Art: At the speed of life

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“Magic has often been thought of us the art of making dreams come true; the art of realizing visions. Yet before we can bring birth to the vision we have to see it.”
-Starhawk

Recently, I got the oh-so-wonderful  news that my talented friend Pam Carriker inked her name onto a book deal – I literally squealed with delight when I heard -as I know just how much effort and heart Pam put into making her dream a reality. Artistic talent aside, what draws me to Pam is her optimism and perseverance – she doesn’t give up, and I for one am thrilled about that.  For those of you who ever fret or get discouraged over rejection – Pam is an inspiring leader, and proof positive that the dreaded ‘no’ is rarely personal and can be almost always magically transformed into the yes you desired.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Thoreau

To make good new even better, she invited me to be a part of the experience – HELLO Cloud 9! I received my assignment a few days ago, and I can tell you – The topics she chose for me are among the top 5 questions I receive in my inbox daily – I think y’all will be thrilled. Between you & i … and from what I know of the book so far – I think it will be a refreshing viewpoint and quickly become one of the most referenced books on your bookshelf. 

As if that wasn’t enough, you can follow Pam along her journey here. If you have ever wondered what the process of writing a book was, the behind the scenes glances – this will become a must follow blog.

So thank you Pam for inviting me to be a part of this creative journey, and putting me in the midst of such wonderful company:

“Set out each day believing in your dreams. Know without a doubt that you were made for amazing things.”
Josh Hinds

Pam, once again my heartfelt congratulations – this is a much deserved milestone for you. Remember to take a few moments and savor it.

Won’t you join me in sharing her joy?

Warmly, Chrysti

Chronicles of Yarnia

{Warning: } Fiber & Yarn addicts beware – heart palpitations, shortness of breath, overwhelming feelings of excitement and immensely loud shrieks of joy may ensue when noticing that the following post contains:

  • Ideas, Inspiration & Resources
  • (practically) Free Lush Novelty Yarns
  • Ramblings of a Nearly Mad Woman

Can it get ANY better than that? Well, probably so… but that would kinda kill the whole intro thingamijig I got goin’ on here.. so humor me, please?

 Yarn Porn

I seriously have  a love affair with fibers. I don’t knit. I no longer crochet – but I could never, ever get enough yarn. The root of the ‘problem’ lies in my childhood where sacred half-days of school resulted in a trip to K-Mart with Gramma to pick out a skein, and an absolutely delightful afternoon of crafts using the newly purchased yarn.  Heaven. Stories I will share another day.

Moving on….

Remember when I used to peddle all those luxurious fibers in my (soon-to-close) supply store … I amassed quite a collection, despite selling out of 80% of them and as some of you may know, I will be moving out-of-state in the upcoming months, and considerably downsizing my living space – ie, stuff. must. go. Let’s insert a moment of silence as we mourn the supplies I will be giving up for the greater good.

Hold on… still a sniffle here.

Ok. Better now. Back to my point – it is a classic tale of my loss = your gain. The (practically) free posts I have done in the past have gone so wonderfully well, I decided to do it again – this time with my *sniff* beloved fibers. The rules are basically the same.

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Why am I offering these practically free?

Firstly, to save me the headache & time consuming process of measuring, photographing, and describing each item. There are days worth of work within these boxes … and I just can’t find the time right now. Offering them like this, saves me from doing that workload — I’d charge more, but I know I’d hate spending alot on supplies sight unseen. Trust me though, these are all quality fibers that I either purchased to use myself, or sell in the store.  The value of each box is over what you are paying.

I’d rather share these with folks who can provide a loving home than simply toss them away! Besides, I got my start thanks to some incredibly kind individuals who cut me a break, this is partially my way of giving that gift back. If i didn’t need to make back some of the cost on these, I would gift them.. sadly, I am not in that financial position right now.

That being said – I have up for grabs so far:

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now 0 Flat Rate Priority Mail Boxes  STUFFED with fibers

$30.00 a box  (fee includes shipping & paypal fees)

(Each box holds between 25-35 kinds of fiber)

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Yards & yards + pounds and pounds of high quality, now hard to find, lush fibers  for you. The yardage per skein varies, some are full skeins, some just missing a yard or too, some only have 5-10 yards or so left.   Each deliciously stuffed-to-the-rim box has assorted styles, cuts & types -there are chenille fibers, boucle, eyelash, ladder, pom-pom, ribbon yarns & a whole lot more. The mosaic photos here show a sampling of what is in some of the boxes. Each box is different!

Need some inspiration on what you can do with these lush fibers?

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How to claim 1 of the 7 boxes:

  • First come, first served.
  • US Only – the flat rate box prices internationally are typically high. If they aren’t all claimed by US folks within a week, I will expand it.
  • Shipping can’t be combined if ordering more than one box, they are priced for the flat rate boxes & already packed up awaiting their new homes.
  • Paypal the $30.00 to khryctee (at) bellsouth.net … be sure to include your mailing address. If by chance all 7 sell out before I can update here, I will promptly refund your moolah. First paid/come, first served. Comment here that you took one too if you would – so folks know if I can’t get here quickly enough.
  • Promise to give them a good home, and have a wildly creative ball with them.

I’ve always done things the hard way. I was born like a piece of tangled yarn. The job is trying to untangle it, and I’ll probably go on doing it for the rest of my life. ” -Karen Allen

Wishing ewe (yarn puns, can’t control myself) many creative joys – Chrysti.

P.S. – Have a link to a unique novelty yarn project? Comment here with it, and I’ll add it to the post if it suits!

Day 13/29 Days of Giving is…

.. OK, i admit it

i almost skipped posting tonight

i feel a lil bit like i’m unraveling

coming apart at the seams so to speak ….

i have that not-enough-hours-cant-get-enough-done-crazy kind of mojo going

much like most of you do too …

…but as i mentioned yesterday

i love what a tight-knit community we are becoming ….

… and i feel a calling to weave this in even on the hardest of days

personally, its more rewarding to know i achieved it despite circumstances ….

…. see, the giveaway i initially intended to do today

will most likely take 3-4 hours to put together …

… since it’s 11 p.m. and i’m just darn fried as it is

i knew i wouldnt be happy with it if i didn’t give it my all….

and when im unhappy my skein just crawls …

…. undoubtedly it is now a crazy week since i remembered i’m travelling home

well, not that i remembered just realized it’s so close …

…what happened to that feeling we had as children

when Christmas couldn’t come fast enough?…

… here i go deliriously rambling once again

i really don’t mean to string you along ….

