Crocheting, from granny squares to amigurumi : ) (Guest post)

Crafting is something that I discovered at an early age and have developed over time. For me, crocheting has strong familial significance. My grandmother was my first teacher, showing me the most basic stitches. When I entered my teenage years, my mom took up the mantle, teaching me the more difficult stitches. This crafting time became very meaningful to me, because it was something special that my mom and I could share together. In between my crazy soccer schedule and her work schedule, we established “Melrose Mondays” (hello, 90’s!) We would order pizza, take up our projects, and watch the drama unfold between Amanda, Michael, and Kimberly. This was a time to grow my craft, to learn techniques and experiment with designs, and most importantly, to bond with my mom. We talked, laughed, shared our struggles, discussed my latest crushes, and really connected in this creative space.
Over the years I also expanded my craftwork to the art of cross-stitch and latch hook. And if I didn’t have a current yarn project, I would seek out something new to create, some new craft. Whether it be baking, cake decorating, or making party decorations, I was always trying to make something beautiful. Dom and I laugh about the fact that whenever we see something inspired, our initial reaction is not “Oh, let’s buy this,” but rather, “How can we make this?” Pinterest serves as both a blessing and a curse for the creative mind. There are so many wonderful ideas and projects, it’s hard to keep my board from getting full! There are so many more pinned ideas than I could ever make, or than my bank account could ever afford. We really should buy stock in Michael’s J

People often ask me why I don’t sell my art- and craftwork on Etsy. I’m sure I could, but for me it’s not about selling my pieces to make money. The value in my artwork centers on how much joy I might bring to someone through giving them something handmade, with love. There is nothing better than seeing the excitement of our kids when I present them with something I’ve just made, or when I see them show something to their friends and proudly announce that their mom made it for them. Crafting is more than just a hobby for me. When you can do something that you love and that also brings happiness to someone else, that is the ultimate reward. There is something thrilling about seeing an idea come to life. Taking something that starts as the seed of an idea in my head or a new pattern in my hands, and watching it grow into a finished project that I can hold and see, is something that few people can say that they have experienced. The sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing the final creation keeps me motivated to move on to my next project.

Now that I’m an adult and a mother of my own, I get to share my gifts with my kids. It is my hope and belief that they feel the same sense of joy I do when they complete a really cool project. I’m happy to do my part in making sure that the passion for crafting stays alive with each passing generation. By sharing your passion for crafting with your children, you can help instill in them a love of art as well as an appreciation for making things oneself. Yes, it is easier to go to the store and buy what you want, but think about how much fun you could be missing out on. Think about how many opportunities there are to build these lasting memories with your kids.As I have done, I want my kids to look back one day and be grateful for the time that we spent together and the memories we created. That’s precious time that you can’t get back.
What kind of things were you taught as a child that you still do or want to pass down? I’d love to hear your stories

Until then, Stay random

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The truth about modern falconry

I’m sitting outside today watching the hawks soar overhead. Seeing them makes me reflect fondly on some of the birds that I have had the pleasure to work with in the past.

So, what is falconry? N.A.F.A. says it best… 

Falconry can be defined as the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor. This ancient art is a very demanding endeavor, requiring a serious dedication of time and energy from the falconer. On November 16, 2010 the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added falconry to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity.

To me, falconry is a way to have a relationship with a raptor and be permitted to interact with and help in its natural instinct to hunt.  In return for this incredible privilege, a falconer will help train the bird of prey to be a better hunter, will help improve the survival rate of these birds out in the wild, and raise awareness in order to get laws to be passed to protect their habitat and keep them healthy.

I love being a falconer! Being able to work with a bird of prey is amazing, as long as you remember they’re wild animals and never pets. While it takes time to build trust, your rewards are amazing! You’re an active part of the hunt, finding the game, flushing it out into the open then gathering the spoils of the hunt.

 So what does the hawk get out of the deal?

Longer life – 90% of the juvenile hawks die in their first year, and many hawks barely make it to 6 years of age in the wild. However, hawks kept as hunting partners can live 20 – 30 years.  And believe it or not, hawks aren’t hunting pros, so in the time spent with the hunter the hawk will be able to hone its skills while still being fed a proper diet and given medical treatment.

This season I will not be flying a new bird. Sad to say, but I have some other things to do this winter and hawking requires full time dedication. So until next season! (maybe with a new falcon)

Stay Random

 

What can you find in a scrap of wood?


One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I love the idea of taking an item that’s to be tossed away and turning it to something useful or pretty. With wood turning and wood carving one log can contain so many hidden gems.

