Here’s another entry in my Reading Sketchbook. I love that I’ve kept up with this little project of tracking my reads. Here’s what I record:
Page length, completion date, how long to complete, whether it is an owned book, a library book, a kindle book, an audio book, or something completed in the serial reader app, whether I loved it or hated it (often “liked”), whether it fulfills a reading challenge selection, was it a recommendation, and my thoughts/musings on the experience and story.
It has kept my reading grounded and moving forward. I love to look back and reads and recall certain details about the book and to remember when I finished it and how long it took.
Here’s, also, a peak inside my books completed shelf in my tracking journal. I’ve kind of become obsessed with tracking what I make, when I knit, when I read, how long I read for, and what books I’ve finished. I’m hoping, when I feel like I’m not finding creative space or down time, I can look back on this and realize when and where I was able to fit it in.
What should I add to my to be read list?
See more of my tracking journal here. And my reading journal here. Oh, and of course, there’s a knitting journal, too.
I recently went to see Takashi Murakami’s major exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and it was jaw dropping in its inspiration. The Octopus Eats its Own Leg is staggering and his attention to ancient Japanese practice to inform contemporary work really impressed upon me.
The pattern above now serves as a major inspiration to my work and craft moving forward.
What have you see lately that inspires you?
I love trying new things. As part of my recent and burgeoning studio practice, I started painting a whole host of beads without any idea where it was going.
And then, I hit the spray studio. And then, I remembered I had antiqued leather and linen yarn in my stash.
Eventually, these necklaces were born. I’ve worn the left two every day since I made them; I gifted the turquoise and silver one to my friend and studio mate, Rebecca. She just so happened to be wearing the perfect handmade tank top that morning, like it was kismet.
I’m even getting so obsessive about this particular practice, that I might considering selling these, if I think there is interested buyers out there. What do you think? Would you wear something like this by me?
As part of the kick off to Me Made May, today, I sport one of these necklaces. It’s not clothing, but its handmade jewelry. Does that count?
I have a lot of sketchbooks. Ones that are half filled, ones that are entirely filled, ones never touched. I start them, I stop them, sometimes, I finish them, whatever that means.
But, nothing is more special to me than the way I conceive of my music podcast, available at my other love, P+C. It’s a labor–and a form of art–to pick the list of potential tracks, to draw out what I think the artwork should look like, and to eliminate and create the final track list.
Occasionally, that book also turns into a sketchbook or a space to dabble–with new, small scale block prints, or quick little drawings.
What kinds of lists and sketches do you keep?
I’ve been working on a First 100 Days sketchbook as a way to address my pent up anger and to try and put this time, and these feelings, into my artwork and express.
I recently made a #nodapl block print–an issue extremely close to me as a Native American. It should be an issue important to all Native Americans. This is my sketchbook reaction to recent news that the pipeline easement would be granted.
After my first go around with block printing back in November, I’ve been taking to it in the last few weeks to explore printing blocks on top of one another, and determining how to create pattern.
I’m getting in a lot of studio practice, thanks in part to a little space set up for me in work by a brilliant artist friend and co worker of mine, Rebecca. As an extension of having this space, the students can see how we work, our process, and we can demo different techniques.
The first block I made featured the No DAPL slogan. If you don’t know about Dakota Access, know that its one of the most important issues facing Native Americans right now; our sacred land and water are threatened and you should get involved. I decided to make this block print because I could easily replicate it a million times to spread awareness.
This is our civil rights moment as indigenous peoples. I will use my craft and my art to spread the message.
My mum, sister, myself, and a friend hit the road to Washington, D.C. last Friday to stand in solidarity with all women and people of color to protest our president. And being the road warriors we are, I knew we’d need warm sustenance.
So I took a stab at making homemade cup of noodles. All we had to do was add hot water and a yummy meal was ready.
I did a handful of different kinds–two beef based, with tofu, shiitake mushrooms I’d sauteed in olive oil, salt, pepper, spinach, frozen veggies, and soy sauce, and hot sauce, with ramen noodles on top. I also made a chicken based one which mimicked chicken noodle with Japanese udon, and a vegetarian based one for my sister with miso paste, soy sauce, hot sauce, edamame, spinach, tofu, and broccoli slaw.
