Category Archives: Words

Some Doubt, Some Consequence

I was introduced to XTC by a classmate of mine in art school. I remember her putting Nonsuch on the communal boombox we had in our studio. I think she had Oranges and Lemons too. I fell in love with the band quickly and soon, my music library contained every single release by the band, including the releases under the name The Dukes of Stratosphere (that I had to track down on tape from an Indianapolis used records shop). I needed to hear everything. Everything.

The song “I am the Audience” is one of my favourite XTC songs. I’ve always thought of it as a declaration of my personal creative rationale. I create for myself, first and foremost. I am the one with the idea, or the instinct, or the inclination to create a thing. I am doing this for my own amusement, therefore, I am the audience. What ever I choose to create is done so because I deem it worthy of my time, energy and thought.

As pretentious as that sounds, for me, it’s the truth. The flip side of that is, my work is unfinished until another person looks at it, and brings their own lifetime of thoughts and experiences to my artwork. Each person sees something a little different. I may be the first audience, but I will hardly be the last. My experience as the creator is so much different than that of the future audiences.

I recently watched a documentary about David Bowie and the last few years of his life. There was a snippet of an earlier interview in which he stated that he believed an artist should create the art that they want to make, and that when an artist makes their art for someone else, the artists true intent or vision is lost and the artist is not happy with the end product. The artist, the creator needs to remain true to themselves and their own individual purpose.

I know that artists and creative people need to sell their artwork to live. That art school training that I was getting at the Herron School of Art was as a graphic designer and illustrator. I always thought that it was strange that the other artistic disciplines thought of us as ‘sell outs’. I imagined that the painters and the sculptors wanted to sell their artwork and be able to support themselves by doing what they loved to do, just as the graphic designers and illustrators wanted to be creative in their chosen medium and be able to pay their bills as well. I suppose this has something to do with the rather skewed view of the artist as professional that some people have.

I am not having to, at this point in my life, sell my artwork to in order to pay my bills. I have done this in the past, and it’s one of the reasons I’m not a working graphic designer or illustrator anymore. I’m not good at having people tell me how to create or why to create. The longer I did it, the more mental and emotional damage ate away at my insides. As much as I love graphic design and illustration, I’m just not well suited psychologically to do it professionally, and that’s okay. I’m happier teaching art and making my own art. It’s much better fit for me.

Last week, I sold four dolls. I had not intended to sell any of the dolls that I have recently been creating. I don’t feel like I have the mental or physical bandwidth to devote time to such an endeavour. I’m making the dolls that I want to make, they way that I want to make them, in the time that I want to make them. “Yeah, but you just said you sold four dolls!” Yes. I sold four dolls. The buyer is someone who has purchased dolls of mine in the past. She didn’t make me feel like I was under a deadline. She didn’t make any demands about colours or styles of clothing. She saw four dolls that she liked, asked me the price plus shipping and then bought them. I made enough money to buy some more materials and tools so that I can make more dolls. There’s a nice symmetry to it. Make a dolls. Someone likes it. Someone buys it. I take the money and get more things to make more dolls.

 

Long Time, No Post

Hello! It’s been quite a while since I have written and posted anything here on my website, Berin has been handling the lions share of the maintenance of the site for more than two years. I’ve only contributed to the podcasts that we do and read the occasional comment now and again. The main reason for this is because my life, well, really, my academic life, has been taking precedence. Blogging and making art have been riding in the way back of my mental Vista Cruiser station wagon and it’s only come to my attention that doing this might not have been the best thing for me. So, after some thought, I’ve decided to start posting again.

One of the catalysts for this change was some reflective writing (a personal journal) that I began keeping a few months ago. I started it after a discussion with a mentor at the University about what creativity is and why I feel it’s important to have arts courses in public schools (sometimes the last bastion of creativity for some children in school). Before I can hope to understand why instruction within the public schools needs to encourage creativity in student learning, I need to better understand my own creative processes.

