11.28.2013

11.27.2013

Asking the right question...

I'm continuing to pare down/purge/lighten the load...as can be expected, I'm finding a few things that I'd forgotten about...most of which have been happy discoveries!

While cleaning out a cupboard, I found this device, wrapped in an old cardboard tube...immediately upon opening the tube, I couldn't remember this item but I could immediately tell that it would be exactly the kind of thing I would pick up and become attached to...




































I'm a sucker for anything scientific in nature...with such gorgeous numbers!  They are obviously some sort of calibration...and the information on the side opposite the numbers indicates its some sort of thermometer...





































The bulbous end is filled with tiny beads - mercury?













Standing upright in my glass beaker, its the perfect still life...
I know some of you are asking..."What is it?"

My response..."It doesn't matter what it was...but rather what can it be now?"

11.25.2013

From the heart

I believe that presents sent from the heart are the best...and presents made by hand make them even sweeter...




With the holidays now in full force, I thought I would share with you each Monday until the end of the year, simple projects that would make great gifts...each crafted from the most common of objects...upcycled into a new and creative use.  They could be used as Christmas or Hanukkah presents...or hostess gifts...or an idea to entertain a group on an idle afternoon...for whatever purpose...have fun...





Art Journals: My custom art journals made from vintage book covers have been quite popular.  Here's a much easier approach to creating a one of a kind journal to record hopes, dreams, wishes and plans...











Start with a school notebook - I like these simple black and white composition journals - available at the dollar store or one of the big box office supply stores...






 



Get yourself a glue stick, a pair of scissors and go on the hunt for scrap paper around the house...you're going to make a collage for the front cover...I have a big tub in which I keep all of my scrap papers...every bit of useable paper from previous projects goes in the bin...






















The secret to making a great looking collage lies in three areas-
   1 - focus on a theme to help you hunt and sort through papers
   2 - keep your color palette limited to no more than three main colors
   3 - think outside the box...or in this case, outside the tub...anything that is paper-like can be glued down...expand your possibilities...what junk mail did you just throw away?  where's that receipt from the weekend movie?  how about the teabag you just used?
























I usually do a dry run of playing around with the pieces of paper I have selected until it seems about right...using one central image for the middle of the design provides a nice balance...a little overlapping of images gives a cohesive flow...after I glue everything down, I often end up adding in a bit here or there along the edges...

I hope this inspires you...as you discover...

it doesn't take much time...






































to explore whatever you have at hand....






































to be creative!

11.21.2013

Plays well with others

Two weeks ago I hosted another one of my art parties...an opportunity to get together with artist friends, play and create, drink wine, eat great food, play and create some more...

I usually plan a loose idea for playtime...but everyone is free to follow their own muse.  This particular afternoon was all about resin...I was itching to play with it and wanted the comfort of the crowd with my experimentation...so I supplied a big drawer of collage fodder, a variety of bases for the foundation of said creation and a quart of resin...and we went to work...





























I provided a good selection of foundations...
metal jar caps, orange juice can lids, curtain rings, tart tins, bottle caps...





Here's Shelley of From the Alley to the Gallery creating a pair of earrings...Shelley had worked with resin quite a bit so had some handy tips to pass along...using a straw to blow onto the newly poured resin (carbon dioxide releases the bubbles that form on the surface) is easier than pushing your face that close to the resin...its not good to be inhaling the fumes!












Wendy of Silver Spike Studio contemplated what to use in a special memento for her daughter...














The finished masterpiece from John of artjuvenation...

Kudos here to John...he is a published artist!  Seth Apter's new book, "The Mixed-Media Artist", features three of John's collages...I've been enjoying perusing a copy of the book that I won (!) on Seth's blog...art eye-candy on every page...








































Here are the ones I completed...I used the curtain rings as a base by attaching a backing of cardboard with a strong adhesive, letting it dry completely before I poured the resin...I thought that with the eyehook on top, it could be a tree ornament.  My experiment with the OJ can lid left a little to be desired...I overfilled the cavity, which made quite a mess as it dripped over...also the glitter is a tad distracting...I won't even show you the ones I tried to make using old ironstone saucers...I thought the resin would stay contained in the saucer indentation...no such luck!

But the best part was just the chance to get together...Wendy's email to me afterward sums it up best...

Art is good.
Getting together with artists is sublime.
Hanging with like minded people is invigorating.
Eating well is wonderful.
Drinking is grand...well, the sparkling stuff is, for sure,
Learning new techniques brings joy.

yes, it was a good day to play well with others...and I didn't even run with scissors...


11.19.2013

a hint of what's to come...

the holidays are approaching...
























preparations are underway...supplies are being gathered...


























































a theme emerges...

























































at work in the studio...

