Crafting and Hobbies

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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby Ravenari » May 4th, 2011, 10:20:59 pm

I work as a professional artist, and mostly take on commissions for animal totems, or rare animals. I use illustration board, instead of paper, and use a lot of technical pen, technical pencil, watercolour pencils, coloured pencils, and acrylic and gouache. I really enjoy it, and I spend a lot of time doing it. I'm just lucky that other people like it too. I'm honoured to work with a lot of scientists and people who work at zoos, who can't find original illustrations of their favourite animals. And I've illustrated some animals which have never actually been illustrated before (that I can tell), or at least, hadn't been illustrated before at the time.

Recently I illustrated three 'steampunk' retro-futuristic pictures for an exhibition. I really enjoyed combining a sci-fi element with animals. Not many steampunk artists use animals as their main subjects so that was exciting. I'm also curious about learning felting, since I love the soft look of felted animals. :)

I also do a lot of cross-stitch, though I've taken a break over the past couple of months. It took me forever how to do French knots! It probably comes as no surprise that I do cross-stitch primarily of animal subjects. I prefer Australian birds, but I have a few tigers and stuff like that.
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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby TxCat » May 5th, 2011, 3:30:42 pm

From what sources do you all get your craft and hobby supplies?

For the more common items as well as things like tins or wooden boxes for the shrines, I go to Michael's. Sometimes I visit different store locations because they all carry something different. I recently discovered another chain called AC Moore which has more of a dime store atmosphere but a wider selection of almost everything in terms of types of hobbies. I tend not to go to Hobby Lobby unless I need something very specific I haven't been able to get elsewhere (one location, for instance, has the absolute best selection of fabrics, beads and findings, and jewelry wire).

My favorite on-line sites have unusual things at decent prices. I adore Silver Crow Creations, which specializes in found art items, ephemera, and all sorts of shrine and tableaux materials. I like Happy Mango Beads because it's a fair trade company and the prices for the natural elements I work with are reasonable without ripping off the countries from which they're imported. Their fresh water pearls are breathtaking. Magpie Gemstones is another I use regularly; they always have good prices on larger pieces, particularly the types of turquoise with which I work (since my jewelry is often southwestern themed, I only use turquoise from American mines).

At the moment, I am forbidden to buy any more yarn or fabric. I have a big storage box full of skeins belonging to unfinished projects. My favorite there can generally be obtained from Wal-Mart. I like Lion Brand because it's soft without unraveling or becoming delicate. JoAnn Fabrics is where I go for my scraps for quilting and for some of my as yet unfinished clothing projects.

Of course, the natural environment provides a wide variety of materials for the discerning crafter. I have leaves, mosses, pine needles, interesting nuts and pine cones, bits of rock or shell, feathers, parts of bird nests, tufts of fur, and assorted small bones to use there. I even pick up 'junk' ---- can tabs with shapes in them or bright colors; bottle caps; bits of broken glass or whole bottles; paper scraps, old fortunes, the kind of junk jewelry you get out of claw machines or other types of toy vendors; plastic cake pieces; wrappers.

I'm in the process of replenishing and reorganizing my art supplies. My Ma gifted me with a beautiful artist's set organized as suggested so it's easier for me to find colors. It has over fifty pieces, ranging from markers to pastels to watercolors. My treasured Grumbacher water colors have removable palettes and I'm trying to find replacements for those as well. Ultimately I hope to own the biggest set of Prismacolors in both markers and pencils (I have tried Copic and I just don't like them as much). For these kinds of supplies, my favorite site is Mr. Art. They have just about everything a traditional media artist could dream about.
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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby Soleil » May 5th, 2011, 5:55:33 pm

For my jewelry, I usually buy wholesale online or in Dallas (Harry Hines Blvd. ftw if you can get there) because my mom has a flower shop which means I can buy wholesale and tax-free =)

Otherwise, if I'm in a hurry, I'll quickly get something from Hobby Lobby. I have bought from a few online stores such as Goody Beads, ArtBeads, and.... I think that's it. Oh I bought a few things from Fire Mountain Gems once.
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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby TxCat » May 5th, 2011, 5:58:56 pm

Soleil wrote:For my jewelry, I usually buy wholesale online or in Dallas (Harry Hines Blvd. ftw if you can get there)


Oh...my...gods...really? How on earth could I have missed this? What's the name of the store? We generally visit Dallas once a year and Harry Hines is one of the places we like to cruise and poke around. I simply MUST find the place and stock up then.

