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Archive for the ‘web wanderings’ Category

I came across this video a while back on the Quilt Art mailing list and, for some reason, neglected to share it on the blog.

Elizabeth Gilbert approaches the idea of genius from a refreshingly new slant. While I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that Genius is a disembodied gremlin living in my fabric cupboard, I will freely admit that I appreciate the need to release genius from the artist’s self and allow for work without brilliance. My theory is more that the consistent work and striving towards betterment allows for the incredible coincidence of genius to happy. Basically, quantity with deliberate attention allows for quality.

My favourite part is probably right at the very end…… “I would please like the record to reflect today that I showed up for my part of the job.”   Brilliant.

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Networking

Found this neat little site that plots a graph to depict the interconnected nature of your website or blog. Watching it unfold is particularly nifty. There’s also a Flickr tag for posting and viewing the results.

The graph for this blog is the image below. Makes you realise how quickly use of your site can spread and how easily information can be transmitted (which in turn should remind you to take care with your site!)

seastrands-web.jpg

Here’s what the dots mean (taken directly from the maker’s site) :

What do the colors mean?
blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags

Thanks to Egater for the link! Her website web can be seen here.

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So is my German, for that matter.

(As an aside, I actually do read and speak some German, the former more than the latter. French, too, quite fluently, when in practice. I’ve studied varying amounts of Latin, Hebrew, Russian as well as a smidgen of Greek, so I can generally pick out most Romance languages reasonably well and can do essential things like buy a loaf of bread, ask your name, tell you I love you and inquire as to the train schedule in a goodly number of European countries. I’ve never visited any of them, but if I were there, I could identify a red car, buy the last piece of cake and a beer, tell the police that I was a Canadian and find the bathroom. I could even admire the view and find out what a hotel room would cost. What more could you want, really?)

I’m digressing again, though.

I was looking at my web stats, as I’m prone to doing overly-regularly, and noticed a few visitors from Germany (hi Ulla! Ich habe seinen blog gelesen! Wie sagt mann “Blog” im Deutsch?), Brazil (Cecilia, I’m not even going to attempt to write in Portuguese) and Egater, from Estonia. As I was perusing Egater’s blog, I came across a picture that interested me of a Craft and Artisan fair in her area (look under “Muud asjad” on the left side of the page). Following the photo link took my to her Picasa album of the St Martin’s Day Fair (St. Martin’s Day is November 11th) and I spent far too much time marvelling at the talents and creations of this amazing group of people. Their use of colours and graduations therein are so very different from ours here in on the east coast of North America, but at the same time there is a huge overlap in materials and certain patterns. Undoubtedly the similarities in climates and transatlantic trade through the ages has affected both what we use and how we use it. Lots of woolen and wooden items abound in the St. Martin’s Fair, the vast majority of which are made with great skill and by hand. I was seriously impressed.

As I said before, my Estonian is pretty much nil, so I was floundering around trying to find out where in Estonia Egater lived when I bumped into a link to her Technorati profile. Turns out she lives in Hiiumaa. Looking up Hiiumaa, I found a bitsy island in the Baltic sea. It’s just under 1000 square kilometers and looks like a very neat place. I followed the link to the official site and poked around there for a bit. In fact, I had a rollicking good time revisiting the concept of things being distorted in translation. In this case, the old phrase “lost in translation” doesn’t apply, as I think the very idiosyncratic writing of the pages tell us more than a proper translation would. Take the following paragraph, for instance, from the “How to Come?” page

Saaremaa Shipping Company takes passengers onto Rohuküla- Heltermaa, Rohuküla- Sviby and Triigi- Sõru by comfortable ferries Scania and Ofelia with shops, bars and restaurants and other places on board that 1,5 hour trip to go smoothly and quickly. You can choose between the shop, bistro and bar. For little passengers we have nice playing- corners and adults may play with fruit machines.

It took me a second to realise that the “fruit machines” were “slot machines” and not some sort of vending machine packed with apples. Are they written literally as “fruit machines” in Estonian? Very cool.

Then there was the culturally enlightening section on “ice roads”. There are ice roads in Canada, up north, so the concept of driving across a lake is not entirely foreign to me (terrifying, but not foreign) and Newfoundlanders have crossed ice for centuries, both on oceans and ponds, but the vivid way in which going across a portion of ocean was described (for tourists, even!) made truly me want to visit Hiiumaa:

During winter time one experience an unforgettable driving by ice road the existence of which depends on how severe the cold is outside and not of the good will.

An ice road is a different one for you can pass the ferries and you have to drive at quite a high speed with your safety belts open. The speed is reduced only while approuching the cracks that one have to cross over the boards fixed on the cracks. It takes approximately 20 minutes to cover the distance in case of favourable conditions.

At least the Hiiumaa inhabitants hope that such kind of traffik will not be remain only in the memories of our fathers-mothers and grandfathers-grandmothers.

