A few days only for wandering.

 

"Art resides in the quality of doing, process is not magic."- Charles Eames.  I have been smitten with the ideas of creativity for awhile.  I was taken in the lively journey of Elizabeth Gilbert in her book "Big Magic" and left to question how does creativity enter our minds, our space.  I have a hard time imagining an idea floating around and at any moment we could grasp it, if only we were alive enough, and present enough in that time.  That idea almost seems religious in the sense that, if you believe enough your prayers will be answered and all others, well, too bad, you will be left alone and overlooked because your faith wasn't strong enough.  I have a hard time believing in that, I do think folks try very hard, they think, ponder, walk, ride bikes, drink coffee, hoping and waiting for that burst of creativity and sometimes it just doesn't come.  I really did like her book, but I often want to hear more about the real work it takes to get creativity to flow, the hours spent doing work that seems bad, empty, forgotten before the good stuff emerges.  I especially am fond of the book "The Creative Habit", by Twyla Tharpe.  I enjoy the exercise she puts forth, the myriad of professions she draws on to suggest ways to be more creative.  With effort, real work, we can access this magic.  But is it magic? Not really, I think more and more, it is work.  Like those who believe in Kinetiscism, actually moving your hand in a random doodle, can help your brain and body understand you are engaging in work, the movement can stimulate the next step, creation.  Know what will we create.  

In my work, I try to build a cohesive body of work that all lives happily together.  Some people call that branding, and I understand that term, but it some ways it feels so forced to me.  I really try and make connections that feel natural.  I make a lot of mistakes, and sometimes I feel like I cannot afford to make those mistakes, it takes time away from me making the work that actually sells.  This becomes my conundrum, needing more time for mistakes.  More time for wandering around without feeling the need or guilt that I am not stocking up inventory for the Fall.  Time is probably one of the most precious things in my life, however, luckily I find it coming after happiness and love.  However, it seems the hardest to balance.  

I guess I could use a big gust of wind to sweep into my mind with that next great big idea, but I know it will take time, effort, mistakes, and maybe I will even overlook what was really great for that other thing.  But in all, I am brought to that common theme in my life, I am grateful.  I am grateful for such an amazing quest, for the luxury of even getting to imagine what this is, for a life that is made based on me creating and a public that supports me.  I better get back to work.

It's time to get on the bike again

I am here writing this a month shy of turning 40.  That is not daunting to me, it actually excites me.  I love the idea of opening the gates of a new time in my life, and hopefully one that propels me forward.  

As I reflect, because that's the kind of bird I am.  I have found, as I suspect others have as well, that I have been avoiding trying new things based on not having enough time to even consider starting a new adventure. I do have legitimate excuses like all of us, I am a homeschooling mom, adjunct professor, owner and creator of this here ,Platypusfile, wife, daughter, friend, and super involved in my local homeschool co-op, but I am still me.  Always hungry for learning new things, and really really, ready and over due.  Most of my artwork and product designs have been due to me finding a new technique or immersing myself in a new found skill.

So, it's time to make time.  I know easier said then done.  They say there is a never good time to quit smoking, like there will never be that time in life where everything calms down (As I write this my son blares Weird Al in our 1000 square foot home) so, dive in and get messy, even when it seems like a bad time.

What I am hoping for, and I am little nervous to even say it out loud, is to concentrate more on my drawing.  finding a way to integrate it more into the products.  I am taking Adobe Illustration lessons, and brain storming on new product lines for Spring 2016.  I am concentrating on how to incorporate text with image for a bigger line of greeting cards.  I am also working on pattern design and repetition, not sure where that is headed, but momentum is a good enough reason for me to stick with it.

So that is the path I am beginning,  I know I will be tired, but I hope I come out: stronger, smarter, more creative (thanks to Tywla Tharp's book The Creative Habit), and well, maybe even happier.  To trying new things out, I hope you all will join me.

 

summer love

porch

My summer was miserably wonderful.  I really mean it.  I got sick at the end of April, and for the rest of the summer I tried to distract, heal, medically treat all the symptoms that were showing up daily.  It seemed like a battle I might have to continually fight, and I was becoming too tired and too weak for it.  Happily, I am better now and can write this with clarity, something I have been without for a while.  My gallbladder was making me sick, I had gallstones but it was also under-active and I suffered from chronic nausea and pain.  It wasn't like anything I ever experienced, but it was uncomfortable, and sometimes unbearable.  The medical advice was inconsistent and lengthy, I cannot imagine having to deal with that system on a regular basis, I was actually feeling like giving up before I knew what was wrong just so I could be done with all the hoop jumping.  I luckily know now that my gallbladder was making me terribly sick, I am now almost 5 weeks from the surgery and feel amazing.  Just like the me I thought existed.  

