Crafting was always something others did. Then, after working for decades in a task-oriented corporate world, several sudden and difficult changes led to retirement and a very different life. The abrupt switch to no schedules and few resources stunned me. And in those first months, I found that my creativity didn’t need sleep or a composed mind. I started by making stuffed animals and found it calmed me. They didn’t want perfection, only whatever I could give them to draw out their unique personalities.
“Left Field Rising” is the name I’ve given my folk art designs, which now extend far beyond stuffed animals. Made almost entirely from natural and repurposed materials, these creations tend towards quirkiness. I've always had a fondness for left field, and embracing that tendency feels good. No peering around corners to gauge the audience, and there are few rewards better than spontaneous delights.
I work out of my living room. You're right - mine is not a conventional home. It's set up according to two requirements I have: lots of storage space, and having as many materials as possible within arm's reach. One result is that my dining room and extra bedroom are now storage/workrooms. And if you were to walk into my living room (you may want to cover your eyes if you're a neat freak) there are 5-10 different projects going on at once.
Here's how it works: I get an idea, either straight from the noggin or sparked by something I see. To start, I peruse the vast array of fabric, paper, hardware, frames, and left-over parts of whatever, most given to me by friends who learned long ago to think twice before throwing anything away. I seldom shop, but when I do, I'm a very slow shopper because I look at every item from a different angle; its original purpose is irrelevant because I'm seeing what I might make of it. When I have the first material, I start. You may think it's an easy slide from there. Maybe if I planned, but I'm not a planner. I move ahead with my first inclination eagerly. At some point, I stop because either I have to think about what direction to take next, or I've run into an obstacle that hadn't raised its annoying head in my first, rapturous vision of this creation.
A quick example: One thing I make is Curly Willow Lamps - a small log with Curly Willow branches intertwined around the top rim of the log, with a low-watt bulb in the center. They're great night lights or decorative accents - cool shadows through the branches. On the first one, I loved hot-gluing the branches, delicately weaving them to form just the right balance of density and space. Stepping back to admire it all, I realized I hadn't installed the light fixture yet. I was left to drill a hole through the base with the lamp on its side because I couldn't stand it on the branch ends. And the opening of the circle created by the branches on top was small...small enough I barely could fit my hand through to screw in the bulb. Ah, you just met me.
Thank you for taking a look at, and reading about, my brainchildren.
LFF is my collection of folk art designs. Made almost entirely from natural and repurposed materials, these creations tend towards quirkiness and wit.