Coming and Going

A Quick Look at My Year in Crafting and What Lies Ahead

Last spring, my Mom asked me, “where are you going with this craft thing that you are doing?” I had just informed her that, despite my lack of money, I had decided to attend the Create Retreat in Chicago that August, sponsored by Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. She knew I had taken various craft workshops offered in the area, mostly in the mixed media area, but I don’t think she really understands what mixed media is.

I used to be a theatre costumer and she understood my interest in sewing;

I love taking nature photography and had been slowly gaining a little notoriety in that field – she understood and even encouraged me to pursue that craft;

I also expressed myself creatively for many years as a gardener and this she also understood. But she couldn’t figure out my drive to excel in painting, cutting and pasting, something I did as a child but put away as an adult. Other than a hobby, what purpose did it serve?

I wasn’t sure myself. I just knew that I burned out as a costume designer and no longer enjoyed sewing; that I had tried being a photographer but it just didn’t really feel like an artistic endeavour – it was more of just being in the right place at the right time and snapping a shot; and while I enjoyed gardening, once everything was planted it just came down to maintenance which was boring.

I enjoy learning new things and challenging myself. I’d discovered mixed media through the CPS magazine about 5 years ago, then the Stampington magazines about a year later. I’ve slowly been learning new skills and about all the wonderful craft products that are out there now. I can’t spend a lot of money trying products, but going to workshops helps me learn new techniques that I can use and new products to try without investing the extra money.

So where am I heading with this craft thing? I’m not sure at this point, I’m still exploring. 

I’ve dabbled in metalwork a little and decided that I don’t really enjoy it very much – though that may be because I don’t really have the proper tools. I’m still playing around with it and may later change my mind.

I like stringing beads but seem to have little interest in making jewelry. It just came to me a few days ago that I don’t really wear jewelry and perhaps this is why I’m not excited about making it. Still, if I could get a little instruction and quit stumbling around trying to figure it out on my own, I might just warm up to the craft.

Last year, I took classes and workshops in art journaling and lettering, watercolor painting, hand-altering photography, book binding and the coptic stitch, pop-up cards, stamp making, glass fusing and sandblasting. From visiting blogs and the wonderful support of the group of women artists that I belong to, I’ve explored and learned about ATC’s, stencils, stamps, alcohol inks, resist dyes, stamping metal, Tim Holtz, steampunk and foil tape.


Exploring alcohol inks and metal foil with Christmas ornaments

Playing at making charms using image tranfers with tape


A box for Britt; probably the best and most intricate work I’ve done to date.

Through these classes, I’ve discovered that I love working with paints, the altered book arts and art journaling and I wish to continue working in these areas, to become better.

 art journal backgrounds

   water color class

My goals for next year?

  • More classes, more workshops and more learning.
  • I’d like to get back to sewing, but in a more creative way than costumes.
  • I plan on learning more print making techniques because I think that this may be where I’m headed.
  • I’d like to become very good at something; an expert in one craft, though I will always be a dabbler.
  • To feel comfortable about calling myself an artist and to no longer consider myself an apprentice.
  • Continue enjoying my relationships and creating new ones with the wonderful community of women artists here in Kalamazoo, in Southwest Michigan and in the blogging world.

About Jill-O

a girl who likes lakes, trees and critters; making an attempt at living the artistic life.
This entry was posted in art, art journaling, biographical, classes, goals, New Years, paper art and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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