger guy came by and flipped through one of my Cinnamon Toast zines and asked me "what made you decide to write a zine about your kids?" I can't exactly remember the conversation that followed, but we talked a bit about babies and how kids get progressively more interesting when they're older. But afterwards as I reviewed the day, that stuck out to me. I can't imagine that someone would ask anyone else at the fest "what made you decide to write a zine about art / punk music / veganism / etc?" The kids are a part of my life, just like other people write about parts of their own lives; it made me feel a bit defensive, honestly, to think that others might not view children and family life as a valid topic.
I think part of my apprehension about being there was that I feel SO different from the younger urban subculture that makes certain kinds of art and zines. I didn't exactly feel out of place, I have enough self-confidence to hold my own in almost any situation. But it certainly turns the tables of my regular life where I'm a caucasian woman in a city of caucasians, a mom in a city full of moms, a Christian in a city full of religious types. You know that old saying, "do something everyday that scares you"? Well, I think doing this event counted for about a week's worth of scary things. Not to say that I was "scared" really, but it is definitely something that's outside of my comfort zone and forced me to stretch beyond my normal life and routines.
I have a small history in my life of things that I agree to do, or fall into somehow, and then once the event actually arrives, I think "holy crap what have I done?" (study abroad in college, moving to Chicago without a job, leaving the workforce to stay at home with the kids) BUT, once I get over the initial panic, it goes so well I can't believe I was ever apprehensive. Zine fest was one of those things.