Wednesday, December 13, 2017

how to set up a home studio space

so, you're thinking that you need some inspiration in this department. maybe you're looking to start a home based business, like etsy, or you already have a shop up and running, but you need a little more organization in your workspace. setting up a dedicated area that works for you is going to depend on a lot of things. i like to think of my creative needs before planning out the layout and work stations in my home studio space. if you think in terms of dividing your interests into areas, this makes the starting point so much easier. let me run you through the different work stations i have in my own space. this may give you a better idea of how to go about the process of designing a room that works for you.

there are five different work stations in my studio. in the photo above you can see the office desk and computer area. it's where I'm sitting as I type this blog post. all of my planning, note taking, writing, posting, networking, listing products to my etsy shop, happens here.

the black cupboard houses my shipping supplies. everything like a postal weigh scale and envelopes of various sizes, boxes, bubble wrap, tissue paper, packing tape, stamps, business get the idea. the point is that everything needed in order to accomplish the job of shipping things out of my studio to my customer, it all lives inside this cupboard. when things are all in one place, the business of getting things done is streamlined and efficient, which is so much easier on your mind.

as you can see in this next photo above, adjacent to the shipping cupboard is my arts and crafts desk. this area is where i paint and draw my original works of art. i also have wooden drawer units that hold stamps and other specific items for crafting. if everything has a designated place, then there is no room for clutter and disarray, which leads to overwhelm and confusion...and the almighty frustration. i know it need not be this tidy for everyone. but if you are an A-type like myself, i am highly recommending you set yourself up....why else would you be reading this far into the article? am i right?

to the right of my computer desk sits this cute little sewing table. my machine is plugged in and ready to go, which is a must for me to even attempt making things. my basket of fabrics sits quietly underneath and a drawer unit holds all of my sewing supplies neatly and conveniently right where it needs to be. i cannot stand being in the middle of a project and stopping to hunt for some necessary item, trying desperately to remember where it might be. nope. that is not how i role. 

the photo above shows the very much needed empty work surface. i use an Ikea dining table. it sits ready and waiting for what i like to call, the 'artistic spill over'. this table is for packing up orders that have sold and need to be shipped out, it is also where i use tools such as my laminator, or my paper cutter, and it is especially awesome to cut fabrics on with a self-healing mat and rotary cutter....and finally where i piece together larger crochet granny square blankets. you will also notice my black rolling caddy in the centre of the room. it holds all of my crochet threads, and i have another one which holds all of my acrylic painting supplies. that one sits to the left of my computer desk. they are easily rolled out to the large working table when needed.

currently sitting empty on the other side of the studio is this giant shelf unit. it is where my studio creations will be displayed and stored while waiting to be sold from my etsy shop. i will shortly begin filling the shelves with one project after another. knowing that your creations have a place to be housed while they wait to be sold is a great feeling. there's nothing worse than having your home become overrun with things in random piles everywhere.

so in the end, the rules are simple. make a list of all of the creative things you do. separate them into sections if you have the luxury of doing so. keep all the supplies pertaining to their particular stations-at their corresponding stations. think about purchasing some organizer drawers, caddies, and hold your supplies. the items you use to make your own beautiful creations can look amazing before you even begin. and the beauty of it is that it not only serves to inspire you, but it has an incredible calming effect on the creative mind. trust me on this. after all, you want to be as productive as you possibly can, don't you?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

crochet and embroidery artist

my passion for textile arts began, for me, right from childhood. it was my mother who influenced me in this department. i would always see her working on some project and be inspired to beg for scrap pieces of fabric and leftover strings to play with on my own. 
the first memory i have is sitting on the couch beside my mom, too young to know how to tie my shoe laces, but i somehow convinced myself that i could emulate her wiggling action of the crochet hook next to the string and would therefore be crocheting. even her efficient speed was emulated. apparently this was pretty funny to all onlookers, and me, being such a ham, loved the attention probably a little too much..considering the fact that my work was not growing or ‘getting bigger’ like my mother’s would in a seeming instant of time. 
starting at such an early age really set the groundwork for this love of working with strings and fibres, almost like they had interwoven themselves directly in with my heart strings…and there was no turning back. i was hooked.
how this passion develops
first comes technique, things like how you are supposed to hold the needle and wrap strings around your fingers, then comes accuracy, learning to not miss stitches and tension management, and that annoying aspect of ripping things apart when it’s just not looking like it’s supposed to; then comes speed, working faster while maintaining the works’ integrity. all of this development happens over time and with a lot of practice. 
i learned to read patterns, which was fun for a while…. and then i learned to make my own, designing and writing them up. that crochet coded lingo can be a bit foreign to your average non-crocheting person, am i right? But honestly, i found that, over time, this wasn’t enough of a challenge for me anymore…’s funny where creative evolution takes you. 
i now approach my work with a more random, free-form style. i find the results more unique to my vision, different every time from one project to the next, because i’m not worried about counting exact stitches. i think i say it became boring because it was monotonous to go round and round in such a predictable manner. i’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, it is actually very soothing and therapeutic to just fall into the easy rhythm of creating a beautifully and intricately made doily.  
however, i think i have come to the next stage of my creative crocheting journey. let’s just say that i’m into unpredictability now, while remaining highly recognizable with my signature style. it excites me to no end, to be able to work on a piece from the beginning and not know what it is going to be by the time i deem it complete. i just look for a pleasing shape before i tie off my strings.
you can see here in this video some of my latest pieces. as an artist, it’s never enough for me to just do one thing at a time. i have combined my love of line drawing with embroidery, and then added the delicate outer border of free form crochet. it has become what i do….and i also do this with paper creations, but maybe i’ll talk about that in a future video. 
so, the next time you look at something handmade, whether it is my own work or from any other talent….try to remember the deeper story that lies behind the work. with every stitch artists everywhere are weaving passions and memories and traditions…and adding their own unique touches of creative flair. i’m carmelina lounsbury and my passions for textile arts began right from  childhood.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

