On the road to Barn House

I'm off today on a mini-vacation - travelling east across the state to visit my sister and then both of us travelling the entire state south to get to the Barn House flea market on Saturday.  I'm looking forward to
a)  a little warmer weather - I know that I live in the only part of the country that has not been sweltering or deluged with rain (for once!) but I'd like to feel like its summer now...
b)  seeing my sister's garden shed and how her plans for her backyard oasis have progressed...
c)  visiting Barn House, meeting the Barn House boys and experiencing their version of rustic glamour.  From all I have seen from their press in the last year (good for them!), they have the kind of simple/rustic/comfortable/classic/elegance combo that I love.  And there will be plenty of other vintage vendors at the flea market too so I'm sure to be inspired. 
I'll be taking my camera and certainly posting all about it - check back early next week!


Glorious summer

This is why I love summer-pure optimism!


The Weekly Fluff

You just never know what you will find at Goodwill.  I found this blue painted dresser last week - I had eyed it before but never gave it much heed - last Thursday it was 50% off so I looked a little closer.  The blue paint was so glossy, it almost shimmered.  There were white dirty knobs.  One of the drawers was out of alignment.  But as I looked closer I saw that the drawers had dovetail construction (always a plus!) and that underneath and behind, there was solid oak wood.  Believe it or not, I left without buying it...thinking, "Do I need another project?!"

I kept thinking about that dresser - always a sign that it has to come home with me.  I went back on Sunday afternoon - walked right in the store and claimed it as my own.  Brought it home and took the electic sander to it...the blue paint stopped shimmering...and green paint (along with a touch of turquoise) peeked out from behind the blue.

Going with a Provence influence, I swapped out the dirty white knobs for burnished copper.  The screw end was smaller than the previous knobs and there was a distinctive mark on the drawer front from the former knob...what to do...
I grabbed some rusty metal washers...the copper knob screw end fit perfectly through the washer and the washer was large enough to cover the marks left from the white knobs.  I love it when such machinations work out!

Yesterday I took the dresser to Faded Elegance to freshen up my spot...if you feel it has to come home with you, you'd better go check it out.

Faded Elegance
Historic Downtown Snohomish



Over the last couple of years, I have felt compelled to purchase these packages of lawn chair webbing - you know the stuff.  There was something about the texture, the colors, the patterns.  Wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it, but felt that the plan would reveal itself in time.  One day I had the eureka moment - totes!  Totes for the market, totes for the beach, totes for the garden - whenever or wherever.  It seemed like the perfect idea - it would be a re-usable bag, it would be weatherproof, it would be strong - it would be recycled (or upcycled as the current lingo goes!)  I gathered together all my different colors and patterns.

I started by cutting equal lengths of the webbing and sewing the strips together.  This gave me a reinforced piece of "fabric" to construct the tote.  Since the edges don't fray, I didn't have to worry about finishing off the seams.  I went to work on my trusty Singer...

an aside - I love my Singer sewing machine...it is an old 1950's cast iron model that I have had for over 30 years - simple straight stitch - nothing fancy.  My mother taught me how to sew when I was young- I have sewed ever since.  I used to make my own clothes - now I mostly make art.  The machine is indestructible - I have used it to sew everything from silk organza to lightweight metal.  I took it with me to London and scoured the city to find the adapter plug so that I could use it without blowing up the flat.  When my mother passed away, I got her cast iron Singer - the machine I learned on - there is something to be said for the tried & true!

I used different colors to bind the edges and add the handles.

And voila!  A tote ready to take anywhere you want to go!

These totes will be for sale at my space at Faded Elegance -
stop by soon!


My favorite salvage store

Today I went to Seattle - had a few errands to run - but wanted to stop by my favorite recycling/salvage center - RE Store.  I'm in the midst of several projects/collages for the upcoming Fresh Paint show (as well as prepping for holiday shows!) and needed a source of materials.  I like to use a recycled piece as the basis for my larger collages - in the past I've used everything from an old kitchen drawer to a wooden wine crate to a discarded table top.  The recycled aspect ties in nicely with my work and its budget friendly.  I like using wood as the foundation - gives me something solid when attaching found objects.  I figured that I would find what I needed - and I did.

