When Good Crafts Go Bad

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again... Someone famous once said that. Probably director Terry Gilliam after “Don Quixote” fell apart.

But as anyone who crafts will tell you, there are the craft projects that turn out nicely, maybe even better than expected. And then there are... well... the sorts of projects I’ll be showing you today.

My hope is that others will benefit from my crafting and artistic mishaps, and avoid these particular errors themselves. And for those who don’t currently craft, or who have always wanted to try a particular craft and are afraid of the consequences, I hope you’ll see that there are folks like me out here crafting-- happy, forging ahead, undaunted-- who are COMPLETELY clueless sometimes. And so there’s nothing to fear and everything to learn by taking some time and giving it a shot.

Will there be mess? Yes, unquestionably! Ugliness? Like Medusa on a bad hair day! Poor planning? Like roadwork in spring! But we laugh it off and carry on. When it works, it’s all worth it. Every bit of it.

And here we go.

The Mad Mosaic Window
In the movie Spinal Tap, one character marvels that there’s “such a fine line between stupid and clever.” And this, I fear, trods on that line.

I was looking for an inexpensive way to make myself a stained glass style window to sit in my dining room picture window. So I bought an interesting and cheap old window at an architectural salvage place. Then I started gluing. This has bits of a broken table lamp in it. Flat marbles from a floral display. Stained glass. And a few extra lamp crystals I happened to have lying around.

And WOW does it look it! Especially in person.

The funny thing was, no matter how many hours I spent gluing on these darned pieces of glass, I still wasn’t filling up the space. It’s as if the more I would add to it, the more the clear space was expanding like the universe itself. And the lamp bits? No matter how small the lamp glass was, it still wouldn’t lay flat. So from the other side, you can totally see all the glue I had to add, just to get things to stick.

I do like the colors. And as you can see, the light does go nicely through it, highlighting the glass and the, er, crystalline globs of glue. So this window remains in my basement-- far, far from unsuspecting guests-- until I can either think of a way to correct it, or, well, until I’m a very old lady and have to move into assisted living.

The Pepto Bismol Globe Shade

I have my great-aunt’s pink Victorian oil lamp with yellow flowers. It came to me missing its globe shade. Seeking to restore my beloved relative’s antique possession, one day I had the bright idea that I would paint a globe shade to match it. So I found a clear glass shade, got myself some glass paint in the proper shade of pink, read the instructions, followed them precisely, and began to paint.

What I did not realize was that glass paint is not really meant to be brushed on to cover large surfaces. And if used in that manner, it will never be, say, EVEN. Or DRY. So the more paint I added, the more streaky, drippy flat and uneven the shade actually began to look. It was like someone spilled a bottle of Pepto and left it. To repair the situation, I thought I could even it out by spraying it with a clear frosted glass spray.

And then it began to crackle. So instead of the makings of a restored Victorian lamp, I had a globe shade with eczema.

This globe now sits in the basement where it can chat with the window about misplaced intentions.

Future Thrift Store Art
The rose. Artists and poets have been inspired by roses for centuries. And if roses actually looked the way I currently paint roses, I really do believe a lot less poetry would have been written on the whole.

I am close-ish. But I have yet to learn what I’m fully doing wrong. I tend to get lost, somehow, in petals and shadowing. And while the composition itself is usually not too bad, and they are in fact identifiable as roses, the execution always ends up looking either muddy or cartoony or both. This one below, this one with its black, brown and 70s red has a color scheme that reminds me of Johnny Cash at a Harley Davidson convention.

And the one here below...

... on the surface it doesn’t seem too bad. But somewhere along the way I was apparently a little bit negligent on stems. One... two... three... four flower heads. One... two... three... no, just three... stems? Well, one is... hiding. Sure, hiding. Or one stem goes to two flowers. Hard to say which, really. Perhaps it’s a bit of MC Escher’s influence.

Needless to say, I am unwilling to forgo my rose obsession just because of a few deformed flowers. So I figure eventually if I keep at it, something will click, and I’ll finally paint a rose worth displaying outside of (you guessed it) the basement. I think I’m getting there.

Then there was my art class “Moody Blue Pepper Among Monochrome Artichoke and Eggplant.” It symbolizes the isolation that individuals feel when tossed into an urban, hustle bustle society and...

Actually, I just wanted to try out my Pthalo Blue.

Anyway, those are just a few of my artistic and creative oopsies within the last year or so. I hope you either got a chuckle, got inspired to try something you might not have otherwise, or felt a little consolation on a past errant project of your own.

And next week? I will share with you the recipe for one very sweet Valentines treat. See you then!