In Progress: Based on a True Story

December 31, 2010 § 8 Comments

I have said before, the problem with taking pictures to remember things is that the picture never looks like what you were seeing. There really isn’t much you can do to share what you saw, what you felt, what made that particular moment something you wanted to remember. Previously, I did a project with shadowboxes trying to fill in the missing pieces of a photograph. This time, I am trying something else.

First, I went back & found a photo that I took some time ago of a friend of mine while we were in San Francisco (to see Owen Pallett!).

It is a simple picture, not that exciting, & probably would have been best if I’d have moved a bit, but at the time I was more like, “whoaaoaoaoaoaaooaoaaaa there are so many homes here & people & lives & things I will probably never know about & this is kind of insane”. I liked it up there a lot. I remember being asked where would I live if practicality weren’t an issue & I didn’t have an answer because I wasn’t sure what I wanted yet. I felt like my future was this big huge question mark & I wondered if the people I were with felt the same, but I didn’t really want to ask at the time. I wanted to look & reflect & think.

The girl in this picture is really quite an awesome person & was really great to talk to during my big time horrible breakup (that now actually seems like nothing, a brief rough patch, isn’t it weird how that happens?). Anyway, she is also quite creative & while I don’t know what she sees for her future, I see something less ordinary.

So I decided to take this image & bring it around to what I saw & felt at that time. I chose embroidery as my medium, something that would look obviously handcrafted, possibly a little rudimentary.

So first, I needed to make a drawing. The photo was super detailed & while I did want to keep a good measure of details in, I wanted this to be a smaller scale image. Sometimes I feel like keeping things small is the best way to let people know these are only one of a zillion fleeting thoughts I have in a given day.

I went over my drawing with an Indian ink pen so it would be nice & dark. Then I simply found the right light, draped a piece of fabric over my sketchbook, & traced.

I am aware that there are iron transfer pens available, but I have always been bad at getting myself to draw mirrored versions of what I want, plus I feel that tracing allows another point where I can pause & make any alterations to the drawing. Currently, I am stitching away. The reason why it’s taking so long is because I switched colors so much! I have to get my needle ready all over again with each new color.

It looks a little smooshed here because I decided to stick it in my parents’ scanner instead of taking a picture & was lazy about it. There is still a lot to be done!

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Warning: This is Unrelated to Everything Ever

December 28, 2010 § 4 Comments

So I’m not really the type of girl who is really into makeup. Perhaps it is some leftover trait from growing up as a bit of a tomboy, but I am the type to poke myself in the eye with eyeliner, sneeze while applying mascara, get lipstick on my teeth, & otherwise make big messes. As a result, I keep things simple, I pretty much try to use as close to nothing as possible.

But every now & again I do like to make an effort & the magical Sephora coupon in my inbox has made that so much easier! I picked up an eyeshadow from Makeup Forever, one of the aqua cream colors in number 11. It is so ridiculously amazing! Seriously, I can’t even imagine how nice this would work for someone who actually knows how to apply makeup properly.

I want to use this shadow always & forever for nights out. If you’re into makeup, you probably already know about these shadows, but if you are kind of inept like I am, I really recommend giving them a go. If I were to get another one, I’d pick up the silver & pretend to be Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million.

Same but Different

December 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Everyone knows that when it comes to clothes, I prefer classic styles. With these crocheted collars I was thinking way way way classic, possibly because I made them while reading, “Pride & Prejudice”. I really like things that are impermanent too: adjustable, removable, able to be worn in different ways. So I decided to make something that would allow me to add a bit of ruffles & feminine detail to plainer outfits. After making one collar, I liked it so much that I decided to make another! There is even a third! Not pictured here, but it is cream colored like the first, but longer/looser like the second. I will probably keep just one as I have too much clothes & accessories to begin with. This means there could be another giveaway in the future, keep your eyes out!

On another note, a new year is approaching! Are you excited? I really am! I suppose if I had to sum 2010 up in one word, it would be, “Challenging”. This is definitely not a bad thing, I love a good challenge & this year presented me with plenty! Towards the end of the academic quarter, I was feeling so stressed & inept at life in general, but now that things have calmed down, I can get a better perspective on everything. When I think about where I was at this time last year (in all facets) & compare it to this year, I feel like I’ve come really far & that I like where things are going. This year was so much about big choices: where to live for the next two years, which school to go to, who to keep contact with and which relationships have really become unhealthy & must be dropped. Since this is my blog for projects & because Ugly Bird is almost a year old (end of January!) now, I’ll talk about just those things.

