I opened TenukiHandcrafts in 2007 to sell my handmade goodies at craft fairs, on 1000 Markets (remember them? Didn’t think so), Etsy, and on commission. My goods were handstamped cards, wire-wrapped jewelry, hand knit items and handspun yarn.
You may be wondering, why TenukiHandcrafts? Good question. Bill came up with the name because tenuki is a term from the game of go that means to take the initiative and play elsewhere on the board. We’re both go players. I’m a lowly 18-kyu, after years of play, a year of lessons and half-assed studying, yet I still love the game and appreciate the beauty and skill employed by good players.
My plan was to build my hobby into a retirement career. In March 2011, I closed my on-line shops, feeling the time I put into the venture wasn’t paying off and the pressure of creating products for sale was dulling my creative enjoyment. I took a break from selling my wares to focus on technique and develop a line of garments and possibly patterns for my beloved ball jointed dolls. To challenge myself and to help me write patterns, I started working on the Knitting Guild of America’s Master Knitter Program.
Fast-forward two years to May 2013, when my primary care doc instructed me to stop all of my hobbies, in the hopes of relieving the numbness, pain, tingling in my hands. Four months later, I had bilateral carpal tunnel surgery. Needing a creative outlet, I turned my attention to photography and mixed media art. I wasn’t sure where this art adventure would take me, but decided to share my journey on this blog.
I had a brief attempt at knitting earlier this year. My tension problem is solved but I had to set it aside because it was too tiring. While I’m hopeful I will finish the Master Knitter Level 1 someday, this project remains on hold. I manage to sew a little, but this activity is also tiring for my hands. As you might imagine, I haven’t tried spinning yarn.
Going through my art journals recently, I see how my technique has improved. Complements have been rolling in, which makes me very happy. Folks have asked where to buy my art. That got me to thinking, why not revive TenukiHandcrafts?
That led to creating a new blog banner and reviewing selling my options and artistic direction. I’ve been contemplating the message found in my art. After my mental hamster wore itself out overthinking the matter, I remembered the meaning of tenuki: play somewhere else.
My art is not realistic. I’ve tried and it’s just not me. It may shock you to hear this, but I’m not interested in the real world. I have to live and work here, but I prefer to spend my free time somewhere else. Everything I enjoy is absurd, whimsical, and escapist. My art embraces that and strives to transport you to a whimsical place far away from everyday worries.
I am happy to announce the re-launch of TenukiHandcrafts shopping on July 5. Learning from my earlier experience, I will offer multiple ways to purchase my art. The first items for sale will be my photographic images. Later this year, I will participate in a couple of local craft fairs.
Without using the trite phrase that springs to mind, I am grateful that I had to stop the fiber crafts in favor of visual arts. I have always wanted to follow my father’s footsteps and be an artist. I like to think that wherever he is, dad is proud of me.