25 November 2009

From the inside out

Four years of nurturing a 'homepreneur' habit, and 2+ years of gently deflecting kind people who still ask why I don't teach English, I've just started to feel it is the right fit to work at home.  I venture to guess that most artists don't think of themselves as entrepreneurs (will have to save this thought for later investigation), and most of the time I don't think I am, either. But if you work for yourself (mostly), and make money doing something you love, doesn't business play a part in it? Over at IC, they talk about being a creative entrepreneur and it resonates with me. 

What I wonder is, where does the word 'entrepreneur' fit into this real-life description?: rise at morn to feed hungry duo-national Ameri-Turks + Turkish spouse, shuttle off first-born to nursery school after noisy stampede around house until 11 am, engage in quiet work time while second-born naps for a mere hour and a half, resume negotiations with second-born not to destroy house while I write or work on projects, do laundry, eat lunch, etc. until 5:30 when first-born comes home, followed by escapist downtime in kitchen making dinner while husband reacquaints himself with home and kids, ending with a song and dance bedtime routine and my own bleary eyes held open until midnight... I know I'm not alone in this, and that some women in this position would call themselves 'mompreneurs', but I'm still uncomfortable with this tag. I find myself gravitating towards the new domesticity. It fits a little bit better. Where's your tribe?

There was a time (a wee 3 years ago) when I was making handbags (while getting paid hourly to plead with university-level students to speak English at a language school), that I felt I had to hide the fact that I didn't have a "real" studio, atelier, or brick 'n mortar shop for my handbags. Now it is almost the opposite: I've invited more and more people into my home studio through twitter, illustration, and active engagement with others about crafting a creative life like in this blog post. This is such a relief. To align my work with my life instead of the other way around.

Lately I've been thinking about what's next. One day (soon) the kids will be too old to share a room. We live in a modest 3-bedroom apartment and I'll either have to leave the nest to work in a studio space outside, or we'll have to search for a 4-bedroom apartment in Turkey, which is more difficult than it sounds. I'm not sure about re-entry into outside life. I quite like it here.

18 November 2009

A guest at Colette

I'm so happy to share that this week marks my second week as guest poster at Colette Patterns, where Sarai designs gorgeous garments for real women. Chantilly or Eclair may be my favorites, and I love how the names conjure Paris, cafes, vintage stores, and fashion icons. Every week I'll be illustrating visual inspiration and sharing thoughts and ideas about design, sewing, nesting, and beautiful things that shape our days, little bursts of fanciful drawings to muse upon while sewing away.

Please take a look even if you are not a sewist; Colette Patterns are marvelous eye candy and I couldn't be more pleased to be there every week as a guest blogger.

xo Rose

16 November 2009

Embroidery Coach

Recently added to my book stash was this kitschy craft instruction manual I couldn't resist mooching, if nothing else than for the title: a 1993 copy of Create Your Own Cross Stitch: How to turn your design ideas into reality. I was curious about this emboldening statement to not let one's dreams (of cross-stitch) lie in wait. Had I wasted my time in art school when all I needed was this book to fulfill my dreams? I'm a sucker for diagrams, sketches, and how-to's especially if they have a homey spin and have been written by women with multiple degrees {the fantastic Shirley Watts of CYOCS has a degree in Geography, Geology, and a degree in the Philosophy of Education, to boot}.

Shirley sketches mushrooms, tells you how to take photos to turn them into cross-stitch, gives basic instruction on how to start a project, and gently coaxes you through the process of unpacking your fears of being a creative individual. If ever you needed an embroidery coach, she is it.

I collect more craft books than I am able to do projects, but I do try not to give into impulse buying of craft books unless I really think I'll make something from them. Bookmooch is my kiddie cocktail of the book binge world; tasty but not inebriating. Are there any books you stock up on for your own work or just for fun?

06 November 2009

Fall Delights

Staples at a Midwestern Thanksgiving dinner table? At our house in Wisconsin: turkey basted according to a timing method made by my engineer-father, champagne for the adults to sip while waiting, broccoli/cauliflower and cheese-whiz bake, canned cranberries, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, butter on French bread, and pumpkin pie. For a saucy tale of secret ingredients at the holiday table, read cultural producer Anastasia Ashman's post here.