      “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.” – William Shakespeare

If you have not yet caught on to the punny clues, today’s giveaway has a lil’ sumthin-sumthin to do with my addiction to lush, beautfiul yarn.  A last-minute decision when i was foraging through the jungle I call my brain for a relatively simple but still somehow inspiring post & giveaway.

The expedition through my thoughts wasn’t going rather well. Scavenger that I am, I still find it difficult to navigate my own mind. Probably because it is shamefully tangled with weeds, random flowers and just chock full of roadblocks. That’s not even mentioning the dust & cobwebs.The insides of my head are a dangerously murky sort of place. At any moment one could get hit with any number of absurd thoughts and be led down yet another winding path. Sometimes though – lightning strikes, and things come to a brief halt.

I turned that proverbial corner and remembered seeing this project online.

Photo by Splityarn used under a Creative Commons License

Photo by Splityarn used under a Creative Commons License

When that lightning bolt struck? Instantly I knew – OMIGOSH! I have it! I have today’s giveaway. I said to myself:Self, show the readers how to do these. Surely there must be a few who have the materials lying around and who need a last minute gift or two themselves.

But why stop there? I don’t just want to show you these simple beauties. I want to create my version of them for you. I cannot resist leaving them quite that simple (unless that’s the way the recipients prefer them). I will give them a bit of my own craetive magic, and create some tomorrow. Since I have been wanting so very badly to spend more time creating – AND I’ve had an itch for doing ornaments in particular – especially ones I can fit into this crazy schedule — I shall make a few for my readers. Simplifying the giveaway, solved.

“I’ve always done things the hard way. I was born like a piece of tangled yarn. The job is trying to untangle it, and I’ll probably go on doing it for the rest of my life.” -Karen Allen 

Photo by Splityarn used under a Creative Commons License

Photo by Splityarn used under a Creative Commons License

Since I gave my mind a workout already today, I can’t quite recall how many bulbs I have left up in my studio. I know there is at least 2. Possibly more. I’m bursting merely at the thought! I’d run up and see, but ya know.. I prolly wouldn’t return and all this would be for nothing.

I’d like to giveaway 6 – but am only promising 2 for now, since I know I can deliver those. If I do have more, I shall create more and as such – giveaway more. But for some reason, I am thinking I may have freecycled them. Hmmm…

Oh! To enter to win a one-of-a-kind handcrafted Chrystified yarn ornament –somewhat similar to those seen above  just do the following:

 If this poll thingy below works – answer it. Your answers decide the fate.

 Then Proceed:

  • On this post in the comments -Share a link, or an idea for last minute gifts – holiday, or year round and/or name your first born after me.
  • Really, I got nuthin else to ask tonight folks – me = fried.
  • Do this by: Sunday, December 21th, 2008
  • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better! 
  •  Enter Day 0 Day 10 & Day 11 & Day 12
  • Check out the first batch of winners!
  • Check out the newly posted – second batch of winners! Is it you?

 Chrysti – don’t think the irony of yawn vs. yarn has escaped me for a moment tonight! How did this still take me over an hour to do? Sheesh!

Day 12/29 Days of Giving is…

I can’t wait for you to see today’s giveaway!…

 … not one, but 2 BIG prizes .. you’ll love them

 first I wanted to address something though…

.. bear with me for a moment please?

"Collecting My Thoughts" Journal Page by Pam Carriker

"Collecting My Thoughts" Journal Page by Pam Carriker

i’ve been asked recently, why I feature other artists here…

… asked, don’t I mind that money I could potentially have

is landing potentially in someone else’s pockets….

Ummmm. Nope. Not one little bit.

… firstly, giving isn’t about what you receive in return

naturally, i’m thrilled with whatever the universe sends my way …

… however my humanity often comes before my business sense

that doesn’t mean I’m a poor business woman …

…. it simply renders me a moral one, or more accurately

one who is able to lay my head down, feeling good about the choices I make …

The thing is this: In part, I chose teaching, writing, painting, photography etc. — this spectrum of creative goodness as my career path –because of the community we have formed. It tickles me every friggin’ time I see how intertwined we are. I revel in that delight. It’s actually pretty darn EXCITING to watch others succeed as well. It fuels me, I draw inspiration from it.. it’s my escape. Besides, nothing pure, or satisfactory was ever gained by greed.

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
— Jane Addams 

"One Wing" by Pam Carriker

"One Wing" by Pam Carriker

I believe the more we hold one another up, the bigger our communities grow – the more successful each of us become. Success — is measured independently. It’s not a universal thing.  For some it’s a steady career, others it’s being published, for someone else it’s a gallery show, and for someone else it’s merely finishing a page in a journal. Success. It’s as unique as we are. It can be had by all of us. Especially, when we nurture one another.  Creativity is far too powerful, too far reaching to be held closely & guarded. It’s a treasure and a gift … one that unites us. One, we all share.

ZNEis a community that is dear to me. It was a place I had found online — that i fit in. Before Mixed Media became mainstream — that was difficult to do. ZNE celebrates all things creative which is a natural compliment to who I am. Through ZNE I have met some of the most gifted artists, the kindest souls, and friends I will treasure always… and friends I am just beginning to know even better.

“In our hectic, fast-paced, consumer-driven society, it’s common to feel overwhelmed, isolated and alone. Many are re-discovering the healing and empowering role that community can bring to our lives. The sense of belonging we feel when we make the time to take an active role in our communities can give us a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.”
— Robert Alan 

"The Promise of Love" by Pam Carriker

"The Promise of Love" by Pam Carriker

Pam Carriker is one of those women I have been blessed to meet through ZNE, and just beginning to know as a person, not just an artist. I have watched her grow, develop her style, become published, and follow her dreams. I’m watching her succeed and my heart just leaps for her! I was fortunate enough to win 2 of her prints through a blog giveaway of her own – and I was actually impressed at the quality of them. Yes, Me! I’m not typically a fan of prints, having been burned one too many times on poor quality ones people print themselves from substandard printers. If I pay for a print, I want it to last. I want it to look good. I want to be proud to display it!  I was beyond thrilled with Pam’s! So I Invited her to take part in the 29 Days of Giving. ( which as a sneak peek, will become a weekly thing here… )

"Grow" by Pam Carriker

"Grow" by Pam Carriker

Grab an indulgent beverage of your choice, pull up a seat and take a few moments to get to know Pam, right along with me! We’ll reveal the amazing prizes she donated soon, don’t worry! Patience! Good things come to those who wait…

(as always, I’m asking the questions, Pam’s words are the responses.. duh.)

One of the things I am so drawn to in your work, is the authenticity – all of your pieces have this vision into a soul. It’s evident they come from that magical place within you. What drives you to create? Have you always been creative, or is this something you have pursued only in recent years? Tell us a bit about it!
 
