Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Month in Photographs - August

Starting at top right, clockwise:
exhibit at [Artspace] at Untitled in OKC, called "Altered Books"
section of a collage I created
double strand turquoise necklace, at Etsy
papermaking on the porch
resin and silver necklace, at Etsy
The Artist's Way
Meri, a new member of the household, from Coffee Pot People
getting an ultrasound at the local Outpatient Center
and, in the middle, mom and best friend touring downtown in OKC.

What a great month! Lots of new and exciting things, visiting with friends and family, completing jewelry for a show that's coming up, and getting healthy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Papermaking at home

Don't actually remember when papermaking got stuck in my head.

It was about a week ago, that I got serious and started buying supplies. I wanted to begin with some smaller sheets, so I took a little wooden picture frame, and stapled some leftover screening on it.

I made a good size mess in the kitchen with an old blender that didn't have a top, but did the screening outside on the porch. A heads up if you try this:
don't clean up using indoor plumbing - I've heard it's a sure way to clog your pipes!

Here are the ingredients:
shredded mail
flowers and leaves (from the tree I "prunned" on Saturday)
and corn starch (which is suppose to prevent your ink from bleeding.)

I poured the blended pulp into a plastic container.

The shop towels I bought at Wal Mart worked much better than the suggested sponges, for soaking up excess water. Shop towels are those heavy blue paper towels, sold in the automotive department. After peeling my paper off the screen, I laid them between two of the shop towels.

Skirt hangers work great for drying, but I only had three...
so I started a little assembly line!
The whole process took about two hours, not counting the drying time.

And here's the finished product!

Next time I'll put together a large frame for screening, and use my oversized plastic tub. Thinking of using some red earth (the kind that Oklahoma is known for) in the mixture and see how that turns out. I might even try to sell them!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Ten

Another week has come and gone, and it's the end of the summer. And Week #10 of the Artist's Way. I'm still getting up a half hour earlier than "usual" and writing my morning pages. Actually, this is the new norm! I didn't take myself on an artist's date this week... unless you count Wednesday, when I went to the Outpatient Center at the hospital, to get my ultrasound. It was kinda fun, to see my insides! And the technician put on the transducer's "speaker" for a moment, and I could hear a "whooshing" sound. "What's that?" I asked. It was my blood, rushing through my veins. Very neat!

Someone on my Art Walk Etsy (AWE) Team mentioned a report she heard, stating how in difficult financial times, women buy smaller ticket items to give them a psychological lift. This really stuck with me, especially since I can't see items selling out of the Museum Store anymore. Later in the day, I got a call from the Firehouse Art Center; they just sold my Star Treasure Necklace!

That was perfect timing, and I needed a synchronicity lift too! Haven't noticed any in a while...

I made a To Do list this week, and finished everything on the list. And I completed all my tasks in my Workbook... EXCEPT... one thing I kept on forgetting: "do one lovely thing" for myself every day. I get into a routine of doing certain things at certain times, and "lovely" doesn't fall into it. Actually, I had to look up lovely, to be sure; Merriam-Webster says "delightful for beauty, harmony, or grace." So I have a suggestion for all you busy gals and guys out there: take a Post-It and write LOVELY on it, in bright colors, and stick it on your computer to remind yourself. Even if you don't get up and take a walk or go out and buy some flowers for the house, at least you'll get a smile!

Friday, August 27, 2010

August Featured Etsyblogger - Patch

Splendid Little Stars just mentioned Wednesday that every one of her etsyblogger friends remind her of something special. How true! The first thing that I thought of, when contemplating this month's Featured Etsyblogger, were pearls.

Patch creates the most wonderful jewelry using pearls. Maybe it's because she likes weddings, and pearls are appropriate wear... Here's a mosaic, that just screams PATCH, from her handmade jewelry shop, called Patch First Shop:

I love all things Asian, and Patch's Supply Shop is loaded with origami and boxes of all sorts. The lotto papers she confiscated from her mom (sorry, no winning tickets here), is advertised as "unique paper for crafting: folding paper (origami), paper mache, journal decorating." I bought some of her lotto papers a while back, and can attest to its journal decorating capacity (see left.)

