Monday, May 24, 2010

Tea and Philosophy

I pulled out Tea for Two, a PTI set, and started playing. I wanted to use all the images so I could check this set off my Resolution List. I had already used all the tea pots, which are a gigantic pain in the butt to cut out for some weird reason. They don't LOOK like they would be hard, but they are, at least for me. Anyway, the other images hadn't seen ink yet, so I got jiggy with it. Here are some of the results.

This gift set is for a friend who enjoys tea. Cutting the tea time label out of a scrap of celery was easy, and I used a scrap of wild wasabi for the band. I love wild wasabi (especially paired with celery for a monochromatic combo) and am thrilled it's coming back. The leaves on the tea pot are from Turning a New Leaf.



Then, in keeping with CAS67, I made a shabby chic, yet still clean and simple, card with a bit of green velvet ribbon. The colors are a bit brighter in real life than in the photo. The script, button, and pearls on the punched circle are all purple, while the tea pot and stamped circle are mellow moss. The base is PTI vintage cream.


Ever since I started this blog, I've thought a lot about my creative philosophy. What makes me obsess with rubber and ink and paper? Why is it so satisfying? What do I have to say with my creations? I do have a few ideas to share that I've ruminated on, like a cow chewing cud rather than Plato contemplating the cave. What was up with the cave anyway? I never understood Plato: one of my many intellectual failings. Don't worry, though. I'm not beating myself up over that inadequacy. And we're talking about stamping, not whatever Plato was talking about, which wasn't nearly as interesting as stamping, I'm sure.

First, creative endeavor should be fun. Otherwise, what is the point? George, my dear husband, taught me this years ago, not long after I began stamping, when I tried to make 60 Christmas cards all with the same design. It was a hellish nightmare of tediousness that almost moved me to tears. In the middle of it all, I wailed to him, "This is sooooo BORING!!!!!!!!!" He replied, quite reasonably, "So why do it?" I whined, "Because I've already cut all the paper." He said, "So? If it's not fun, don't do it."

The sun came out, bluebirds sang, and I stopped making those cards right then and there. I bought my cards at Hallmark that year and was ever so happy about it. Ever since, any time I'm not having fun in my craft room (which doesn't happen often), I get up and walk away.

Second, express yourself as the unique individual you are. Don't be afraid to try new things, like my kraft week with Mary Dawn, but don't try to be someone you're not. I'm not an embellisher or layerer. I'm not into vintage, distressed, or collage, except as you can adapt these to CAS, as I did above. I am not a technique junkie either. If it isn't quick, I'm not interested. I'm all about clean lines, white space, and simplicity. I'm classic, not trendy, but I pay attention to trends and will adapt them to my style when I can.

There was a thread on SCS recently asking people to list trends they like and trends they don't. It's fun reading, but when I got to Krystie Lee's post and read that she can't stand ticket punches, I yelled, "GET OUT!" I LOVE my ticket punch! I also LOVE Krystie's work. But her loathing the ticket punch doesn't mean I'm wrong to love mine. It just means we're not the same person. I'm sure she's relieved about this.

Third, inspiration is everywhere. I enjoy looking at art that I would never in a million years make and I know what the trends are, even if I don't jump on their bandwagons. It doesn't upset me to buy a magazine and find that there isn't anything CAS in it. I look for inspiration anywhere and everywhere BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE ARE EXPRESSING THEMSELVES, TOO. They express themselves in print advertisements, magazine covers, billboards, packaging, dishes, clothing, and architecture. They are not me, so their art is different. And that's the way it should be. But their self-expression can inspire mine if I'm looking at it right.

Fourth, don't forget opportunity costs. When you choose one thing, you're simultaneously excluding other things. Works for economics and for stamping. I choose to buy a bazillion stamps and not to buy some of the more expensive tools of stamping, such as Copic markers and die cut machines. This means that a lot of what I see on blogs and in the gallery at SCS and in magazines is fruit dangling on the branch I can't reach. AND THAT'S OKAY.

I'm not a bad person because I don't have nesties. And someone who does spend tons of money on every nestie ever made isn't a bad person either (unless they use their kids' college fund, but that's another topic, LOL). We're just all making different choices, and as long as we enjoy making our art, it's all good.

