Tag Archives: craft

Wordy Wednesday: Cult of Tutu

I followed a link to an art journaling blog where I saw yet another female artist in a tutu. Afterward I tweeted the statement, “To be a mixed media artist do you need to wear a tutu? Or even like them? NO!”

To be blunt, I don’t get tutus. They are made out of plastic scratchy material, the same stuff the exfoliating bath poofs are made of and I can’t imagine they are comfortable.

I’m not saying I’m down on it, I just don’t get it.

Ink mix0043

What I wear doesn’t define me as an artist. My clothing isn’t a statement. I’d rather my art make the statement. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind woman; I like cotton, wool and other natural materials. I look for comfort while I create. I don’t need something outward to help me find my inner creativity. I know that some people enjoy costumes*and perhaps that is what the tutu is about. Using costume to find that inner well of creativity, capturing lost childhood insight, or perhaps these ladies really enjoy wearing a tutu. It is not my place to yuck your yum, but I can say that I don’t get it

I also have to wonder, other than Salvador Dali, would you see a male artist wearing something like a tutu? In part I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the idea that female artists have to dress up and play a part to sell their art. Peddle their wares like a carnie, “Win your lady a stuffed teddy bear here!” “Strong man competition, ring the bell, win a prize.” “Hooooot sausage and peppers, fried dough, cold lemonade”

Tutus and tiaras, 2 things you’ll never catch me wearing.


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Wordy Wednesday: Creative Commons; with attribution, non-commercial

In my world, copyright's purpose is to encourage the widest participation in culture that we can manage – that is, it should be a system that encourages the most diverse set of creators, creating the most diverse set of works, to reach the most diverse audiences as is practical.- cory doctorow

The above quote got me thinking about copyright, people stealing my designs, and the wide open world of the internet. Last weekend, most of you may have missed it, as I failed to announce it, I opened my entire flickr stream up to Creative Commons(CC), Attribution, non-Commercial. I had the setting previously to All Rights Reserved. I read this article with the above quote this AM, about a week after making the decision to go creative commons with my photos. I've also made the difficult decision to set my blog, back to the first entry on blogspot to the same creative commons as the flickr set.

This has been something I've been mulling over for months. I see the internet and thus my blog and photos as communication. I've always seen the important part of them is as a tool of communication. By setting my flickr to "all rights reserved" I forced people to ask permission before blogging one of my photos, or worse yet, forcing them to make the choice between asking permission and just not blogging one of my images. Over the last year I've seen how foolhardy that is, first hand.

Over the last year I've featured a lot of artists here on my blog from flickr. I've been forced into the same choice I've forced people into- ask permission or not blog. I'm ashamed to say, I've made the choice to NOT blog more times than I can count. I started out with the whole idea of the feature from flickr to showcase some of the work that makes my heart pitter patter, things that bring both enjoyment and inspiration into my life. When you go "all rights reserved" the viewer entranced with your image is forced to ask you permission to post your images. Flickr takes away the easy access. I'm forced to go from the awe and inspiration phase into thinking about business before I hit "post." Instead I hit "send flickr mail" and type up a quick email asking permission. More often than not I get no response. So after sending several hundred "Hey can I post your pic?" emails I quit.

I quit because a blogger asking an artist's permission to use their art- with attribution and a link back to the original image with a paragraph about WHY the blogger loved the image wasn't enough to get a response from most people. I have my flickr mail set up to send me an email. I can read the email and decide if I want to respond with a yes or no. I'm willing to bet from the utter lack of response I've gotten when I asked permission that most people don't have that set up. Or people just didn't care about getting their work posted on someone's blog.(Even with hundreds of readers a day!)

The real question is why would any artist want to shut down an avenue for more people to hear about and see their work? The more eyes on your work= the more potential sales. The more people talk= the more sales. To me allowing people to easily blog my images is a win-win situation. They write about my work and people see it= win. If someone wanted to use my images to illustrate a blog post, they can easily do that, all they need to do is link back to either my blog or the original image in flickr. Again, I see this as a winning situation.

Recently one of my favorite artists went from easy access sharing to no access. I was looking through her flickr stream and found a whole host of images I was considering posting with a week devoted to her work. When I went to set up the posts, I was shut down. I was no longer able to use the flickr "post to blog" option, nor was I able to use the "embed image" option. The artist had shut down all options to share her work with others. I was and remain baffled. This is an artist who has had several shows of her work and is well establish and until 3 weeks ago, allowed open sharing of her images, with attribution as long as there was attribution, which I had always given. I have to wonder why someone would do something like that.

On one of Hazel Dooney's recent FB updates I wrote that I felt people should have more access to artists and their work. CC is one way to do that.

