Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Letting Go, or, Make This Project Better Than I Did.

As a teacher, I can't tell you how many times I have encouraged my students to just let go, to play with their materials, to not focus on perfection and the end product, to just go for it and see what happens.  Well, this is certainly easier for some than others....

After my last post about my Chinese prayer papers, I decided that this was the year I drag myself away from Adobe Illustrator long enough to get back to crafting.  I decided to use my new papers to investigate and explore lantern forms and to cover my house in adorable little paper lantern garlands.

I have indeed made paper lanterns before, and this time I was going to step it up a notch, make beautifully crafted forms that would compel Martha Stewart to hire me as a freelance crafter.  I was going to make refined, sophisticated yet playful objects that would be splashed all over Pinterest.

For my getting back to crafting lantern I decided to take a different course than the one I would expect myself to take, and the one that would make you ohhhh and ahhhhh.  Instead, I abandoned all I hold dear as a crafter and I just went for it, with no plan, no thought of where I was going, working totally in the moment, with no thought as to what the next step would be.  That actually sounds like I was art making, and indeed there are tons of artists who work this way, with carefree abandon, and I always admire them...but I am not one of them.

About an hour into my letting go lantern, which I thought would be a round a 2 hour project, I realized that I hated the product I was making, and to be honest, that did put a damper on the process.  But, I forced myself to see it through to the end and 6 hours later I was putting on the finishing glitter glue touches.

I documented most of the process.  This piece looks like an explosion in the craft aisle, but I think it could be a potentially great project.  There are tons of variations, and if I was not so over it I would have added dangling dodads of sorts from the bottom.  You can do that...

I started by connecting 4 scrappy pencil drawings, then began collaging on top of them.  Next time, I would start with 1 long piece of paper rather than 4 separate pieces, and I would use a heavier paper than cheap-o sketchbook paper.

Part of my not planning or designing meant a lot of ugly stuff.  I removed a huge chunk, covered up things with paint, and now I am moderately satisfied with images.  The yellow lotus came from my Hong Kong papers.

For the bottom I cut a heavy piece of card board, then glued paper onto both sides.  I used this awesome tool to punch holes in it.  I actually don't know what its called and its not labeled, but I got it at Michaels, and I highly recommend checking it out.  I punched the holes hoping that light will shine through them, and also I can use the holes to hang dodads from.

For the top, I only covered 1 plane, and I punched a hole in the center.  Before I glue the box shut, I will make sure to have inserted this cord with a bead, so I have a way to hang the lantern.

The top view of the top.

Gluing up.  After closing the end walls, I inserted the cardboard bottom, and glued from the inside.  Then I glued in the top, but I glued from the top since it was all sealed up by then.  This was the worst part of the process.  My walls were all irregular and distorted from using paper too thin, so it was very messy and hard to glue.

And there you have it!  The door will give me access to inserting a flameless tea candle, and it should let the light shine through.

It needs a handle, I think for the next one I will do that.   That cool punching tool will also set grommets which is what I would do for adding a handle.

So there you have it, me at my loosey goosey-est.   It's lumpy and bumpy, there are glue stains, and there are gaps in the corners.  I am hoping to bring some of this letting go to all my work this year, my surface designs as well as my crafty projects.  Making this piece reminded me of being a kid, and just making stuff for the love of doing it, with no agenda for where it was going to end up, or who was going to see it.  I would say "ahhh, the good old days"  but actually, these are the good old days...

1 comment:

  1. It's wonderful and you can't see the lumpy bumps.
    Keep 'em coming!