Tag Archives: paper mache

Dragonflies and Tinnitus

By now I do not remember when or why I made the first DRAGONFLY BROOCH. I suspect I was sorting through fabrics and the shape of one remnant or another brought a wing to mind. This is usually how new creations take shape.

This, inevitably, sends me on a sort of one-track mind exploration of design options and sewing strategies. I’ll sit at my table for hours, from concept to completion, first imagining every detail of the new object and then bringing materials together to give it shape and function. I usually make two initial pieces: one to keep as a model and one to give away.

I always give away the first new piece I create. For some reason, the perfect occasion always presents itself on cue, in a matter of hours or within the week: a neighbor who needs a bit of cheering up, a birthday, a fund-raising event, an invitation…

It has always been this way; the completely absorbed act of creation, that is. As a child, I’d sit on the floor in my room, silently, contemplating a new idea in all its angles. In fact, I soon discovered that I preferred designing it entirely in my mind, where I easily envisioned any shape much like we now see 360 degree views of virtual objects on computer screens. I could feel its texture and explore every component by moving around and within the imagined object in the fluid space of my mind. I loved doing this. I still do.

It is while imagining some new art object that I became aware of the buzz; of that distinct humming somewhere between the depth of my ears and the middle of my brain. I sat there, transfixed, turning my head one side and the other to ascertain the source of the noise. Clearly, it was somewhere inside. It never occurred to me to mention this to anyone. My wide-open child’s imagination instantly decided that it was a normal occurrence commonly experienced by everyone, though I suspected not many people were aware of it. I concluded I could hear the sound of the universe.

Later in life, I realized that I do not know what it feels like to “hear” silence. But I can extend my imagination beyond the humming, and that is good enough for me. In fact, it can even become a sort of meditation at times. In any case, when I work with fabrics and paper-mâché, my entire focus is on what I see and what I imagine.

It is a well documented fact that creative expression promotes healing. I can imagine a creative doctor’s prescription: Spend the afternoon doodling. Don’t call me in the morning. Just start creating something.

A Can of Good Worms and a Cow

Little did I know, when I joined The Vermont Hand Crafters, last fall, that I was opening a wonderful “can of good worms.”

Normally, the mere mention of said can conjures up the possibility of imminent, overwhelming and dark challenges. While the word “overwhelming” is rather appropriate in this case, light, not darkness sets the tone.

The first bright challenge arrived after I had spent several months immersed (as much as possible) in building an inventory of paper mâché animals, gift pouches and brooches for prospect shops and galleries. A couple of clients for whom I had previously done some website design and social media management convinced me to return. I had promised myself, or so I thought, that I was done with that career path, but something in me could not resist.  I accepted.

No regrets. Now, I am enjoying this more than ever, and I am convinced that it is precisely because of my restored confidence in my art and commitment to it. I feel more complete now, somehow.

The overwhelming part comes into play at this point, and lies in the fact that I have received back to back invitations to join gift shops and galleries. This, in fact, has been effortless, and all thanks to my decision to splurge (for it was a splurge at the time) on a membership with The Vermont Hand Crafters. Doors are just opening before I even knock.

I am not saying that I expect this to be the norm, and I can only do so much anyway. The last several months have been a juggling act between two or three social media or web design gigs and making room every day to build an ongoing inventory that vanishes to a new venue the moment it is complete.

This is the newest batch… and a cow was born.