Here in Türkiye, I do what I can to recreate our meal, but it is never quite the same (though I've become much better at making gravy than I used to be!). I tend to throw in some healthier alternatives, but canned cranberries have never disappointed me, despite how unreal they look coming out of the can, ridges in the cranberry mold shaped like the aluminum can. Food and fall go hand-in-hand for me because the kitchen seems to come to life, me and the kitchen less sweaty and grumbling than in the summer when cold soups and salads are staples. In the fall, rich flavors mingle with our expectations for sharing meals together, sheltered against the cold. What keeps you fed body and soul during the fall? Afiyet olsun!

05 November 2009

The non-binary life

When an emerging American artist moves to Turkey and starts a family, she navigates new definitions of career and home life. What does that look like? Come join the discussion on art + domesticity cohabitating at expat+HAREM where I am a guest poster on art, nesting, and being an expatriate.

04 November 2009

I'm a fun-loving foreigner who likes French roast

Whenever I buy my over-priced whole-bean bag of coffee from the world's largest coffee chain, I encounter polite smiles and a friendly greeting by name from the baristas. Why? Because I am a fun-loving foreigner who likes French roast. I do enjoy other coffee strengths, though I rarely dip into mild or medium; however, I am known as Rose Hanım (Mrs. Rose) French roast lover and so as not to disappoint anybody, I buy it week after week.

One night coming back from Istanbul after my art opening, I ran into the cafe with chocolate unknowingly all over my face (because of course it is dark in the car and I can't see my face) and I try to ask for French Roast coffee beans to take home. I'm over-exaggerating my pronunciation, practically singing "Fr-eee-nch" to get my point across because the whole time the barista is backing away slightly. Back in the car I notice my face with fright while my husband chuckles and takes a sip of his mocha. It took me a long time to recover from that experience, exactly one week later when the coffee beans ran out.

Most recently, a different barista exclaimed to me, "You REALLY like coffee, don't you?" She laughed. "You come here a lot." I was taken aback, a little embarrassed. Was I flaunting my coffee obsession? This is Turkey, after all, where displays of excess seem frowned upon. Yes, yes, I do love coffee. Nescafe makes my soul cry out in pain. I wondered, though, is making your customers feel ashamed of their purchase a good marketing strategy? Mid-way through opening the vacuum-sealed pouch, she asked me if I wanted it ground and I said, "No, I have a grinder," to which I got a blank stare.

Next time you wonder where I am, be sure to check the coffee bean display where I am crouched by the extra-strong roasts grabbing 3 bags at a time. Whole bean. Because I have a coffee grinder.

02 November 2009

Drawing from life

I've been fumbling around the idea for awhile that the things we see online get digested so quickly. So I'm posing a little challenge to myself that for an unspecified period of time I draw the things I love and want to share. I've started doing this already.  Gretchen Wagoner's print here, is an example of the direction I'm moving. So is the black tea latte I made last week. I may throw in some photos from time to time, still, and my illustrations will certainly use mixed media. Covertly, it means I can justify hoarding Moleskine watercolor notebooks. This also means that if you want to share something with me - something you love or work you do, that time and mutual interest permitting, I'll do a little drawing and post it here. It may take me longer to do it, maybe fewer posts, but that's part of the experiment. I hope you'll enjoy! What do you think? xo

The Working Proof: Gretchen Wagoner

The artist and printmaker Anna Corpron, co-founder of The Working Proof and part of Sub-studio along with Sean Auyeung, emailed me to let me know Gretchen Wagoner's print of mating Hera buckmoths is available on TWP's site. I've been a longtime fan of Gretchen Wagoner and am delighted to see her work there. I find her drawings really engaging and ethereal. TWP puts heart and soul into creativity, charity, and community as their masthead says, and 15% of the $40 gross sale of Gretchen's gorgeous print goes to the Jane Goodall Institute. I love this merger of art and goodwill and the element of collaboration. It also nixes the notion that art doesn't help people and is simply an indulgence. Check out their artists and charities; the selection changes weekly. You can find more of Gretchen's work here and on her blog and follow TWP on Twitter or read their blog.

{image above an interpretation of TWP's website and Gretchen's print. The real print is much more luscious!}