Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Paper to Petal

When I was a child growing up in a little village in Trinidad and Tobago, one of my favourite pass times was making paper flowers. I would save money for new sheets of tissue and crepe paper, and literally run to Haniff's shop. The shop was different from the other shops (parlours) in the village; it was bigger, air conditioned and carried some school supplies, stationery, knick knacks that made for great mother's day gifts, and lots and lots of tissue paper, crepe paper and other crafty supplies. Needless to say this was my favourite place to go in the village. Since I was always working on something crafty I was a permanent fixture in the store. I can still remember feeling excited whenever Mrs. Haniff would lay out the various coloured crepe paper and I would take forever to decide which colour to purchase that day.

Last year when I came across "Paper and Petal" by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell, I was so happy to see a new book being published on how to make paper flowers, but I did not get a chance to see the book beyond the sneak peek on Amazon. The book has been out since last summer and I am asking myself what took me so long to check it out. This amazing book is so inspiring and has rejuvenated my love of paper flowers. The book provides information about the materials needed, techniques for making paper flowers and provides easy to follow instructions. I picked up a copy of the book at the library, and will be adding it to my own library in the coming weeks.

Over the years I have made paper flowers from card stock and the beautiful paper selection available at the Paper Place in Toronto. However, it has been many years since I have made crepe paper flowers. I have tried finding crepe paper at the local art and craft supply stores without success. Over time I gave up on finding it and in the end simply forgot about crepe paper. I am therefore very excited to find a book that not only looks at how to make paper flowers, but focus a lot on crepe paper flowers. The book includes 28 pages of templates and a helpful source list, so there are countless possibilities and places to find supplies.

There are so many things to love about this book that I cannot pick a favourite. What I will say however is that I cannot wait to make several of the flowers and create a beautiful paper flower arrangement for my studio. Since reading the book I have found great online sources for crepe paper and I have also tried making some flowers using simple, inexpensive crepe paper streamers. I have always loved how pliable crepe paper can be and I have been inspired by the designs in the book. I now have a mission to create beautiful paper flowers. There are so many wonderful ways you can use paper flowers and with a world of paper to choose from the possibilities are endless.

Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand / Book Trailer from THUSS + FARRELL on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sewing: Simplicity 2224

I have kicked off my sewing this snowy spring with a simple skirt project. I selected an easy simplicity pattern, which I think lends itself very nicely to lots of changes for a personalized look. The Simplicity 2224 pattern has pieces for both a pant and skirt in varying lengths. I have used this pattern before in my sewing classes, but I had not made a piece for myself. I decided to make the skirt view "A," but wanted to try making the skirt with a slightly heavier weight fabric than suggested. After thinking through several options I chose lightweight corduroy, which adds a bit of body to the skirt compared to the suggested fabrics.

I decided to forgo on the drawstring and just stayed with an elastic waistband. I am not a big fan of drawstring waistbands and generally do not use them in my personal garment pieces.

I finished the pockets a little differently and did not add a closure. I did however add a little more detail to the pockets with some velvet ribbon and stitched a simple embroidery stitch across the ribbon.

I sewed the seams as directed with a ⅝ seam allowance on my sewing machine, but decided to finish off the seams and hemline with my serger. I did not want a heavy hemline so the method I used worked well for a narrower hem. A darker colour thread would have been a better option for this, but I used what I had on hand and I can live with it.

As mentioned before, this is an easy sewing project and is great if you are looking to make your first garment. The instructions are easy to follow and with just a few changes like the ones I have made, you can make it your own. I will try this same pattern with a lightweight cotton or linen fabric in the summer. I made my skirt a medium, which I think was a bit too generous so the next time I will try the small.

Happy stitching!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Creative Business: Learning And Mastering Your Craft

by Yvette-Michelle Cottle Darby

The subject of how to learn and master your craft is something I will like to address. Your craft may be mixed media art, photography, music, sculpting, sewing, furniture making or fashion designing, just to name a few creative mediums. However, regardless of your chosen mediums there is always room to learn and lots of opportunities to explore.

