Posts Tagged ‘ craft ’

TUTORIAL: How To (Re)stretch A Canvas

Howdy, everybody! Although I plan on getting out Montana Tales starting tomorrow, I felt an itch to blog today… while re-stretching some canvases. And although I wager that most who are interested in such an endeavor already know how to stretch or re-stretch a canvas, it never hurts to write one of these doo-dads for the odd interested party! After all, say you’re a budding amateur painter that’s starting to become really invested in your habit. Depending on how much you paint as a whole, you can save a lot of money building your own canvases — especially if you’re able to find leftover paintings that have perfectly good frames underneath that you can salvage for your own illustrious purposes. Or maybe you want to make a frame that’s in a weird dimension that your craft store doesn’t have; in that case, knowing how to stretch your own canvas is also immensely helpful as a whole.

A note before we get started, though: I’m just using this article to talk about stretching canvases, not building a canvas from the ground up. There are a lot of options on how to build your own frames, from the dubiously flimsy stretchers you can get at the art supply to ripping your own boards and a lot of things in between. Building canvases is another story in of itself, not to mention one that would be kind of dangerous for me to photograph if I were to make a tutorial on it and post it on this blog — at least, the way I do it, which involves Serious Power Tools. I’d rather save that for the eventuality that I might have enough of a demand for such a tutorial and could draw illustrations on the subject. Also, that discussion would go over why not all stretcher frames are alike, etc. etc.

There’s also one more point I’m going to tack on here before we get down to business: not all salvaged frames are created equal! If you’re pretty sure you managed to inherit a painting that you want to paint over that’s on a store-bought frame, it’s just better altogether to re-gesso the piece and start from there. This may sound Greek to you, but it should make sense when you’re holding your frame in your hands. BUT I DIGRESS: let’s get on to actual Tutorialville, USA, which is behind the handy little “Read more!” link — oh, and in case you didn’t figure it out, this sucker is going to be mad image-heavy: Continue reading


Prodigal returns! Also, promises.

Yeesh, I’m back*! As if you couldn’t tell: I didn’t live blog nearly as much as I thought I was, but worry not — it’s for good reason! The bus wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and once I arrived at my final destination, it was a blur of fun, excitement, and food. (Emphasis on food, seriously. There is a lady out in northern Montana by the name of Mrs. A. Chambers who makes such delicacies as chorizo biscuits and gravy, etc. etc. Bless her soul.) My visit can easily be summed up as great fun, made lots of new friends, hugged a lot, am now nursing depressing hole in my heart, and have had lots of life experiences. No, make that Life Experiences. Definitely, definitely capitalized.

But now it’s August, which means that Real Life (which also needs to be capitalized) is upon us. Real Life really decided to bite me in the butt today, but this also means fun studio time (!!!) starting, oh, tomorrow or so. To distract from the butt-biting aspects of Real Life, I think I’m going to try to write some of those Montana Trek-esque experiences down next week. If it makes it into a week-long series, then awesome! Otherwise, I’ll just consider it an awesome exercise in creative non-fiction and leave it at that. Seriously, that entire 1.5-2 weeks was too insane to not have me devote to such a practice.

Rather than give you an awfully slim update post**, let me unveil that little something that I wasn’t allowed to show you before I left. The little something in question? Homemade cards for the bride and groom at the center of Montana Trek! They’re not revolutionizing the wheel or anything of the sort, mind you, but they are definitely cute enough to earn a post in their own right. So, as they say in the France: on y va! (Alternatively: allons-y!)


For the joint card, the newlyweds received lovebirds!


Due to the bride's taste, I predicted that she would want a raptor card.


However, the groom's taste was unknown; as such, I arbitrarily chose a squid. I mean, kraken are manly, right?


* Admittedly, back much earlier than originally stated, but bus lag really does exist.
** This almost could have been an update-and-“Look at my new theme!” post, but it wasn’t. But you should still look.***
*** I am just saying. It’s pretty sweet.

30 DAYS PROJECT, DAY SIX: “Alterations!”

DAY SIX: Alterations!

"Alterations!" Dimensions variable. Denim.

Fine, Thirty Days Project: my weekends will officially be a grab bag of nonsense. In this case: an impromptu sewing project to give me a pair of jean shorts for $0. It seems wrong to say there was much process to do this beyond dreaming of making cut-offs in a certain way, having someone help me cut the legs in a rough generality, narrowing shit down, and doing a zig-zag stitch, so I won’t call it a process. Still, pow! Instant ~fashion~ — or something like that!

30 DAYS PROJECT, DAY FIVE: “Origami, 1 of Many”

DAY FIVE: Origami, Part 1 of Many

"Origami, Part 1 of Many." Dimensions variable. Origami paper.

Oof, five days in and I’ve already missed a day. Not gonna lie: this was probably going to happen eventually, so what’s important is that I just embrace that slips happen and that I should soldier on. And so today, after a flurry of errands and shopping for supplies, I started on one of my long-term projects for this month: my origami crane garland. I’m presently in a flurry of big writing stuff right now, so the projects over the next week or so are probably going to be small and/or revert to the cranes if I can’t do anything else. Sometimes, it’s just the act that counts — or is that just what the apologist says to make herself feel better?

On book shows and creative challenges!

A week ago, I went down to the Indiana University Art Museum to see a show curated by my Bookbinding professor. Out of the kindness of her heart, she decided to give those in the Book Arts courses at IUPUI the opportunity to have our work displayed throughout the month of May, and I was fortunate enough to have four of my books featured in the atrium of the Fine Arts Library at the Museum. Unfortunately, due to Museum rules, I couldn’t use my normal camera and was thus forced to smuggle in my cell phone and Tweet the images out to the public. Here are a few from my dubious little lens, although more images are available at my Twitpic account.

