Author Archives: Skirkbucket

About Skirkbucket

I'm Mae, owner of Skirkbucket Studio. I live in the country near Eugene, Oregon. When I'm not zipping between craft projects like a pinball, I like to read, play tabletop and video games, and argue with our cats.

Corvallis Art Center Display

 

Sooo… How are you? Whatcha been up to lately? Mm-hmm. Good, good.

Oh, me? I’m glad you asked. I now have jewelry for sale at the Corvallis Arts Center! Check this ish out:

(Click any picture for a slideshow with commentary.)

Besides my wares, the Art Center and its shop feature some truly amazing art by local artists. Go show them some love!

Herringbone Bracelet Fever

 

EDIT: Now with pictures that don’t suck.

Last month I took a beading class at Spearit Beads in Albany, Oregon. The instructor, Darlene Powers, did a great job. (She teaches classes regularly in Albany and the Dallas Antique Mall. You can see samples for upcoming classes at either of those locations. Check it out!) We learned how to make a really nifty bracelet using two-hole beads.

As I am wont to do with a new craft, I went a little crazy after the class. I made a LOT of bracelets, you guys. I modified the pattern very slightly on some of them, because Gods forbid I actually follow directions. Here’s a gallery of just a few of them (click any picture to see a slideshow with commentary).

Similar pieces will be for sale on my Etsy site soon (along with all the other shit I keep promising). Right now I’m working on some super fancy versions for the Corvallis Art Center. More on that in a future post.

Conversations with a Broken Brain, episode 1

 

What are you doing?

I’m working on this bracelet, obviously.

It sucks.

No. No it doesn’t. Also: Fuck you.

Seriously, it sucks. You’re incompetent. I can see three flaws and you’re not even halfway done.

Those aren’t flaws, I just changed the pattern slightly. I think the design is more cohesive this way.

You must be joking. Messing up patterns? Thinking you can modify designs and it won’t end in disaster? You’re not even a real artist.

Yes I am!

Um, no. You’re just a n00b with delusions of grandeur. How many pieces have you sold on Etsy? How many galleries display your work? Does anyone not related to you read your blog?

That’s not what makes an artist. A “real” artist is someone who makes art. Period.

Hiding behind inspirational quotes, I see. I assume you got that one off a bumper sticker.

Actually, I have heard it from many artists I admire. Besides, success takes time. I’m not going to improve if you make me give up.

Being a REAL artist requires more talent and hard work than you’re capable of.

That’s not true…is it?

You think other artists spend this much time arguing with themselves? Your production rate is abysmal. Furthermore, everyone else’s art is much better than yours. Everyone’s.

…Even if that was true, it wouldn’t matter. I’m still an artist.

Fine, you’re technically an artist. But you’re trying to make this a legit business. Who the hell do you think you are, thinking anyone wants to buy your shit? There are a lot of unsuccessful artists out there who are way more talented than you. It’s arrogant to think YOU have a shot.

I’m talented. I think.

You know who doubts themselves? Losers.

Okay, I KNOW that’s not true. Everyone has doubts sometimes.

Other people’s doubts are unfounded fears. Yours are a reality check from your gut feelings.

No.

Just accept that you’re worthless and give up.

No!

You’re a waste of space and so is your art.

…No.

Yes, it—

SHUT UP! You’re wrong. I know you’re wrong. You won’t win this time. I. Am. An. Artist. Moreover, I’m a good artist.

Sure you are.

Don’t I take medication to keep you from talking this way to me?

You can’t turn off the truth.

IT’S NOT TRUE, DAMMIT! I am done with this pointless argument. You won’t stop me from creating. I am finishing this bracelet, and I’m going to sell it, and it will make someone happy, and you can just go fuck yourself.

Whatever you say, O Delusional One.

I hate you.

I am you.

I know.

Liberate Your Art 2017 Postcard Swap

This is my first year participating in the annual Liberate Your Art postcard swap, and I am hooked. I connected with some badass artists, got nifty art to display in my studio, and made some cool postcards of my own. I’m definitely going to do this again next year.

(If you don’t know, a postcard swap is an event in which artists get their original art printed onto postcards, then mail them to each other. In this case, the postcards were sent first to the swap host, who addressed and distributed them.)

I’m not sure who all got my five postcards, but I heard from a few. One of my recipients was a local woman (Tennille McVeigh, photographer extraordinaire) who is also a member of the Brownsville Art Association. Another of my cards went to Europe. This was my postcard design:

This design features one of my favorite ways to monoprint: a doily on a gel plate.

Now check out the cards I received! To see all the cards sent everywhere, visit Kat Sloma’s blog. Speaking of which, many thanks to Kat for hosting this swap! She’s got this down to a science.

Click any picture below to see a slideshow with commentary.