Besides treating myself nutritionally and medically some of my self based treatments were camping at the Beach, bike riding and painting.  I cannot say enough about summer camping, I know it is hot in Florida but the cool breeze at the beach is soothing, and the ocean water healing.  Every time we left our campsite to come home I felt some better, a healing that nothing else could resemble.  We camped at 5 different locations, so we really made it a big part of our summer. I also painted as much as I could for my show, Even the Night Shined, at the RA Gray Building in Tallahassee, FL.  The slow, methodical process of creating strokes, color, and shapes was comforting.  You will also find many gallbladders hidden among the botanical shapes that I am known for.  Something that happened unexpectedly. 

I sympathize with those who are sick, I did not want to be someone who was defined by their last symptom.  I love life, I love being active, I love trying new things.  I am incredibly grateful for everyday.  And am so pleased to feel like me again, and to be able to think beyond what my body feels like.

Starting anew

It's very exciting to be writing this blog post in my new website.  I'm pretty jazzed with how smoothly and easy it is to view my work now.  I have to admit I am not one of the digital age, I live in a world adorned with most things handmade.  However, it is time I merge my sensibilities with the internet.  

I hope to connect with my viewer more, and that is something that comes easily at craft shows, and workshops, but is harder to maintain via the internet.  I do however, see many folks that do it fluidly and I hope to get a little more comfortable and at least have half the ease they have.

A wonderful customer asked "how did I get the name Platypusfile?"  There are two questions I get a lot at craft shows.  That is one of them, the second I will address next.  Platypusfile is hopefully funny and amusing to the guest who first sees it's name.  It is kind of like a riddle, but there is no answer.  I love books and words in addition to making things.  We have a book collection well over 3,000 books.  I was lunching with a friend talking about what to name by biz, back in 2005, and then we came up with Platypusfile.  Simply because I love the word Platypus, I think as you say it brings joy and laughter to your mouth.  And File because I am a bibliophile.  I am glad I named my business Platypusfile, it is unexpected, and if I had to do it again I'm not sure I would have the guts to be so irreverent. 

Another good question that comes up, and is put a healthy number of ways, what is my inspiration?  People often find my work familiar yet different, something that might be embroidery but it's not.  I am inspired by a number of things and probably what people see is my admiration for Folk traditions, Romanian, Mexican, Scandinavian, Turkish, American.  I do not favor one, I blend them all into what I hope is something new and refreshing.  I often do this by changing forms more abstractly, brightening color, merging lines and referencing my own take on nature.  I am not a folk artist, I am a trained artist with a MFA from The Art Institute of Chicago but I am an artist that looks at what has come before her and introduces again with new insight.

I love being asked questions, I find by having to come up with answers I learn more about my brand and practice.  So please always ask me or any other artist about what they make.  We appreciate you thinking of us and wanting to take part.

 

Starting off a new Year!

Just shy of a week and so much has transpired this year.  I love having a chance to begin again, sort through things, behavior, ideas and make changes.  My sweet boy's birthday is on the last day of year, so when he turns his bright new age, he fully does this for one year.  I like this idea, starting something new for a whole year.  

For his birthday we did a Cryptid hunt.  A cryptid is something like a treant (seen below), mermaid, mothman, werewolf, etc.  We created a field guide and they had to do this scavenger hunt to save and protect these beings.  The party was as much fun as bringing the idea(s) to life.  Since then, I have been looking over Platypusfile, thinking of new items to make, making my staples, thinking about its path.  I love my work and enjoy it immensely, but I often just flow on its momentum and it's nice to have time to think.  

As with others, cleaning is also another way I usher in the new year.  I am rare and do enjoy cleaning, having to take care of my goods is reassuring and reminds me that I do not need as much as I want.  I look forward to all this reflection and hope to continue with this mindfulness well into the year.  I wish you all a healthy, fun and loving New Year!

Big News!!!

I'm so excited to announce that I am joining Julie Guyot's studio and retail space at Lake Ella!  I am so honored to be part of her sweet, creative space.  Doors will open this Tuesday from 1-5 and more fun and workshops will be announced as the space settles into it's new location.  You can come see the space and goodies every week Tuesday - Friday from 1-5 and food truck Thursdays from 1-9!  So exciting to see all the good that 2015 will bring!

