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I’ve been thinking… a LOT of thinking! I really need to figure out some things. It has taken a lot of conversations with myself but I believe I’m coming to some valuable conclusions. I’m on a ‘Mission’ to make a Statement; A Mission Statement.

Hello, it’s me Barb; I am an artist. Yes, I have been one for decades (a couple more than I’d like to count). From what I’ve seen on the WWW most bloggers have some different objectives than I, so let’s take a look back for a bit.

Direction? which way to go?

Well, it’s now been a few years that I have been sharing my projects on this site. I don’t really like calling myself a ‘blogger’ for some reason. I’d rather put myself in a different category. Hmmm, why; well it might be the fact that I came into this creative venture from a specific direction. I want to have a direction; one that is clear to you and also me.

Being an artist; I had worked for many clients as an illustrator, specifically a technical illustrator. I spent many long hours hunched over a desk creating ‘flat’ art that explained things that were often in need of technical drawings. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it (except the crazy deadlines and 2am’s) I worked from home even though there wasn’t a pandemic! It was pretty consistent work and always quite interesting.

This type of artwork means I have a good understanding of form, structure and architecture. Actually; I painted many concepts of buildings that needed to be quite exact to plans. It was very meticulous but also meant that there was a pretty consistent need for more. Detail and specifics is my nature even when I don’t want it to be.

I loved and still do love painting… but hate trying to sell in a gallery. Making pieces of art and having it hang for a long time without anyone jumping at it is hard to bear. That is why commercial art is so much better as they can’t get it fast enough. Once you put your heart and soul into a piece it’s hard to let it go.

My oil paintings hang on my walls… They are my specific scenes that have some emotional attachment to me. Lately I have been reflecting back and really looking at all that I have done through the years. When I flip through my extensive photo gallery I almost get nauseous from how much there is! ‘Busy’ isn’t quite the word. However, I’m seeing a definite common thread.

The feelings of sheer joy and calm when walking in nature comes out in my paintings. My goal is to capture the wonderful shadows and colours within the combination of trees, sky and ground with everything else in harmony. Somehow I would gravitate back to these themes each time.

In this post I am looking to see if I actually have a deliberate direction. Some days I feel like I am trying to head into too many directions and had wondered if I was too diverse. Let me look back and see how it will affect the mission statement.

Simple Eco Printing on Paper

Mother Nature Comes to help

How exciting it was to discover that there is a way for Mother Nature to actually aid in the printing of natural foliage! That has opened a whole new avenue for me. It is somewhat mysterious so that keeps one interested as well. This allowed me to be more active, use more media and get outside more often!

Marvellous Maples to Eco Print

It feels much better to be in ‘nature’; observing all the species of leaves and learning about them and not just painstakingly using paint. It is sheer magic when all the elements decide to ‘dance’ together.! Through all the use of fabrics I also noticed my return to my love of sewing, something that is a staple in my life.

Eco Printed Art Quilt

Pretty & Practical:

Yes, it’s nice to make pretty things but it’s extra great when the pretty things have a purpose! Again that must be something I absorbed from my mother’s wisdom of living through a war. And you do remember that Scarlet Ohara made a dress from curtains?! Well, I’m close; blankets becoming slippers and jackets.

Wool Eco Printed Slippers
Eco printed Wool Blanket Jacket
Sand-cast Concrete Leaf plate

Nature printed in another way:

Pottery was always something I loved in grade school but setting up a kiln seemed like too much. Well, it might not be a perfect substitute but I like a challenge so I’ve pushed the limits of using concrete, and boy has it been fun! I challenge the media in all directions without following any of the typical rules. My motto is; ‘try it and see’ and keep trying until it makes you happy.

DIY Gigantic Concrete Leaf Orb

Orbs and other simple forms become interesting with texture from nature. ‘We’ work together accepting of each other and in appreciation. There’s a sense of calm since little stresses of technology are not playing any part here. Yes I know… I should post on social media more! Honestly I really do hope to very soon.

DIY Giant Concrete Geode

From leaves to rocks to geodes… there’s so much bountiful beauty to inspire you. It’s almost like when you admire all the details of a gem but here you are the one creating the gem; you are in control.

