Category Archives: Life

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.


The Big Day is Only 9 Months Away!

…so I’m gonna need somebody to buy me this:

Handmade Weddings: More than 50 Crafts to Style and Personalize Your Big Day

Yeah, I’m gonna need that…stat.      *cough, cough* click on the picture *cough*


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!


Newest Addiction

I learned embroidery Monday night (3 nights ago) and have already made 3 things.  The first, my cat, was done from a photograph.  The second and third ones were hand drawn.  To make things even better, I found that watching stand-up comedy while working is PERFECT!  I usually get too distracted by having to actually WATCH what is on the TV.  With stand-up, I can just listen and keep plugging along.

 

Now, I don’t know who to blame for not teaching me embroidery.  My mother?  Surely she didn’t think that teaching cooking, hand sewing, machine sewing, cross stitch, and latch hook work was enough for her son!  I mean, what was wrong with this woman?!  But all the blame doesn’t lie with her. Just 50%.  The other 50% lies with my former roommate, Sarah, who used to do embroidery all the time at our house.  Sure, she offered once to show me how to do it and I declined, but I can’t see how that is my fault.  Clearly BOTH my mother and my friend have joined the ranks of women who have failed me, alongside the likes of that female cop who gave me a ticket for having an expired license plate.  I mean, what’s 8 months expired?!  I mean, really?  Oh, and that woman who sold me a roast beef sandwich at an Arby’s in Alabama.  I choked on that thing!


Sicky McSickerson

Bleh.  So the giveaway I was going to do through this blog ended up not happening because I got sick.  For like 2 weeks.  I apologize for that… and I apologize to Kishia who was looking forward to picking the winner.  Don’t worry: it will still happen.

For now, here’s an interactive map of Manhattan that was made in 1865.  It shows the original waterways and is STILL used by engineers and developers.  Crazy.


Mom’s birthday… a month late.

If you look “procrastination” up in the online dictionary (I mean, who uses a book nowadays?) and you will find a link to everything about me.  I made my mother’s birthday present on October 8, her birthday is October 22.  Now, you’re thinking, “That’s not procrastination, Jeremy.”  But I finally mailed it November 11.  Yeah.  I suck.  Anyway, here is a picture I took of it before boxing it up, wrapping it, then setting it on a table for a month  🙂

 

Happy birthday Thanksgiving, Mom!


Story Time: What I Saw When I Lived in New Mexico

During the summers of 2001, 2002, and 2003, I lived in Farmington, New Mexico, working at an outdoor drama.  I saw some amazing things when I lived in the southwest and this is one of those stories.  Luckily, I was able to get most of it on camera.

It all started when I came across a giant lizard.  I mean HUGE!  But, since it was the southwest, I had my rifle with me.  I dropped to one knee to get better aim (something I learned from playing Fallout), but then something amazing happened.

The lizard pulled out its cell phone.

seriously

 

and called its friend who was an alien! …who rode on a giant ladybug.

I kid you not.

 

This alien had magical powers, and called forth a bicycle from the sky!

This sooo happened.

 

My friend Merritt was there too and tried to help, but the lizard JUMPED ITS BIKE OVER HER!  That’s how amazing this lizard was!

I was not trying to shoot Merritt.

 

Why did the alien help the giant lizard?  What did they have between them, you ask.

yep

 

Of course, not even friendship can save you when a giant bird swoops down and carries you off.  Where’s your bike NOW, Mr. Lizard?!

the end

 

Now you see why living in NM was such an adventure.


I have been in New Vegas

I apologize to my readers for my disappearance.  I have been in New Vegas and the surrounding wastelands.  If you know anything about US geography, you’ll know there IS no place called New Vegas.  However, if you know anything about video games, you’ll know Bethesda’s Fallout: New Vegas came out last week.  That is where I have been.

In case you need something better right now, check out the phone booth library.

via Dude Craft.


Struggling

I am struggling to get good pictures for my handmade items, both for my Etsy shop and this blog.  We don’t have great natural lighting in our apartment during hours I am home and that makes a big difference.  I have been searching the interwebs, trying to find the best way to create a “home studio” using very little space, very little supplies, and very little money.  Any ideas?  Leave comments below, if so.  Anyway, bear with me as I experiment over the next few weeks.


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