The highlight of my break from school was the time I had to spend on crafting with music playing in the background and the soft light of the Christmas tree illuminating my work.
It's stunning how much designing my brain did passively once I gave it the space to do so. I paged through beautiful books from the library and let it go from there.
I thought I'd share a couple of my creations with you.
For thirty years, my entire family loved a brown couch that my mother bought. She said it cost her $300 in a $100 market. The extra money was worth its longevity. We all have memories of naps on that couch. It was made of a soft wide-wale corduroy that felt like velvet. I remember waking slowly and rubbing my cheek on it while sucking my thumb, wishing I would never wake because then this tactile delight would end. I broke up with my first "official" boyfriend while sitting on that couch and spent long evenings with my ex-husband there. I sat on it to gaze out the windows into the dark night, trying to pick out the particular headlight shapes and intensities of my friends' cars, waiting for them to pick me up or hoping that they'd stop by spontaneously on nights when they hadn't returned my phone calls and I was home alone.
When I moved away from home, I was given the couch but it did not last past our third move. So, 5 years ago, I stripped it of it's fabric and left it's frame for the garbage men. I washed the fabric and put it into storage, not telling my brothers that I had it but never expecting it would take me so long to actually do something with it. So, this year for Christmas, I surprised the boys with Brown Couch pillows. I had such a visceral reaction to taking the fabric out of the box and running my hands and face over it again. The boys had much the same response, raising their pillows to their cheeks and twisting their hands over them in delight. A very successful gift.
I got to purchase a grommet tool for this project, which was like a little present to myself since I've wanted one for a long time but couldn't justify it before now. I know. Big crafting dork.
As I've mentioned before, my brother Daniel is engaged to a woman whose family is from India. I spent some time while I was crafting watching Monsoon Wedding, which is the story of an Indian wedding in the Punjabi tradition in Delhi, which is Meena's heritage. It is one of the best movies I've seen all year and I highly recommend it. Marigolds were used heavily as symbols of marriage and love in the movie because they hold that position in the Indian culture. While watching, I realized I could make a marigold fairy for Meena's parents, who were hosting mine for brunch the next day.
This is the little girl hanging from my tree. The colors are a little washed out in both pictures. She is made from wire wrapped in embroidery thread. The stocking are light blue and her shoes are red to match her red tunic with yellow buttons. Red and gold are traditional colors for a bride. She has a hand-painted face and an acorn hat. I tried to arrange her limbs in a bangara dance style since I'm trying to learn how to dance that way for the wedding. That was a little less successful. The little fairy's shoulders aren't very pronounced.
The final project I'll share with was just finished in the last day or so. Actually, I still haven't figured out how to hang it yet. This went through several different versions in my head over the course of four weeks. I'm pretty happy with the final result.
The text reads, "curse your sudden but ineveitable betrayal" which is a line from Firefly. It's hand-stamped with new stamps that I also bought myself recently. Don't worry, I'm a dilettante of crafts. I won't fall into that weird world of "stampers." The luchador was purchased on the family trip to the Mexican Museum of Art just before New Year's. The fencing around the yard and the planks that make up the house are painted with water-colors. The roof is tiled in buttons.
I think the piece works on a lot of levels and I'm thinking about re-creating it for gifts with different figures in the house and different phrases, although I think the domestic context for an icon of betrayal is particularly poignant. Especially presented in this whimsical way with over-dramatic pulp dialog.
Lots of fancy talk for arts and crafts. Still, I find so much fulfillment from creating them.
I hope you like them even half as much as I do.
Makers Market today in Portland! - Today at the Taproot Market in Portland! So many lovely treasures for gifting! Join us from 9-3 on Cove Street!