DIY Rock & Concrete Orbs

If you have a good idea why keep it constrained? Often the greatest ideas come from ‘mashing’ ideas together. Don’t discount ideas before you give them a chance. Design in all avenues has always been my passion. I completely enjoy the opportunity to ‘design’ wherever I can. Watching and observing gives a sense of awareness, so that improvements can be made. ‘Observation skills’ in drawing and life are priceless; take the time to really being aware of what is around you.

Pretty Amazing Polymer Geodes

What worked well in concrete seemed like a good variation to try with polymer clay. That makes it easy enough if you are limited in your work space or media. Using what you have instead of buying makes for a better world. Nature has a way of creating beauty without to much contrived perfection – I love that! It also makes it quite easy to simulate.

Geode Painted UpCycled Chairs

Don’t limit your canvas:

This is quite the ‘mash-up’ to combine geodes in upholstery and paint! They are holding strong for years now! Really, now you can sit on art work.

One-of-a-kind Geode Pillows

Yyou can be in control of the colours and patterns you want instead of looking all over for them sine they are easier to make than find. Yup, I am a bit of a control-freak in that sense;

Metallic Concrete Leaf Trivet
Metallic Concrete Leaf Trivet

No fancy painting skills:

As you may notice the skills needed to paint most of the projects are quite easy. Simple dry-brushing and antiquing will bring quite surprising results.

Faux Fossil Forest Coasters

Can you believe it? No mold needed & ridiculous details. I can’t take credit for the textures; thanks to ‘Mother Nature’.

Concrete Lighted Step-Spook

Ok, I know this fellow has made it around the world via the ‘net and he still watches over me every day. I credit him for being the first concrete draping project to get me started…

Fitted Face Mask Pattern for Glasses

Well, the practicality of sewing and the knowledge of form allowed me to offer patterns. These patterns were specific to the pandemic but I did enjoy the challenge of mapping them out.

Pick a Mask – Any pattern

So many people have written to me about how happy they have been with them and I hope I’ve done a part in keeping people safe. I’m happy to say there have been 163,655 downloads as of today! I hope that means a lot of happy sewists. I’ve come to some conclusions through this backward journey.

MY MISSION STATEMENT:

To provide everyone the inspiration and knowledge to make unique creations that give a sense of pride.

Let me know what you think… How have I helped you?

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 56 Comments

    1. When I think of the overall impact your offerings have on me, I tend to think of the person behind them first. I think of what you do, and especially your generous sharing of it all

      I have two words to describe you, the artist. Those words are “Innovator” because, although the techniques are not unknown, the uses you put them to are so imaginative and soul-touching.
      and the second word is “Facilitator”, because we who follow you in your adventures might never try to actually get down and produce our own creations. you show us how possible it is to create with what nature provides freely, and things ( “stuff” ) we have on hand.

      Those of us who follow you admire you and thank you (so much), for the help and inspiration.

  1. I have been reading your blog for a couple of years and it’s wonderful to learn a little more about you. I know that you are a kindred spirit and a very talented creative. Like you, I make things and enjoy sharing what my creating has taught me. I have shared your website with many and tried a few of your lessons myself so that makes your Mission Statement ring very true with me.

    1. It’s always wonderful to know that there are so many out there who see my site. It can get quite monotonous when I feel like I’m talking to myself so much! Thanks for your kind words.

  2. Love your “mission statement”! You are an amazing woman/artist! I too get overwhelmed with “where is my art leading me” thoughts…having done a myriad of art projects over the years, but its all part of my journey I guess. I plan to do some time travel backwards and zone in on what my priorities are for the home stretch…I’m 75 and want to go out with a BANG!!😄 have a year Barb, and a huge thanks for sharing your talents to all of us!!

    1. Wow, you inspire me! Since the new knee (still not super perfect) I’m having to be mindful of my own health. Once I get into the creative zone it’s difficult to stop sometimes which makes for pain later. You have lots of spunk and I wish all the power to you! Here’s to us ‘Sister’!

  3. I love the mission statement! Yes you have been a wonderful creative influence! I see you cross pollinating projects and LOVE it!
    You are so inspiring. You shift and dance with your creativity so beautifully!
    And deeply important to me you are generous, authentic and because of your blend of expertise, and your exacting/creative nature, I trust you. I trust your knowledge! With all the “I took a class, now I am an expert and will charge and teach!” mentality now on the internet, I seek seasoned wisdom makers who I can trust. Thank you, gratitude, I support you and champion you!