When the ice was thin the rope was tide to the tail and running noose around the neck of a horse. The horse that sank through the ice waited patiently to be helped. Usually the running noose was tightened around the neck and while gasping for breath the animal took a deep breath and was said to become lighter in the water. With mutual efforts the horse was often pulled out of water. In case of favourable conditions the trip from Heltermaa to Rohuküla took around two hours.

John and I have always toalked about visiting Scandinavia and were enthusiastic about the possibility of seeing Iceland, but I think Hiiumaa is now near the top of the list. It looks like a very cool place (both climatically and culturally) and I would love to visit that St. Martin’s Day Fair (really, the photos are worth a look. Use the slideshow feature so that they’re big enough to see properly). I think I’ll take the ferry, though. A body can only take so much excitement.

As an aside, the horse incident was incredibly reminiscent of similar Newfoundland stories immortalised in the song Tickle Cove Pond. Funny how cultures in similar latitudes coincide….

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I was cruising CBC today and saw fellow craft council member Tara Bryan’s name jump out at me from the from page of the website. Her work is amazing and she’s an incredibly talented, well-spoken and intriguing person with whom to chat. I had the pleasure of being in the booth next to her at the Anna Templeton Christmas Sale over the weekend and can vouch for her talent, of which I am in constant awe.

Even cooler is that she lives just up the coast a little from me, in Flatrock, Newfoundland.

For a look at her creations (and a glimpse into the mind of the artist), check out her website!

Congrats on the article, Tara!

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I’ve been working more or less flat-out for the past several weeks and have discovered how intensely exhausting and gratifying that can be. I’ve also figured out that the key to overcoming the mental anguish involved in creating artwork for public consumption is indeed found in the following quote from Charles Kettering;

“Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.”

There’s more to it than that, though. You have to simply develop the mental fortitude to shut out of your mind the potential for failure, to the point of changing your entire definition of failure and its purpose. Failure cannot just mean not selling something, it has to mean not making something worth of being purchased and not placing it in such a position as to be viewed by potential purchasers.

If, as Henry Ford tells us, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently,” then failure is not to be feared, but used as a way of honing one’s actions to finer purpose. Intriguingly, both of these quotations focus on action and looking forward. They address the concept of a way of doing something and an assumption that, if you hit upon the right combination of actions and labour, success will result.

Lately I’ve been reading a blog directed at freelance writers who also happen to be work-at-home parents. Diapers to Deadlines is perhaps proving to be useful beyond what its designers intended, as I’m finding that much of what is written there applies to artists who work at home as well. In particular, I really appreciated the post “Taking a Novel Approach”. This post talks about taking a process-driven approach to writing and setting goals that are reasonable and directly within your control. Instead of a “make $XXX this month” goal, they suggest taking a “submit this many proposals and finish this much work” goal. In my case, this would mean a combination of completing gallery pieces, shop pieces and proposals for grants and exhibitions. I can’t control how many are accepted, but I can control the quality of the proposals that I research and put together and I am directly responsible for the work that I turn out of the studio.

So from here on in I’m going to set goals in that fashion, trusting that a certain percentage of what I submit will be acceptable and that laying good foundations will result in solid structures as time passes. Interestingly enough, when I mentioned this approach to John, he found it helpful in the legal world, too. Submitting the statements of claim and doing up claims presentations are his equivalent.

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Cool! A review of our show by Joan Sullivan in our local newspaper, The Telegram…..

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It’s a logical assumption that, when you make a pieces of artwork, you will account for how to display it. In fact, if you’re at all canny, you keep this element firmly in mind and construct the piece with an eye to its eventual installation.

One of the parts of designing my smaller, lower-priced quilts and wallhangings that constantly evades me is how to hang pieces elegantly and well, without breaking the bank in terms of materials or time. Let’s face it, if you’re making a 35$ product, there is no sense in spending more time on getting it to hang properly than on creating the visual impact within the composition of the piece. Also, a $50 frame is probably going to cut a goodly bit out of your profit margin.

So I’m always on the lookout for ways that will allow me to streamline the two most proportionately time-consuming parts of constructing small pieces – hand binding and attaching the hanging sleeve.

Wandering around today, I found this marvelous page by Ami Simms, which discusses a myriad of ways of displaying small quilted pieces. The one that caught my eye in particular was the use of fast finish triangles. For small to medium-sized rectangular pieces that are quilted using a traditional top-batting-backing formula, it looks like just the ticket for streamlining the hanging sleeve portion of the process. No hand-sewing required (the stitching is integrated into seams already sewn), stable, doesn’t distort the piece and easy. What could be better?

The originator of the idea is Terry Chilko, who kindly provides further instructions for her triangular tip on her tips page. There’s a link to a pdf of the pattern & instructions on that page.

So that takes care of hanging one portion of my work. Thanks, Terry! I needed a quicker way of going about a traditional hanging sleeve!

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