They were a hit. I’d definitely make different versions of these again. Hearty, warm, and filling. I used this guide. You should make them soon.
Food is fuel. Protest is power.
I have knit 10 hats for friends and family who will march with me on Washington this coming Saturday. If you don’t know about the Pussy Hat Project, read more about it here. Today, I registered all of my hats with their website.
I’m pleased I managed to make a hat for everyone on my list in less than a week. I wanted to include as much of my own flair as possible–so there are chunky hats, striped hats, and interpretations on “pink”, which is the color you are meant to knit your hats in.
Most of these were knit up with yarns in my stash–quite honestly, I’m not a big “pink” gal, so I was surprised I had as much in my collection as I did; and I purchased a few chunkier yarns when it got closer to the wire of my deadline. Yarns include Manos Del Uruguay, Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Malabrigo Rasta, Noro Silk Garden, and Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage.
Each of these will be packaged with a copy of We Should All Be Feminists, which I feel is essential reading my marching friends can check out as we rest at our campground the night before hitting the pavement.
I also helped make a handful of signs we will carry. There’s nothing like handmade protest signs. I hope to remember this day, one day, even though I had hoped we wouldn’t need this kind of solidarity in 2017.
Did you knit hats for the march? Will you be there, too?
In a few shorts weeks, a pile of incredible women I know will jump into my mum’s RV, Kitty, for a road trip. And while we have done countless cross country adventures throughout the years, this will be something with a different goal.
We will be marching with hoards of other women on Washington, to protest this president, his cabinet, and all they stand for. For some, it will be their first march on Washington. And my contribution to the group?
Hand knit hats as part of the Pussy Hat project. If you know little of the project, you should read more. The above is the palette that inspired my hats–so far, I’ve knit 5 hats, with a handful more to go. Along with each hat, I will include a copy of We Should All Be Feminists and a homemade cup of noodles for the road.
Snaps of our finished hats to come! Are you joining the movement?
I recently took a block printing class, and despite my obsessive compulsive tendencies getting in the way of carving a perfect block, I learned a lot about the process and my work habits, too.
One of the most important things I learned about my own making adventures has to do with how much I have changed perspective throughout the years about what I’m creating, why I’m creating it, and how I’m creating it. When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I desired to make certain things. The end product was what I coveted and I would learn whatever skills were needed to create that thing. And while I learned a whole bunch during the process, I didn’t focus on process.
This fabric block printing class showed me how much I’ve changed. While most in the class had a concrete idea of what they wanted to make and why they were taking the class (“I want to make hand printed napkins for my Thanksgiving table”, for instance), when it came time for me to share I hadn’t a plan in mind–I just wanted to gain the skills and come up with the ideas later.
I think I spent as much time in my sketchbook coming up with ideas as I did carving and printing on muslin.
This type of printing is pretty meditative. As a child, I loved stamping and took a number of classes, became and embossing expert, and developed a pretty robust set of stamps. Now, I can make those stamps.
And while my initial block featured a really small pattern that was hard to execute on the first go around, I learned a lot about manipulating the materials to do what you want and need. It’s challenging. But I think I’m going to do more of this.
Have you ever tried fabric block printing? What have you created?
Last weekend, Sean and I had a quick trip to Italy for my closest friends’ wedding. Mackenzie + Matteo are perfect for one another, and our trip, a whirlwind.
We visited Padova and Roma and it was magical. You can see snaps from our trip here.
I decided I wanted to take another stab at a linen yarn project. A couple years back, I made the Saco Stripes tank top out of Quince and Co. Sparrow, and despite knitting the smallest size, it was way too big on me. So I gifted it off to my sister (with sadness–I really wanted it to fit).
This time around, I’m knitting with Quince and Co.’s Kestrel yarn, and absolutely loving the way it looks and feels. Talk about knitting up quick, too. This will eventually be a tshirt called Flex by Heidi Kirrmaier. I love the interesting construction and thought the long lengths of stockinette would be easy knitting when my mind is distracted.
Eventually, I want to knit the Hamlin Peak sweater by Pam Allen in a lighter colorway of kestrel, too. I will wait to see how the finishing product on this tshirt looks on me, and what happens to the yarn after blocking.
Are you into knitting with linen? What projects?