This is where I explore All Things Inspirational...
I have LOVED PAPAYA Products for a long time!!! Since we have a variety of greeting cards at the Shop made from local artists, it only made sense to get in some Papaya Cards!!! So I did! I'll be re-doing the card racks for next week and I'm VERY excited!!! Read more about the artist Anahata Katkin!!!
I hope you're having a great weekend! I'm looking forward to comfy clothes and some hot chocolate!
I have been following the work of Sabrina Ward Harrison since high school. In fact, I can remember the first time I ever picked up Spilling Open at The Bookshelf Downtown Guelph. I remember thinking "Who is this girl" Fast forward a few years and you would find me in my 'in between' years between highschool and collage in my bedroom with journals, pens, crayons and pastels covering my floor and sarongs acting as a tent over my bed. The work of Sabrina Ward Harrison has long inspired me to get messy and vulnerable with art, as I'm sure she has encouraged many to do. I got out of my creative zone for so long and I'm slowly making my way back to messy floors and flowing inspiration; it can be challenging. So, when I got an e-mail update from Sabrina's mailing list telling her fans her latest apartment is on Apartment Therapy, I was so excited. I actually waited until I could sit down and really take it all in. Being able to have a sneak peak into the creative space of a long-adored artist is no small event. Coffee and adequate rest was needed! Enjoy the almost surreal house tour of an artist that has combined her living space with her work space in a way that is truly creative and inspiring.
See the whole house tour HERE
and visit Sabrina's website HERE
Good Morning! I'm so thrilled to be back with another Artist Interview. I find doing these interviews are so valuable and, just plain interesting; i love finding out the nitty-gritty details of someone's creative process.
If you are a new reader, you can get caught up by reading my two other Handmade Life Interviews here and here. This series is based on my life credo:" I Will Live a Handmade Life" It's simple, but I think it pertains to a lot of different areas in life and our capacities to create our daily lives. The interviews are to meet and learn about others that are living out this credo!
Today we have Cristie from City Birds Nest. Cristie is a real sweetheart and I love her whimsical creations (I have a special affinity for her owl charm earrings - of course). Along with creating, Cristie has a great daily blog filled with fun adventures, bike trips, outfits, thrifting finds and more. Oh, she also has some beautiful tattoos!! Cristie is also a very common visitor here at True Becoming and leaves the sweetest comments. I'm very happy to welcome Cristie...Without futher ado...
1. True Becoming: How did you come up with the name City Birds Nest?
City Birds: at the time i was painting my retro chicks and i like to refer to myself as a bird and we were two kids living in the city at the time so i named it citybirds :)
2. TB: Your work has a fabulous whimsical and fun feel to it; where do you get your inspiration from?
CB: thanks sweetie! i get my inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. i love motown music and anything with a great bit that makes you want to get up and wiggle & of course vintage anything. vintage fabric and clothing is a huge inspiration for me as well being out in nature and going to different places by bike is really inspirational to me. i don't take myself super seriously so that really reflects in my work, i like to have fun and giggle!
3. TB: Cristie, you just recently got a new job this past spring working with other artists, can you tell True Becoming readers about that experience and how it has helped your work as an artist?
CB: it is really fun working with other like minded artistic people. you start to rub off on each other and get inspired by one another. it makes for a good working environment for sure. i have become a lot more confident in my work being around other successful artist shows it is possible to following your dreams if you are willing to go all the way.
4. TB: What is your best time of day to work on projects?
CB: any time really but in the morning and during the day is best as the lighting is so pure. sometimes when working at night it can be hard to get exact colors. our light turns yellow at night so i just have to keep that in mind especially when working with color.
5. TB: What’s your creative style: organized, chaos, organized chaos?
CB: good question. i think of myself as pretty organized but looking at my space and my work pattern and habit it is really more of an organic organized chaos.
6. TB: When you feel a lack of creative juices, what sort of things do you do to get inspired?
CB: i really like using tumbler for inspiration and just being outside really helps clear my mind and helps rejuvenate those creative juices. taking a break from it all is a real good thing to do now and then. sometimes forcing something and making it work just for the stake of making it work can really block your artistic flow.