Of course, there are always people who are going to steal your stuff. It's the nature of people, the internet, and commerce. Like it or not we're in a commercial business (like it or not art, writing, and images are commodities) and we have a choice- let people steal or take control of our commodities and sell to people what people steal from us. I, for one, am tired of people stealing my designs. So, I will continue to make and design my stuff but I'm going to open a lot of it up to the CC and see what happens. Make anything I create for yourself but start to sell and we'll see what happens. This isn't tricky legal territory. You can read all about the CC here and educate yourself in it, it's less complicated than you think. It also puts the screws to the people who would take your hard work and rip you off.

I tweeted that I was frustrated that people had essentially stolen my pen slip design and were offing the product at a premium price. I'll be honest it's frustrating to use my creativity and come up with an idea that is immediately ripped off. Eventually I gave up on making the pen slips I'd been handcrafting in my basement, individually with care and attention to each one. I gave up becuase I felt I couldn't compete. I see now exactly how misguided I was by giving up. People will always buy the original from the original. There lies my big mistake. Should I start up on production again, it won't seem like I'm the original, no I'll seem like a copy cat, though I've got images in my flickr pool dating to way back in 2006. Giving up was the worst idea I've ever had. I've been kicking myself about it every day.

When I realized that I was doing the exact same thing I hated on flickr, I knew I had something to fix. I looked through flickr and figured out how to make the change and made the best CC licensing choice for me. Should you want to use one of my images in a commercial manner, email me. We can talk, but if you want to feature me on your blog, that's easy, now! Use the flickr share option and share away!

Directive Journaling: Art Habit

The first class in the Art Habit program will be focused around journaling, written as well as art journaling. Most of you know I’m an avid journaler and have been since I received my first diary at age 10. I’ve written almost every day since then. (We won’t talk about college, m’kay?) I think that written journaling goes hand in hand with art journaling. When you can’t find the words art helps and when you can’t find the right shape or color writing helps. So this class is more of a self paced workshop, set 4 weeks long, featuring 4 mid-sized PDF of prompts, questions and text. The goal is to take the PDF, read it, mull it over and start to use it as a guide for directed journaling.

What I mean by directed journaling is when you focus on one particular word, or question while you write or make art; or you ask yourself a series of questions as you write or create art. Some of the questions are designed to get you thinking about the world around you others are designed to make you look within yourself.

This may look like the easiest art journaling course created but it’s probably the most difficult I’ve written. The questions are hard, they make you think and explore your thoughts and feelings on a subject.

These are questions that I use in my written journaling on a daily basis. This course comes from YEARS of journaling.

I have not decided if I’m going to do a video component to the class or not. We’ll see.

I’m very excited about this particular workshop and its implications for each person’s journaling. I know that when I use these directive questions my journaling becomes much more productive and useful.

Like I said, I’m very very excited.

nanojoumo #3- inspire

nanojoumo- inspire
Originally uploaded by lessherger

I had to think to myself what inspires me, then I had to think what doesn't? This is my way of thinking about that.

I sketched out the globe behind the figure first and then sketched in the image of the face, uplifted and with a smile. The next time I decide I want to draw a face on the fold punch me in the throat.

I used my ink brush (fine koi water brush filled with india ink) and inked in the face, body and around the world. I used watercolors to add color to the world and deliberately left the face black and white. I colored in the "shirt area" with watercolor pencil. Using a brush I filled in the black background with india ink and a brush. I spritzed the shirt area with water to allow the ink to run down it.

I hit all that with my drier and dried it out. I then used my gelly roll pen to add some fine line doodles and swirls. I used a brush with liquatex silver ink to add more depth and then added some white acrylic to add more swirls and doodles.

You can't see how awesome and neato the silver ink is in the pictures. Also the curve in the face distorts the face more than it is in reality and makes the whole thing look kinda weird in the photo. I'm not overly happy with it as a finished piece, but I tried to make this a little less complex than the last few images I did.

nanojoumo- purity

nanojoumo- purity
Originally uploaded by lessherger

I get a kick out of all the online "purity" groups. SO when the word purity came up for nanojoumo day 2 I had to lampoon it. The purity "logo" was put online as a purity card for a church group. It looks far cooler here than it did on the card. I pulled the card in to MS Publisher, reversed it and resized it to be about 8×10, i then printed it off onto a sheet of transparency film. I put it on the right side of the film this time and used a great deal of matte medium to transfer it to the pages.I had to cut it into 2 pieces to get it on, and I'll tell you the fold was a beast. the original logo was clearly going for a "urban and graph" feel. So the tendency of the transfer was a perfect medium to really take it there. I then outlined the letters with my pentouch pen, pressed down to get dribbles and runs. While that dried I looked at hundreds of images of scantily clad women bent over various objects, and quite frankly there are things that can't be unseen. Just the very act of attempting to find the image for the right corner has left my brain irreparably damaged. The things I do for art. I found the perfect picture, of a woman, scantily clad washing a car. I wanted the legs to frame the corner, so I first drew the leg for the right most side in soft pencil, added the crotch area and then the left leg. Next was to mix up some white person flesh tone and layer it over the drawing. I added her thong and it's all set. I blocked in some green coloring to set off the legs. Then I mixed up some gesso really thin and used a liner brush to spatter it on the page…

