Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wednesday Words - Mine!

This weeks Wednesday words are my own. I am needing a hiatus from blogging. So much is calling for my attention and I am forced to seriously prioritize to get it all done. Ern and I really need to focus on a few issues to accomplish that. His health has been challenged lately and it sort of puts me into some double duty on the home front.

My photography class has been intense and really requires a lot of homework all of which I thoroughly enjoy.  Classes will continue until the end of June. Hopefully I'll come out on the other side with improved pictures and skills. I have learned so much but mostly that I know very little. So my class is getting a lot of focus right now as well it should. It is a fun adventure.

Summer looms with all its gardening, visitors, home maintenance, etc, all of which my husband and I both enjoy. I will get some sewing in, for sure, but have to draw the line somewhere. I sew for sanity. I blog to share my passion for sewing. I will continue to sew.  Like I said, it keeps me sane. As far as blogging, I have many posts in my brain. I am hoping that will continue but at the moment it will be put on hold.

And then there's that job I work full time..........

I may blog now and then but for the time being, and I am not sure what that is, it will be sparse if at all. I hope to catch you all on the other side after our other priorities get managed. Thank you , all of you, dear readers, for following and commenting and just being the great blogger sisterhood that you are. Happy sewing and have a wonderful summer...................Bunny

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Craftsy Class Review

When a recent email came across for a bargain offer from Craftsy on the class of my choice, one of those "we want you back as a friend"  offers, I bit. I perused all the selections. So many options........A few things played into my choice. First, I feel a real bagapalooza coming on after my last bag.  You know I have garments lined up but there is no pressing need for those. Also, bag making is such fun. There are technical challenges to be enjoyed, no fit issues, and an opportunity to utilize some of the wildest prints and surface embellishments out there. Doesn't get much better than that! Then I started thinking, like I never ever do, that I should maybe start making bags for Christmas gifts, NOW. So unlike me, but it's a great excuse to switch gears a bit creatively.  Throw in that I am entranced with all the hardware now available for making professional looking bags and here was my choice: The Mix and Match Clutch Bag Technique course with Janelle MacKay of  Emmaline Bags. NAYY, BTW!

I've never been really good at clutch style bags. One of the big issues is the top flap not having a snug fit on the inside of the bag and then the innards sort of peek out. Well, with the class I learned tricks that prevent that and I truly haven't seen it in any of the samples made by others taking the class. To me a clutch bag is like a well fitting blazer. It really needs to have inner engineering to make it look effortless when worn/used and those skills are taught in this class.

You all know I have been making bags since before the millennium, cough, cough, and then some. I can honestly tell you I learned much new in this class that I can't wait to put into action. Janelle MacKay's method for installing pocket zippers is like none I've seen elsewhere and gives a beautiful finish. She also introduces various foams to the process which was a giant light bulb moment for me. Her method for getting the best installation of the foam again is like nothing I've seen elsewhere and the results are beautiful. MacKay clearly explains why various interfacings / foam combos are or are not the best idea. In the past I've used fusible fleece and decor bond combined usually. Her foam / interfacing method gives much superior results to that  and I am itching to have at it.

MacKay teaches how to install the various types of hardware and how to adjust your pattern to accommodate the varieties. I always thought that was some proprietary secret of really cool bag makers but she shares her knowledge generously.  The patterns for all the bags you see above are included with the class as well as excellent written instructions in a PDF format. The cutting layouts are clear and well illustrated. Her style of teaching is clear and straightforward. Her voice and tone are pleasant on the ears and she is totally on focus with no extraneous distracting mannerisms or unnecessary words. Her knowledge is vast, experience obvious and all generously shared. One of the things that has really impressed me and has greatly set her apart from many others who teach and design is her generosity. She allows and encourages the use of her patterns, with credit of course, for those who wish to sell them, just no mass production. This generosity of knowledge, skill and spirit is only matched by her professional demeanor. The knowledge in this class is supported by a FB presence in her Emmaline Bag group and her NCW Addicts group where here generosity, encouragement and skill shine.

I've taken several Craftsy classes at this point, most of which have been quite good. This class is among the best. If you have ever wanted to make a professional looking clutch bag, expand your bag making skills to other styles of bags and learn from the best in a clear, enjoyable class, this one's for you. I highly recommend. Again, I have no affiliations here........Bunny

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wednesday Words

This is not a book review. I haven't read this book. What I have read are a couple of articles in one of my favorite magazines, Crafts, about the sloppy craft movement. They encouraged me to seek out even more information about this phenomenon. 

Here's my opinion on crafts: there are two kinds. There are the kind you see at Saturday afternoon events in the summer and fall that are peopled by our local craftsters. I can buy cupcakes, crocheted toilet paper covers, awesome Barbie doll clothing and lots of jewelry, lots. They are a fun way to spend a cool afternoon and see your neighbors and buy a thingy or two.  Then there is the other kind. The second type of crafts that are really fine art. These fairs are held in well known big venues and have been running for years. If you have ever been to the Sunapee Fair in New Hampshire, you know what I mean. There is woodworking that glows and curves and takes your breath away. There are carved birds that could light on my trees and the local birds would ask for a mating. There is fine art to be bought, spectacular weaving, people who make exquisite and very expensive custom leather shoes. etc.. I love this type of craft. It is true art and can stop you cold in your tracks with its beauty. DD#1 and I would go to the Sunapee Fair every summer we could and would come back with items that have been in our homes for many years. I have a carved great blue heron that is one of my favorite things in the world. It just makes you want to touch it's smoothness. Jen has over her fireplace an exquisite custom hand forged piece of metal artwork. I can't even describe it but it is a beautiful  addition to the room. 

There is a place and enjoyment to be had at both these types of craft shows. Back to Craft Magazine.

And there it is again, those words, "Sloppy Craft". Now, frankly, I don't have a clue what Postdisciplinarity is or how it relates to fine craft. But I do know from the articles I have read that a lot of garbage is being sold out there as art. "Artists", faux that they be, are marketing this stuff and it is "dumbing down" fine craft and art.  Starting to sound familiar? Moaning arises about how you need to have a strong foundation and experience as a real artist/craftsperson before you can deconstruct and present garbage as art, like you see above. Then the moaners bemoan the fact that most of the Sloppy Crafters are highly inexperienced, wouldn't know an art degree if it slapped them upside the head, and are lowering the standards of the entire craft movement. They are highly skilled at marketing and social media.  Much is said about "who does it bother" and others are extremely incensed by it's existence.  Suddenly this fine art group of craftspeople is divided into groups for and against.

Many have seen this in the quilting movement with "art quilters" just not doing it like the traditionalists. ( I have seen some spectacular art quilts, BTW.)

Here are some words from Gloria Hickey, "Emerging generations of craftspeople no longer worshipped at the altar of the past.  They did not learn in apprenticeships with masters and a growing number had abandoned classrooms. They were not slaves to techniques or materials.  Young craftspeople learned from their peers or the Internet. The digital age would be to craft what the sexual revolution was to feminism." 

Dumbing down, making it fast with money as the motivation with disregard to skill and craft seem to affect more and more in our world each day. You all know you've seen this same movement in sewing. I sure have. What do you think? ..............Bunny