Fifth, we are making art. It might not always be good art, in the sense that good art communicates effectively to lots of other people a worthwhile message in a technically skilled way. Think Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa or Michelangelo's David. But we're undeniably making art, and we are artists. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

And that's my manifesto. For now. What's yours?

PS Losties, I'll be posting on Questioning my Intelligence later today. Click on over and let me know what you think about last night's ending.

32 comments:

  1. Absolutely love this post. It is the kind to be bookmarked later, then referred to time and time again. Good thing it isn't on print, or I think I'd wear the pages out. Or perhaps I should print it, frame it, and put it above my little crafty table so I can read it over and over. Thank you.

    And lovely cards too.

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  2. I don't have all the latest and greatest tools either-but that's okay-I absolutely LOVE paper and so choose to get a ton of it (and to a lesser extent my stamps) I can cut just about anything that the machines make-maybe not PERFECT but its "handmade" and from my heart-my love is poured into every card I make. Thanks for validating my own thought that I don't have to have all the electronic gadgets. Happy with my craft knife and ruler...

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  3. I really enjoyed reading about your creative philosophy. I can relate to many of the things you said in the post. :)

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  4. You said it all perfectly. (enough said) :D

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  5. Thanks for the reminder that life is beautiful, we are unique and so are our creations AND it really is Ok to through away a piece of paper that didn't quite work out the way we planned (unless of course it can be saved for another project) NO INTERVENTION, PLEASE, NOT YET. I'LL LET YOU KNOW WHEN!!!
    I think it might be when I use up all my cardstock and DP...course that might be a problem since I keep finding more!!
    blessings
    patti moffett

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  6. What a great post! Wow! Love your cards, they are always beautiful, but I especially love these words! We all need to hear this over and over! Well said, my friend!

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  7. I have picked some of that fruit, found it didn't work for me and then sold it or given it away. I DO like to try many different tools and techniques but am finally realizing that it's okay to buy something because Debbie Olson made a gorgeous card with it and then I find out mine doesn't hold a candle to hers - it's how I try to define myself. What has become important to me in this paper craft industry is to try what I want, do my personal best, and if my family of friends like what I've made and it is meaningful to them - then I've reached my goal. My money, these days, goes into more Copics and fewer gadgets and fewer stamps. I have 3 favorite vendors and they get my money. That's not to say there aren't many other high-quality vendors out there - I have to put a limit some place. Fabulous, fabulous cards, BTW. Especially love the second one.

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  8. Beautifully said Susan! **clap, clap**

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  9. Love these, one of my favorite PTI sets!

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  10. First, I love love tea pots and that stamp set. It's next on my to purchase list. Second, I loved your post. I sometimes agonize over what to buy; I see things and want them, but I try very hard only to purchase what I will use. Of course, I have made some mistakes. I'm still developing my own personal style and find your words very reassuring. I admire the layered look of some folks' cards, but find I really don't work that way. I love your simple style and believe that somewhere in between multi-layered and simple is what I create best. Thanks for your inspiration!

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  11. Thank you, it's kind of releasing to hear you speak. I love these cards, your style always inspires me. Hev:)

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  12. I wonder if last night's Lost has made you feel extra-philosophical today? :) Me, too.
    Great posts on both blogs today -- and great cards, too, of course!

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  13. Angela,

    Actually, I wrote this post before watching Lost, but certainly Lost was on my mind, LOL!

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  14. I'm with you on every point. I am fortunate in that I have a Day Job so I can afford to get all the stuff I think I might use, and also in that I do not NEED to take custom jobs/orders to pay the mortgage. In fact, I've turned them down, and suggested they seek people who do mass-production and special events as a rule. I cannot handle the pressure.

    Unfortunately, that same Day Job prevents me from being as creative as I'd like, since it leaves me very little time to USE my stash, but I'm working on it. By focusing on just a few techniques or styles (no collage gene, here) I have some semblance of scope control.

