...or tries to...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The joy of just doing

I've been a surface designer for a while now, long enough to have started my business back when every blanket and comforter I designed had to be painted by hand, full size, in gouche I mixed up in yogurt cups. I would sit for hours trying to get my paint swatches to match the imperious PMS color matching system, squeezing out more yellow, more blue, waving a hair drier around and begging the splotches to dry, please dry, please please dry. And then the colors always ran out in the middle of the project, or dripped in the wrong places, or cracked when the paper was rolled. It seemed endless.

Then came the Mac. And colors came as easily as a click, red could be changed to blue in a finger twitch. "Paint" was virtual and in endless supply. It didn't spill, it wasn't precious, I could change my mind, vanish mistakes, I could do anything, it seemed, instantly. Designing didn't get easier, but the actual doing of it did.

So what do I love most now, fifteen years in harmony with my computer? I still design in the day job this way, sitting, like most of us do, in front of a screen. But in my personal work, I fell back in love with making things, holding things, dropping things, sewing things up with needles and thread. I'm planted in front of a wooden table covered with beads and pom poms, paper scraps, scissors, yarn. I've accepted painful fingertips and broken fingernails, paint stains on the inside of my palms. The whole process gets started in the computer, in digital cameras and printers, and are indispensible now, part of how I make things up. But the joy comes from the hunching over the tabletop, the stiff neck and the eye strain. It comes with picking out impossibly tight knots and snapped thread. It's the mistakes that take hours to repair and re-do. It's the mistakes that lead to the ideas and the breakthroughs. I wouldn't have thought so years ago, but that's the wonderful surprise of it all.


Begoña said...

Hi Amy, i'm a spanish miniaturist and I've been following you a while now over your flickr acount. I would love to know where you bought the wonderful sofa you've got in the sitting room of the red house. I'm dying for one of those on my next project. Thank you very much!

Amy said...

Hi Begona! Thank you for visiting from my Flickr page! I found the sofa in a local doll house shop about three years ago, and I don't know who makes it. I've been looking all over the internet for sites that may sell it, but it may no longer be made. I'll keep looking, though, and I will ask the shop owner here if she knows...

Kim and Dustin said...

Hi, Amy!

I just stumbled across your work on Etsy, just for the joy of looking! And I am so in love with your doll houses! Your work is amazing! I am so inspired! Every detail is so exciting and interesting. Did you make all the sweets in the cafe? I love to crochet, but I'm starting to get really interested in polymer clay miniature food. What's your favorite things to make?
Thanks for what you do! It gives me so much joy to step into your little world for a little while, I wish that I lived there!
Kim :)

Amy said...

Hi Kim!

Thank you so much for coming by from Etsy and writing such wonderful things! I'm all wistfull about the dollhouses because I'm about to move and they've been packed up first-I miss them...I did make the food, but I have to admit that I find it as hard as cooking (and crocheting) in real life-I burn lots of the stuff I make, in both lives. But I do like the cakes. In real life too.

What's your favorite polymer food? The absolute masters of desserts are two wonderful artists I met on Flickr:



Can you believe what they can do? I just shake my head and sigh.

Stop by any time! I've been away from the blog because of the insanity that moving causes, but I'll be back soon....