Cherryblossom Tears is Five

‘ Creativity takes courage’ –  Henri Matisse

Everything begins with an idea. And five years ago I decided to blog about the creative things I was doing, like an online dairy. I was nervous about showing the world my ‘flawed’ works but part of my plan was to become an art therapist and this felt like one small step in that direction.

I started Cherryblossom Tears when I was 28 and now I’m 33. My art has changed as much as I have in that time. I’ve recognised that my blog was never going to be a glossy portfolio of finished pieces. My strengths lay in the so called imperfections and the process of creating. This is what art therapy was about; engaging with the materials and the creating of artwork. I learnt how to run a blog inside out by doing it, making mistakes and learning from them.

I developed better writing skills and found a natural voice when putting up posts. I learnt how to take better pictures of my work and how to plan my projects. The purpose of my blog started to shine through: It was about not giving up, sharing my frustrations with my work, the trying, the experimentations, working through to find and cultivate a personal style, the materials you connect with and feel on an intuitive level.

‘Life is like art. You have to work hard to keep it simple and still have meaning.’ Charles de Lint

I think writing in this way is liberating. I realised where my creative strengths were and also how much I love combining materials to makes something unusual. One my favourite things to do is go to the art shop and find something new to try. What can I make with Polymer clay? What happens if I add beads? What about wire? How can I create a monster in my own style?

By allowing myself this freedom, I stopped caring so much what other people thought of my art and really embraced the enjoyment I got from making things. It doesn’t matter if something I make doesn’t work, I can try again! I’ve found a quiet confidence in presenting myself as who I really am; a little eccentric, messy, prone to over-thinking. But who I wished to be in my 20s wasn’t real or authentic.

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Mini Projects & Rainy Days

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I feel like I’ve been neglecting my blog a little, but I have just been so busy with other things and a little side tracked! So here are a few mini projects I have been doing in-between my embroidery, celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday, working and general life things!

Art Room Projects

I bought a wooden mini shelf from Amazon to add all my tiny little knickknacks on. First I primed the whole thing ready for painting and used this lovely blue Dylusions paint. I added this floral patterned paper using Modge-Podge and coated the whole thing to give it a varnish effect. I then added some tiny circle mirrors, gems and mosaic tiles for embellishment. This is now in the corner of my window sill looking sweet.

 

The next thing I made was a pinboard to fit under my new shelf. I found this frame in Primark and loved that it was a hexagon. I bought it for £6 and basically took it apart!

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Craft Tutorials On the Blog


What Craft Tutorials Would You Like to See?
(polls)

Three Years and Counting…

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I was 28 when I started this blog. It was quite basic in the beginning as I only put up photos of things I had been making. I’m now 31 and a lot has happened in three years. I’ve moved house five times, waited two years for my job to become permanent and had more than my share of personal struggles to overcome.

I’ve also become more confident, happier in myself with a better understanding of what I want. My perception of art, creativity and my life has gradually changed. Writing a blog allowed me to reflect on just how much I did change, and sometimes I am surprised with the things I have done. I developed a quiet self-assurance in my ability to learn and not be afraid to make mistakes. This allowed me to open up to new creative challenges and try new things for the pleasure and curiosity, as well as pushing myself to grow. As I did this the deeper and more fascinating different craft projects became. I also cared less about other people’s thoughts.

I began to see that perfection wasn’t the purpose for art, at least for me. I embraced my mistakes, documented them and used them as a measurement of how far I could go. This is something I did in all areas of my life not just my art. I started learning more technical things around my job and teaching myself how to develop, layout and write a website. I read books about photography, blogging, and social media and went to talks about the future of technology. I became interested in design and started learning how to use InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. These skills fed back into my blog as it went through many looks.

During my early 20s after finishing my studies I struggled finding a job. In-between the drudgery of job hunting I started looking into new crafts. I experimented with mosaics which I liked although I shredded my fingers cutting the tiles and made a mess in my room! When I moved back to Cambridge I got a sewing machine and taught myself how to sew. I had a bit more space then and made my sister a school bag, made some fluffy critters and tried making clothes. I also experimented with polymer clay.

When I was 27 I moved to Manchester and this was a dark time in my life. I found solace in my art. I remember at one point I had no money, my computer had broken, I had no TV and my phone had been cut off. I was disconnected from the world! But I knew the one thing I could still do was create, so that is what I did. I made books into altered art pieces and experimented with paper crafts.

Since starting Cherryblossom Tears I went from mostly sketching and painting with oils to trying altered arts, die cutting, paper crafts, collage, decopatch, art journaling, shadow boxes, jewellery making, photography, video tutorials, embroidery, felting, stamp carving, fabric pens, polymer clay and resin. I found my niche in mixed media and a love of creating projects to work on. I enjoy sharing my work, writing tutorials and finding new ways to convey my ideas. I believe that everyone has the ability to be creative; some just need encouragement and guidance to start. Who knows what you could craft if you allowed yourself.

