new creatures

A little collection of new creatures – I’ve posted them on Etsy  just now (7/31). I spent the morning re -shooting them, I was disappointed with yesterday’s photos ( on the up side I learned some things about aperture) so now I’ve got to roll right into Flamingo making – lots and lots of flamingos…

textile art bird

Dark Bird

textile art owl

textile art owl

Pecksniff  (he’s got some fancy junk in his owley trunk)

textile art songbird

Plum Songbird

textile art owl

Mr. Bittles

(beautiful fabrics courtesy of Sri Threads)

on July 31, 2014 7

inspiration

I started this dark bird months ago and he ended up becoming more complex than I originally intended.

dark bird

His underside is stitched and stitched. I like to have this kind of project, this kind of compulsive, repetitive stitching to pick up sometimes. I like to have busy hands when something is percolating in my mind or when I’m searching for an idea or part of and idea.

dark_bird_2

On the subject of inspiration: I listened to a great episode of “After The Jump” yesterday – Grace Bonney talks to wall paper designer Katie Deedy about her creative practices, where she finds inspiration and how she develops ideas. I love hearing about other peoples creative process and I could relate to everything Katie said. The work of being inspired is a constant and consuming process for me. I enjoy all of it – even when it’s difficult – the thrill of the chase I guess. I’m so curious what might be next, what surprises and odd intersections might reveal themselves.  I do some of my best thinking in the tedious or deeply repetitive work of hand stitching or paper mache and I’m sure that’s part of my attraction to those mediums.

handmade owl

I’m also nearly finished with a big gray owl – I’m photographing all the newly finished creatures today and I’ll add them to my shop ( temporarily on Etsy) tomorrow (7/31).

And progress – this is a sneak peek of the little boat pattern instructions that is part of the paper mache pattern collection (it’s nearly done!).

paper mache boat

 

on July 30, 2014 6

my blog is moving

ann wood -site  makeover

Ann Wood Handmade ( my shop website)  is getting a make over.  And part of that makeover is  to consolidate my blog and shop into one place. In a couple weeks the new site will be complete and everything will live at annwoodhandmade.com ( for now I’ll still be posting here).  I’m making lots of improvements to the shopping experience and I like the idea of having it all in one place – just seems simpler. While the shop site  is down I’ll be using my etsy shop  for sales.

on July 23, 2014 0

on my work table

I’m  still slogging away at the ship patterns – I’m through  the  armature making sections which is huge.  Shooting for next week  for release. If you’d like an email when new patterns are released you can join the list here. Sewing feels like a treat and a needed change of pace – way too much time with my computer lately. I’m working on a few new things.

sri creatures

These are mostly made from Sri Textiles – in a  moody palette I find myself returning to again and again this year. There is also a wonderful bit of eccentric mending on the lower right.

sri songbird

The songbird is a little bit of a re- design. The songbird pattern was the only one I hadn’t backed up and I lost it – so frustrating.  As soon as I finished the new design I found the old one in a mislabeled box.  I’m glad I did it though – they’re different – the old  shape is more stylized in a way I like and the new one has a more natural shape and I like that too.

vintage_buttons
And a button score! I used up what I thought was a lifetime supply of vintage and antique shell buttons – I use them for rigging ships and owl eyes.  I’m back in buttons for at least a couple years I think.

on July 22, 2014 6

working through the doldrums

Big projects have them. Usually what keeps me motivated is the process – I like making things, all sorts of things and that has extended to my new project: making patterns (especially because it’s new to me and I’m all lit up with learning).

I had hoped to finish the paper mache ship pattern in the Adirondacks over the holiday weekend. Planned on it really – no distractions, great light, plenty of room etc. but I’m back in thick, hot NYC summer and I‘ve still got a long way to go. Often, if something is taking me a very long time it’s because I’m lingering in the process – I don’t want it to end. In this case a lot of the fun designy stuff (like the cover) is done. And the project has gotten bigger:

I had made the executive decision to keep it small and manageable – just one ship – one small, pretty ship and I was nearly done with that.

small ship

But then I reversed that executive decision and decided to make it a collection – 3 vessels. The original small ship, a little boat and a large ship (similar to “The Gulnare” one of my favorites) – a big billowy full sailed affair.  And the large ship pattern had to be designed pretty much from scratch – I didn’t have a reliable large ship template. That’s a lot of  designing, and a lot of step photos and instructions, editing, testing etc. A lot.

The Gulnare

This morning I woke up feeling daunted by the hugeness of the task and frustrated about not being where I hoped I would. I re- read a post from James Clear that I keep a quote from pinned to my wall:

 “Reduce the scope, but stick to the schedule.”

