Wednesday, July 22, 2009


In response to all my whining Melissa asked a very good question:

What I have often wondered is: do you miss crafting at all? From what I can tell you haven't done any sewing or knitting this entire year. Just curious.

Yes, yes I do miss crafting. Tremendously. Intensely. Heart-achingly. I miss my quilts, I miss my fabrics, I miss my yarn*, I miss my needles, I miss my hatboxes full of crafty odds & ends. I miss Peggy (I had only just started breaking her in!), I miss all of it. One day Bobby was hanging out in my room and I made her look at pictures of each and every quilt I'd made... every hat, sock or scarf I'd knitted... even several works in progress. She was an amazingly good sport about it.** I miss my crafts a lot. I am consoled only by the fact that my beloved stashes & WIPs are well protected in the highest tower of Castle5000, presumably encircled by briers and guarded by a dragon or two... or you know at least the cat and a couple dust bunnies.

My life in Thailand is not especially well suited for textile crafts. Although I have a fair amount of free time, without a couch or a TV I just can't get into my knitting zone. As for quilting - I don't even have a bookshelf, let alone a closet to store any kind of fabric stash. Then there's the heat/humidity factor. I can not get inspired to make anything even remotely 'cozy' in this climate. If I were living here indefinitely, I would have made more of an effort to create a good crafting space... but for a year, it just wasn't worth it.

Which is not to say I haven't tried! Check it out:

The world's simplest dishcloth pattern, garter stitch corner to corner.

These were intended as Bunny & Bobby's Christmas presents, and I actually started the first one after Thanksgiving (back in OR they wouldn't have taken more than a evening in front of the TV each) but I only just finished the second one.... last week. =/ I'm telling you, it's hard to get into a good comfy knitting position without a couch!!

But my lack of quilting / knitting doesn't mean I haven't been creative. I've done a little decoupage***:

I'd tried hanging up curtains with stick-on hooks - half of which fell down, and double sided sticky tape - which wouldn't hold the fabric, and finally thumb tacks which were murder to pound into the frame and didn't hold up the fabric either. And finally resorted to cardboard. The idea was to make a bunch of pretty pictures to block out the screaming 6am sunlight ... but I gave up after I realized they wouldn't even cover the entire height of the window.

This tin holds a bunch of stickers, stamps and colored pens. I was using it for postcard writing but it's not exactly a practical item to bring with me every time I go to the beach. =P

Finally, I've tried to do a little drawing and painting. *Tried*. You know, the Thai education system may not be up to Western standards in many areas, but let me tell you - they kick our pasty white asses in the arts department. The first time I asked my students to draw something, I was blown away. I had been quite proud when my crudely sketched figure came out with the appropriate number of limbs and digits. But their pictures were manga quality, complete with shading, facial expressions and interesting poses. It was hardcore. Even the younger students can draw all kinds of cartoon figures. Of course, this is something they do for fun (and often when they should be paying attention to a grammar lesson!), but the kids really do take drawing, painting, dance and music classes. It's almost as if Art were an actual discipline here. What a concept!!!!!!!

I, on the other hand, had minimal training in art. I'm so disappointed in my limited abilities. There's just so much inspiration, the teal green ocean, palm thatched bamboo huts, golden temples, tropical fruit trees, elephants in the street! There's so much I want to capture and I just can't. My brain doesn't know how to translate the three dimensions I see onto two dimensional paper. My hand cannot accurately produce the shapes I do see. I'm unfamiliar with the tools, the materials of these art forms. Why would you use watercolors vs acrylics vs oils? How do you create the reflection of sunshine on the ocean using just pencils? Why are my circles always so lumpy? I'm completely out of my element. I've vowed to take a painting or drawing class when I get back to the states. It's a sin to be someplace this beautiful without at least a little artistic skill.

Nevertheless, I have not and will not let lack of talent stop me from playing... from creating *something*. Because the only greater sin would be to not even try.

The top three are on Ko Samet, Sai Kaow beach. The bottom two are from the mainland looking out at Ko Samet. Signed prints are not yet available... but I'll keep you posted. ;)

TAG: Code Watermelon

* I actually brought two skeins of dishcloth cotton, and a few skeins of sock yarn with me - including one skein of Socks That Rock in the Knitters Without Borders colorway. I'd had this profound plan of making a scarf or socks or something- knitting on it at various tourist sites, then bringing home my well traveled FO and regaling everyone with my tales of knitting without borders. Very shortly after arriving I realized it was a bit of a lost cause. I'm just not that kind of knitter. But Sheila, the only other woman on my CELTA course turned out to be a knitter from Australia, so I gave the yarn to her. I may not be a knitter without borders, but I am and will always be a stash enabler. =P

** This may be because I told her she could use my computer to check her email as soon as we were finished. ;)

***in my mind 'decoupage' translates to 'gluing magazine pictures to anything not currently breathing'


Michael5000 said...

Briers. No dragon, though. We put a couple she-wolves on high-tower duty, and are down to just a single dragon at the main portcullis. Gotta make sacrifices in this economy.

Bezzie said...

I like your beach scapes! I came *this* close to going to art school instead of college so I like to pretend I know what I'm talking about!

Rebel said...

She-wolves are fine M5K. Just watch the shedding. ;)

"Beach scapes"? I like that!

Melissa said...

I was excited to read this post yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to comment. Anyway, that's awesome that you're playing around with different art forms, despite any kind of training. I think most of art is just lots of practice and personal enjoyment. As for the quilting, have you considered English Paper Piecing? Totally portable, uses small scraps, very little thinking involved, and it's quite rewarding. If you're interested, I will hook you up. No reason to suffer out your remaining months there...

Rebel said...

Melissa, thanks for the offer, but I'm really not set up for any kind of quilting. I'll get back to it once I'm home again.