In Front and Behind and Somewhere In Between

So, did you hear the news? Gauche Alchemy has decided to continue their blogging even while the shop is on hiatus by running challenges each month and I’m happy as a clam to remain part of the Alchemists who get to work on those challenges as well! Of course anyone can participate in the challenges and there’s even a link-up for submitting your own take on the month’s inspiration with a prize: this month is a punchinella pack! You have until the 31st to come up with something, so still plenty of time.

This first month’s inspiration was Frida Kahlo–what a way to start, right?!

I’ve long admired her as a human being and as an artist and have read a spectacular biography of her that went so much deeper than the Salma Hayek movie ever could (though it was pretty faithful in many ways). Despite the various physical infirmaties that tried to cage her in, she stood out in life and art in a way that definitely leaves an impression. It was that presence that really inspired my project this month and took me somewhere I’m not usually all that comfortable:

In front of the camera.

Head over to Gauche Alchemy to see the rest of the pictures.
Head over to Gauche Alchemy to see the rest of the pictures.

I started by creating a floral crown, like the flowers she often wore in her hair, but it grew from there, encompassing wrist and ankle. Now, I ramble on quite a bit about the meaning behind the piece and the thoughts it stirred up in me over on the Gauche Alchemy blog and I encourage you to read about it there, and keep in mind that I wrote it all up back before the end of July. Had I written it this week, I don’t think my feelings would have changed, but the passing of Robin Williams a few days ago just reinforces what I’ve come to believe about the balance of creative gifts and our mental and/or physical health.

This month’s inspiration spurred those deep thoughts while also taking me far out of my comfort zone. In order to even attempt for my shackles to make sense, I had to wear them, to show them in place, and to embody the best I could the spirit of our inspiration. And if I was wearing them, that meant I would need help to get the images needed for the post. Thankfully (as I always am in his case), Todd was willing to help me rearrange our guest room to make a photo space and then have me coach him through the photos I needed. It is my hope that the pictures come off more as an homage to Frida Kahlo and not a mockery, if intention counts for anything…

F for Frida...
F for Frida…

I’ve been spending a good amount of time the last few weeks more focused on what I want to be creating–both in art and in life. It’s made me look harder at the current time limitations I’m under and the steps I need to take in order to alleviate those constraints. Simple put: time to work my ass off to build my personal career so I can make the time for everything else. There’s a shift in my priorities going on, now, and I hope I can keep up!

If you follow me on Twitter you may have already seen the patterns I’ve been creating as part of the Make It In Design summer school. I’ve been enjoying the challenge of the creative briefs the classes have given and have taken some steps–again–outside my comfort zone and been rewarded for it! Here’s the first set of briefs (I signed up for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced tracks) I completed, I’m still noodling over the second set but I’m excited to play with animal print and tribal-inspired designs.

For the beginner brief I went with a whimsical scatter design...
For the beginner brief I went with a whimsical scatter design…
But for the advanced brief I used some of the same images without their outlines and a painted background to create an entirely different mood.
But for the advanced brief I used some of the same images without their outlines and a painted background to create an entirely different mood.
The intermediate brief was a bit odd-theme-out from the other two, with a different palette and a call for a more geometric style to work well on swimwear.
The intermediate brief was a bit odd-theme-out from the other two, with a different palette and a call for a more geometric style to work well on swimwear.

I’ve also entered Lilla Roger’s Global Talent Search and have already turned in my round 1 assignment (I’ll share it once the entry galleries have been made public later this month). Not gonna lie: I want to be one of the 50 picked to proceed to round 2 like you wouldn’t believe. But even if that doesn’t happen (there are a LOT of people in the competition from what I understand, something like 5,000?!) I’m happy with the work I turned in and plan to do more with it on my own.

Which means I’ve been spending the rest of my time this week working on my portfolio. My current portfolio is not only sorely in need of updated project images, it also needs to be reconfigured to allow for an art licensing section so those patterns and the collections I create around them have a better chance of being picked up by buyers!

I’ve got a fire lit under me–what’s keeping your engine’s stoked as we hurtle towards fall?

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