Maybe not the most pure purity page, but it's exactly what popped into my head when I first saw the word as the prompt.

Technique Videos

 Below you’ll find a list of art jouranling technique videos available for FREE on youtube, Vimeo and Blip.

This is a list of peeps I’ think make videos without too much bull
shit. You won’t need to fast forward through half the video to get to
the techniques being shown, listen to minutes of inane babbling before
you get to the real thing your there for. IN no particular order and
with commentary:

  • MIllande.
    Her videos kick serious butt. She focuses straight away on technique.
    It’s all how to and what to do with a serious focus on real techniques
    and not expecting you to create in her exact style. Information without
    BS. She does do classes but she does a ton on youtube.
  • Willowing.
    Some BS* but a lot of video of her making art. A lot of videos of her
    making art in journals. She shows her techniques. She also does online
  • SamanthaKira.
    She’s occasionally a little long winded and occasionally she gets into
    scrapbook mode but her videos are filled with technique and little to
    no BS.
  • TheOneMinuteMUse The one minute muse has videos that are all about 1 minute in length to give you some ideas to start creating.
  • GaryReef gary
    reef is not technically an art journaler but he has hundreds of videos
    up on youtube all about art and making art, and he makes some of them
    in his underwear. 
  • ArtCentrix Not cute art. Love that. No BS either. The techniques are pretty clearly detailed and shot.
  • TheArtJournal. No BS here either, just video of the artist working
  • Mystele All art technique and watching her paint. No BS. Some talking but it’s about ART.
  • Rhomany’sRealm Some BS* but good videos of her making art, and generally positive videos about art journal keeping. She does do some classes through Willowing’s Ning site.

If you have any links to a youtuber without the bull shit leave a
comment and I can add it to the list. I”m going to make this a “page”
that will be links on the left of my blog all the time.

*On this page I mean BS to mean that there is talk, not the style of BS that got me started in making this page which is negativity and a general LACK of art discussion or technique or simple pimping of one’s art classes.

Art Journals, Finished Books, Artfire Update

My fingers aren't working well so I'll probably edit this in the afternoon, so bear with me for the day…

First off head over to my online buddy's site The Artistic Biker. He's started his first art journal this weekend and he's off to a fantastic start. He's got his daughter started too. Way to go on starting kids off with a lifetime habit that is both educational and very good for emotional well being. I'm sure she'll look at her journals when an adult with fond memories of her father. I htink I was around 10 or so when I was given my first journal. I was one of those orange red locking 5&10 (five and dime) 5 year Diaries. I wasn't artistic in it at all, just wrote my pre-teen angst. Infact I didn't start to journal on a daily basis until I was 12. Which is when I filled the little journals and bought a 6×9 college ruled spiral bound notebook. I decorated the cover with a collage and over the next year filled it with dreadful teen angst. I have all the journals I've ever written. I'm missing 1 from my college years but over all they are all here, somewhere in my home. I digress.

This weekend I created what I'm calling a basic journal. 128 pages of great cardstock, smythe sewn, and a simple cover made of board and decorative papers. they measure 5×8 inches and 1 fat inch thick. The cover is soft and flexible but not too too soft. the cost of them is low, but they are great quality. I've priced them at $12. Find them here on my artfire shop.


Some Artfire news. I'm stoked that they are offering a holiday season free-for-all. All members can list unlimited items for the holiday season. They stay up until January1st, 2010. No fees, no gimmicks no catches. Sell stuff for free and hold onto all that cash you'd be spending on fees. Your saving $36 on the verified subscription price. As a way to pass on all the savings I'm offing a $2 coupon code for all  the reader's of my blog, enter PASSITON at checkout.

