Sunday, August 23, 2015

August's Art Giveaway 2015

Deadline: Friday, August 28, 2015, 6pm (central)

I have been enjoying these giveaways for so many reasons (and counting). There is something about giving freely that I felt I needed to explore. There have been many times where I wish I had something to give, but feel as if I don't- whether it is because of my financial situation, my health, my location, etc. Do you know the feeling? It has been pretty cool to let go and just give... from a place of truly wanting to, without expectations.

This month, I thought I'd let you take part of my year long project in a new way...I thought it would be fun for YOU to have the chance to do your own giveaway. Anyone and everyone is eligible for this one, including past giveaway winners. Here is the deal: you get to pick a pendant (small or large), and then you get to give it away to someone you think would enjoy it. Whether it is a gift for this year's holiday season, a birthday present, a reminder you are thinking of them, or just because.  Maybe you know someone who is going through a rough time? Or maybe you want to give this away in a completely random way to a stranger, "pay it forward" style. YOUR CHOICE. The only rule is you must give it away.

Side A... of the small and large option up for grabs this month.
Side B... of the small and large option up for grabs this month.
The thought behind these heart pendants has a few layers, but long story short, it was my way of reminding myself of some important lessons. The distressed wire heart symbolizes the variety of struggles life can dish out... leaving you feel beaten up, among other things. The yarn represents the choice to keep that soft spot in our hearts... to keep being kind, to keep loving, to keep loving yourself.

Of course you can attach your own meaning. :)

Here is a link to the past pendant giveaway, for some more info.

Some of the technical progression: My dad may have started my love of wire jewelry, making me some wire rings a while back. My grandma got me interested in knitting-the yarn is scrap from my knitting supply/projects. I took a jewelry and metals class in college (and a textiles class that including knitting), expecting to dislike it as I used to dread working on a tiny scale-I actually loved the professor and the class, and my classmates, the whole shebang! Fast forward-->My friend Joe was kind enough to donate the wire to my art, and plenty of information my brain probably can't contain. And my friend Andrew was willing to share some tips, so I could achieve the look I envisioned. Mix in the inspiring wire jewelry I've collected/seen in my travels from artists across the country. And there you have it.
NOTE: this pendant can be used in a variety of ways... The excess yarn can be used to tie as a necklace (I just tie in a simple bow when I wear one). You can also cut the excess yarn off (keep the knot though!) and put it on your own necklace chain. But this doesn't just have to be used as a necklace, you could hang it where ever you'd like--ie: someone hung from their review mirror (a fitting reminder to come from a place of love, even in crappy traffic ;) ). Get creative and use in the best way you see fit. I'll include a few photos of how these have been used/worn thus far, below.

To enter: comment on the original video on facebook ( ) or on google+ ( ). Make sure you actually say you would like to enter the contest please, and let me know which one you would like. While I appreciate any comments, I try my best not to assume that kind words mean you want to enter. :)

I would love to hear about who and how you pass this gift on to if you are willing to share. :)

Wearing as a necklace WITH excess yarn as chain...   Photographer: Andrew Kufahl

Excess yarn cut off and pendant put onto ball chain

Pendant hanging from review mirror in car
Some work well to hold notes or photos... or in this case, a business card!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Website lauch!

It isn't perfect, but I have been working on this for a very, very long time (perhaps almost 2 years now)...I've been dragging my feet, trying to get it perfect. But to be honest, there are just pieces I don't have right now. And I am no longer going to use that as an excuse to hold me back from moving forward.

Through facebook, google+, greenmartini, modelmayhem, coroflot, etc I have put a lot of time and effort into ways that were supposed to allow me to share my work with others-be it modeling, graphic design, painting, photography, etc. Some of these worked decent. Some were a waste of time for me. One thing was for sure, it is way too much work maintaining so many accounts! Plus, which ones do you include on business cards, since no one site seems to be able to do it all-I guess that is the consequence of not having just a single area of focus. It was time to think about a website...a place where I had a little more control over the layout/design, and could just have a selective portfolio for ALL of the art forms I do.

