Thursday, April 21, 2011

hipster animals.

my friend shanti shared this image with me today from the hipster animals blog:

on a scale of 1-to-awesome, this image is just the tops! (i want to bring back oldtimey phrases like "the tops." join the revolution!)

my response to shanti: i WISH i could be a full-time etsy crafter. maybe someday when i retire and have a zillion dollars. then i'll be able to afford an exact replica of this outfit and become the illustrated hipster owl i was born to be! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

magazine design.

here's a magazine i designed for my law portfolio. this is as crafty as it gets in journalism grad school! i wrote all the stories and packaged them together with sidebars. i feel like i'm learning a lot about design just through trial and error, and i'm excited to share my work here!

i tried to embed my prezi magazine presentation on this here lil blog, but i can't get it to work right. so if you click here, you should be able to see all 20 pages swish back and forth with the click of a button. you can also see it on my wordpress site along with full text versions of the stories and links. ps. if you've never used, you need to! i don't think i'll ever use powerpoint again!

here are the images in case you're not into clicking links and stuff:

i'm taking a couple days off from stress. and bad luck. and sleeplessness. have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

my arts issue essay.

i wrote this essay a few weeks ago for my arts reporting class. the assignment was to write an essay on the arts topic of my choosing. this is an issue i've been thinking about since the beginning of the semester in this class. i don't think i presented any revolutionary insight or anything, but it was fun to argue a point that i actually care about. plus i got an A. hooray!

Art vs. Craft: A Class War
In the world of handmade goods, there are two kinds of people: artists and crafters. Artists get to make art – we “ooh” and “ahh” at their sculptures, the paintings we often only pretend to understand, and their cutting-edge mixed media presentations. We hold their works up on a pedestal, the pedestal of the museum or gallery, which lets us know that these are works of art.

Crafters get to make crafts – macaroni necklaces, glitter-painted sweatshirts, and macramé oven mitts – or at least that’s an answer you might get from someone on Team Artist. In actuality, the world of craft goes far beyond kindergarten-level collage assembly to encompass an endless amount of inspired, aesthetically pleasing, and dare I say – artistic – objects and entities. Why, then, is there such a distinction, a class hierarchy, if you will, between artists and crafters?

Before attempting to answer such a question, it is important to understand the makeup of these two categories of creators. Artists are painters, sculptors, potters, printmakers, and filmmakers. Often referred to as “visual artists,” they are trained in the discipline of creating objects to behold, forsaking any means of functionality.

Craft, though, is a commonly used synonym for “skill.” Crafters are woodworkers, weavers, metalsmiths, knitters, fashion designers, and, like some artists, mixed media creators. They are trained to create pieces that, along with their form, often provide a function, and therein lies the fundamental difference between art and craft. The usefulness of a handmade object has become the determining factor for its social standing among creators.

Are the worlds of art and craft really so different, though? Both usually involve an element of natural talent, and both often require some level of formal training to develop necessary skills. The traditional labels and separations between “fine arts” and “everything else” create an unnecessary barrier between these different groups of creators. But maybe with some more awareness, more conversation will circulate to provide a little more legitimacy to crafting.

A common misconception is that art is emotional and craft is cerebral. These sweeping generalizations miss the mark on both disciplines, as both art and craft require both emotion and thought. A painter must feel a connection to the image he paints, but he must also thoughtfully consider technique, color, and composition. Likewise, a knitter applies careful deliberation to decisions about color, texture, and pattern, but also connects emotionally with the act of creation itself.

Ask a woodworker if he puts his heart and soul into the ornate chairs or shelves he creates; I guarantee he will answer with an emphatic “yes.” Does the fact that a person can keep warm with a knitted blanket or sit in a handcrafted chair really make these objects any less artistic?

