Fabric collage is one of my “things.” I have painted and dyed fabric over time and now have a nice stash of unique colors and styles to use for my fabric collages. These collages are usually attached to everyday usable items, which is a bonus.
Fabric collage makes a unique product that gets many ohhs and ahhs from (mostly) my fellow artists. No everyone likes a whimsical bag on their arm.
I got inspired with the last canvas mini bag and made a video of the process. To see how the other bags turned out, please check my two previous posts.
For this last bag check out my YouTube video HERE.
I filmed and filmed and just as I was done, the camera batteries died. What perfect timing, huh?
You might ask how I dye fabric. There is always the conventional fabric dyes in the stores, but I like to make patterns and mix the colors.
I use mostly alcohol inks and diluted acrylic paints in spray bottles. I rinse out as much as I can, but the alcohol inks leave a pretty mighty color infusion. I use mostly cotton fabric because it absorbs the paints the best.
The acrylic paints usually embed themselves in the fabric, and when they dry, they are pretty stiff, but still flexible enough to use. I usually just spread the fabric on a drop cloth to dry. Try different paints, and make sure they are color fast after drying, otherwise they will wash out.
I have added the four fabric collage bags / pouches to my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.
There are many items in my shop at the moment since the holidays are coming. I have felt a creative high for some weeks and I’m grateful for the flow. Sometimes I have long periods of no great inspiration, but I keep showing up in my studio. That’s what you do!
If you want some art journaling inspiration, I have a bunch of easy videos on YouTube under my name. Keep creating. The process will make you grow.
Receiving is a good thing though they say giving is more important. Receiving is not what we think it is as in birthday presents and people doing you a favor. Those are all part of it, but to me, receiving is a state.
A state is a condition that we experience, FEEL. Most of us don’t have a clue about how to receive. Guilt plays a big role. We have to live by the convention of “I scratch your back so you scratch mine.”
It is an exchange of energy between people and I don’t disregard that, but receiving is so much more. It’s a state of “grace”, of being fulfilled, of gratitude for life as a whole, not just the perks we get.
When you’re in a state of receiving you are not chasing anything, no gains, no positions, no desires, no wants. You are open to receive whatever comes, but if you are filled with gratitude for life, mostly good things come to you.
It’s not easy to gain that state of receiving in a consistent manner, but by examining life and all those beliefs and habits that hold us back, we can learn to accept it ALL, and from there gain appreciation about the mystery of life.
We basically don’t know any more than newborn babies. They know more that we do in a greater sense. They are still pure and innocent, as we once were. They are in a state of receiving.
As are pets if you think about it. They lie around all day and don’t worry where their next meal is coming from. It never enters their mind, and they are always provided for.
In a sense they take for granted that life will support them. And it does.
Meanwhile, humans run around, or rush down the closest highway to get to nowhere. We worry and curse and plan. We are always chasing money. The whole day is revolving around making money.
We lost that innocent trust a long time ago, traded it for a man-made world that offers a lot of pain and suffering.
When we claim life and stop struggling, something shifts. Life becomes more beautiful and filled with situations we can be grateful for. The more accepting and grateful, the more abundant the gifts from the universe.
It’s not easy to change, but by becoming aware of what we do, and why, and what we say, and our prejudices, we can slowly shift the energy to be more supporting and loving of ourselves. The more you love yourself, the more the universe will support you!
What does this have to do with art, you ask? Really everything.
We tend to criticize and judge our art efforts harshly.
We compare ourselves to others.
We have an idea of what the art should look like, and it never does, so back condemning the effort. It can be a vicious cycle. Many stop making art because of it.
What if the art you make turns out ugly (in your opinion.) What then? Do you continue or just drop the whole adventure?
If we don’t stick with it, we miss out of the mystery. The adventure becomes a hurried rush down the highway, like with so many things we do.
We are addicted to doing and seeing results.
When you can shift and be in a receiving mode as you begin your art session, you are in a non-judgmental state and can receive the art as it manifests through you. That is such a gift!