I decided to go with WIX because I initially thought they had a shop option that was included in the free package-I need free because I most definitely fit the label of starving artist, and while this is not ideal (wix gets to advertise on my site) and I worry about how others will view that and judge me, it is better than nothing. After everything was designed and ready to launch, I found out that in order to actually USE the shop, I had to upgrade my account, which unfortunately wasn't an option right now. While I understand in many cases why there are fees for artists to have a shot at selling any work (even in galleries, shows, or real life shops), it causes a huge issue if you are already spending more than you make just to make the art to begin with, not to mention all of the other expenses that go into this line of work. It ends up forcing the artist to raise prices way beyond what the average person is willing to spend, and in a cruel cycle,  personally I feel it often times cuts the chances of them selling their work anyway. Crushed that the shop I worked so hard to put together was down the pooper, I started to brainstorm... cue the endless research, and with the help of a friend who tested so many online shop options for me, we eventually found and I created my online shop ... while this did not allow me to do my initial goal-of having everything in one spot-and created yet another account to manage, it did however allow me to get my paintings/knitted creations out there and it opens up the option of people being able to purchase handmade, original artwork, directly from me, in an easy way, from the comfort of their own home, wherever that may be.

Redesigning my website happened so many times, I lost count. Whether it was due to the color scheme, the layout, the various templates, etc. I found myself struggling with a familiar issue... I've always had a difficult time labeling myself, committing to anything to define ME (signatures, logos, website designs, descriptions, art titles, artist statements, business names, etc). The templates and stock backgrounds were nice and easy, but something was just matter what I did. The graphic designer/artist in me wanted something more original...after all, I am creating a lot of one-of-a-kind art. It finally hit me... go back to where some of this stuff really took off...where I really started being my own artist: self portraits. How much more "me" could that get?! Suddenly, everything just started falling into place. I knew the perfect image, which lead to a color scheme, and layout. What a great reminder to just reconnect with myself, to be the true me, to stop feeling like I have to commit to outside ideas/labels/templates as a definition of me... and realize, none of this has to be permanent. I can change my mind and redesign at any point. It was amazing how much more freely things flowed, how much more enjoyable it was. It got back to the original goal-of creating something that was FREEING.

Loads of other issues had crept up in between, including my computer suddenly becoming too old to use WIX's site/editor. Crap. Thank goodness for kind friends with computers. Though that issue should make updates in the future continue to remain an adventure. ;)

After all the brick walls, the hurdles, the struggles, the worries... I am so very happy to finally be able to share this...

Sunday, August 2, 2015

July's Art Giveaway 2015

Boy was this a nail biter! I was not sure if I could finish any of the art giveaway item options that I had in mind (and had been working on throughout the month) until the last half of the very last day of July. Phew! Here it is..........


How this project came about...

I had to learn how to knit for a class in college. However, I was the only lefty, and was given a packet of written instructions to teach myself with rather than professor instruction. Thankfully, my grandma was willing try teaching me one-on-one, and while she teases that I "knit backwards" and had to check my work over often because my technique just didn't look right, it always worked out fine. ;)  I continued knitting (basic knitting) even after my class project was complete, it is incredibly relaxing.

Upon entering the working world, there was not much time for art, or knitting. A few years went by, I lost my job, and found my way back to various art forms, such as painting, photography, etc. A couple more years passed, and I found myself back in a position where I couldn't paint as much. Creative frustration got to me... I had to figure something out. And then it hit me... knitting can be done just about anywhere! Plus, it would be a really great opportunity to finally tackle a bucket list item... knitting Grandpa a sweater... Grandma retaught me everything, and then some (she is really wonderful!). We made a few things and spent a lot of time together, then I jumped into the sweater project (and to both of our surprise, actually completed it!), and from there, I got into some smaller knitted projects that were great ways to experiment/learn new things.

My next goal was to knit a shape, other than a square/rectangle. I figured out how to make hearts, which inspired a few other ideas in which these hearts could be incorporated. And here we are with July's art giveaway item: a knitted pillow - made with second hand yarn, and a rarely (if ever) used blanket cut up as stuffing.

If you are interested in winning this, just comment on the original July art giveaway announcement video on facebook or google+ ... DEADLINE is Wednesday, August 5, at noon (central). Good luck! :)