I have always had the need to create.  My first ‘artistic’ memory is of drawing purple polka dots on the newly painted lavender walls of my bedroom as a child.  My mom was Not happy about that one!  I took every art class offered all during school and afterwards expressed my creative nature through various arts and crafts venues, such as Tole Painting, Stamping, and Scrapbooking.  When I ‘found’ mixed media art about 2 years ago, I was making paper bag albums and selling them on ebay, hence the name, The Bag Lady.  While on ebay I noticed the same three little letters by work that I found amazing, ZNE, and so one day I asked someone what they stood for.  I wish I knew who that was, I would so love to thank them!  It lead me to the most inspiring place, and I have finally found art form that allows me to draw from the 20+ years of previous experience, combining many techniques into one piece of art.

As to what drives me to create, that I do not know.  I only know that I need to.  These past couple of years I have found such release in creating.  I feel as if I am pouring my heart into my work, drawing from the ever changing emotions of being a woman, a wife, and most importantly a mom.

Do you have a favorite piece you have created? If so, why?

I know this probably sounds silly, but each new piece is my favorite, until I create the next one.  I think it is because I feel like I am on a journey and each piece takes me one more step down the path to discovering my true self.

 In addition to your beautiful Mixed Media Paintings, I know you are also an avid Art Journaler. What advice can you give to those who see a blank page in their books and just get stumped?
 
Keep your journal out when you are creating art.  You can add leftover paint right to your journal, getting rid of that scary blank page right off the bat.  If you use colors and images that you are drawn to, you will create journal pages that speak about you.  I am very excited that my first journals are going to be part of Somerset’s Art Journals, due out January ’09 , so you can check that out for more tips from several different artists:-)

 Who influences you, both as a business woman and your art?
 
Wow, this would be quite a list.  I think that those who are ahead of me on this journey inspire me to set goals and take that first step towards seeing them realized.  I like to think of all of us on this artistic journey have one hand reaching out in front and one reaching behind helping the next person with what we have learned.   My husband is another huge influence every time I think how could I possibly do that, he just looks at me and says, ‘Why not?’.

So many of my readers want to be published but stop themselves from submitting to publications. You have gone through this process yourself, can you offer them any tips to overcome their fears? (proof is in the pudding folks, see Pam’s great article in my favorite magazine: Cloth, Paper, Scissors  July/Aug 2008 issue here)
 
They can’t say ‘yes’ if you don’t give them a chance.  Seriously.  It is scary, and even more scary the first time they say ‘yes, we would like you to write this article’, but the rewards are so worth it!  Last year I set a goal for myself to get something published, what happened was so much more than I could have hoped for and has lead me to make new goals for 2009.  I am a firm believer in writing down your goals and keeping track of your achievements.  It makes them real.  It makes you accountable.  Check out the Art Calls for your favorite magazines and start there.  Don’t be discouraged if they don’t use something, keep trying.  If this is something you really want to do then don’t let fear keep you from it.

What’s one artistic skill you’d like to cultivate in the coming year?
 
I have been concentrating on sketching in my journal.  I love collage, but want to develop my drawing skills further. 

You’re stranded on that proverbial island…. and can only take 5 artsy supplies with you. What are they?
 
My journal, charcoal, water soluble graphite pencil, aqua brush, and Caran d’ Ache water soluble crayons.  With these I could be happy for quite some time!

Do you have a creative routine/process? Things you do habitually before you sit down to create? Or do you just dive right in?
 
Well, I’m a busy mom, so studio time is squeezed between everything else.  I am always working on things in stages.  Put a coat of gesso on, go do the laundry, add a layer of paint, run the vacuum, you get the picture.  My creative process is more like multi-tasking!

As a devout fan of the random question, I have to ask: salty or sweet?
 
Now that is the hardest question yet!  I have to say I lean towards sweet, but OMGosh I just made the most fabulous candied pecans today, that are both salty and sweet and they are heaven!

It’s tradition here that our guest asks my readers a question to be eligible for the prizes.. what would you like to know from the crowd I have here?

Where is the most unusual place (geographically) that you have created art?  This way we get to see who are the graffiti artists out there-lol! 

 Speaking of prizes – I think we have kept them in suspense long enough! Tell the readers a little bit about the amazing donations you are giving to the lucky recipients today!
 
(For Recipient 1:)  I would love to share two prints, your choice, of my mixed media portraits.  These are 5×7 prints that I had professionally done, and would be perfect matted and framed to an 8 x 10 size.

(For Recipient 2:) A free registration to my Visual Journalism 101 workshop.If the recipient has already signed up for the workshop I will issue a full refund of their workshop fee should they win! It is a 5 week course, that will help you get started keeping a journal or give you a jump start if you have tried but not kept up with it. More info below: 

Visual Journalism 101 Workshop taught by Pam Carriker

Visual Journalism 101 Workshop taught by Pam Carriker

This will be an 5 week expedition into the world of visual journalling.. If you have ever wanted to start keeping an art journal, or started one, only to have it fall by the wayside, then this is the class for you! The class will cover journal techniques, putting together a journalling kit, completing at least 7 journal pages, and answer some road block questions like, ‘How do I get over the fear of the Blank Page?’, ‘How can I possibly fit another artistic pursuit into my schedule?’, and ‘Where do I start?’

TOLD you this was another generous and amazing gift! Seriously – one winner receives two – count em’ – two prints of THEIR choosing, and another a registration to Pam’s wonderful class. Um Hello, Can I enter my OWN giveaway? Please? 

 I know you’re anxious to enter; just do the following: 

  • Answer Pam’s question: “Where is the most unusual place (geographically) that you have created art?” and/or tell me what success means to you – if you totally hate those, then go for this one: Salty or Sweet.
  • Do this by: Sunday, December 21th, 2008
  • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better!
  •  Enter Day 0 Day 10 & Day 11
  • Check out the first batch of winners!
  • Check out the newly posted – second batch of winners! Is it you?
  • Vist Pam Online: Her BlogHer Workshop, Her Etsy Store

I can’t wait to meet Pam in person at the ConvenZioNE next year ( I’ll be teaching!), and she’s doing a make & take I believe!

Warmly, Chrysti

Day 10/29 Days of Giving is…

friends, i feel so badly i missed yesterday …

…technology just wasn’t on my side

but rather than dwell there …

…and get mighty annoyed again

i just want to dive head first  into today’s….

…. absofriggnlutly fabulous giveaway

Oh. I’m not telling quite yet. You have to read to find out! It’s soooooooooooooooo worth it though.

SO very worth it.

