By Kat AOR
I have had an interest in crafts of all kinds for years now, especially paper crafts but I enjoy most aspects of the genre. My first major dabbling was at a friend’s shop selling mostly paper crafting items and running card making classes, I went to one specialising in making Gothic/Horror style cards and was hooked.
The main reason it had so much appeal was that they were unique, interesting, stand-out cards completely different from anything I had seen before and it seemed to open up a new side of me that was creative, fun and experimental. I soon started trying new areas of crafting and attending classes to learn new things and develop my skills.
I started off small making things for friends and family for birthdays and special occasions. Each item or project was tailored to each individual and personalised according to their individual tastes. I still try to make all of my projects personal after so long but I now appreciate the advantages of having pre-prepared projects ready for emergencies or for craft fairs to sell to strangers. Eventually I would like to set up an online business where custom orders can be placed.
It is extremely important to me to make items (whether they are Odinic or not) that are modern and fresh looking, with inspiration from many sources, be it from our daily lives or a vintage item found at a jumble sale, a special item belonging to a relative or ancestor, or coming from a religious background, or even a picture in a book or magazine or a photo old or new. I like all projects to have some meaning to them – not just something I made a job-lot of that has no heart or soul in it. The wonderful thing here is that there is always something new to discover, use or have a go at, the only limits are your own imagination and creativity!
Ideas seem to be endless, due mostly to a resurgence in crafting in general, thanks to the current economic climate people want to make do and mend more, like we used to. There is an abundance of craft related stores opening with a huge variety of products available. I must admit that I have probably spent more money in my quest to save money, but I am happy knowing that what I make and send people is cherished for a long time after the event and appreciated much more than a shop bought card or gift.
If I get stuck in a rut and struggle for ideas I set myself a challenge and it stops the boredom setting in, as well as opening myself up to new ideas, mediums, styles of craft etc. or simply creating something out of nothing! So the challenge was to make an item for that year’s OR Great Moot Auction, with the theme of Seasons, using 4 different designs on 4 small canvasses, each canvas picture should contain an Odinic symbol. I decided no limitations were to be put in place so that I had free rein in what products I would use.
I firstly wanted to collect items that I thought were suitable or would co-ordinate well to give myself a basic start for some rough sketches of designs, to see how things would look when placed together. I wanted to try to link all 4 pieces to ensure that they would all work well together making it one cohesive piece overall.
I decided to start with Winter as I had a clear interpretation of what I wanted the finished product to look like. I thought that the most suitable colour scheme would be white, pale blue and small hints of silver, as it conveyed the image of cold icy days to me. I chose to use glitter also as it represents the sun shining on the ice crystals or icicles and giving them that typical winter sparkle. The main aspect of the artwork for me is the snowflakes depicting the Hagal rune and Elhaz rune as this is the part relating the most to Odinism but also conveys the imagery of winter, linking the two together harmoniously.
I then moved on to Spring. I decided that one of the main symbols representing this season for me is the rainbow, I love nothing more than going for a walk with the family in early spring and seeing a rainbow between the showers, it truly symbolises Bifrost and Heimdall in all their beautiful glory.
The rainbow to me conveys new beginnings and passing from the shorter colder days to the brighter longer ones. I used ribbons to make the rainbow itself and decided to add some dimension to it by using buttons in a Tiwaz formation, to link the Odinic with the season.
For the Summer canvas I wanted to keep to the bright and cheerful colour schemes. As Spring blends into Summer so seamlessly in nature, it to me represents happiness and light, so I chose to use a sun incorporating a sunwheel, following the same trend as the spring canvas, just not as vivid in the colour scheme. It definitely needed a sunrise/sunset effect background, so I used a gradual mix of pale pink through to lime green which gave a lovely effect.
The structure of the sun was very important too, needing both texture and colour so as to stand out from the background effect, resulting in my choosing a tactile yellow felt circle with an orange stamped Triskel. I especially wanted to use the Triskel stamp as it is not only beautiful but it totally conveys the right imagery for this piece, being a traditional symbol in a modern day project.
I knew that I needed to do something different that would stand out for the rays of the sun, so I chose to use rows of buttons in a muted colour palette that would complement the rest of the piece using whites, yellows, oranges, peaches, pinks and purples.
My final piece was for Autumn. This one I found the most difficult. I knew the colour palette I wanted to use, but I really struggled to find an Odinic link using the items I already have in my craft kit. Eventually after a lot of rooting around in cupboards I found some stamps that would fit the job perfectly!
I took some time to experiment with colour and paper scraps. I rolled out the die cutting machine to make some beautiful flowers and leaves in a traditional colour palette, that reminded me of all the gorgeous colours and hues we associate with Autumn.
The stamp I chose for this piece is an Irminsul with the constellation of The Plough behind it which to me symbolises the harvest in all its wonderful splendour and abundance.
Well that is a basic description of how, why and what I did to make the finished items. I really hope that it explains a little of what can go into making and designing craft items and that most items that are handcrafted have taken not only the time of the person who made it, but a lot of thought and emotion can be put into the whole process from start to finish and that this provides a better understanding of what anyone can achieve with a little time and effort and a sprinkling of inspiration and imagination.
I would like to end by saying that I hope that the person who bought these little pieces of art at the auction will gain as much enjoyment from them as I did in making them and hopefully gain a little inspiration from them too.