But there's a THIRD shop! The Patch Vintage Shop. If you like vintage clothing, this will be a real treat. Have fun!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

art journaling - calligraphy

I remember when I first came to work at the Museum, my boss tested my handwriting skills. Thought that was kinda weird. Found out, I had to "burn" the call numbers onto the spine of all the new books we ordered (yes, I passed with flying colors!)

So here I am, 20+ years later, still with very legible handwriting. I thought, one way to make my art journaling more appealing is to use different calligraphy. Went to dafont.com, at Tammy's suggestion, and copied a bunch of alphabets to play with. At first, I thought Times Roman was going to be hard. Especially, the lowercase letters, like "g". But after a bit of practice, anything is possible.

I think my favorite so far is Hobbiton Brushstroke.

Then there's all different symbols and patterns to play with - you could go on forever, writing.... kinda sounds like me...

I went over to BookMooch, to try and find a calligraphy book, but there's not many around. Almost had one but then the person decided she didn't have the money to ship it. The only thing available was a book on writing Japanese characters. I'm mooching that! Thanks Lee! And if you don't know about BookMooch, and enjoy reading and libraries in general, it's worth your while to go and check it out.

This post is in response to Daisy Yellow's Creative Experiments #15: August! a personal challenge "to practice hand printing the alphabet using fonts as source material..."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Etsybloggers Carnival - Official end of summer

This week's carnival is being hosted by Sandy, aka Punky Jane. I knew I would have no trouble finding something to write about, after seeing Sandy's John Lennon quote - DH and I are big fans!

You can find Punky Jane's blog on blogspot,

and her Etsy shop goes by the same name.

Sandy gives us two topics about the end of Summer:
1) School time! What is your favorite memory from kindergarten or taking your kids to kindergarten?
2) Labor Day...As the 'official' end of Summer, how do you celebrate Labor Day and what does it mean to you?

I grew up on the East Coast, and Labor Day used to mark the end of summer and the beginning of school. Here is Oklahoma, school has already started, and a new cycle has begun. I'm out of school and don't have children, so Labor Day means a holiday from work. One of those "hard holidays."

What will I do this Labor Day? Work! Yes, but I'll work for the storybeader, on my blog and Etsy shop, creating art and telling stories. Here's a new story I've been working on: about a young lady named Lily, who comes to Oklahoma Territory with her parents, and participates in the land run. Two things in my shop remind me of Lily's escapades:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Recovery and looking ahead

What a week! I completely got off track, being sick. Don't know if it was a stomach virus, or food poisoning, but luckily I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday. Good news is that my blood work says everything is OK, except my gall bladder. So I'm having a CAT scan this coming week [update: it was an ultrasound!] Looks like I'm going to have to change my diet, which would be a good thing...

September is going to be a busy month. Have a OMA (Oklahoma Museum Association) conference in OKC starting the 22nd. I'm also taking a couple of days off early in the month. We’re planning a garage sale!

I need to look around the house for things we're not using. I never got into the soldering I was going to do, so we have all that equipment. And there’s lots of electrical wires and speakers DH has found. I know I have clothes I don’t wear, and all sorts of dishes and art pieces that are just sitting around, taking up space. Our house is kinda small...

On September 18th, I’ll be at the Annual Festival of the Arts, in Frederick. This will be my third year. My turquoise always sells well there. Just finished a new necklace two nights back:

"Liquid silver flowed

Off her neck and gathered speed

Over the small heishes."

- storybeader

Did you notice the photo? I did it myself, with the light box. Need to experiment, but looks like it 's working!

I have some more turquoise, so I might make some single strand necklaces. I could sell some of my beads at the garage sale but DH says I should keep them; they don’t take up a lot of room... which is true. And then I have the jewelry from the Museum Store.. which I can‘t sell there anymore....

There is a large - 10” long - bracelet that I made a few months back (lower left). Sold the other bracelet at the Museum, before I was “kicked“ out... Here’s a collage of turquoise that’s at Etsy - you can go there to see them:

So, I have a lot of catching up to do... did I say that before?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Nine

Week 9 of The Artist's Way, "Recovering a Sense of Compassion."

