For the Fun of it: Experimenting in Other Artistic Mediums

While most of us on the Etsy New York team focus on a particular craft or skill for our shops, we often love to venture on a variety of artistic pursuits. As busy as I am and as much as I love to paint animals in watercolor (the focus of my shop), I always take some time, whenever I can sneak it, to stretch other creative muscles.  I choose discrete projects so I can have a finished product in not too much time, so that these art interludes don’t leave me with lots of unfinished projects that fall by the wayside.  I find when I take a short break, it enables me to see my favored medium with a new perspective when I turn back to it. I've done this for most of my life - I recently rediscovered some hand-sewn teddy bears I used to create to relieve stress as a teenager!

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Something I always return to when crafting outside my usual painting and drawing is making jewelry.  My first Etsy shop actually sold hand-painted seaglass pieces I’d found on the beach, and when the perfect piece calls out to me, I still love to figure out what it’s destined to become and ponder what it might have been in its past life…

Lately I have also been expanding my jewelry horizons by doing a bit of silversmithing.  I’ve taken a few classes and the process of filing, soldering, sanding and finishing is incredibly calming.  I’m still very much a novice, especially at soldering, but that’s half the fun, even if that means it takes twice as long to finish a piece.  I rent bench time at a small shop so I don’t need to own all the equipment; I can just got a few hours at a time when I have some time to work on a little project!  Here are a few I’ve completed recently:

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In the fall I took an embroidery class and I find the process of the repetitive stitching to be incredibly soothing.  As winter fell, taking an hour to watch a silly program on television while slowly embroidering, snuggled up under a big blanket, was the perfect for finding some chilly-day zen.

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I even inspired my mom to dig out some embroidery she started on before I was born!  We’re stitching matching embroidered cacti shirt pockets at the moment, and might finally finish this 37-year-old unfinished project she discovered.

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My father is a bit of an amateur photographer, and it’s fun to also borrow his SLR camera on occasion and refresh my long-dormant photography skills.

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In general, in case it’s not apparent, I love taking classes to learn new artistic skills from those who are expert in it, and deepening my learning on subjects I love.  I recently took a figure drawing class, which pushed me out of my comfort zone – quick poses, perspectives, and the drawing of humans instead of animals really shook things up!  I’ve also tried my hand at machine sewing  classes (not my strong suit, but very useful), am signed up for a loom weaving class next month, and just bought my first needle felting kit – that one I plan on teaching to myself with the help of the internet, when I can find a spare moment.

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In general, in case it’s not apparent, I love taking classes to learn new artistic skills from those who are expert in it, and deepening my learning on subjects I love.  I recently took a figure drawing class, which pushed me out of my comfort zone – quick poses, perspectives, and the drawing of humans instead of animals really shook things up!  I’ve also tried my hand at machine sewing  classes (not my strong suit, but very useful), am signed up for a loom weaving class next month, and just bought my first needle felting kit – that one I plan on teaching to myself with the help of the internet, when I can find a spare moment. 

What new projects and artistic pursuits have you tried your hand at lately?  I’d love to know!

Lauren 

Wandering Laur Fine Art