The Feb/Mar/Apr 2011 issue of Artful Blogging is not only visually gorgeous -- the cover art made me want to immediately go and dye a batch of Easter eggs -- but also has an impressive collection of motivational articles by art bloggers. I always like the photographers who write for this one, as they regularly prod me into trying more things with my camera. This month Pink Picket Fence proprietor Chris Carleton has me taking my Canon off auto-mode and again trying some of the other settings I wasn't as comfortable with (so I can blame her for all the blurry pics I will likely be snapping. At least for the first week.)
This magazine is a great spirit booster when you feel mired down by the negative energy that so often spreads like a bleak plague around the online writing community. Whether you're an artist or a writer or knitter or whatever, making the choice to focus on your art and go Renaissance with your creative life can make your work better, richer, more meaningful and definitely so much more fulfilling. And why bother? Well, Angela J. Reed, whose blog is called Parisienne FarmGirl, sums it all up with two lines: You cannot turn off a creative brain. You simply can't. Amen, homegirl.
For those of you who are handy with a needle or sewing machine, the Winter 2011 Sew Somerset issue is chock full of mixed-media creative sewing projects, from themed journals to scrap bookmarks. I know, it's all about the e-readers these days, but you can get a lot of satisfaction out of hand making your own books and journals. These are skills which might also come in handy if we ever get hit with a massive cosmic EMP that turns all the electronic gadgets and machinery in the world into useless junk. Hey, it could happen.
I thought Connie Freedman's how-to article A Bundle of Bindles was particularly cool, and has me thinking of ways I can translate one of my poems that way (a bindle used to be that knotted cloth sack on the end of a stick sported by hobos and runaway children in cartoons; in this incarnation it's a little cloth pocket in which you put a small necessity or treasure. Connie made a small bindle sewing kit themed to the song Do-Re-Mi.) I'm also wondering if there's someway I make a set of bindle bookmarks or ATCs. I like the projects published by Sew Somerset because they're usually pretty simple and small-scale. That means you won't spend weeks or months working on a single project while attempting to master difficult techniques and investing in a lot of pricey supplies you'll never use again.
I'm fond of creative projects that incorporate recycling and repurposing, which is also the theme of my quilting guild challenge this year, so I've been keeping an eye out for the Spring 2011 issue of GreenCraft. (Warning: if you're a arts/crafts snob this mag will probably seem hokey to you, but then, it's really not written for your end of the market.)
Jeannine Stein, the author of Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials and the upcoming Adventures in Bookbinding: Handcrafting Mixed-Media Books also has an article in this issue: Repurposed Paper: Stitched that shows a couple of different, neat notebooks you can make from stuff you probably have sitting around the house. One of her photos of a gift wrapped in an old dressmaking pattern sheet made me feel vindicated, as recycled gift wrap is one of my latest obsessions (do you want to know how many Simplicity patterns from the sixties and seventies that I've saved that I never used, or will never use again? No, you really don't.)