I have recently started wood working as a side hobby. I’m self taught, so I think my progress will be slower then someone in a wood turning class, but I don’t really mind. While I’m learning I’m getting so many benefits. Seeing the wood shavings come off in a ribbon is so peaceful. I love the smell of the wet green wood. Seeing the wood reduce to the shape you see in your mind is enough to make me keep going.

Eventually I’ll get better 😬

Stay Random!

Adventure day! 


Sunday funday! The last few Sunday afternoons my wife and I took our kids on an adventure. Today we coined it adventure day! Nothing extravagant, just time away from Minecraft, Pokémon and even for us making art. Today we’re going to drive to Elk Neck state park to visit a lighthouse and just to see nature.

It’s fall on the east coast of the United States so we’re blessed with a brilliant display from nature. The trees are ablaze with fiery reds, oranges and yellows. A perfect backdrop for those seeking a meeting with her, or just looking to see something beautiful.

Look at the different coloured leaves, Swaying gently with the breeze, Lovely reds, browns and greens, All waiting to fall from the trees.

When they leave they twist and turn, Ready to join the masses of fern, Landing softly on the ground, You can taste the smell of autumn, all around.

by Ernestine Northover

Never shake hands with a cactus.

There’s magic in a desert night. When stars fall down to human height;
I filled my pockets, filled my hands, and more stars fell upon the sands.
The gentle breeze that shook the sky sent starry windfalls sailing by,
And whirlwinds scuffling on the ground, kicked stars into a silver mound.
Despite this bounty in my clutch, millions more were there to touch —
The desert night must play a trick, hanging stars low down to pick!

~Lenore Eversole Fisher, “Desert Harvest,” in Arizona Highways, February 1965

Becoming stale is easy. Growing, that’s the real challenge.

Moving forward

Photography has always interested me.  I began my study of the art of photography in high school and continued through art school.  But as the great Albert Einstein once said,

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” 

After graduation, I believed I had the technique and skill necessary for my photography to continue to flourish.  Not so.  After a few years as a young and inexperienced artist out in the real world, I had plateaued.  My photographs were boring and my desire to create was fading.  Yet I was blown away by the work of other artists!  I attended my school colleagues’ art openings and exhibits and realized that, while my style was stagnating, their styles were continuing to evolve.  My friends had passed me by because they pushed themselves to continue to grow and learn.

Here was the ugly truth: I had become too complacent in my learning, and my art suffered as a result.  I decided to make a change, and, looking back, this proved to be one of the best decisions I made, and served as a great life lesson too.  I once read that you have to kick your own ass.  So, I started giving myself assignments.

If I was going to the zoo, I would prepare by making a list of the shots I wanted to get.  If I was working on a design, I would create different versions to ensure I had produced the best work for my client.  I continually studied the works and processes of other artists to see what I could learn from them.

These self-imposed assignments also had an unintended benefit which took me some years to realize.  I had learned how to work within the confines of strict parameters.  Most people believe that artists are free, uninhibited creators.  While that sounds like an awesome notion, it’s almost never the case in the commercial art world.  If you’re a designer, illustrator, graphic artist, photographer, etc…, you are given guidelines to follow, a box to stay within.  It’s what you do with these guidelines that makes the difference between good work and great work.

So, if you have a chance, confine yourself to silly parameters.  Find a way to limit your subject and then see what you can do with it.  Critique yourself honestly.  I have employed this method as a way to push myself, to redefine my eye and mind.  Perhaps next time, I will only photograph things that are orange, or objects that start with the letter “G.”

If you decide to follow this piece of advice, I would love to hear about your experiences!

Until then, Stay Random!

Welcome! What do you do?

artfullyrandom_art makes you happy.jpgWhat do you do? I wonder if that’s an American phrase or if other cultures asked a similar question. To me it’s a question that hides another question.  it’s not what do you do.  it’s what defines you? 

I tell people I’m an artist but I love to do more than art. I love to paint draw, make bowls on a lathe, play guitar and design graphics and website, make soap and fly falcons. 

I don’t know if I have ADD but I can never just do one thing. Some of my friends just do one thing and they do it well. I wish I could be like them. I’d love to have one focus and hone it daily. 

Maybe I’m a wandering generality. Maybe I’m just a random guy who has add. Whatever I am, I wanted a way to show other people how to do fun stuff like make soap or carve a bowl or whatever random thing that’s caught my attention. So I thought a blog would be a fun platform. 

So welcome to my blog. I hope you like the random things I make. 

Stay Random : )

Dom