Cameron says this week had to do with "facing the internal blocks to creativity." One task was going back through all my morning pages and highlighting insights and actions. I decided to take this a step further and list all the actions in a To Do list. Came up with 29 different things I want to accomplish. Little things, from bundling clothes for Goodwill, to artistic actions, such as making larger "note tags" for my Etsy products and taking a drawing class. I did accomplish two things this weekend: finding a calligraphy book on BookMooch and making a lightbox ... finally! Here it is:

I need to get two spotlights. The bed sheet? It's a cover, to keep all the dog hair and dust out.

I wasn't that happy on my artist's date this week. I went to a used book store, and they were selling their books for an outrageous price. So I left and found another smaller store, which used to be a house. There were books on shelves ALL OVER the place. Very messy, but much better prices. But the owner was so pushy, I don't want to go back. I'm actually looking for old books that I can use in my art journaling.

Have I told you I want to be a writer? Probably not, I'm too shy to announce my true dream. Well, the cat's out of the bag now. Writing was going to be my five year goal, but I took what Cameron calls a U-turn. She says I need to forgive myself, and gently consider whether I can rescue the dream. I think I've decided to write the novel in haiku format, while I do my art journal. Maybe commit to a blog series. Do I sound hesitate? That's ok, I am!

I want to end this post with a photo collage, from my visit to Oklahoma City last weekend. Had a great time with mom and an old friend that was in town. Below is the gigantic monument by Paul Moore we went and saw. So far, there's 19 bronze elements, with an estimated completion date of 2015.

I wrote a haiku about Lily, my featured story character, and then remembered I saw her at the Centennial Land Run Monument. There she is, at the bottom right, with the flag in her hand. Just realized it was my synchronicity.

Lily jumped off her
Horse, after the long, dusty
Ride, claiming new land.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary Sale - Etsybloggers

It's the Etsybloggers' Third Anniversary,
and there's a sale going on.
Here's our blog site
with a view of everybody's shop.
Come on by!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Daisy Yellow's Creative Experiment #15 - waiting in line

The young man in line is hot and dirty, just getting off of work. He's working on those gigantic houses on the west side of town; the ones for wealthy doctors and lawyers. He decided to stop at the store and get some food for dinner - can't afford to eat out. So he picked up some frozen chicken and BBQ potato chips. And a 6-pack of orange soda. On the way in, he saw the avocados and grabbed one of those, too. This wasn't what he was eating three months ago, but it would fill his aching stomach.

He doesn't go to the bar to drink anymore after work, not since he got in that fight and his girlfriend left him. Can't wait to get back to his apartment, with his chicken dinner, to watch the ball game. Hoping the Rangers beat the Yankees.

This was a personal challenge, from Daisy Yellow's Creative Experiment #15: "In line at the grocery store, glance at the items in the next person's cart, and make up a story in your head about the person and what they are making for dinner."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

almost wordless wednesday - yellow pages

Artwork from a show, "Altered Books", showing now through October 9th at [Artspace] at Untitled, in Oklahoma City. Great show, great space!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Favorite Book, an Etsybloggers Carnival - August 13, 2010

The Etsybloggers’ first carnival host for August is Dorset Hill Beads .

She creates beautiful, one-of-a-kind handmade lampwork glass beads and you can find her Etsy shop, HERE. The two topics Eileen chose for the carnival are:

1. It's back to school time...How are you preparing to get the kids or yourself back to school?
2. What was your favorite BOOK, MOVIE or GETAWAY SPOT over the summer?

I'm not preparing anyone for school, and I didn't read too much this summer. Two books that had an impact on me were The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan (she was a guest speaker at a conference I attended) and a biography about Dorothea Lange, by Linda Gordon.

But they weren't my favorite books - that has to be The Artist's Way Workbook. I’m on Week Nine of the workbook, more than halfway through. Most of you have heard me write about Julia Cameron and this book throughout the summer. I picked it up because I felt in a funk, and wanted something inspiring to read. Actually, I didn't think anything would come of it. But I see how I've changed - it's really surprising.

Every week I continue to read my chapter, participate in activities, and write in the workbook. You must understand that I'm a librarian, and don't believe in defacing books. Writing in the workbook was hard for me.

I went out on dates with myself, started a journal, and wrote the required three pages every morning. These morning pages morphed into art journaling. In addition to the journaling, collaging has entered my artspace, which makes me very happy. I'm creating a mess on my work table, with paper and glue, brushes and water.