11.15.2013

The tie that binds









There are many ways in which we are bound to one another...by relation or by contract...by love and friendship...by happenstance or effort...

If you read my blog regularly, you know that the Southern Man's daughter got married two months ago...it was a beautiful wedding...and for me, was a culmination of the ups & downs/ins & outs of a relationship that began with no designation by either one of us...but rather formed via our connection to the Southern Man...





Though the bride and I are not bound by blood, there have been plenty of sweat and tears, joy and laughter, hope and despair shared over the years.  I was as proud as any mama could be of a daughter on that special day...and to know that I was there by choice, a conscious effort on my part to participate and a heartfelt request on the bride's part...made the day all the sweeter.

In addition to preparing the table decorations and other wedding paraphernalia, I had to find something to wear...a simple black sheath would fit the bill...and to add a bit of bling (just a bit!) I asked my friend Jan Reingold of Izanna Jewelry to design a necklace for me...








The bride and her groom are both archaeologists...a 2000 year old piece of Roman glass was the perfect choice for the centerpiece of the necklace...complemented by an African circle stone and a piece of fish vertebrae, it echoed the sentiments of the couple.  To establish a connection with the my past, Jan incorporated a few pearls from my mother's cherished necklace...the necklace had broken...to have the pearls re-strung in its original design wasn't my style...but using the pearls as part of this piece, built on a new tradition, seemed fitting...
















Here I am explaining the bits and pieces to the bride and her sister...












































One chapter ends...but another begins...
all part of the tie that binds family
together...












11.12.2013

Art vs Reality

I'm continuing to explore the nuances of Photoshop through my online class, Photoshop Grunge.  Its easy to get lost in the process for hours...applying different techniques/layers/textures...

There's a weekly assignment component that helps to focus on a particular lesson at a time...this week its combining two photos but in a way that you wouldn't normally find such occurrence in reality...but with the wonders of Photoshop, anything is possible!  Here an old deserted house with a missing window sprouts a giant orange poppy...






































Linking up to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday...edited my photo using kk texture musicart and magicscripted...

11.05.2013

Eureka hits again...







I'm still in the midst of cleaning up/clearing out my studio...and the things that I discover...or rather, had forgotten about...are becoming their own junk pile.  And then I need to decide...pitch, donate, re-use or save...and I'm trying to be ruthless...so to be saved, something either has to be really great or I have the best idea for using it...in the near future...no more "well, maybe someday..."








Perfect example...came across a box filled with die-cut cardboard envelopes.  When I started my handcrafted card line 15 years ago, I designed an eco-friendly, lightweight cardboard folder for packaging.  The idea for the design was based on a similar package of postcards that I had bought in Paris and just loved.  I was convinced this was going to be great...I had a die created and 1000 envelopes cut and scored.  Turns out that the outside flaps covered too much of the design of the cards so people had a hard time seeing what the outside of the card looked like.  So back to the drawing board on package design...and the box of cardboard envelopes was put on a bottom shelf in the studio.

So I looked at the cardboard folders and thought...what can I do with them?  Since I had just finished my recycled journal class, I had a stack of trimmed newsprint left over...which when folded in half, fit perfectly inside the cardboard envelope.  My other art journals are held together with two staples on the folded spine...but these envelopes were too wide for my stapler...and then...that's when it hits me...the eureka moment...as I'm standing next to my sewing machine...I'll sew the papers into place!

I sew up one journal...with the newsprint and the cardboard, its pretty drab looking...as I'm looking at it...my eye wanders across my work table...and there's a stack of paint sample cards...and the rest they say is history...






Simple blank journals with a paint sample card pocket...ideal for recording your hopes, dreams and inspirations...or maybe just a grocery list or appointment reminders...







































The closure is a length of colored twine wrapped around a brass paper fastener...

The paint sample cards are also sewn in place...a slim pocket for saving a receipt or a telephone number...
or a picture of your true love...










As I have mentioned before...I want the job of naming the paint colors...
I would have the best time...
























And where can you find these journals you wonder?  Why at my booth at the Phinney Winter Festival,
December 7 & 8 in Seattle...click on the poster icon on the right sidebar of my blog and you'll get all the details.

Back to production...I think there's probably more than 500 cardboard envelopes left in the box...
 

11.01.2013

A turn of the page

And with the turn of the page...it is now November...and plans begin for the holidays ahead...

I don't like to rush the seasons...Thanksgiving never seems to get enough attention...but sometimes a little
pre-planning is necessary...which is why, starting today, you will find holiday cards in my etsy shop.

New this year...a packet of 4 folded notecards...
just the right size to send a special note...
or tie onto a present for a favorite friend.






































Ordering information and details at

www.etsy.com/shop/fourcornersdesign

In the weeks ahead, I be adding in a few more new designs...I'll keep you posted...

worth a look...

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