Freebies – zine, posters

Aisling's BlogDid you get your free issue of Astarte’s Mega-Zine? It’s a $9.95 value and it really is free… you don’t have to buy anything. Learn more about this free, full-size art zine at my webpage with links.

Also, I’ve updated the dada page so that you can download my favorite posters from  (I’m not thrilled with their domain name, but I love several of their posters.)

Musing Over Chicken Bones

Aisling's BlogI just learned that, if you soak chicken bones in vinegar for three days, they become flexible. [use #10, here]

Now, I’m wondering if you rinse and dry them, do they become rigid again? Would baking them help? Hmm…

If that works, can you bend the bones into weird and wonderful shapes, and let them set that way, for jewelry? I have no idea, but it sounds cool.

Taking it a step further, can you bleach them and carve on them, scrimshaw style? Will this work for other inexpensive bones that I can ask for at the meat counter of the grocery store?

This is how an artist’s brain works, sometimes. Will I ever actually test these theories? Maybe. Probably not. So, I’m sharing them with you, just in case they spark your creativity.

Focus, professionalism and clutter

Aisling's BlogLast night, I made a list of what I want to do in the life I’d like to lead. In order of importance: painting, travel, fabric art, and writing.

Then, I listed what I’d need for each. Okay, travel involves a ticket and throwing stuff into a suitcase. But everything else…

I was astonished to realize that I need the least stuff for painting, then for fabric art, and… well, my hoard of writing-related stuff is obscene. I can’t even list it all. I have boxes & boxes of cool articles and notes that I’m saving, “in case I ever write about this.”

Hello, that’s what a good library is for.

I also looked at all the sewing stuff that I own, with the idea that I’ll use it for fabric art someday. By contrast, when I was making quilts & wall hangings professionally, I’d buy a few bolts of fabric, use them up making quilts, give away the scraps, and then go buy more bolts… and the occasional accent fabric or two.

When I’m actively working in a field, professionally, I tend to use up everything that I own. I don’t keep clutter.

In fact, I’m currently reducing how much stuff I use for painting. I’m looking at the number of tubes of paint I use, and how many of those colors could be mixed from other colors that I own.

In other words, the more professional (and productive) I am in a field, the less clutter I own, related to it.

This is on the heels of spending a day and a half looking for my glue gun, to complete the project for Go-Make-Art.

It would have been better if I’d just tossed out the old glue gun and spent the $1.99 replacing it when I needed it again.

(Okay, that’d be wasteful. My point is, I own too much clutter when I can’t find my basic tools to produce art that I claim to be professional at.)

More De-Clutter Inspiration

Aisling's BlogPart of making more time (and space) for art involves being absolutely ferocious about decluttering. I like this article by Merlin at 43 Folders, in which he says, “If the stuff that you accumulate doesn’t help get you closer to the life you want to have, it’s simply not worth keeping. Period.”

I look at all of my stuff and how much of it is about the life that I currently have.

I look at how much I justify with the idea, “Well, if I use this stuff to make something, and then I sell it, I might make the money that I need to live the life that I want to have.”

And then I spend a week (or two or three) making whatever-it-is. I spend money on additional supplies that I’ll only use half of… and then the rest of those supplies go into my boxes, with some idea that “I might need this some day.” (I really hate buying supplies twice… especially if they aren’t things that I use in art that I’ll keep.)

I drop everything else that I’m working on, to get whatever-it-is completed and out the door. I throw it on my blog, or into etsy or eBay.

And then it doesn’t sell. Or, it sells for less than the hours that I put into it, even at minimum wage. Or, I just break even on the supplies, period. The time is gone, forever.

Hello, why do I keep doing this?

I think that I have to be even more harsh with myself. I may need to wholly eliminate anything that I’m working on with some idea that it’ll make the money that I need.

I think that I should start living the life that I want. I need to trust that the wherewithal will show up, or I’ll see opportunities within the context of the life that I want… not the life that I’ve had enough of, thank you very much.

When I’m creating something, if it’s not something that I’d want to keep/own myself, maybe I shouldn’t be making it. I need to quit looking at what other people are doing, while I’m thinking, “Sure, I could make something equally as good, and then I could sell it at a profit, too.”

Whether or not I can make something well is not the issue. It’s coming down to the energy in whatever-it-is, and if I see real value (as opposed to “that’s nice,” commercial value) in it.

Even “cute” art needs to be taken off my to-do list.

If it’s not about painting and making fabric art (quilts, wearables, wall hangings, very artsy dolls/figures), I think that it has to go away.

In a comment at the article linked above, someone named Cora said, “I got out a few sheets of crisp paper. I imagined my day and then my year, and wrote down the stuff I thought I’d need. Then I wrote down all the things I planned to achieve that year, and got rid of anything that didn’t fit, even things I really wanted to do or new things I wanted to learn. If it was unlikely I’d pursue it in the next 12 months, I just let it go — stuff might be outdated by then anyway.”

I think that I’m going to do that, but for six months (in keeping with “The 4-Hour Work Week”), and see what I end up with. That’d be interesting.

Sunrise and Faerie Rings

Aisling's BlogThis is a time of year when I see so much beauty around me. I can only capture it in photos, because it’s too hot outside–even in the early morning–to paint en plein air. But, I’m taking a bazillion photos to use for work in my studio. I take most of my photos in Bush Park (yes, that’s its real name), which I drive through twice a day.

Here’s the sunrise this morning:
[Sorry, images are missing temporarily, since moving this blog from Blogger.]

This afternoon, on the way home from taking HT to the bus stop, I stopped at the same parking area and took the next photo just a few feet away from the location, above.

That’s a faerie ring in front of the tree… an almost perfect circle. It’s huge. The smallest mushroom is about three inches across. I saw it from the road, about 40 feet away, and immediately pulled into the parking lot to take pictures.