Text generated via the Cross Stitch Writing Tool at http://www.stitchpoint.com/
I am brainstorming text ideas for a craftivist project for the Textile Design class I am taking at the University of British Columbia. I gave a presentation on craftivism a couple of weeks ago for one of my other assignments. The thing is, I’ve been wanting to get into street art but haven’t quite done it yet. Perhaps this will change…and perhaps my first street art project will be through the craft medium.
So I’m wondering, how do you feel about the minimum wage? What comes to mind, what feelings emerge? This is something that I am dealing with as I look for work, have been looking for work for over a year now. What does it mean to accept a job at minimum wage (which right now here in BC is $10.25 per hour)? Saskatchewan has the lowest at $9.50 and Nunavut the highest at $11 (rest of Canada).
What are we saying about ourselves if we accept these jobs and how are employers thinking of us when they offer us minimum wage? What about when we feel we have no choice? How does that impact your well-being?
I am thinking of cross-stitching a large message on the topic and attaching it to a prominent fence in my neighbourhood. I’d like for people to think about this issue a bit as they walk by the stitched work. I am sure the visual will make people look and then I hope they will reflect. People who see the message might be minimum wage earners, high wage earners, business owners, policy makers, etc.
So, how would you finish the sentence “Minimum wage …”?
Some days are very fluid, creativity just pours out, the brain churns, churns, and churns out images, ideas, colours, words…and other days there’s absolutely nothing. I mean what happened, it’s just suddenly all gone! Ahhhh!!! (a scream of horror).
Truth be told I don’t really like surfing the net much for ideas. But sometimes well, sometimes, it’s OK. There’s stuff out there that might just get you going again. Sometimes, you need just one tiny little thing, a technique that just gets going and you forget about the stare of the blank page.
Anyway, I found a couple of good videos on the Michaels website.
This one by Pam Carriker called Visual Journalism 101. She shares quite a few techniques to achieve a visually complex and interesting journal page. You might just see one technique there that you want to incorporate in your journals or mail art.
Also, take a look at this one by Kathy Kromer (whom I had the pleasure to meet at Michaels 2012 Blogger Event), it’s called Mixed Media Background Technique. It is amazing how quickly she creates a background. The key is to give some thought to the materials you’ll need and have them really handy for that spontaneous grab.
Journal Page January 29 2013, watercolour pencils, Golden Fluid Acrylics, collage
On the page above I decided to play with watercolour pencils on wet Golden fluid acrylics. The pencil lines will look more saturated than if you were using regular colour pencils. I don’t use these two mediums often.
Playing with new materials and techniques is just one way to respond to a blank page!
This slow art experiment was again inspired by The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. He suggests in his book to work on a creative piece for one week by adding only one element each day.
I decided to try this on a wood block that I had worked on but didn’t like. Here’s how it went:
Day 1/Monday – Thought about what to work on, how to get started. Decided to rework a previously worked on wood block. (no pic)
Day 2/Tuesday – covered up most of the block with gesso, leaving the only part I knew I wanted to keep and work with—a vintage U.S.A. stamp
Day 3/Wednesday – what’s the topic? happened to see a newspaper clip with the word ‘war’ while I was doing my 5-minute collage earlier in the day. Decided to use it.
Day 4/Thursday - what else goes with war? wanted a graphic to use as an image transfer. Went to Randel Plowman’s Imagery resource page to see if I could get some inspiration. The bull’s eye graphic caught my attention and fit in with the war concept.
Day 5/Friday — the space felt unfocused, so I layed down pattern paper to break it up and make it easier to work with; it also added a bit of colour
Day 6/Saturday - wanted to add an image but not an illustration; again went to The Collage Workbook imagery resource page which led me to a US government page with royalty free images and found this image of F-86 fighter planes from the 1950s. I decided to obscure the word ‘war’ as I felt it was too obvious. Wondering where this is going. What do I want to say?
Day 7/Sunday – I liked how all the elements were coming together. I felt I needed to fill in the space on the top right. I envisioned text but what? I had recently watched an episode from the American show Homeland and the words Allah Oakbar (God is great/God is greatest) stuck in my mind. I was walking around the house saying Allah Oakbar and using my throat to give the ‘k’ a harsh sound and then I was savoring the sound of As-salamu alaykum & wa alayk salam (the response). As-salamu alaykum literally means ‘Peace be upon you’ but is considered the equivalent of ‘hello’ in English. The response means the same but is conjugated appropriately to gender and plurality. I’ve always liked Arabic! I lived in Lybia for about a month when I was about 13. I like the look of the script and the contrast of the Arabic meaning within the rest of the piece.
Neither for nor against. Just a compilation of images of what we see and hear around us of what is now and has been for such a long time.
I liked working this way. The piece was always in the back of my mind contemplating possibilities. At this point, I’m going to look at it for a little while longer to decide if it’s finished. The piece is 6 by 6 inches.
November was all about finishing projects for the Textile Design course I am taking at the University of British Columbia. This course will pick up again in January. It’s lots of fun. One of the new techniques for me in the course was silk painting. You can see some silk stretched over a frame below. We used a wax resist (prevent the paint to spread to parts of the design) to draw out our design and then we started painting. I haven’t finished mine yet. I often take pictures in class–it’s great to be able to do this. Here’s a mosaic collage from my Instagram photos for the month.
Detail from one of my pages ©Laura Bucci
In the Summer issue of Art Journaling magazine that I posted about a few days ago, the artists in the magazine were asked this question:
Do you know what you will write when you start a page, or does the art dictate what you write?
It’s interesting to read the artists’ answers and then to answer the question myself. I found many similarities between them and me. Here’s my answer.
