New Year’s Rejuvenations

 Resolution: :  the act or process of resolving: as 
:  the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones 
:  the act of answering :  solving
:  the act of determining
 
Rejuvenate: 
:  to make young or youthful again :  give new vigor to 
:  to restore to an original or new state <rejuvenate old cars>
 

I would rather rejuvenate than resolve. I would rather breathe new vigor into a habit or pursuit than solve a problem. And so this year, I have made some changes for the better, a fresh start with the New Year… but I am reframing it all in a more positive fashion. Resolutions are notoriously short lived. And to me the term implies that something is broken and needs repair. It doesnt resonate in a positive way… 

With the New Year, I have rejuvenated some practices in my life, things that I (for the most part) enjoy, and that are good for me – body and soul. January usually is a slower month for me as to work/production/teaching so I am prioritizing these parts of my day, these aspects of my life I want to become firmly entrenched habits. 

art journal Jan1

The daily art journal. 

Doodles, sketches, for me, not for an audience, nothing official. A record of my day, thoughts, actions, ideas. No goals other than to draw something. I will be posting here occassionally, but many may be private. Today is the 12th. As I write this there are eleven entries in my journal. So I will draw tonight, cuppa tea, TV on… because I havent missed a day yet. I signed up for a class “Sketching and Watercolor in the mixed media journal” with the incomparable Jane LaFazio – it starts Feb 1. My goal is to make it a habit, and then class will further encourage and challenge me! 

art journal in progress

Vision Board

This you only get a sneak peak – I know the premise, and I collage in my journal all the time. But this time its made real, manifesting my intentions for the year. On foam core, tacked up on my wall. I do think that seeing it will be a motivating visual reminder. 

vision board detail WIP

Reading. Research. 

I have books everywhere. I love books. One thing I have struggled with for years as a self employed/work-from-home artist is reading. I feel like reading during the day is tabu. Daytime is for working. Well – the honest truth is that many of the titles pictured here will influence my work. So I devote more time to reading, and give myself permission! I am in 2 book groups – one virtual, one local – so there will be additional novels. But I know that my Muse will blossom when I feed her words, ideas, theories, history… 

Fiction book list

Book list part 2

And the blog… 

Last year there were more times than I would like to count when I posted only once a month. And that when it was a reveal for Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month! So I will tend to this here blog, and give it more attention. I relish comments; its nice to know yo uare out there… so please comment if you are so inclined. So far we are at one post a week; that will be my minimum! 

Alright – think I’ll read a little before dinner. 

Here’s to a fruitful and creative 2015! 

 

 

“The Interpreter of Maladies” – Inspired by Reading Book group blog hop

Interpreter of Maladies

Inspired by Reading Book Group. 

April’s selection: “The Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri

I was happy to have a chance to revisit these stories, as I had originally read the book 10 or more years ago. What I was instantly reminded of was their intensity. They are haunting, evocative, heartfelt and at times so very heavy. I was not able to complete the book this go through; both due to time constraints and the need to read something of a different mood. 

It was “When Mr. Pirzada came to dine” that inspired my piece this month. 

“Before eating Mr. Prizada always did a curious thing. He took out a plain silver watch without a band, which he kept in his breast pocket…Unlike the watch on his wrist, the pocket watch, he had explained to me, was set to the local time on Dacca, eleven hours ahead. For the duration of the meal the watch rested on his folded paper napkin on the coffee table. He never seemed to consult it…When I saw it that night, as he wound it and arranged it on the coffee table, an uneasiness possessed me; life, I realized, was being lived in Dacca first… 

The watch and the ritual was so symbolic, even more than a symbol – a direct link to his family so far away. There was love and longing in that ritual. There was hope and lonliness, worry, and despair present as well. I wanted to honor that ritual and create a talisman. 

Ganesh collage

Its not lost on me that Mr Prizada in the story is not Hindu – and I have chosen a Hindu god to go into the talisman. At story’s end he sends the family in the US, a Muslim New Year card – thus giving the reader confirmation as to his religion. But Ganesha is the “Remover of Obstacle” and there were so many obstacles, tangible and intangible, that stood between Mr. Prizada and his family, his future, his homeland. 

Ganesha watch

The piece is created inside an old pocket watch, lined with colorful sari fabric. I sculpted a Ganesh from polymer, and hand painted many layers, many details. There are crystals inlaid into the headdress as well. I am not sure what will happen to this piece – I can see it worn long with a tunic and leggings, but I can also see it as a hand held talisman. 

Ganesha watch 2

Dont let time be an obstacle. Make time for the people and pursuits that are important to you. 

 

Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to your comments, and seeing other’s book group offerings. 

Participants links can be found at Andrew’s blog. 

 

Inspired by reading… Paris to the Moon

(If you are looking for the Art Jewelry Elements CoM reveal – it is located here.)