7. TB: Any tips for artists trying to make their way into selling their creative wares?
CB: being really honest with yourself about how much time and work you are willing to put into something. having the right attitude is really important. doing anything half hearted doesn't pay off and i think people can see. also never letting the little things get to you. i am still working on that part but slowing and surely i know i can conquer that little hill. also being really confident with your work and feeling really comfortable with your style of work is really important too.
8. TB: What are your favourite mediums to work with?
CB: oh that is a tough one! well i recently got back into watercolor and that has been really fun. i love how an expression can change with just one little stroke of my quill and i love how soft watercolor looks.
9. TB: If you could travel anywhere around the world as a way to inspire new creations, where would you go?
CB: that one is super easy... India! i have been dying to go. oh to just absorb the vivid colors of the beautiful dresses, the people and colorful markets... that would be heaven!
10. TB: What do you think the most important thing for artists and creative-types to remember?
CB: to stay true to who you are and if it makes you happy don't ever ever give up. in any business it can be hard to not get down about your work, that is a normal emotion and as long as you know that, keep going and you will succeed <3
Thanks so much Cristie!!!
If you are living A Handmade Life and want to share with True Becoming readers, email me at:
(wow... I felt like a t.v ad just there:)
I sometimes like to put things aside until I can muster up a theme: I LOVE themes. I find that it's much more fun gathering up items until you have a theme, rather then put them out one by one. Anyway, I have been holding onto these Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass prints for years and this week I am putting them in the Shop. I have loved the mystical nature of Alice's Adventures for awhile now. In university I took a class on Children's Literature and it gave me a whole new perspective on the stories (along with a lot of other children's stories). I also have a bunch of chain necklaces (some I've made) to put out this week... plus they make my ever-so-witty-according-to-me theme: Alice AND Chains! Ha! I'm a dork, I know :)
Today I'm re-doing the window and throughout the week I'll be creating new displays around the shop. Oh, and putting out handmade greeting cards. I'll be sure to show you some updates!!
I hope you have a good day. I think I need coffee: there's LOTS to do this week!
I swoon over these prints on vintage newspaper from this shop! I love their simplistic nature and I can imagine one in every single room. I had one for the laundry room too, but since it's a dingy (but much loved) basement shared laundry, I didn't think it was fair to the art :) Love it!
Another's junk is someone's find!!! Ry and I found this yellow and white dresser a couple of months back. We were headed to his dad's when I yelled at him to turn around (don't worry, he's used to this; garage sales, curbside finds, etc., etc.,). We've had it sitting in our porch doing... just that: sitting. The drawers were wonky and therefore could not be used to properly store things. So, this past Monday I decided to turn this baby into a functional piece of furniture, as we simply do not have the luxery of show pieces (not that it was that either. ha!) I only had a certain chunk of time I was willing to spend, so I chose to simply redo the front of the drawers and put on knobs.
Since this was an ad hoc project (I was only going to move it to the other side of the porch and the next thing ya know I'm knee-deep in make-over supplies:), I used supplies I already had. This drawer liner was perfect; much easier then painting or recovering in paper and modpodge. I then found some pretty paper and cut two different sizes for where the knobs were going to go.
I used Acrylic Medium to adhere to paper circles, but Mod podge works as well. To blend the different patterns a bit better, I took a sponge with blue paint and rubbed over each drawer. I then put more pretty paper inside the drawers. Lastly came a mixture of old knobs. Ta-da... functional porch dresser. Just don't look in the drawers, it has become the home off all things without a home :)
This beautiful 'Enjoy' is from my one sissy for my birthday; it's one of four different handmade (by her of course) prints which are around the house and *the store*
Welcome to the second Artist Interview of this series. You can find our last Artist Interview by clicking here
Today I am elated to introduce you to Rachael Speirs, a print and scrap fabric artist. I have known Rachael since College. In fact she was the very first person I met. Rachael says we were drawn to each other because we gave off a hippie, bohemian-type vibe to one another (or something like that). One of my first memories of meeting with Rachael was seeing some of the paintings she had done in high-school. Even though we were both on social service paths, we both shared a love of creating and art.
After years on this social service path, we have both found our way back to the world of creative living!
I had a chance to visit Rachael at The One of a Kind Craft Show back in April (read Post Here) and see her larger works in person. The attention to detail and imagination that goes into her work is really quite amazing; it's as if you are reading a whole story.
