Monday, August 30, 2010

The Journey Begins...

K, so tonight I came up with a couple of sketches for Clarence the Crow.

Well, first off, I know everyone works differently in their creative process, and I like learning about those things from other artists, so I'll share with you a little smidgen of how my brain worked during this so far.

Sometimes, like I said before, an idea will just pop in my head. Poof! Voila! And everything is superduperdandy and that is my most favorite way of creating. However - that is a very rare occurrence.

Sometimes I'll zoom around on the internet for a while, checking out what's already out there (both for inspiration and so that I don't make anything too close to something that's already been done), looking up fabrics, real-life photos, illustrations, etc. And then the Poof comes.

And then in this Poof is very elusive. Of course, I've seen a million crows. Movies, pictures, nature shows, whatever. But I had no connection to them. I had never drawn one. Never sculpted one. Actually, I take that back, I did do an oil pastel of one once in high school. But either way - I wasn't connected enough to make the Poof happen.

The story that S provided about the Rainbow Crow was very inspiring to me. I had a great many ideas pop up after reading it, but nothing solid. So I went to the library and got a few books out, brought them home and went through them a couple times each. Then I started sketching. I find that drawing something in its true image is the best way for me to start a good connection with it. The lines. The form. The overall character. And that's the important part - because obviously, my animal plushes are not realistic representations - they are my interpretation of their character. :) Silly lil' guys.

So I got a couple sketches done and I started to see what I really like about the crow. He's got attitude. He's smart. He's cocky. He's a little grumpy and he doesn't take much crap. And sometimes he's very very cute. So this is what I've come up with so far.

Now remember - this is the very first step. The beginning of the beginning. But I think I'm on the right path.

What do you think? Any input?

Clarence the Crow

Photo credit: NY Daily News

A handsome, intelligent, highly underestimated fellow, the crow...

A week or two ago, a lovely lady, S, contacted me through Etsy with an Alchemy request for a custom order crow plush. She has a rough idea of what she wants but is giving me full rein with his creative journey (Clarence's journey, that is). Which is excellent.

Photo credit: Brandon Holden

I like working both ways, actually. Sometimes it's great to come up with something completely from scratch from just a very vague idea. But other times, I enjoy having someone pour their vision into my brain...maybe with the help of pictures, or a story, or a song...and seeing if I can come up with exactly what they imagined.

This order is kind of a bit of both. S shared with me a wonderful story called the Rainbow Crow - a folklore tale explaining how, through his selfless, heroic acts, the crow came to be as we know him today. I love Native American tales and "how it came to be" myths. (Anyone remember Just So Stories? I love - and still have - that book.)

Picture credit: Georgia's Bird Blog.

Anyway, as I progress through this project, I'll be sharing Clarence's journey with you here.
A: Because we're crafty people and we love crafty things; and
B: Because I offered to include S in the design and creation process as it unfolds and this is a fun and easy way for me to do that.

As this is my first very start to very finish blogging project - I'm really excited. I hope you enjoy! :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fancy me some fabric finds...and sabotage by furball

I'm painting my craft room this weekend. I really like the color so far (it needs another coat yet). Kind of a warm yummy brown - like good coffee with too much cream. But guess what we discovered? The door handle doesn't latch properly. Wanna know how we found out? Some mysterious claw marks have appeared in the fresh paint under the window overnight. Hmmmm....

Before I went to bed, I opened the window and closed the door. But Cooper is absolutely obsessed with the great outdoors. So he sniffed him out a possible escape hatch, pushed the door open and jumped his fat tookus up there to scout it out (don't worry, there are screens). Ugh. It should still be done this weekend though. I can't wait to move all my stuff in. The house has been a bit of a disaster area with bits and pieces of my craftiness scattered all over. It'll be so nice to get organized again.

In the mean time, check out some of my most recent fabric scores!

Those are from a little bit ago, and I've already used a couple of them. Do you recognize the yellow flower print in that one? Yup! It's Beavy's tummy. I couldn't wait to use that one when I found it. And the green and white one is Barnum's tummy. And these I found on Thursday:

Don't you love them? Look at that bottom one. Oooooo. :) I can't remember what it's called though. I keep wanting to say tweed - but that's not right, is it?

And they all look/feel very vintage, however, I wasn't sure about the top one until - look what I found!

Ha! Can you imagine fabric being 37 cents a yard? Woooowee! I'd have a field day! I also think it's pretty amazing that this tag has survived this whole time. Neato!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meet....Bailey. The Beaver.