It might not look like much, but your energy is in it. The receiving as a state of grace shows up in your art. Even if you only painted a blue line across the canvas, people will feel something.
We might admire technique but it’s the energy that draws us.
Stop chasing, become a receiver of life. Make open stillness be part of your daily process.
I did some art journaling lately. I can’t say I reached that magical state of wonder, but I had fun.
Be who you want to be.
A cat person…
Strange lady… Summer solstice
I guess I was into yellow and blue this week.
To be open to receive is to allow, to accept, and live in gratitude for what is, and what appears on the page.
Follow me in Instagram. I post most photos there, @greeneearth
I have some ideas if you’re looking for a gift. My etsy shop has lots of cool gifts. Earth and Faery.
Practice never makes perfect is true in some sense, though I believe that practice makes perfect if, say, you’re learning a new language. The art practice never ends. Some say that if you can paint something hyper-realistic you might call it perfect, but I bet the artist still strives for even more perfection.
Truth is, why strive for perfection in the first place? Artists want to get better at their techniques, of course. They want to execute their craft better for more personal satisfaction.
But what if you just want to express yourself, not perfecting the craft of painting perfect landscapes or faces?
Everyone can express themselves. It only takes a willingness to try.
Trying involves getting some materials, like an art journal or old book that you can alter (use as an art journal.) Buy a few acrylic (fast-drying) paints in colors you love, get some glue or medium, a few brushes, some markers, and a bunch of old magazines.
You can paint a background with a couple of your paints, anything goes. Draw stick figures, paint them, cut out images from magazines, words that speak to you. Add more paint and writing if necessary. Add stuff until you feel it’s right, if not perfect.
Then you practice to let go. It’s good enough!
It’s a great way to see in color what is important to you in life, and art!
What it actually takes is to do it, no excuses.
Carve out some time for creativity. Explore who you are, your wishes and dreams. Expressing in art is an age-old practice.
Art journaling can be challenging, but no one has to see your pages unless you want to share them.
Even if you hate the pages, at some point you’ll hit on a symbol or mixture of symbols you love and that will inspire you to continue making more pages. You’ll collect more stuff to add to your spreads, a bit at a time.
I keep making art because I feel a need for it. Maybe you won’t feel a need unless you really keep doing it, as with exercise. I can’t speak for you, but making art gives me a special kind of satisfaction, a feeling that it’s important.
I made a YouTube video of the first spread I made (above). You can watch it here to get inspired (hopefully.)
Without my art, my life seems to lack something. I go into my studio with anticipation and leave it feeling, oh well, many feelings, among them happiness, frustration, annoyance, challenged, inspired, accomplished. Every day is different.
I have more how-to videos on YouTube. They will help you explore your own creativity.
I have also made some more art journals for sale in my etsy shop. They will help if you fear the “blank white page.” ETSY SHOP.
Have a creative weekend, folks!
Here are a couple of blog posts about facing your fear and lack of motivation.
2018 is brand-spanking new, so I figured it was time to tune in and get my special word for the year. I sat quietly breathing and asked my wiser self what my word would be for 2018.
I got SERVICE.
At first I was a bit taken aback thinking I would get a more “attractive” word (whatever word that would be,) but I sat with Service for a while and it felt good.
It can mean SO MANY things.
We are already doing service. Everything we do is for movement forward, either directly to a person(s) or prepping for other action that ultimately helps people in some way.
So I was thinking, how can I serve with my art? I can show people new ways to do something or inspire someone to take that first step to explore their creativity. I can be connected to my spirituality and use that as inspiration in my art. People can feel that connection and I really enjoy inspiring others to deepen their spirituality. They in turn inspire others. And so it goes.
It is a misconception that it’s difficult to create art. There is usually some resistance, but you don’t need an art degree to express yourself. Children do it all the time. They don’t make excuses for lack of experience. They just ARE and they DO. They create with abandon, until someone tells them their art has to be in a certain way and they start doubting their abilities.
Art can be very freeing!
