Self-doubt, Procrastination & Fear

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”Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. The two stands Resistance.”

  • Do you have self-doubt? You won't succeed.
  • Do you procrastinate every time you want to start a new piece of work? I'll do it tomorrow (again).
  • Do you fear rejection ?  No one will buy or appreciate your art.

I sometimes do, actually, it does creep back out of that dark hole inside me. I get swallowed up by it, and it's an awful feeling. It might seem all good on instagram but deep inside there is a niggling feeling. 

The War of Art

I recently picked up this book by Steven Pressfield. It was recommended in an art chat group and completely forgot about it until last week when it popped up in my feed again. No, it's not "The Art of War", it's "The War of Art".  Mr. Pressfield hits in on the head - I'm holding back, procrastinating, having self-doubt and fear because of RESISTANCE. 

How do I break from RESISTANCE?

1. Define what you want - my artist friend told me that she writes for 10 - 60 mins a day about her thoughts and how she's going to deal with it. It's a good way to reflect on your practice too. YOU are in charge of your DESTINY.

2. Hunker down and be consistent - practice your craft. If you are committed to going into the studio at 9am everyday, then DO IT even if you're not working on any project.  Just take out a piece of fabric just do some stitches. Get off the internet and DO YOUR WORK! Stay committed.

One part of the book I love is this:

"Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”"

This is so true. Our inspiration doesn't occur like lightening but it happens when we make the effort to practice our craft. We want to become masters!

3. Acknowledge and face resistance - write it down. Face your demons and take them head on!  Be organised - understand that art is the process and journey, not always about the product!

When Do I Start?


A Continuation of Ocean

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A Continuation of Ocean
You may recall the coral bowls I was working on post-Green Is the New Black installation.  The project slowed down and went on the back burner for a while because I couldn't find a place to have it installed.  I eventually decided to not do bowls but instead have them encased in glass. Although the end point is not as intended you can still see the fragility of the corals.

Sometimes things don't turn out how you want them to, but I am sure these coral bowls will eventually find their way back into the light!

These coral pieces will be on display and for sale at The Actually Affordable Art Fair (Camp Kilo) on 7 April (2 - 7pm)

All pieces priced at SG$70 except for green plate coral which is SG$90.

Coral brooches are at SG$20 each.

Making the Invisible Visible

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I spent the first quarter of this year looking at the invisible. 
I looked down all the time, but not at my gadget but at the weeds on the ground.
Weeds are a grossly misrepresented plant. We have been taught to get rid of them because they "invade" our manicured gardens and landscaped areas. But did you know that weeds are restoring plants, they bring the trimmed lawns back to their natural state - they are restorative plants.  Apparently, weeds lets us know how healthy the soil is - so if you encounter a lot of weeds, instead of reaching out for the weedkiller (actually you shouldn't), it's important to observe and "listen".  
Weeds also bring in diversity while monocrops don't, including a variety of insects and pollinators. 

I don't have a green thumb, but I do know that diversity is key to a better planet.

The items are for sale at the Actually Affordable Artist Market, 7 April, 2 - 7pm.
4x4" fabric collages, each free motion embroidered.

SGD 100 

SGD 150 

SGD 150   

SGD 100   

 SGD 100
SGD 120   

Stitch Meditation Workshop at Earth Hour

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Stitch Meditation with Agy

Slow down.... find your inner tortoise.
Focus on the present
Focus on your breathing
Connect with yourself and nature.

30 March 2019
6.30 - 730pm
Earth Hour 2019, Event Plaza Marina Bay Sands
Sign up here

Join Agy at Earth Hour 2019 as she takes you through a short meditative stitching session, exercises and a brief discussion on the outcome. Agy realised the importance of slowing down and finding your inner tortoise. For her it was discovering things with "new" eyes and translating what she sees into stitch.

Learn how to stitch in a meditative manner.
Learn how to relax.
Learn a new skill!
The aim of this session is not to make product but to bring slow into our lives.

