Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

Here in the US, it's Independence Day. My day has been filled with relaxation and art projects (along with woofing pups and a cowering cat, thanks to the neighborhood kids' firecrackers). I finished a set of valances for the kitchen windows, and was about to work on one of two dolls that need finishing...or maybe my self-portrait doll...or maybe a vest and cropped pants set for myself.

While I was trying to decide which one to work on, I perused the two most recent issues of Cloth Paper Scissors. I was reminded of something, when it comes to my favorite mixed media pieces -- I like the ones where the artist uses supplies and images with exuberance. I like layers and texture and multiples and surprises.

I don't do that; I'm stingy. Don't get me wrong - when it comes time to send a goody packet to another artist, I stuff it full. I cut off lengths of my favorite ribbons and tuck them into the corners. I take a bunch of paper flowers from India, and split it down the middle with another artist/crafter, and find great joy when I see that she has used them with exuberance.

I admire exuberance. I don't like stingy art...so why am I stingy with my materials when I create? I do not lack for materials. In addition to haunting local art and craft shops, and online sellers like Joggles, Sky Blue Pink, and American Science & Surplus, I'm a regular participant in "squishy exchanges," in which mixed media goodies are traded between those of us who enjoy playing in this stuff. I send and receive a lot of squishies. I also beg for broken jewelry from friends and relatives, and I save all the fake credit cards, CDs and cases from AOL, and every bit of used postage that come through my mailbox. I buy beads, fibers, fat quarters, and vintage buttons by the lot on eBay. There is no lack in my treehouse (note but one wall in the photo above).

My inner critic is alive and well. Attempting to follow along with an altered book tutorial, I find myself displeased with the layout and materials I've chosen. The few I've stuck down are in the center and look like they don't like each other. I take a tiny piece of one small portion of pretty paper from the drawer -- the drawer that contains about 200 pieces of pretty paper -- and test it at one corner of the page. Nope. I'm immobilized, for what will Wendy (the author of the tutorial) think of my poor attempt at following her guidance?

Well, first of all, Wendy won't see it unless I show it to her. Secondly, if I use up all of the pretty paper and never find another piece like it, it's not as though I don't have plenty of other options, nor do I lack willingness to go look for something new. This has to be some strange mental state brought on by being the obedient child of a mother who was a COD (child of the depression). Side note -- my mother could scrape a mayonnaise jar cleaner than anyone of the face of the earth.

Whatever the cause, I have set my personal challenge for the month of July. I will USE my stash of goodies. I will use said goodies with exuberance and joy. And whatever I screw up is my secret! (I guess that's a different kind of independence.)

3 comments:

Wendy said...

I have some wonderful fabulously expensive Japanese papers. I let my grandson chose from anything he wants in my stash to make his collages. He can spot the good stuff and I watch him merrily tearing and glueing and wish I could do the same.
Glue your paper down and I will send you some equally gorgeous paper to stroke and admire and ogle and maybe even use. You are worth it. :)

Kai said...

Sue Kurowski! Of all the people who deserve to create with exhuberance & joy, you rank right up in the top 10! You are SO generous with your 'toys' when you share with others! Now you go and do exactly what I know you'd tell ME to do - USE YOUR THINGS! In FACT, go back to your LAST post re: the nice soaps & apply THAT to your stash of art supplies! Yes! It is now officially YOUR Independence Day! Three cheers for the red, white, and SUE!

monique said...

Oh my gosh...I could have written this! I buy lovely things and then save them for "special"; like I don't want to waste them on something that might turn out less than perfect!

Tell you what... I'll use my stuff if you use yours :)

I wonder how many other people do this?