Pour a coffee, pull up a chair… and welcome to the first month of the “Inspired by Reading” book/creative club. This wonderful idea is being masterminded by the tireless  & creative Andrew Thornton. Simply put – we participants, far flung though we may be – are reading a book a month. Then we are creating something – jewelry, a doodle, poem, collage… inspired by the book. Its very loose and flexible – which makes in very do-able, in my opinion. 

Our first offering: “Paris to the Moon” a collection of essays by Adam Gopnik that detail aspects of his life as a writer and father living in Paris. They were originally published seperately in The New Yorker magazine, and collected as a book published in 2000. 

Paris to the Moon

 I enjoyed the book overall, but found some of the essays not engaging to my interests. The topics of French economics and politics were not my favorites. The descriptions of life in the city, the challenges of an expatriot living abroad, and the frequent culture clashes between a former New York City resident and his now-fellow Parisians were charming and humorous. 

I was most inspired by his field trips with his son to Deyrolle Taxidermy. This Paris icon, preserving natural wonders since 1831, was their destination when rain kept them from their habitual turn in the Luxembourg Gardens. I usually find taxidermy a bit morbid, but this had me fascinated. Animals from the farm to the safari, many abandoned by their owners, bills unpaid. And insects, and coral, and butterflies, and all other diverse objects from the natural world – a cabinet of curiousities… 

Deyrolle

Deyrolle cases

Cabinet of curiousities. WunderKammer. Literally translated as “Room of Wonders”… from as early as the 16th century these collections housed “objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings) and antiquities.” The image below, “Ulisse Aldrovandi’s Cabinet” (engraving by G. Mitelli) shows the concept in all its chaotic glory. 

Wunderkammer

 

Pendants. Amulets. Housing treasures – both natural and relics… Hmm… 

Amulets WIP

From top left: boxes – showing folded corners and inserted wires. They are cut from metal sheet, one piece; with tabs that fold to overlap at corners. There are wires inserted as staples to hold tabs and provide loops for attachments/bails. Then the boxes are filled – with ivory polymer, 2 part epoxy putty, black polymer. 

Wunderkammer amulets

Stained. painted… The shell piece (top left) had a chance encounter with the floor, sadly… The bottom two are my favorites. I prefer the layers of transluscent color I can achieve on the ivory base. 

The set of four

These will be finished with dangles and mixed media necklaces. They are rather heavy – but had to be deep to accomodate the items. I think they are reminiscent of specimen trays, and would be worthy additions to a WunderKammer. They are artifacts, and natural items, and become amulets as well. I think a future series of these will be stamped on the back with a quote, a secret word of power or mantra to wear next to your skin. 

I hope to finish them this week for my first big Spring show – Spoutwood Farm’s May Day Fairy Festival. Its a wonderful, magical time… 

And I hope you follow me to “Hop” and see what others created – inspired by “Paris to the Moon”. The list and links are on Andrew’s blog. 

Thanks for stopping by – I would love to hear your thoughts on these new experimental amulets… 

 

 

 

Convalescence and care packages

So I mentioned that I was recovering from surgery. Here are some images of my convalescence and some fantastic care packages I received…

Burton

Burton was my constant companion the first few days when I lived on the couch!

SD care pkg

Christmas and bonus from Cooky in San Diego! Books, treasures, and home made cookies! Divine!

Snowmen

Snow quintuplets – from San Diego of all places – to stitch and embellish. 

Nina's treasures

Nina’s Treasures – this was a treat to myself. Nina Bagley – the soulful, poetic, mixed media and jewelry artist was doing a bit of a de-stash late last year. I purchased a small box of mysterious treasures – that I managed to NOT open until after surgery. I havent created anything yet, but the wheels are turning. Its a fantastic assortment of treasure. 

flowers

Who doesnt love flowers? 

felt pouch

My triple spiral pouch – I felted a thrift store sweater for the first time and stitched up a few pouches from the sleeves. It was great fun to do a little freehand embroidery. My mother taught us when we were little girls. Some skills never get lost! I prefer to have my hands busy if I am watching TV or a movie, and I am not so handy with knitting needles… What do you occupy yourself with as you bask in the glow of the magical electronic picture box? 


 

New York adventure – part 2

Sorry I didnt bring you part 2 of the trio yesterday. I got a little waylaid wrapping holiday gifts!