    1. Wow, you said in perfectly! Thank you! Yes, I’ve often run myself ragged trying and redoing something a million times before I post it. I feel quite responsible to be thorough even though I do not charge. I think I carry that from teaching in a college for over 20 years. I may try offering my instruction in other ways as well…

  4. You have helped me realize I am not alone in navigating the artistic and commercial aspects of my life. You provide excellent knowledge and instruction to make your unique creations. You are inspiring me to work on my own blog and projects. Please keep doing what you’re doing Barb, and thank you!

  5. I think your mission statement captures your willingness to share your talents with all of us. You encapsulate “art” in ways that are almost (!) attainable for many people as long as time and patience are in ample supply. Thank you for your generous spirt and your endless creativity.

    1. Thank you! In a world where it seems that ‘how many views on social media’ is the only merit I appreciate your comment. Patience is something that seems to be disappearing and is so very important. When I teach the young adults from high school I often see a ‘want it now’ mentality. ‘With patience almost anything is possible…

  6. I have enjoyed your articles so much on ALL your different ventures. I did not know you were such a talented illustrator! A lot of people do not know what a honed skill it is to be able to draw well. Our computers have lead new artists and crafters down the path of cut and paste, and overlay colors and patterns. Anyone can do that, but not very people can draw.

    You are a very creative person so don’t worry if you move from one medium to another. It is like trying new foods but Mother Nature has much more to offer! You capture Her beautifully!

    1. Since I teach drawing at a college as well I know how some are impatient when learning the skills. I need to remind them how long I’ve been at it and never think I have hit perfection. You don’t have to tell me about the influence of technology! ‘Pencil to paper’ is a going along the lines of the dinosaur. That’s another of the reasons I do this; simple ‘hands-on’ achievements. Constantly looking at a screen puts me to sleep, so writing posts is really challenging, not to mention the mistakes I make. Thanks for joining in the journey…

  7. I loved your simple mission statement. I’d say you’ve been doing that all along. Several of my art friends (mostly in the fiber area) often say, did you see Made by Barb today? Your eco printing is amazing. I too love it but haven’t used it much in useful items like clothing. You are inspiring with whatever genre you use for creating. I’m a fan. Keep making and inspiring.

    1. Awe, that funny! I know my close friends are always aware of what I’m up to… It’s a bit weird when I realize how far it all reaches! I grew up in a time where life was so much more private. I’ll keep at it… as long as I can.

  8. I like the mission statement you have arrived at. I approach things similarly, it is nice to know that I am not alone.
    Also, I have been inspired and learned much from your blog/newletter/communication (whatever you wish to call it ;-)) I look forward to opening your post every Sunday.

    Thanks for all that you are doing. I will be here waiting for future communications….

  9. I have been super happy to find your site. I appreciate your mission statement. I have recently tried hard to look at my work as a body of work, to write an artist statement. You seem to be doing much the same. Passion shows. I do find it terribly distracting though to try to read your post with all the adds between each paragraph. It detracts from your statements.

    1. Thank you. It all depends how a site can sustain itself. Unfortunately the ads revenue are what keeps me able to do this site. Between web servers, site maintenance and supplies the costs ad up. I grapple with the ideas of selling pdf’s or eBooks to help keep it going.

  10. Hello

    What a deep and disclosing mission you have been on, you seem almost excusing yourself for not deciding to be a sculptor, and sticking with it. You remind me of Da Vinci, as soon as you have uncovered the mystery and wonder of a medium or technique, another several come crowding in, suggesting – “what if?”
    You are undoubtedly very talented, and please believe me – entitled to explore any idea that pushes itself forward. I love your work, in every last one of its facits.
    Regards and respect Dawn

    1. I just referenced davinci one minute ago! How coincidental! Some people aspire to travel the world, but I want to try ever media in some creative form, that’s my ‘travel’. It’s hands-on, not just a visual admiration for a place.

      1. Hi, Barb! I stumbled onto your sight early in the pandemic while looking for mask patterns. I made hundreds. By hand. No sewing machine. Gave most to family and friends, kept the best for me and the hubby, and even sold a few. Your design (center left on your pick a pattern graphic) with a few additions and Kaffe Fassett fabric and those masks get compliments all the time!– and I give you credit for the great design!
        I’m more crafty than artistic and my strengths otherwise run to writing, rather than drawing. But finding you&your blog was like finding a friend I didn’t know I had! So, friend, keep up the all the good work. Love your work and your words; any direction you take will be terrific.

