I Must Art!

I don’t now about your library, but the library that I work at has some really nifty programs, some of which are arts and/or crafts. We also have Grab and Go Kits, which are usually craft projects. As someone who has creative urges, these things appeal to me greatly. As such, I’ve been doing a lot more arts and crafts since I started working at the library.

When it comes to the Grab and Go Kits, those are usually one and done. I did my fall scene in a jar, my winter votive, my calming heart that you were supposed to embroider something sweet on, but I stitched FU, and I was good. I didn’t feel compelled to buy more supplies and make more of those things (though I do have enough leftover material to make another calming heart, so that’s probably going to happen eventually). However, there were two programs that captured my artistic heart.

Back in the summer of 2021, our wonderful program director Marie held a tiny art show. She created Grab and Go Kits with three colors of acrylic paint and either a 3×3 inch canvas or a package of model clay. Inside the kits were forms for people who wanted to participate in the art show to fill out and return with their art, which was put on display for a month in the old display case that used to house the creepy doll collection that had thankfully been retired not long before.

Since staff was allowed to participate, I was all in.

How could I resist making tiny, terrible art? I love making terrible art. I’ve been using water color pencils for a few years. Acrylic on canvas sounded like fun. I made my tiny, terrible beach scene and loved doing it. All of the art that patrons and staff did was pretty cool, but it wasn’t putting my art on display that gave me the rush. It was that act of arting that I loved. The creation process.

I ended up buying more tiny canvases and some new acrylics. The results were gifted to people for Grinchmas.

And then I bought more canvases. And some more new paints. And I have made more tiny, terrible art.

Recently, my coworker Rachel held a program about pressed flower art. I had to work, but Marie covered the desk for me and my partner in library crimes Trisha so we could attend the program long enough to learn how to make the pressed flower art and collect the supplies so we could do it at home.

I took my cuttings, rolled out my clay, pressed my flowers, painted it all once it dried, and then did some macrame hangers for it. I gifted the results to a friend.

And then ordered more clay. My latest batch of flower art is sitting on the floor of my room waiting to be painted and will ideally be done by the time you read this.

That’s the real trick of all of this. Because I love doing all these things so much, I’m more motivated to find time to do them. As much as I love to do creative things, I’m the kind of person that will put them off, telling myself I don’t have time because I should be doing all of these other things, and now it’s too late. You know. Being responsible. It’s a total drag.

Tiny, terrible art and pressed flower art have challenged that mindset. Why can’t I paint a cherry blossom tree on a Sunday night while watching a movie? Good news! I can!

This is has been a marvelous life change. I don’t have to save my arting for when I have time. I can totally do some macrame or paint some clay on a Wednesday night after work. I am allowed to take that time to indulge my creative urges.

Which is good.

Because sometimes I must art!

2015 Holiday Gift Suggestions

Milwaukee Christmas treeIt’s Black Friday, when folks trample each other to buy price-reduced manufactured goods so they can give them to family and friends to prove just how much they love and appreciate them. As much fun as that is (and as someone who has worked retail off and on for years and got to watch two ladies nearly come to blows over a scooter, I know my good times), not everyone is hip to getting their friends and family the same gift everyone else is giving to their favorite humans.

Well, that’s why I am here. To point you in the direction of some really nifty finds that you won’t find in all of those fliers and on the shelves of your local big box store.

Obviously, you should totally buy all of my books and give them to all of your friends. But if you don’t want people to get suspicious that you’re not putting any thought into your gifts (but you really would be; I’d vouch for you), you should also check out these authors: Shanna Hammaker, Brandon Ford, Jeremy C. Shipp, Shonell Bacon, and Johi Jenkins. Horror, memoir, mystery, fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult…you’re bound to find something for someone or many somethings for many someones.

If you know an aspiring writer (or anyone that uses a writing instrument, really), perhaps check out Roweville Retro and get them a one-of-kind pen, pencil, or stylus. You can even get a custom made creation. Get them that present that other people will be trying to steal from them for years to come.

Speaking of writing, how about encouraging the people you really do like to keep in touch with some spiffy postcards? This is what happens when I keep taking and drawing pictures with no set purpose in mind. I have to find something to do with them and what better use than to remind people that dropping a picture card in the mail and sending it to a friend is still a fun surprise.

But, if you’re looking for better art (and you probably should be), then check out Hannah McFaddon Art. Hannah McFaddon is an amazing artist and now she’s got a whole line of prints available, too. Tea-Rex! Are you kidding me? Absolutely adorable! And guaranteed to be something that a loved one is going to adore and hang proudly on their wall.

So go! Shop! Buy things that people didn’t know they needed and will love to get!


**Yes, I am once again promoting my friends and acquaintances (and myself) for the holidays because I like them, I like what they’re doing, and I think they deserve some spotlight. Go team!

I Must Art!

Yes, that’s a Blues Clues Band-Aid on Floyd’s head. It’s covering his head injury (hole).

The other day I was seized with a sudden need to art. It didn’t matter what the art was, but I needed to do something artistic and creative that wasn’t writing. I thought about borrowing my roommates colored pencils, but she was still asleep and I needed to art NOW.

I ended up giving my pink flamingo Floyd a paint job (of which he was in desperate need and which I was planning to do anyway) and started working on this year’s Grinchmas gift (which I won’t mention just in case someone on the receiving in might read this) which involves quite a bit of painting and will take me some time to finish completely.

That all scratched the itch, but I still have an urge to art.

When it comes to my creativity, it’s mostly confined to writing. I do sew, of course, but my skills there are limited. But when it comes to art, I’m the limited of the limited. I can’t draw a straight line. Thankfully, when I do find myself doing art things, I do my best to avoid straight lines.

I like to art. I like to attempt to draw and paint, even if I’m not very good at it. I find it to be enjoyable sometimes to just doodle and such. I’ve done really kicky psychedelic pictures in oil pastels that look great hanging on my walls, but they’re not going to be hanging in a gallery at any point in time. I’ll be honest, though, I prefer it when the art I do can be useful (like with Floyd and the Grinchmas projects, which is also the name of my next band).

There’s also a certain hesitancy that I normally have when doing things in the nature of art, not just because I’m not good at it, but because my roommate Carrie IS an artist. Like, she went to school for it and stuff. Typically any urge I get to art is squashed by self-consciousness, if not by laziness (which squashes so many things). It’s hard for me to loosen up and art when I have an actual artist in proximity who can and will tell me everything I’m doing wrong.

But my latest need to art was too strong to be brought down by laziness or self-consciousness. Criticism be damned! I felt the urge and had to give in to it. And I’m actually pretty happy with everything I’ve done thus far. I sort of hope the feeling lasts.

Oh, and I did finally get the colored pencils.