Sep 27, 2011

Make a night of it.

My wicked awesome next door neighbour and I were hanging out the other day in her driveway with our babies.  It was a hot sunny day, unusually so for late September.  The visit was short, only about half an hour or so, but it was SO MUCH FUN.  Not kidding you, it was the highlight of my day.  Last night we were hanging out again, contemplating how something so mundane could be so much fun.  She noted that when we were kids, fun was measured by how long something lasted, how much action there was, whether or not you were up past 2 a.m.  She thought it was funny that now, a quiet evening at home with her family or a 30 minute chat on an otherwise busy day could bring the same amount of enjoyment as an all night house party, or a long night of dancing at some bar downtown.  My spouse thinks that perhaps as you get older, any respite from responsibility feels like so much fun.  Like, wow, I'm not in an office at 9 a.m. trying to teach some old guy how to send an email.  Or, wow, I'm not cooking while doing the dishes while trying to comfort a screaming baby who just.won't.sleep.  Hell yea, sitting on hot asphalt with a great friend sounds a LOT better than that. 

While I love relaxing and getting a bit of down time with friends, sometimes I wish I could be productive at the same time as I'm being social.  Turns out, there's a great way to do that!  Well, depending on what you consider productive.  It won't work if you're a welder, but works great if you're a writer.  I'm talking about a writing jam!  Or a drawing jam, knitting jam, excel spreadsheet jam (if that's what you're into).  I'm so excited I've finally found a friend here who wants to go to a coffee shop and hang out and write.  Not talk, just do some productive work for pleasure.  I used to do this all the time in Newfoundland with my fellow drawers and writers, but since I moved here I haven't really found anyone who enjoys working while hanging out with friends (I know right, wtf? Who doesn't love to work instead of converse?) 

It's not for everybody, that for sure.  There are a lot of people who either need alone time to work, or are just too into chatting to be able to get'er done.  However, when you find someone that it does work with, the results can be fantastic.  Not only are you not being a social reject, isolated and alone with your pathetic ideas, you actually have a second mind to bounce said ideas off of.  I'm never as creative on my own as I am when I'm working along side others.  Eskimark, //d, Jackie, Bekki, Lacey, I'm thinking of yous guys.  The creative energy that develops when two (or more) people are involved is so inspiring, so motivating... I can't wait to be at it again on a regular basis.  It's one of those things that makes me feel like my "old" self (pre-Myriam), and it's also a wonderful way to keep the creativity alive.  Less like a shriveled old raisin in the back of your mind, more like a juicy bunch of grapes, where each grape is a different idea.  Right? Right?  (This is one of those times where I need a second mind to bounce my pathetic ideas and lame jokes off of).  Does anyone else love to do this, or is it just me and my anti-social friends?  Here's an antique photo of me when I was like, 23.  My friend //d took it one night when we were having a design jam.  Thanks D!!!

Sep 25, 2011

Etsy Banners.

I said a while ago that I wanted to focus more on my own things, more sewing, more designing.  I've done just that.  :)  I won't give it all away right now, but check out these 3 Etsy banners I just made. I'm working on getting some new things up in the shop over the next 2 weeks or so.  Can't wait!!  I like the first banner the best I think.  What do you guys think?

Sep 24, 2011

When you're not where you thought you'd be.

Sometimes I look at myself and my life and thoughtlessly compare it to other people's.  Like that girl I know who is a marine biologist.  Or that couple that just spent 2 weeks in Thailand after their lavish wedding ceremony.  Or my successful graphic designer cousin who is in her early 20s and just bought a house with her boyfriend who is a doctor (fairy tale much?).   Up until a little over a year ago, I was still living in an icy cement block of an apartment where the windows were drafty and getting hot water in the morning was a matter of luck and timing, never a guarantee.

Then I think of my parents, who suffered a devastating blow after my father was crippled in a motorcycle accident 27 years ago.  Talk about not being where you thought you'd be: in a hospital bed smoking what you thought was your last cigarette,  working at a shoe store in the mall and suddenly being (essentially) a single mom trying to pay for a house.  I think of another lady I know, who ended up being a single mom to three children because her ex husband was too much of a crap sack to stay with.  I think of and old friend whom I haven't spoken to in a decade, and wonder if her cancer ever came back a third time, I wonder if she's still around.

There are so many different circumstances you can find yourself in, and things can change gradually over time, or suddenly one rainy night.  You can always find a new circumstance though, a new path.  My mother went to night school so she could get a better job (which she got, fyi).  My father, after a year and a half of learning to walk again, learned how to program computers when he could no longer be a mechanic (due to crip-walking.heh.)  The lady who was the single mom ended up running 3 mad-successful businesses SIMULTANEOUSLY and still seems to find new opportunities every day (I'm not kidding you, this woman is my business-hero).   When you find yourself saying "I'm not where I thought I'd be",  you can remind yourself that no one is.  At one point I thought I'd be teaching English somewhere in Asia, I thought I was going to be a speech pathologist, I thought I was going to work at an insurance company forever, I thought I'd always be alone, I thought I'd always be childless.  I am, however, none of those things.  If you dont' like where you are at the present, you can always make a new choice, find a different path to walk on.  You might end up somewhere better than you thought you'd be.

Writing an artist's statement when you're not an artist...

 I'm participating in FOE (Festival de l'Outaouais Emergent) in a couple of weeks, from Sept. 8th to 11th.  While I'm really excited, I'm also really nervous!  I keep worrying that I don't have enough merchandise to stock my table, or that none of it will sell, or that it will all sell and then I'll have to sit at an empty booth for 3 days (yea right).

I was asked by the organizer the other day to submit an artist statement for my work.  The only problem is, I'm not really an "artist" at the moment, and I don't feel like I'm making art!  I've been over and over the question of what art is a million times when I was in art school.  There are so many answers and none of them seem to be wrong.  My own personal definition has to do with intent.  If the person who made it says it's art, then it's art, within reason.   Although perhaps it's not fair of me to assign a condition based on my own personal bias to someone else's work.  Who am I to define something so subjective and personal to someone else?

The point is, what I'm doing at this moment doesn't feel like art, but has the same process as my artwork would normally have.  I guess you could call it "wearable fabric sculpture", but I prefer to call it "hair accessories".  See my dilemma?  Of course I could fluff it up, lie through my teeth and clumsily impose some kind of meaning to the work.  Honestly I just like making things that are fun and pretty, and I enjoy the actual process of it all; hand sewing, placing tiny beads in just the right place, fussing over every minute detail. So, shag it, I thought.  I'll just write about that!  Here it is, my "not art" artist statement!

I have always enjoyed the physical process of creating, whether with a pencil, a camera, or a needle and thread.  The more time and energy it takes to make, the more I enjoy it!  The Elephant Studio is a way for me to make a life at exhausting all my ideas and letting my hands create what ever I want, as soon as it comes to mind.

I'm really inspired by ornate costumes from the past, clothing from other cultures, art nouveau, and fashion in general.  Although we can't all dress like Marie Antoinette or a Chinese empress every day, I like to create pieces that impart a whisper of that fantastic luxury when worn, and blend their intended function with some sort of elegant or quirky visual appeal.  My hope is that people enjoy wearing the pieces as much as I enjoy creating them.