29 August 2012

*everybody* has one

I got an email a couple of days ago that's been kicking around and making me fidgety. I replied privately to it but its something I'm hearing more and more often and I feel like I need to have a sit down and just get it all out in the open.

The email was about putting yourself out there, about worrying what happens if things don't go well. Why bother trying? What if people don't like what you make?

Here's the best advice I can give you: Everybody has an opinion. They base it on personal style or past experience or even just their mood. You cannot anticipate it and if you begin making art trying to predict what people will think, you will loose the joy of it all.

I have heard every opinion under the sun about my art. People aren't shy, believe me. When it comes to the negative ones, I can never really be sure where the criticisms come from. But in the end, it doesn't matter. I have to shake it off and keep on truckin'.

When I am in my studio and I choose to set something loose into the world, its because I'm satisfied with it. I know some people will like it and I know some people will hate it. But it all begins with the knowledge that I did the best I could by it and I'm happy to have my name on it.

If I change the way I make art to a way that I know will please other people but not myself, I've failed.

All of this sounds easy. The words feel hollow because they don't capture the long hours in the studio, the consideration that goes into something as simple as where to put a two inch square of fabric, the intense connection to this thing that others will take in and judge in a matter of seconds.

The thing is, if you want to put your work out there whether through writing an article or entering a show or starting a blog - you're already half way there. Wanting to do it is the first step, the second is deciding that no matter what anyone else has to say, you'll keep going.

Sharing your artwork is like throwing a web out into the world. It connects you to people in a particular way that nothing else can. That's why I do it. Because I feel like I have a special language that can only be told through the things I make. Some people will understand and others will move on. The ones that stay and talk are worth every single second of work and effort that went into making it.

Be brave. Do what your heart is telling you to do. Its very much worth it. :)

26 August 2012

buy art & raise money for breast cancer research! :)

Mark your calendars for Tuesday August 28.

Why? Because of this:

Cloth Paper Scissors magazine invited several artists (including your's truly) to make artwork to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Took about a nano second to say yes. :)

Cancer has touched my family many times and any opportunity I have to help make a difference is one I'm grateful to step up to and take.

On Tuesday August 28 CPS is going to stock their etsy shop with 41 pieces of mini artwork (in 5" square and 8" square sizes) for you to snag. All proceeds will go to NBCF. You will also have a chance to pick up a special set of Peerless Watercolors in a special pink palette.

Total win-win gig - get cool art and help raise money for a fabulous cause!

* The CPS etsy shop will be empty until Tuesday August 28th. But if you visit before hand, you can sign up to be notified by email when they open so you don't miss your chance! :)

25 August 2012

studio snippet and ponderings

I feel I've been neglecting the blog lately. Truth is, this year brings a kind of quietness to me that I've never been able to explain. I slow down, find myself looking closer at everything around me.

Autumn and winter are by far my favorite seasons. I love the way they wrap themselves around everything, the way they force me inside my studio to work. Maybe my recent pausing is in preparation of my most productive times of the year. Hard to say.

But I love this brief stutter of a slower pace. I see the things that define my life more clearly and love them even more.  I feel more sure then ever that Artist is my calling.

What about you? Do you find certain times of year see you in your studio more?

18 August 2012

RC 17 heading to ArtPrize

I'm pretty proud to be able to post that badge up above. I'll be showing one of my pieces, Remnants Collage 17, in ArtPrize in Grand Rapids this year.

Remnants Collage 17
Lynn Krawczyk

Its always exciting to show work but its especially exciting when its an all media show. My work will be at the B.O.B, you can see the other work exhibiting there as well by going here.

If you're unfamiliar with ArtPrize, here's the deal. The city of Grand Rapids, Michigan turns itself into a giant art walk for about two and a half weeks once a year. This year from September 19 - October 7. They'll be every kind of medium imaginable hanging from nearly every space available. Its truly a sight to behold.

If you're in the area and want to give my collage a wave, it would appreciate the visit! :)

12 August 2012

etsy shop schedule for the next few months

Good morning my lovely thermofax screen addicts. :) Let's have a chat about my screen enabling etsy shop, shall we?

The schedule is going to be a bit different beginning in November 2012 through February of 2013 and I wanted to give you all a head's up so you can plan accordingly.

See these ladies?

The one on the left (me) has a huge giant project (that I'm sort of hiding but not entirely if you pay attention to the "studio snippet" posts here) that needs my full attention. Its the demanding type and I'm happy to give it center stage but it means I need to make some temporary changes to other things.

And the smiling lady on the right? That's Jackie. You all remember her from the video I shot of our show, Ragged Layers, earlier this year. (She just opened an etsy shop of her gorgeous artwork. You'll totally swoon when you see it - go look!) I've mentioned it before but just in case you didn't know - she is the other half of the thermofax screen printing enabling team. When you place an order in my shop, you work with me to get all the details just so and then I hand it off to Jackie who zips your screens through the machine and gets them to the magic mailbox portal. She's a total pro.

