The Annual Introspective

May 9 marks the day of my undergrad graduation. It is also the day my cat, Stella Rose, adopted me.

I've been sitting on this post since last May. It's always a month where I tend to evaluate myself and my progress due to the anniversary of my graduation. I remember getting to my car after the ceremony had ended, and pictures had been taken. I took off my gown and my cap and sat in the car and....cried. I think I became overwhelmed with the fact that I had no plans post-college. During the ceremony, I was looking around at everyone who had decorated their caps with inspirational messages about how they're moving up in the world and I had no big adventure. I just had my apartment, and my knitting, and whatever knowledge I had from my art classes. I knew I wanted to go to San Diego and make art there, but nothing else. How would my adventure from the summer before (Internship) ever measure up to whatever 2013 was supposed to be?

And then Stella landed in my lap. She crawled out of the bushes at my parents' house during the graduation party, sat in my lap, followed me around, and I decided I needed to take her home. She was probably going to become coyote food if I didn't. So then, I had something to take care of and to keep me busy and give me companionship...but maybe she really adopted ME so SHE could have someone to take care of.

Lots of things have happened since the last time I wrote a blog. Mostly schedule and job changes. I'm now back working solely in San Diego with two jobs. One keeps me busy most of the month and the other is my old internship! Now, who could have told me 4 years ago while I was sitting in my car crying that I would be back at one of the very places that brought me such joy? Also, I think I wrote in a blog post once that I wanted a job where I could spend all day in a yarn shop...and here I am (two days out of the week, at least). Funny how the universe works like that.

Since working at the shop again I have been telling customers about my story - about how it was my internship in 2012 (5 YEARS AGO - GET OVER IT MEGAN) and it was my dream summer. One of them threw me off guard when I had recited my tale...she asked: "What's next?"

What is next? I'm in San Diego. I'm working at the place that brought me so much happiness 5 years ago. What do I do now? Where do I go from here? Are these questions I should be asking myself??? Am I thinking too hard about it??? Do I have to have a "what's next?"

Well, of course not. I could sit here happy as a clam. Sometimes I feel like I'm always looking too far forward and not enjoying the moment. I do know that I need to get back to making art.  I'm still (STILL) working on the damned felted deer (does anyone want to take bets on if I'm going to finish it or not this year?). It seems that after one of my friends bought my mini felted creatures that I just stopped doing any art. I do make little watercolor studies sometimes, but a lot of the time I long for a studio and that halts my progress. I know that these things take time, but I also need to work hard for it.

I found a little bit of inspiration as I was going through my notes for blog posts. I don't remember him saying it, but I wrote about Dylan telling me three things: 1) Stay positive, 2) Keep moving forward and 3) Tell everyone your dreams.

I'm staying as positive as I can. I'm exhausted from my other job at the moment, but still happy (I really need a vacation, though). I'm doing my best to keep moving forward. And as for my dreams? I'm having a hard time thinking of what that is at the moment. I'm sure it will come to me though.

What are some milestone dates in your life that you use to evaluate yourself? Where have you been and where are you going?

What I Am and What I Do

You know how they say dress for the job you want, not the job you have? I think the same goes for telling people what you do. It's an infamous and boring question, "What do you do?" I read somewhere that a better question to ask is "What are you working on?" I like that question much better, especially from an artist standpoint. It opens up the conversation to more than just what the person does to pay the rent.

What triggered this post in my mind is an experience I had about a month ago. Some friends and I go to a local bar on Thursday evenings to play Trivia. This particular week we were short a few people in our group, so my friend invited some friends and relatives. Well, one was talking about his job, and I asked what he did for work. He told me, and then asked the same question in return. I felt my face fall, my body slump, and as I was about to say, "Oh, I'm a receptionist..." my friend chimed in and said, "She knits and crochets!" 

I knit and crochet. I sew and embroider. I weave, dye, screen print, and felt. I'm an artist. I'm a Fiber Artist. 