The RE Store carries just about every kind of building material as well as hardware, electrical, and plumbing supplies.  You'll find school lockers rescued from demolition of classrooms to antique bricks from a cobblestone street.  And there's usually a FREE box out in front of the store!

Here's my take from today.  The two kitchen cabinet doors will be the foundation of my "E is for Egg" collage (incorporating the unloved collages from the previous post).  The two house numbers will be for my current multi-media collage of clocks, numbers and time.  The 4 black knobs, the birch strip veneer and the white metal findings were all out of the free box - the knobs most likely will be feet on a future tray yet to be made.

Well, the sun is out so I need to get sanding, painting and hammering - I'll post my creations as I finish them.  Meanwhile - check out the RE Store site - even the opening page has quite a few clever recycling ideas...


Unloved and unwanted

Art can be very fickle.  You create a piece that just sings, you love it - you take it to a show - everyone loves it - it sells and goes home with a happy new owner.  Other times, you create a piece - it doesn't quite gel- you can't put your finger on it - you take it to a show - nobody looks at it - you take it home and rework it.  And then there are the times when you make a piece that you feel nails the emotions just right - you take it to a show, you take it to another show, and yet another show...and still it does not sell.  But you loved it so much - why can't others see this?  The art isn't fickle - the patrons are you think.

Such is the life of these two mixed media collages - one pictured above and one pictured below.  The basis of each collage is an original page from the 1921 book Bird and Bees by John Burroughs.

I am debating what to do with them.  I'm thinking that I will remove them from their frames and incorporate them as embellishments within a larger collage.  I have some large cardboard birds that most likely were used in a 1960's grade school classroom to decorate the bulletin board to announce the arrival of spring.  Some burlap might be added.  Maybe I'll follow the schoolroom thread and add pages from an old primer.

Hopefully I'll have the reincarnation done for the Fresh Paint Art Festival - you'll have to stop by and see!


Urban Craft Uprising

Today I met up with my friend Sue and her daughter Anna to check out Urban Craft Uprising - a great craft/art show in Seattle.  This show runs twice a year - once in the summer and once in December, just before the holidays.  I've never been able to attend in the past but wanted to make a special trip to check it out and consider applying to be a vendor for the December show.

Sue wanted to be one of the first 100 in line to get a swag bag.  We drove down early and got in line with a few others...hard to tell if there were 100 people in front of us or not.  Glad there was a place to sit and wait.

While we waited, we played with our cameras.  Anna, Sue's daughter, showed both of us some cool features of our Canon cameras that we didn't know about...I need a twenty-something to show me how my electronic stuff works...I'm still listening to cassette tapes and recording TV programs on VHS so I know I am in the dark ages on some matters.  I took a few "arty" photos while waiting...this is the Space Needle seen through the outside screening of the Opera House.
When the doors opened at 11am, we were three of the lucky 100.  During lunch we poured over the contents of the swag bags and swapped items with each other.  Here's just a sampling of my bag...
Once inside, we hit every vendor - lots of jewelry, lots of textiles, lots of great graphic design.  Laura Bucci had great graphic images on bags, button and pins (in fact, everybody had those quarter-size lapel pins for sale with the best images...have to look into making some of those with my images...)
I've bought from Ex Libris Anonymous before - they make recycled journals from vintage books - all with interesting titles and graphics - I've given many as gifts over the years.
Striking graphic images printed on vintage fabric was very popular.  These are from Field Day - love the bee!
This bicycle graphic I bought from Kitchen Ink - you can find them on etsy.com 
Dinah Coops had beautiful objects with the simplest of graphics - proof positive that less is more.
Midori Ribbon was one of the sponsors of the show.  I've been to their outlet store many times.  Today I bought a package of their printed papers - the perfect addition to my multi-media collages.
I'm a sucker for great graphics - especially on a business card.  If you can't capture my attention with your card, it might be hard to capture my business.  These cards from today really struck a chord with me - both with their card and their products.
After we were shopped out, we headed over to the plaza in front of the Experience Music Project where the Mobile Chowdown was happening.  We ate lunch at the Thai truck, sitting in the sun, enjoying a fabulous Seattle summer day!


