Design Play – Introduction

Hiya, all. We are starting a new class. Today we begin playing with design. I am going to share some of the things I’ve observed, some things I’ve been taught myself, and some things I’ve learned all by myself.

We will be discussing colour and texture. And we will be discussing shapes and spaces. There will be exercises to help unblock ‘designer’s block’ – you know, the same as writer’s block only relating to design.

By the end of this class, made up of however many lessons are needed, you should be able to draw on your own imagination and apply some rules to it and be left with a reasonable piece, ready to be worked.

These lessons can be used no matter what your milieu. They are  equally useful to needlework and to beading, to fashion design and interior decoration, to anything at all.

Questions? Comments? Please add your observations to this set of lessons: it helps make the classes more interesting.

That’s it for now –    … Helene …


Notes to Self – #6 – Agony and Ecstasy

Hiya. Today is the 1st day of September. Tomorrow the kidlets get back to school. It’s something all students feel for the 1st week. It isn’t until the 2nd week that reality sets in and they remember they hate school.

For me, the 1st day of September means a new topic in the Bead Journal Project. That’s the excitement of returning to school. My agony is a bit different to school children: I can’t find where the topic is listed. So I can’t get started. I have to wait. That’s agony.

School children buy their paper, pencils, and clothes BEFORE they hit the schoolyard. Their 1st week is showing off all their new purchases. They know in advance they are going to need these things, no matter what electives they have chosen. They are the generic requirements of going to school.

Well, in needlework there are generic tools used to produce a desired effect. But the choices of colour and texture cannot be decided until the topic is determined. Being held back, not knowing what the challenge topic is to be, makes me anxious. Today I cannot settle down to work – I mean real work – because my mind is floating over in the right hemisphere of my brain. 

Okay, I really am right-brained: I am a leftie, I am an artsy, all I can think about are the Project topics and a class I have scheduled in a couple of weeks.

My parents tried to instill in wee 3 that we don’t get everything we want but gave us all that we needed and, somehow, the lines were blurred. Wee 3 now have an expectation that our every wish will be fulfilled.  My fairy godmother is asleep at the switch.

That’s what I think.   … Helene …

Niki.Tasha – Lesson 9 – Miscellaneous

I have just read your initial answers to my questions again.  You have the opportunity to work on a short artist’s statement and a bit of a biography.  While you are looking around your community, your country, your home and clothes closet, decide what you like and why.  You know,  I love the colour ??? and it’s because ????  I love that texture rough, smooth, scaley, … because of its softness, its strong feel, …  Have I explained myself?

Right now just be aware of your surroundings, what you like, what you dislike and why.  Do you associate some colours with memories of childhood?  Does a fragrance thrust a picture in your head from another time? 

I wonder if the difference between artists and everybody else is the awareness of their surroundings and the things that remind them of another time.  Use your 5 senses (touch, smell, vision, taste, hearing) and soak up everything you can.  All this can also bring ‘home’ back to you when you get to Canada:  you will be able to visit in your mind.

If you find unpleasant memories showing up, that’s okay, too.  All this can be edited and made into something.

I personally think that the world is already full of ugliness:  why on earth would I want to add to it by making an ugly piece of jewellery?!  But, dark smelly places like dungeons, back allies and the like can be interpreted through your artistry into something of value.  In so many places around the world human life has no value:  who cares that a 9 yr old in Thailand is turned into a prostitute?  I care.  Let’s make life worth living – Let’s make something beautiful.

Niki, do you carry a picture in your mind that, when you think of it you can feel the breeze on your cheek, the smell of the earth, the calmness of spirit?  You might, without realizing it.  My picture is one I took in Algonquin Park (al-gon’-kwin), a large nationalpark in Ontario on a fall morning.  Everything about that day was special:  I had just left a friend living in Ottawa (Canada’s capital city) and was travelling in my mother’s car on the return journey to my parents’ home.  The air was perfectly still and mist was rising on a pond by the side of the road.  I could smell earth and wildflowers and leaves.  The water on the lake was like a mirror and on the far shore, surrounded by evergreen trees, was a maple tree.  It was blazing red and it’s reflection could be seen in the mirrored water. 

Whenever I get crazy (who, me!?) or bogged down, I think of that day and that tree and my spirit is regenerated. 

Do you have such an experience?  Being able to put it into words helps when you sit down to write your biography and your artist statement.  Your biography:  who I am, and my credentials.  Your artist statement:  what inspires you and the intended reaction to your work.

We have lots of time to get the bio and statement into words.  For now, just look around and savour your experiences.

You will have questions, well you better have questions.  Anybody reading this is welcome to join in with their comments and questions.  Learning is a collaborative effort:  I will be learning from you just as you will be learning (I hope) from me.  Just ask them here, in this blog.

Hope your family is settling down again after your niece’s accident.  How lucky she is to have such a close family all her own.