Is there something that stops you from putting yourself out there in the world? Something you wish weren’t the case or that you could overcome?
What I’m about to admit might seem trivial. But it's really not. It has everything to do with how we want to be perceived by others and what we, ourselves, view as 'good enough'. So, here it is:
I suck at taking good photos of my art.
And it holds me back from sharing my work far too often.
I've read tutorials, I’ve practiced, I’ve clicked and deleted. I can SEE the photo I want to take in my minds-eye. I see the sun coming in a certain way and I think, yah, that will be good. But it’s usually not.
I’ve even put the friggin’ succulent next to my piece just like the other Instagrammers.
Truth is, I find my pieces (especially my tapestries) hard to photograph. They are long and lanky and hard to fit in the perfect square dimensions that so much social media calls for. I don't like spending precious time styling them on the right wall, in the right light condition. But I know that if I want people to see what I make, I have to take pictures of it and share it. Even if the photos aren't that great.
So, instead of fretting any longer about the perfect picture, I’m starting my own campaign to #sharetheuglystufftoo and acknowledge that sometimes #goodartbadphotos happen.
Here are some highlights (lowlights)!
I also want to acknowledge that the idea for this came partially from a mother/artist collective I am a part of. We have been working towards a group show under the theme 'I'll only show you the good parts" inspired by Ree Morton. More on that to come in future posts.
I'm going to keep up the conversation on this over on Instagram, so tune in and follow me for more there. And join my movement by taking off your own filter of what is 'good enough' and letting it all hang out - the good, bad and completely sh**ty!
- Carmen xo
My kids and I have been taking quite a few CreativeBug online classes in the last few weeks. One of them was about gratitude journalling. I've been doing a little more writing since the start of this pandemic. Writing used to be my 'go to' to balance and make sense of things. I'll admit, I've lost my way and devoted myself to a lot of other things in the past 10 years. But, for me, there is incredible power in sitting down to think, reflect, draw and write out my thoughts.
So, I thought I would share what kinda poured out of me the other day. I call it the Ply Studio Manifesto and it's a rather stream of consciousness exploration of the core beliefs I hold, which drive my motivation to bring this studio space and programming to life. Perhaps it will inspire you to create your very own personal or professional manifesto ... and if you do, would you share it with me? Please? :) I love seeing what my community is creating, especially right now.
The Ply Studio Manifesto
I believe in the power of making things by hand to heal ourselves and add more joy to our lives.
I believe that spending time in one another’s company (yes, even virtually) while making things by hand and learning new skills is magic.
I believe in listening deeply, sharing openly, creating with curiosity, and encouraging greatness.
I believe that community is all around us, ready to be cultivated and grown with love. I am interested in creating more bonds and community around the things like colour, texture, flow, curiosity, asymmetry and beauty.
I believe that every day is a new opportunity to learn something new or expand on what you already know.
I believe in sharing my love of the creative arts with anyone that will listen.
I believe that learning new things will keep us young forever.
I believe in the power of the arts to create vibrant communities and a deep reservoir of wellness to tap into within ourselves.
I believe in holding and sharing creative space for one another.
Until next time, stay well and creative.
- Carmen xo
Have you been doing a little more spring cleaning than 'normal' this year? Cleaning and purging are making us feel better in this moment. It's something we have control over. It has an immediate benefit in reducing our stress and anxiety. Much has been written about this, but I found this website this morning and think it is rather clever if you can get past the name.
My message today: As you clean and purge, consider transforming those discarded (and found) items into inputs for some great pastimes.
I did the curation for you. Here are my top 6 picks for making old new again.
#1. Make your own t-shirt yarn and then knit and crochet all kinds of things out of it. (Photo/maker credit: Sustain My Craft Habit)
#2. Paint a mandala stone! (Photo/maker credit: Lydia Mae YouTube channel)
#3. Make natural dyes for ... Paper! Yarn! Fabric! (Photo/maker credit: Pop Sugar)
#4. Melt all those little crayon bits into something new. (Photo/maker credit: Martha Stewart)
#5. Make your own soap! (Photo/maker credit: Getty Images/The Spruce Crafts)
#6. Make a rag rug with old fabric scraps! (Photo/maker credit: Master Sergeich YouTube channel)
Ply Studio Update
Construction on the Ply Studio space continues, despite major slowdowns (obviously). The drywall is up and in the final stages of completion. Next comes paint and finishing work. And then the fun begins! Furnishings! Moving my LOADS of fibre and equipment into the space! And creating a place that you will want to visit - when it's safe to do so.
I've been thinking a lot about how I show up for you and all those that were looking forward to taking a creative workshop in the near future. Though my timelines have lengthened, it is still my plan to open an arts studio in the near-ish future. This pandemic won't last forever but it IS making me think about a lot of ways to safeguard my business and even my own creative time in the event of future disruption. Luckily, I have long been an advocate of online learning, especially for the purposes of bringing opportunity to those that otherwise wouldn't have the option to learn in person. Right now, that's all of us. So, I'm working on the what, how, and when of my digital experiences (in combination with in-person workshops - not to fully replace these) and I will have more to share with you in the near future. Until then, hang in there and know that I'm here for you.
Stay well. Stay creative.
- Carmen xo