a digital nightmare eventuates /this week needs cake

13 Mar

WEEK TEN (march 6-12)

The week started with an end. The first day of the week was the last day of the long weekend. We slowly pack away the pool and the playthings and empty the fridge.
We slowly mosey along home. No family dinner meant no rushing – a very pleasant change.
The end of the weekend was now a relaxing start to the week……sort of…..when the working week is shortened, tasks do not disappear, they are merely compressed.

On Tuesday I am back to ‘knit one purl one’ and by the end of the day I have three refined samples in three sizes.
Time now for quick decisions;
Which one first? Middle size.
Treatment? Digital print on front and back and a firming layer of woollen fabrics with the edges showing up as a frame.
Theme? Family objects to help tell ‘my’ story…a yarn about growing up via the things /objects that bring it all back. A simple intertwining of some of the themes I am exploring at the moment.

I launch into it enthusiastically but quickly a digital nightmare eventuates .
The photos of some family objects need to be cut free from their backgrounds. Easy enough – I have done this before ages ago so I know I need to check the processes.
I also have a different output – they need to be combined to form a new pattern/a new fabric so that the objects get a bit lost, and become a little less discernable.

I look at Skillshare – a learning platform that I joined recently simply because I got a deal that was hard to refuse. I watched one long one class and then a quick short one.
I didn’t take notes because the processes were not quite what I needed.
I made a start and, as usual I went off half-cocked.
Working initially in Lightroom, then in Photoshop and finally in Indesign, I was using the pen tool to define the edge but couldn’t work out how to remove it from the background. Working through three related programs increases complexities which can gather momentum and confuse….or even defeat!
This week needs cake and I partake of a moreish cherry hazelnut cake to sooth my brow.

I watched the tutorials again, this time pausing and taking notes.
I worked with the bits of knowledge I could cobble together and end up cutting out a workable section – rough and ready mind you.
I then creatively tiled it by copying and pasting and scaling, stretching and rotating.
I had my first fabric sheet with a look that suits.
Interestingly, after a long afternoon of head filling and then frustration I have produced, I think at the moment, a better result than my original idea????

The next day I was ready to repeat the process for the next fabric but could not complete the transition from Photoshop to Indesign.
I tried this way and that way. I watched more classes. I learned heaps. I tried again repeatedly and walked away repeatedly. The walking away lets my noggin work on solutions without my intervention. It worked a treat and I found many ways forward but none were correct.

I trawled the web with different versions of the solution I needed and late on Friday night I found the missing link…..a simple protocol of FIND > PLACE my image via Indesign …not copying and pasting from Photoshop into my Indesign document.

With enormous relief, the rest of Friday night was spent trawling for other ways of learning these programs in an ordered manner. Luckily the bloke was out.
I would be very happy to committ to a course of basics for Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign but every class be they TAFE, Private, Expert Teachers or small local courses – they just don’t seem to fit my needs.

I am not and don’t want to be a photographer, a graphic designer, or to specialise in any of these areas. I just want to learn more/enough to be able to enhance what I am interested in doing.
I want to be able to use these wonderful tools as I find the need. They do fascinate me.
I want to remove the picture from my head and make it a reality.

By the end of the night my solution is simply that I will start by doing all the Skillshare courses I can – they are good value for me and at the moment and I can dive in and out as I have the time or the need.

In head-clearing bouts I did need to drop off a couple of bags of goodies at the op shop.
I do have a favourite recipient that is less corporate, very friendly, and generally has more interesting things.
I was cashless but they now have credit card payments. Brilliant.
My treasures included two tapestries, a ‘chinese’ embroidery, and a landscape print that you see in-dispersed in this post.
Also found were more of my ‘standards of domestic making’ – old tapestry wool, knitting needles and one ‘virgin’ tapestry.
The ladies were also thrilled with, or was that bemused by? my purchases.

The weekend came too quickly.
We picked up a pile of old family tools in old tool boxes that our eldest has been holding on to – he/they too are readying their home for sale and clearing the unnecessary.
I consider these old tools, mostly my dad’s, as shelf worthy trophys.
They will find a home down south although I may bring some back here to venerate.

Along with the toolboxes we fit in Horton – a treat for him to be freerange down south for the weekend, and he is a brief substitute for the shadow of Riley that has dimmed but little.

The weekend has good news and bad news.
Like many of our generation we trawl slowly through both The Australian and The West Australian every weekend. The Australian held little news for me other than that the brilliant commentator of Australian life, Bill Leak, had died. His cartoons and his artwork were always thought provoking and superbly executed. Missed? Our weekend reading will be greatly diminished.

The good weekend news arrives on Saturday night with our state government elections.
I am VERY thankful that Fremantle will not be divided and vandalised with the Roe 8,9 & 10 highways. There were so many reasons why this was ill conceived – well illustrated by the scene of destruction that hit us every time we drove along Stock Road on our way south. Bush that we took for granted has been bulldozed and scarred/vandalised.
A truly horrible sight for in a site that is so precious for the region.

My weekend job was to finish grinding gunk off the tongues of the floorboards for the Girls’ Shed. In two more very dirty sessions I have them de-tarred and stacked. Soooo good to be doing something so physical and repetitious and worthy.
So good especially after the computer stalls of the week. I need to find more of these physically rewarding weekend tasks but those on my list are more genteel – like painting furniture.

The sense of achievement given by the physicality of power tools combined with moving half a basketball courts floorboards in, up, along and out was exhilarating.
Not so excited about being covered in dirt and dust though.

Luckily I have next weeks forecast sorted….whatever it means.

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Jan Mullen

B. Ed. Act/Craft (Textiles/ Sculpture)
Living in Perth, Western Australia
Artist, Fabric Designer, Author, Teacher.