Archive for December, 2010

December 31, 2010

Friday::Farewell 2010

by heatherkp

Farewell 2010…it’s been a year of challenges and change and as much as I enjoy rising to a challenge it’s exhausting.  As I reflect on this past year how it began and how it ended are both very different than I ever could have anticipated!  I started the year employed at a relatively creative job, that I was good at and had been doing for over 7 years.  About mid-January that abruptly changed as I decided that I was not inclined to relocate for my former employer.  Okay…now what?

Well, I decided that I would take the year to reflect on where I’ve come over the past decade and to re-assess where I’m headed.  If I was middle aged I might say I was having a mid-life crisis but alas…I am not middle aged and I’m not in a crisis.   I’ve experienced a lot of intense emotions this year.  I’ve been sad, depressed, angry, resentful, ashamed, scared, lost, confused and bitter…Enough!   I spent time reading, traveling, making art, cooking, gardening, volunteering,  talking long hours on the phone with good friends, I had a LOT of FUN and I realized that underneath everything I am an artist at heart, I am an ARTIST!

I am so VERY GRATEFUL for the time I’ve been given this year to do this reflecting, to be spontaneous, to do things that I might not get another chance to do and to try to learn how to just be (I’m not very natural at this but I’m starting to learn)!  I remember watching a TED conference video a couple years ago about a design firm in NYC that closed it’s doors every 7 years and took the year off to re-group, refresh, renew and rest (I can’t find that talk but if you do, please leave a link in the comments).  That’s what this year has been about for me.  For a long time I’ve been going full steam ahead, doing a ton of things outside of work with all my friends and family constantly telling me they were amazed by how much I managed to do and I was CONSTANTLY BUSY. It’s funny, there is something about that perpetual motion that is wonderful but it eventually you have to slow down.  This year I’ve replenished a bit of my depleted energy and reserved some for the years ahead because I’m ready for 2011!  I don’t really do resolutions but I do plan to create a community of creative people around me.

This is the first time I am choosing a word for the year.  Thanks to a little exercise that Kim Klassen posted on her blog I was able to discover that my word for 2011 is CLARITY!  I had a few other words in mind but nothing really clicked until I did this exercise and it came to me.  Setting my intention is powerful and I am so excited to start a new year and see more clearly where I am headed.

~I’m wishing each of you a beautiful New Year!

 

December 27, 2010

Monday Moment

by heatherkp

A moment of my day::enjoying a cup of “Queen Bee” Allegro tea (someone knows me well!) from my Christmas stocking in my new ceramic coffee cup while knitting and listening to podcasts.

 

 

December 24, 2010

Festive Friday

by heatherkp

I hope you are enjoying this festive day! I’m doing my best but after coming down with a horrible sore throat yesterday I really could use one more day.  Not gonna happen!  On top of that I had to frog one of the knitting projects that I am supose to be giving my mom tomorrow and I’ve started over but I don’t think it will be totally done in time.  I’m sure she will understand, that’s what mom’s are for!  We did have a great time yesterday baking cookies.  We are so alike, so overly ambitious.  We started at 4PM and baked 5 kinds of cookies and 1 type of bread and cleaned her kitchen back to spic and span all in 6 hours, not bad!  We make a great team and it’s a fun tradition.  What traditions do you have with your family?

Last week we continued a tradition of going to see Christmas lights at a local park called Brookside Gardens with family.  We don’t go every year, maybe every other but this year was especially memorable because we brought together cousins on both my husband and my side of the family and my best friend and her daughter.  8 adults and 6 kids, beautiful lights, snow on the ground, hot chocolate and a model train set made for a very festive evening of memories.


Onto more festive celebrations of the season…we are headed to see  family tonight and my dear husband is making pizza for 12 adults and 4 kids.  He makes some great pizza and the family has requested that pizza on Christmas eve be a new family tradition.  We will also get to hear carols (and sing) by some talented family and friends.