So to rejoin or intrepid travelers…after reveling in the Frouds’ mastery and magic – we headed uptown. Now we love New York, and had no desire to see it crawl past from the confines of a cab. So GPS ap in hand, we walked: ( I couldn’t get the map ebbedded. Will consult with computer guru/husband later. Suffice to say – we walked from Madison Square Garden in Midtown – to Soho and back! Sure we were tired, but it was an amazing day…)

Purl Soho

Holiday tree at Purl Soho

Purl Yarns

Dazzling display: Purl Soho

Puck Fair pub

Pub lunch at Puck’s Fair: Soho

Blick NYC

Marbelized paper demo at Dick Blick NYC: NoHo

(Here there was a brief interude at The Strand books and Forbidden Planet Comics…)

skyline

Macy's Steampunk Magic

Macy’s! Winter wonderland, Steampunk style, Magic!

Macy's windows

Macy's magic

Library Lions

Literary lions, as twilight falls…

Rockefeller tree

Yup. That is one humongous tree! : Rockefeller Center. 

Times Square

Happy to end the day here on December 11th. Think I will pass on a trip in for December 31st!

Stay tuned for the final installment: an amazing instillation at the Flatiron building…Until then…

 

 

I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps…

The Garden

OK – so technically I didnt wake up in NYC. We took the train up for the day. This was a belated trip for my birthday. Happily – the belated time frame meant we could see the Frouds’ exhibit at Animazing Gallery, and perhaps a festive holiday window or two? 

Wendy's window

“Faerie Tale” and “After the Party” – polymer and mixed media by Wendy Froud. 

Toby's window

polymer and mixed media sculpture by Toby Froud

Labyrinth sketches: Brian Froud

Concept sketches for “Labyrinth” by Brian Froud. 

Brian's sketches of Ludo

This detailed sketch of Ludo was incredible. so detailed in the face, yet so loose and fluid in the figure.

Animazing Gallery

The exhibit is a must see if you are a fan of the Frouds’ work. (It runs into February.) I was excited to go – naturally. I have my original copy of “Faeries” by Brian Froud and Alan Lee – dog-eared, tattered, and well loved. I cannot think of another artist who influenced me more during my adolescence and early teen years. To know that there were working artists, creating fantasy artwork, seriously and successfully was huge to the fledgling artist in me. I feel fortunate to have met Brain and Wendy at FaerieCon, as I have discussed previously. But this exhibit was simply outstanding. Original paintings, in luminous color, that reproductions sadly do not capture perfectly. Sketches – the doodles, thinking out loud, as it were – the look of “Labyrinth” at its inception. Sculptures in the round, textures, fabrics, leathers right there in space in front of me. Images that I know well from the Heart of Faeries Oracle, seen framed on the gallery walls. 

Recently I borrowed and watched Wendy’s Faerie Figure DVD (available at Gnomon Workshop. Thanks to Sarah!) I dont sculpt figures very often, but I do create 3D work. It is a phenomenal video, and her hands work magic right in front of you! But to have seen the process, and heard her tricks and techniques, which she gladly shares – and then to see the originals! Simply breathtaking. I am humbled and amazed. 

Story Teller and Listeners

Listener detail

Listeners detail2

“Story Teller and listeners” Wendy Froud

And always humor mixed in with the magic and the mystery: 

window peeper

(He was a tiny wee fellow. The reflection of buildings, the angle, the cropping – do give him a sense of grandeur, do they not?)

Please stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of the NYC adventure. Wait until you see the Macy’s windows…and the Flatiron art installation. Come back tomorrow. 


 

Spinning into gold…

Golden Book dress

In the fairy tales, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother arrives to magically create a dress. Sometimes it is the spirit of her deceased mother watching over her, and magically gifting the girl with exquisite attire. Other retellings have the creatures of the woodland, to whom Cinderella was kind, working magic and serving as her tailors and stylists. 

This is no fairy tale. It is a dress made from Golden books. Yes, those Golden books you read when you were young. With the gold floral spine. The Pokey Little Puppy. The Little Red Hen. Anything Richard Scary…

This dress is the work of Ryan Novelline, a Boston designer. I find it all amazing….

golden book dress 1

golden book dress 2

Golden bodice

And yes – the bodice is made of little strips of gold – from the spines of the books. Spinning straw into gold, Rumplestiltskin? No, spinning tales into cloth…

 

 

A to Z: addicted

 