Art is important in life. We access our deeper hidden parts through expression. Color cheers you up! Movement across the page or canvas can be revealing as you follow along on the journey. Wherever it takes you…
If I can assist you in any artistic capability, please let me know in the comments. I have many great ideas for 2018. Let’s get artistic together!
IF you’d like to win a handmade art journal I made, please take this short survey about how I can serve you better in 2018! Thank you.
Fun exchange with awesome artist, Amanda Wolf Hara. She is the December guest artist my free 2017 art journaling journey. The last one of the year! It is bittersweet, and I don’t know how the year moved so fast…
When I was a little girl, my grandparents (who emigrated from Latvia) watched me all day while my mom worked. From Gramma I learned painting and fine art basics- painting every week, at least, with watercolors while Bob Ross was on PBS in the background.
Other afternoons I’d spend in Opa’s (My grandfather), woodcarving shop in their basement, listening to classical music and learning how to carve on soft pine.
Both grandparents took me outdoors a lot- to the local pond, nature center or just for walks around the neighborhood where we always stopped to watch what nature was doing.
I drew incessantly, (mostly horses!) and even painted watercolors on my bedroom walls. I drew on any scrap of paper I could find- my mom always said “you do some of your finest work on the worst paper.”
I dunno, I just Arted all the time. I took it for granted; it was just something I did- it didn’t seem like a big deal at all, even as I started getting awards in school.
In college I spent a semester in the theater’s scenic design program. I had one of the best teachers who helped me advance my skills by leaps and bounds. He was amazing.
LOL, I still struggle with seeing my art as a “big” deal. I just love doing it. It’s just what I do.
What does art do for you?
The world quiets down when I hold a paintbrush. There’s something about the sensual act of painting that quiets my brain like nothing else seems to; that particular hush seems unique to that medium for me.
The “graffiti” style journaling I do is like a really good aerobic work-out for my mind and emotions. It’s cathartic and raises a lot of energy for me- which is good, because I need that process to get to a breakthrough point.
What form of art do you prefer making? Art journaling or painting?
Lol, I really can’t pick! I truly love all art mediums, I do photography, writing, sculpture, sewing, crafting, jewelry making, re-purposing/upcycling, some collaging, pastels, colored pencils, wood burning every once in s while, acrylic and watercolor… I just cycle through.
My apartment really looks like I own half a craft store. Also, I paint on any surface that holds still long enough for me.
Next on my list is picking up a soldering iron. (Insert slightly maniacal laughter.) I’ll be unstoppable! I can do metal work. I have a tin can project I’d LOVE to see manifest.
After that, working with glass; blowing it, fusing it, stained glass etc. I just want to know how to do it. :).
Do you use art in any particular way? As in healing, journaling about your life or just for fun?
Yes, to all of the above.
It’s definitely therapy, and as I mentioned, it’s my way of tapping into deeper problem solving techniques. I Art all the time. I look at something- even garbage- like packaging materials-and immediately start challenging myself to think about what it could be used for, what could it look like, what it could give to an art piece.
My love too, is in teaching creative processes to others- helping someone tap into their creative capacity and that intuitive “knowing” we all have within us.
What inspires you?
Nature, for sure. And that extends to human nature, instincts, behaviors etc..
Also, stories. A lot of my art is driven by telling the stories of things that I believe get overlooked. I love the old stories of deities and characters that I think still hold just as much relevancy as they ever did.
My art maybe gives them an update and puts them into context in a way that we Modernites can still access them and recognize them.
Getting people to see their world in a new way- that rock-back-on-your-heels-a-little-and-go: “Oh… Wow! I never…” THAT. That inspires me.
Do you have any favorite artist or style?
Ummm… no. I like a lot of different things- I guess art that tells stories, and cultural pieces. That being said, there are definitely some forms of art that I just don’t understand.
As far as artists? There are so many- even ones I’ve had the pleasure of meeting- whose names I will, sadly, never remember.
But I’ll try:
Jo Jayson. OMG. She’s INCREDIBLE. I would love to learn to paint half as well as she does. And her Divine Feminine works are utterly brilliant.
Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests- Ohmygoodness. I will never be that level of cool, and I’m okay with that. But I would LOVE to share a beach space with any of his “beests” any day.
