Monday, January 31, 2011

Days 6,7 & 8. Folk art and Story Time

Saturday & Sunday 6 & 7:

"Studying other forms of art is a classic way to inspire your own creativity. If folk art or its style doesn't resonate with you right away, give it time--assimilation of a new art may come gradually." 

Ain't that the truth. The next project is for the next two days and separated into two parts. The first part researching Folk Art. Well that was easy enough...I just typed in folk art in Google search and received a whole plethora of info. I looked at some exhibits in the Folk Art Museum in New York, some independent artists and I discovered a couple of things. First Folk Art tends to stay in the natural colors and tends to be in the categories of Quilting, Painting, Clay sculptures and the bizarre. Pretty much what Folk Art portrays is a very traditional art form. As the book describes it "Folk Art is the art of everyday". Well now that I researched and discovered kind of what to do, I had to figure out what was I going to do. Well...I can't quilt, I'm not very good at painting and clay is expensive so that's out of the picture....Well I had to go with my resources and that was lots and lots and LOTS of paper.
Side Note--As some of you know, for over 15 years my mom was involved in a major Scrapbooking company. Needless to say she has 15 or so years of scrapbooking stuff. When I moved out she unloaded a lot of that onto my sisters and I. I ended up with tons of paper which I am very thankful for.

So with my paper I decided to do kind of a collage of paper that looks like a quilt. Next, I just needed to find a subject. Well Folk Art usually expresses "cultural identity" of some sort. My cultural identity as I've found out the past few days is a mix of spirituality, stories and love. Hey! St. George is a mixture of spirituality, stories and love! What does St. George and I have in common? Well a lot actually. I have ancestors who helped found this area so my blood runs through this city (That might be stretching it a bit). The point is I decided to do something historically significant not only to the city but to me as well. I decided to do the Jacob Hamblin home. 
This historical sight was the first one my family and I ever visited when we first moved to the St. George area. I really enjoyed it then and still do to this day. It's a beautiful home sitting on top of this majestic hill with these fruit tree orchards surrounding it. I loved it and it looked simple to recreate. So pretty much all Sunday I worked on my collage. 

I'm pretty darn proud of it personally. The picture doesn't really do it justice and it looks tons better in real life. I just used the paper that I had, cut and pasted it onto some card board. It was fun. I dunno if I would call it Folk Art but it was inspired by Folk Art so I'm going to say mission accomplished!!

Monday day 8:
"A custom journal is a lovely gift, but don't forget to create art for yourself sometimes. Surrounding yourself with your own creations (rather than giving them away) can inspire new ideas, and remind you how creative you really are."
While I was working at Barnes and Noble I bought this book called "How to Make Books". I bought it with the intention that I would make my own kids books or just learn how to bind my own books and such. The thing is after I bought it, I never did anything with it. Today provided me the perfect opportunity to use this book. I decided to create kind of a mini journal with this idea that I've had for a while.
Front Cover of t
 I made the front cover and the pages about a couple of days ago but was stumped with the back cover and how it was going to come together. I took some inspiration from Saturday and Sundays Folk Art lesson and decided to use the resources I have. I took my National Geographic magazines and flipped through them till some sort of idea hit me. It did after the first magazine. Here is what I came up with:
Back Cover
There is a story behind it and you might not understand it or get excited about it as I did when I first thought of it. I love Greek Mythology and one of my favorite myths is the Kidnapping of Persephone. For those unfamiliar with the myth, it tells the story of the Harvest Goddess, Demeter's daughter Persephone. She is said to be of great beauty and very innocent and carefree. While she was playing in the garden of her Mothers, Hades looked up from his hellish throne, saw her beauty and fell in love. Hades, not being the most tactful or graceful god, kidnaps Persephone and made her the Queen of the Underworld. It didn't take long for Demeter to realize her daughter was missing. She searched for her every where and when she couldn't find her she fell weeping in her garden. The flowers and birds felt pity for her and told her of Hades misdeed. Demeter was furious and punished the Earth until she got her daughter back. Everything died, no harvest grew and people died. Zeus couldn't ignore the fact that people were dying so he demanded that Hades and Demeter come to some sort of agreement. They did with clenched teeth. Persephone was allowed to come above for 3 seasons but for 1 season was confined with Hades. So while she is above Earth Demeter is happy and everything blooms, hence spring, summer and fall and while she is away Demeter is sad and doesn't let anything grow, hence winter. My journal is modeled after this story. I picked a little girl to represent Persephone because little girls are naive and innocent. Then for Hades I picked a mechanical arm because the opposite of nature is technology and usually is destructive. I got really excited while I was doing this cause I loved the idea. This is my first time binding a book and I used the Japanese stab-stitch design.  I liked the idea that the story stretches across the covers. I'm proud of my little creation. It's not much but it was fun. :D