how to find your artistic voice

finding your own creative voice is something that takes time. the process involves many aspects and many questions. let's start with what mediums you enjoy working with. in the beginning stages of exploring your own creativity, you should probably try a little of everything. otherwise, how will you really know you've settled on your most favourite. after this trial period you should have a pretty clear instinctual  feeling about what you love working with, and also what materials you absolutely cannot stand. at this point it is time to choose your field of focus.

once you choose which media or mediums you love working with (it most certainly does not have to be just one), what follows is probably the hardest part, and that is figuring out what sort of art you should be making. ask yourself questions like: what subjects are you personally passionate about. you can get a good handle on your taste by looking at what other artist's are doing. pay attention to the subjects that they may be exploring and see what resonates with you. maybe there is a powerful message that you need to express visually. be sure to look within. one caveat about the internet is that it is way too easy to emulate what others are doing, and compare yourself to the point of forgetting your own originality and artistic vision. so turn your attention inward. think of what makes you tick, what makes you happy, or what gives you the perfect emotional response that would translate brilliantly as a body of artwork.

the third point i think is worth mentioning would be to keep a working sketchbook. this is where your tests and experiments  happen. you need a place to house your progress. it can become a much needed visual aid to the development  of your unique style. if you make it a habit to keep adding to this collection, you will most likely start seeing your signature style, or voice, emerge. and that can be a good take-off point on your journey to becoming the kind of artist you need to be. in the event that you don't see this happening, however, it is still a helpful process because it becomes easier at this point to ask yourself why. ask yourself what is missing in your work. what would make this artistic mission complete. sometimes when you can see the elements that are missing, we can more easily see exactly what it is we need to adopt into our style.

it literally has taken me years to hone in on what it is i, as a multi-passionate artist, should be doing with my varied skills, talents and interests. i work with acrylic, watercolour and gouache paints, i draw with pen and ink and graphite pencils, i enjoy fibre arts as well, working with crochet and embroidery...and it's safe to throw a little sewing and fabric love in there as well. writing and poetry are very important aspects of my creations. another thing you will definitely recognize about me is that i am a lover of all things monochromatic. working in a controlled, neutral palette makes me happy. it's not because i don't love colours, truth be told i love them all (almost equally), but the enjoyment that comes from a colourless aesthetic gives me this tremendous feeling of instant serenity. this neutral palette also lends itself perfectly to the tone of my poetic writings.

i had to figure out what element or subject to explore. something emotional and free and flowing. where patience is concerned, i am pretty sure that none was dealt me, so more of an informal approach to my art became necessary. although i do possess the skill to work on more meticulous pieces, as an impatient artist, it does not bring out the best in me as a person to strive for that level of perfection. instead, i create pieces that are more emotionally based on feelings and moods.

deciding to work with a botanical theme in whatever medium was something that just evolved organically over time. the challenge of writing about love and life using this botanical theme is working for me. in order to keep a cohesive thread through my work, everything carries either a floral reference or visual. the most important aspect however, is how my work makes me feel. and it should be the same for you as well. so if you are just starting out on this artsy journey in your life, keep these points in mind, and hopefully they will help you get to where you need to be just that much quicker than i got there myself. after all, i have only written what the younger me would have liked to have been told.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

art studio tour

today i wanted to share more of my workspace and creative life. i love spending time in my studio because it houses everything i like to work with. being a multi-faceted artist, i divided everything i do into separate stations. you'll see my writing and computer desk, my painting corner with my easel and acrylic paint caddy, my art desk where i draw and paint with gouache and pen and ink, and finally my sewing and crochet table. the one side of the studio houses two giant storage shelves which at the moment lay empty and in wait. when i begin to produce anything for my etsy shop, all of my products will be displayed there....and at that point i will definitely be sharing it with all of you. my neutral palette makes for a serene workspace, so even when things are moved around and in use, it still feels uncluttered and organized. enjoy the studio tour.

life as an artist

i know how much i love seeing what other creatives are up to in their workspaces, so today i'm sharing a glimpse of my own creative environment. my home studio is my happy place. i need the solitude that comes from spending time in here. today's video includes some of my typewritten poetry, crocheting, and artworks in my current sketchbook, as well as a sneak peek into my creative space. enjoy.