Sunday, 26 May 2019

Hobonichi Art Diary Update

I've started journalling in my Hobonichi art diary again, after a lull of many months. In general I really enjoy kawaii/cute journalling, but I sometimes have phases where I hesitate, because of feeling like it's not good enough (not cute enough?), comparison envy, not having the stickers, washi tapes, etc that I wish I had, or simply because I feel like my life is too boring to document.

Up until the start of this month, I'd only made about 5 entries in this years' book. At the start of this month though, I had an urge to write, not to draw or decorate, but pure diary writing. I didn't care how boring my day was, I wanted to document it. It also gave me a chance to use the beautiful fountain pen I was given as a going-away present from my last job (two jobs ago now, actually). I've been writing almost every day, filling up the pages and only using the bare minimum of decoration.

So for the past month, my art diary has been more diary than art. Don't get me wrong: I still love washi tapes and stickers and coloured pens. But it's my fountain pen and my need to record the little things that's been getting me to open up my Hobo every night, and whatever makes that happen, I'm happy with it.

Of course, some sections are too personal, but here are a few pages:

This spread has some washi tape samples I received in my Patreon reward from Rainbowholic, and most of the stickers are from Daiso.

The pages aren't meant to be arranged aesthetically, but just have a few stickers in strategic spots, and washi tape covering up the text at the bottom. This one is a little more like my 'old' style pages, with a separate box for a snippet of information, and I stuck in the business card for Coco Glez, whose Etsy shop order I received that day.

As you might have read in the pages, during this time I was watching My Mad Fat Diary. I started it after I began writing in my own diary again, but I think it spurred me to keep going. I loved the show and I'd recommend it to anyone who has mental health issues, is fat, is a teenager, loves 90s music and aesthetic, or just about anyone really!

More recently I joined in on Rainbowholic's Reset Kawaii Journalling challenge. It's all about self-care and relaxing ... not to mention journalling and decorating! More details and the challenge page to save/print are here. I love Rainbowholic's challenges because they're so chill -- there's no pressure to finish every prompt, and the time given is very generous.

Here the right-hand page is still in progress. I decided to draw my comfort foods as I don't have many stickers representing foods, plus I want to practice drawing. I haven't decided yet if I'll colour them in with pencil or watercolour.

The challenge is not only fun, but a good way to fill up all those blank pages. I know a lot of people who do kawaii (and other kinds of) journalling have swapped from a Hobonichi to a journal with undated pages, but at times like this, I'm glad I didn't.

And finally, here's a picture of my beautiful fountain pen!:

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

New Art and Craft Projects

After finishing off my blanket, which you can see in my last post, I was a little bored. Crocheting back and forth, back and forth for 13 months, I really wanted to do something different. Though, kind of strangely, I still wanted to make things with crochet. So I started this scumble. Scumbles are freeform crochet -- they can be any mixture of stitches, shapes and textures. This one evolved in a completely un-planned way. I started out just mucking around, sticking with a blue and green colour scheme, then decided to add some sequins and beads. Then I decided to make it round and attach it to a backing board to make it easier to hang. Some bamboo plates I found at the supermarket make perfect backings. It just needs to be filled out around the edges now. I'll probably stuff parts of it to make it more 3-D. Maybe there'll be bits hanging off it. Who knows.

I also had an urge to make another plushy monster, so here is Splodge. All they need is some stuffing, attaching the arms and adding hair to be complete. Hopefully that won't take too long.

I've been working on this paint-by-number for a while, and it's almost finished. The kitten is finished, anyway. I want to add some text, and I've ordered a stencil for that. I hope it arrives soon!

Finally, well, I've already warned you that I can't draw, but I want to improve. I had an urge to use my dip pen to try some drawing, so I did pictures of Vincent van Gogh and his brother Theo. I always get the urge to draw them in the darker part of the year. Though it's not quite Winter yet here, they're as good a subject for drawing as any. I confess: I smudged them a few times and tried to make it look like it was deliberate. Perhaps I'll practice some more before I waste any more good watercolour paper.

I've ordered some wool for making a Newt Scamander scarf, so perhaps you'll see that soon!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Preparing for My Exhibition

After the sadness of my last post I haven't felt like communicating much. But life went on. I had an exhibition to prepare for!

I finished the blanket over a week ago. That was the easy part. I've been crocheting for 30 years and I know how to do that. Everything that came after it was new, and I was nervous! The first thing I did was create some postcards. I really like the idea that people have something they can take away with them, like a small gift. Instead of a normal flier, I made up postcards that are a little more durable, so people can use them as a bookmark, hang them up on the fridge, or whatever they wish.

Sharick seems to approve -- he kept trying to sit on them!

Designing the postcards was easy, and taking photos of the blanket was much easier than I thought it would be. I have to thank my photographer friend for his advice there. The text was much harder. I needed to summarise my ideas in a few short sentences, in a way that would make sense to other people. I've lived with this project for over a year, and I know it inside out. I was worried that I was too close to it to be able to explain it to a newcomer. I took some advice normally given to writers, and slept on it (and also did a spell, but that's a story for another post!). The next day I re-wrote it completely and I was happy with it. I ordered the cards and they came on time.

Then I needed an idea of what the space would look like. I already knew that I wanted some signs and accompanying materials that would explain what I was trying to achieve. To be honest, I just kind of bashed something out, as it's hard to know what everything is going to look like and exactly how much space there'll be.

I know the blanket will be in the centre and it will be very wide, so I printed two copies of each sign so one copy can go on each side. Then I don't have to worry that people will miss out on seeing all the signs. There's one with the title of the exhibition, a sign explaining what it's about, a mock invoice that shows what you'd pay for the blanket if you really wanted to pay a fair hourly rate, and just for fun, a 'Crafter's Resume'. Aside from being fun, I'd like to think that people might consider craft work in comparison with office work. I'm also including some photos of the blanket in progress to give it a more personal feel and to prove that I really made the whole thing!

I printed out the larger (A3-size) signs at my local big-box stationery store as my home printer doesn't print larger than A4. The process was surprisingly smooth -- I just emailed the files to their email address and received a code in return. At the shop, I got a pay card, entered in the code and it was done! I bought a folio so I can carry the papers around and keep them safe. It's pretty boring (the cool one was too expensive) but I'll decorate it when I have time.

Install day is tomorrow, so I needed to pack everything! I checked the blanket one more time and folded it up. Sharick very kindly helped me with this. He always looks grumpy in photos but he was actually purring away madly and seemed to be having a lovely time.

I popped everything in a bag and put it by the front door ready to take to the gallery tomorrow. Voila! An exhibition in a bag!

What Is This Handmade Blanket Really Worth? is on at NOIR Darkroom 13th - 26th May 2019.
57 Moreland Road, Coburg. Open Wed-Sun until 6pm. My blanket is in the front window so you'll be able to see it 24 hours a day! There will also be a rad zine exhibition on in the main gallery at the same time. I can't wait to see it and I hope you'll check it out.

P.S. This is actually my first solo exhibition! I can hardly believe it!