        1. I am impressed! I don’t know if I would sew so many by hand, but I am always in type of a hurry since I’m trying to get more done! Kudos to you! Any creative avenue will give you a sense of accomplishment and I’m happy to inspire!

  11. You are my inspiration for exploration. I am primarily a weaver. But between warps I love to try so many of the projects you create. And now I find myself seeing potential for art in the most mundane objects. Makes taking a walk an exercise in creativity. Thanks for your generosity in sharing all you do.

    1. Wow, that’s great to hear! Once you exercise that part of the brain you will get more and more creative! Just sometimes I can’t turn it off, when I try to sleep. I wonder what it was like in the brains of some of the great masters like Davinci, how amazing it must have been.

  12. I was getting worried as I was reading. I thought you were going to close up shop! I enjoy seeing how creative you are and fearless you are. I feel that I have absorbed a little of this as I have had failures in sewing projects and other crafty endeavors but turned them into something else that I ended up loving even more than my original intention.
    Thanks again for sharing with us … even if we don’t always comment 🙂

    1. Oh, sometimes when I grow weary of all that is involved with this site I joke about ‘death by blog’. Making, photos, editing, writing, posting, web maintenance, it’s a lot of work. On the plus side; I’m my own boss with this, but I’m a pushy boss… 🤣

  13. Wow! Love your mission statement. I have been following you for quite a few years and love everything you do. You are an amazing artist and I am so inspired by you. As I move toward retirement and more me time I plan to make and try everything you have done. Until now I have been living vicariously. Thank you for your generosity. Only the best for 2022.
    Gail🇨🇦

    1. It’s going to be quite a year again… my other knee surgery was postponed due to omicron so I can’t make too definite plans. But, I’ll work with what I have & appreciate that. Yes, retirement sounds like it will be fun!

  14. Hi
    I think you’re an amazing artist and so wonderful for sharing your ideas for free! I like to do crafts but unfortunately I don’t have the imagination or talent for it😛But with your help I mad a concrete step spook and I absolutely love it (plus it given me so many positive comments from friends ☺️). Next I’m about to try out to make some concrete orbs.
    Thanks so much for sharing your artwork❤️

    1. That’s great! I’m always happy when I can inspire someone. I probably don’t really know how many step spooks are all over the world! Happy concreting!

  15. HI Barb, I wrote an artist’s statement several years ago and lost it (it’s here somewhere…). I think it’s so important to contemplate these issues. You have a strong teaching component which so many of us appreciate! I am someone also who branches out to try new things.

    1. I never gave ‘mission statements’ much thought. It was only when I would be in my studio space and my head would spin… what was I going to do today, that I felt like I should organize it. Too many directions and trying too many can be counter productive. A plan is always better.

  16. Perfect mission statement. Thanks for all the instruction, inspiration, and encouragement you provide through your generous sharing of your own artistic path.

  17. I am truly inspired and feel blessed to have read this. For a long time, I thought something was wrong with me…..I couldn’t focus and was all too excited about making anything and everything. Some tried to box me in jewelry and while I love it, it’s not my all and all. I thought I had an attention deficit disorder because I was always interested in making things whether jewelry or fabric related or just any craft. Now I see that there are others like yourself who are just makers although you are fabulous at everything you do! Thanks for putting this out there and now my goal is to put up my own blog.

    1. Well, I suppose there are many like us! I thought I had ADD too but it was just my excitement to make stuff! During my younger years I needed to ‘work’ for others and raise my kids. I finally feel free enough to do the things I want, within a degree. Yes, making a blog can work for you but let me just say; be prepared to put a lot of work before you see any real return from it. I think I’m at 7 years now and it’s been quite a ride. It does give you a way to connect though which is like no other.

  18. Barb,
    You are an endless source of inspiration! I first “found” you when looking for a good fitting mask pattern for a person who wears glasses. I’ve played around with concrete, too, and want to try your projects. I’ve been saving Styrofoam to make a waterfall when the weather warms up. Thank you for sharing your genius so freely and graciously!1

    1. Before you know it you’ll be saving all kinds of things for a second ‘creative’ life. I’m looking at my waterfall right now under almost a foot of snow. ‘Can’t wait til spring!

