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Art Away From Home

As the guest artist at Creativity Unbound for November, I'm posting something over there every Saturday. This is the article I wrote last Saturday...

I'm traveling today. I spend a lot of my time traveling. And, it's not just the time spent on a plane, in a bus, or on a train. It's the hotels and the houses and the places where all my "art stuff" is not. But, I really can't stand letting more than a day or two go by without doing something creative. So, I've developed some projects that can be done on the road...


On the bus, you need something that is compact and you can do while being jostled about. Two crafts that work for me are (1) bead crochet (photo on the lef), because the beads are all pre-strung on a thread and you just use a crochet hook to weave them together, and (2) quilt applique and piecing, because it is easy to put together a little zip lock bag of pieces and simply stitch them together while you're on the bus. Also, you can bring scissors on the bus (where you can't on the plane).


The train is less bumpy than the bus, so you can bring a craft that requires a little less jostling about. I like to bring bead embroidery or simple bead weaving. Here's how I create a portable work surface: I take an empty CD tin and cut either velvet or another beading surface to fit. I dump the seed beads and a needle or two into the container and close it up with some rubber bands. So easy! Be sure to pack some scissors and thread or fireline. When you're on the train, you simply open the CD tin and get to beading!


No scissors on the plane. I have discovered that nail clippers will do in a pinch. You can definitely do some sewing or beading if all you're doing is snipping threads. Otherwise, it's time to hop on the computer. I know that a lot of my scrapbooking work is done on the computer - photo editing, journaling, page elements, design, etc. I created the colorful background paper for the layout shown here on my computer. If you don't have a computer (or if you're on a long flight and your battery dies) you can sketch ideas for layouts, write journaling (thoughts about people in your life or events). I've even been known to bring a stack of photos and separate them into groups for future layouts.


I like to bring an art journal kit with me when I'm going to be somewhere for a while. Basicaly, I throw a pen, a few stamps, an ink pad, some watercolor paints or colored pencils, some labels, maybe a pack of rub-ons or two, scissors, and some adhesive into a box, along with a small book. Then I just doodle and paint and draw and write and stamp and do a little bit of creativity at the end of each day, oftening gluing in maps or ticket stubs or torn pieces on a meeting agenda. These messy, low tech pages are wonderful collections of memories and vehicles for artistic expression.

However, if I'm going to be somewhere with other people and will need to be social, I like to bring a craft I can do while sitting around chatting: bead embroidery, bead weaving, cross stitch, quilting -- anything that is portable and you can sit in a chair and do it without thinking about it that much.

I hope I gave you some good ideas for ways you can still create when you're away from home!