I’m wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

~with love and peace~Heather

You may also want to check out this newly released Online Magazine (festive winter edition!) called Celebrate; brought to you by Going Home to Roost.  There are some very festive projects and ideas included.

December 22, 2010

Wednesday::words

by heatherkp

 

December 21, 2010

Spotlight::Our American Textile Heritage~Churchill Weavers

by heatherkp

Advertisement showing the front exterior of the Churchill Weavers loomhouse.

Before weaving begins, a warp or vertical the threads of the loom must be made. Weft threads are woven through the warp threads using the loom and shuttle. ca. 1928

 

Churchill Weaver’s stereocard advertisement, style 15319R.

I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to work for some US textile manufacturing facilities my career, some of which are no longer in existence and some that no longer manufacture in the US.  Starting right out of college I landed a job at one of the oldest and finest Hand weaving mills in the US.  I’m speaking of the late Churchill Weavers of Berea, KY.  Once so valued for their products that the US military spared wool rations so they could weave woolen undergarments for our military men.  It greatly depresses me to see their beautifully woven products now being sold as “rare” on Ebay!  There were a number of factors that went into the final outcome of Churchill’s doors being closed forever but they didn’t go down without a long battle.  Historical textiles from their archives were salvaged and donated to the Kentucky Historical Society.  They have compiled quite an amazing online Archive, accessible to anyone!

Churchill Weaver’s stereocard advertisement, style 15451.

Woven Panel made by Churchill Weavers and Designed by Gerhardt Knodel ca. 1978

One of the valuable lessons I learned working at Churchill is that there is no substitution for learning about business and technical data at a facility that manufactures rather than being miles and oceans away from the products you design.  If you’d like more information on the fascinating history of Churchill, please check out this blog.  A limited selection of baby blankets with original Churchill designs are available here.  I’m proud to share below a few of the items I had a part in designing!

I knew when I graduated from college in 1998 with a degree in Fibers (textile design) that it would not be an easy career choice.  I headed ambitiously into the profession knowing that the beginning of the end (as I had come to understand it) was already in sight.  Shortly after graduating I started seeing the full effects of the “global”market’s influence on the industry.  First the mills began to run shorter shifts, sell off machinery and start to outsource manufacturing to foreign mills.   Within the first 5 years of my career I had gone from designing for high end luxury goods manufactured in the USA to designing mass produced goods being imported.  I had a hard time with the ethics of this but I needed to stay employed and by then I was beginning to see my friends design jobs being eliminated as their companies not only shut down manufacturing facilities but started to hire off site designers and design studios in other countries.  I started to see another trend that was quite maddening.  Before I say more this observation is not singularly in regards to the textile industry.  It is the mis-informed “American way” to throw something way when it’s broken (or just worn out)! So often we don’t er trying to fix it because it seems far easier and cheaper to just start all over.  This is so maddening!  Can’t we learn from those around us who have invested so much time and energy to make something special?  Okay, sometimes new life needs to be blown in but there is often so much we can learn from these establishments.

It was also about this time (early 21st cent) I really became aware of the “Indy craft” movement.  I started seeing all sorts of crafters, makers and designers pop up on the http://www.  In response to this I also saw a few new kinds of manufacturing facilities in the US who were responding to the needs of these independent makers.  I’m speaking of textile print on demand (such as Spoonflower and others) and weaving mills in particular but I’m sure there are lots of other examples by now.  This was very encouraging to me on the one hand but also frustrating because we had already begun to loose so many older manufacturers.  I often think that if the two generations had found a way to communicate with one another some very unique solutions could have come about and kept some companies afloat.  I do think that there are some companies in the industry who did respond in this manner and I see them now as established and valued but also aware of new and upcoming trends.  My request to you is this; if you are a maker, manufacturer, lover of all things handmade and you are working in the US please consider the source of your purchase and support our US heritage of manufacturing. We can’t bring back these historic and iconic facilities but we can learn so much from them by informing ourselves and making the most of our purchases now.

