Category Archives: Babbling

Stuff that fell out of my brain

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.

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.

Stand By Me

There’s a non-zero chance you’re reading this because I gave you a business card at the recent Stand By Me art market in Brownsville. First of all, welcome to my world! (You poor sod.) Second, I thought a handy little primer on my craft blog would be appreciated. If you just want to buy my stuff, you can skip this and click straight to my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SkirkbucketStudio. I will be posting stuff I was selling at the art show just as soon as I can take product photos and whatnot. If you already know what you want, please contact me and I’ll sell it to you immediately with Square or a reserved listing or something. I’m pathetically eager to please.

Those tablecloth wrinkles are your imagination.

This was my table.

1.) Profanity: I have a fucking filthy vocabulary, okay? You’ve been warned.

2.) WTF is this site?: This is my humorous craft blog. I mouth off in an (I hope) entertaining way about my journey as an artist. I do the occasional tutorial, often walk you through my mistakes and how I fixed/failed to fix them, and detail results of my craft experiments.

3.) Usefulness: My goal is to be funny, but I also like to at least pretend to be helpful. So I do reviews of products, experiment with all forms of art, and sometimes write tutorials. I always welcome questions, either via my comment sections/contact form or email (skirkbucketstudio@gmail.com).

4.) Specialty: We don’t need no steenking specialties! I used to try to confine myself to one craft, but my short attention span and desire to DO ALL THE THINGS makes that impractical. The plan was for me to focus on selling my projects on Etsy and at craft shows. Now I’ve happily settled on doing whatever the hell I want and writing about it. Speaking of which…

5.) Business: This IS my job. If you enjoy my writing, please consider popping over to my Etsy shop or contacting me about a commission. Your support is what keeps me from being forced to have ads on my website or to gate content behind Patreon fees. Also, the more feedback I get, the more I’m encouraged to write. Comments make the world go ’round.

6.) Etcetera: Twitter and Instagram handles are @Skirkbucket…blah blah blah…I take topic suggestions (with a grain of salt…blah blah…I have cats…blah…the sky is green… I can’t think of anything else you would need/want to know about this site. Lemme know if you think of something.

Thanks for giving me a chance,
Skirkbucket

Squee!

Guess who made her first sale on Etsy. That’s right, it’s me. Who’s the badass now, huh? No pictures, but I’ll sign your forehead for fifty bucks.

Okay, it’s not really something to be smug about, but right now I feel like I won the only prize that matters. A real, live person (unless they’re a robot crusader from the future, which is even cooler) wanted something I made enough that they paid actual money for it. I wish they would bottle this selling-stuff-I-made euphoria, because I KNOW I’m going to need another hit once this high wears off. One dose and I’m addicted.

Last night my phone made a weird “cha-ching” noise.  A notice appeared on the screen that said something like, “You totally just made some money off of your art, you rad stud.” (It probably didn’t really say that, but that’s how I remember it.)

“Oh my god,” I whispered. “Oh. My. God.” My voice shook as much as my hand as I tenderly touched the “View Notice” button. I refused to blink, afraid that if my eyes left the screen the dream would end.

“What’s wrong?” Tim asked.

“OH MY GOD,” was all I could say.  The notice confirmed that someone had bought something from my Etsy shop.

Tim started to look panicky. “Are you okay? What happened? Mae? MAE? Tell me what’s wrong!”  I’m pretty sure he thought someone had died, or that I’d received news that the zombie apocalypse had started.

I had to clear my throat several times before I could answer. “I just sold something,” I croaked.

“Oh..that’s good…isn’t it?” Apparently my expression still implied that a horrible tragedy had struck.

“OHMIGOD I JUST SOLD SOMETHING FROM MY ETSY STORE THIS IS FUCKING AMAZING!!” It finally sunk in that this was really happening, and my brain cells leapt to man the battle stations.  “Where’s the boxes? And the postal scale? GET OFF THE COMPUTER!”

Poor Tim scrambled to do my bidding while I logged in to my Etsy account to print a shipping label. Everything had to be perfect. I wrote a thank you note to put in the box, then wrote it again because the first one wasn’t fancy enough. I barely restrained myself from including all sorts of extra goodies–including family heirlooms and the kitchen sink–in the shipment, although I did indulge in a set of handmade gift tags.  Nothing was too good for my first customer!

After a flurry of frantic activity, the shipment was ready to go. The box hovered in the air, glowing, as a chorus of angels sang something in latin. I’d never seen anything so beautiful.