In a similar area, we found the only two story JoAnn's department store I'd ever seen. Like everything else in Texas, it was bigger than any craft store I'd ever been in and jam packed floor to ceiling with all sorts of things I like to work with.
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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby Soleil » May 5th, 2011, 6:30:20 pm

TxCat wrote:
Soleil wrote:For my jewelry, I usually buy wholesale online or in Dallas (Harry Hines Blvd. ftw if you can get there)


Oh...my...gods...really? How on earth could I have missed this? What's the name of the store? We generally visit Dallas once a year and Harry Hines is one of the places we like to cruise and poke around. I simply MUST find the place and stock up then.

In a similar area, we found the only two story JoAnn's department store I'd ever seen. Like everything else in Texas, it was bigger than any craft store I'd ever been in and jam packed floor to ceiling with all sorts of things I like to work with.


The ones I went to were just called "Beads" and "Beads on Beads". There's also a store called "Kiwi China Imports" but their beads are a bit more expensive than the previous 2.

Beads on Beads I will say is my favorite. It is a beaders dream. They also have a website, but when you go in their store there are bins filled to the brim with strands of beads... there are strands hanging from the walls (and these are all real or simulated real) along with findings, metal spacers, plastic beads, and a wide assortment of loose pendants. It's just... ahhhhhmazing.
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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby Wolfsister » May 5th, 2011, 8:48:25 pm

I love craft type projects, but I never make any effort to learn the proper way to do something. I mainly mess around with clay and wire, and do some sewing.

For clay, I just make do with the cheap Sculpey from Michael's and some cheap paints. I used to not bake anything because they always broke, so I have a bunch of old unbaked figures laying around in shadow boxes at home. I have gotten considerably better recently, and managed a fairly realistic human figure in full barbershop singing dress for a Christmas present this last year, along with a vintage baseball figure. I like working with very small details, though I don't own or use any of the special tools. My nails and a needle typically suffice, and a toothpick for paint. My current clay project is of my two dogs, and it isn't bad except for the fact that the one's head keeps falling off because I can't get it home to bake right now.

I also love making wire jewelry. I have a few different sets that I made out of some old cheap craft wire that was left over from a kit for making headbands I had when I was little. The only problem is that since it is cheap, the wire eventually blackens as you sweat. And since I'm lazy and only make jewelry for myself, I don't usually bother to tuck in sharp corners properly, which means my hair constantly gets stuck in my chokers. My favorite piece is a choker that consists of three coiled lengths braided together.

And lastly, sewing. I'm not much good at anything that requires a pattern, because I just don't have the patience to make it work right. I only sew by hand, as well. I used to just make endless piles of pillows, simple stuffed animals, and felt purses, but in the last few years I have discovered the fun of beading. I mostly use scrap cloth and don't make it into anything real, but I have made a beaded glasses case and a beaded phone case that I'm rather proud of. I just use regular thread and Indian beads, which seem to called seed beads now. Originally it all came from another old kit I had as a kid, but I finally went and got some new beads from Michael's for colors I needed.

For some reason I never want to spend money on anything, which is why I use scraps. Most of the things I make are not necessarily for use, until recently, and I don't care much about the quality of things I make for myself. I also just like the feeling of scavenging and being creative; the first wire jewelry I ever made, back in middle school I believe, was a wire choker that used old disposable contacts, all rolled up, for beads. It was awesome.
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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby MistyoC » May 5th, 2011, 9:06:15 pm

I crochet some, but I have a hard time following a pattern. I make some blankets and scarves, but mostly fiddle around. I made some holiday decorations and have posted the pics in my profile, since TXCat is unsure about having the pictures posted in the thread.
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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby BradTheMad » May 6th, 2011, 5:37:07 am

I was trained as a professional artist, mostly doing portraits(in oils) when I still worked, but ever since my physical health became worse I've been doing it more as a hobby. I also use acrylics now as it's easier to use for me. I still prefer oils as I personally think the pigments are superior but all the preparations are too tiring for me now. I even buy pre-made canvases now whereas I used to make them myself.

