Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Findings

Look at my findings and you can guess what I've been doing most this week--quilting, prepping for the summer craft fair season, editing my photos, and parenting my kids.

I might have mentioned these first two before, since I've had them checked out from the library for more than a week, but I'm too lazy to look back and see. I've been flipping through The The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide: From A to Z-- Hundreds of Tips and Techniques for Successful Quiltmakingto figure out how to put that wide border on my dino quilt--I've decided (and check out my accurate lingo here) that it will be easier, after all, to cut strips for my lattice instead of trying to cut a frame as all one piece--and to figure out how to piece...sextagons? sextangles? hexagons! for an item for the little girl in my Craft for My Kids swap on Craftster--I've decided to use fusible interfacing and English paper piecing. The illustrations in The Quilter's Ultimate Visual Guide are terrific, but the alphabetical order of the entries is nonintuitive, since you certainly would need a table of contents, anyway, to see what subjects the author has included and under what keyword they're alphabetized. "Inspiration" has its own entry, for instance, but "Postage Stamp Quilt" does not--you'll find an example of a postage stamp quilt under "Biscuit Quilting."

How to Show & Sell Your Crafts: The Crafter's Complete Guide on How to Display Work at Shows and Make Profitable Sales, by Kathryn Caputo, is another book I might have mentioned before, but I only finished reading it today. It's another craft show guide in which the products look really outdated to me (a lot of "country tradional," I now know it's called), and frankly, I didn't garner any new tips, although I was pleased to see that she includes a version of the accordion-folded pegboard display that Matt and I thought up. She spends a lot of her time on booth display, though, so if you're just starting out, her notes on color and height and oh-my-god-the-WIND! might be new.

Although I'm very happy with the combination of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for the editing and final layout of my photographs, I've been interested lately in other photo editing and design programs, perhaps something that would make digital scrapbooking possible. To that end, I've collected the free trial versions of numerous photo editing and graphic design programs:
  1. ACDSee has free trials of most of its software titles: ACDSee 10 Photo Manager, Photo Editor, FotoSlate 4 Photo Print Studio, and ACDSee Pro 2.
  2. FXFoto is another organize/enhance/edit/layout program, but it apparently has some drag-and-drop layouts especially for scrapbooking, which I'll be trying out soon.
  3. Corel is another company with a suite of programs: Graphics Suite X4, Painter X, PhotoImpact X3, and Paint Shop Pro Photo X2.
  4. One of the tools that Ulead Photo Impact promotes is the cloud pen, which allows you to "paint realistic looking clouds." Who would not want to paint realistic-looking clouds all freaking over the place?
Finally, I spent a couple of hours yesterday happily tying a quilt (it looks awesome!) and watching , a documentary about Marla Olmstead, a four-year-old (she's more like eight, now) professional painter--abstracts, of course. The documentary focused a little less on the meaning of her work (is it "art"? Is she a primitive or a prodigy?) than on the admittedly very intriguing controversy about its authenticity. A LOT of people, myself included, now, believe that her father, even if he didn't hold the paint brush himself, which he might have, at least directed, coached, and otherwise manipulated his daughter into producing many of the works. In a lot of his interviews he just seemed really shady to me, really product-oriented instead of kid-oriented, and often when the cameras would try to film Marla working, she'd dip around with the paint and say really incriminating things to her dad like, "Your turn now," and "What do you want me to paint?", and he'd smile nervously and give these really long explanations to the camera about how she only does that when there's a camera.

There's also a mom, who is sincere and loving and possibly clueless about what goes on between her husband and daughter when she's not there, and a younger son, whom the dad often obviously ignores and who clearly understands, even at two, that he's not as important as his big sister. That being said, a lot of the artwork is also quite beautiful and also quite moving when you think that it's being produced at least even partly by a young child. There's a purity and a naivete that you want to see in it, which you want to believe points to some sort of absolute truth. Really, what you see in Marla's art probably says a lot more about you than it does about Marla.

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