It’s great advice. Great, simple advice that I still need to be reminded of often. The size of the project has changed and it requires a new strategy to finish.  Rather than pushing hard towards a completion date or relying on my enjoyment of the work to motivate me I’ve got it on my schedule everyday – 3 hours -  first thing in the morning: photographing, compiling, testing and editing.

I can’t wait for you to try the ship patterns and I know that focusing on the schedule rather than that goal is the most reliable way to get there.  If something, some goal has been eluding you I recommend trying the approach.

on July 10, 2014 22

collecting words

One of my favorite parts of making paper mache ships ( and other things) is collecting words and parts of words and letters to include.  I’m always collecting them and when I’m ready to make something, or sometimes when I’m wandering and inviting inspiration I sort through the box –  I love the happenstance of it.

words_1

words

 

on July 2, 2014 2

starting where you are

I think if you want to make progress, find your best work and ideas, you must be willing to start where you are – as awkward or small as that might be.  I’m usually very willing to do that – it’s one of my main life skills (the other is that I am insanely persistent, relentless even, the cool hand luke of art and craft).  As soon as I started to compile the patterns I’m working on I realized that video instruction would be helpful – there’s nothing like a demonstration and it helps with language barriers on tricky steps. I have no video making knowledge or equipment beyond my semi  broken iphone and a part of a tripod I found in the trash  but I put something together with stuff I had around that’s working well enough and I wanted to show you in case you’re in need of a similar solution.

video settup

I used a table lamp clamp I got at a yardsale,  a wood clothespin and 2 file clips.  The clips slide in and out of the clothespin easily and I can position it in a bunch of useful ways – it’s getting the job done.  I’m looking forward to getting better but having fun being a mess and experimenting. The whole pattern making experience has put me into that curious and driven kind of place that I was in when I began  7 years ago.

Today I was taking stills ( I don’t use the phone for that) and making videos for the next pattern – paper mache ships and boats (start saving your cereal boxes). I’m hoping to finish the photography tomorrow morning, test the rough draft this week, put it all together over the holiday weekend and have it available just after that.

ship mast

ship romance

paintbox 7/29

paint box 7/29

The ships and boats are a very satisfying project to make and I’m excited about sharing it.

Thanks so much to everybody who has purchased the bird pattern. I’m putting a post together of birds made by y’all and if you’d like to be included you can send a photo to me at: ann at ann wood handmade dot com  (please put bird photo in the subject).

on June 29, 2014 13

podcast interview

I’m a big fan of  Abby Glassenberg’s  Podcast : While She Naps.  I love having things to listen to while I’m doing mountains of sewing and her  show is one of my favorites.  She asked me to be on a while ago and I took a leap and said yes. It’s definitely something way out of my comfort zone but I’m happy I did it.  Abby is a great interviewer and we had fun.  We talk about creativity, process, sewing, selling patterns, and all sorts of other things. You can listen to the episode here and below is a quote that I love  from a book we talked about:

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure.They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.”

Catching the Big Fish – David Lynch

songbird

new songbird in progress

on June 24, 2014 3

little birds : a sewing pattern

The little bird sewing pattern is finally here! My goodness- it was an epic effort – this first pattern. I hope you enjoy it! You can purchase it here.

little birds : a sewing pattern

Little Birds includes a link to the  free video tutorial  “how to make a perfect bird leg” – useful with this pattern and for all your bird leg needs as well as a link to a video on sewing the bird body that you will receive within the PDF when you purchase the pattern. I hope you make birds! If you do I’d love to see – you can post photos here if you like. And if you’d like to be notified when more patterns are available (there is a ship on the horizon…..) you can sign up here.

on June 23, 2014 5

how to make a perfect bird leg

I keep adding things to the bird pattern. Last week I decided it needs videos so last weekend I shot how to sew the body, ( it’s the trickiest part) you’ll get a link to that with the pattern download. And today I shot “how to make a perfect bird leg”.

mason

It’s one of the things I’m most often asked about, the little bird legs, so I thought I would share that now as a gift. It’s my first ever video! It should be below  - if not click here.

How to Make a Perfect Bird Leg

*measurements are approximate for a bigger foot use more wire and create a bigger loop

* and one correction – if you find the 18 gauge wire to difficult use a HIGHER gauge wire – I incorrectly said lower gauge

tools and materials list:

18 or 19 gauge steel wire (hillman is my favorite brand)
floral tape (flora is my favorite brand)
needle nose pliers
wire cutter
hammer
hard surface

I hope you make bird legs! And stay tuned for the little bird pattern – it’s almost there. If you’d like email updates about new patterns and workshops etc. you can subscribe here.  Be sure to check the “make something” box on the signup form.

 

on June 19, 2014 15
Made Happy by Pictalo