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 5 The Power of Sacred Places

Friday day 5:
"Sacred places, such as temples, churches, and even outdoor amphitheaters, can serve two purposes--as a place to worship and reflect, but also as a potential source of inspiration for art, projects, or other creative output." 

Oh boy. Friday was difficult for me. The task was figuring out how spiritual places effect your art work and what kind of inspiration it provides you. Again it gives you questions as kind of a kick off point. The first thing it asks you to do is to go to your spiritual place and look around as if you were seeing it for the first time. Well I actually didn't go to my "sacred place" on Friday. I went on Saturday. Justin and I went to the temple and it felt like the first time all over again. It's indescribable how I feel when I go there. I'm supposed to reflect on pretty much everything. The details of the architecture, feelings, what I like, what I don't like. To tell you the truth while I was there I wasn't focusing on any of that. In fact my mind was pretty clear and open and I just enjoyed the experience. I do believe The Gospel does play a big part in my life and in my creativity. It would be hard for it not to. As to the question what kind of inspiration it gives me...I really don't know. I guess it could be the appreciation for beautiful things. For instance, the temple is beautiful. It's whole architecture is just stunning and unbelievable not to mention the purity it just seems to glow. I've guided my whole life to that place. My desire to be worthy enough to go through the temple and to be married in the temple has helped me pick my husband, my job, what music I listen to, what I read....and such. So naturally that would come through my writing and what ever art I do. I just can't really explain it and I'm not doing a very good job of articulating what I'm trying to say.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Days 3 & 4

Bear with me on this blog guys, it’s a long one!  

Today’s exercise is simple—Pull out (or better yet buy a new box!) of crayons and color to your heart’s content…”

My favorite page!
After I read Wednesday daily exercise I got very excited. This was like a dream come true…almost. It was perfect timing as well because I was babysitting my little nephew pretty much all day.  It was so much fun!! I didn’t buy a new box of crayons because I’m poor and jobless (You know 2 bucks can buy like a whole case of ramen noodles!). I borrowed some crayons from my sister and some paper from my mom and made a little book for Joseph. I didn’t finish it because Joseph was more interested in eating the crayons and ripping up the paper. I had to put it away before  my WFR skills came into play. Needless to say I’m actually rather proud of my little book. It was fun and I have some ideas for it to come in handy later on. I will finish it but that may require me to actually go out and buy some crayons. I can’t be a freeloader the rest of my life. I figured crayons are a good start to practice my independence.