I encourage anyone else who is feeling discouraged and wondering if they should continue with their artwork, to try The Artist’s Way Workbook. I like the workbook better than the regular book, which has stories about other people in addition to the activities. Either way, it will get you going in directions you didn’t even think of!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Artist's Way - Week Eight

It's Week 8 of The Artist's Way, "Recovering a Sense of Strength." This week I looked at my "genuine creative interests." I've always wanted to write a book, but right now, I'm happy to spend time mixing my art with my writing - art journaling!

My morning pages have become a place for me to collect and experiment with art on paper. And it's a great way to multi-task! I've always been a collector of little bits of paper - I remember as a kid, I collected matchbooks! Wish I had them now, to add to my pages...

Went in search for an art journaling blog, and found Daisy Yellow's (Tammy) art journaling 101. I knew her blog was for me when I saw a monthly experiment (challenge): practice your handwriting. I was looking for a way to decorate my journal, thinking about changing font styles and colors. She introduced me to dafont.com - never knew this existed. That all fell into place nicely!

Tammy also wrote about using Gesso in her art journaling 101. Never heard of it before, so I took myself on an artist date and got a little bottle.

It's not recommended for watercolors, but what the heck {:-D

Any thoughts about the role of art journaling?
Do you use it privately, or is it
something you share with friends and family,
or with strangers?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Book Review - Dorothea Lange : a life beyond limits

Dorothea Lange is such an interesting 20th century woman. Linda Gordon, author of Dorothea Lange : a life beyond limits, believes that not everyone knows her name, but most recognize her photographs. I disagree. I think most people are familiar with her name too. Or they should be. If you're interested in American social history and politics (and of course, photography and women,) you'll find this biography hard to put down. Gordon doesn't take sides, or glorify Lange.

Destitute pea pickers in California.
Mother of seven children
Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California (LOC)

The book may be a bit burdensome, but it is a fascinating read and very well documented, as Dorothea would want it to be. Lange always included descriptions for her photographs, and believed an image shouldn't stand alone. She was interested in photography from a young age, and met her first husband, the artist Maynard Dixon, at her San Francisco studio in 1919.

I'm not a photographic fanatic, but I recognize many of the names of her close friends who were also photographers, such as Imogene Cunningham, Paul Strand, and Edward Weston. Lange and Dixon married in 1920, and she fell out of the San Francisco art world, trying to keep up with her husband and his travels in the southwest.

It wasn't until the mid-1930s that Lange had a renewed interest in her art, and became a photographer for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). She met her second husband, Paul Taylor, who used her photographs for a labor relations article. "They fell in love by watching each other work," Gordon tells us. The two were both involved in human rights issues; Taylor with his political advocacy for land and water reform, Lange with her photography of farm workers and sharecroppers.

Fourth of July, near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Rural filling stations become community centers and general loafing grounds. The men in the baseball suits are on a local team which will play a game nearby. They are called the Cedargrove Team (LOC)

I think my favorite part of the book was about Lange's involved with the FSA. The striking images she took will be remember by all. Lange had a special talent of putting what she saw down on paper, and she taught many photographers her skill over the years. One of my favorite lines in the book is "she [Lange] told her students that documentary photographs should ask questions, not provide answers." After the Depression, Lange continued working for the government, taking photographs of the Japanese interment camps and for the Office of War Information. These are some of her most striking photographs. Here's one that particularly moved me:

Lange brought alive a new art form that many historians use today, documentary photography. Although she had severe health problems all her life, she travel continuously, sometime under very harsh conditions. When Taylor became a consultant for agrarian reform in the underdeveloped world, Lange went with him on three different occasions. She was very ill when they left for Asia and the Middle East in 1958, but continued to take pictures. In 1963, Lange contracted malaria, which didn't help her physical condition. She died in California, surrounded by her family, on October 11, 1965. Her last words: "It's in scale."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Creative Experiment #15

August is my month for experimentation.
So turn over your calendars,
and begin the new month with me.

This morning, by chance (was it?) I found
Daisy Yellow and her art happy blog.
Come and follow us in
Creative Experiment #15
(Daisy, thanks for the guidance and the personal challenges)
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