Monday, February 16, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's raining buttons

I live in South Snohomish County, in the town of Snohomish, Washington, and tonight it is flooding. The rain is beating down on the windowpanes, and I'm camped out on a stool near my kitchen island, working on my buttons.

The cold and the rain has hit my joints. The flair in my left index finger is hovering around a 5 on a ten scale. (Before I started taking Methotrexate, a cancer drug for arthritis, it would be at a 9.)

Funny thing about joints and hands. We have them, we use them, but do we ever really look at them? I remember receiving a palm reading book once as a stocking stuffer, and it opened up my eyes about the anatomy of the hand. Look at your own right now: Do you have thickly padded fingers, or thin? Is the mound leading up to your thumb full-bodied, or slender? Is your index finger longer than your ring finger? I look at these things not in a prediction sense (though that can be fun) but in a crafting sense. Especially now that arthritis has taken over some of my fingers. I was blessed with extremely thin thumb pads, which is why intricate, delicate work has always been so easy for me. Creating near microscopic jewelry for dollhouse, teeny tiny three dimensional scenes, my thin-padded fingers, combined with a brain with the "bent" towards art, has let me do amazing things. My right thumb pad is thick now though from the arthritis. It is twice the size of my left hand, and it has made crafting some things difficult. Another interesting fact about the hands is your can tell geneology and your DNA heritage through certain things about your hands, like if your index and ring finger are balanced, or one longer than the other. There is a book link I will post, I can't recall the name right now, that gives your a questionaire about your hands and can help predict food allergies by your ancestral origin.

Yesterday and today I have been working on buttons: frosted sugar cookie sets, sock monkey sets, Very Brady Brady Bunch set, and burned the first edition of those to a crisp by over-heating my oven. I was going to package and sell them as a Mocha Madness Set, they actually look very puffy and beautiful, but my boyfriend told me they don't smell very good. (I was born with no sense of smell, which will be interesting once I start creating soaps and candles.)

Well, back to my kitchen island and my button making, I'm going to work on another set before I hunker down to watch the history channel and the seven signs of the apocolypse. Interesting to watch while my county is having such horrible flooding they have closed our main Interstate!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

My first post: The Journey begins.

I've taken to my art studio to undertake a journey: a journey to rediscover myself, my writing, and plunge the depth of my artistic abilities.

Over the past year, I have been diagnosed with celiac disease, a form of wheat and gluten intolerance, and psoriatic arthritis, which is slowly deteriorating the joints in my fingers and limiting my ability. And I'm not even forty years old.

I've always admired the Arts & Crafts era, and pioneers such as Gustav Stickley and William Morris. I've always had a knack for creating things from scratch, and doing it just the way they did back then. When I was making an Izannah Walker head a few years ago (A doll from the 1800's made with a mold press) I actually got a copy of her original patent from the 1800's and went about recreating it. And I pressed cotton fabric, NOT gesso and cotton like most reproductive artists do. I learned oil painting techniques and used vintage paints. I carefully measured the patent so my designs would be just so. I almost boiled my own glue, but stopped when I found out hers was made out of rabbit hide. (I will never hurt an animal.)

At this time I also started experimenting with woodcarving onto furniture, and was going to inlay stained glass into driftwood and make sculptures. And then life got in the way, and I put art and crafts on the backburner. I wrote a column called "The Grumpy Consumer" and vented about consumer and political issues. I got involved in a dangerous and scary investigative story about our state education test and funneling of tax-payer funds into money laundering schemes. The stress ate me away, and my body, and my joints.

I developed the arthritis, and discovered the celiac disease in the same year.

I'll keep the story short-you'll discover all over the next year. Needless to say, I am on a journey: hopefully to get rid of the commercial junk and toxins in my body causing me so much distress, and to push the boundary of any and all art my hands and brain can create.

I am so inspired by Etsy, and have my own shop at I will be listing things I create, as well as posting links to others that I love.

Tonight I spent the evening hand-making buttons. I am calling them "Frosted Sugar Cookies" because they look like scrumptious sugar cookies with fluffy pink frosting and sprinkles. They are "baking" in the oven right now (I'm using clay) and because I can't eat the real thing (flour has gluten in it) I can only enjoy the make-believe version.

If you have read this, I really appreciate your time and undertaking this journey with me.