Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Embroidered Portrait of McKenna & Grace

Can I just say that I'm probably the best sister ever? Because it's true. Haha. This is a picture of my sister McKenna (on the left) and her friend Grace at their freshman homecoming a few months ago. Well, this weekend, McKenna realized she still needed a gift for Grace and had no money. I offered to make a pocket friend, and instead, McKenna had me do a portrait. Which takes a LOT more time, not to mention skill. Oh, and patience. Up until this point, I've just been doing sketches, nothing completely finalized. But Kenna needed the gift in a few days, so I put on my safety goggles (Did I mention I wear safety goggles when I sew? Haha, I'll explain later.*) and went to work.

This is made doing free motion machine embroidery, which means I'm using a sewing machine, but moving the hoop around myself (as compared to having a computer move it around). So there's a lot of opportunity for mistakes, and with such tiny stitches (most of the time) it's almost better to start over than try to rip them out. So I really have to be patient and take my time. This piece has 5 different colors of thread (which means changing the bobbin all the time) on symphony broadcloth, stretched on an 8" wooden embroidery hoop lined with purple ribbon.

Here's how it turned out!



Tight little stitches.


This seems dorky, but I get really excited when I can sign my name on something. I mean, you can't really sign animations, and I'm really apprehensive about calling something art/worthy of being signed. I guess. But I figured I might as well go for it.

There are a lot of things I would have liked to fix, but it's pretty difficult, not to mention time consuming, to rip those stitches out, and I wasn't getting paid (like I said, best sister ever). I'm going to try to do a few more finished pieces and sketch some more. And when I put up my Etsy shop (another one of my projects for break) I'm going to have listings for custom embroidery portraits. I just need to figure out a few logistics first.

Luckily, Grace really liked this, and I've gotten a lot of great feedback. I'm hoping the same is true when I finish this next one. Hahaha, I can't wait to show you!


Yikes. Somehow, the never ending semester ended. Somehow I survived. And I'm really proud of what I accomplished. I finished my critiques on Wednesday the 8th, and spent the rest of the week wrapping up my life in Cleveland and letting things wind down before returning to Detroit. That's always the best feeling in the world-when everything just stops and you don't know what to do with yourself, so you end up finding a hill on the side of the road and sledding on still life paintings with a few good friends.

I've definitely been keeping busy, though. After my last critique, I still needed to render out a file in animation compression and 1080p, plus there were a few [barely noticeable] things I wanted to tweak, just so I don't go crazy every time I watch it. But the rendering process has been a nightmare (why is that always my luck?). I had 52 GB free on my laptop, so I cleared off even more, to the point where I had 170 free GB. Which worked better, but the rendering still failed. Everything that rendered was huge. The file that was the closest to finishing was 52 GB! That's a new record for me! I finally had to render out 15 second segments (of a 6 minute piece!), hoping to splice them together on a new timeline (but that failed as well). For the time being, I managed to get a 1280x720 movie file that plays beautifully, that I will live with until I can have some teachers look at the file next semester. I'm hoping to have it online next week for everyone to see. Why the wait? The one thing I reallyyyyyy wanted for Christmas was a Vimeo Plus account. And I'd rather wait and upload it at the larger resolution (Plus accounts have HD capability!) because it looks so much better huge.

Part of a scene from my animation, which isn't really in black & white.

Since I got home, I've made 6 Sculpey monocles, 5 Shrinky Dink necklace charms, 4 pocket friends, 3 animations with Mia, 2 little sketchbooks, 1 embroidery portrait of my sister McKenna and her friend Grace, and half a legwarmer. And that wasn't intentionally like the 12 days of Christmas until I realized I had sequential numbers and put them in order. Haha. But I'll do a few separate posts on these little projects. And there are many more to come, because I have a lot I want to accomplish!

I always think it's funny that so many art students can't wait until break so they can make art they want to make. Not that we don't make art we want to. We just don't always have time to make Shrinky Dink portraits of Revolutionary War heroes or detailed illustrations of UFOs. Haha, well I am definitely enjoying my break so far, but I'm already itching to go back!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Not much has changed.

When I was in kindergarten, I liked owls, unicorns, and bunnies.

When I was in first grade, I asked my teacher for more homework because it was too easy and not enough to entertain me.

I'm now a junior in college.

I love owls, unicorns, and bunnies.

I take on projects that are way too big because otherwise, I get bored with them.

Not much has changed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reasons December is Pretty Great:

1. Sometimes snow can be pretty. Granted, I don't really appreciate snow. I walk far too often and wear far too many layers to really look forward to it. But today, Cleveland got it right. Aside from our little incident at the beginning of November (oh yes, the one day the bus didn't come, making me walk to school in the snow that was coming down so hard that my hair was literally dripping wet by the time I walked inside, only to realize that I left my laptop charger in my apartment and had to go back), this is our first snowfall. And it's barely there. Just enough to coat the ground and cover the grass. At least, that was the case before I got to my studio. I guess we'll see what happens later tonight when I get kicked out of my studio and go home to work.

2. Mittens are really cute. Especially ones with bunnies.

3. Christmas creatures are some of my favorite animals. Especially when they include owls!

3. Handmade ornaments are probably my favorite thing I wish I collected, because I collect collections. But unfortunately, being on a student budget and not having space for a tree in my apartment, I haven't gotten into it yet. I have, however, started making my own ornaments! (But more about that later.)

4. One week from today, I will be done with critiques, which means I can hibernate, which I'm looking forward to.

5. My 21st birthday is in 23 days! The holidays are sure to be very jolly for me! Ha!

6. Christmas!

7. I get to go home and spend a few weeks with my best friend.

If there's one thing Holden Caufield taught me,

It's that sometimes it's easier to just pretend your deaf. I know. That's a horrible thing to think. And even more horrible to do. But when you're the kind of person that people (complete strangers, mind you) just love striking up a conversation with, it would be so much less painful than being polite. Unfortunately, if it's someone you see frequently, it's a little harder to get away with. And it would probably be easier if I really was deaf. Or if I had noise-canceling headphones. That' would probably be better. Especially since it's December 1st, which means I'm allowed back on Pandora! (Did you know they limit how much you can listen each month?! I was kicked off over a week ago! How else am I supposed to listen to 1950s Christmas music?)

Ps. Holden Caufield taught me other things, too. To be fair.