True story: part of this book is sewn!

I-17 is a fold book about my big, fat boner for Arizona. It's made from printer paper and a really awesome Tibetan rag paper being sewn together on your garden variety sewing machine. The dust box for it was made with the same beautiful Tibetan paper and handmade cotton paper. Good times!


Piano hinge books are difficult enough to make, but when you decide that gluing together coloring book pages is a good idea, it gets double hard because of the lack of flexibility the paper has. I decided to make this book on a rather OCD elementary school art teacher who had very exacting rules RE: what one should and shouldn't do when coloring. Shit was crazy, but it stuck with me for life.

ANALOGY: An Accordion Book with a Clamshell Box

Analogy was a very frail book; its accordion page spine was made from this really wispy paper that was originally used for wedding invitations. As such, it was given a small clamshell box to protect it from handling. Go figure: the damn thing fits so perfectly, it's pseudo-stuck in the box. Analogy, by the by, was a four-part book about dealing with depression through the analogy of a flower going through the seasons. Yeah, it's as pretentious as it sounds, but the cover was pretty.

In other news, I’m going to be going from these weird once-a-month postings to once-a-day! Woohoo! Why, you might ask? I’ve decided to sign up for The Thirty Days Project in order to gear from a month’s “vacation” out of the studio into a daily studio practice. Although my official “project” will be to work on small pieces that can eventually contribute to a larger whole (body of work/oil paintings, perhaps?), its unofficial tag-along will be to write about all of its bits and bobs here! I’m excited! (And scared.)

State of the Union: Holy Shit, When Did It Become May?! Edition

All this and a picture of tits got me to where I am today.

All this and a picture of tits got me to where I am today.

Funny how those resolution things work; half of my posts in here are, “Oh gosh, how sorry am I that I haven’t written in here!” when, in reality, I’m only apologizing to myself. That being said, this is a case where I’m hardly ashamed of abandoning this blog for four months, for the dearth of posts actually represents a wealth of productivity elsewhere. I’m finally on the other end of sophomore review, finally capable of boasting the role of “member of the junior painting faculty” to show for it, and within the span of the month I’ve learned more about my artistic process than I have within the past three semesters combined. Even within the span of last break, I didn’t have much to boast by way of productivity/studio time, but now I feel as if I have a solid plan for Making Stuff Over the Summer. I want to experiment with media, do this and that, and I feel empowered to do so because I have a voice. I’m not really capable of painting for the sake of process in the sense that it doesn’t give me a proverbial carrot to lock myself downstairs and get high on paint fumes. There needs to be a theme behind it, and courtesy of an extremely helpful Drawing IV project, I think I have just that. I’ve certainly learned a lot this semester, and I suppose I’ll take now to look at a few entries back to see if those lofty goals I set for myself are in effect: Continue reading

On resolutions and radical aesthetics.

It seems as if everyone’s been writing lovely posts about the effervescence of a new year and the promise that it brings lately, and I’m inclined to agree. Thing is, the academic in me never really feels as if the new year is upon us until the first day of classes for the spring semester. Prior to this, I’ve been doing my Christmas holiday hobo thing (pajama pants, lazy lounging, zero in terms of productivity) but come the usual call of the 6am alarm clock and I’m suddenly rearing to go on all of my “resolutions.” (Resolutions in “quotes” since, ugh, the very idea of making a list of things one should improve upon usually sounds as if you’re destined for failure — but we’re all human here, n’est-ce pas?) Exercise more! Monitor my emotional well-being! Monitor my free time productively and finally stock up my Etsy shop! Finish all those commissions! Top my excellent GPA last semester with an even better one this semester! (Oh yeah, 4.0, you are in my sights.) And, of course, the very thing that brought me here: make more blog posts.

Of course, that’s something I’ve been puzzling about for the past few weeks, since I’m not even sure what I should be talking/trending about anyway. Although I said that this was a crap-shoot “tuna fish salad” blog, it’s quite clear that I always return to the subject of art, the manufacture thereof, and my relationship with the creative process. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a good outlet to talk about it in school or maybe I’m just a pretentious twat. Either way, that is apparently what I’m drawn to talking about in this place — but those times when I feel as if I can produce such content seems few and far between. Does that mean I should change content? Nah, I don’t know about that. I do know what I should do, though: endeavor to show more of my artwork (which, in turn, means I should get to town on properly documenting my work!) and talk about other work that’s really appealing to me right now. Since I clearly haven’t gotten off my butt to order some good tungsten bulbs for the school’s shooting booth, though, I think I’ll go on the latter.

When I read Design*Sponge today (a perennial favorite in my Google Reader, mind you), it was a blitz of catch-up — which explains, by the by, how I hadn’t managed to catch this beautiful post on the work of Emily Ann Nachison until almost a week later. I feel as if the installation is the twenty-first century’s art form, the kind of thing that all of us regardless of specialization are supposed to be gonzo about. I’ve only done an installation once, based on the concept of ownership and the staking of claim so associated with it, and although I’m not entirely sure it’s my raison d’etre, I always appreciate when I see it in the gallery. This particular specimen of Nachison’s work is as delicate as it is expansive; although its detailing looks to be fine and fragile (with objects that are light, airy, and yet available — camouflage netting and string, anyone?) , the mass of the entire installation is so much that the viewer is forced to encounter it. Nachison’s online portfolio places the installation within this wider context of nature, a self-professed “mythology,” and an interest in fibers and other non-traditional materials (although arguably, what is traditional in the context of media anymore?). Basically: it’s cool stuff. Look at it.