I'm very happy to introduce you to Rachael!!!
1. True Becoming: You use a lot of fabric, notions, etc., in your work, but you also do oil paintings and prints. What is your favourite medium to work with?
Rachael Speirs: My absolutely favourite medium to work with is my large-scale scrap fabric paintings. They are what I am most proud of because the process and technique is always fun and surprising.
2. TB: How did you come to decide to do this full-time?
RS: I decided to be an artist full time when it was all I could think about. I was a career counselor for over 4 years and I just couldn't see myself staying in the career, I was already unfulfilled and was constantly painting at night. My lovely fiance told me to leave my job and try it. It was scary. I left my job last spring without having ever sold any artwork and did my first show in the fall and everything sold. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do. I have never been so in love with a job before. I cant imagine doing anything else. I think most misery in life comes from trying to fit an ideal that just isnt meant to be yours. So much talent and passion and skill is wasted trying to be something you're not.
3. TB: Being self-taught, how did you begin to explore the world of art and what resources did you use to teach yourself?
RS:I drew and painted ever since I was a child. My family is very creative in a variety of ways. I actually started working with scrap materials and applying them to canvas because I was frustrated with my lack of ability to paint depth and the pieces of fabric created it for me. I am a huge fan of Henry Darger who was also a self-taught artist and I believe he showcases the ideal that technical skills can be lacking when composition and pure enjoyment is the focus.
I taught myself art through play and just making art for the sake of making art. I think when you love something its easy to obsessively learn about it. Go with that.
4. TB: Your work is both imaginative and playful; what are some of your main sources of inspiration?
RS: I am inspired by artists that use their work to communicate emotion or experience in life, they use their art like a journal. I love Frida Kahlo, Henry Darger, Marcel Dzama, Amy Cutler, Shary Boyle and my lovely friend Julie Hepburn's work. I love it when an artist creates visual metaphors and tells a story and that's what I do with my own work.
I’m inspired by life, personal experience, stories, fables, folk tales, movies, nature and the constant scenes rolling through my mind.
5. TB: How do you divide your time between studio time and planning, administrative things, etc.
RS: I take each day as it comes. Sometimes I have a full day of errands and administrative work and if I am in the mood to work on that I will hit it full force. Sometimes I am in the mood for creating and I won’t leave the studio for days at a time, my friends wonder what happened to me and I look like something resembling a bear coming out of hibernation at the end of it all, and my studio is littered with teacups and remnants of mangoes. I have realized I am an incredibly productive and organized person as long as I am honest with myself when I am in the mood or not. But I always get things done.
6. TB: What are some of the things you do when you face a creative block?
RS: When I face a creative block, I don't force myself. That’s usually when I cram all my errands and admin stuff into a period of time. And sometimes I just need a break and I go see friends, go for walks, visit a gallery, go see a play, go to the cottage and spend time with my fiance and recharge my creative juices. I am a bit of a workaholic so I need to give myself a break when this happens.
7. TB: Where are your favourite places to purchase supplies?
8. TB: What’s a typical day look like for you?
RS: A typical day for me looks like the following:
Wake up around 8, do yoga for a half hour, run some morning errands. In studio by 11 where I usually am working on large scale paintings work til 6 with breaks for tea and mangoes and go meet the mister to go for a walk and visit the markets to pick up dinner. Make dinner and talk about our day, then I usually do a lot of my cutting and embroidering while watching trash TV til 10. I am usually asleep by 11. I like a lot of sleep and I tend to have crazy dreams that help with artwork.
9. TB: When is your favourite, most productive and creative time? Day, night?
RS: I’m most productive during the day. I forced it to work that way. The mister works a 9-5 job in finance so I really wanted to stick to that routine so I can have time with him. Once in awhile I will be really on a roll and I may stay up all night working on something. But I love to sleep so that rarely happens.
10. TB: Any tips, suggestions, hints for aspiring artists?
RS: My advice for aspiring artists is to do what makes you artistically happy. And that if you are driven enough you can make it a career and never try to fit in somewhere that doesn't support your creative style, but have respect for it.
Pictures do not do justice to the amount of detail and effort that go into Rachael's larger pieces.
