New Mosaics

Added several new mosaic designs to Patchwork Chicken Studio the other day including tombstone and coffin shaped ones. All Mosaics, and everything else on the site, are 10% off with the coupon code HolidayChicken10.

NaNoWriMo 2020 – Day 3

Still trying to decide how it came to be November already. Quickly closing in on 8 months since I last had a “normal” day (as known as March 13th). I continue to struggle with the new “normal” with everything that is going on and how it constantly changes. Never knowing what tomorrow or a few hours from now will bring.

Today is Election Day in the USA. I voted by drop-off ballot weeks ago so I do not have to deal with the chaos of actually voting today. This day brings a lot of uncertainty with it. Uncertainty I am try not to focus on. Instead, I am working diligently on NaNoWriMo.

I am very, very determined to get back into the writing groove and the general creativity groove. My creativity has been immensely sporadic this year. I have great dislike for that as I prefer to be consistently creative even if it an extremely brief blip of time each day.

During these past months, I spent time creating products for Patchwork Chicken Studio. Each product took longer than normal to make – due to distractions, depression, exhaustion, and grief (from losing loved ones to Covid) – but I eventually got to the finish line. I was happy to have things to do and things to force myself to do, to focus on that didn’t involve spending alone time with my brain. Sadly, writing involves spending a lot of focused time alone with my brain.

Aside from NaNoWriMo, November is a busy month for Patchwork Chicken Studio. We are doing a month-long virtual Artisan Market as well as doing all kinds of holiday promo work over on our website. Normally, we’d spend all of our weekends from late September until early December at in-person Art Shows, Artisan Markets, and Craft Shows displaying and selling our one-of-a-kind handmade goods & gifts but all of those shows have been canceled due to Covid. Accordingly, we must adapt and focus on online sales for the holidays.

Even though my highly introverted self really struggled with the intense social aspect of the shows, I find myself missing them. Like the holiday season doesn’t feel like the holiday season with them gone.

It is truly a bizarre year – emotionally, physically, mentally.

Shop Small for the Holidays

Fort Collins’ Holiday Artisan Market

This is the only craft fair my friend and I are doing this year with our business, Patchwork Chicken Studio, due to Covid-19. The Fort Collins’ Holiday Artisan Market decided to go 100% virtual this year. We are very excited for it as we’ve loved participating in the previous Holiday Artisan Markets. If you are looking for great handmade holiday gifts, please check out Fort Collins’ Holiday Artisan Market, https://www.fcgov.com/recreation/artisan-market, and Patchwork Chicken Studio, https://www.patchworkchickenstudio.com/.

I Blinked And…

…it is August. Not sure where June and July went but August is here. Think I blinked in May and, boom, August. I do have vague memories of June and July – most pertaining to dental appointments and pain that followed said appointments. Not the greatest of months for functionality but they have come and gone. I look forward to August and all the things I would like to do.

I haven’t been very attentive to my online presence in the past few weeks. Need to work on that some more. I get busy with and distracted by tasks then forget other things. One track mind, maybe?

I finished Written & Whim in July. That was a big undertaking. It should be published sometime this month – doesn’t have an exact publication date yet as I’m still trying to figure out what the description/back cover should say. Yes, a description is all that stands between me and the publication of my 23rd full-length book of poetry. It breaks my heart just a little to be so close yet so far from the finish line with Written & Whim.

Aside from work on Written & Whim, I’ve been working on inventory for Patchwork Chicken Studio. We have several multi-day Art, Craft, & Gift shows coming up so all of us at Patchwork Chicken Studio have been busy creating in order to bolster our inventory for these shows. Patchwork Chicken Studio is, also, currently running a giveaway. Soon, we’re going to be giving a fabulous denim tote bag that was made by the very talented Susabelle and features a lovely rainbow-colored batik that came from my fabric stash.

My inventory work has primarily involved creating drawstring bags/backpacks in different prints & colors. I had enough fabric on hand for 24 unique one-of-a-kind bags. I have 14 done. 4 more sitting by my sewing machine to finish up this weekend. The rest are waiting to start final assembly. There are so many that I had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of what fabric elements go where and such since each bag features 3 to 4 different fabrics divided among 15 pieces to put together. I typically only make 6 to 8 bags at a time. 24 bags in an assembly line of bag awesomeness has proven to be a significant and, occasionally, overwhelming but worthwhile undertaking.

I have ten mosaic and six painting ideas awaiting my attention too but I’ve been kind of ignoring them. I couldn’t figure out why until this morning. I was gathering my things to come to the coffee shop as I wanted to get out of the house for awhile. I just HAD to get out. This ‘HAD‘ attitude is what tipped me off to my artistic plight. While my home is fairly clean, despite being in the creative trenches, it is just disorganized enough where I am agitated and unproductive among the chaos.