Starting this blog has been one of the better choices I’ve made. I started this blog a few months after the end of a serious relationship & upon being freshly enrolled in two art courses. With all the manic emotional nonsense, dedicated time to work, & instructors who were actually amazing at providing guidance & motivation, I produced more work than ever. More importantly, because of those teachers & because of the fact that I somehow have an audience here, I began to take it more seriously. I began to view my little projects as a way to say something & to communicate. For as long as I can remember, I have loved to make things, but I never saw much beyond, “I enjoy the feeling I have from creating, I like how it helps to clear my thoughts”.

So this year, I had a few things up in an art show, I had a ceramics piece on display at my old school for the whole summer even though these are the kinds of things that ordinarily make me nauseous. In class, I realized that learning how to talk or write about your work is also incredibly important. Suddenly being asked, “why did you take these photos?”, “why did you choose to create this piece”, “why did you choose to execute this sketch & not the others?” was so confusing at first, but now I feel like being able to explain a bit just gives each piece more significance. It was so embarrassing to have photos projected for a class critique, but at the same time, I loved hearing other interpretations on them, even if it was hard to hear because I was usually trying to disappear into my scarf at the same time. I realize now that when I make these things & especially when I share them with others, it isn’t about being seen, it’s about being understood. I think feeling like others get what you mean is incredibly important. It’s what stops us from being lonely & feeling crazy.

I hope that in 2011, I continue to create. That regardless of how long it takes me to finish one thing (school eats time), that thing is important to me. My goal is to tell stories, I would never call myself an artist, but I would definitely call myself a storyteller. I hope that you will understand & I hope you fill in the blanks with your own story & becomes something new & different.

& if you happened to catch the Vashti Bunyan reference in my title, ultimate kudos to you! If not, please enjoy this song:

A Kind of Collaboration

December 21, 2010 § 2 Comments


My stepmom is great at knitting (something I’ve never learned) and makes the most wonderful fingerless mitts! Every winter, she makes at least one new pair for me. They were always so perfect! Great for cold classrooms, playing guitar outdoors when it’s chilly, taking photographs on cool mornings (I am one of those who likes to “feel” the controls). In Los Angeles (nearly 70 degrees in December um what?!?!?!!!), I get less use of them, but they are still great to have in the morning & evening when the sun isn’t out. When I was visiting my family for Thanksgiving, my stepmom gave me the pair of mitts above, except they were plain & she suggested I crochet some type of decoration for them. My stepmom must be a little bit psychic because for the past few months, I have been obsessing over making little motifs from leftover yarn, but not knowing what to do with them.

So I whipped up two yellow circle-flowery things & stitched them to the mitts. Fast & easy! This took less time than it took me to watch the musical episode of Buffy (seriously, I watch this one episode about once a month), including time where I needed to stop what I was doing to wholeheartedly sing along with my favorite songs (um, everything with Giles!!!!!).

More Doodling

December 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

I’m quite fond of this little doodle, mostly because of the friend I was thinking of while drawing. It looks nothing like my friend, but I feel like this character is somehow familiar. It is also a slightly more realistic drawing than what I usually make, but still quite cartoonish & I feel it still fits in with my normal style. I don’t really want to be stuck doing the same thing always, I love ugly birds, but we don’t need a million identical ones!

Home.

December 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

Central valley, I have been missing you in the strangest ways. We will be reunited soon.

Me & the Moon

December 12, 2010 § 2 Comments

I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to post this but then I decided, “oh why not? I post every other thing I make”.

This is my cowboy song, it is what I would sing if I woke up one day to find myself in an old western. It does lose it’s cowboyness quite early on, but to be fair, if I were actually in an old western, I would probably not be a cowboy. I drew out the last note as a kind of joke to myself. In my undergrad studies I took a singing class & there was one song in particular we did that I really loved except that we had to basically hold that last note foreverrrrrrrr, it made me cringe every time.

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