There are so many creative business ventures that you can pursue, and regardless of what path you choose it is important to learn and develop your skills. If you are a novice, it may take some time to get to a point where you feel confident to sell your work. If you are a skilled individual and you are making the shift to selling your work, I believe that it is equally important to focus on a continued learning plan. This will allow your work to stay fresh and to be competitive in an ever changing creative market.

Many of the creatives I have met over the years have been self-taught. There are also those that have formally studied their craft through a formal educational environment such as a college or university program. Apprenticeship has also been a proven method for many individuals.

It is important to find what works best for you. We are all unique and that includes how we learn. Various factors in our lives will influence our ability to learn and master our given craft. Supplies can be costly and so are tuition fees in some cases. However, learning and mastering your craft is an important aspect of a creative business and must be seen as professional and skills development. It is also an opportunity to fine-tune or refine your talents and can provide a unique opportunity for self directed learning.

Asking how far you are willing to go and how much time and money you are willing to invest on learning and mastering your craft is a good place to start. You will also want to think about where you will like your work to go and identify the skills you will need. If seen from the perspective of professional and skills development, then it can be incorporated into you business cost, as it would be in another business or work environment.

Approaching the process also means thinking about your options and perhaps exploring a combination of learning strategies:

Learning by exploration and experimentation can be a great way to start. This can provide you with an opportunity to discover where your passion lies and is a great way to develop new techniques. You can do this on your own by "playing" with your chosen medium(s) and simply seeing how things evolve. This somewhat "trial and error" approach can take time and may be costly depending on your medium(s). However, I think that it can also lend itself to self-discovery and help you to tap into your individuality.

The availability of books and other learning tools is vastly available on different creative subjects. There are countless books that can be found on ever subject imaginable. There are lots of great resources available at your local library or bookstore. If you will like to learn an old craft or art form, then an old bookstore, antique market or even thrift store is a great source of older books. If you find a book that is invaluable, consider adding it to your personal reference library.

Courses taken through formal educational institutions can be costly, but can provide you with expert instruction. There are college and university programs dedicated to different art forms. However, over the years I have seen a decline in the availability of some courses. This may be as a result of decreased interest, a lack of available qualified instructors or a combination thereof.

Workshops and Seminars
Workshops and seminars may be offered within a formal educational environment, but is often found through other creatives or suppliers. You can often find interesting workshops and seminars at local shops where the focus is on arts and creative supplies. You can also find sessions via arts and creative organisations. The extent of how informative these sessions are depends upon the expertise and instructional skills of the individual instructor.

Online Tutorials
Online tutorials, like in the case of experimentation can provide you with an opportunity to explore different techniques. The skill level of the individuals presenting the tutorial will vary, so it may take viewing numerous video tutorials to get some deeper insight. The other benefit however, is having an opportunity to see different ideas and concepts and there finished state. This provides you with an idea of what something may look like prior to developing your own ideas.

Traditionally this approach is how many craft persons, artisans, makers, designers and many others would have learned and developed their skills. Learning from experienced individual and gaining valuable skills from a working creative environment.

I have found that a combined approach is often the most effective. Develop a strategy that supports your learning style. You will want to approach this process in a way that will maximize your learning and enhances your creativity. Having an understanding of how you learn will go a long way to ensure you gain the skills you need and build upon your talents. Commit yourself to the process and enjoy the journey. Never stop learning and continue to explore your creativity.

Self Directed Learning
Identifying Your Learning Style

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Crafty Idea: Nesting Box Storage

I have had these pearlized lime green nesting gift boxes for a long time. I originally purchased them at a packaging store for my fashion design business, but found that they were too heavy. I decided to keep them and now I finally have a purpose for them.

I used the Martha Stewart - Adhesive Metal Bookplate, which was easy to use and is a great way to convert these boxes into storage boxes. With the help of a sewing gauge I was able to centre each label easily. The boxes are perfect to store a few odds and ends in my craft studio.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...