Sunday, January 31, 2010

Strutting around like a peacock

If you see me strutting about town with this purse over my shoulder, stop and admire.

I have mentioned here before that more than photography, I love sewing.  I'm not the world's most gifted seamstress, but I don't let that deter me.  I keep on keeping on, although everything I try takes about six times longer than it should, and never quite works out just right in the end. 

But being able to make something practical, that I can use, is just such a thrill (I thrill easily, apparently). 

The purse above is from a pattern designed by Amy Butler, and the primary fabric is hers as well.  I've been wanting a huge purse that will fit my big old heavy camera when I want to have it on my person, and this one will fit the bill.  Maybe that means I'll take more photos, now that it's easier to carry my camera with me. 

Last weekend I finished this little lap quilt I made my aunt for her birthday.  She always feels cold so here's hoping it will warm her up a bit.  I sort of made the quilt's design up as I went along and might tweak a thing or two, but I think it's possible I'll return to the basic idea at some point in the future.  With the lessons learned and all that.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The value of using the good stuff

You know what's fun?  Making Polaroid transfers.  In a nutshell, it involves taking a photo (or copying another image) using Polaroid peel-apart film.  And then prematurely separating the negative and positive of the Polaroid and using the negative of the Polaroid film to transfer the image onto another surface.  Many people use watercolor paper as the transfer surface.

I'm enchanted with the process, but it takes a number of different steps and there are variables -- wet or dry paper, how warm to keep the paper while it's developing, how much time to allow the film to develop before separating it, etc.  I've experimented with a lot of different ways of doing things and it's always educational, even if I don't get something I like.

A few months ago I was out of watercolor paper, so I bought a different type of paper from what I had used previously.  It was sort of environmentally friendly paper, which was a plus.

So a few weeks ago I got out all my Polaroid-transfer-making equipment to make a batch of transfers and ack!  Everything I got was awful awful awful.  This made me a little sad because no matter what variables I experimented with, they all looked terrible.  Such as this guy:

Then I got a notice that a local art supply store was having a sale on Arches watercolor paper, which is sort of the gold standard of watercolor paper.  It's beautifully made and has been made beautifully for something ridiculous like 600 years and it's what I'd been using prior to my other watercolor paper experiment.

That's more like it.

To learn more about the Polaroid transfer process, check out this entry on AlternativePhotography.  Relatedly, see (terrific) local photographer Jane Linders's post about making Polaroid emulsion lifts here.

(For more Polaroid transfers, see Tiffany Teske's amazing work here.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Indie Fixx Galleria

Do you know Indie Fixx?  It's a nifty blog on living an indie life -- in addition to featuring independent businesses, Jen, the blog's editor, provides her readers with free downloadable artwork, project tutorials, and more.

Another component of Indie Fixx is its Galleria, which can best be described as an online shopping place for handmade, indie-made and vintage goods, "Think of it as an 'indie mall' featuring a juried mix of designers & boutiques to provide a curated shopping experience", says the site.

And I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Indie Fixx Galleria's next rotation, which will run January 15-February 26.  Yay! 

In honor of this ... honor, I will be listing new items (such as the photo above) in my Etsy shop for the next few days (and likely throughout my stay at the Galleria.)  Be sure to visit there starting Friday.  I plan to have a special code for my shop that might provide a discount or a gift with purchase.  You'll have to visit my spot at the Galleria to find out!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let it snow

When I was a kid (and perhaps since I've been an adult) I used to do some mental bargaining when there was a chance of snow: "if we get a snow day I will totally do the studying I didn't do tonight", "if we get a snow day I will clean up my room", etc. Sometimes that works, usually doesn't.

Anyway: word on the street is that there might be a snow day tomorrow.

For a while I've been meaning to work on making some Polaroid transfers, which I haven't done in some time. So tonight I'm bargaining that if we get a snow day tomorrow, I will make something.

It might not be a Polaroid transfer right now (although I did get a pack of film out of the fridge, so the easy part is out of the way), but it's possible I'll finish cutting the fabric for a purse I'm making, or that I will go through Thanksgiving and Christmas family photos and get them uploaded somewhere.

Baking chocolate chip cookies counts as making something, in my estimation, so that might be the ticket.

If we get that snow day.