Check her out in these upcoming shows:
Check out her WEBSITE for more info!
Thanks so much Rachael!!
True Becoming is a huge supporter of your work!
Good Luck :)
***** If you have some artwork you would like to share with True Becoming, e-mail me at email@example.com
I'm very excited to have this on-going feature over the next few months that will feature artists of different mediums. Living a 'handmade' life can be a challenge; a conscious decision to make a living through making art is dependant on constant creativity, a lot of hard work, and the fear of not exactly knowing where the next pay is coming from - or when. It helps to create a strong community of others that can offer advice, helpful tips, or just plain struggle, so you know you're not alone.
I'm so happy to have Kristen from Two Cent Sparrow here today. Kristen and I met years ago and connected instantly (or at least, that's how I remember it:)
Kristen is a passionate seeker of life and truth and I have had the pleasure of drinking copious amounts of tea while talking about anything and everything. These traits come out in the earthy nature of Kristen's art; infused with pieces of nature and quotes to live by, Kristen's work helps to remind me that art is not simply about production, but sharing a piece of yourself with the world around you. I visited Kristen in her studio a few weeks back and there are bits of nature and inspiration everywhere, in addition to amazing art pieces. Enjoy.
Kristen Ciccarelli of Two Cent Sparrow
1. How did you come up with the name Two Cent Sparrow? (which I adore by the way)
I get all squirmy when someone asks me this question, only because it comes from such a personal place… but I’m going to be brave and answer it. A few years ago I was going through a really difficult time, trying to figure my life out, trying to figure myself out… and I happened to come across a verse that basically says, “five sparrows are sold for two pennies, but even they aren’t forgotten” and I just clung to those words. Out of that really difficult time came a lot of healing, a new belief in myself, and a return to my creative roots. Thus, Two Cent Sparrow seemed fitting.
Right now I’m studying English part time while working a few days a
week at a not-for-profit organization.
3. You work mostly with pottery, how did you get started in this medium?
It kind of crept up on me. In one of my high school art classes I sculpted Smaug - the dragon from the Hobbit - out of clay. It was my pride and joy, and even when it broke (a grand total of three times), I glued it back together and continued to beam at it. Eventually my teacher taught my how to throw on the wheel, and I think that’s what got me hooked. After high school, I took classes here and there with local potters, saved up money to buy my own wheel and kiln, and have been making ceramic jewellery on my own ever since.
4. Your work radiates a sense of earthiness, where do you extract your ideas from when creating?
Clay itself is a very earthy medium (which may be part of my attraction to it). Growing up on a farm and spending a good deal of time playing down at the pond, in the forest, and in the vineyards, I’ve always been especially attracted to the wildness and mystery of the natural world. My ideas are definitely inspired by things like the changing of seasons and the colours of the sea and sky. I especially like things that sit at the margins, forgotten: such as the plants left over from autumn, just before they’re replaced by spring. I feel like they have the most interesting stories to tell.
5. How do you divide your time between studio time and planning, administrative things, etc.
Gosh… not well. I get distracted way too easily. For example: if I have a festival to apply for, and at the same time have an idea for a new design floating around in my head, it’s a real struggle for me to stay committed to the application. Recently I took a small business course that has helped me be more committed to business planning, and the administrative side of things.
6. What are some of the things you do when you face a creative block?
Go dancing, retreat to my farm back home, read or reread a good book… basically anything that refreshes or rejuvenates me. It’s important to take some time and space away if I’m getting frustrated or feeling uninspired; that’s usually all I need in order to get back to it.
I try to avoid big box stores, and instead look for smaller businesses. I get all my ceramic supplies from the Pottery Supply House. I go to local bead stores. I shop at Curry’s (a Toronto-based art store).
8. What’s a typical day look like for you?
Hmmm… I don’t really have a typical day. Right now all I see are deadlines for the multitude of shows I’m applying to this year. Most of my time these days is spent on filling out applications, taking and printing photos of my work, etc.
9. When is your favourite, most productive and creative time? Day, night?
I’m a creature that craves the sunlight! So the morning or early afternoon is my most productive and inspiring time of day. Although, if I’m itching to be in the studio, and it’s 10 o’clock at night, that works too.
