free me with plaster

I like order. My life is in order, my home is in order, you know that my fabric is in order. Maybe it’s a control thing, who knows, but it makes me happy. The unexpected throws me, always has and the same can me said for my craft. Whatever craft I’m doing, whether it’s sewing, felting, embroidery etc, it always turns out neat and will look exactly how I intended it to look… Sooooometimes, I secretly crave freedom. At times I picture myself with a blank canvas, a paintbrush and paint and allow myself to go wild knowing that the outcome, whether it’s good or bad, will make me feel great! In reality I know that I would find that so difficult to deal with … or would I?

A few years ago when we were living in Brighton on the South Coast of England, I went to a days collage workshop. We each had to stand up and say what we wanted to get out of the day. I remember standing when it was my turn and saying that I wanted to free up. I wanted to create a collage that wasn’t symmetrical or neat and tidy, or predictable. You know what? I came away with a collage of a bird and each piece was cut and applied perfectly! Darn it! I have a friend who’s a counselor and I can see her now nodding her head thoughtfully with eyebrows raised and knowing exactly what I’m about!

All this is leading to something, so stay with me. It’s just a little something to most I imagine, but a huge something to me. On Friday, as usual it was our Girl Friday Craft Day. One member was away in Australia so that just left Victoria and myself. I asked if we could have a play around with fabric and plaster and that’s exactly what we did. Now, the thing with casting plaster is that you never know how it’s going to turn out!! I went along with plaster images in my head of exactly how I wanted my casts to turn out. Did it happen that way? Err…nope! For several hours we tried out different techniques but I couldn’t produce what was in my head. At times the plaster was too thick so created air pockets. At other times it was too runny and seeped through the fabric. It was getting towards the end of the afternoon and I was beginning to feel like a complete failure. I decided to give it one more go and…..hold your breath here…..nope, still not what I was expecting until Victoria said, ‘Hey, take this pencil and do this…and take this paint brush and do that…and… she taught me to add to what I’d created in the hope that the final outcome was acceptable to me. And do you know what? It was! It wasn’t perfection, plaster had still seeped through the fabric but I learnt that actually, that was ok. I had the odd air pocket but again, that was ok too. What I’d produced, I was pleased with, thrilled even, because it wasn’t perfect. Victoria said that perhaps that’s the difference between craft and art. Hmmm, I’ll think on that one but she might be right. Wanna see?

Plater

Plaster1

So now, I’m excited about experimenting with plaster and the washing line range I that’s what I’m calling it) and I’m not scared about getting it wrong, because actually, that really doesn’t matter!

I took some photos around Victoria’s garden whilst waiting for the plaster to dry. She still won’t let me in the house (we work in her studio that’s away from the house) but I’m hoping that someday she will. We’re very different in some ways Victoria and I. She tells me that she’d like to be like me when it comes to housekeeping and I’d like to be a little more like her, especially when it comes to bravery and experimenting with art. She has weeds in her garden, her outdoor furniture needs attention, her fence needs rubbing down and painting, but maybe one day, she’ll realize that that’s exactly why I think she’s so FABULOUS!

Distressed3

Distressed_2

Distressed1

Distressed2

I spent a few hours with another friend this week. She’d just got back from a big trip and looking at her photos she showed me Europe through her eyes. It’s the end of Winter but we sat on the deck drinking flat whites and marveling at the view. Wouldn’t you just love a view like this? See the snow on top of the mountains?

Tonis_view

Flatwhite

Did you see the message about comments at the top of the blog? I’ve been umming and ahhing about this for sometime now. If people take the time and make the effort to leave a comment then more often than not I’ve acknowledged it with a email, it’s polite, I’m English and politness goes a long way! Over the past few weeks things have got so busy around here that I haven’t had time to email everyone and that makes me feel bad and then I worry and then…I’m sure you get the idea. So I decided that unless your comment is a question (and I’ll try to answer those) then please know that each and every comment that’s left is received with bucketfuls of thanks and appreciation even though I can’t always thank you individually. Hope you understand.

Until next time guys…

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18 Comments

  1. I think that sometimes we are all tied by our fear of failing instead of learning through the process.I guess it’s because we all know our time is valuable and failure seems like a waste.I love your plaster pieces and think the charm would have been lost if they were perfect.

  2. Mum

     /  August 26, 2007

    None of us are perfect, even though we would like to be. But with the variety of talents we all have, we can work and play together and come up with something very spacial. You seem to be doing this with Friday’s girls. The plaster picture is realy nice. Keep up the good work and the sharing of talents.

  3. Mum

     /  August 26, 2007

    None of us are perfect, even though we would like to be. But with the variety of talents we all have, we can work and play together and come up with something very spacial. You seem to be doing this with Friday’s girls. The plaster picture is realy nice. Keep up the good work and the sharing of talents.

