Category Archives: Art

15% off sale at Etsy!

The Men of Etsy team is having a week-long 15% off sale! You can find my shop here and use BOYSOFSUMMER as the coupon code. Additionally, if you search “boysofsummer” you will find ALL the shops offering this deal (same coupon code). This is a huge selection of shops with many, many different types of items. Christmas in July!

My Etsy shop.


Wonderball!

Now that I’m comfortable working in the round (as this trivet shows), I thought I’d set my sights on something more difficult: shapes! Last night, in preparation for the eyeball The Lady wants me to crochet her (no, seriously), I made my first sphere. Not only did it come out well, but the pattern I was using was written oddly about 7 rows in and I had to figure out some stuff on my own..which is something I’ve talked about before. I “get” crochet enough to be able to problem solve and that’s why I have never picked the knitting needles back up since 2007.

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As anyone who does amigurumi knows, being able to do this well has opened up a whole new world to me! Almost every amigurumi head is basically this creation, attached in different ways. Of course, when The Lady only wants an eyeball, not a whole body, things are much easier.

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I also wanted to show a shot of my “studio” because I built it after one of my readers, Denise, gave me the idea. To paraphrase the movie As Good As it Gets, she makes me want to be a better crafter  🙂

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PS: suck it, Spell Check, “crafter” IS a word!


Art for Fun; Art for Cheap

On Monday night I took part in an Etsy Labs Craft Night.  It was a mini drawing workshop with Carla Sonheim.  I was so impressed and excited with what I learned that night, that I signed up for her two and a half hour workshop the following evening: The Art of Silliness.  The biggest lesson that Carla imparts is: “We used to love drawing when we were kids, before our inner critic kicked in.  Stop trying to draw ‘perfectly’ and just have fun with it.” (my paraphrasing of her class)  What’s funny is, when you embrace that idea, when you stop trying so hard to do it “right” you get amazing results.  Results you actually LIKE!

I used to draw all the time as a kid.  In second grade, I wrote AND illustrated my first book.  Even in high school, after I finished taking tests, I would highly decorate my cover paper.  But somewhere along the way, I started worrying about how good my drawings were.  I started saying things like, “Well her nose doesn’t really look like that.  I screwed up.”  I quit having fun.

What’s funny is that in reality, I’m actually a pretty decent realistic artist.  When I took a drawing class in college, I turned out some good work.  But those pieces take hours, sometimes even days, to create.  For some reason, I held myself to this weird standard, that my quick, fun drawings of people and things, should look as “right” as the ones done for hours at the easel.

Anyway, here is some of my work from the class this week, taken quickly with my cell phone.

The rabbit is my favorite one  🙂  Anyway, here’s what I’ve come up with: I want to keep drawing for fun, drawing just to be drawing, but I live in a one bedroom apartment with one other person and a cat.  In other words, I don’t have a lot of room.  So I’ve decided that anything I make that isn’t just in my sketch book, any piece that looks nice enough to actually display, I’m going to sell on Etsy, but only for like $1 or 2.  Seriously.  Mainly just enough to cover shipping.  I think it’s a great way for friends and family to get some Kerr made art (see what I did there?) AND to keep my apartment from becoming too cluttered.  I’ll keep you all up to date as to when I add stuff.

OH!  And if there’s anything that you’d like me to draw, just drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do.


Embroidery Oblivion

This is my newest embroidery piece.  I figured, hey, I like art and I like video games… the two shall join.  It measures roughly 5×7 and I hope to get a frame for it soon (something slightly bigger so the piece sits on a background).  After embroidering the piece, I burned the edges to give it that Kvatch feel.  I also thought this burlapesque muslin looked more Cyrodiilic(?) than any other fabric.

(click image for full size)

Although I really like how it came out, I may end up putting it on Etsy.  We don’t really have the space to display stuff here at the apartment.

After I get a little better at embroidery, I think my big project will involve some of the Skill symbols, like

Block 

Marksmanship

Security

Sneak

Destruction

(P.S.- after burning the muslin, the apartment smelled like we roasted marshmallows 🙂 )


Re: sorta complaining?

In my last post, I discussed how I wasn’t happy that I did a lot of things well but nothing amazingly.  Via Facebook, here were some of the responses that made me really rethink my “complaint.”

My cousin Jeff:

Personally, I think the true mark of talent is being able to do a lot of things well. I would much rather be second best at everything than an expert at one thing, and absolutely clueless about anything else. The second mark of that talent is seeing the flaws in your work. Only a fool looks at his own work an says “its perfect.” The true craftsman says “there’s a gap, I need to smooth that spot, that piece don’t match the other one, and there is another mistake” everyone else looks at the work with awe.

I loved the line “I would much rather be second best at everything than an expert at one thing.”  It kind of made me think of the concept of the Renaissance Man, people who tinkered in many different areas, including art and science.  Then I read my friend Jodie’s lines

I feel the same way! I’m not GREAT at anything, but I love trying my hand at everything. Once I get pretty good at something…. I’m ready to try something else! Creative ADD.