10. Any tips, suggestions, hints for aspiring artists?
It is absolutely essential that you believe in yourself and the work that you do – this is sometimes the most difficult part of being an artist. But it really is so important. Eve Ensler puts it this way:
“Good is towing the line, being behaved, being quiet, being passive, fitting in, being liked, and great is being messy, having a belly, speaking your mind, standing up for what you believe in, fighting for another paradigm, not letting people talk you out of what you know to be true."
Thanks so much Kristen. I love your work. Keep on creating, our world needs it :)
Find more of Kristen's work by checking out:
Her Blog: Click Here
Her Etsy Shop: Click Here
After a rough few days (tough game on Sunday), I'm in need of a little inspiration. I took yesterday off to rest and play around with some craft supplies while watching Veronica Mars (one of my very favourite shows). It's a good week for inspiration as tomorrow is the FIRST of many Artist Interviews. This is my new series called "A Handmade Life", a series of artist interviews that will explore the many aspects of making art for a living. I'm very excited to have have Kristen join us tomorrow.
I find new projects inspiring. I'm excited about re-vamping the desk area at the store to be both functional and artistic. This is a challenge, especially in a smaller area. Whenever I'm deciding to re-vamp an area I always start with collecting images that inspire me.
I love the scattered numbers, it resembles my brain. Source
This area combines two things I L-O-V-E: order and inspirational clippings. Source
The baskets and ribbon... sigh. Love it. Source
I love the earthy feeling of this desk. Source
Love it, just love it. Source
I love mess too... as long as I clean it up at some point soon. Source
Loving the clipboards. Source
Lastly... this is a funky looking closet one minute, cute desk area the next. Source
Okay, now I'm going to do other things to lift my spirits:
1. Bubble Bath
2. Ice Cream
3. Enjoy Some Sun
4. Make Stuff
Have a good day
It was such a BUSY weekend for us. I'm still recovering. Saturday we went to the One of a Kind Art Show and Sale. If you have ever been to any kind of show, tradeshow, or even a really big market, you can symphathize with how much walking is involved (and that was after a full Roller Derby practice).
I wanted to go to the show for a few reasons:
1. I had never been, which just simply wasn't right
3. My friend Rachael had a booth there (this was the main reason I wanted to go:) Rachael's work is so creative and magical and pictures do not do justice to the ornate work that is involved in her work. Check out more here and here. Also, you will be hearing more about Rachael soon in an upcoming blog event I am VERY EXCITED about!!!!!
Here are some shots from the day!
Lastly, I always collect cards of my most favourite artists from these sorts of things. I don't like to collect cards just for the fun of it, especially from small business owners (business cards are expensive). So, I put them all into plastic card sheets and keep them in a binder. Here's a tip: do the same and then if you want to get a new piece of art for your home, or a unique gift for someone, you have a resource book to go to (like a shopping catalogue).
Check out a full listing of my favourites from the show here
Here's a small purchase I made. I figured they suit my recently developed artist's pledge
I made a mess today. A BIG mess. It was great! I have a lovely desk in my studio, but I like the floor best! There's something about releasing the need to keep things in order and just getting everything out and onto the floor! I had Barenaked Ladies playing (fav) and colour everywhere.
Have a good night :)
Inspirational Item #1:
Books by Emma Magenta
I often wander libraries, book stores and grocery store magazine aisles in want of inspirational words and images. Since I require a constant dose of inspirational things, I end up wandering these places. A lot. A lot, a lot!
After coffee with my mom I decided to wander through Chapters in search of new material. I'm a big fan of mini books so I found myself at the spinning rack of small books. This is where I found myself reading one of Emma Magenta's quirky little books, The Peril of Magnificent Love; small in size, big in imagination. The book tracks the love felt for a three-eared bunny rabbit and the depth in which the main character goes in an attempt to gain notice from this love. Mostly it's about unrequited love and discovering new realms of yourself. It's also delishiously random and just plain quirky. The books have been out for a few years and after reading a bit more about the author, discovered that the female cartoon in her books in an alter-ego developed through the boredom found at a night-time job. Read more here and check out (below) The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch, narrated by Toni Collette and illustrations by Emmma Magenta.
I am inspired by the combination of simple sketches, intelligent musings and eccentric habits of the female character. Check it out :)
What do you find inspiring?