There’s always some text in my art journal pages. I keep a box of strips of text that I’ve used in the past or wrote up but didn’t use. Sometimes I’ll draw a strip from this box and use it to help me get into the next journal page. I say ‘get into’ because I don’t always end up including the text in the finished pages. I often though just start with a background and look through my stash of collage, stencils, etc, and plunge into the page that way. On occasion I do a bit of writing on the page, stuff I want to get off my chest but then I’ll often obscure it with gesso, paint, etc. What’s important is the process. I don’t necessarily want to go back in a year and re-read the text. I keep a lined journal just for writing–I use one of my screenprinted journals that I sell! I write in this lined journal whenever I have the need. So in a way for me writing a full page or more and art journaling are two separate activities that don’t intermingle. Each outlet satisfies a different need. The text that I often include in my art journal pages and that is visible is usually only sentences or phrases.
I continue to work in my art journal but not everyday as was the case in the past few months. You can see March’s pages in my Portfolio page. I don’t usually start with a plan, but sometimes I’ll put ideas/images/text aside to use for the next day.
Some recent changes to my life have made it a bit more difficult to put aside time for art journaling. One of them is the addition of a puppy to my home. Please meet Carrie — named after Carrie Bradshaw of the television show Sex in the City. Carrie was 8 weeks when we got her. She is now 12 weeks. She certainly keeps me busy. Who knew that a puppy would be so much work, but I say this very happily. There’s nothing like a dog to bring joy to your life, to lighten the mood. Carrie is my first dog! I had a cat for 20 years, Suzie, but sadly she died just before Christmas. I was unsure about having a dog but not anymore. I am overjoyed now!
Carrie at 8 weeks old
Carrie is a chocolate labrador cross with border collie. We got her from a family in Chilliwack who lives on a farm. The mother is the chocolate labrador and the neighbour’s dog — the border collie — snuck in over the fence. And there was Carrie plus 10 other pups.
Last year, in August, I submitted a proposal for an exhibition at my local art gallery/ library. At Britannia library, there is a small community art gallery. It’s a very small and unassuming gallery that gives emerging and established community artists the opportunity to show and share their work with the community. The space is very much part of the library as patrons read their newspapers or lounge reading books in the couches of the gallery. I like the community setting and easy access to art.
I was happy that my proposal was accepted (this will be my first exhibition of personal work in over 12 years) and that I was paired with another artist so that we’ll be sharing the space — less wall to fill, less stress. But as often happens to me, a proposal that sounded good to me last year no longer feels as relevant today.
I had started with the plan to make pocket mirrors with one-of-a-kind collages on the other side that were going to be all about internal reflection. But around last October, I allowed a dormant interest to flourish — curiosity about the history of Vancouver.
A new year, a new plan
Having finished craft production & craft shows, and having moved out of a big studio at the end of December, I had made the decision to take a break from all of that, and to embark into a new phase of my creativity starting January. That I did.I have been exploring my creativity within my art journal a lot, and I have found a new focus for my exhibition to take place in August. It’s a bit strange, as come June I’ll have to have a few images for publicity, so I’m hoping that by them my focus will be clear and that half of the work will be done. I’m not sure that pocket mirrors are the right medium anymore!!
The Italians in Vancouver
So these days I’m reading books on the Italians in Vancouver and in particular about a very influential Italian-Canadian lawyer and judge. This all started because I wanted to know why there was an abandoned monument/plaza in my neighbourhood — lots of questions about this. Who was it built for, who wanted it built, what was it used for, why was it abandoned? At first I was investigating three different buildings in Vancouver but now I have found the one that really interests me and coincidentally the story behind it is Italian-focused (I am Italian-Canadian).
In other words…
I’m not following my original exhibition plan but I believe you have to be open to change and that you have to be excited about your work. And this to me, right now, is exciting — the story of Italians in Vancouver. I hope the rest — the medium, the content — will slowly emerge and make itself obvious.
I started this art journal page today and I may work on it some more.
I’ve been wanting to do more pieces with typewriters, so today I tried hand-drawing my Brother typewriter from a photograph. I’m pretty happy with the results as I consider myself more of a photo-based artist. I even used watercolor to fill in the colour, which again is not something I have a lot of experience with.
The title and text for this piece was inspired by Julia Cameron’s book Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance. It always amazes me how relevant her writing is to whatever I’m going through artistically. And in the morning, reading a few paragraphs from the book always provides inspiration.
Are you making any Big Decisions this year? I am!
I have been quiet on the blog front but that’s because I’ve been busy (since I got an iphone) with Instagram — a free app that allows you to take a picture and easily share it with your Twitter and Facebook followers. It’s now so convenient to post updates.
So, almost since the beginning of January, I have been sharing a new activity with my Twitter and FB followers — my work in my art journal.
I call this new activity ‘shifting into process.’ Last year was very product intensive and exhausting, so this year I am turning it around completely by focusing on process. I am doing this by using my art journal to produce art work that is definitely not for sale. Art journaling is very relaxing, calming, and therapeutic.
This is a new ‘journey.’ I have never kept an art or creative journal before. You could even just call it a sketchbook. I have committed to doing a page a day and to sharing at least a detail of the page if not the whole page, as this is after all a personal process.
If art journaling is new to you, then think of it as a creative time-out that allows you to process your thoughts or to explore new ideas. You make it what you want it to be and really, the way I approach it, the rules can change as needed.
So follow me on Twitter or Facebook to see my daily creation.
Here is a selected gallery of my pages. Not all pages look great, and that’s OK because it’s about process not end-product.