Thursday’s task is a little interesting. Luckily I didn’t really have to create anything just reflect. I’ve had plenty of time to reflect today. I’ve spent the majority of the day in a car so I can meet up with my husband while he is doing an odd job. The drive was uneventful and pretty boring as far as scenery goes. Honestly though, I didn’t get to the exercise until later that night and I talked about it with my husband. I realized a few things about me and have come to the conclusion that I’m strange. I dunno why that was such news to me. I guess I’ve never really thought about how my mind works. Anyway…the day starts out with a quote:
I believe we all have strands of creative code hardwired into our imaginations…these strands are as solidly imprinted in us as the genetic code that determines our height and eye color, except that they govern our creative impulses. They determine the forms we work in, the stories we tell, and how we tell them. I’m not Watson and Crick; I can’t prove this. But perhaps you also suspect it when you try to understand why you’re a photographer, not a writer…or why your canvases gather the most interesting material at the edges, not the center. In many ways, that’s why art historians and literature professors and critics of all kinds have jobs: to pinpoint the artist’s DNA and explain to the rest of us whether the artist is being true to it in his or her work.” –Twyla Tharp
It’s a long quote but I like it. I’ve always wondered how imaginations worked and watching babies play by themselves shows that it’s a natural thing and not something that’s taught.  After the quote the book asks a series of questions to help you reflect on your own creative DNA. As I read the questions I realized I need to talk this one out. Sometimes my mind just doesn’t work by itself; I need someone to hash things out with. Naturally, I turned to my husband.  He was so patient with me as I rambled on and on about really just random things. After I was finished all he did was just smile, kiss me, looked deeply in my eyes and said “Babe, you’re weird.”

Well I’m not going to argue that point. I know I’m weird I guess I just didn’t realize in what way I was weird.  Thanks to this book it’s all become clear now!

If you were born to produce just one type of work, what would it be?: At first I said an auto-biography. This might be the paranoid side of me but I’ve always felt like the trials or problems that I go through in my life are not only to strengthen me but so that I can help other people who happen to find themselves in the same situation. I’m awful at motivational speaking and things like that. The help is more like…if someone needed a listening ear or advice or a place to go to for comfort, I would know how to give them what they needed or asked for.  As I rambled on about that point, I realized it’s really not so much about the trials it’s about telling the story. If I told my stories about myself or about my relatives (present and past) or even a story about someone I made up if it could mean something to someone then I feel like I would have accomplished something. It’s telling stories that I enjoy and I believe that’s what I was born to do.

What is your unique view of the world, and how does it manifest in your artwork?: Oh this was a tough question to answer cause it’s kind of complicated. I view stories not a world. My philosophy is that everyone and everything has a story. The problem is that I can’t shut off my brain. I look at something simple like a water bottle and I wonder about the factory worker who made that bottle. What kind of life do they lead? Would they be happy? Are they Mexican? You know things like that. When I was talking about this to my husband he asked me to tell him the story of his hair. My mind instantly flashed to these tiny little cells with these hard hats on their…uh…heads lying on their death beds telling the mourning cells to promise them they’ll use their bodies for good. So they lock them up in these tiny little brown coffins and push them up through the skull while the cells wave good bye with their little hankies...How does this manifest in my artwork? Everything I create has back story. Even a tiny little doodle on the side of a page has a whole history. Everything has a story line! It’s amazing I haven’t gone insane yet.

What medium lets you best express your creativity?: Medium Rare.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday and Tuesday Days 1 & 2

I would like to apologize first for not having any pictures of Monday up. My pictures are on my camera which  at the moment is in my tiny apartment. My tiny apartment doesn't have any internet and what I have been using for the internet is about a hundred miles or so away from me so I have to borrow my mothers. 

Mondays task was relatively simple. I was told to write & keep a journal. The directions? "JUST WRITE". Huh. Go figure that's exactly what I'm trying to do. Journal writing and I have had a very off and on relationship. I write religiously for like 4 months then I stop for about that long as well. Soon I'll remember about it and take it up again and so on and so forth. My mother taught me that when ever a significant thing happens in my life (break ups, catastrophes...etc.) to  go buy a brand new journal and write about it. I have lots of journals. I love journals. I love buying journals. I love looking at journals. I never fill them up though. I still have a journal that I've had since I was 6 and it's not even half full. I've got journal entries written on random pieces of paper. I think I even wrote one on the back of my homework...I like to think one day I'll collect all of those up and put it in one place. Like make a book or something. Eh. Maybe eventually. 