December 16, 2010

Releasing your Dreams~(making way for new dreams)

by heatherkp

I was having a conversation with a friend recently and we were talking about my goals for my new business.  I had one of those moments of clarity!  I thought about what my dreams for my business had always been (since graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design) but I realized that my old dream didn’t exactly align with what it is that I am doing and want to be doing now.

Wow, okay this is probably something that lots of us have experienced from time to time throughout our lives but in this moment I was able to see that it’s okay to release those old dreams and expectations we put upon ourselves.  In fact, we have to do this in order to make room for new dreams.  I’m all for de-cluttering and getting rid of things in my life that don’t serve me anymore but thoughts, expectations and dreams need to be treated in the same manner as actual, physical things!

It can be kind of sad to release your old dreams but please realize that those dreams have served you well.  They have motivated you, given you something to strive towards and they have helped shape the direction of your new dreams.

So today I invite you to release those old dreams that no longer serve you.  Go ahead, write them down, seal them in an envelope and send them off!

December 15, 2010

Book Review::Outliers

by heatherkp
Cover of "Outliers: The Story of Success&...

Cover of Outliers: The Story of Success

One of the new features I am going to start sharing with you is a monthly (minimum) book review.  I am an avid reader and a huge library fan.  I’ve usually got several books going at once including both fiction and non.

Outliers; The Story of Success has been out a couple years now and maybe you’ve read it too.

I felt that Malcom Gladwell’s latest book would be relevant to my current changing life path.  I’m in the process of redefining my personal idea of success.  This book gave me new insight into what is behind so many successful people.

Typical to his writing style, he has shared his ideas and theories with us using stories to illustrate his points.  I love stories but they have to be relevant to you to make a lasting impression. I think some of the stories he used were too long and more drawn out than necessary.   As a whole though I think he accurately describes our current world and more specifically American view of success. For so many people success is something that is evasive, we don’t understand it and so if it is not in our grasp we behave as though it can only be achieved by the lucky few.

“Because we so profoundly personalize success, we miss opportunities to lift others onto the top rung.  We make rules that frustrate achievements, we prematurely write off other people as failures.  We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those that fail.”

I love that quote, it highlights the possibility of success for everyone.  This book does not tell us how to achieve success, it tells us what so many successful people have in common.  It shares the relevance of certain characteristics and traits present in successful people, including ones upbringing (cultural and economic), luck, timing, intelligence (practical and IQ), talent, the help of others, an most importantly, hard work.   I kept waiting for the secret to be revealed at the end, for him to say that if you were not so lucky you still have a chance but there was no grand revelation and no promise of how to achieve success by following a formula.  I find it a little depressing to accept that some people will never be given the opportunities that others have/had and so much of this is out of our control by the time we are adults taking charge of our own destiny.  In reflecting back though I look at the list of traits and characteristics and choose to take charge of those things I can control.  I have a new respect for those hard working success stories and I now see success as something that we have to make for ourselves but not by ourselves.

The next book I will be reviewing is Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano.

Do you have and book suggestions or requests for reviews that are related to business, art, creativity, women or success?  If so please let me know.

December 14, 2010

Tuesday Take out: Cards turned ornaments

by heatherkp

This is a follow up to last week’s take out.  I left you with a short tutorial on how to make the snow globe holiday cards.  Below I’m sharing with you the final outcome of the cards and a couple of ideas for either turning them into ornaments or making them as ornaments.

I love to make cards every couple years but I hate the idea of these cards going into the garbage (even if most people do recycle).  A few years ago I created a line of cards (made with recycled paper) that I sold in stores.  The idea behind them was that they were small pieces of “collage art” that were made with recycled paper, found objects and bits and pieces of ephemera etc.  They were meant to be saved, framed and appreciated.  With that in mind I wanted these cards to do double duty as ornaments.