Another thing I do is miniature painting(not tiny paintings but gaming models)for board games and RPG's (for me and my nerd friends) and Hebrew calligraphy.
The latter is still a work in progress but I am getting better and hopefully I can one day become a licensed sofer after the proper training from a licensed school. It's a dream I have but to be honest I don't think it's attainable, fun to think about though. I already know a lot of the rules about how to properly write the letters but maybe I'm just not up to production speed as you do get a lot of work.

It's a bit frustrating that I've become really slow and am not as good as I used to be but it's still above average, well according to those that buy it anyway. :lol: I do not sell everything I make as sometimes I really cannot part with a painting. I usually do commission work anyway so I do not start an wait for a buyer to begin with. I still have a good name in my area and my work is known so people know what to expect.

Whilst it's mostly a hobby now I still set high standards but that doesn't mean it's not relaxing for me. I just love to create something I'm proud of and can use in my home for decoration. Hobbies and work have always been connected with me and I never get tired of painting. Well I do get tired eventually but you know what I mean.

I think I've tried everything under the sun for painting but one thing I never got right was acrylics...just not for me. It frustrated the heck out of me. :lol:

I live in a town where there's loads of crafts and hobby stores; huge ones that carry stocks of everything so I guess I'm lucky.
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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby flamekaat » May 7th, 2011, 10:11:00 pm

I crochet...a lot. I mostly get my yarns from ebay because yarn is a spendy product and ebay sometimes has deals that amaze me. I used to use acrylics and I still find red heart useful for those who don't have the patience to hand wash an item. However since ebaying I have fallen deeply in love with Malabrigo Worsted yarn. Which is wool btw. Look on webs and on some other sites that offer it. the colors are amazing. Yarnmarket has it too as I recall, but mostly I still buy it on ebay because Destashers don't charge 12.50 a skein most of the time. Since I live in BFE I can not go and buy yarn except some unnamed unbranded acrylic yarns that come from Mexico and are in the little Mexican variety stores we have here. It is 110 miles in either direction(east/west) to even find a Walmart. :omg:

Soon I will be moving to Twin Falls Idaho and at least be able to heave myself on my bicycle and go to Joann's or Michael's. or even Walmart. For right now I buy hand dyed wool yarns from china and new york respectively and snatch up any malabrigo I find on ebay and make blankets and lately hats and arm warmers and leg warmers because they are popular.

I also write stories, sometimes in tablets (i have a copy paper box full of them in storage right now, another reason to move) and since I got my first computer back in 99-00 sometime I use word processors. I like open office. Its awesome and can handle microsoft word docs and almost any other wordy format. Did I mention it doesn't cost money while word does...which makes me sad T_T I will make some hats and post some pics on my profile soon since I am sure my cousin will model them for me. I also take commissions to make things like the hats and baby items. they usually come out pretty neat because after 22+ years of working on this I have great stitch regularity. :yarly:
Have fun fellow crafters :wave:
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Re: Crafting and Hobbies

Postby TxCat » May 7th, 2011, 11:02:52 pm

Flamekaat: I'll check and see if we're allowed to post pictures of our projects here as long as they're not for critique or sale. I admit it slipped my mind.

I would love to work with things like worsted yarns or with wool, but I seem to be allergic to whatever fibers are used to make them (the wool especially, I can't even touch a wool blend without breaking out).

I should have mentioned that I also enjoy photography. I'm particularly interested in textures, light, and shadows so I try for odd angles, creative shots, and interesting buildings. My first efforts weren't very good because the camera was low quality but I have a decent one now (as in, it does the job; for a photographer there really is no such thing as 'decent'; we're egotistical and tend to want not just the best but THE best!) I adore photo prompts and on occasion my friends on LiveJournal will submit suggestions for themes.
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