For someone that lived in much worse states of chaos for years and has taken massive strides in correcting such issues, this agitation speaks volumes about the progress I’ve made in improving my surroundings and negative behaviors. Very proud of myself though I am sad I will be spending the rest of today on cleaning. Still not a fan of cleaning. I can think of a million things I’d rather do even though I wouldn’t actually do any of them given the current state of my home. Irony perhaps?

For August: the publishing of Written & Whim, art & inventory (drawstring bags, flannel blankets, mosaics, abstract art, mixed media art, beaded ornaments [maybe]), tagging inventory with the spiffy new logo price tags recently obtained, packing up inventory for the shows, marketing work, writing poems, being more consistent in my online presence, and – most importantly – keep my home from sliding into the chaos again so I can remain productive.

Off I go to do battle with the evils of chaos…..

The Story of Art

For a while now, I’ve been part of this artistic collective/studio, Patchwork Chicken Studio. Mostly, we sell our art and home goods at local craft and art shows. Recently, we decided to expand our horizons and establish even more of an online presence. For the past two weeks, a lot of work has gone into that while prepping for our first show of the Spring season. Saturday, March 2nd, is the show so it is closing in quickly.

All this work has left me contemplative because marketing/selling my work is something I have always struggled with. I can be very shy and anxious around people I don’t know to begin with then there is the “marketing”… People want a story of why the item should be important, why it is interesting, how did I make it, or why did I make it. The back cover blurb, the source of inspiration, something…

I struggle with this immensely because I often don’t remember (or don’t know) the inspiration, the meaning, the anything of the piece. Saying, “I was sitting there waiting for words to come, as I sipped my coffee, then there were words and, from those words, this poem was birthed,” isn’t much of a story.

Trying to describe my poetry books doesn’t make anything easier because they aren’t 100 poems on a single theme or a few themes that tie into each other, their nature is much like a mosaic – different elements coming together to create a picture left up to personal interpretation as poetry is very subjective to the reader. While poems may mean certain things to its writer, it can mean very different things to its readers.

With my art and other projects posted here, I have attempted to put a story/explanation as to why a piece exists but, again, I struggle. Saying, “Every time I went to the fabric store, this fabric caught my eye so one day, I finally broke down, bought the fabric, and made this bag from it,” is probably lacking.

Most of the mosaic supplies are the same way – “I was wandering through the local craft store, this charm drew my attention, I bought it, it sat in a bin for a time before I put it into a mosaic with other beads that play nicely with it design-wise.”

There have been a few moments where I did buy items for specific projects like the beads for the Astrology-themed mosaic because each sign has different colors, elements, and nature ties so I wanted those represented in the designs. Even with those mosaics, the story is lackluster. Beyond the basics of color, element and nature, what else is there to say?

There are people out there who think writers can write anything, tell any story, etc. This is not true. I know fantastic writers that tell great stories through their novels but ask them to tell a story out loud or write a short story or a poem, there will be nothing. As a poet, my work is very fluid and organic. A brief, beautiful, blinding spark of inspiration before it is gone, leaving a glorious design behind. This nature is why I struggle to bring my novels fully into life. Why I struggle to tell stories about those sparks I consumed to make my art. It is profoundly difficult to exhume “ash” and make it talk to you once more.

The reason for this post – and the ones that proceeded it – are to, slowly, push me out of my writing comfort zone into one of stories that require more than a brief spark. Some moments out of my comfort zone are easier than others. Not sure if this moment is easier or harder but I think it might be both.

So yesterday morning, the other artists in Patchwork Chicken Studio thought it would be cool for us to take pictures of our work spaces for the website and Facebook page. While a good idea, I did panic because my worktable was covered in fabric, a small army of thread bits, beads, and other things while I still had 5 projects in progress. I kept losing my scissors even though they were right next to me the entire time. Decided it would probably be worthwhile to clean up my work space before continuing on with the five other projects so I could – shockingly – actually find my scissors right away when needed. Spent about 30 minutes, in early afternoon, making my work space clean and photo ready.

Work Space 1Work Space 2

So beautiful and organized. It actually does look like this normally when I’m not in the state of last-minute creative panic with a ton of projects in progress. I typically work on one mosaic, fabric, or mixed media project at a time, in addition to poetry, so the chaos stays to a minimum.

I did not get back to my projects yesterday so today is going to be a busy one.

My thoughts are feeling better now that I have written this post despite my story dilemma remaining unresolved.