Recently I was reading Mark Montano’s blog where he talked about adding tin foil to paper and thinking he was a genius, only to discover he made Wrigley’s silver wrapper paper!! Which I think is totally cool. Mark is such a celebrated designer, who would think that he would have something turn out different than he expected? It was so sweet to read his crafty experience.
It got me thinking, so many people think creativity is something that happens or it doesn’t. They give up easy the first time something goes awry. Truth is, it is kinda like a muscle, you have to work at it. For every five projects you are proud of, there will be one or two (sometimes three) that make you cringe. And that is perfectly normal.
So I got this idea to share this intimate crafty convo with my friend Margot Potter, The Impatient Beader. We both make a living in the creative arts industry, but we are far from perfect! I hope you like this, it is something new. If it goes over good, I’d love to have more crafty convos with artists about all kinds of topics. And I want you to as well! Just email back and forth on a topic you are passionate about. Like a telephone conversation. Post it on your blog and send us the link so we can share!
And PLEASE – share your thoughts in our comments!
Here you go….
Sunday, February 23, afternoon
KATHY: Hi Margot! Guess what? Next week is National Craft Month! Are you excited as me? Don’t you just feel like paying it forward one shiny bead at a time?
MARGOT: Oh I like this idea! Tell me more!
KATHY: Well, maybe we can share something profound here to inspire people across the globe to pick up a pair of needle nose pliers… or better yet – spray hi-gloss varnish on something random! Honestly though, I feel guilty. I feel like I have to come clean first….
MARGOT: What…what?! Okay, I need to know…spill it, sister!
KATHY: I know living the artsy life is supposed to be uplifting and colorful, but I have some may-jah (as Posh Spice says) confessions. After all these years, I feel like its time to come clean. Crafty scandals, I guess you could say. But I’ll only share them if you air your dirty paint rags too.
MARGOT: Oooo…True Craft Confessions! It’s not all sunshine and glitter is it?! I have a lot of what I like to call Craptastic Craft Days. You know, when you have the opposite of the Midas touch…and everything you make turns to crap?! I look at that as crafty fertilizer…in it are the ingredients for something cool. You just have to poke around a little…okay wait…that’s just plain gross isn’t it?!
KATHY: Do you want to go first, or should I?
MARGOT: You go first…that way I can gauge just how much I can reveal…eek.
KATHY: Not fair, woman. OK (clears throat). Here goes. One time when my daughter was a toddler, I was immersed at the art table. She kept saying, “Mama, I thirsty!” I replied, “Hold on sweetie, just let me cover this last little area with glitter…” The next thing I knew – she picked up my cup of paint water (which happened to be one of her Disney mugs!) and took a huge swig. I gasped and lunged across the table to take it from her. She smiled at me, 100% content. She had a red mustache, like a Quentin Tarantino milk ad! Thank goodness, it was non-toxic water-based paint. I rinsed off her face and ditched the art table for the night out of pure guilt.
MARGOT: HA! Bad crafty mommy! I often am knee deep in my work when my daughter gets home from school. So it’s me saying…”Yeah, yeah…what was that dear?” while my daughter is sitting at my desk in my studio doing her homework. My husband has to check everything because I’m in the zone, and I have no clue what she’s asked me. “Sure, honey New Zealand is the capital of Massachusetts. What was that?!”
Plus you’d think my kid would have the coolest costumes or the best home made cards…but it’s so not true. Which makes me feel like the World’s Worst Mom. I do my best…but you should see the ’80s style ensemble I threw together last month for her Vocabulary Word Parade. Thank GOD she won most complex word, because her outfit under the sparkly cape looked like glitter glue barfed all over it. Uh, yeah, I’m a professional…don’t try this at home.
KATHY: Ooo, yah, those are good ones. Can you imagine Avalon in class: “But my mom said New Zealand IS the capital!” At least it wasn’t anything they could call CPS on you for! Again: Thank goodness it was non-toxic paint in that cup. I would have left the emergency room in handcuffs and tears. OK, let’s dig deeper, girlfriend. Have you ever made something you are totally embarrassed of?
MARGOT: Every day. I mean this, seriously. I have so many horrible crafty skeletons in my closet it’s frightening.
KATHY: With my craft column, sometimes I just plain run out of ideas. Every so often I crash and burn. Like the time I made a hanging lantern out of a crumpled paper bag. I once I almost covered a corn husk in glitter. Call the Crafty Enquirer, here’s the worst confession of all. One time my super sweet Aunt Connie gave me a birdcage to paint. By the time I got around to it, it was two years later. I forgot where it came from. I had it for sale for $25 at an art festival, and she came out to support me. As soon as she walked up to the birdhouse, a weird expression came over her face. Just then I remembered it was HERS! Oh God, talk about wanting to crawl in a hole and hide! She never gave me anything to paint again.
MARGOT: HA! That’s priceless. I can relate, sometimes you are working on such tight deadlines that you get wickedly flustered. Okay, so I was working on my second book and I planned to do a polymer clay project. Of course, as is often the case, I was crafting by the seat of my pants. I made this rubber duck that was super cute – until I burned it and it turned into a brown pile of poly clay dog poop. It looked really good though! So if I ever need a doggy doo project, I’ve got that covered!
KATHY: You never know. Maybe there is a pet-themed shadow box in your future!
MARGOT: Well, here’s something pretty funny and poop related. (There’s a segue for you!) My first craft project was when I was a baby. I was in my crib and apparently bored silly. So I reached into my diaper and did a finger painting on the wall.
My poor mother! What can I say?! I had an urge to create even then. A gal has to use the materials she has at hand.
KATHY: Um, literally. Hee-hee! Geez, with all these confessions, I hope we don’t turn people off from crafting for National Craft Month! We better come up with an uplifting message to tie it all together – quick – like:
“Expect accidents, people! Don’t let them stop you from making something wonderful!”
Margot…help me out here!
MARGOT: Well, sticking with my theme I say: Into every crafty garden, a little crap must fall. Don’t be afraid, just stir it around and let it turn to crafty compost. Then plant some new seeds and watch them grow! There are no crafty accidents, there are just creative opportunities. Everything is about perspective and true creativity requires the willingness to make glorious messes!
KATHY: And to that, I raise my cup of red paint water and say, “Ditto!”
What are your crafty confessions? Share them in our comments! And we want you to have a crafty convo with your friends too. If and when you (hopefully) do, send us the links!
(My crumpled paper bag lantern)
* All content/photos copyright, © Kathy Cano-Murillo, 2008.