Page 35-36

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”
 Bo Bennett

A few months ago, I placed (what I thought was) a seemingly innocent phone call to my friend Lia; little did I know it would turn out costing me money I didn’t really have to spend! If you don’t know Lia (artjunkgrl) … she has this amazing sense of contagious enthusiasm that just …well, it ignites you! Really. Her passion catches you, wraps you up within it’s folds like a cozy blanket on a brisk day… You’re enveloped in her spirit and before you know it – you’re whisked away onto some whimsical artsy adventure that you never expected! I love that she knows how to immerse her soul in whatever creative venture she has taken on – but in the few years I have known her – I can’t quite recall a time she was quite THIS excited.

 Page 15-16

“The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.”
Stephen Nachmanovitch

Enter Suzi Blu & her incredible Les Petite Dolls Class! Lia had gone to Suzi town, and was taking with me with her. Within hours of that call I had signed up – hesitantly at first if the truth be told – but man, I haven’t looked back once yet. Before I knew it, I was drawing faces, girls, and experimenting with them like a mad woman. I was inspired – in the truest sense of it … that awesome kind of inspired you felt as a small child. Where time didn’t have meaning and you could get lost in this magical world all your own. I was using colors I almost never use. Playing with styles I rarely dabble in — and I loved the freedom I gained as a result. I love the subtle changes I have seen in my work since, and I am enjoying taking what she taught me, and making it my own. 

 Page 25-26 (bottom)

“Creative work is play. It is free speculation using materials of one’s chosen form.”
Stephen Nachmanovitch

The pics you see scattered on my post here, are all part of my practicing. I could barely do a face prior. I have a few journals now filled with girlies, and am slowly working on getting them all scanned in.

Check out what I do have posted:

 
Page 43-44 (right)

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
Joseph Chilton Pearce

 Suzi & I have exchanged a few emails since I signed up, and I am genuinly enjoying getting to know her. We are kindred spirits where creativity comes into play, and both believe there is no wrong, no excuse for holding back, and to enjoy – really enjoy the process. She is remarkably comfortable in front of the camera, and her videos will assuredly coach anyone through any of those annoying lil self-doubts we get. She’s an authentic personality, larger than life, and quite possibly creativity’s biggest cheerleader – and she’ll make ya laugh. I’m a sucker for folks who can make me smile, and know how to laugh at themselves.

Page 23-24 (right)

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Anyway, you will be able to draw  face when you are done. Really. I didn’t think I’d get any decent ones, I just wanted to play. Play without deadlines, without worrying if it’s up to par for a sale … just to play. Lo & Behold, I am doing faces. Addicted to them too. And I’m a tough cookie to please when it comes to being taught, and getting my hard-earned money’s worth. I shouldn’t overlook the rest of the class – it’s great for mixed media virgins, or experienced artists – lots of layer love (my fav as you well know)… beeswax tips, and a whole heck-of-alot more. If you take this fantabulous online course – you will get 10x your money worth. I want to go on, and on and on… but I think you’ll enjoy hearing from Suzi herself more than me….

Don’t worry there are still prizes to be had, but you still need to read on!

 Page 31-32 (right)

True to her generous nature & without hesitation Suzi agreed to contribute to the giveaway and to an interview… so without further delay …

I proudly present you with Ms. Suzi Blu herself!

(and yeah… the black, bold questions are mine… the colored responses are Suzi’s anwers… do I really need to explain this?)

You are (to my knowledge) one of the first mixed-media artists to develop a (well-deserved-cult-like!)following with video blogging. You are wacky, wonderful — and oh-so-open with yourself as well as your knowledge! What inspired you to start video blogging, and what advice can you give to those who are afraid to open themselves up in that way?

 I’ve always been a down to earth person and sort of fragile in the world.  I still am when I go places, Im pretty shy. Not when you get to know me of course but alone, in the supermarket, Im scared of everyone. ha. Of life.  But on video I can be anything I want to be. I can be my true self.  As if Im talking to my best friend in the world and she approves and loves me completely. I started making videos out of boredom and necessity.  I was finishing my BA through online classes and spent the majority of my time alone in my aparment with my cat. I lived on student loans and when my money ran thin I put up paintings on ebay.  You Tube was new to me then and I saw how a few other artists would film the making of their painting in their auction and I thought that was a fantastic idea.  I’ve always had a video camera and so I just did it.  In the beginning no one knew me or watched and not all of my paintings sold. But I still made one video a week no matter what, doing whatever I wanted. I WAS FREE! it was awesome. puppet shows in my kitchen, I could be as corny, as happy as I wanted. I could spew my own brand of spiritual art happiness and there was no one there, no parents or friends, to roll their eyes at me (which is what happened in my ‘real life.’  The fact that anyone would really watch was completely not in my thoughts.

If you could pick one person, living or deceased to spend a day creating with — which lucky soul would be your top choice? Why?
Oscar Wilde. For sure.  I love his philosophy and the fact that he loved words.  He understood decadance and how art is the best part of life.  I would like to sit with him in a cafe while he thought up a fairytale and I’d illustrate it with creepy puppets and shabby paint peeling sets.

Most ridiculous object within your view right now?

My new flip flops on my feet. they are covered in fake fur but they are summer sandals. giant and black. Makes my feet look like sasquatch. (chrysti’s note: she obviously doesn’t know about my huge aversion & distaste for…ick..feet.)

You seem to have an affinity for bright feather boas, accessories, Neon wigs — i think i already know the value in those things – but would like to know how you see them – What’s the deal there?

    I love color. and in real life I dont get to ‘live’ that very much.  The self I want to be is much bigger than the little self I’ve been up untill now.  I also am not happy with my hair.  Its in the process of growing out too short layers in the front and instead of stressing over it on camera, hey heres a wig.  And Im instantly in another character. Im able to climb out of my role of all of my lables -italian girl from new jersey, etc etc…  I just want to be something bigger, you know? Not that I want attention – I want everyone to be bigger. I want more than just hey when ya gonna get married hey why dont you want a kid. I want a big giant life. I want to play. I want costumes and theater in my everyday. 

Does anyone ever have a valid excuse for saying they can’t create?

Nope.
Watch
My Left Foot.  True story, guy only had control over his one foot and the toes.  and he painted amazing portraits.  Although people are born with different levels of mechanical dexterity and imaginations, drawing can be taught, color theory can be taught, design, composition, all taught.  And if you are very clear and very honest, everyone has something to say.  Expression is part of being human.

Through the giveaways, we’ve had some incredible discussions — some funny, some soul searching, and many focus on the role creativity plays in our life. What role does creating, and the creative process itself play in your life?

