Day 2

08/30/2011

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Today was my second day of my un-BFA.  I got started a bit early because I was excited and knew that I had a trip to the library, which would take up some time.

My warm-up was non-existent:  I thought I didn't have the materials necessary, but I found them this afternoon.  I forget what all I have.  My husband, Jason, gives me odd random things that he thinks I can do something with.  Usually, I can.  So I might work on that activity tonight while dinner is cooking or something.  It looks like one that will work for me.  It's about taking a little piece of formica sample and using that with paper ephemera, stamps, and odd bits and making a keychain out of it.  I don't have the keychain components but I can make the little thing anyway.

I listened to the next podcast on my list while I wove.  It was a short one, which was the question and answer period to the previous podcast I had listened to, about the fiber artist from Nigeria.  Most of the questions were about the subjects in his work and how long he dyed his fabrics for (the ones with resist, he had to dye quickly in order to keep the resist from falling off.)  So I didn't learn much that I didn't learn from the previous podcast, but I still think it was worthwhile.


I had to pick up my design book from the library, which took a chunk of time as I had to walk.  I am using Fundamentals: Theory and Practice, 11th ed. by Ocvirk et al.  It's a textbook, so I didn't make a lot of headway with it.  I went through about 20 pages before I had information saturation.  This included a glossary and an introduction to the concept of art and how it evolves over time.  It also introduced the three components of art: subject (what the work is about), form (which includes line, texture, color, shape, and value), and content (the message).  When these three things are in some kind of balance, they form organic unity, or a work that has a sense of completeness.  There was also a section on abstraction and the different levels of abstraction: Naturalism, or the completely representational; Realism, which is representational but is more about an emotional state; Semi-Abstraction, which is partly representational but may be simplified or rearranged; Objective Abstraction, which is based on a physical object but has been so abstracted that it is no longer recognizable; and Nonobjective Abstraction, which is not based on any physical object.

After that I went to the park to continue to work on my drawing.  I continued on the same scene as before.  I worked on another bush, which was equally crazy-making as I was attempting to draw at least most of the leaves as I actually saw them.  The leaves were drooping more yesterday than they were today, so my bushes look more different than they are supposed to.  I also worked on some of the trees behind the bushes, but not any leaves.  I got to use my blending stump for the first time.  I love my blending stump!  In high school art class, I was taught never to erase (I don't know what that was about) and to blend with my hand.  You can imagine my delight when I recently discovered kneaded erasers and blending stumps.   The erasers can be shaped to fit inside tiny spaces, and the blending stump is much more precise than my hand.  Also, it's nice not to have my hand and everything I touch covered with graphite.  I didn't finish the drawing yet, as I still have leaves, gravel, and mulch to work on.  This might take me another couple of days.  I drew for about an hour, which is a long time for me to sit down.  My husband has suggested an easel, which I am keen to work on but not so keen to carry or purchase.

For my surface design "class", I worked on immersion dyeing with various resisting methods.  I did tie-dye (which doesn't have to look like a hippie did it), tie-dye with pebbles, scrunching, pleating, and folding.  I used a small amount of dye in plastic bags and they are batching right now.  I am not sure how they will turn out, as I don't know if I added enough dye.  I like to err on the side of not enough, because I hate throwing unused dye down the sink (it's kind of a nasty chemical) and because you can always overdye.  I will wash them out tomorrow and see what the effects are.  I will add pictures of the effects.

For my business "class", I worked on a simple business plan.  This included defining what I was selling (not just the product but the idea behind it.  It made me realize that I need to be more focused in my products.  "Fiber arts" is too broad of a category for a one-woman operation.  I have narrowed it down to surface design items that can be used everyday, but I haven't decided if that will mean home decor items or something like scarves.  I had to define my business's personality (otherwise known as branding, which is not a term I particularly like).  I decided that my business will be laid-back, sensual, artistic, beautiful, cutting edge, and a dreamer.  It will have the ability to connect with others' sense of beauty, and exude independence, woman spirit, pride, and simplicity without plainness. Next I had to define my customers.  I have decided to target mostly women, as the preservation of traditional women's art is important to me and a part of my brand.  They will be more affluent than myself (at least until I'm making money!) but not filthy rich.  They will share a love of art and beauty.  There are many more items but I won't list them all or we'll be here all day.  The most fun exercise was inventing two of my own customers, with their jobs, likes and dislikes, hobbies, dress style, favorite films, etc.

I did not work on my personal projects yet, at least not so far.  Yesterday I knitted up a storm while watching TV.  I finished the sleeve I was working on, and am ready to start the other sleeve.  If this project works out, it will be my first wearable-in-public sleeved sweater!
 
 
Today, August 29th, was the day that class was supposed to start at my art school. (I assume that it has started even without me there!)  So today was the first day of my un-BFA.  My husband printed out an acceptance letter, some posters, and some stationary for me.  My friend Melanie is making me my own student ID, which was mentioned on the unCollege Facebook page.  

My warm-up today didn't go that well, as these things sometimes do.  It was for an art-journal house.  I think if this was the only project I was working on today, it would have worked, but I didn't have several hours to spend constructing that thing.  I am still a little iffy on what an art journal actually entails.  I am not sure how it is different from a sketchbook, and if it is like a "writing" journal, how to put my thoughts into a quick-ish composition.  Usually if I need to express myself visually, it turns into a major project.

I listened to a podcast from Maiwa Podcasts today.  Maiwa is a fiber arts institution in Vancouver, Canada, where I am from.  They have a import retail store, a supply store, and a yearly symposium.  The podcasts are from lectures from their symposiums.  The one I listened to today was a lecture from a fiber artist from Nigeria who now lives in Santa Fe.  He is unusual in his culture because usually women are fiber artists.  He has always been visual.  He uses traditional fermented indigo to dye, and uses tie-dye techniques, as well as batik. He uses a type of sago paste for resists.  His work is usually depictions from his life.  While I listened, I wove a twill pattern on my four-shaft table loom.  The repetitive nature of the weaving helped me pay attention to the lecture.

I went out to the park to do some drawing.  I sketched out a little scene with some rhododendron bushes and some trees.  I worked on the detail for a few of the bushes, but one bush in particular was especially crazy-making so I will go back to it tomorrow and continue to work on the scene.  I will post a photo of it when it is finished.

For my surface design assignment, I finished up a table runner for Melanie Wallace.  I can't reveal too much about that yet, because she hasn't seen it!  I can't wait to show it to her.

For my business study, I read and completed the exercises from the first chapter of The Boss of You.  I identified my business goals, defined my personal measure of success (which is not to become a Fortune 500 company), and identified my strengths and weaknesses.  So far, I love this book.  It's perfect for people like me, who just want a happy little business with a sustainable wage.  I'm super-pleased with it.

I did not work on design because I haven't got the book from the library yet.  I also didn't work on my personal project today, because I didn't have time and i did get the chance to work on Melanie's project and my weaving.  I might do a bit on knitting after dinner though.

I am working on my website right now (obvi) and hope to improve it more over the next few days.  It's still looking a little ghetto but at least it has content now.

I am very happy with my first day.  It's ended up being a nine-hour day, which is remarkable for me.  I have a disability and usually have to work part time, but I have so much energy right now.  I haven't had a full day's work in a long, long time.  I am not sure how long it will be once I have my warm up, design, and personal projects elements tied in.  It might end up being quite a bit longer.  I will have to see if I need to adjust the schedule, or if I will just work longer.

Happy first day of unCollege for me!