In addition to journaling about my own creative processes, I’ve also been creating new dolls. Again, in an effort to better understand how and why I choose to create, and in some instances, not to create. It’s been…interesting. It’s good to have a needle back in my hands and I’ve been having fun creating new doll designs and working with new materials. I’ve had to get used to not having a JoAnn Fabrics, with it’s plethora of inexpensive fabrics and supplies to go to when I need materials, supplies or tools. Necessity being the mother of invention, I’ve had to come up with new ways or working as well as buying supplies on a shoe string budget. I hope to use my blog to document the changes that have taken place in how I work as an artist, as a complement to my written journal.

There will be some small changes here and there with the website, and the podcast will continue to be posted here every Monday. Hopefully, I can get back into the swing of posting quickly!

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Katie In Finland: Digital Literacy Part 2

In this episode, Katie and Berin talk about digital literacy, critical thinking and research skills, and tool use in education.

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Katie In Finland: Digital Literacy Part 1

In this episode, Katie and Berin talk about digital literacy, critical thinking and research skills, and tool use in education.

Download MP3 | Stream on YouTube

Ask Questions

You can submit questions and comments through the contact page.

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Katie In Finland: A Trip to Kuopio

kuopio

In this episode, Katie and Berin discuss visiting a city they’d never heard of before, seeing a wooly mammoth, and eating pulled pork pancakes with Moomin.

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Show Notes

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You can submit questions and comments through the contact page. http://katiekinsman.com/contact/

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Katie In Finland: A Year in Finland Part 1

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In this episode, Katie and Berin discuss what it’s been like living abroad for a year, how it’s changed their perspectives, and whether they want to continue living in a foreign country or not.

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In our next episode we’ll be talking about summertime in Finland, and how it differs from our experiences in various parts of the United States. You can submit questions and comments through the contact page. http://katiekinsman.com/contact/

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Katie In Finland: Fast Food in Finland

In this episode, Katie and Berin discuss fast food in Finland, including strange pizza toppings, kebab, and ubiquitous buffets.

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Show Notes

  • Hesburger, Finland’s hamburger chain
  • Kotipizza, Finland’s pizza and kebab chain
  • Burger King‘s controversial return to Finland
  • Varieties of majoneesi (mayonnaise) at Hesburger and Kotipizza, including paprika, chile, chipotle, curry, caesar, and garlic.

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Nick Jaina “These Fair Hands”

The theme music for our upcoming podcast is “These Fair Hands” by Portland musician Nick Jaina.

 

“These Fair Hands” by Nick Jaina is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://needledrop.co/fma. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://needledrop.co/fma.

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My Workspace

I love having the ability to have my own studio with a door that closes. Anyone who has a cat knows why that’s necessary. I finally got my studio cleaned and put together almost a year after moving into my current house. It took the better part of a month! I have so much stuff! So. Much. STUFF.


My husband had an impacted wisdom tooth that required some emergency oral surgery over the summer. The antibiotics made him a little loopy and sleeping was the best way to deal with the recovery. Needless to say, I had a lot of time on my hands that needed to be filled with something. Something like sorting through piles, mounds, heaps and mountains of STUFF.

Some things got trashed, other recycled and still other things were donated. I must have a trace of magpie blood, because I cannot seem to pass anything up that I might be able to use in some piece or project that I’ve not even thought of yet. At my age, the collection of stuff was getting dangerous. My husband feared what he called “The Crap Slide” every time he came into the studio. And yes, we did have several Crap Slides that had to be dealt with, and the clean-up was long, protracted and sometimes even painful.

The shelf helped a lot. I made sure I put tools and supplies on it that I use almost on a daily basis. I stashed some of the dolls I won’t part with on the very top shelf for display.

My sewing machine now has it’s own table and I can leave it out. The last place that I lived I had to combine my studio and my bedroom and it was so tight and uncomfortable! I was constantly putting things away and getting things out. It was really annoying.

This is the section of the tables that I work at the most. It seems really cluttered now that I take a really good look at the picture. I assure you, everything there is used! Everything there has a purpose! I would know if anyone moved anything! Really! I swear!