Perhaps Im insane which can very well be true, but I cannot live withought the creative process being a big part of my day, every day.  Ive had ooh, quite a few jobs.  None lasted more than 2 weeks. If its not art and painting I am not interested and I’ll do whatever I can to avoid having to do what I don’t want to do. I’ve made it this far in my life and so far its worked out.  Granted, I’ve lived with cardboard boxes as tables and hand me down clothes for a very. very. long time – but during all that time I spent painting so what was around me wasnt important.  Even now, I’ve lived with my parents since March, before that I was on my own since I was 19. I can afford to move out and go to an apartment somewhere, but I dont want to waste any time buying food, paying bills, any of it. I just want to write my Petit Dolls book.  I like giving my dad my bank account and saying please, you take care of it. Make sure my student loans get paid. heres money for food. Just let me sit in my room and paint and write and deal with my students.  And so thats how I live my life.  And will always live my life.  I give up a lot for this, I really REALLY want a place of my own, but if you are clear about what you want what you really want, then it wont feel like a sacrifice.  I want to publish the best book ever.  I want to design the best classes ever.  The rest doesn’t matter. Thats how important creativity is in my life.

What is one skill you hope to cultivate in the next year?

Les Petit Art Dolls in clay. I want to take my paintings and bring them into the 3 Dimensional world.

I have to ask – are you totally insane?(I only feel comfortable asking this, because I am! Ha!) Really, The Les Petite Dolls Workshop is A M A Z I N G. I didn’t think i could do faces, like ever… and I’m getting pretty darn good with them. Love that! But you don’t only teach how to do that – you teach collage, painting, some texture methods, one on one advice, beautiful and inspiring handouts, and a helluva lot more — at an incredibly low price. I love that you are so generous, and it’s part of why I so badly wanted to include you in this – you give back daily, and it’s refreshing. But I still want to know if you have lost you proverbial marbles!

The most important thing is to have a good product. If you are going to sell something, whether its a thing or a service, you want your customer to feel like they have more than they can imagine. It is easy to put up a workshop.  Write a pdf or make a video and there you go.  But it can be cold.  And if there is one thing I stand for its the fact that Im very good at making people feel wanted.  Im a crappy hostess in that I can’t cook and I don’t like cleaning much, but if you were to come to my home you’d feel like a queen, each time. I respect women highly and I want them to feel special. So thats why there is so much.  This is also very new – a workshop can be A N Y T H I N G   we want it to be.  There is no limitations and so much potential.  Why not put the effort into it and make it a worthwhile experience.

Also, a lot of the women in my classes are beginners when it comes to drawing in fact, in much of the mixed media community it seems there are scrapbookers and there are fine artists. For the trained artists it is easier for them to make the leap from pure collage to drawing a face and figure but for crafters, they are intimidated.  Thats why I put in so many encouraging pdfs about positive affirmations and things.  The crafters need to know that with just a little practice what I do is not that hard.  Although I do put in a lot of time into my paintings, I put in lots and lots of layers, they can too.  I cant stand elitist artists who say Well, you need to have a masters in Fine Art and some hoity toity pretencious artist statement before youre considered a real artist. Its crap and Im sick of it. So its my mission to turn all the crafters who want to make faces to be able to do so.  

Also, as a business person – I know the value of an affordable workshop.  Up until August of this year I could never afford to take a workshop.  They are about 200.00 and often in far away places where i need to pay for a plane and hotel.  Way out of my reach.  But 55.00 is something most people can afford.  And if enough people join for that price it equals to the same amount I’d make if half the people joined for 100.00.  I want it to be accessable to anyone who is willing to learn.  And its my philosophy that what is good for all is better than just whats good for me.

Do you have a favorite medium to work with? A least favorite?
 
My problem is I want to do everything, which is why mixed media is fabulous.  You CAN do everything. you can mix fabric with paper and sewing and painting.  How incredible.  The least favorite thing I like to do would be…painting something entirely with paints. I dont like to do that. I like to do detail with pencils and then glaze paints over it.  If i had to just use paint 100 % I would cry.  I cant get fine lines like i do with pencil and that frustrates me. when Im frustrated art isnt fun.

Since I’m a random question junkie – Roll the toothpaste from the bottom, or squeeze it in the middle?

oh god, squeeze from the middle. 
I put my toothpaste tube next to my moms and she rolls from the bottom and I always think oh, shes so perfect. there must
be something wrong with me that I dont care about rolling and neatness. although I like things neat and to be around order, I
wont give up my dreamy thoughts for long enough to take the time to roll, or fold, or iron, etc… I need to be less harsh on myself.

Can you give us a peek at what else you have going on, and what suzi blu goodness is to come?

This is a painting Im making for my friend Jared. Its a Petit Boy!

Suzi Blus Petit Boy Jared

Is it true you are giving away one membership to your Les Petite Dolls class workshop?(hell folks, I even hadda pay for mine — aren’t you lucky!!!) Are registrations still open for those who may not win? And it’s tradition here, that the guest gets to pick one of the questions the readers have to answer to win – so what would you like to know/read about from my readers?

Yes I am giving away one Petit Dolls Membership to one of your readers! Their membership will be active from now unil March 2009, plenty of time to download the videos and PDF’s and email me for personal one to one help.  Since all of the videos are up registration is open until the day the workshop closes.  Its easy to download all of the video lessons and keep them on your computer to do at your convenience.

The question I would like your readers to think about, is what is there art goal for 2009? What is the big dream – even if you cant make it come true this year, even if you are miles away from being able to do it, even if it seems impossible, what is it you want most to come true? Its really not as impossible as you think.  And 2009 could be the year you begin!

Ok Lucky Creative Ones! To Enter Today’s Amazing giveaway:

  • Answer Suzi’s question: “what is your art goal for 2009? ” and/or answer mine.. “Roll the toothpaste from the bottom, or squeeze it in the middle?” …
  • If you are already enrolled for Suzi’s workshop, I’ll send you a free print of mine, and you can give the class to a friend – so no excuses NOT to enter kids!
  • Do this by: Sunday, December 21th, 2008
  • PLEASEkeep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works!
  •  Enter Day 0 & Day 6 & Day 7 & Day 8 & Day 9
  • Check out the first batch of winners!Some haven’t claimed their gifts! — ya better, fast!
  • Visit Suzi’s Blog, Suzi’s Academy, Suzi’s Etsy & Suzi’s Youtube Videos!

Warmly, Chrysti

Day 3/29 Days of Giving is…

… would you like knowing you can double the odds of winning today?

ooo, i have your interest now don’t i? ….

…. but we’ll get to that later

right now i’m simply elated one of my favorite people is our guest today….

… so pull up a chair and sit a spell

afterall we’re nothing but  friends here ….

…. whenever i hear people refer to Bette Midler

instantly i think ‘the divine miss m’ ….

