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  • April Gavin

Amid the Burning and Craft Dating part 2

New Art: Greetings, Before I go back to teaching for the next two weeks, I wanted to share what just came out of the studio. This small piece is called "Amid the Burning". Technically, it's a mixture of painting and stitching to create story. Emotionally, it's a brewing to the common thread of all the fires happening in sacred spaces. Sometimes those fires are accidental like Notre Dame Cathedral; Sometimes those fires are intentional like the Mosque bombing in Christchurch; and Sometimes those fires are metaphorical as in "open fire" of bullets in synagogues, churches, and schools across the United States. Amid the burning there is a response of hope. Cynicism and hate have no home here.

Camp 510 update: The first two weeks in June were eventful. I had some major teaching highs which reinforced why I do the work. I also had some serious lows that unraveled my reinforcement. The kids made some lovely things though and maybe they learned something along the way. We'll see how the next two weeks go. I'm praying for a smoother ride. I'll share the whole gallery sometime in August.

Craft Dating part 2: Ok, so hopefully, you've had some time to read my first post on craft dating. Additional hopefulness that you've begun dating. If you have, right on. Here's some further ideas on the subject.

Continued education: Perhaps, you've found something you enjoy doing and are wondering how to go deeper without getting married. You don't have to get hitched, but you do have to practice. Creativity is a muscle. It gets stronger the more you use it. There's a few things I can recommend: 1) Your local library has a bevy of books on everything imaginable including craft books. Generally, these books are project based and the projects are simple enough to follow in a book. 2) Now that you've had some experience finding a well done You Tube video can also help you along your path. You Tube videos though vary from extremely well done to a fantastic waste of megabytes. Ask around for a good video on the craft(s) you're dating. 3) A class structure that takes place over 6-8 weeks or a project based class that builds on already acquired skills. Some local places are:

Supplies + Tools: Depending on the craft you've chosen, the supplies and tools can range in price from super affordable to ridiculously expensive. Also in your classes, you may see that instructors have a preference for supplies or tools. A good instructor will discuss supplies and tools with you. They should also know what exists outside of their own toolkit. It would be a poor instructor who told you must have a Schact Baby Wolf 8-harness loom retailing at thousands of dollars and requiring 5 square feet of space or else your work will never be any good Yes, I have run into that person. Yes, I ran screaming from the room.

In sewing, home machines range from $100 - $10,000. If you became interested in sewing, you can buy a decent machine for $300 that would last several years. As your skills grow, you can grade up to a more robust machine. My own machine was roughly $1,000 and still works great after 15 years.

Obviously, check Craig's List for used equipment under their Arts + Crafts section. This also will give you a good feel on how re-saleable a tool is. Nothing's worse than spending money on a item that you can't resell. Read this article on Wired from someone who learned this lesson.

Space: Creativity is a muscle - did I say that already? Well, I'm reinforcing this one. It's important that you also practice on your own on a regular basis. Your hands must be on tools. You need to have a date with your craft.

Creative people make time on their calendar to create. Often in an artist interview the question is asked on what is the most important advice for beginners. Almost all of them say, "put it on your calendar to be creative or else you will procrastinate and you will never get anything creative done." Put it on your calendar like you would a haircut or lunch with a friend. It's a date with yourself. My art practice is now well timed to 3-4 days a week with Fridays and Sundays being 5-6 hour days. I know that when I'm away from my studio on one of these days, I feel antsy like I forgot to put on socks or something.

Creative Strength Training - If you're feeling a little lost and can't get your hand on any one craft, perhaps you need space to just feel creative. A good place to start your creative strength training is with Jane Dunnewold's online class. Jane is an amazing teacher with a generous heart and giving soul. The supplies you need are minimal. In fact, you probably already have them. I took her online composition class earlier this year and walked away a much better artist.

Part three of craft dating will be coming sometime in August. I have a lot to say on the subject. Stay tuned.

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