Zen What? By Linda Stiles Smith

smith_zentangle1Ever have the thought that because you can’t draw you aren’t an artist? Well, according to the newest craze spreading across the country, if you can hold a pen and make a line, you can draw beautiful pictures. Does this make you an artist? Maybe not, but just about everyone who has tried it creates at least ONE original drawing, often worthy of framing!

Last fall I was introduced to a drawing technique called Zentangle®. A friend found it online, I ordered the kit, three of us watched the video, tried it out and we were hooked! We each have different backgrounds, but we were each able to create a set of diverse and interesting drawings.

The premise behind the process is that you combine some Zen time, soft music and quiet environment with a directed type of mark making, and you create small, 3.5”x3.5” (8.8cm) drawings full of dynamic patterns and shapes. By engaging your right brain in this way anyone can draw some pretty spectacular designs. Zentangle® provides a way to shift your focus and perspective onto the process of what you are doing and away from the results. Continue reading…

True Colours: Interview with a Jewellery Artist Turned Colouring Book Illustrator

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Adult colouring book by Laura Medeiros

 

Colouring is in vogue—at least for adults! I couldn’t believe it was a trend at first, but then one day I was colouring with my kids and realized that I’ve coloured in their colouring books for years! It’s a peaceful pastime. Choosing colours and how to shade in areas is fun and good for the soul. Creative people need a way to express themselves every day. Colouring fills that need for so many artists and crafters. Is this trend reconnecting us with simpler times? Is it part of the movement to purge our houses and live with less stuff? Colouring doesn’t require many supplies. It is also a peaceful and meditative activity. Continue reading…

Studio Confessions: Organized People are Just Too Lazy to Look for Things by Melody Pierson

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[Editor’s note: I spent a rainy afternoon in my studio last weekend….staring at the ceiling.  While I should have been thrilled that I could actually find space on my now partially cleared and totally painted studio floor…I wasn’t.  I lay there among my stuff and mess.  Defeated.   Ready to give up.  I pondered the wisdom of tearing apart my “epicenter” my “she-cave”.  Am I ever going to finish this clean out and re-org?  My hand fell on an old issue of Metal Clay Artist… I opened it on an article by Melody Pierson.  I procrastinated cleaning a bit more by taking the time to read and savor her article. I thought some of you who are also in “mid-re-org” in your studios and that maybe a dose of humour might help! Enjoy!] Continue reading…

A Conversation with My Father About Being an Artist. (My Out of Shape Studio Part 7.)

 

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Last week marked the end of the “60 Day Studio Challenge.” Two things got in the way of my publishing a final article and showing off my finished studio. Number one: I’m not finished yet! I need more time. Sixty days sounded like plenty of time to whip even the most dismal studio into shape. Wrong! Painting the floor and some of my studio furniture took longer than I expected. I’ll explain the floor (admittedly just fishing for sympathy here!). Imagine a 12-foot square room divided into three 4-foot by 12-foot sections. I had to move everything off of one four-foot square section to paint. When that section dried, I had to move everything off the next four feet so I could paint the second section. Ditto for the last section. That’s a lot of moving (or in my case, dragging)! And that was just the painting portion of the project. So I need more time. In choosing 60 days for the challenge I should have realized that I need 60 days in total, not 60 consecutive days! So now that I’ve cleared that up, counting the 20 non-consecutive days I’ve spent so far on getting my studio back in shape (over the course of the past two months), I have about 40 “studio days” left. I will finish. I have a friend coming to work in my studio and former students looking for classes. So I am very motivated…just temporarily stalled.

The other thing that prevented me from writing an article about my “out of shape studio” last week was world events. By now you’ve all seen the gut-wrenching images of the young boy whose body was found face down on a beach in turkey. He, his young brother and their mother were three of the 12 Syrian refugees who drowned that day while trying to escape to one of the Greek islands. And those 12 souls were symbolic of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other migrants and refugees who risk their lives daily trying to reach the relative safety of Europe. My heart aches for them and for their families. In light of these tragic events, working on my studio and writing about having too much “stuff” somehow seemed disrespectful. In fact, anything to do with art this week just felt frivolous to me. Continue reading…

Studio Insights by Michael David Sturlin –The Importance of Purpose

 

Many things we do in life have purpose. But, this in itself doesn’t imply that we always see all of them as particularly purposeful at the moment of doing them. In fact, we might often wonder, “Why do I have to do this?”

Purpose2Some of the things we do are just necessary activities of our everyday human existence. Those tend to be the unavoidable things that are part and parcel of daily life; household chores, school and family activities, work related tasks. There are a myriad of things that simply have to be done. They may not always be our favorite things. But, since they have to be accomplished anyway, realizing their necessity as we do them makes them a bit more purposeful and easier to tend to. Continue reading…

She Ain’t Pretty-She Just Looks That Way. (My Out of Shape Studio Part 6)

Shelley-FrankensteinI can’t remember when in school I was assigned to read “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly. But I do remember that I couldn’t put the book down. In Shelly’s book, a scientist named Victor Frankenstein creates a living grotesque creature in a rather “unorthodox” way. I have been working like Frankenstein on making a jeweler’s bench by taking apart old desks and creating something new. After reflecting on my route to making a bench, I’m starting to feel less like a crafty artist and more like a mad scientist. I seem to be obsessed with finding or creating the perfect bench for my studio. Continue reading…

A Creative Spin by Joy Funnell

toolsWhen I’m working I have a whole crop of tools and little boxes that I like to have in front of me on my work-surface so they are readily to hand. For the last few years I have used a rotating desk tidy which is great (Thank you Tracey Spurgin for that idea!), but now it has got to the point where I struggle to fit in all the tools, and I have a few others I would like to add! When I go to pull something out maybe another tool falls out at the same time. Something had to be done about it!! I laid them all out on the table and they looked quite a lot!! Continue reading…

Contest: Strangest Item

weird2It’s time for our next contest to start! What is the weirdest thing you have found in your studio? I have a diving wet suit.  Yes, I know–that makes total sense to have in an art studio.  What does not make sense are these typewriter ribbons or the David Foster and Yanni C.D.’s.  Who put those in here? Have you been finding funny and strange things hidden away in your studio? Well dig them out–they could win you a prize from Rio Grande!

mail.google.comNothing says “artsy” quite like some troll dolls hanging around for inspiration!  This bench is part of Rio’s Tech lab.

To enter photos of your “Strangest Item” click here.  I can’t wait to see who wins the $100 gift certificate from Rio Grande!

 

The “Forever Studio” (My Out of Shape Studio part 5)

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As I was flipping through a home design magazine I came across a follow-up article about a builder who a few years ago built his “dream home” and is now building his “forever home.” Is this the new buzz word in home design? Maybe people need more than a dream home. As I’m plowing my way through my stuff in my studio this idea keeps popping up in my head. I have a vision of what I’d love my studio to look like. But since I’m working with what I already own and plan on being in this studio for a very long time, I think I’m skipping past the “dream studio” and going right to the “forever studio”. I can say that this “60 Day Studio Challenge” is starting to feel like forever! Continue reading…

EuroSynergy2 Conference

bordeaux_la_nuitThe EuroSynergy2 team is thrilled to announce that the next conference will take place from the 10th to 13th July 2016, followed by 3 days of workshops!

The location is the Mercure Hotel, Bordeaux Centre, France and the programme format is exciting and brand new! http://eurosynergyconference.net/

Workshop proposals are being accepted now.