… whenever i hear the name of our special guest today

my lil’ mind takes me along those same lines….

though, i tend to think of the delightful vs. the divine …

but divine is ever-s0-fitting as well…

… i suppose it would sound better if i added her name there

rather than making you read these rather silly lines…

… how about a clue?

let me get my very best announcer voice on….

.. *cough*

Ladies, and probably under a handful of gentlemen …

… why aren’t more male readers here anyway?

sheesh! me & my tangents…

FINE i’ll get on with it already

I proudly present you with :

tuttleheadshot600

The Delightful, The Divine, The Talented –  Susan Tuttle!
( admit it, you’re now saying it in your mind, and possibly aloud in your best ringmaster voice too)

As many of you know, I won’t promote something I don’t believe in – not people, not books, not products.  Is it professionally wise? I dunno. Do people always like it? Nope. But it just  feels right and resonates deep down inside of me… at the end of the day – isn’t that what matters?  I simply just try to do whats right by me, by others, by the world. I don’t always accomplish it — but i strive to.  The older I become, the more important living an authentic,  genuine life is to me. A wise woman once told me that having the courage to be genuine – to be true to who you are – who you really are – is one of those mythical, magical keys to a happy and fulfilled life. I like happy. Happy is good. 

Anyway….I digress.

I could probably spend this entire post gushing over Susan; and admittedly I’d enjoy making her blush (but just a lil)… I was fortunate to spend time with her at the ZNE convenZioNE last August (where we were both instructing, and i dragged her on just a few *cough* starbucks runs) …  within minutes of meeting her I felt as if I’ve known her for years and years. I’m always that squirmy-kind-of-awkward when I first meet folks, but Susan is just.. well.. so damn darn open and authentic… i was instantly at ease. Not often that happens to me. Nope, not often at all. She’s one of those special folks – that know just how to touch your heart, and your life – merely by being who she is.

That is exactly why I am so pleased that she agreed to a short interview with us… where we discuss her new book, her vices.. and I shamelessly try to snag a piece of her original art. I think we’d all agree, her voice will be far more enjoyable to you than mine… so without further adieu… let me introduce you to the book, then on with the show as they say…

 Exhibition 36

 Exhibition 36: Mixed Media Demonstrations + Explorations
by Susan Tuttle

 Within the pages of Exhibition 36, readers will enter a virtual art exhibit featuring thirty-six mixed-media artists whose collage, digital, assemblage, altered and repurposed art adorn the walls and pedestals of this unique gallery. The artists are “present” throughout the exhibit, answering questions, sharing their thoughts, talking about their work and offering instruction. The tour is structured to provide insight into the creative process of the artists whose work is on display and the reader will be delighted with the plethora of inspiration, articles, techniques and general visual candy. As a final bonus, many artists featured in the book have contributed imagery as a gift to readers for attending the exhibit to reuse in their own creations. Possesses great crossover appeal for mixed-media artists of nearly every discipline, including jewelry makers, collage artists and more.

Readers will enter a “virtual tour” featuring art from a variety of contributing artists, including well-known crafters such as Claudine Hellmuth (Collage Discovery Workshop) and Suzanne Simanaitis (Kaleidoscope).Includes bonus collage imagery sheets for readers to use in their own art.

Gosh.. the day this came? I was not only bubbling over with joy for a friend, but so moved by her words that i jumped right between the gorgeous covers and a few days later re-emerged and reviewed it over at Amazon — I’ll let you see my personal thoughts on the book there… so we can move right along and have a delightful conversation with the divine Susan Tuttle now.

( um yeah, questions are mine … the answers?.. you guessed it.. Susan’s

Let’s just knock out the standard question first,(though common)- inquiring minds still want to know – what inspired you to take this approach to a book? What was your initial vision, and did it change as it came together?

My initial vision was to create a book that featured a large number of artists and their work, a variety of mediums and styles, flat work, 2-D and 3-D pieces, men and women alike — basically something for everyone. I struggled at first in trying to figure out what the premise of the book would be and how it would all come together in a unified way. I believe if we put our questions out there into the Universe, the answers always have a way of finding us, so I asked for help with the book. I woke up one morning, eyes opening slowly, looking out my window at a sunlit field — my answer came to me with such clarity, and in such a peaceful way. The answer had been with me all along actually, and from that moment on I knew the book was meant to be a virtual art exhibit — my dream art show, constructed from within the confines of my little home in the Maine woods.
 
You see, I grew up in a rural part of New Jersey but made frequent trips to New York City, and later settled down in Boston for many years. In the city, cultural life was right at my fingertips. My book is my attempt to re-create this kind of cultural mecca that is not as accessible to me in this remote, beautiful part of the country. This book would not have been possible without my access to the Internet and the variety of artists that I have made connections with through that venue.

Once I had this vision in place, it did not veer from the initial course, and I believe it went the way that it was meant to. In fact, sometimes I felt like the book was writing itself. Not to say that I didn’t work my arse off, but that things unfolded naturally. When it came time to divide the contributions into chapters, the chapter headings came to me with an unusual ease and the contributions miraculously divided themselves amongst the chapters in a very balanced way — true serendipity!  And I would be remiss if I did not give high praise and credit to my editor, Tonia Davenport, who gave me an incredible amount of creative freedom to realize my vision.

I fell in love with the diversity of art, contributors and styles within your book. How did interacting and collaborating with all these talented folks affect you?

 First and foremost I felt incredibly privileged to have been able to collaborate with all of the wonderful artists in the book. I felt extreme joy on many occasions and I felt blessed by the generosity of these artists as they shared their techniques and heartfelt, personal stories with me and all of us.

From a technical perspective, my organizational skills were put to the test as you can well imagine, with managing a total of 35 contributions in addition to doing my own artwork and writing. I also got to exercise editing skills and learned a lot about editing another person’s writing, while at the same time maintaining their unique voice. 

It is rumored you have a sugar addiction while creating – is this true? What is your vice?

Ah yes, this is indeed true! My great-grandmother, whom I called Nana, owned a candy store, so having a sweet tooth definitely runs in the family. My vices tend to have a combination of sweet and tart flavors (Sweet Tarts, Sprees, Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, Pop Rocks and gummy bears). I can get a little bit more sophisticated though — lol — good chocolate is high on my list! I am also an icing lover — on cakes, cupcakes and cookies — the more gloppy, the better.

With so many mixed-media books out there right now – what sets yours apart? What do you hope people will take from Exhibition 36?