The Scary Big City

I have a mostly rural background. I grew up on a farm at the end of nowhere (that’s half again as remote as the middle of nowhere), I graduated from a small town high school, and I’ve never lived anywhere particularly pedestrian-friendly. My big-city-living experience is limited to the year I lived in Medford, where I pretty much avoided going anywhere except my job right down the road.

I’ve always been fascinated with metropolises; in fact, when I was but a wee sprat I thought I wanted to live in New York City. I’m pretty sure I just wanted to get far away from the delightful farm aromas to which I was accustomed. Then I realized I’d probably just be trading cow shit in the barn for human shit in the alley.

Anyway, I was excited to experience the great! big! city! of Corvallis when I rented a studio downtown. I was also–as Illidan would say–totally not prepared. (That joke probably makes no sense to most of you, but the two readers who play WoW are rolling on the floor.) I’ve rarely been so bewildered by an environment. There are SO MANY people. That may seem obvious, but the sheer number of bodies roaming around didn’t sink in until I was wading through them every day. I felt like I’d just stepped off the train in my straw hat and overalls muttering, “Reckon I’ll make my fortune off these here city slickers just as soon as I find me some heifers to wrangle.” (“Wrangle” is a technical farm term meaning “wander around the field hoping that you are somehow convincing the stupid livestock to go the correct direction.” It is a futile hope.) During the day, my neighborhood is a solid wall of humans in search of coffee. At night, it’s an overwhelming mess of lights and traffic, at least to me when I’m trying to drive home.

I’m very slowly getting used to it. However, I have a few questions for you folks that are comfortable in such places:

1.) Why the fuck do cities need so many one-way streets? Do city people enjoy driving around the block seventy times to find a road going the right way?

2.) On days when I’m feeling particularly antisocial, is there a way to keep people from looking at me? Sometimes I just can’t handle the risk that some friendly stranger might try to interact with me (the poor fools).

3.) What really happens when you accidentally put your trash in the wrong dumpster? Judging by the signs, the world ends in an explosion of cosmic wrath. Ditto with parking.

4.) Is it normal to be easily distracted by window-shopping? Because it takes me 20 minutes to walk one block due to looking at all the pretty colors. Apparently I will admire your broken plumbing if you put it in a front window with an interesting sign.

5.) If a car stops in the middle of a crosswalk I’m trying to use, is it permissible to set them on fire? If not, do you know a good lawyer?

Honestly, I’m really enjoying exploring my new surroundings. I grumble and snark, but my city experiences have been mostly positive. I have been assured that someday I will feel less overwhelmed. In the meantime, feel free to say hi if you see me out and about. You can recognize me by the flamethrower I’ll be carrying.

I’M FUCKING TERRIFIED

I’ve done something crazy. Something I never thought I’d do. Something that scares the shit out of me. Something that might blow up in my face.

I leased my own artist studio in Corvallis.

So why the hell am I doing this? Even though driving long distances can trigger panic attacks, even though I have yet to ever make a profit at this business, even though this is by far the hardest project I’ve ever taken on…

The short answer: It was time for me to take a risk. The long answer: I took an online course that helped me realize that I simply don’t have the right personality to work effectively at home. (I wish SO MUCH that I could. It would save me a fuckton of rent money.) I need a dedicated space to make art and write. The worktable next to my bed wasn’t cutting it, so I decided to make a change instead of giving up. I didn’t expect quite such a drastic change, but looking for a tiny office locally kind of snowballed into leasing a two-room suite downtown in a big city.

My reasons for not giving up in descending order of importance:

1.) Spite. Who am I to tell me I can’t do something? I’ll show me!
2.) Incentives. Now that I’m obligated to fork over rent every month, I’m very motivated. (Read: scared.) Gotta make that dough, y’know.
3.) Opportunity. Downtown Corvallis is really the best possible place for me to be. You can’t move without tripping over an independent gallery. I can just wander around my neighborhood to scope out potential carriers of my goods.
4.) Mental health. You know that theory that you can cure someone of acrophobia by taking them skydiving? I choose to believe that regularly driving 40 minutes each way will help me get over my fear of driving. Or I’ll spend the first hour at work every day curled up in a shivering ball. Whichever.
5.) Pride. I’ve dedicated too much of my life to being an artist/writer to give up now. Do you have any idea how many types of glue I own?? I can’t let that shit go to waste.

I’m not going to bother to give you the address of my studio because there are generally three locked doors between me and the street, I work extremely odd hours, and it’s not really pretty enough to receive visitors in yet. It’s very rough right now. (The paint is seeking a divorce from the walls. They’re fighting over custody of all the random nails.) Once it’s presentable, I’ll post pictures.

This development doesn’t affect you a whole hell of a lot, really. Just know that I’ll be writing and arting a LOT more, so check back here and on my Etsy site often for new stuff. Eventually, someday, I plan to have a Skirkbucket Studio dedicated YouTube channel. Please let me know in the comments what kind of content you’re interested in seeing. I live to serve.