That could not be a better response.  So often have I explained my woes to people who are just looking for the short answer. "What do you do?" "You mean what's my day job? Or what do I really want to do?" It's so much easier to just say, "I'm a Fiber Artist." Just thinking about that response now even makes me feel better. If I don't believe that I'm an artist, I'll never actually BE an artist. It's all mind games. Actually, in her book Art, Inc., Lisa Congdon discusses this in the first chapter. The more you believe something something about yourself, the more it comes true. 

So, from now on, if anyone asks me what I do for work, or what my job is, I'm planning on just saying that I'm a Fiber Artist, because that's what I am and that's what I do.

What are you working on?

Word of Mouth

This idea came to me this evening as I was thinking about this past week.  As you know, I do a fair amount of social media-ing, just talking about stuff I'm making and trying to promote myself.  However, in the past week I've had two instances of actually being able to TALK to people about what I do and what I'm working on.  It's an interesting concept to me because a majority of my time is spent alone working on things.  I do post regularly about what I'm working on, but I don't know how much of this is seen.  Obviously, if you're reading this, you know about me, and you've seen some of the pieces I've made and am working on (or I hope you have).  But when I was able to talk directly to someone about it, I became a little more excited, and I wanted to work more on things.  I want to be able to show the world that I have these talents, and I want to be able to give that beauty or awe or whathaveyou to someone.  I wish I could produce something to sell for people to take home with them, but also a story to take with them. I'd probably never sell the things I made during undergrad.  But the things I'm working on now?  I'd love to be able to sell the felted taxidermy.  I'd love to design some knitted thing and sell the pattern to people.  I think I just get so caught up and lost in the process of trying to put myself out there, that I forget that I actually need to be working on my own designs, not just making the things people have already designed.  I have a few books lying around regarding this, and I really do need to pick them up and use them.  Obviously I'm good at MAKING things.  I just need to learn how to DESIGN things for other people to make and enjoy.

I think this just adds to my list of goals of things to do and learn and create.  Hopefully in the coming week I can do something with that.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend, no matter what you celebrate.

Recap: End of the Semester

So, I guess from the previous post you can gather that I have graduated college. What a feat for me! It's amazing that just 4 years ago I was stepping onto the Benedictine College campus to begin my freshman year there. And here I am now back in Arizona, having graduated from ASU. The last semester flew by in a flash. However, I don't necessarily feel like I put all the effort I could into the art I was making. But that's sort of how senior year goes, right?

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December/January I was in the Juried Undergraduate Show.

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February I went to TNNA.

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March I had my Senior Exhibition Show.

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April we took a class trip to see our professor's show in Coolage.

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May I graduated and I got a cat. She picked me, and her name is Stella Rose.

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I've made 7 knitted things since the beginning of the year: a sweater, two shawls, four hats.

So, what's my plan for the summer? Well, I was recently hired as an Art Studio Assistant at the Children's Museum of Phoenix. I start on Saturday. I'm just working Saturdays and Sundays, so I'm going to try to continue making art during the week and see if I can't get anything going as far as that goes.  I have plans for things I'm knitting this summer, so look for that in the next post!

Afternoon with an Artist

I had my first artist play-date today!  A little over a week ago, while eating sushi with Erich and his mom, Colleen, we connected with the people sitting next to us at the bar.  Long story short, I connected with Catherine Newhart. Today, we spend some time together.  I got to see her storage unit studio and its set up (very clever!), looked at some of the books she had on hand, and got some free supplies.  We had a late lunch and coffee later and ran errands.

The three books Catherine pulled out for me to look at were Creating with Paint, Creative Stamping with Mixed Media Techniques, and Creative Embellishments: For Paper, Jewelry, Fabric and More.  All three are by Sherrill Kahn.  I found the most inspiration from Creative Embellishments, however, all three had some fabric/fibers included.

Image from Impressmenow.com

It was a wonderful time and I'm looking forward to spending time with Catherine again!