I’ve included instructions on the inside of these card so the recipients can choose to make ornaments out of them.  It’s really simple once the card or snow globe portion is made (see instructions here).

1. Cut out the ornament (Snow globe) shape as above.

2. Trace the shape onto another decorative paper.  Here I used recycled Christmas cards that I had received last year.  You could use photo’s, decorate the back side like the front or use plain paper.  You just want to give the ornament a little more weight.

3. Add a separate piece of solid paper for the base and glue the front and back together.

4. Punch a hole in the top, add a string or ribbon to hang from and put it on the tree!

Voila~An ornament!  If you make these please comment and leave me a link to your creations.  I’d love to see them!

December 8, 2010

In Response to Poppytalk

by heatherkp

Below is the comment I left in response to the latest blog entry over at Poppytalk.  I’ve been following her for a few years now and love how she finds and highlights and supports creative makers.

‘Jan, it certainly has never been simple for artist or truly authentic creators of any kind to keep their work from being ripped off! But, everything happens more quickly with the internet at our fingertips making it so easy to “Spread the wave”. I have to step back and not participate from time to time. I choose very carefully what I will and will not share online, on flickr, on facebook, on twitter, on my blog and soon on my website. This is unfortunate but I think it’s a necessity for anyone creative, you just have to keep a part for yourself and you have to be willing to let other stuff go. In the middle though, there does need to/have to be a way for people who are dedicated to being entrepreneurs! Geeze, life is not a get rich quick scheme people!  Life is about the experiences you make for yourself and those you choose to share with people you care about. That’s it! I’m tired of cheaters looking over my shoulder and looking over the shoulders of my very talented friends! I’m gonna say that again, I’M TIRED OF CHEATERS~WHERE’S THE TEACHER WHEN YOU NEED THEM? What can we do as a creative community to sound off about this? We need to bring a Fever pitch to our voices, together!’

If you are an artist or crafter of any kind please do what you can to stand up for your rights and help educate the media and your customers about copyright infringement.  If every blogger who blogs about creativity floods the web with this subject in a short period it just might be noticed on a larger scale.

December 7, 2010

Take Out Tuesday: Snow Globe Holiday Cards

by heatherkp

In today’s take out I’m sharing a behind the scene of my holiday cards this year.  Every other year I make all my cards, usually between 50-75 handmade cards so I try to keep it pretty simple.  I had the idea of making snow globes and here are 3 photo’s that illustrate how simple this project really is!  There are a lot of variations on this idea that would work so enjoy and make it your own.

What’s a snow globe without a snowman?  I didn’t have a snowman stamp and I didn’t feel like cutting out any more circles so I carved a quick snowman rubber stamp.  I keep a few blank rubber stamp bases around to use for these sort of projects.  The other tools include a pencil or pen to draw the image on, an xacto knife to cut the stamp down to size and to outline around the drawn image and linolium block carving tools to carve the block.  I start with the smallest tool and outline the image and move my way outward and use the larger size for the large blank areas.  Remember the image will be in reverse!  I once carved the word “celebrate” in a linoleum block only to realize half way through I didn’t reverse it, wow what a waste of time!

For the snow globes I cut circles a little smaller than my card base.  I am using a card that’s 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″, the globes are 3″ diameter.  These backgrounds are can be anything from a plain solid color to magazine images, scrap booking paper or photo’s of your family or pets (that would be cute!).  For the base I kept it simple and cut out brown rectangles about 2 1/4″, then I folded them gently in half and cut a small angle on the ends to give them a wider base.  Simple!  Glue down the globe pieces first, then the bases and your ready to add images, embellish etc.

Once you assemble the basic globe have fun embellishing them.  Here I used my snowman stamp, added some words to the base, some sequins and beads and little fuzzy balls for the buttons.  I’m also making some with embossed images, glitter and whatever else I can come up with.  Have fun and if you make some cards like this I’d love to see them, please let me know!