Hiya! I actually had this pretty little lady done a few days ago...but I haven't had a chance for her photo shoot until now. What do you think? She's in the shop too, if you'd like to see more pics.

I'm really stressed out today - I have a bunch of homework still to do and a lot of studying. I have my last math test on Monday. And then the final - cumulative! - on Wednesday. Oh and I also have to finish one more online quiz before then too. Never. Never. Never take a 7 week math class if you can help it. Especially when the last time you did a math problem was...oh, at least nine years ago. Eeesh. But then it's all over. So that's a relief. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

One down...

A little crafty miracle occurred here last night. Though I was up til the wee hours of the morning, it was well worth it, because I can now present to you, Barnum. Barnum the Beaver. Here he is sizing up this baby tree to see if it's ready for chomping. Barnum!

And my design tweaks worked out as planned because he sewed up great and is ready for the shop.

On to the next!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Busy Little Beavers

Well, they're not really busy. They're just kinda lyin' around. But I sure am! I've got a T-O-N of math homework to do and a lot of studying to do still too, but I did manage to cut these two lil' guys out last night. Just a little sneak peek for ya. I'll post more pics as I go. Oh! And good news, I just realized today that there's only a week and a half of math left!! Woooohooooo! So I expect to have a lot more time on my hands in the near future and I hope to use it working on a couple new designs. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Beavy - my lil' prototype

Here he is! All done. :) This little guy sews up pretty nicely. I didn't have too many problems or difficult areas to figure out on this one. However, I did choose just about the stupidest spot to stuff him from. Which is why he will remain a prototype and you will not find him in my shop. I'm just not happy with the last few stitches on him. From a front view, he looks uneven. (Can you tell I shot him all from his "good side"? Shhh!) The next beaver will probably be stuffed from the bottom, so as to insure a much more symmetrical, shop-ready critter.

Overall though, I am very happy with this design. And the best part about making prototypes? I get to keep this one! And I must say...I am in love. :)

PS: Do you like my new product labels? They're just what I was looking for. Thanks to, Angie at RememberWynn!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lil' Beaver - under construction

I'm currently working on another new design. This little critter is a bit smaller than my other creations. I'm trying to not only add diversity to my line of plushies, but different price points as well - so I'm hoping to do both with this lil' guy.

I'm really happy with him so far. His little ears are too! cute! and he's all fuzzy all over. And I like his nose. It's the first time I've done one this way. I'm hoping I'll get him done by this weekend. This math class I'm in is seriously kicking my butt - so most of my free time gets sucked up by that right now... But I am going to work on this fella a bit more tonight before hitting the books. So I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Lamb's Tail

So apparently I do a lot more antiquing and lazing about on my weekend than I do crafting and being productive like I should. With all that I've got going on lately, I'm finding it hard to spend my spare time being crafty - actually sitting down and applying myself to a task (well, any task besides my stupid math homework). As much as I love working on my ideas, and as much as I want to do this full time - you'd think I'd get my butt in gear. Alas...the busier I am, the more I just want to laze about.

Anyone available to come by and give me a swift kick in the pants? After this I'm off to try out a new plush idea I had last night. I'll share pics as I go.

Jon and I found another semi-local antique shop to visit called The Lamb's Tail. It is a beautiful place. Both their home and barn (the antique shop) are historical buildings and it is just lovely there. The little garden area is so sweet - it has inspired me to really want to create a place like that at my house. But that's another huge project, which we currently do not have any shortage of around here - so we'll see.

See those cute little plates as a garden edging? I would've never thought of that.

And a visit to the Lamb's Tail would, of course, not be complete without...

Hope you're having a wonderfully wooly bully afternoon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Introducing: Mr. Neville Beanbum

As promised, here is my newest creation, in all his completed plushy owly glory - Neville Beanbum. Eeeeee! I really hope he finds a great! home because I love him so much. He turned out just how I imagined him. Start to finish was a lot longer than I expected because, well, there have been some big changes in my life lately and I've been super busy and things have generally been a bit more crazy than usual. But I'm so happy with him.

I can't wait to start a new one! That means new colors! New fabrics! I love that part - the process of picking out just the right combination. Or......should I make a new pattern...and start a new plush from scratch? Hmmm....maybe a whale? Or a duck? A groundhog? Eeesh. I'll keep you updated. :) In the mean time, check him out in the shop and let me know what you think!