PS. Agy will be using fabric remnants #zerowaste

How to Dye Polyester Using Sublimation

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How to Dye Polyester Using Sublimation
The time I tried dyeing synthetic fabrics, I took pre-bought sublimation ink printed sheet of paper and ironed it directly onto the fabric (blog post here).  The issue with this is that I had to buy the sheets in advance and unfortunately, the colour faded over time. This meant I had to plan well in advance - sometimes not so good for me!

sublimation techniques in textile art

Dylon iDye Poly

Christine of Rhinesticknickknacks showed me a packet of iDye Poly from Dylon. On the packet it says it's suitable for polyester and nylon fabrics. We decided to give it a go and followed this tutorial

We painted and screen-printed with black and brown dyes.

Sublimation - screen printing

Upcycled t-shirt using sublimation techniques

What we liked

  1. Only needed small amounts of the powder  were needed with the thickener (we used alginate) - less than a teaspoon to about three tablespoons of the alginate - but the more powder we added, the darker the paste.   
  2. Because it was made into a paste, we were given the artistic licence to do absolutely anything with it on paper - screen print, paint or do printing on a jelly plate!
  3. Varied levels of pressure and heat enabled us to get ghost prints and different intensities of the desired pattern. If you're looking at achieving depth and layers then this is for you.

What we didn't like

  1. There's a tendency to make too much, so it can get wasteful, but you can put it in the fridge (sealed in a jar and labeled!)
  2. One piece of paper can do roughly 2 prints depending on how heavy handed you are with the hot iron. So unless you like ghost prints, then you'll need to use a lot more paper (or maybe get bigger sheets) if you are printing large amounts of fabric.
  3. It's hard to replicate if you are thinking of doing a batch of the same print.
  4. What you see is not what you get - sometimes the colours were too faint. I think it takes a bit more experimentation to achieve you want. Here's what we had done as an experiment with black and brown. The black turned out green and the brown was a nude colour.  Different from expectations!

I think I would use sublimation only for layering effects which are useful in fabric collages. It will definitely take a bit more experimentation.  Have you tried this technique? Let me know your thoughts. 

Stitch Meditation

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First week into 2019 - how is everyone feeling? Before we wrapped up 2018, I came across this relaxing, yet very creative process called Stitch Meditations. It is a bit like doodling in your sketchbook, but think of it more of doodling with thread. As Liz Kettle in the video says, there are no rules, or boundaries, just go with the flow and see what you come with.

Stitch Meditations with Liz Kettle from Liz Kettle on Vimeo.

I have cut my batch of 4 by 4 inch squares of cotton muslin and have started to set aside time to create a tiny collage. Sometimes I spend 15 mins, sometimes an hour or more.  It really depends on my mood, but at least I'm practising my skills.  You may notice that I don't use more than a handful of stitches - they are just straight running stitches, sometimes a few back stitches, but most of the time just running. I send the one direction and then back the other depending on how I feel or how the piece of fabric speaks to me.

So how did I get started?

1. Pre-cut your squares
Start somewhere! This was very important advice from Liz. Have the squares all pre-cut, put them in a box and you won't have the excuse of not having starting. The blank canvas is ready to be stitched on!

2. Limit your scraps and sewing thread to a few
I limited myself to 4 colours of thread and 2 weights, 12 and 30.  I grabbed a handful of scraps and put them in a box and that's all I was going to use. If you have too many choices, you'll end up wandering all over the place! Remember the power of limitations!

3. Dedicate a certain time for it
You know you! It doesn't matter when is best, only you will know!

This is what I've done so far, and I find it useful to do this concurrently with my walks and observation recordings in my sketchbooks. The best thing about it is you can carry your project anywhere with you! How fab is that?

stitch meditation

Stitch meditations

PS - there is a Stitch Meditation facebook group if you're keen to join!