Embellished Journals

Join me for my next creative workshop Embellished Journals on Thursday, July 22 at Faded Elegance in Snohomish.  Using a plain recycled kraft paper notebook as your foundation, you will create a one of a kind journal to jot down thoughts on gardening, summer travels, family & friends – or any such topic you desire.

Vintage papers, colorful ribbons, expressive quotes and found objects will be provided at the workshop – and there will be refreshments to nibble and sip - and a 10% after-hours shopping  discount - all you need to bring is your imagination!

Embellished Journals
Thursday, July 22
6-9 pm
$27.00 per person included all supplies and refreshments
call Faded Elegance at 360-568-5333 to register -
space is limited!


The End Result

About three months ago I wrote about Tim Vermeulen, a young artist looking for world wide participation in his college art project -http://fourcornersdesign.blogspot.com/2010/03/artfrom-around-world.html

I don't know how many others sent Tim "raw materials" but I sent him a hefty envelope of ephemera.  Last week I received this email with information on his end result...

Hello All,
I am attaching photos of the final result of my 360* drawing project. Thanks in part to your efforts, I earned the grade of "A" on the project. In the end I created my first artist's book, which was great fun. At the time I was contemplating travel and the various injustices (not necessarily associated with it, but) which cross into our path. In retrospect I feel as if I have tried to address too many points of contention which I have with the world and our species. This may lead to some confusion and disagreement on the viewer's end of things. However, I am proud of the way the work turned out because it stands as a depository of my idealist, naïve, and fresh perspective at the dawn of my dealings with the whole wide world.

I am so grateful for the help of each and every one of you--this project would have remained in my sketchbook for far too long and would be significantly less diverse had it not been for your efforts. Stay well.

Warm regards,
Tim Vermeulen

Such an assemblage of shapes, colors and ideas - I hope to see more from this young artist in the future.


The Viewing

The posting on craigslist grabbed my attention, "cleaned out grandpa's cabin and garage, priced to sell, large free pile that will grow as the sale continues..."  This is exactly the kind of sale I love - lots of boxes and piles of stuff, not in the cleanest condition but ready to have its beauty revealed.  I was not disappointed.

The Singer sewing machine body is wonderful - I am a sucker for anything metal, rusted and of a mechanical nature.  The round medallion was attached to the back of the machine covering the access to the flywheel.  I may resell the machine body but I am keeping this medallion - the metal embossing is beautiful - I think I'm going to contact Tammi of my brown wren and see if she can make this into a necklace for me.  I put a couple of the keys together on a length of ball chain - I think there's necklace potential there as well!
The 1950 road map of Washington was hidden at the bottom of a box of nails - perfect collage material.  The creamy matte finish footed USA planter matches one I already own.  The slender leather covered case once held a set of cocktail silverware; its an ideal foundation for a mixed media collage hidden inside.
Wherever you are, there's sure to be lots of yard/garage/tag/estate sales this holiday weekend.  Happy Junking and enjoy!


Art of the Garden

"Art of the Garden" is an annual exhibit sponsored by the Arts Council of Snohomish County.  One of my multi-media collages "Plant the Seed" was selected for inclusion in this year's show.  Over forty artists will showcase their work as part of this prolific offering of art created to enhance the garden and to bring the garden into the home.  Watercolors, pastels, glass, stone, sculpture and much more will be featured.  The show will run from July 8 thru August 19 at the Arts Council Gallery located in the Historic Monte Cristo Building.  Opening night reception is Thursday, July 8 from 5-8 pm and is open to all.  Additional details at www.artscouncilofsnoco.org.  Even if you can't attend the reception, make time to stop in anytime to see the show - you won't be disappointed!

worth a look...

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