I Get to Be

I have still not managed the sleeping-in portion of summer vacation, mostly because of other living creatures. The neighbors banging things into a dumpster at 7:12 AM on a weekend. The house that’s being built at the bottom of the street. The girlchild getting up early to work for Grandpa, but leaving the dogs under my care. Whine whine whine. They do that until I get up. I lie there very quietly, barely breathing, hoping they’ll forget I’m alive, but it does no good. Sure, I go to bed late, but the boychild and I were up trying to figure out the wifi issues and then looking at music (like you do). He’s stolen a good chunk of what I own.

So I’m often tired. And it’s vacation, so you’d think I’d nap, but no…I’m determined to be awake and getting work done, artwork preferably. Yesterday, I spent over 6 hours ironing Wonder Under pieces to fabric on this giant piece. I’m just over 13 hours in, and I’m not halfway done, so I think it’s going to take a lot longer than I thought it would. It’s fussy little things…like owls…so I’m working from a few photographs on most of the animals and plants. If I google “owl in flight,” I get a ton of pictures and then I pick a few and draw something using those as reference, but if I want to use the colors of the actual bird, it gets a little wiggy sometimes. I’m supposed to be doing this owl as a commission as well, but I think I’ll do color a bit differently on that one…still realistic, but…well, until I iron it together, I really don’t know what it will look like.

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I guess that’s the more experimental part of what I do…I don’t color my drawing or cut out little samples of fabric…I imagine it colored in my head, and I find the fabrics that match that. Which sometimes takes a lot of time, because I’m looking for a range that flows well, and that’s not always easy.

The giraffe below took forever because I couldn’t find the right background color for his spots. I’m still not sure it’s right, but it’s more right than the first four fabrics I started with. So I think that’s why it’s taking longer…

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The iPad has all the links I saved while I was drawing, so there’s about 700 tabs open, and I go back and look at whatever I was looking at when I drew the animal or plant, so I can try to color it appropriately. Although since I’m looking at multiple pictures, that’s not always helpful.

I’m less worried about the flowers and plants, but it’s important to me that the animals look right. Realism! Strange for me, I know, but I liked the parts of the last Earth Mother that approached realism. The snake, the elephants…and yet the mother herself is obviously constructed of all these real and semi-real organisms.

There’s lots of time to think while I iron, but really, it’s meditation…artistic meditation of the best kind.

Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far…I’ll reuse some of them as I keep going up the body.

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Lots of variation in greens and browns. Seriously, there’s about 20 greens in there so far.

So one thing I was having problems with on Thursday was sore feet. I’ve been hiking and working out at the gym, and then I’m basically standing all day to iron. I don’t want to wear tennis shoes or the equivalent, because it’s hot and I don’t do well with my feet enclosed when it’s hot. On the other hand, my feet hurt too much to stand for long. I can’t afford to replace the flooring in here (but when I do, I will be doing something with padding or rubbery bouncy stuff for sure), and I thought a mat would even be too expensive…oh cool, they’re called anti-fatigue mats. But whether I do that or not, and I’d have to do a better job of standing in one place than I do, I needed a solution for NOW, because Friday morning, my feet were already aching.

Yup. Crocs. They’re cushy. Still pretty open. The blister on the back of my heel (which is ugly as hell) could be avoided by pushing the strap up. I didn’t need to go find or buy anything, and they move WITH me…I don’t have to try to remember to stand in one place. And? They worked. So cool. Well, Crocs aren’t cool, but they serve a purpose. And this is one of them.

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I just have to keep them away from puppy. He likes them too.

So I got into the 500s yesterday…although again, I have pieces ironed higher up than that, like ribcage pieces etc, which I did all at once. I did an owl, some daisies, some trees, a uterus and its accoutrement, plus a giraffe. I’m still in the main torso area, but I’ve done more than half of it.

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It’s time-consuming, for sure. But I think it will be awesome when it’s done. I probably won’t get 6 hours of ironing in today, because of the Oceanside opening, but I can get 4 or 5 in. Here’s where I turn into an art hermit: I don’t leave the house unless I have an event or an appointment, or I have to go to the grocery store. Or a hike. But otherwise, I hole up in here and iron and sew and cut and just be a full-time artist, because although I consider myself a full-time artist ALL the time, it’s hard to just spend an hour or two a night working on something that I am so obsessed with…and going to work in between and having a job that eats so much time and energy…this is such a relief. I can just BE what I’m supposed to be.

Meanwhile, I forgot one of the shows I was in this weekend: SAQA’s Oasis exhibit (which disappeared for a bit last year) is currently in Reno, Nevada, at the Sew Original Quilt & Creative Expo, probably scaring people. I’ve put the catalog somewhere very safe, unfortunately (cough can’t find it), so hang on…mine’s on the right, Part-Time Oasis

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Crap. I really can’t find the catalog or anything online that shows me who the other artists are. Sorry. I’ll fix this if I find it, but now I really need to start ironing grapes. Lots of them. Like fabric grapes. Not real ones. That would be really messy.

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