 I don’t know if there is necessarily anything that sets it apart from other mixed-media books, but the one thing I can say is that the book contains a plethora of artists, styles, mediums and techniques — I think that there is something for everyone. It was important to me that this book not just be a technique-based book, but that it would also include a more personal focus on the lives and artistic processes of the contributors. As I stated in the preface, it is my hope that the reader will find something within the pages that rings true for them — if I have done that, then I have done my job.

 You’ve been slaving for years on your book. Your advanced copy FINALLY arrives…. Did you scream? Call a loved one? Refresh Amazon 100x times a day to see how many sales? What was your first reaction?

Funny you should ask. It was Monday, Columbus Day, and I walked through the door of my house after being out for most of the day at an installation art exhibit. The kids were tired and hungry and falling apart at the seams, supportive hubby was cooking, and let’s just say, he needed a little help witheverything (as would I if the shoe were on the other foot). I saw a brown box on the floor, that looked about the size of my book, which I had been waiting for with fervent eagerness… only, the box was being used as a kind of base for one of the kid’s games — in fact, my son was jumping on it.  I rescued it immediately and looked at the address — from my publisher!  I actually had to put the package aside though, and help with the evening routine, before I could open it… but when I did, it was quite surreal! I sat down that night in front of the woodstove with a glass of red wine in hand and poured over the pages (not the wine… you know what I mean).  Although I was very excited, the book felt like a familiar friend to me — after all, I knew every last word like the back of my hand and had seen initial drafts. But most of all I felt grateful to the blessed people who made it possible and I felt quite peaceful, actually, knowing that I had fulfilled something I was meant to do in this lifetime.

Many of the talented contributors in the book really opened up to you, revealed their secrets, and shared glimpses of their soul. The ‘sitting-on-a porch-talking-with-an-old-friend’ feeling really shines through within these projects, stories and creative prompts. How does art play a prominent role in your personal life?

The first word that comes to mind is vital. I must create in order to feel whole and complete, and alive. The act of creating replenishes me, gives me new energy, and fills me up so that I have more to give back to myself, my family, friends and things I deem important. For me, the act of creating is about seeking truths and revealings. Often I don’t know what I am meant to learn until much later. I also find the process to be circular, where life becomes art during the creative process, and because I am left forever changed by the process, the art feeds back into my life.

In the book, you mention how music goes hand in hand with your creative process; what are some of your favorite songs at the moment?

Let’s take a peek at the ‘ol playlist — ah, some favorites:

  • Hymn 101 by Joe Pug
  • Radio Ballet by Eluvium
  • The Swell Season by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
  • Saeglopur by Sigur Ros
  • Window by Guster
  • They by Jem
  • Lament by Balmorhea

I’m totally stealing a question you asked Claudine Hellmuth in Exhibition 36: tell us something most people do not know about you!

How about a few, ’cause I don’t know which to pick:
– I played my flute in Carnegie Hall
– I make miniatures with a haunted theme, and have a spooky dollhouse to put them in.
– I get little chills and cry easily when I witness things I think are beautiful.

Don’t you want to give me the piece shown on page 41 – ‘a bit goth’?  Granted, I could follow the instructions you gave us to make my own, but I must have that one! So, should I expect to see it in my mailbox anytime soon?

 Sure Chrysti, you can have it, no prob, right along with my first born and my wedding ring! – lol! oh, and I’ll also throw in the deed to my house! Now how’s that for an answer!?

I knew Susan was kind, but wow — how’s that for generous? Readers –you’re my witnesses – you heard her too right? – though my sarcasm scanner is going off the charts…  

Has anyone NOT figured out today’s fabulous giveaway yet? No, it’s not the painting I’m referring to… But a copy of her oh-so-incredibly-inspiring-you’ll-jump-in-the-studio-the-moment-your-hands-touch-it-book: Exhibition 36: Mixed Media Demonstrations + Explorations!

Ok lovely ladies and probably less than a handful of gentlemen – to enter today’s giveaway:

  • Leave a comment on this post, answering Susan’s question for you : How does art play a prominent role in your personal life?” and/or my question “Shouldn’t Susan give me her Original painting I mentioned?” or if you don’t want in the middle of that battle –admit you really did use the ringmaster voice. C’mon.
  • Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner will be announced then!
  • Double your chances of winning a copy! Susan’s giving away another copy at her blog as well – quick – go enter!

If you haven’t already be sure to enter the other giveaways here too! Day 1 is here, Day 2 is here, and a chance for a $100.00 Gift Certificate to my new site as well as a chance of your wish being granted go here… be sure to follow the instructions for that giveaway, and post a comment on each particular day to be eligible!

Whew! Enough of my babbling for a day eh?

Chrysti — who has a few wishes to go try and grant..

 

Day 1/29 Days of Giving is…

drum roll please…..

….. sparing you the link to a you tube drumroll

i should be commended for that…..

… it’s terribly difficult for me to restrain my cheesiness sometimes

which reminds me of a story…

… ok. FINE!

i’ll get on with it already…

… i proudly present you with ….

The Final Mystery

(That self-portrait is a clue folks!)

….. an interview with the fabulous Cate Coulacos Prato, author of Mixed-Media Self Portraits, Features editor extraordinaire of Quilting Arts Magazine & Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine as well as the editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Studios Magazine (we’ll talk about that in another post…) and one of the infamous Quilting Arts Go-Go Dancers (ya gotta see that video)! She’s also a mother, wife, flea market connoisseur…hmmm… this is really beginning to sound like a personals ad. Sorry Cate’s hubby!

As I mentioned before ( here & here ) I was fortunate enough to be a part of this seriously amazing book (something I really don’t say lightly) and obviously jumped at the chance to be a part of Cate’s Blog tour. Kelly Rae Roberts, ArtGirlz, Studio 490, Random Arts, Janeville, & Cheryl Prater  are some of the folks who have also taken stops along the blogosphere.

Besides, who else but moi – would tackle those ultra-important, pressing questions – like what’s in your fridge? I had to participate; if merely to stand up for those of us who are far too curious and secretly peek inside people’s cabinets and fridges. (I totally just lost dinner invites now eh?)

If you haven’t figured out today’s giveaway yet, read on. Even if you’re suspicious – you’ll need to , since we’re making you work a lil’ for this one! Plus – Cate shares some tips on getting published, getting past ‘blocks’ and more – I think the information and insight alone is a ‘giveaway’ to us all!

In case it needs to be said -the bold questions are all from lil’ ol’ me, and the responses in the reddish-brown are Cate’s. Not that I think anyone didn’t get that, just ya know… making sure.

Mixed-Media Self-Portraits was an ingenious topic for a book (I’m still mad I didn’t think of it first!), and had never been done before. What inspired you take on this fascinating project?