Pat and Ken Larson of Larson Clayworks.
Ever since I first saw their work I’m absolutely captivated.
I like Picasso- not necessarily the work itself, but the fact that he could do the very realistic detailed stuff, but chose to step out, break the rules and create new ways of considering what art can be.
Da Vinci, too- the imagination and invention- oh, that’s good stuff!
O’Keeffe comes to mind too- her voice and work I deeply appreciate being in this world.
What is the advice you would give new artists?
OMG, play with your art, please!
Art is about expression, about exploration.
Make mistakes. Learn how to turn them into something new and exciting. Learn how to make them look like they always belonged there.
It should on some level always be fun; it stays encouraging that way.
And get messy.
In every sense.
Get pastels imbedded in your fingertips. Discover acrylic paint in your hair a week after being in studio.
Get (safely) messy emotionally too- open yourself up. Get raw, get vulnerable. Or, get quiet and super still. Defy the norms you set for yourself and see where that takes you.
Any suggestions to artists who are stuck in a rut or in a feeling of inadequacy?
Aside from playing?
Learn to Art for yourself.
Do it because there’s a voice in you that simply cannot be expressed in any other way.
Art as a product is always subjective.
Art as a process isn’t.
It’s personal and intimate and deeply intrinsic. It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised; work it out, let go of the attachment to the end product and surrender to where the process of Arting wants to take you.
Oh, and OMG laugh at (with) yourself as often as possible.
When your inner critic gets too bossy, get them drunk on purposeful mistake after glorious purposeful mistake until s/he is so full they pass out. Then, joyfully create.
What is your all time favorite art supply?
Ooooh…. That’s a little like asking me to pick a favorite child. For the sake of all of them, I plead the fifth. 🙂
No inspiration? That happens to all of us creative types. There are many reasons why inspiration is absent, and I have recently been in the middle of a painful situation that has robbed me of all concentration and inspiration.
Health is maybe the most important facet of life. Without health we have nothing or we struggle. I’m a reasonably healthy person but lately I have had a shoulder pain that has bothered me for days.
I woke up at 4 am one morning and had a burning pain near my shoulder-blade. It has since spread to make life very uncomfortable.
It’s not as bad as a toothache or earache if you’ve had one of those. Wowsa!
It’s like something burning and gnawing on my shoulder. Off to the massage therapist I go tomorrow!
That is just one example that can stop you in your flow.
However, I still show up at my art table. That is my commitment. I spread on paint on my pages without enthusiasm, and let it be at that.
I can always come back to the pages. I have my artistic dream, and pain is not going to hold me back. I might not feel happy, rather the opposite, but who says you can’t paint ugly painful art…?
When I commit to something, like my art, I aim to move forward with some kind of art expression every day. My day feels wasted otherwise.
Life throws us curve balls and it’s up to us how we deal with them. You hear of successful people who have no arms and legs and still make a success of their life.
They choose to see and work on the positive they have in life
Pain won’t kill us but can become a sad excuse if we let it.
To have a purpose is good whether we carry it out fully or not.
It’s good to take action! Take action to heal, and do something you normally like to do. Every day.
Things can always get better! We may not feel better but we’ll feel better about ourselves when we take positive action.
Feeling like a victim or woe-is-me will make things worse.
Is there any part of you life that isn’t working? Are you feeling victimized by circumstances?
What can you do today to take ONE positive step forward? Then build on that. Every major change starts with a small step.
It takes determination, dedication, and courage. But that is the way out of any situation you don’t like.
Then commit to the steps every day and see some tangible change for the better.
Life can be hard work, but before you know it, inspiration will flow again.
I want to be able to say that I made the most of my gifts and talents when the time comes to check out!
Pain is a good teacher and helps me take stock of my life. Taking stock is a good thing!
The weekend is coming up. What fires you up this weekend??
I have decided to enjoy myself. 🙂
Love, Maria xo
P.S. Looking for Christmas gifts? My etsy shop is full of unique goodies, boho style! Earth and Faery.