Affordability is another issue that has contributed to the existing wall between art and craft. Often handmade objects that qualify as craft are far more financially accessible than works of art in a gallery. Craft fairs and festivals exist as an avenue for crafters to sell their goods, as do handmade shops like On the other hand, the price of a painting or sculpture is what dictates its status, and the owner adopts that same status upon purchasing it. While handmade items sold at craft fairs may fail to deliver a similar message of value and worth, they still maintain the same qualities as expensive works of art: vision, skill, imagination, and style, and should, in return, receive the same respect and admiration so often showered upon fine artists.

As a crafter, I have said on multiple occasions that I am not an artist, but crafting is as close as I will ever come to being one. I don’t create art for a living, but I do sew some of my own clothes. I don’t anticipate that I will ever create something that will be on display in a museum, but I do take pride in assembling my own unique handmade home décor. With creation comes a constant mingling of cathartic release and nervous excitement – What will this item turn out to be? – a question, I’m sure, professional artists frequently ask themselves as they work.

So am I really just a crafter? Is a fashion designer just a fashion designer or a weaver just a weaver and neither of them artists? Perhaps looking beyond traditional titles and labels to the heart of creation will lead you to answer “no” instead of insisting on perpetuating stereotypes or viewing the world of craft as an inferior category.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

my BHM purchases.

yesterday was the spring Bloomington Handmade Market, an event i have looked forward to since the fall/holiday market back in november. this time i went to shop (of course) and also to interview some vendors who live in town for a feature article on the BHM for my arts reporting class. i'm really excited about writing it, and i will definitely share it with you when i'm finished!

for now i'll just share my purchases with you. please forgive me - i only remember a few of the vendors' names. woops! by the time i did my shopping, i had thrown my journalism skills to the wind and decided to forget any important information! rebellion!

fabric-covered button earrings! eee! i can't remember the name of this vendor, but he had lots of cool guitar straps and camera straps. on an unassuming table, he had these precious earrings i couldn't believe were still around by the end of the BHM. i sure did snatch 'em up!

i had a great time interviewing katie vernon yesterday. her illustrations are unique and playful (the caption on the back of this postcard is "you warm my heart"). she called it a hipster card. perfect! you can buy her cards and prints at chipmunk cheeks on etsy and see much more of her work at

i stumbled upon another card print that i had to have. (can't remember the name of this vendor! ahh!) i have a thing for dandelions. it's a long story, but i'd love to tell it sometime if you're interested. it's what inspired me to get my tattoo. anyway, i knew i had to have this print when i found it, and i think i will frame it and add it to my dandelion art collage in my room.

i absolutely love vendors who use only recycled and upcycled materials to create their wares. i perused the reuse first table at the last minute and just couldn't part with this adorable upcycled card catalog mini notebook. (maybe it's the secret nerdy librarian in me i've been harboring all these years.)

the pages are made from repurposed paper, so the back of each page has either random text or photos. (i chose one of my favorite pages to display here. mmm sammich.) i love having a little notebook with me to jot down ideas or just use when i'm bored, waiting somewhere. i'm pretty happy about this little guy. go to the re-use first etsy store to see more!

that wraps up my purchases. i didn't spend more than $5 on a single item and only spent $22 total, a small price to pay for local handmade OOAK (i hate when people use that acronym) items that i already love and cherish. 

i will leave you with a few BHM observations: 

1. i purchased from two male vendors. two out of four! more boys should be crafty. dear crafty boys, i am here waiting for you. let's get in love and make things all the livelong day. i'm serious. you know where to find me.

2. this event could be so much bigger! yo BHM, there are zillions of vendors who would die to do this show if they knew how cool it is. i can honestly envision it doubling in size and drawing a much bigger crowd. advertise and attract the masses!

3. i've heard that bloomington was recently ranked one of the rudest cities on the U.S. i refuse to believe such a thing and will base it on clear evidence of all the friendliness i witnessed yesterday. everyone i interviewed was super nice, and the mood in the convention center was all-over jolly. keep it up, bloomington. 

that's all for now. stay tuned for my BHM feature article. hooray!