Once I had calmed down a tiny bit, I made Tim run upstairs to tell Dave the news. I called my parents to verify that the buyer wasn’t my mom under an assumed name. That a total stranger had bought something seemed unbelievable.

It was about then that Tim asked, “So you’re sure you really made a sale and it’s not some kind of scam? Or maybe your phone was just bugging out?”

After I buried his corpse in a shallow grave down by the railroad tracks, I made plans to take the package to the post office the next day. I checked and re-checked my shipping policies to make sure that malicious aliens hadn’t changed them to promise I would wrap the box in solid gold or something. As I mentioned before, everything had to be PERFECT or the world would end. (Seriously, look outside. Is the world still there? Then the package was perfect.)

Now it’s in the hands of the USPS. Part of me is sure something is going to go wrong. What if the mail truck gets in a wreck? What if the buyer hates the item? What if this is all some elaborate prank? What if everyone on the planet is mauled by manticores? What if chocolate starts to taste like lettuce?

What if everything goes right?

Death of a Sketchbook

I have an addiction to notebooks.  I’ve never met one that I didn’t want to own, to love, to realize its potential, to thrust my throbbing pen of creation into its pure, white pages of…um…er… Wow, that metaphor got out of hand.  Sorry about that.

Anyway, I REALLY like notebooks, and as a result my house is filled with them.  Some of them I’ve had for years, set aside in favor of new notebooks, rediscovered, and used again until the cycle begins anew.  I rarely “finish” one, but the one currently on my desk is finally ready to give up the ghost.  I remember the spiral-bound blank journal was a gift from an aunt when I was in middle school.

To celebrate, I am sharing selected sketches (with commentary)  from the deceased notebook, most of which I don’t remember drawing.  These doodles are usually born when I’m on the phone or trying to think of something to write about.  My hand makes them totally independently from my brain, so I’m often surprised at what I’ve been up to while my thoughts were absent.  It’s like coming home from work to find that your roommate has tie-dyed the walls and installed ceiling fans in the floor.

Keep in mind that I’ve never claimed to be able to draw.  I use the monkeys-with-typewriters method, reasoning that if I just make enough lines, at least one is likely to end up in the right spot.  Therefore my sketches tend to look kinda shaggy.  It’s not sloppy technique, it’s my unique style!  Honest!

Click any of the pictures below to start the slideshow.

Ingrates on Etsy

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on the internet lately.  I saw a disparaging comment on Twitter about people who favorite a tweet but don’t re-tweet it.   Occasionally you’ll come across a blog that calls out “lurkers” who visit the website without leaving a comment.  Almost daily there is a topic on the Etsy forums griping about people who put items on their favorite lists without intending to buy them. Let’s talk about that last one, because it’s the one I have the most personal experience with.

I, along with many others, mark Etsy items as favorites because they are my favorites.  It’s me supporting an artist I love.  It’s a way of bookmarking a product I might buy later.  It’s how I say, “OMG, that is the coolest thing I’ve seen today, but there’s no way I could ever afford it.”  It’s the way I brainstorm gifts that would be perfect for people I know.  It never occurred to me that I was obligated to buy whatever I favorited, or that my compliment would be resented.

This if-it’s-not-a-sale-it’s-worthless attitude is kind of offensive.  Shouldn’t we be happy about favorites?  A favorite is proof that someone thinks you’re neat.  Complaining about being favorited without a sale is like saying, “You said I look hot, but I’m mad because you didn’t rip off my clothes and fuck me silly.”  Ungracious much?

While we’re ranting, how about those jerks who think prefacing an insult with “I’m sorry, but…” is an adequate substitute for manners?  Do they really think we can’t tell that they’re assholes if they cleverly camouflage their assholery by apologizing in advance?  Pro tip: A comment you know you’ll have to apologize for is hardly ever worth saying.  And here’s a newsflash for people who don’t ever tip at restaurants: Everyone hates you. Everyone. I just got off the phone with your mother, and she hates you, too.   And kids these days!  Why can’t they stay off my lawn?!  AND ANOTHER THING…

*Bitchslap*

Ahem.  Sorry about that.  I got a bit carried away.

Seriously, though.  A “like” in any context is someone saying they think you’re cool.  It’s a compliment.  Would it be super awesome if they bought something?  Of course.  But it’s still a little bit awesome when someone marks your stuff as a favorite, and the world can use as much awesome as it can get.