I almost forgot to blog today! Which is sad because I have a nice little post to share. I went to the Museum of Modern Art here in New York for a vacation day. I haven’t gone anywhere for pleasure in a full year. I go to work, the grocery store and then home. Every so often I vary it up, but it’s a slight variation, like getting off the train to shop at CB2 one day… but then I got right back on the train, so it wasn’t really anything. Just a blip.
I woke upon Wednesday morning and as I was getting ready for work I decided to go to MoMA. I just felt like it. I bought a $25 ticket online and that was it. I went off to a victorious workday where I got everything I wanted and got everything done and then I hustled to the museum. In addition to being the first outside plan that I’ve executed, it’s also the first time in a few years that I’ve desperately wanted to see some art. Especially art that wasn’t on a screen being shared for likes with comments under it.
I spent three hours working my way through galleries full of the self expression of world changing artists and thought about how precious it is to just walk around freely. There were other people, properly masked and there was social distancing and it was extraordinary. It wasn’t a trip to Florida to twerk in the street, but it was something.
Way back in the mists of time I studied photography and at the time I already felt like I wasn’t going to make a lot of money taking pictures, so I took graphic design, public speaking and book and paper making to give myself a fall back plan just in case. As we all know, just in case is happening right now.
Book and Papermaking actually made me really happy, and I loved making books. For a little while I was actually selling my handmade blank books at Quimby’s in Chicago (apparently they moved to Brooklyn, too), which let me know that if I were willing to put in the work, making books and paper could be a real hustle. Unfortunately I let it fall by the wayside as I chased a photography career and it’s been years since I even thought of making paper or books.
Enter the pandemic!
When it became obvious that this quarantine was going to be a long haul thing, I racked my brains for ways to stay busy and creative and make money. My job is retail adjacent so I wasn’t optimistic about going back full time. With unemployment kicking in an extra $600 I bought supplies for all of my creative endeavors so when the money ran out I would have everything I needed to sustain my efforts. One thing I bought was a papermaking kit. One sunny day I ripped up about two cups of printer paper and some Starbucks napkins and got started making my first sheets of paper in a decade. And it calmed me down.
Once you get started, it’s like riding a bike; you just get in and start creating. And since I can never just leave stuff alone, I started experimenting. Using water color paint to color pulp or paint on finished sheets, layering in found objects, and finding new ways to recycle paper scraps. I spent some time tie dying and saved the paper towels that I had laid down to soak up excess dye during the process. When I ended up with excess pulp, I put it in baggies an popped it in the freezer. It’s a zero waste kind of hobby.
I used one of my little cards as packaging for my first custom soap order. I think I’m going to make cards with envelopes to start with, because I’m really liking the process. Of corse I posted everything on instagram, as one does these days, and I was approached to create a papermaking tutorial video for Creative Sunday, which is going to be a new app and marketplace for creative makers. Much respect to bloggers, because I found making a video to be a monumental pain. I shot in little steps and over the course of a week figured out iMovie and realized that you need a compression app to make the movie small enough to email.
But check out my reward… and since I was curious, I did a little interview with Creative Sunday founder, Lauren Michaels.
Creative Sunday interview:
SEBMARKETBK: What is Creative Sunday?
Lauren Michaels: We are a new app to get crafty! Creative Sunday was made to help anyone create and shop their craft, whatever that may be. With thousands of supplies, that next project (big or small) is just a checkout away. You’ll be able to peek at projects from other makers and share what you’re doing too. 🙂
SEBMARKETBK: What inspired you to do this?
Lauren Michaels: I always loved making (drawing actually, but I’m not very good!). It is pure joy and gives me comfort. But, starting a new project is sometimes really overwhelming for me. Plus, I found myself shopping materials from multiple places and always wanting to see how others do their craft along the way, so that’s when I realized there might be a way to bring this all together. And, here we are! With a great team, we are creating a new app to bring ease and fun to your next project.
SEBMARKETBK: When do you launch?
Lauren Michaels: We are hustling and building away! The team is making strides each day and hope to have this coming your way soon.
SEBMARKETBK: How can makers participate?
Lauren Michaels: I absolutely love meeting new makers (like you, Faith!). It’s the highlight of my day. 🙂 Our Instagram celebrates the process of creating—messy, colorful and all. We love highlighting amazing creations from all types of makers, so just use the hashtag #creativesunday, to show us your project for a potential feature. And, please feel free to DM us anytime—we would love to hear from you and do something fun together!
You can follow Creative Sunday on ig until they get their app built and watch my papermaking tutorial here. Keep checking my etsy for paper products to drop in the next few months. handmade holiday cards! (Or thank you cards, I’m leaving them blank). here’s a list of Papermaking Resources on Amazon if you’re interested in trying to make paper yourself.
I was unexpectedly catapulted back into retail last year and I was bored. I was trying to think of a way to get a promotion while extending my job into something more creative, so I jumped on the Continuing Ed page at Fashion Institute of Technology‘s website to see if there was anything that I could turn into a bigger paycheck. I used to be a photographer, and have done some styling but I have no interest in doing photo shoots, so I had to find something that tied retail to art. Enter DE101 15A Prin D&E Dsgn – Small Scale Spring 2019 (a.k.a. Visual Merchandising)! I spent every Monday evening from February to May learning about why store displays look the way they look.
We had to build a foamcore shadowbox and every week there was a new assignment to create a contained display that expressed ideas and creativity without using words or being too obvious. This was the first assignment, white on white. Inspired by Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.
The next week was a black and white assignment where I painted sheets of paper with fast drying acrylic paint (neatly referencing the previous week’s cotton balls in the white on black paint splatters) and using these awesome Steve Madden Harpir boots. It’s amazing how much fun you can have being creative when you’re just taking one class and it’s not causing you to take out crippling loans!
This one was about selling health & beauty products, so I chose my fave perfume and did a presentation inspired by Magritte’s The Banquet, a painting that features a huge red sun. I feel like I could have done the roses on the side walls a little better, but I was trying to invoke a sort of 70s vibe, and infuse my presentation with the spirit of both disco and tango. So…yeah.
We did the holidays (my family is from Guyana and I live near Eastern Parkway so I just drew on my own Caribbean culture for this one.), accessories and famous personalities (can you guess who I did for my personality presentation?). We had to make everything in class so that the instructor could see our thought process, so it meant packing up my art supplies and lugging my big bag of foamcore box parts from Brooklyn to Manhattan,making a ritual out of stopping at the Starbucks across the street from school.
For this one I painted the backdrop to evoke water, like the water you soak your feet in for pedicures. Blue is such a spa color to me. We had to take an element of the product and repeat it throughout the design. I sat in the class tracing a foot-shaped cardboard piece that came with some socks I bought. I just sat there cutting out construction paper feet and stamping them with a round sponge brush. Good times.
This was my final project. I was thinking to do something grand, but then I found out all we had to do was design a presentation with fruit as the product. We couldn’t cut the fruit, put holes in it, paint or carve it… I was a little disappointed, because I thought it would be something more sophisticated. I decided to make mine about lemons because I have an actual lemon plant that came out of a seed that I planted. Just pretend it’s a warm summer day and you’re relaxing and anticipating a tall, cool glass of lemonade form the giant lemons that came off of your tree.
I know, what a boring post!
What I took away from this class is that creativity never leaves you, and that having to build a presentation on the spot every Monday was a great exercise in discipline. I really like looking back at my shadowbox creations, and I can always use what I learned to improve my online stores or maybe go back to styling… Maybe. I’m definitely thinking of taking the large scale class where you dress mannequins. And I passed with an A, so I felt pretty darned accomplished.