First, the 2005 Creative Self-Portrait Challenge in Quilting Arts Magazine. We got hundreds of responses—funny, poignant, beautiful, strange. It was wonderful. Then, blogging became a thing, and the weekly Self-portrait Challenge tookoff among artists and we thought it was the right time for this book.

One thing that really struck home with me when reading this masterpiece (particularly pages  92-99 *cough* ) is how it really is an exploration of self, creative journey (like Donna Anderson’s piece)and the effects that has on all different facets of our lives. The glimpses into the contributor’s souls are so present within these pages – What did you discover about yourself through the creation of this book?

About myself? I discovered that writing a book is hard work! And that as self-centered as I am, when it came to do my own self-portrait, I went through all the stages the contributing artists went through: Denial, bashfulness, indecision, hand-wringing, cringing, and finally, acceptance and enjoyment.

 Just because I enjoy a good random question: what would we find in your refrigerator right now?

Milk, mayo, sliced turkey, about 8 containers that read “cottage cheese” or “cream cheese” but actually have various leftovers in them, a drawer full of vegetables waiting to be made into minestrone, and a single piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (unless my teenager ate it last night).

Mixed-Media Self Portraits has an amazing array of creative prompts and exercises to jumpstart folks when they are feeling ‘blocked’ or otherwise just need a fresh perspective. What rituals do you have when creating? (and yes, writing IS creating.) How do you get the words to flow when you feel stumped?

I get up and move around. Do something mindless like taking a walk or even just putter around the house doing random chores I would otherwise not do. Whatever is the opposite of sitting in front of the computer, so long as it’s not reading or watching TV. When I move and think about something else, the words start to move around in my mind, first aimlessly, then they start to glomtogether, swirl around, and take shape. Then I race to the keyboard to get it down before the words evaporate. When I start to get on a roll and in the zone, the writing just flows. But if I get stuck at that point, it usually means a trip to the kitchen for a snack, preferably something that I can keep popping into my mouth, like popcorn or raw baby carrots or–OK, ya got me—chocolate-covered peanuts. Somehow, that slight distraction jars me off the “stuck” track and gets the thoughts flowing again.

Aside from how amazingly inspired and original pages 92-99 are, what do you most hope readers  will gain from this book?

Well, I’ve always been into self-help and self-discovery, so aside from the practical aspects of the art techniques and forms, I hope that readers will use the exercises and the process of making self-portraits to learn something about themselves.

I love the creative fearlessness this inspires – was it at all scary opening yourself up and going through this process? Do you have any irrational fears? (I’m afraid of fans. And of whatever might lurk deep inside the dark mailbox. Someone really needs to invent a mailbox light. Seriously, sumthin’ could bite one’s hand off in there! ) Oh – back to you- Irrational fears? Process Scary?

Well, here’s the funny thing. In people’s reaction to the book I detect an irrational fear of being self-centered. “Who me? A self-portrait? What would people think?” Like that. But, you know, you don’t have to show anybody. It can be just for you. Plus, isn’t art a form of self-expression? So what’s so different about making a self-portrait? As for me, I have an irrational fear of vacuuming at night. Someone might sneak up behind me. Really. I only vacuum during the daylight hours.

Speaking of scary. The piece featured on page 95 is rumored to have scared a child. What was your reaction upon seeing it?

Well, by the time I saw the mask that appears on page 95, I knew what to expect. I had already seen the one on page 93, and I have to say, I was a little taken aback when it emerged from its obsessively packaged cocoon. The red and black? Hmmm. But it grew on me, once I really looked at it and saw all the layers and the writing. I especially like the view of it partially open. I think it’s one of my favorite images in the book.

Sidenote from Chrysti: Actually, I couldn’t stand the red & black. I had envisioned the frame as an integrated part of the piece, but time & deadlines didn’t permit it. I had planned to alter it, once it was returned — and then I liked it. Weird how that works!

Why are manhole covers round?

I have an answer, but I don’t think you can print it.

One of the most frequent questions my blog readers ask me – is how to get published. What advice can you offer people who want to shamelessly promote their own pages 92-99? (Aside from having it done yesterday – ha.)

Just put yourself out there. We are always looking for fresh art, new techniques, or new results from old techniques. The worst that happens is that we’ll say “no.” If so, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean your art is bad. It may mean the editor has already planned a similar piece. We work months in advance. If we say keep in touch, or we want to see more, we mean it. Keep trying. This idea or piece of art might not work, but the next one might.

One thing I will say is, a lot of people get stuck in the trap of thinking, “Well, they just ran a piece on how to make gelatin prints, so I’ll send them MY gelatin prints—they’re just as good.” As a former freelancer, I’ve fallen into that trap myself. The reality is, if we just ran something like it, we probably aren’t going to want to do it again for a while. However, if you’ve got a fresh twist on the technique or your prints look like no one else’s, bring it on.

Another barrier I should bring up: bad pictures. The most beautiful, insightful, earth-shattering art in the world is not going to get noticed or accepted if you present it in photographs that are out of focus, too dark, too light, or the image is obscured by the glare of a flashbulb. If you can’t take good pictures or don’t have a good camera, find a friend who can and does.

Otherwise, blog, network, do swaps, send stuff to publishers. And if you have an idea for a book—don’t sit on it. Media moves too fast these days. Chrysti’s Note: Submission Guidelines are here!

Is it true you are giving away a SIGNED copy of this book to one of my lucky readers? Why wasn’t my copy signed? I think you should make them work for it and have them answer a question to enter – so shoot – what question would you most like to see responses to?

This is true! (Yours wasn’t signed because it came directly from the publisher; sorry!) I like the “work for it” concept. My question is: What’s stopping you from buying my book? Just kidding! Actually, my question is: What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?

So there ya have it my friends. To enter today’s giveaway –

  • Leave a comment on this post, answering Cate’s question: “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?”
  • If nothing is stopping you from making a self portrait then answer one of these 2 questions: What is stopping you from purchasing this fabulous book? or Why are manhole covers round?
  • Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner will be announced then!

If you already have the book, enter anyway — this copy will be signed. Besides, that extra copy may just make a good giveaway of your own this holiday season! I love when people pass on the kindness – it may just be the one thing, we can’t over-indulge in.

I also thought Cate’s question “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?” is an interesting blogpost all it’s own. So, if you are inclined – go more in depth with it on your blog – and leave the link in the comments as your response. What fun!

Next week, the behind the scenes peeks I promised you, and my thoughts will be put up here in conjunction with another giveaway .. so stay tuned. And, it’s not too late too spread the word about the 29 days of giveaways, or enter to win the $100.00 Gift Certificate! Just read here, and comment there to enter.

Chrysti …….. who is feeling extremely blessed, touched, and inspired by each of you today.