Find my newest linocut print up at The Smudgery! At this point, it’s more of a reminder to myself of the long game. If you’ve been reading my posts recently, you know that I have been feeling overloaded and always in need of more time. But I don’t plan for this to be the norm. This is just a part of the journey and as Blue Scholars say, “that’s why we call it a struggle — you’re supposed to sweat.”
But back to the print. It took me two years and two apartments, from carving to printing to cleaning it up to re-printing. And then finally I had a day off when I could take product photos in the daylight. A crisis over my paycheck and tuition led me to list it in my shop in a fit of desperation. But despite the seemingly-fraught and rushed actions, it had been a slow-crafting process all along and I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes we just need that extra jump to finish the job.
I take my birthdays pretty seriously. So seriously, they can actually be pretty stressful in the weeks leading up. I am always torn between wanting to surround myself with as many people who I love as possible, and wanting to spend meaningful time with each and every one of them. I have tried to solve this dilemma in the past by taking my birthday celebrations to the next level. A couple of years ago, I organized a linocut crafternoon, where everyone learned how to create a linocut print. I gathered all of the materials, set up work stations, instructed everyone, and also put together an awesome taco bar (with immense help from J, of course). The next year I organized a ceramics painting crafternoon. Unfortunately, I was too wiped out afterwards to get around to writing a blog post…. But for that party I also purchased the supplies — Pebeo porcelain paints, a variety of ceramics, paintbrushes, etc. — and spent the afternoon painting with some of my best friends. J and I also perfected an incredible pork belly bao recipe, which we served in a massive, excellent make-your-own-bao bar. Add that to the list of belated blog posts…
Setting the table for the Sangria-Off
This year, instead of a crafternoon, I decided to get people involved with a potluck of sorts. I put together a Sangria-off, where everyone was asked to bring a pitcher of homemade sangria to enter into a blind tasting competition. There were scorecards. There were awards. There was a homemade photo booth! And of course, there was a TON of food.
After a very thankful Friendsgiving in Brooklyn, I woke up early on Friday morning, but not for the usual reason. In past years I would get to the mall, outlet, or stores sometime around 4 am (or earlier!) to partake in the annual shopping mania we call Black Friday. Even the name is foreboding, but I do love me a good sale. This year, however, with the national discussion centering around police brutality, labor, and the systems that create inequality, I finally put my money where my mouth is and abstained from Black Friday shopping.
I took the energy I would have spent battling crowds, making snap decisions on whether to buy that cheap, functional sweater, or maintaining my calm in the midst of insanity and channeled it into The Smudgery. I taught myself how to pull a beautiful ombré print and finally added a new item to the shop. Check out the colorful process after the jump.
The other day I woke up with what felt like a rock in my throat. Every swallow brought a sharp stab. The weather had dropped about twenty degrees recently and everyone around me seems to have some sort of bug or another. I decided to call in sick, hoping to nip it in the bud.
After sleeping in an extra hour or two (who can say, really?) I made myself a cup of ginger and honey tea and decided to spend some time on The Smudgery. It’s been a while. I have been busy with graduate school applications, friends visiting from California, and Halloween!
I want to start off by first saying that when you surround yourself with amazing, supportive, and caring people, they empower you to take the risks that otherwise you wouldn’t take on your own. Progress does not happen in a vacuum.
Thus continues my once-monthly updating streak, but since I’m on a crazy productivity kick this week, here goes!
I often give J a hard time about playing DotA (Defense of the Ancients, for those not in the know). Honestly, I don’t personally know any other people who play it besides him and his friends, and they’ve been playing it since middle school. Over the summer we actually stayed with one of his friends in Houston, who he had met through online gaming. Now, who said the internet is a dangerous place? Don’t answer that.
The idea came to me about a week before Valentine’s Day to create a series of punny DotA-themed cards for him. I have a weird knack for puns (as corroborated by the weekly New York Magazine crossword puzzle), which mostly makes J groan. The first one I came up with was, “I DotA’n you”, as in “I dote on you.” Yeah, I told you I was good (no, wait, please don’t leave yet! I’m not done!). They mostly get better than that.
Hiné Mizushima is a skilled illustrator, needle-felter, and creator of charming undersea animals.
I first came across her work when I saw her squid costume featured in an article. A year ago I copied the costume (the sincerest form of flattery, I hope!). I didn’t go out that year, but the kids who came to my door loved it.
Growing up, I always associated crafts with kid projects. Like the time we made “Chinese lanterns” for Lunar New Year, or painted wooden eggs for Easter. (Sidenote: I painted my egg off-white, in a surprising display of foresight and used it as a prank for April Fool’s day. My mom spent a solid minute or two trying to crack it for breakfast). Art was never a consideration for me, in terms of higher education or a career. I had friends who were good artists, and I was not one of them. I am pretty sure I went through most of my young adult life grinding through books and essays, writing papers and trying to figure out some sort of sensible career. I think I am still pretty lost when it comes to all of these adult-y things (and from my informal research, it doesn’t get much better), but at some point in the process I made a birthday card. I don’t remember who it was for or what it entailed, but for the most part, I drew and colored. It was the middle of finals week and I was procrastinating, but instead of making me feel worse, I felt better after making something that I knew could be enjoyed by another. It grew from there.
This is a linocut print from a few months ago, carved in memory of my beagle, Copper. He was fourteen years old when he passed, and we had been friends since I was eight. Needless to say, we grew up together and it was really hard, and still is, to not have him around anymore. But I think he lived a full, loving life, so that’s some consolation for his absence. He still makes appearances in my dreams.