Blank Books for Journaling

I've been watching more videos on youtube, looking for stuff to post here and also for inspiration. I've also been looking at photos of art on flickr. One of the things that I've noticed is the overwhelming amount of unique journals people are using. Of course there is the ubiquitous moleskine, one of my former faves. but there are also large quantities of other books being used. There is the reclaimed or re-purposed hardback book in which the artist gessoes the pages and works on a printed page. There are spiral bound books, which I've never been a fan of for art journaling but was for sketching- they lay flat, come in a variety of papers and are easily found. The are also great if you focus on writing in your journal. There are the coptic and long stitch handmade books, I've also noticed  and interesting phenomenon in which people are working on a plain flat page and then punching 3 ring binder holes and binding the pages in big giant 3 ring binders or into scrapbook covers. Whichever style of book you choose there are lots of options out there.

Take for instance, you can get a unique decorated moleskine on artfire for not too much more than you would pay for one at B&N or Borders. These are pre-decorated by an artist in many styles.

To find a reclaimed hardback book one needs only go to the local library and look for a book in the sales pile, ask your librarian for help. Also the Salvation Army and Goodwill have book section which you can go through. My local Saver's store has a section of some cool and wacky books, many of which would make great altered books. Also don't look past some of those "employer schwag books" these are the books that employers give out at interviews and job fairs to try and get people interested in coming to work for them. Some larger companies have some really nice schwag books, perfect for manipulation and editing.

Coptic books are a favorite of mine, They are great for sketching outside becuase the binding easily folds over on itself, they are often hardback, which makes for great sketching support, the binding looks really cool, the thread binding is sturdy. The bast part of all, you can stuff the pages full of extra glued in bits and goodies and the won't stress the spine too badly. A search in artfire brings up pages of great and well made one of a kind unique coptic bound journals

The long stitch books are one of my favorites. they come in a variety of leather cover, recycled covers and interesting stitches. They fold over on themselves, can be hardcover or a limp cover, the stitches are visible on the spines and can be very decorative. Best of all they are tough. I've been making and using almost exclusively long stitch bound books for the last 10 years or so and they survive abuse like you wouldn't believe. You  can toss them in the bottom of a bag, stomp on them, spill coffee on them, drop them in a lake and they come out looking pretty good and the binding survives. 

While I'm not a fan of 3 ring binders you might be interested in trying the binder method out. There are some very fun and unique 3 ring binder covers on artfire. I found them by searching for 3ring binder. Very cool. I also found some neat rubber stamps that way.

Whatever you chose try something handmade and unique to get you through this holiday season. By careful Artfire shopping you might find that you make it through spending less than if you bought mass produces crap made overseas.

New Items on Artfire

I loaded some new items up to my artfire shop. 2 more art covered journals filled with 100% cotton sketchbook paper and original art on the covers. 


I listed a dozen new jotter sets with mixed paper inside. The paper ranges from lined paper, graph paper, pink, blue, green, to all sorts of natural shades I usually use. I had a box, a large one, from 10 years of binding of various papers I just didn't have enough of to make a full book. I literally shuffled the pages together to mix them up, and used 15 sheets for each jotter, for a total of 60 pages. Each of these jotters is unique and the mix of papers is individual.


I also listed one NOS or new old stock hedgehog/ moleskine journal. It's covered in this old school leather that reminds me of those old time leather basketballs. I can't find this leather anymore and I used this last piece to make this book, back in 2007. The journal has sat in a wrapper, in a drawer since then. I considered using it, becuase I like the leather that much, but decided against it and listed it again. I've got it up for less than normal.


I also listed 2 more brand new hedgehogs, one with a chocolate brown leather cover filled with cream paper and another with a bomber jacket brown leather filled with pale green paper.


I also re-listed the palomino pencils. These are the last packages I have of the HB and 2b, my favorite sketching softness. After I finish with those I'll list some of the other pencils I have left over from my old website. (Does anyone remember when this used to be a website with stuff for sale? Me either.) 

You can follow the links in the text to any of the mentioned items, as always feel free to ask me any questions or for more picture if you're interested.

seriously limited edition one of a kind journals

I've been working on some special journals. What I've done is take one of the posters I make the jotters out of, cut it up into smaller pieces and then I've journaled on it. So each chunk looks like a giant page out of one of my journals, or is a giant journal sheet. It's what I've been working on over the last few days which explains the lack of real blogging, tweeting and facebooking I've been doing. I'm really excited about these journals.

I'm working on 4 of them right now or rather I've got 4 covers completely finished. So far I've got one book completely finished and one more almost done. They are filled with 50lb, 100% cotton bright white sketchbook paper, 200 pages of it and are stitched with a linking long stitch. I used bright red Irish linen thread for the stitching.

The journal art is sealed with clear acrylic varnish, that allows you to feel the texture of the art but wipe it clean with soap and water if you spill coffee on it, and the art should be undamaged.

I'm still working the details of the pricing out but they will eb listed on my artfire account this evening.




The journal picture is titled "Super Star." I've got more pictures up on my flickr page.