Tuesdays task was a little harder for me. Oddly enough, for me, it tied into Monday's task. The task today was go through some old photographs and play around with them. Try new things. It mentioned specifically to digitally mess around with them, scan them, photoshop them, whatever. Unfortunately for me, I don't have any of those items...No matter! I'd figure something out! My first step was to find some pictures. I figured my mom would probably have some and if she didn't my Grandma Reber would definitely have some. I snuck onto my moms computer and lo and behold she had a whole folder dedicated to the Jensen side of my family.  As I was going through these pictures I realized 2 things. 1: I have some very good looking ancestors. 2: I didn't want to mess with the pictures. Alot of these pictures were amazing! Some of them looked even professional. I didn't want to touch them. They looked great the way there were.
Isn't that adorable? I don't know who most of these pictures are of. Some of them look vaguely familiar but I really don't know. I think maybe I'm going to keep some of these pictures in mind. I might do something with them later on. I dunno. What ever strikes my fancy I guess. I might be cheating myself on today's task but I just don't know what else to do. I'll keep thinking about it and see what turns up. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

A new start

In light of a new year and a new life for me, I thought it would be fitting to start a completely new blog. This time, though, it will actually have a purpose!

Ever since I could remember I've always wanted to be a writer. Writing for me in many, many ways has been a huge passion and almost a sanity saver. I get these worlds, characters and stories stuck in my head that would just itch at me till I could find somewhere to jot them quickly down. When I was younger this really wasn't a problem I loved creating and all that's all that mattered to me. As I got older I became more self conscious and started to care about what people would think. I started to silence the characters in my head cause I was embarrassed of them. Needless to say, I became very creatively frustrated. I didn't enjoy writing any more because I didn't think it was perfect so I slowly stopped. Thus started my journey to finding ways to express myself that I wouldn't be ashamed of. I've tried many things, doodling, scrap-booking, card making, stamping I think I  even tried knitting. All of these were fun and interesting but I found that I get so upset with myself when I can't do it perfectly the first time.
 Now to the point of this whole blog. I want to get the stories and worlds out of my head and I want to do them in the best way I know how which is write. Though, I don't want to do it in just those ways as well. I'm a firm believer in having multiple outlets and I've found one outlet often leads to another. If I have such issue with myself and perfection why not try tons of new things to get out of the funk I'm in. While I was in Barnes and Noble I found this interesting book that started me thinking about all of this. It's called "The Crafters Devotional: 365 days of Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Unlocking your Creative Spirit by Barbara R. Call" Sounds cheesy I know and when I first saw it I almost didn't pick it up but the curiosity got the best of me and I ended up looking at it for a while. The philosophy behind this book is spend some time exploring all kinds of facets of art. They've split everything up into weeks that follow a day by day category.

Tuesday-Recycle, Reuse or Revive
Wednesday- Collection, Stash and Materials
Thursday-Personal History
Friday-Noncraft Inspiration
Saturday & Sunday- Collaborate, Gather and Experiment

They have, with each day, a craft or an item that you make anything you feel like with that sticks to a theme. Like for example on one Monday they tell you to personalize your journal any way you want to. Fill it with pictures or decorate the outside or write something uniquely to you. It's all what ever you want to do but the point is to just do it! No matter how lame it is.

I realize to many people this may be kind of odd and you might not understand what this has to do with writing. But that's the point. I'm doing something unconventional cause that's what it takes for me to be OK with my writing. For years now I haven't been able to write a short story or finish a concept. I won't let people read them and I've been feeling ashamed of my old writings as well. This is a way for me to not only publish my lame little crafts but for me to realize I'm not writing/creating for other people. I'm trying to better myself as an artist. People don't have to like it and I will admit I'm doing this for purely selfish reasons. (That's art though right?) My plan is to follow this book and document my...progress? I'm planning on starting on Monday and I'll be taking pictures of my little crafts as well. What better way to practice my writing than to write about it?
So there it is. My new start. I can't guarantee that I'm going to post something everyday but I'll try to post often with pictures. You're welcome to join me on my journey or completely ignore me. Either way it's going to be fun!

"The artist has but one idea. He is born with it and he spends a lifetime developing it and making it breathe."- Henry Matisse