These are two artists whose work I admire.  My cousin’s metal work is simple amazing (and of course I want to try it!).  To be in the kitchen, cutting vegetables with a knife you made yourself must be a really cool experience.  Then there’s Jodie who makes gorgeous glass jewelry and who won a big ole’ gingerbread house competition at Grove Park Inn.  Even my mom, who helped foster this love of creation, weighed in:

Son, did you ever notice that I am also “not great” at anything? Once I learned how to do something “well” I was on to learning something else. For me, it was never about perfecting an art, but the learning… that was the fun part.

Maybe I was just in a foul mood that day… but also their words were really powerful.  They’re right.  I don’t create to operate as a business.  If that was the case, I’d make one thing and lots of it (or variations thereof).  I create because I enjoy creating.  As Mom says, “the learning is the fun part.”

Maybe it’s the crappy weather, but I just haven’t felt like creating lately.  Especially not for creation’s sake.  I guess not working on any projects combined with seeing some amazing stuff being created around me made me feel like there wasn’t a point to what I have done over the years.  But in truth, that’s not who I am.  I create for the fun of it.  I just need to remember that… especially when I’m not working on something.


In which the “artist” questions himself

I blame my mother.

But then, don’t we all?

Growing up, there was one thing I learned more than any other from my mom: you can do anything.  I saw her sewing, doing cross stitch and needlepoint and latch work.  My father would take us boys on a trip and we’d return to find she’d re-wallpapered/painted the rooms.  She owned a scroll saw and would make toys for us down in the basement.

Frequently she involved us boys in these varied tasks, like when we all colored pictures on transfer paper and she made bed spreads for us with the pictures.  I remember the smell and feel of wallpaper after dunking it in the trough of water.  Somewhere along the way, I picked up a love for crafts and making art as well.

So I blame my mother for my desire to try as much as possible 🙂  To date I can say I have worked in all the following areas: crochet, knitting, water color, book binding, paper making, tie dye, clothes design/making, machine sewing, hand sewing, photography, graphic art, font creation, drawing, altered books, embroidery, jewelry making, embossing, pastels, picture framing, glass plate decoration, stuffed animal design/creation, glass etching, calligraphy… there’s  much, much more that I’m just not thinking of.  And that’s just in the broad field of Arts & Crafts.  I’ve also written plays, short stories, poetry, songs.  I played trombone for 7 years.  I have acted professionally for over 10 years.

But here’s the point I am heading towards: in all these endeavors, I have frequently risen from “not bad” to “pretty good.”  But never beyond.  I’m a good actor.  Maybe a pretty good actor.  But pretty good doesn’t set me above many others when it comes time for casting.  7 years of trombone and I still wasn’t very good at all.  My eye for photography has never been that interesting.  My drawing has always been labored and looks labored.  After years of crocheting, I’d say I could be rated at Advanced Novice.

There is nothing that I feel I do exceedingly well.

While that may not be a terrible thing, it still bothers me.  Even when it comes to my ideas for creating, I feel second-rate.  I see things and think, “Ooo!  I wanna try that!” and then I do THAT.  Exactly that.  Rarely does something I see/experience act as a springboard for something new.  Rarely do I come up with my own concepts.  Sometimes I can’t even put my own spin on concepts.  I might think, “I am going to write a story that takes place after an apocalypse (because I read World War Z) and the lead character is going to live in a casino (because I play too much Fallout: New Vegas).  Never mind, he’ll live on an aircraft carrier (wait, that was Fallout 3).”  I know there’s nothing new in the world (Dime Store Prophets quote) and that all the stories have been told.  The key is putting ones self into something old and making it new.  I just can’t seem to find the Me to put into something, though.  I’ve never been sure how to make it my own.

I guess I spent too much time when I was younger trying to copy exactly what my mom was doing, trying so hard to do it “right.”  I never bothered to color outside the lines and see where it took me.  As an adult, I have a lot of things I can do, but nothing I can do very well.


45 RPM’s

Since I am still somewhat under the sway of the weather, and haven’t been able to get the motivation to make something, I thought I’d start the month out with a post to something I already made.

Here is a desktop wallpaper I made last year that was included on the site Simple Desktops.
Click on the picture below to go to the download page.

Simply titled “45 RPM”

While you’re at the site, make sure to take a look around (after downloading my design first, of course).  There are some really great pieces of work there.  The site’s concept is (excuse me) simple: wallpapers “designed to make your computer beautiful without distraction.”  In other words, no bling, no drop shadow, no gradient.  Simplicity.


A Making-Books Book

For Christmas, the little lady got me a book that I had drooled over at a local bookstore, Unnameable Books.  The book is How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith.

I was taught bookbinding in New Mexico back in 2002 by an amazing artist, Bev Taylor.  Since then I have made a few books, including the guest registry/photo album for a friend’s wedding.

If you are even mildly interested to making your own one-of-a-kind books, do yourself a favor and get this book.  There are some very basic and quick books to start with and it works its way up to coptic stitching, which I have only done once, but with great acceptable success.

This video shows a really neat “Instant Book” using techniques shown in this book.


Show Your Roots

I’m loving this picture by Etsy artist Lisarachel.  I’ll let it speak for itself, but I love the designs in the roots.

Roots


end of the year

Well, it’s the end of 2010 and I haven’t worked on nearly as much art/craft as I hoped I would.  Do I hear “resolution?”  No.  I hear “goal.”  Here is my goal for January, 2011: at least 2 posts per week, no weeks skipped.

I’ll leave you and 2010 with a piece I made a few years back.  Be safe everyone!


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