  19. You’ve certainly given me much pleasure from reading your posts, even if I haven’t tried many of the projects. I’ve also been inspired in my own creative projects by being more observant and breaking things down into achievable sections. For these two reasons alone I thank you for being you. and for doing what you do.
    Keep it up, Barb.

    1. It’s always interesting to hear what people take away from my instruction. Since I’ve had to teach via ‘zoom’ at the college I’ve come to see how/what some of the challenges are. I’m glad to hear how I’ve helped.

  20. Creative. Genuine. Generous. Warm. Intelligent. Diligent. Trust-worthy. Brave. Sense of humor. Life in proper perspective. AND you have found your life’s work, perfectly suited to your talents. You are blessed. Truly blessed. And you have just taught me how to begin my own “mission statement”. It always seemed too difficult for someone who does a lot of different things. I guess I was too concerned about focusing on the “most important” THING and making everything else fall into line. Things change all the time; that’s great, I am changing, too. I need a mission statement that leaves room for growth. Thanks, Barb.

    1. Oh my goodness! ‘Life in proper perspective’ – That is what I teach at the college; Perspective drawing! How uncanny! I feel so much better now that I see a common thread, and purpose to everything I do. Did I mention that it’s great to see how those around me have also taken to ‘making’. I was thrilled when my kids made me gifts for Christmas. Yes I am sure I’ll change in some degree but hope there will still be me in there somewhere!

  21. I discovered your website/blog in 2020. I wanted to make cement mandala stones, and the whole mixing cement thing had me nervous. How do I do it, can I do it? (I didn’t realize until much later how much of my confidence had been slowly taken away from me over the years.) Well thanks to google I found your blog, I saw that you did it and you gave me the confidence to try it. I found out it wasn’t hard to do (don’t know what I was worried about, lol). I ended up making lots of Mandala stones during the winter of 2020 and 2021, and gave them away to neighbors and friends in the spring 2021. Everyone loved them, which brought me such joy. That simple act of making my first batch of cement has given me so much confidence to try other projects (craft/art and house maintenance) that I was scared to do. I now own power tools, lol. This week I am planning on making a picnic table for squirrels and am debating on purchasing welding equipment this the summer. I would love to try my hand a metal art. So thank you so much, for sharing your art, creativity and knowledge. I also am paying it forward by getting together with my neighbors kids once a month and we do art/crafts together. Take care, wishing you all the best in 2022. Hope your knee surgery happens soon and you recover quickly.

    1. Such a great story! ‘And you know; I have often wanted to try welding! It looks like such an interesting way to again use old things to make new creations! You go Girl! I plan to teach much to my grandson as he gets a bit older… Yup, knees are so vital!

  22. Barb, I think the first time I saw your work and met you was in the Hypertufa group and I have been following you ever since. Your work is beautiful and you explain how you do it beautifully. I have always thought of you as an artist without knowing you were. You work is inspiring and no one can mistake that you have a talent for all things artistic.

  23. Thank you! Over 2 decades , I engulfed myself into my challenging and rewarding career in the entertainment industry. And then I retired. Oh no! I thought. What can I do that is both rewarding and uses all this extra time I have?
    Then I saw your blog. I used my extra time to view your blog, and your art brought a smile to MY face. Now, my time is spent reinventing your projects and giving them away to put an unexpected smile on someone else’s face.
    Barb, you helped me survive retirement. Thanks, again!

  24. You were the first blog I have ever followed. I was just starting out on Pinterest and found that your posts there were constantly coming into my feed and were always something I wanted to look into. I love all your projects and have tried quite a few. Your instructions are quite comprehensive and I have had lots of success in trying out the projects in your posts. Your mission statement fits perfectly. Thank you so much for what you do!

  25. I can relate. I feel pulled in different directions with my art and wonder which path to follow. I guess it is the nature of being an artist, that wanting to explore the possibilities.

    I love everything you do and wish I could do the things you do. See there it is! wanting to go try something else!

    I love your mission statement and it inspires me to find my own. thanks.

    1. Oh yes. It’s a bit like cooking, once you get going you use all kinds of ingredients! I can’t imagine always using the same. My mother always said; you can do whatever you put your mind on. (as long as I can lift it…) Your stuff looks like fun too! I’m inspired!

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