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  15. I love reading your thoughts on this little hobby of ours. It definitely should make us happy, or it's time for re-thinking things. I love that second tea pot card. My mom loves doing little tea parties with my daughter, and if PTI ever comes out with a die for that tea pot, then I will get that set! Because if it's hard for you to cut out, I know what it would be for me ;)

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  16. Gorgeous cards, I love the way black really pops out at you on green. Here, here to your card making philosophy. I am struggling at the moment with sitting at my desk, that does mean other things at home are getting some attention. I do enjoy trying what I admire on blogs etc and get a kick out of someone loving what I have created for them.

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  17. Standing Ovation for your "manifesto". I will return to read it MANY times and am glad it is with those comforting teapots so I can find it easily.
    As for Lost, last weeks' Time magazine had an interesting article on the appeal and mysteries of the show....and of course analysis of WHO watches it (intellectuals) and WHY they watch it. Star Trek drew a similar cohort.
    And now the teapots.....oh are those ever so clever and gorgeous, made so by your perfect decorating. I'm with Rebecca, about the cutting out of them.....it's sooooo difficult to get a perfectly smooth round edge with the straight cuts of scissors.

    Thanks for sharing your talent.

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  18. Thanks for your words -just what I needed to hear! many of these same thoughts have been put on my heart of lately. Hoping to join you in these challenges as fun and time allows : )

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  19. Applause for your *manifesto* ~ I don't have any gadgets and enjoy scissors, stamps, ink and a bit of bling here and there :o)

    As much as I admire layers and embellishments on the creations of others', I just don't seem able to make them look as good on my own so I am enjoying what I *can* do and learning new things as I go along.

    My edges aren't perfect ... my cutting never is; things might be a bit *off kilter* sometimes or what have you ~~ I guess you'd have to say it's quite obvious a HUMAN created the item ... but that's OK because it is after all, *hand made* :o)

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  20. Tee hee... I too thought as I was reading your manifesto that you'd been influenced by the finale of Lost -- but you were just naturally waxing philosophical! As for the manifesto itself, it's so well thought-out and articulated. I'm not there yet in my own journey, but agree completely with what you've said.
    Your tea cards are fabulous -- those two shades of green together are perfect with the black!

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  21. I very much enjoyed reading your creative philosophy entry. It made me stop and think about how I wasn't enjoying crafting as much as I used to, I was so stuck on the outcome that I lost the pleasure of the process. Well, no more! I want to play with my supplies and get all inky doing it. I want to have some fun again!

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  22. An echo of my own thoughts, though I couldn't put it in such a proper way...I can relate to almost everything..do I need to buy everything that I see..no..not necessary..especially as I have to see the costs in my own currency..which is way too high..
    Its a beautiful post, something I need to read again and again, and know that there is nothing wrong in not having too many stamps or paper or ink..what matters is that I create something from whatever I have. That creative expression is necessary..not the supplies.

    Love the first card, the combination is truly a gorgeous one!!

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  23. Hi Susan. Lovely post. I think I'll just go ahead and print this and pop it up our dining table which has become my craft table now :)
    In fact I am reading this for the third time.

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  24. Great post, Susan! Very enlightening and definitely worth reading again...and sharing!

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  25. Thank you for voicing the same sort of thoughts which have been bumping around in my brain. I just so enjoy seeing the work of others and have come to the conclusion...I am me and everyone creates what is the best choices for themselves. Hugs from Michigan.

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  26. Your blog is great reading and I like the cards you make. One reason; I find CAS the hardest to make so admire someone that does them well. tfs

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  27. I agree....great post. Find what makes you happy.....and go with that. Thanks for inspiring.

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  28. I LOVED your philosophical wanderings today! I totally agree with you on all of them. I, too, hate repetitive assembly line card making. Just ain't gonna happen in my "messy" room. I gave my studio that name when we moved into this house 3 years ago and the grandkids were over and it hadn't yet been set up properly - and they asked what that room was, and I said it was my "messy" room...and it still is called that to this day. I like that name actually!

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  29. Your manifesto is magnificent...it totally expresses my feelings. That is exactly why I avoid swaps...just can't do assembly line stuff. Love your tea cards. That is one of my favorite sets.

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  30. Wonderful cards and post. I especially love your take on shabby chic!

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  31. You rock, Susan! I loved reading your philosophy - it's not the same as mine, but it's uniquely yours and I'm so glad you took the time to put it out there. I love the part about keeping it fun - I need to put that one nearer the top of my list!

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment!