Oh, look at my "2 posts every month" schedule! Half a month went by and the things I'm working on right now are moving too slow to have any results worth showing. Bad me. To make up, I decided to write about old stuff I've had on my mind for a while. That long rocky road we stumble on before completing a project. I usually try to sound optimistic and upbeat when I put a tutorial together and that may give the impression that I have a magic ability to do everything right effortlessly. Well, that's not exactly how it works in real life...
The idea for this post came after some Pinterest link-chasing when I landed on a Russian blog with scans from a Spanish book on dollhouse miniatures. I wish I could find that again and link to it. It was quite extraordinary. Steps after steps of photos with the same hands, same lighting, making miniature things with intricate details from scratch in various art mediums. On some level, I understood those were staged and studio lit, but a part of me couldn't help thinking I'd cut my right arm to have that person's left. Seriously, aren't you frustrated to see tutorials where it seems like the author gets through every step with perfect results from their first try? No? Just me? Anyway, that made me think of my own style. Do I also give people the wrong idea? I want to be honest about what it takes to achieve something, but at the same time I want to encourage people to try what I write about, because it's all doable and fun.
There are subtle clues in my photos that making a tutorial (or any crafty project) is not a smooth experience. First of all, there's the background. I carry my work around to three locations. The one where I have the most inspiration is the desk in my old room at mum's. It's the dark brown one with glue spots and a lamp. It makes for photos like this:
You'll know it by the pinkish light and terrible sharp contrasts. Sometimes there's food or a computer screen in sight.
|That's the spot!|
Dad's office has a well lit plywood desk. This one:
Most of the other work surfaces, as well as the places with pretty wallpaper where I photograph dolls and finished stuff are in my house.
If a project travelled to different places between steps, you know it took more than one day to complete.
Another indicator of time lapse are my nails that sometimes show up in pictures. I do them every two weeks on average. If the colour changes twice in a post, at least two weeks have passed :)
Today I'll give you a glimpse into the making of a tutorial on the example of my quite famous spider shoes. You have everything there - different desks, different nails - to draw conclusions for yourselves. I, have one extra clue - the photo timestamps. I started putting everything together and the results surprised even me. I'd honestly forgotten it took me so long to finish those shoes! Here's a different look at the shoe story, broken down by days.
Before 29/03/2013 - Figured out how to make the sole and heel. Decided to make another pair shortly and document all steps while the method is fresh in my memory. I won't even describe my unsuccessful attempts to shape the heel with wood filler or glue-soaked cotton wool. I did mention all my early experiments in that first shoe post.
14/07/2013 - I took a photo of my design which I thought out a couple of days before. Dug out my bag of rhinestones, tried to match them for the spiders with no luck. One pair was proportional, but too big. One was the right size, but it was a half-pearl, not crystal. I measured the ones that were right and planned a trip to the Swarovski boutique (regular cheapo rhinestones in this size look terrible in macros). Keeping fingers crossed they'd have usable colours.
15/07/2013 - The only small dark rhinestones they had were gunmetal. Black would have been perfect but gunmetal is good! Wow, did I really find what I needed on the first try? Okay, bought several spares. Chose a beautiful poison green and bloody red for the bigger spider segment.
18/07/2013 - Started making the soles. Not wearing nail polish.
Oh, these aren't even the soles I ended up using. They got tossed away with the failed thread uppers. The soles on the finished pair had to be made anew at some point before the final cord uppers.
01/08/2013 - Struggled with the thread uppers. You know how that ended.
17/08/2013 - Took a piece of leather to dad's office, thinking I couldn't fail with a nicely drawn spider shape. I did. Another wasted day.
26/08/2013 - Returned to the thread idea, but looked for a different material. Found some shoelace-like thin cord at the store. Seems really nice, please make it work! On an unrelated subject, I washed Teresa's sticky hair with various cleaning solutions. Photos would later appear in the g(l)oo hair post.
27/08/2013 - At my parents', sick, celebrating Independence Day with m&m's in our flag colours. Weirdly enough, this was one of the most productive days, when I finally and successfully made shoe uppers that looked like spiders, missing only the rhinestones. I even made the thick sole sandwich. I'm wearing glitter nail polish that appears cracked already.
|Now you know two useless facts about my country|
01/09/2013 - Even though the photos look the same as in the previous steps, I actually started making the heels on this day. I glued sticks and let them dry overnight.
02/09/2013 - Made the paper bases for the heels. Yay, so glad I still remembered how I made them the first time! Let everything dry thoroughly. Started to draw a pattern for a skirt (which, by the way, is still unfinished) some time along this step. So many glue layers, so much time to kill in between.
06/09/2013 - Much filing and smoothing. Decorated the ugly mess on the heel ribbon. Blue nail polish appears.
07/09/2013 - Finish line. Painted the soles and glued the rhinestones. OMG DID I REALLY?...
08/09/2013 - Took the final photos. Found many blunders, got depressed, decided to use them anyway.
13/09/2013 - Blogged the article. Made it look so breezy, didn't I? Now you know it took just about two months from design to tutorial post!
The moral of the story is: don't despair and don't give up when something doesn't turn out at once. Don't let other people's perfect photos discourage you. You can achieve what you want if you persevere. Maybe you need a different approach. Maybe your supplies aren't right for the job. It's quite rare that crafting something goes smoothly and without incidents. There is fun in trying, too, and with a lot of trying different things, eventually you'll succeed in your endeavour.
I went from not taking photos of anything to taking progress photos for tutorials to documenting everything I try. I'll include more pictures of failed attempts in the future. Some day we'll look back and have a good laugh about them. I don't want any of you to feel bad about messing up. You are crafting, and that makes you awesome regardless of the results. Keep it up.
The Black Kitty