Well, she's expecting a new family member later this year and will be otherwise occupied with all things baby :) so she's taking a break from filling screen orders for a little bit.

So where does that leave the shop? No fear, its not closing. But its going to go into a limited state for a few months while Jackie and I tend to life. What that means is that in November 2012, January 2013 and February 2013, only certain stock designs will be available for purchase. I'm going to suspend custom screens for that time period. So if you want a custom screen and don't want to wait until March 2013 for it, you need to snag it before November 1, 2012.

Here's the schedule in non-babbling form for easier reading:

August 12 - October 31, 2012
* Business as usual! :) Everything that is normally there will be available.

November 1 - November 30 2012
* No custom screens
* Limited stock designs available

December 1 - December 31, 2012
* Shop closed. This is for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that the mail tends to consume packages during this month and I've had too many go missing. So since it makes all of us unhappy, I always close during the month of December and reopen in January of the new year.

January 5 - February 28, 2013
* No custom screens
* Limited stock designs available

After February, we'll probably go back to normal but since we're not 100% sure, I'll post a notice as it gets closer. 

So there you have it - still plenty of time to snag what you need but don't say I didn't warn you! :)

06 August 2012

"thoughts with threads" exhibit

I love exhibiting at local galleries because being able to attend the opening receptions is a real treat. I've currently got work at the Northville Art House for the Thoughts with Thread exhibit.

The NAH is a fiber loving joint, as evidenced by the way they decided to decorate for the exhibit opening. They yarn bombed the front yard:

The place is dripping with yarn.

Inside, the show is extremely exciting. I was too busy talking to get shots of the whole exhibit but you can see quite a bit of the work here on Took's blog post.

And I was incredibly surprised and honor to see a Third Place ribbon hanging next to my entry:

And I got to meet the fabulous Jan Waller, an outstanding felter who won first place. Here she is beaming on Took's blog post (told you I was too busy talking to remember picture taking). Turns out we live incredibly close and the longer I read her blog and facebook page, I'm beginning to wonder if we were separated at birth, tons in common!

Its a really great show, such a wide variety of work representing the diversity of fiber. If you are in the area, do stop by and see it. It closes at the end of the month.

04 August 2012

hear us roar

I've been touched by the emails I've gotten about my latest article in QA. Truly, not only that people take the time to write, but that they feel comfortable sharing. Its not an easy thing to open up about personal art viewpoints.

The thing that I found to be a common theme is that many of you seem surprised my sketchbook is so...basic. And that's a good word for it, basic. I refer to it as my little workhorse, I don't really care how it looks, I just have at. There has been a common lament in the messages I've received saying that they didn't think their sketchbooks are impressive enough. I just want to set something straight here:

There is no "right" way to be an artist.

If you are inclined to paint grand sweeping jewels of perfection or if you just want to scribble with your ballpoint pen - its your space. Make it what you want it to be.

Let me share something private with you: its taken a long time for me to accept the title of professional artist. My mind knows I am but when I'm standing in my studio in my pajamas (that consist of a John Lennon "Imagine" t-shirt and penguin print bottoms) at three o'clock in the afternoon with paint in my hair and soy wax burning off my iron, well. It doesn't really fit the ideal picturesque definition I hold in my mind of what a professional artist is.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I get how pressure or perception can make you want to change the way you work. Don't. You do yourself a disservice. Its something I struggle with too. I'll hold the paint brush in my hand, stare at the fabric and debate my choices for the billionth time.

Maybe I should work in lighter colors, more cheerful. Maybe I should put flowers on things, people might like that better. Maybe I should...maybe...maybe...

In the end I have to argue myself out of wanting to change the most fundamental things that make my artwork mine to please some obscure ideal I've built up in my mind. You know what? No one has ever asked me to work brighter or lighter or with flowers. Not a single person. Its that stupid negative voice that wants to get in the way that tells me I should do what other people are doing rather then what my instincts tell me to.

The thing that is interesting is that these debates happen far less often now. They are still there but as soon as I feel it coming on, I squash it dead. Because I've proven time and again that staying true to myself was the right course. Holding that path helps keep the angst in check, builds confidence so that in the end you find yourself left with a sense of peace that follows you through the studio and your daily life.

Being Artist is not a simple life. But you know the saying "If it was easy, everyone would do it"? Just keep that in the back of your head the next time things feel difficult. Because we are a special breed, we know how to struggle through our insecurities and come out the other side stronger and more confident. We're stubborn enough to know that the challenges make the end result that much sweeter, that its worth every single second of doubt and debate.

We are Artist, hear us roar. ;-)