Monday, August 30, 2010

Chairs

It is so important to make time to reflect on things after they have passed.

I have a ritual of sitting with my camera after returning from a trip and deleting photos I do not want. Then I download the keepers on to my computer and organize them. It's a very satisying process that often provides unique insight into how my creative brain works.

I noticed on this last trip that I took a lot of photographs of chairs. Here are a few:

[ABOVE] In an upholstery shop

[ABOVE] In the corner of a dark red room

[ABOVE] On a porch

I am not sure what they mean, indicate, or what use they provide... I just like them. I hope you do to.

~ Kata Golda


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scraps

It's no surprise that I have a fascination with little pieces and the collection of them. Even when I came across this fallen rock on a recent hike I had to resist the impulse to collect its shattered little pieces, which brought to mind the fine choppings of a cabbage.


With all the wool felt items that I make, I create — try as I may — far too many scraps for me to use myself. And so I collect all the scraps and sort them into two categories for reuse. (All this sorting makes for a perfect excuse to sit outside in the sun — a task my mom happily jumped on during her recent visit.)

The very small pieces are used as packing material when I ship boxes — but the larger pieces still have plenty of life in them, making them great for crafting projects. I often donate them to local schools for children's art projects, or use them in my felt crafting workshops — but last fall I started to make them available to customers.

This reusable, machine-stitched muslin bag is 10½ x 11½" closes with a drawstring and is full of colorful hand-dyed wool felt scraps, perfect for adding personal touches to your DIY felt project. The colors are the same ones I use in my collection, and each bag is a unique assortment. Order a Felt Scrap Bag [$22.00]

If you've ordered a felt scrap bag from me, I'd love to see what you made with the scraps. Post your photos on the Kata Golda Facebook page.

~ Kata Golda


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Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Importance of Record Keeping


Light does not stay, it moves and changes the picture constantly. I have always been one to notice, but not always one to record. I would say to myself, "Oh, you can take the picture later" or "You'll remember what you are seeing." The truth is that sometimes I can remember the feeling but rarely do I remember with clarity the picture or the thought.

This also applies to writing things down. Personal record keeping informs so much of my work and I am glad that at last that I know myself well enough to know that:
1. I will not remember.
2. This record keeping has important value in my work.

Now I no longer wait to take that photo, to jot down an idea — my camera and journal stay with me wherever I go. Capturing these inspiring moments when they arise are too important to miss — they inspire my sense of color, shape and expression in my work.

What record keeping do you do for your creative work?

~ Kata Golda

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Friday, August 13, 2010

An Abundance of Mint

At long last, summer is reliably here in the Pacific Northwest. It was touch and go for awhile, and we still get foggy mornings, but my mountain hiking trips have taught me a very important lesson: once you climb 2000 feet above sea level, the skies are clear, blue and sunny.
But on days when I can't get away for a hike, those endless gray mornings with a slight chill in the air have made me a little less eager and a bit neglectful with my garden. I reluctantly wander out to do some weeding with one hand while my cup of coffee warms the other, taking mental notes on bigger issues: like why suddenly does all of the lemon thyme look dead?

The weather has turned again, bringing clear sunny mornings and I've resumed my summertime morning ritual of tending the garden before starting my creative work — and I've been rewarded with a beautiful explosion of abundance, brought on a sun blast that followed the cool grey weather. Which means that I now have more mint than I know what to do with.
Mint is a great addition to salads; I've also sprinkled it on top of pasta, roasted vegetables, vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce...but the best way to use the abundance of mint is to make tea. Mint iced tea is refreshingly lovely on these warm afternoons, and it's pretty quick and easy to do.


RECIPE FOR ICED MINT TEA
  1. Loosely fill a quart-sized mason jar with mint leaves.*
  2. Add 1 generous table spoon of honey.
  3. Pour boiling water in to fill the jar, leaving a little room at the top.
  4. Gently stir with a wooden spoon (a metal spoon may crack the hot glass).
  5. Let sit without lid for an hour.
  6. Put lid on and refrigerate (can sit for up to 5 days).
  7. Strain into a glass. Enjoy!
* A lovely addition to the mint leaves is parsley. When that becomes abundant I use half mint and half parsley to loosely fill the mason jar.

~ Kata Golda

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Custom Work: Colinwood Farm's New Sign


I am an avid supporter of organic farming and gardening, and am fortunate enough to live right around the corner from my town's weekly farmer's market. Every Saturday morning, after I have my coffee, I grab my cloth bags and head over to buy organic eggs and produce from the local farms — perhaps picking up a special sweet treat for a loved one while I'm there.


ABOVE: This bag is the adult DIY messenger bag, made from the pattern in Kata Golda's Hand-stitched Felt using the materials from my DIY messenger bag kit (# 09-28-501). Fill it up with potatoes and corn and other greens; it can hold a lot of weight. Dry it out on the clothes line if the greens make it wet. It's made with nice hand-dyed quality wool that it will keep the moisture to itself and dry out fairly quickly, unlike cotton (wool has a bad rap with the heat but it is actually more comfortable than cotton — although I am speaking as a Pacific Northwesterner and not as one who suffers great humidity in the summer months).

You can imagine my excitement when Colinwood Farm in Port Townsend, Washington (liveorganiclife@yahoo.com / 360-379-9610) asked me to make the sign for their market booth. They wanted a banner that reflected their simple, small, hard working, 'hand-made' farm — one that reflected who they are: not a big fancy impersonal place, but a small family on a plot of land in a small town.


I loved making this sign. We started by choosing the dimensions. Once that was solidified, we talked about color. They sell a lot of potatoes, but a radish or a beet is much more visually appealing than a potato and they wanted a sign that had a full spectrum of colors. The rest was up to me.

I staged the felt for the background on a large table and started by cutting the letters freehand, one at a time, making sure they fit within the banner. Then came the addition of the vegetable shapes, which is where I was able to work in a variety of colors.

Spreading everything out on my large work table, I was able to play with the placement of all the elements... and it didn't take long to realize that there was a lot of visual clutter on the sign. All of the elements Colinwood Farm had requested were there, but we agreed it was a bit much. It was then that I got down to the heart of my creative process: as soon as I've created an unintentionally cluttered visual display, I step away from it for a bit, then repeatedly revisit it in small spurts to change elements — sometimes removing entire sections — until it's just right.

For example: In an early version of the Colinwood Farm's sign, there had been a big rainbow of color over the farm name — but it took too much of the attention away from the name itself. So I removed it and instead added color by varying the felt of each line of type. It was a small solution that accomplished what we wanted without sacrificing the legibility of the sign.

Tacking everything down with a dab from a glue stick, I let the design rest for a bit, save for a few small letterspacing changes made here and there. Finally, it was ready for the final stage: stitching.


The sign now hangs above the Colinwood Farm booth on a thick wood dowel, held in place by felt sleeves on the back of the banner, and I'm proud to see it every time I visit the Port Townsend Farmer's Market on Saturdays (to which I'm going in about an hour).

Thanks for the opportunity, Colinwood Farm, to work together. Visiting your booth always brings me such joy.

~ Kata Golda

Want more? Seattle Times featured a photo of Colinwood Farm (and their banner!) at Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park Farmer's Market. NPR's Marketplace recently aired a story about the rise in farmers markets, and has a slideshow of photos on their website.

Colinwood Farm is run by Jesse Hopkins in Port Townsend, Washington. (liveorganiclife@yahoo.com / 360-379-9610)


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