Our new porch




We have lived in our sweet cottage for 10 years now.  10 wonderful, adventure filled years!  Our house also has a 20 foot screened in porch, which for most of it's life with us has served as a catch all rather than a place to rest, talk and enjoy.  My summer task was to fix it up and paint it for a Birthday celebration for my momma and aunt this past June.  Although last minute I decided to also paint a mural on the floor of the porch.  I was totally itching to do another mural, my experience at North Florida Community College was so awesome that I wanted another go at it.  This definitely helped fill that mural hunger.  So here is our sweet porch since it's debut in late June.  I also got a chance to seat 17 folks all around one table for Brunch.  I have big romantic ideas of everyone sitting, drinking tea, and laughing.  So glad it has happened and can now happen again in the future!






Beginnings

Beginnings, how I love them.  I am one to continually try new things.  I love and admire others who do the same.  In part because it's my temperament and also because I think it is daring and youthful.  I have work that I love to do and will always do it; drawing, sewing, new to me this year - painting, collage, experimenting with materials.  And with bated breath I like trying new things.  I have wanted to create yardage for some time now.  I have dabbled with Spoonflower, the online site that helps you make digitally printed cloth.  But I tend to need my work to be closer to the handmade.  We make t-shirts with silkscreens, but I wanted to get one step closer to printing cloth.  When I taught 2D Design many moons ago, I had a student who brought me back a wood block stamp from Saudi Arabia, so beautiful.  Since then, this has been in my mind for me to tackle.  My goal is to turn these into something special, I have a particular purse/bag I am going to try and make out of this.  Hopefully I will have some success and they will be available this Fall.  To Beginnings...

Showtime!

Spring is very busy in the craft festival world.  And we totally dove in this year, three shows in three weekends.  I am typically up for adventure, and we did it, but wow am I tired.  Along the way we saw so much great stuff and I haven't really had time to let it all sink in.  The nice thing about being a crafter is that we travel a lot around the South, so it really lets us see all it's beauty, growth, development, art, food and people.  

We started off in Birmingham, AL at their free Botanical Garden - beautiful - and made our way to Oxford, MS to the Double Decker Festival. They put on a great festival full of great music, tons of attendees and great art!  The next weekend we went to our first ever Handmade Market in Raleigh, N.C.  We had yummy food and honestly this was one of the prettiest shows I have ever been too.  I thought the artists were great, I only wish I had more money to spend on their pretty wares.  We also couldn't believe that the North Carolina museums were free!!!  We spent two days at the North Carolina of Art Museum, it is AWESOME!  It has an extraordinary art collection, a dazzling Alex Katz and Kehinde Wiley.  The outdoor area is a variety of art mixed in with walking and biking trails, I haven't seen anything quite like it.  I wish I was only closer.  

We closed our marathon of crafting in Atlanta, GA.  An area that we are starting to get familiar with, I think it's around our 8th show there. We had the pleasure of visiting the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, this is a must if you can get there.  They had the most astounding living sculptures that I have ever seen.  My son was also taken with the gardens, it's so nice that they are places that are a pleasure for all ages, this is a gem!  

We are going to take a rest for a couple of weeks and then get our crafting gear ready again for The Strawberry Patch maker's mart this June.  I am tired, but count my lucky stars we get to have such a fun life. 





Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Double Decker Festival

North Carolina Museum of Art

The Handmade Market

North Carolina Museum of Art

The Atlanta Botanical Garden

Dunwoody Art Festival

a little of this a little of that




Spring is always so hopeful for me, full of new possibilities.  I love the idea of actual growth and how we can grow goodness and new ideas within ourselves.  I tend to make several different types of things, one time I counted and I was working on 30 different things.  This was always said to be bad, which is a shame.  I spent many years in art school and before that public school and they thought that a devoted focus to one idea was best.  I can see how that is best for many, but not this creative person.  I need many things going on, I need to jump around.  I have a hunger for problem solving which often leads me to figure something out on one project to then influence the other.  This is good and this is how I work.   It has taken me many many years to accept and nourish this time of work, I have had to battle all the voices who said focus on one thing is best.  I know we all have our battles.  I have also been working pushing myself to try new things.  At the late of last year it was the mural, I have also been working on hand lettering, watercolor painting, and evolving my wears into different directions.  I am humble to this process and so lucky to have it.  Here are several photos of what I have been up to.







Here's a little diddy....




Here is an artist statement for this work....  Janae Easton is based out of Tallahassee, FL. Her work swims through many different mediums, from prints to cloth and most recently murals.  Her recent mural The Trumpeting Flower at North Florida Community College is a unique example of her love of color, shape, and line.  When her work is on a small scale it is often thought to be needle work even though it is really made up of lines using pens.  In this large painting we can see the reference's to folk embroidery designs, Hungarian, Scandinavian and even Mexican.  The color choices also enhance these feelings.  The history of women's craft is very important to Janae, she embraces even the smallest treasures such as an old doily as a significant reminder of the need for creating.  For the need of pleasure in what we create.  She is honored to be able to paint something that shows her voice and at the same time conjures up many women who came before her.  The mural painting allows for the artist and community to come together in a quick moment, allowing a flood of emotions, remembering shared histories and curiosity.


