I created a beautiful blend of bath salts scented to soothe coughs and colds, and it just begged to be named after the great north! So I’m calling it Corona Borealis – The Northern Crown. It seems that here, in Canada, we’re so blessed with a lengthy cold and flu season. The salts are made with Rosemary and Eucalyptus oils, well known for their uses in easing sore throats, opening stuffy noses, and helping one breathe deeper. Now that these bags are resting in the cupboard, every time I open the doors I take a deep breath and feel such delight! I’ve made a few shower melts in the same fragrance and can’t wait to share!
Lately I’ve been working on crafting bath salts scented with essential oils. I truly love nothing more at the end of the day than a soak in a hot bath with scented epsom salts. As Sylvia Plath said, “there must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know any of them.”
I’ve been thinking about connecting my scents to my art, and realized that there are so many great connections to be made here, as there are in my art concepts. My Perseus & Andromeda painting, a steamy and spicy couple dancing a tango, has been reproduced into a peppermint and rose blend. What a great Valentine’s Day bath for couples, indeed!
I read an artist’s statement once where she described herself as a “creative explorer.” I thought that was awfully hippy-dippy-hokey at the time, but the more I think about it, the more it accurately describes me as well!
Last night was a particularly difficult evening, due to a lot of confusion about my upcoming art show. I decided to put my malaise in a box for a bit and put together these earrings I had planned out. I brewed some green tea and threw in a sprinkling of lavender, got out some crazy rainbow beads, glossed up some pretty Fall findings, and settled my soul.
So it seems that in working with my Fall findings, I actually found parts of myself. And the malaise that I had been feeling – well, I discovered a good resolution. Through my own creative exploration, as hippy-dippy-hokey-pokey as it may sound, I was able to discover a lot about myself. And isn’t that what art is supposed to do, anyways?
I spent the evening working on my Artist Trading Cards. I haven’t participated in our local group’s monthly trades in a while – my schedule just hasn’t relented – but I made a conscious effort this evening to go through some of my materials and put some work together. It only took a few hours and was a great creative energizer. I have some new ideas for my other works in progress.
Artist Trading Cards are small works on paper. They are only 3×4″ big. The size restriction causes you to really plot out what you’re doing. A friend of mine who is always used to working big says that this is a challenge for her. The work I’m currently doing is on the small side at only 8×10″ so I’m a little more accustomed to the restrictive nature of it.
I also take a mixed media approach to this project, and it’s very similar to my last entry about using vintage children’s books and illustrations. For these cards, I used pen and ink illustrations from a vintage book of Adventure Stories for Girls from 1955. Reading through the stories is hilarious – and a little nostalgic. I sometimes wish we could all be that naive again. Inside I found some of the most perfect illustrations for the spooky Hallowe’en theme. I added some of my own illustrations in coloured marker, and gave the cards cheeky titles, like: “What’s That MacBeth Recipe Again?”
Hallowe’en is simply my favourite holiday of the year. Pumpkins, cats, witches, bats… seriously creativity just waiting to be had!
In January of this year, I taught myself to crochet. I had some vague notions of how, and had made minor attempts before, but I decided that I was going to pick up the craft with seriousness. One of my dear friends works at a yarn boutique in Ottawa, Ontario, and I made my first very expensive yarn purchase and followed some online videos to successfully knit myself a cowl.
I use crochet to reward myself for, or distract myself from, painting. In a previous post, I mentioned that I spent the evening making soap in order to get some creativity stirring. Last night, I finished crocheting these little cacti for a friend, knowing that today I was going to be working hard on a painting. Maybe I have a sort of creative attention deficit disorder, and can only focus on one creative endeavour for only a particular length of time before having to switch things up.
It makes sense, in a way, doesn’t it? I know so many artists and makers who can dedicate themselves to creating beautiful pottery, or lovely jewelry, or gorgeous fused glass. But I like doing all three and why should I choose? Why can’t I dabble in a little bit of everything – hopping from lily pad to lily pad – making each pond a little lovelier with a different craft, a different medium, each time.
Sometimes I need to mix up the creative things I do to gain a different perspective in order to finish work on an art project. I’m currently working on a piece for my Constellation Series; however, coming home tonight I felt a little depleted of creative energies. I decided to do one of my quick but favourite crafts: soap making.
I suppose one could say I’m self-taught in the art of soap making. I’ve done a bit of trial and error, and have developed a recipe that I love. Pictured above is my Calendula Soap. I grew calendula flowers this year, and made oil from their blossoms. Calendula is so incredibly good for the skin. I have a salve made with it and it heals cuts, scrapes, burns, rashes and the like in scant days. While this soap is made with what some may call the “sissy method” – I don’t use lye, but prefer to buy premade melt-and-pour blocks of soap and put in my additives according to how I like it – it’s the best soap I’ve found yet!
I find the simple activity of mixing the oil, the dried petals, the melting soap base, such a meditative act. And it’s creative therapy that lifts me back onto the path of being a maker again, and that sets me right with the mindset that I need to have in order to paint. And that’s where I need to be.