Tuesday, April 7, 2009

STEPPING BACK INTO CREATIVITY: A look back at my stepping stones

Since my most important creations are almost grown, I have begun a new journey to discover the artisan I know lives inside of me. I know she is there--somewhere. I think she is buried behind my inner guilt. I have lots of it. There's the guilt of being a sloppy housekeeper. The guilt of loving food too much to overcome the effects of its overindulgence. The guilt of not wanting to take that daily walk, even though it will benefit both me and my dog Dakota. The guilt of being 8 months behind on my family blog (yes, I am that far behind and starting a new blog!) And let's not forget the guilt of not scrapbooking for my children. Every year I set a goal to get books done for my four kids, and every year that goal is unreached. Yes, I have boxes of prints and files of digital pics that wait, and wait to be organized. Yes, I have binders, paper, stickers, punchers, sheet protectors and scissors waiting to be used. You would think it would be easier to deal with this guilt because overcoming it would involve allowing myself to be creative. But it turns out I just don't enjoy scrapbooking. Maybe it's because the really good scrapbookers are artists--people whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination, and let's face it I am more of an artisan--a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft. OK, maybe I'm not that skilled and I don't practice a trade--but I do love to handicraft. Whatever--at least I'm succeeding in using my creative abilities--even if its simply to justify avoiding things that cause me guilt!

So instead of digging into the issues that tend to bury my inner artisan, I am going to dig right past them--going straight for cement and glass as I return to my first creative love--making stepping stones. Here are some pictures of some of the stepping stones I have done in the past.


In spite of its flaws, this Texas Stepping stone is one of my favorites. I found the mold online and it just called for a Texas Flag Mosaic. It is big and beautiful as all things Texas are. You have no idea how heavy this thing is! This design will be my first new project as I am making one to sell at a fundraising auction the end of the month.

After creating the Texas stone, I thought I'd try my hand making other shapes in my regular stepping stone molds. First I did this Patriotic Heart.

It was fun free-handing this design, and I really liked how it turned out. Next I tried another Texas stone.

This was much more difficult than the heart, and I think it turned out kind of funky. Even though I'll probably stick to my larger Texas mold in the future, it was fun to try something different.

What do you do when you make too much cement? Make a baby stone of course!

This small flag was made with one of my brick forms. Not sure what to do with such a small stone, but it was a fun way to be creative with leftovers.

Now for a change of pace: LONGHORNS:

When our oldest went off to college, we became big time Texas Longhorn fans. Here are examples of how that new connection sparked my creativity:

I made this stone by coloring the cement. This is one of my first attempts at burnt orange, which by the way is the color my daughter now bleeds. I purchased some Longhorn car emblems and trailer hitches, and turned them into stamps that I could press into wet cement. Next I created the mosaic border around the edges of the stone. Once the stone had cured, I filled the longhorn in with white grout, finishing up a stone that any Longhorn would love. Although to be perfectly honest--it can't compare with this stone:

This was made with another amazing mold I found online. When I saw it I immediately knew I had to buy it. With some burnt orange cement (the color is much better on this stone) and a little grout, it turns into an stepping stone that any Texas Longhorn would love to see this in their garden! And if that stone isn't big enough to show how much you love your Longhorns, then check this out:

All of these photos are stones that turned out. Just so you know they come from a lot of trial and error, take a look at this one:

This is part of a Texas Longhorn stone that didn't quite work. I am not sure what I did wrong with this batch of cement, but it was bubbly and kind of brittle. When I dumped the stone out of the mold, it cracked in half. Since I couldn't bear to just throw it away, I took a chisel to it and created this small stone. I thought about grouting the longhorn, but wasn't sure a smooth grout finish would have gone well with it's rough edges, so I decided to leave it alone. I really like the rustic look of

Well there you have it, some of the stepping stones of my past. Let me know what you think. The plan from here on out is to chronicle some of my other past projects as well as follow my new endeavors. Check back soon to see where the journey takes me.

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