  4. I can relate to what you say about creating ‘perfect’ things. I somewhat have the same issue with letting go.
    I’m happy for you in getting to the point with your plaster work, that you were pleased with the process and outcome.
    I think they’re really charming. Well done.
    Ahh, your view is so special 🙂

  5. In my experience hardly anyone replies individually by email to comments – so relax!
    I also need to free up a bit – I work ‘tight’ and neat. My house however, is a tip!
    I like the plaster/washing line thingys too. Monoprinting is also great for unexpected results (see my blog for tutorial)as you can’t actually see how things are coming out until it’s finished.

  6. I LOVE the new plaster work! brilliant. Hey, perhaps you can help me with my new project? I am trying to push the idea of ending comments with NN2R if it is just a lovely comment, it stands for No Need To Reply. That way we can leave comments and not add to each others work? If you like, please use it and maybe others will follow the trend?
    NN2R

  7. Poppy Black

     /  August 27, 2007

    I never know what my creations are going to end up like! I love surprises. It is satisfying to produce exactly what you wanted, but sometimes you can be delighted with an unexpected outcome. I think it is more fun to be interesting rather than perfect (but it is all too easy to feel a failure if you let yourself).

  8. i am madly in love with that first plaster washing line piece.

  9. Hiya,
    Looks like you had a fabulous day, and what a view! I think sometimes it’s good to just go with what you feel instead of worrying that something might not be ‘perfect’. NNTR!

  10. Hiya,
    Looks like you had a fabulous day, and what a view! I think sometimes it’s good to just go with what you feel instead of worrying that something might not be ‘perfect’. NNTR!

  11. Oh dear I know some folk email in response to comments but I just try and visit the commenters blog because really there are only so many hours in a day and as much as it might be fun we can’t spend all day blogging. I for one would rather see one of your lovely posts.

  12. emma

     /  August 31, 2007

    Dear Alison
    I love reading about the calmness of your life! I went to the Arundel Gallery Trail on Bank Holiday Monday. I missed you! I went with three ladies who are a bit older and spent the whole time reading out prices to them as they couldnt read the small print!! The trail has not moved on at all! Skyla (age 4) who I think will be our little artist has no idea about boundaries so comes up with brilliant ideas as she is not constrained by rules at all – as your friend said the difference between craft and art – very well put. Skyla wont concentrate on the alphabet at all yet sat studying a stripey bag I have got that has sequins along some of the lines for quite some time – oh well! Miss you lots – hope to come up with the book idea soon! Kids back to school soon – going on a beading weekend in Whistable. A friend said what was I going to make – answer – dont care as long as it is brain switch off time/creative and quiet!!
    Lots of love Emma xxxxxx

  13. emma

     /  August 31, 2007

    Dear Alison
    I love reading about the calmness of your life! I went to the Arundel Gallery Trail on Bank Holiday Monday. I missed you! I went with three ladies who are a bit older and spent the whole time reading out prices to them as they couldnt read the small print!! The trail has not moved on at all! Skyla (age 4) who I think will be our little artist has no idea about boundaries so comes up with brilliant ideas as she is not constrained by rules at all – as your friend said the difference between craft and art – very well put. Skyla wont concentrate on the alphabet at all yet sat studying a stripey bag I have got that has sequins along some of the lines for quite some time – oh well! Miss you lots – hope to come up with the book idea soon! Kids back to school soon – going on a beading weekend in Whistable. A friend said what was I going to make – answer – dont care as long as it is brain switch off time/creative and quiet!!
    Lots of love Emma xxxxxx

  14. Carry on experimenting Alison it does promote freedom and as I tell my art group, there is no right or wrong it’s whatever you want it be and your very own creation which is ‘you’ and your signature which is unique. Plaster work here we come, very interesting like it very much and hope to see more.

  15. Dude. What is in the cup? I don’t know what it is, but I want some. Is it coffee? Fancy, fancy coffee in cups like people who have nice cups? Or maybe some frothy topping to a desert?

  16. Myra

     /  September 6, 2007

    Hi Al
    I have been out of range for an age it seems, and I have missed my regular visits and updates of your life. It looks as if you continue in the fast lane with your creative tendancies. I know order is a comfortable place to be, but chaos and unpredictability can produce some great findings as we explore the unknown – I would say it goes ever so well with your talent and great gift to produce treasures.
    Good luck with the upcoming fair
    Lots of love

  17. Poppy Black

     /  September 6, 2007

    Promise to put your blog on my list of blogs when I finally work out how to do it! I always seem to do blog stuff at night when I am at my most computer illiterate. Even John can’t work out where I am going wrong.

  18. Hello Alison, I’ve just found your blog and am thoroughly enjoying reading of your life in NZ.
    I know how you feel being so far from home – I emigrated to the US 45 years ago but still miss England! I’m from Torquay and will be going over next month – so excited.
    I’m a “fabricaholic” too as my Mum was a dressmaker. I especially love linens and anything textured. Your designs and finished products are absolutely beautiful. Just wish I could get organized like you. I’m now into altered art/paper crafts so more stuff to find storage spaces for!!!
    Know you’re busy but hope you can make a quick visit to me “ACROSS THE POND”.
    Enjoy your week.

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