Act 19

June 24, 2008

Blog Stats and Some Crafty Photoshop Brushes

Something I love about having a WordPress blog (and I am sure other platforms do this too) is the blog stats page. I love to be able to see how many visits I have had and where people are surfing in from. Thanks so much to everyone who has linked here–particularly Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town who has been my greatest supporter and promoter– and Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy whose link here has been the single biggest source of incoming traffic so far–and every one else who has linked here, it is always a thrill to know someone has enjoyed the work I am doing.

In terms of traffic it has been interesting watching the slow build up of visitors. So far I have had just over 2,000 visits to the site, which, in Internet terms is tiny weny, but in student art exhibition terms is absolutely huge–had I chosen to display my work in a traditional gallery setting, the kind available to an emerging artist, I would have to be very lucky and have a lot of advertising and promotion to get numbers like that.

Another fun thing about the blog stats is the ‘search engine terms’ information, which gives you a list of search terms people have typed into google etc which have lead to your blog. By far the biggest thing that people google to find this work are variations of ‘crochet boobies’–seems quite a few people are looking for them, as well as ‘free crochet boob hats’ and “how to make your own boobs”. I was a bit surprised that several people were looking for the phrase “as a wind up doll”–which I am guessing found my playing girl icon–and I smile knowing that one person was searching for “gay aftershave” and instead found the gender exchange story and discussion of whether or not to change the lead characters shaving habits. I am intrigued by the searches for ‘master art fiction women’ and ‘femininity extreme photos’, but a bit boggled by the search for ‘expanding boobs fiction stories’.

One person was searching for “crochet symbol photoshop brushes”, and they presumably found this blog because I have worked with crochet, symbols and photoshop brushes all at different times. I am guessing this person was hoping to find some photoshop brushes to help them create a pattern or some other artwork involving crochet symbols, and I can see how such a thing might be useful. I fear they most likely went away empty handed, as I did a google search myself after this and found no such brush set, so I thought I would help out and make one. Then I got carried away and made a knitting symbol one to match.

The crochet symbol brush set is based on the symbols listed here and can be downloaded from media fire here, while the knitting symbol set is based on the list here and can be downloaded from here. Both sets are cc-attribution-non commercial-licensed, so please feel free to download and use them–and I would love to know if you make anything with them.

Act 17

May 20, 2008

The Real Open Source Boob Project Pt II–Boobie Hat! a Flickr tutorial

Due to assorted RL stuff I am a little bit behind on my 52 Acts write ups, so you might be lucky and get a few extras over the next few weeks. Today I have for you a follow-up to act 16, the crochet boobie pattern, to which several people responded that a boobie beanie would be a wonderful thing. I decided to go with that idea, but play around with it a bit as is my way. So here, by popular demand, I give you The Boobie Beret!

Boobie Beret x2

To keep with the open source objective I have written up instructions for the hat (or rather documented how I made it up as I went along). This time I chose to do the tutorial in flickr rather than write it as a huge long post directly on this blog. See the full tutorial here, along with more photos of the finished beret, in the flickr photo set. (Click on ‘detail’ to see all the images and instructions on one page, or scroll through each image using the ‘browse’ buttons)

Act 16

April 29, 2008

The Real Open Source Boob Project

There has been a lot of discussion in the feminist blogosphere about an incident at an SF convention that the instigator has called ‘The Open Source Boob Project’ (link to the original live journal post).

While I totally understand that many of the participants had a profound and positive experience–I really do, realization of freedom of sexual expression can be euphoric, I understand that, and I am all for the autonomy of consenting adults, and I have to admit I am totally fascinated by the way that what was essentially a love in at a party has become so huge thanks to the weird private/public liminal space that is the internet–there are several things about The Ferret’s ‘experiment’ report that make me bristle.

Many of them are covered here in an excellent analysis from Jeff Pack at Bookworm, particularly the lechery and victim blaming attitude displayed by specifically targeting women/girls who were “obviously putting [their] assets on display”, and there is a great round-up by lauredhel over at Hoyden. In general it appears to me that, while it was a good experience for some, it shows an enormous lack of understanding of the wider culture and conditions most people with breasts (in western type cultures) live in on a daily basis.

However, aside from the lechery and the inherent sexism and the cluelessness, there is something else that has been bothering me–the name of the endeavor. As someone who is rather passionate about open source culture the misappropriation of the term is annoying me a lot. My thought process went something like this: Open source boob project? Hardly. Now if they were handing out instructions on how to make your own boobs then maybe…

And thus I give you The Real Open Source Boob Project. Free (as in speech) crochet boobie instructions under the cut. (dial-up warning–image heavy)


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Act 15

April 24, 2008

Your Granny’s Art—An Adaptable Wrap/Shrug/Cowl/Pixie Hat

This is something I came up with last week as I was re-learning how to knit for Act 14. I was really just making it up as I went along, but I thought the result was pretty cool so I have put it up here, with instructions for those of you who share my love of flexible, adaptable, body friendly clothing.

wrap instructions 12

More images and instructions under the cut

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Act 14

April 8, 2008

One Row Purl, One Row Plain–The Personal as Political, Art as Craft–Secret Message Scarf Pattern

This weeks offering on the alter of art is an interactive blog based knit art project. This week I wanted to do a project that made specific use of the blog format in the creation of art, and I was inspired by recent discussions amongst my friends to revisit the idea of differing value perceptions for craft and art. My definition of art goes something like: art is a creative piece of work that is intending to explore an idea or to convey a message, I guess the key to what makes something art for me is that it is idea driven (but of course this is not always the case, but such is the contrary nature of art). The big mistake that I think is made when discounting craft as being different/less valuable than ‘hand of the master’ art, is that we appear to assume that just because it is not overtly idea driven (by a singular focused idea), that it is not exploring ideas or conveying messages. And doubly if the ideas that a piece is communicating are of a domestic rather than a more outwardly focussed nature.

Another way that craft is devalued is in dismissal of the value of replication. The nature of craft is to be replicated. There was a very good editorial–titled ‘copy this’ downloadable as a pdf from here–about replication and craft in issue 2 of craft magazine. But to dismiss craft because of this is not only to be only looking at its value in simplistic monetary terms, it is to misunderstand how extremely valuable replication itself is.

And of course it is also hard to ignore the fact that craft is primarily seen as women’s work.

I think that these reasons make the denigration of craft a feminist issue. Both for the fact that it is a dismissal of women’s skills and ideas, and because it highlights a different, but no less intellectual, way of thinking about and approaching the world. A way that is not exclusive to, but more common amongst women.

My playful contribution to this debate is One Row Purl, One Row Plain. A blog where I will upload 10 rows of a pattern for a scarf with a secret feminist craft message to be worn by anyone who would like to take part in the project and knit along.

As my skills are basic beginner level it is a very easy pattern, and I have linked to instruction videos for the techniques used, so anyone with a pair of needles and some spare wool can have a go.