1: to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively 
     2
: to cause addiction to a substance in (a person or animal)
 From the Latin addictus, past participle of addicere to favor, fromad- + dicere to say. First Known Use: 1534
When I sat down to compile my list of alphabet words, artistic was one of the first written. But as I perused the Dictionary – I felt drawn to this one. Addicted. In reading the official definition ( Thanks again, M-W.) I had to pause. In that context, I am addicted to art. I have devoted myself to it habitually since a child, and obsessively as an art student, a teacher, and now a working artist. It is my love, my passion. But on to the planned blog entry – tongue firmly planted in cheek. 
I am addicted to beads. 
I can’t go to a bead store and leave without purchasing something. I have had beads, used beads, and collected beads as long as I can remember. A favorite toy as a young one was a strand of plastic “pop” beads. I made and sold beaded earrings as a teenager in High school. I studied metal smithing in college (not so many beads there, though) I make beaded things, and in the past year have been making ceramic pendants. Not really beads themselves, but a companion to beads. I love semi-precious gemstones the best. Glass is good, shell/bone/horn beads are ok…Plastic is a bad word.  I have a plethora of beads. I worked at a bead store in San Diego and grew to love tiny seed beads; learned how to use a bead needle and weave a few moderately complicated stitches. Vintage and antique seed beads are even better! My studio is filled with beads. 
gemstone
Bead storage is a very exciting prospect to this Virgo!
seed beads  soup of beads
bead drawer
Molten Mama  ceramic charms
(Lampwork: Molten Mama; ceramic charms: yours truly)
I am addicted to books. 
While I can enter and exit a book store without feeling compelled… Our house is full of books. There are books in every room of the house. There are books on beads, on art, on ceramics, on myth. There are fictions, and biographies, and how-to books, fantasies and classics. There are rare books, and dog-eared books, and children’s books, and great books and mediocre books. There are comics and graphic novels, books on making books, and lately – e-books! There are artfully arranged books as decor, and there are books stacked willy-nilly by a favorite chair… And as we know from previous posts there are books waiting to be read!
artful books
Morris chair
Yes, I devote and/or surrender myself to beads/books habitually. Happy to!
What is your favorite (healthy) addiction? What are you obsessed with lately? Hey – if it makes you happy, and isnt hurting anyone (including you!)
then I say – Enjoy!
Speaking of which – have to go refill my cuppa joy… I mean cuppa joe… 😉
coffee
* Please note – I say all this in good humor. I do not poke fun at or belittle problems that occur with real addiction. It is a serious matter, not to be taken lightly. I sincerely hope this post is read in the context it was intended, and no offense is taken. *

 

Fresh start…

Resolutions. To do or not to do… Merriam Webster gives this: 

: the act or process of resolving: as a : the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones b : the act of answering : solving c : the act of determining 

as well as the more traditional New Years application: 
a : something that is resolved <made a resolution to mend my ways> b : firmness of resolve
Making a resolution on New Years simply because it is New Years – well, that has no strength behind it, no intention. Hate to break it to you, but that is one resolution that will fail. I like to get a fresh start. Evaluate the old year, and welcome in the new. Clean slate. Clean workspace.  Alyson Stanfield encourages her clients and readers to journal their accomplishments, taking time to reflect and appreciate the results of their labors. I scheduled coffee and journal time yesterday for exactly that!
New year, new sketchbook
Finished my refelections in the last sketchbook, and started the new, with images, quotes, all matter of inspiration. And goals. This fresh start of a year – planning, scheduling in major shows, exhibits… There is always some carry over of projects that have not yet come to be, transfered from the old journal to the new, moved up on the waiting list of creative endeavors. I find it very informative and interesting to look back on a year’s sketchbook entries, doodles, ideas, jagged scraps of thought that have yet to grow into a full piece of art. And there was coffee, and sleeping dogs, and sun streaming inthe window… Yes!
One of my goals for the year – is to catch up a bit on my reading. There are books from last Christmas, this Christmas, and all points in between. Can one ever have too many books? I think not – but they are to be read, and savored; not piled on shelves. I even make notes in margins – scandalous to some purists, I know, but it is MY book…
Berk and FroudFresh from under the tree: “The Runes of Elfland”by Ari Berk and Brian Froud; and the re-release anniversary edition of “Faeries” by Froud and Alan Lee. These are to be savored. My original copy of Faeries in paperback, very dog-eared is years old. I have had the good fortune to meet and chat with both these men, and they continue to be an inspiration to my life and work. 
Gaiman and BernheimerTwo anthologies: Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman and “My mother she killed me, my father he ate me” compiled by Kate Bernheimer. The latter – book club selection at Surlalune Fairy Tales. That will be an interesting discussion!
Fiction 2011
Fiction offerings: 
A.S.Byatt – “The Children’s Book”
David Bajo – “The 351 Books of Irma Acuri”
Paolo Coehlo – “Witch of Portobello”
Bill Willingham – “Peter and Max”
David Mitchell – “Cloud Atlas”

Celtic 2011
The Celtic resource books… ( Note the coffee splatter on the top book. Thanks Zoey!)
Mythy books
And the last pile of mythic/folklore/essays, etc. There may be a series of ceramic tree tiles awaiting me in the pages of that one book…
Where do I begin? Started “Peter and Max” last night. It is a “Fables” book, set in the contemporary fantasy universe I have grown to love in the graphic novels. Excellent so far. Perhaps the Norse mythology. There are some goddesses I want to read up on – inspiration for new collage works for a show in March.