The long loved bird pillow will be retiring in 2014








Have you ever been so grateful for something you made?  The bird pillow created a magical creative life for me.  It was one of my first pieces I made for shops/craft sales, and amazingly I have sold over 4,000 small and large birds.  That is something to be grateful for.  With all this love, it can be hard to decide to retire them and move on to something new.  I see for myself and my business that it's time to let the birdies find their last homes and get busy in the studio for a fresh new batch of goodies in 2014.  I am very excited to see what will come.  So if you ever wanted a bird pillow and didn't get one, now is your time, for they will not be made after this last batch is sold!


Reflecting


Seeing progress on something this big acquires a lot of patience.  
which in certain times I have lots of, but not in the case of art making, I have been overly curious how this mural would look.  I am still in the process, but feel that I can see her voice as a picture and am relieved to know now that she looks a lot like her planned drawing.  I am still working on color blocking, detail, and soon I will add the heron's into the picture.  This has been a lot of fun, and in truth I wasn't sure how it would go.  I have never done a solo mural before.  I am now hoping I can do more, I really do like the production of creating this.  Happy Thanksgiving to all, I will have more pictures in December!





Fall crafting

I am getting giddy by the cold air.  I love the way Fall makes me feel, even my cats seem not to be able to contain their enjoyment for the cooler temperatures.  Fall days mean windows open, lots of warm cups of coffee and extreme crafting.  Loads of making in the studio to get ready for the Holidays.  Another time of year that I love!  Please check out some goodies I have been working on and remember I love doing consignment and wholesale, just let me know what you are looking for!  Enjoy your days!!!



owl ornaments $15 each



scarves $24 each

hair pins $14 for a three pack

up-cycled sweater stockings $28


reversible jersey scarves, oh so soft

drawing on concrete with paint






I am in my beginning stages of a mural for North Florida Community College.  I had a fabulous first day of drawing/painting the placement of the mural.  I like how it has a ghost like appearance.  I will be posting my updates every week to show you how it is coming.  I am very excited to see how it progresses!  The colored drawing is to show you how I expect the color to be.


falling in love over and over again

My aesthetic is governed by an absolute love of patterns.  Mixing patterns, creating patterns, deconstructing patterns, ahhh i love it.  Which is one reason I love making jersey scarves with reversible patterns.  Two for one, and they are silky soft around the neck.  So soft, I often fall asleep in them.  

Now that back packs are getting filled up again and folks are figuring out what will make a good school lunch, I am daydreaming about what patterns and colors I will be using this fall in the scarves.  I am most excited by the aztec and tribal patterns, but who know what will show up.  Let's wait and see!






S U M M E R


Summer is glorious, even the heat.  Which is a serious thing to say when you live in N. Florida.  Most folks probably wouldn't agree with me on this, but I love the heat, the rain, the rapid growth that overcomes the summer days.  It is probably what fuels a lot of my work.  I tend to like to watch when something wild gets even wilder.  Then there are the days where I am trying to tame this wildness, like today in the garden.  Clipping, trimming, whacking, wiping sweat and repeating.  A bit like the creative process, but I sweat less, at least in a physical sense.  

I think about this blog often and of social media and wonder who it is that I am talking to.  On the rare days are I do speak it doesn't seem like I am truly talking to anyone but myself.  But I am sure that is how folks felt when they were writing books, and this is nothing so dear as that.  However, I wanted to say this here and now, to tell you that is why I stray.  I actually love making pictures, finding words, seeing what happens.  But then there is always that creeping doubt that questions why do it?  

Summer is lovely, I always read more, swim more, eat more fruit.  All very good things.  This is also the time when my brain is a stirring for new products, designs for Fall.  I will be concentrating on drawings and prints for the next few months and will post what comes of my new ideas.  I am hoping your summer is as lovely as you are.


cloth bag in Harmony print $12


work in progress

silk screen plus water color

assorted cards and mini prints $5-$7

G O O D I E S





Here is a look at some items you will see at the Dunwoody festival.  I will have oodles of scarves, even more bright summery colors in the batch I am bringing.  I love the look, feel, excitement of Splash festivals- if you haven't had a chance to come out to one.  Dunwoody will be a blast, the next one I plan to do is in the Fall- Norcross.  Have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!