Where Is Your Art Going?

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This is an excellent question right now! Because while I’m not in a block as such, I feel like I’m disengaged with my projects. It could be some apathy I’ve been feeling from other things – work, health, personal dramas – and this is bleeding into my art. Or maybe I am just run down and need a break longer than a few days.

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New Ventures in Embroidery…

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My current craft obsession has been embroidery hoops and I’ve been getting frustrated that my ideas in my head don’t yet match my embroidery skills! Duh!

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Some Recent Things…

I bought these two books Stamp It! and Craft-a-Doodle for some inspiration and this is a doodle I started to get back into my art. I’ve also been carving more stamps, which I will be putting up in a new post soon.

Mollie Makes came out yesterday so I am very excited to read this! Lots of flowers in full bloom right now too

Some Things To Come….

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yellow flowers

While I have been super busy recently, I still have time to work on some new craft projects which I am excited about sharing. I thought I would give a sneak peak of things to come on the blog, including:

  • My take on using fabric pens – and tutorial
  • My continued passion for stamps and carving
  • New Art Journal Pages
  • My Smashbook
  • Some adventures with my new camera!
  • My new obsessions which includes skulls
  • A new mixed media project
  • Info on new art magazines I have found and love

As you can see, there are lots of new things for me to get stuck into! I hope you are into them too and keep an eye out 🙂

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Recent Creative Do-dahs!

I am on a little bit of a creative kick these last few days, I wonder if it is the weather! It has been really humid and sunny, I don’t think I’ve seen rain for at least 5 days.

Here are some things I’ve been doing recently.

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New Journal Challenge

So, since dealing with my creative rut and then having to move, I decided it is time to plan some art and see if this gets my mind working again. I have a new table and pretty much sorted my supplies in my new place. I just need some focus and motivation to get started. One technique for this I felt worked before is setting out some goals and adding restrictions. And in the next few weeks I aim to do three pages:

  • A minimal colours page – two or three only
  •  A Silhouette page
  • A layered and heavily textured page

I haven’t decided whether to do these in my large journal – which is bursting from being saturated but has a lot of pages left – or the smaller one. Both have restrictions which are useful in giving yourself boundaries, as well as scope depending on the page you decide to make. I tend to work in an organic way, so will wait until I start and size up both journals.

Something to look forward to!

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Damn You, Creative Block!

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I am having a serious case of ‘creative block’ and it is beyond frustrating.

my motivation to pick up a pen, play around with my art stash or even look for inspiration has dried up completely and I am stressing out! I am even finding reading, or concentrating on reading hard right now and I can’t seem to pinpoint why.

I know I overreact when this happens, and it has happened many times before.Other stresses in life bleed over into my free time and stick in my brain, feeding a deep anxiety. Usually art is an escape for me. I get the spark of an idea and must go and explore it at once. But right now, I have no desire to make anything.

I wonder how long it will last. It always seems like forever, every time it happens. Because it seems to have left a hole in my time, I am forcing myself to at least do something constructive and add to my CV/ job skills. Not the most interesting thing ever, but maybe if I worry less about my creative block, it will soon disappear.

Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome 🙂

 

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Hello Photography

Being a visual creature, I love to take pictures with my phone all the time, and also of my art and life generally. I love to share things as well, one of the main reasons for this blog, especially if it caught my eye. So many things do during the day!

In the last few years I’ve become interested in taking pictures of wildlife and nature, although my digital camera started to go wrong, so I am planning on getting a new compact soon. Excited!

I work in a technical support department and, to my surprise, I’ve found I have a natural aptitude and interest in technology. I  am interested in the ways we use technology and how it can improve our lives, the way we connect and express ourselves, and also how we create art. I bought The Busy Girl’s Guide to Digital Photography which is really useful for anyone interested in getting to grips with their camera but is probably more interested in the pictures than the technician side. You do need to understand the basics so you can get the most out of your photography, which is why I decided to get the book. But I can’t wait to start taking pictures! And it is Spring, early Summer so there are going to be a lot of opportunities for wildlife.

Giving myself the chance to slow down and read about something before diving head first is a challenge, I get frustrated with not being able to do something straight away. Yet I want photography to be a new hobby and add a rich perspective to my creative outlets. I really believe trying new ways of being creative and enriching your life feeds back into your main passions, whatever it may be. You gain a new way of seeing, new inspirations and is one of the best ways to channel creative blocks. In a way, photography also fits well with my other interests, such as my blog and website, journaling, mixed media and a cataloging of life events. I’m exploring something cool I knew I would like, I just need to process the materials and tools first. It will be worth it in the end!

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